So we are smack into January, dreading that storm that will invade us in the days to come. We hope you are in a warmer spot, but if not, peruse our Monthly Round Up with some hot cocoa. Thanks also to those of you who have joined us on Twitter, including Next Gadgets, Mason Komine, Apple Apps, ICE, Outpost Distribution, Cord Cutter, Eddie Clifton, Ron R., Chris Kavas, Max and John Audobon (sorry if we left anyone out.)
Think you are having a heart attack? There's an app for that, kind of. The San Ramon Valley Fire Department has one that is available if someone calls 911. That iPhone call is rerouted to a person who is trained in CPR and can find the person in distress via GPS. It also transmit's the location of the nearest defibrillator. The same app is being developed for Blackberry and Android devices.
Creatively naming its affordable 3D camcorder Bloggie, Sony's latest entry offers 3D video and still image recording, 1920x1080p MP4 HD video w/5MP still images, 3D viewing on 2.4" LCD (no glasses needed,) and records up to 4 hours of 3D or 2D HD video with 8GB of memory. Other features include SteadyShot image stabilization, auto-macro shooting, 4x digital zoom, flip out USB arm and pre-installed software.
Netflix has removed the "Add to DVD Queue" from streaming devices. Jamie Odell, director of product management claims that this is "so we can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly." He says that it complicates the instant watch experience and adds that it will not apply to their website. We see this as a move to concentrate on their eventual streaming over service. With almost 5,000 mostly negative comments on the blog, it seems that the natives are not happy with the announcements.
For those who use and detest that line on bifocal glasses, PixelOptics has found a way to dispose of them. Their emPower lenses automatically change from regular to bifocals when you lower your head. It does this with a coating of liquid crystal and a built-in accelerometer than knows when you tilt down. If it seems disconcerting at first, the spectacles have 3 modes, automatic, manual on and manual off. The $1,2000 glasses need charging via its hidden battery.
Samsung claims that it has reached the two million mark with its Smart TV app. This is almost double what it had received in November when it hit 1 mill. The company's App Store has almost 400 applications available worldwide, with 259 freebies, so reaching this number is not really so surprising and gives us incite into the fact that lots are lovin' that which is Samsung.
Linux users, rejoice. You can now stream video to your PC via Apple's AirPlay. Download a plug-in for the Totem media player (which comes with most Linux distributions,) install, and treat it like your very own Apple TV.
Angry Birds is coming out in a new version for Valentine's Day. Rovio has updated their game in pink for sweethearts who want to topple pigs as a team. Available the 14th, no specific platforms have been announced and we hope there is more than just that pinkish tint.
Cisco has launched a new 802.11n router. The wireless Linksys E4200 has a dual-band, a 300 - 450 Mbps speed, Ethernet connection and a USB storage port for file sharing. The router has a 3x3 MIMO antenna array to for a maximum range.
Nuance Communications now has a speech and voice recognition development kit. Supporting several languages, developers can use the technology that is available in Dragon Dictation, search applications and Vocalizer, a text-to-speech app. The SDK can be used for smartphone connection to cars, online i.e. Dictionary.com and for use in Apple iOS and Android phones.
A new charger will soon be upon us that uses magnets to connect to the base. Joy Factory's Zip, Touch-N-Go will help you minimize the mess of cords on and around your desk. We are assuming it will charge almost any electronics with a style thrown in to boot. Available for pre-order at a $69.95 price, expect delivery in April.
Nintendo's new 3DS will soon be upon us. The portable gamer can play both 3D and regular DS games without the use of those nasty glasses. It can also take 3D images with its included camera. About 30 games will be released before the summer, including titles like 'Splinter Cell 3D,' 'Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition' and 'nintendogs + cats.' Set for release March 27, you can preorder now for one in basic black or aqua blue.
The iSound Portable Power Max is more than a basic charger. Five USB ports allow charging to both mini and micro devices with included cables. The battery has a whopping 16000 mAh, LED indicators, power button and built-in flashlight. A 100/240V AC/DC adapter is included in the package.
Pure's latest Internet digital radio Contour uses Flow technology to access thousands of stations. It can also stream from its retractable iPod/iPhone dock. The acoustically tuned cabinet features dual bass ports and can stream wirelessly from a WiFi enabled PC or media server. Other features include DAV, FM radio. a USB connector, Ethernet, RCA and 3.5mm outputs. Priced at $299.99, the backlit, touch-sensitive Contour can be pre-ordered now for a March delivery.
One of the latest wireless firsts to hit the market is the KFA2 GeForce GTX 460 WHDI. The graphics card has a 5-aerial transmitter for HD streaming from your PC to any device that supports a 5GHz WHDI receiver. With access up to 100 feet away, it has 1GB RAM and Microsoft DirectX 11 support. Also included is NVIDIA PhysX and PureVideo technology, and it is SLI and 3D vision ready.
Belkin's Grip 360°+Stand has the unique ability to transform your iPad into Landscape, Portrait or Typing mode. Attach a handstrap to the protective case and it becomes a carrying case with 360º rotation. Exchange the handstrap with a kickstand and you get a tabletop view.
Logitech has devised a Wireless Speaker Adapter for Intel WiDi-enabled laptops. It allows you to connect laptop audio to speakers and Voila! You get wireless stereo. Look for the adapter to be released in May for $29.99
Japan's Green House has unveiled a monitor that be connected to your PC or Mac via USB. The GH-USD16K is a 15.6" backlit LED with a 1366 x 768 resolution, a 400:1 contrast ratio, 220cd/m2 brightness and 16ms response time. The GH monitor carries a MSRP of $214.
Watch out, iPad. Motorola recently released its own ilk of tablet in the form of the Xoom. Running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb,) it features a 10.1" screen in 16:9 widescreen, is 4G compatible, has a NVIDIA Tegra dual core, front and back cams and an HDMI out. With an included gyroscope, strong graphics engine and hardware accelerations, the company is surely planning to push its gaming capability.
Intuit is now offering a free credit card reader and no service fee. Targeting business owners, this deal is only open to new customers. The upside is that GoPayment can swipe and process credit cards in a mere matter of seconds. It keeps track of frequently sold items, can send receipts and deposit funds in 2 - 3 days. The down side is that this deal is only available until mid-February, then charges vary from a $12.95 montly fee and a $0.15 - $0.30 transaction fee.
We wouldn't even begin to know what category it was listed under but apparently about 50,000 supposedly hacked iTunes accounts were put on Taobao, China's largest online auction site. For a mere 200 yuan ($30,) a buyer could have purchased up to $200 worth of iTunes products. A reporter from the Global Times sent $5.00 via online payment and was then given an iTunes username and password. The GT reported that they finally removed the hacked iTunes accounts late last week and is considering adding them to a banned product list.
Griffin's CarTrip was obviously designed for the automotively challenged. The Bluetooth monitor keeps track of acceleration, speed, fuel consumption and diagnostic codes. Plugged into your OBD-II, it will even go as far as helping you troubleshoot that annoying "check engine" light. Information can be stored on SD card, iPhone/iPad/touch or Griffin's free CleanDrive application. Plan on a $89.99 price.
Roku has announced that they have sold over one million of the tabletop players and determine that an average user watches about 11 hours per week. About 100 channels are offered and the company claims that there have been more than a billion streams thus far. In a recent interview, Roku CEO Anothony Wood said he doesn't foresee bandwith usage caps. "Unlimited [broadband] sells," he said. "It's just a good marketing strategy."
The Mac App store is open for business and already has about 1,000 downloads available. A one-click installation, it is a software update for Macs that run OS X Snow Leopard. A press release from Apple states that a million apps were downloaded the first day of its operation.
Verizon has announced its latest Mobile Hotspot, the Novatell MiFi. The palm-size 4510L works with up to 5 WiFi devices and works with Verizon's 4G LTE, with speeds of up to 12 Mbps, and 3G networks. Look for Samsung also to deliver a 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot that connects up to 5 different devices.
At last week's CES 2011, Pioneer announced that it is integrating social media to cars. Nine models of in-dash products will provide Pandora streaming through a connected iPhone. Aha Radio will provide interactive and personalized radio. Look for 2 CD players, 3 audio/video devices like the AVH-P3300BT shown here, 2 DMPs and 2 GPS systems to have the ability at prices starting at $150.00.
Each will also have app access to Facebook and Twitter as well as YouTube. While Pioneer sees it as a way of connecting in your vehicle, we think it may turn out to be another source of accidents when drivers do something other than simply watching the road.
VLC is now out of Apple's App Store as it may have a conflict with the General Public License and copyright infringement. However, when you read one of the application's developers Remi Denis-Courmont's web log, he explains that he doesn't know exactly why they pulled it, but thinks it possible that "Apple would remove VLC simply because it cannot stand software distributed under the GPL on its stores."
GM has teamed with Powermat to make it easier to charge your electronic devices while tooling around town. About $5 million dollars have gone to Powermat to include the device in next year's Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. The charger has already been added to this year's Chevy Volt.
If you were one of the fortunate unlucky ones who purchased a Clear iSpot, the gadget has been discontinued after it turned out it was not an end-all for 4G service. Available for iOS devices with access to the 4G WiMax network, the company has stopped producing them but have a few in stock for those under warranty that need replacing. Those who own one will get continued support. Check their forum for additional information.
Netflix is going one step further to make it easier for everyone to come on board. Companies such as Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba will be adding a dedicated button on their remotes. This feature will be included on many Internet connected TV and Blu-ray disc player remotes, with about 250 of them already Netflix ready. While this idea is fine its implication it also seems that the company may eventually become an international player, don't you think?
Addicted to Groupon but never get the really good deals? Tenka is a new mobile app for iPhones, Blackberrys and Android phones that allows you to add local deals and redeem them later. Users can also share with buddies and the more friends you have, the more you can save.
Think super skinny with Samsung's 65" UN65D8000 LCD. Also available in 46 and 55" models, the HDTV is a mere 0.2" thick, can net surf, run apps and is 3D ready. With WiFi and Bluetooth support, it has a 240Hz refresh rate and convenient backlighting. No price was released but you can pre-order now.
The price of 3D Blu-ray is already becoming affordable. Sony's BDP-S570 has built-in WiFi and quick start/load. Stream videos, tunes or photos and get instant access to apps from Netflix, Pandora and YouTube, to name a few. Download another free app to use your iPhone/touch as a remote.
Where has James Cameron been of late, you ask? He has been busily at work on "Sanctum," a new 3D movie that he is producing. The plot concerns some cave divers who find themselves trapped. The supposedly fact-based film is scheduled for a limited trailer showing this month and a debut February 4, so polish up those ugly glasses.
The International Telecommunications Union claims that 6.1 trillion SMS and text messages will be sent this year. Instead of merely allowing your carrier to make a profit off your texting habits, you could try using an app like GOGII textPlus. With both a paid and ad-supported free version, the application works for iOS and Android smartphone users. The company recently added a people search and users can now opt out of sharing.
A team of Japanese scientists from the Osaka University's Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences decided to play around with genetic engineering and produced a mouse that tweets. Not Twitter tweet, bird tweets. They expected to produce a rodent that would have short legs and tail, but ended up with a batch of singers. While they plan to use them to study the origin of human speech, perhaps in a few eons we will be networking with creatures who eventually may speak English.
In-Stat research claims that WiFi hotspot connects have reached 2 billion as of the end of 2010 and that it will widen to 11 billion by 2014. Asia/Pacific is said to gain about a quarter of the venue and by 2010 handhelds will account for about half of it. Somehow this figure doesn't surprise us as more smartphones, laptops and other electronics have WiFi built-in.
Funny how we take such things as satellites for granted and never consider them unless they misbehave. Intelstat's Galaxy 15 satellite has finally been brought under control. Running amok since April of this year, its CPU was fried by solar flares. At that time, it moved its controls to other satellites except for WAAS, a GPS landing system.
Last week, its battery was completely drained and its baseband equipment reset, taking commands from Intelsat engineers. They relocated it and placed it in safe mode and plan to test it, presumably to see if it can repaired or recovered.
If you live in New Jersey, you may soon move up in the networking department. Verizon will be testing some smart-home automation to its Fios customers. Home Monitoring and Control is an application that can be accessed by Fios TV, PC or smartphone. Users will be able to set and change to security and electronic devices, appliances, locks and thermostats. Verizon plans to test the service following its debut at the CES 2011 this month.
Sears/Kmart has launched Alphaline Entertainment to get its share of the on-demand movie pie. Supported by RoxioNow, movies can be delivered via electronic devices. Rentals go for $3.99 apiece and can be bought as well. Their VOD makes both movies and DVDs available on the same day as store release.
Audiovox has a solution that will give your car satellite radio without replacing your current one. The XM Snap! plugs into your cigarette lighter. Add an antenna, tune in and get SIRIUS XM Radio in only a few minutes. Arrow keys act as navigating categories and a rotary knob can change channels.
A Ka-Sat satellite was launched Monday, designed to bring broadband to tens of millions of European homes that do not have Internet connection. Eighty two spot beams will reach areas from No. Africa to southern Scandinavia. The 6 ton satellite was sent up on the Russian Proton rocket, which failed on its last flight because it was too heavy due to too much fuel. The Eutelsat Communications Ka-Sat should be operational by Q2 2011.