Soon after releasing their new N9 smartphone, Nokia has a new line of wireless products that can leave you cord-free. Their Nokia Play 360 is portable, the MD-310 is a music receiver for your home stereo, attachment is USB on the Fast Charger AC-16 and the NFC+ Bluetooth headset is compatible and comfortable. The niftiest aspect of said accessories is that the user only needs to tap it to the phone to establish a connection, and in the case of the speakers, they know to switch to stereo when two of them are detected. Look for a Q3 release.
The ultimate form of networking needs your assistance. Who hasn't shared their computer with SETI at one time or another, hoping that you will glimpse the arrival of ET? Now they are asking for donations to help keep their 42 Allen Telescope Array going. While $200,000 seems like a large amount, they are well on the way with about $32,000 given so far. So help bring the ATAs back on line with funding, blogging and just plain spreading the word.
Karaoke anyone? Subscribers with Shazam Encore or Red can now indulge in LyricPlay. The $5.99 app gives budding divas animated lyrics for over 25,000 tracks. Available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other smartphones, users can play tunes, tag, share, recommend and make fools of themselves in their own homes or on the fly.
Lytro has quietly been working on light field technology that allows for adjustment after shooting a picture. Their soon to be released cameras capture images with highly sensitive sensors and algorithms that can adjust color, intensity and focus. CEO Ren Ng compares it to studios that can adjust volume and separate tracks after recording. Sign up to be notified when their cams hit the street.
With more viewing going on in the family vehicle that is already built-in, there is less demand for battery run portable viewers, but Toshiba would like to recapture the market with the 19" Regza 19P2. The 1366×768 res LCD TV has a backlit panel with a 1000:1 contrast ratio, a HDMI port and D4 input. Its lithium ion battery is good for about 5 hours, 3 if you want to use the integrated 1Seg tuner. The device is low energy rated, can be programmed to charge only during peak hours, includes a remote to switch to AC and comes out first in Japan next month with a price rumored to be $499.99.
Skype and Comcast have teamed for VoIP service on HDTVs. Skypers can make and receive messages, and video and audio calls via a Comcast adapter Box by utilizing the Skype desktop app. The same service is available to smartphone and tablet owners. Friends from Facebook, Gmail, Outlook and smartphones can be imported from contact lists. Even better (albeit noisier,) Skyping and viewing can be performed at the same time. Look for the service to roll out later this year.
Almost everything these days is voice activated, and soon you will be able to search with yours on your Xbox 360. You can look for games, movies, music and TV shows on Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, LIVE Marketplace and Bing. You simply tell your TV what you want to see/hear and you can select what option you prefer from all available sources. Even more online content will be there down the line, like YouTube videos, international live TV and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) content.
Vudu owners can now get digital downloads from parent company Walmart. After a purchase is made, the customer plugs the scratch-off code into that device or PC, PS3, TVs and DVD players to watch. The movie is the user's forever and most of them at this point will be standard definition. The first movie available is "Battle: Los Angeles" at a price of $14.96, with the actual DVD being sold for $2.00 more.
Considering the fact that you can purchase a copy for the same amount or less than that or stream from Amazon VOD, it seems like a lot of trouble to traipse to the store, then go online to receive the code after returning home. Again, we are reminded why we dote on Netflix.
Motorola's Televation takes cable TV and allows IPTV streaming. Using a Slingbox as the base, MPEG-2 TV broadcasts become MPEG-4 IP streams for viewing on PCS, tablets, HDTVs and other devices at whatever resolution or bitrate they come in. The company collaborated with Comcast so this is probably just the first step to more extensive applications.
Toshiba unveiled its 14" LCD Mobile Monitor that attaches via USB and is compatible with any PC that runs Windows XP, Vista or 7. The 14" diagonal display has a resolution of up to 1366 x 768, power save and can fold up into a built-in carrying case that doubles as a stand. Weighing only 2.8 lbs., it's a mere ½" thin. Not a bad deal for a $199.99.
Tritton has a trio of MadCatz headphone/headset combinations meant for Xboxes. The Warhead, Devastator and Detonator feature sound for up to four gamers that can chat away during play. The Warhead has 7.1 surround sound Dolby audio with 50mm neodymium drivers and rechargeable batteries with selective voice monitoring. The Devastator runs on regular batteries and produces stereo while the Detonator is also stereo, wired and has a 3.5 audio jack. Look for all three this holiday season.
Steve Jobs always manages to stay a couple of steps ahead of everyone else but we found it really interesting that there is already a pre-order page for iSteve: The Book of Jobs, his authorized biography that won't come out before March 6, 2012. Maybe his recurring illness prompted the move, but there is a $20.00 price tag that comes with the book, about a third of the cost of the tome before its release.
The Kingston Wi-Drive is a viable alternative for smartphone and tablet storage. With up to 4 hours of battery life, it can stream to iOS in up to 3 devices simultaneously. The SSD works via a downloadable app and comes in 16GB for $130.00 and 32GB for $175.00. Plans are in the works for an Android Wi-Drive as well.
At the recent E3, Nintendo unveiled its next best thing, the Wii U with high-def graphics, a tablet touchscreen and motion-sensing controller. Available next year, Nintendo claims that the combination of tablet/game machine was conceived before the iPad was a mere twinkle in Apple's eye. Whether it is grasped by the public with open arms, er gaming hands, remains to be seen. You can even sign up now to be notified when it is released.
Eye-Fi's latest Mobile X2 Wireless Memory holds 8GB of data and allows you to connect your digital camera to smartphone or tablet while automatically storing during upload. The Direct Mode and app sends videos and photos and gives users the ability to edit. Users get an Eye-Fi account to store the information.
Recently interviewed at the BOA Merrill Lynch 2011 Technology Conference in NY, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings commented that the recent deal his company made with Starz and Miramax is only the beginning. This is good news for those of us who do our watching online, as opposed to cable or satellite. He is looking for other movie studios and TV content, like HBO and Showtime, to join up when their pay-TV agreements expire, some as early as 2013. What the company will not do is invest in "adjacent markets" such as those with advertising, transactional VOD and video gaming.
With NVIDIA getting heavily into the 3D realm, they have launched a more cost effective version of their IR Shutter Glasses. These Wired glasses include a 10 ft. long USB cable, are compatible with most desktops and 3D HDTVs and come with a $99.00 price.
The iPad finds its way into the cleverest of niches, including the tables of Stacked, a recently opened restaurant in Torrance. Formerly BJ's, one device is placed for every four customers who can order pizza, burgers and various other high carb foods and specify toppings, buns and sides. Beer, wine and milkshakes can also be selected, with images of each showing up as the user programs them in. Eaters can swipe a credit card to pay and actual humans deliver the meals.
Roku is doing what other Internet gaming consoles would like to do, making Angry Birds accessible to its users. Already available on Google Chrome and soon to be on Windows Phone 7, they are hoping that being able to play it on big screens will make the neighbors scream squeal with excitement. Watch for versions Seasons and Rio, a dedicated video station with shorts and merchandise to also become available from the Roku Channel Store.
Tivoli has been making audio systems for a decade. The team of Henry Kloss and Tom DeVesto have built many of wood with their unique big knobs, analog faces and retro style. In honor of their 10th anniversary, the company has created the
Model 10, a tabletop system with a mono base (that can be turned to stereo with an extension box,) a 3" shielded speaker and rear bass port. Choose between finishes for your audio box that has an LCD display and rubber wheel for on/off control, volume control, AM/FM select and aux inputs. A remote comes with the classy looking 7.95" x 4.61" x 4.61" radio.
Slacker now has an additional service to add to their regular and Plus deals. With Premium, you still get full on-demand access to their music library including single artist channels, but now you can create custom play lists in the order you prefer that can be stored on a memory card. You also get removal of nasty banner ads and commercial free tunes on your PC or smartphone. The cost of Slacker Premium is $9.99 monthly.
Grab your 3D glasses and get ready for YouTube's latest idea. NVIDIA is assisting them in bringing 3D online to the masses. Of course you will need a NVIDIA GeForce PC that runs Firefox 4 and a 3D enabled monitor or HDTV but hey, if this one catches on, everyone can get equally dizzy watching movies, sporting events and games pop out on the screen.
Another month has come and gone, so here is your chance to catch up with NAV's May postings. Our thanks to our new Twitter fans, including Avocation Systems, Ultra Fan, Don Victor, in requiro, Anthony Lumas, Mike Clark, Phil Marston, The Blueprint, Norbert Nissel, Perlan Project and Med USA.