Latitude

The education space is a battle arena for business notebooks that want to prove they are durable enough to serve use by hundreds of kids and cheap enough to fit into the local school budget. While Dell and Lenovo are both shooting for first place, Dell still has the advantage of having more government contracts already signed off. To improve their existing lineup of machines, the company has announced the new “classroom-ready” Latitude 13 laptop.

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When Dell’s Latitude 7000 series laptop showed up at our doorstep for review, there was one simple word that came immediately to mind – “Wow”. The new 7000 series machines from Dell are not only a new standard for Dell, but also a new standard for business machines all around. Read on as we take an in-depth look at the design, performance, and value of Dell’s latest creation.

The Latitude 7000 series we received for review is the 14-inch variation from the series, known as the E7440.  The machine is simply a black beauty once it is unwrapped from its eco-friendly packaging; well-modeled industrial design and choice building materials make the E7440 a laptop to admire.

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The Confusion

If you head over to your local electronics shopping center, the blinking LEDs and flickering screens you witness from the lineup of computers on display, are most likely coming from what OEMs call “consumer machines”.

Since the birth of the personal computer, there have always been Consumer PCs and Business PCs; machines aimed at two separate markets that claim to be focused on what matters most for the particular individual. What truly makes a business machine what it is versus a consumer machine, and what is the state of each within today’s market?

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Dell released the Latitude 6430u Ultrabook as a notebook as an affordable light and portable machine for the business professional. We have been quite happy with the new direction of design Dell has been headed in, but there is one problem – one of their laptops “smell of cat urine”.

According to reports from the BBC, “a number of users” have been complaining that some of their Latitude Ultrabooks “smell of cat urine”. While not a very appealing scent, Dell engineers have assured that the machines have not been biologically contaminated and there is no health hazard.

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Lenovo has been generating some noise in the enterprise sector with their famous ThinkPad line (formally an IBM brand), but Dell is a bit tired of going unnoticed. The company’s last generation of Latitude business notebooks made us questions who exactly was in control of the horrendous design, but with this latest series refresh – we are impressed.

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gMaps Pro is our go-to app when we want some Google services on our Windows Phone (since Google is evidently too busy fixing Android to make WP7 apps). We've been waiting on a Mango update for a few weeks now and developer Alexy Strakh has not dissapointed.

New features in v1.12 include:

  • Compass support (shows what direction you're facing)
  • Latitude background agent
  • New bicycle layer
  • Ability to hide buttons on the map
  • Public transportation quick access
  • Contact database access--now you can route a contact's address directly

Having Latitude update automatically in the background is a great addition, finally making this a true Google Latitude app. The compass feature makes it that much more useful (why Bing Maps doesn't do this, we have no idea). So overall, this is a great app that keeps getting better.

You can pick up the ad-free "Pro" version for $1.99 (our choice) here or the ad-supported free version here in the Marketplace.

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Here's a pleasant surprise, gMaps Pro (see earlier coverage) developer Alexey Strakh has managed a first for Windows Phone: Google Latitude.

Yup, starting with v111.0, users can now login to their Google Latitude account, see themselves and others on the map or as a list. It seems to work pretty well from our few minutes playing around--heck it even pulls down your avatar photo. Friends appear as green generic icons, tapping them brings up their info, location last check time, coordinates and ability to get directions to them. Other notable additions to v1.11.0:

  • Localization for English, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Русский, Беларускi languages
  • New weather layer

We've called gMaps Pro the best Google Maps app on Windows Phone and today's update reasserts that with these new features. There is also a free gMaps in the Marketplace, but note that it lacks these advanced and much coveted options. There's a free trial of gMaps Pro and it can bought for a fair $1.99. Grab it here in the Marketplace if interested.

Edit: App is not Mango-specific, it will work on NoDo phones as well

Big thanks, Mark Tepper (@BinaerJongleur), for the tip!

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Update: Sorry folks, appears to be U.S. (and Israel) only for now :-/

We've always wondered whether Microsoft would launch a Google Latitude service--after all, they have Bing, a nice aGPS/WiFi location finder and a solid mobile OS. So it comes as a nice surprise to see them launching "We're In" today:

"We’re In makes organizing get-togethers, carpooling and trying to find people in a crowd a breeze. Any time you want to see where your friends are—We're In can help you. It's simple, invite your friends, and when they join, they'll see your location and you'll see theirs. When the invite expires, so does the shared location – no complicated process to worry about.

We’re In is a great way to save time and frustration when planning your road trip or meeting your friend at the mall – helping you connect with your friend faster."

The best way to describe the service is it's like Latitude combined with Glympse--the former because it allows you to see where your friends are, the latter because these events "expire" meaning you're not tracking people (or being tracked yourself) for eternity. The app allows you to

  • Create a get-together invite for a group of friends
  • See where your friends are
  • Share your location with your friends in real time
  • Control your privacy - your location is only shared with the group of invitees, only for a short time slot

Interestingly, you don't use LiveID to sign up but instead your phone number. Microsoft is looking to make this platform agnostic (it's coming to other mobile OSs) and by keeping LiveID out, Microsoft seems to be keeping the entry-barrier low. That's good news if the system is to grow and catch on.

Oh and the code didn't work with our Google Voice number, just FYI.  If you want the app, here you go: link to the Marketplace.

Source: Bing Community; Thanks, Michael, for the link!

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Google has released an updated version of Google Maps, version 3.0.1.4, which focuses on issues surrounding the Google Latitude feature. For those unfamiliar with Latitude, it is a feature that lets you keep track of your location and shares it with a social network of friends/colleagues.

The fixes include:

  • Background location updates: Problems associated with running Latitude in the background have been fixed to allow continuous updating of your location.
  • Auto-restart location updates: If for some reason you turn off your phone (battery dies, you hit the power button) Latitude will now automatically restart location updates, when running in the background, whenever power is restored to the phone.
  • Force location updates: Manually refreshing your Latitude friends list forces the update of your own location.
  • Backlight timing: The backlight behavior now runs according to your system settings. Previously if Latitude was running in the background it had a tendency to keep your backlight on regardless of systems settings.
  • Additionally, login errors and other internal errors that effected Latitudes performances were addressed by the update.

The updated version, 3.0.1, can be downloaded here.

Via WMPoweruser

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Google Maps gets small update

Speaking of Google, its Maps application just got a small update.

Although we have no idea what this update entails, suffice it to say it fixes something as no new features are to be found.  Some are suggesting that Latitude (see review here) is more upfront on program startup, whereas before it wasn't.

Anyways, Google Maps gets bumped from version 3.0.0.2 to 3.0.0.12, which on the face of it seems odd but who are we to question Google's numbering system?

Feel you need the update, then head over to m.google.com/maps to get fresh. 

 

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Review: Google Maps with Latitude

Google's watching you. Or at least that is what some of the headlines read when Google launched its latest version of Google Maps. The reason behind all the conspiracy theories cropping up like wild fire is that the newest version includes a new feature called Latitude.

Latitude is a feature that utilizes cell-tower triangulation, GPS or your home IP to approximate your location so friends can find where you're hiding located. In turn, you can see where your friends are. Hence the "big brother" analogies that immediately came to mind. Now that all the dust has settled we took the latest version of Google Maps with Latitude out for a test drive. To see how much attitude latitude has, read on after the break. And be sure to listen to what Dieter and Malatesta have to say about Latitude in this week's WMExperts Podcast.

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