Limited device doesn't allow app loading, only for Vudu
WalMart has commenced sales on the Vudu Spark video streamer on its website, in addition to 2,500 stores US-wide. The HDMI dongle is, as expected, a one-feature device intended only to provide streaming content from the Walmart Vudu service powered by a USB port, controlled by a dedicated remote control. Connectivity is through 802.11n Wi-Fi. Resolutions supported include 1080p 60Hz, with the addition of 7.1 surround sound audio.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for January 23, 2015
Welcome to the latest edition of Friday Deals, the post where we search for great deals on hardware, software, gadgets, and other items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As per normal, the prices for offers listed are correct at the time of posting, but may change in the meantime, so check before buying. Remember to check this post in the future, as more deals will be added to the list throughout the weekend.
Drone used to transport drugs across US-Mexico border crashes
A drone used to smuggle drugs between the United States and Mexico has crashed. The drone, a six-propeller craft, was found in a supermarket parking lot near the San Ysidro crossing carrying over six pounds of methamphetamine, according to the Associated Press. While Tijuana police spokesman Jorge Morrua did not say whether they had suspects for the drug trafficking attempt, he did advise that drones have been used for transporting drugs before, along with light aircraft and catapults.
Larger-capacity drives do well, 4TB Seagates a good value; 7200rpm drives problematic
In late 2013, cloud service provider Backblaze released information about hard drive failure rates used in their facilities collected over a three-year period. The study was one of the first real-world, comprehensive examinations on server-level claims of hard drive reliability, and drew a great deal of attention. An update with new information from between the end of the last study and December 31, 2014 was posted today.
Attackers can use cell connection to rewrite device; risks range from privacy to 'loss of life and l
Last week at the S4X15 Security Conference, Corey Thuen of Digital Bond Labs presented a talk called "Remote Controlled Cars." The talk outlined security flaws Thuen found in a Snapshot OBD device provided by Progressive Insurance plugged into his Toyota Tundra. Separately, another researcher has found security issues in the Zubie Connected Car service.
Majority of fitness trackers likely to escape FDA regulation
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking an interest in wearable devices, specifically those offering fitness tracking capabilities. Draft guidance published by the FDA concerning "Low Risk General Wellness Products" suggests the administration is looking into whether or not it needs to regulate new devices that aim to improve the health of the user.
Unit can be used as a limited Windows PC, surveillance
Qnap on Monday released a new business-class "turbo vNAS" (network-attached storage) today with the TVS-x71 series. There are four-, six-, and eight-bay model towers with up to 16GB of RAM on-board, allowing direct access to stored data for monitoring live surveillance feeds or playing back digital media, among other applications.
Samsung allegedly adding wireless charging to rumored smartwatch
Samsung may be preparing to launch a round-faced smartwatch in March, according to rumors. The alleged launch at Mobile World Congress may take place alongside the expected next installment in the Galaxy S flagship smartphone line, with the Galaxy S6 reportedly using glass on the rear as well as the front and a metal construction.
Nokia Lumia 635 goes on sale through Sprint
Sprint has started to sell the Nokia-branded Lumia 635, the first on the network running Windows Phone 8.1. Equipped with a Snapdragon 1.2GHz quad-core processor accompanied by 512MB of RAM, a rear 5-megapixel camera, and a 4.5-inch 480x854 display, the Lumia 635 is being sold on Sprint for $7 per month over 24 months under Easy Pay, or a full price of $168.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for January 16, 2015
[Updated with more great deals!] The second full week of 2015 is almost over, and so it's time for the Friday Deals post, where we find great offers on hardware, gadgets, and software for you, the ever-discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, the prices are correct at the time of writing, but the offer may change at a later time, so check before purchasing. Also, remember to come back over the weekend, as we will be adding more deals for you to enjoy.
Entered into 'definitive agreements to provide additional near-term liquidity'
Venerable tech retailer RadioShack released its fiscal Q3 numbers to the US Securities and Exchange Commission this month. The report includes information about what RadioShack describes as a "prolonged downturn in our business" and predictions about its liquidity if efforts to restructure its debt don't go through by February 2, the last day of Q4 for RadioShack's current fiscal year.
Sales of Google Glass Explorer Edition to end January 19
Google is putting its Glass Explorer Program to an end, the search company has declared. The head-mounted wearable device is said to be "graduating" from the experimental Google X labs, with sales of the Glass Explorer Edition headset ending early next week, though the company claims the technology is far from ending completely; it said the Glass program will gain its own official Google team.
Xiaomi launches compact Mi Box mini media streamer in China
Xiaomi has introduced a new compact media streamer in China. The Mi Box mini is a power adapter-sized device containing a quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 processor from MediaTek, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a HDMI 1.4a output capable of showing 3D video at 1080p. While it offers DTS 2.0 and Dolby Digital Plus audio processing and has a Bluetooth remote control, it does not include any options to increase the storage or connect over Ethernet or USB. Shipping from January 27, the Mi Box mini is priced at 199 RMB ($32).
Fujifilm X-A2 has 175-degree flip-up display, 0.5-second start-up time
Fujifilm has revealed an upgraded version of its entry-level X-A1 mirrorless camera, along with a new compact snapper. The X-A2 has an improved flip-up display, with the screen able to move up 175 degrees vertically, while the XQ2 compact camera combines distinctively modern features with premium styling in a compact case.
Ultimaker Go and Extended models for desktop 3D extrusion printing
Dutch 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker is expanding their line with two new desktop models. Joining the award-winning Ultimaker 2 is a smaller entry-level model, the Ultimaker Go, along with the Ultimaker Extended, featuring a larger build volume. The models will be available for pre-order in March and are expected to ship in April. Both models come fully-assembled, and the company says original Ultimaker kits will still be available.
Coolpix S3700 offers 20MP sensor, 8x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, NFC
Nikon is expanding its Coolpix range with three more compact cameras in the United Kingdom. The Coolpix S2900 and the Coolpix S3700 pack a 20-megapixel CCD image sensor inside their small and colorful casings, while the Coolpix L31 is a cheaper model with a 16-megapixel CCD sensor, powered by easily-replaceable AA batteries.
Poster leaked online shows release date of February 13
A member of gaming site Neogaf's community has leaked what appears to be aa poster for the new Nintendo 3DS XL. The poster shows a release date of February 13. More tantalizing, however, is the inclusion of two possible launch titles -- one of which is the highly anticipated remake of Nintendo's Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. The game had previously been teased with the more vague window of "Q1 2015," but it now appears to be on track to be included with the 3DS XL.
Lets users change settings, organize homescreen
A new report claims to have exposed the contents of the official iPhone app for the Apple Watch. Said to be dubbed "Companion" within Apple, the app manages Watch apps and device settings, in addition to handling the Bluetooth pairing process. Users can, for instance, organize the layout of apps on their Watch's homescreen via a simulated version of that interface.
Ladies' wearable electronic fashion accessory light on functionality
This week, Viawear has launched pre-orders for a gold or rhodium-plated edition of the new Tyia "smart bracelet." The bracelet serves as a fitness tracker, with an RGB LED notification light embedded behind quartz and mother-of-pearl accent. As with fitness bands, the Tyia is marketing as letting users put away smartphones without missing an important call, text, or social-media notification -- and offers some basic fitness tracking compatible with Apple's HealthKit.
TalkTalk adds Netflix app to YouView set-top box
Netflix is being included on the YouView set-top box in the United Kingdom for the first time, giving viewers another way to watch shows from the streaming service. The TalkTalk-owned device will start rolling out to pre-registered customers initially, with Digital Spy reporting that the rollout is expected to continue to the end of the month, covering all 1.2 million TalkTalk TV homes.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for January 9, 2015
[Updated Saturday with more deals!] As CES winds to a close, the week of non-stop tech news may put you in the mood to acquire some more hardware. Let today's Friday Deals post help you with that. As usual, we trawl through the retailers to find great offers on hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Note that prices are correct at the time of writing but can change over time, so check it is still valid before purchasing. Remember to check back over the weekend, as more deals will be added to this post over the next few days.
ASE allegedly providing SiP modules
Samsung is set to build the processor for the S1 chips in the Apple Watch, which should ship in March, say sources for DigiTimes -- a Taiwanese trade paper with a mixed track record on predictions. The company has reportedly received orders for 3,000 to 4,000 12-inch wafers per month, manufactured using its 28nm process (how many S1 chips are included on a wafer has not been revealed). Another firm, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, is slated to provide system-in-package modules.
Outsourced accessory losing both unit sales, content sales to rivals
While Barns & Noble posted a "core comparable sales increase" of 1.7 percent for its 2014 holiday sales results yesterday, the numbers for the Nook e-reader segment dropped 55.4 percent from the prior year. The drop marks an all-time low for the device during the all-important nine weeks that make up the holiday shopping season, reflecting a drop in both unit sales and associated content buying.
Polaroid-branded tablets to have 7, 10.1-inch displays, quad-core processors
Two new tablets produced by Southern Telecom bearing Polaroid branding will be shipping to the United States in the near future, the company revealed during CES. The Polaroid L7 and L10 are budget Android devices with displays measuring 7 inches and 10.1 inches respectively, though it appears that the tablets will be fairly generic units.
HTC adds YouTube streaming to RE Camera for Android today, iOS later this quarter
HTC has added the ability to stream from its Re Camera to YouTube. An app update for the camera will enable the live streaming to the video service while it is paired to a smartphone, with users able to sign into their YouTube account from within the app to create public and private live streams. While Android users can download the update from today via Google Play, iOS users will have to wait until later this quarter to be able to stream from the action camera.
Cogito watch will connect to Android, iOS devices while using a standard watch battery
Electronista quickly stopped by the Cogito booth at this year's Consumer Electronics Show to check out a smartwatch range that promises to deliver simple Bluetooth notifications while using only a standard button watch battery. The battery should last for months, Cogito promises, and when it does run out, users can simply throw it out and replace it rather than recharge it.
Virtual Reality immersion from Samsung
When it comes to augmented reality, there is no doubt that one of the biggest players in the field is Oculus. Its Rift headset was a huge Kickstarter success, pushing the VR headset market forward. Thankfully, Oculus hasn't tried to lock down its technology, and instead has teamed up with other companies in an attempt to push their vision forward. One of these partnerships led to the creation of the Samsung Gear VR, an augmented reality headset powered by the Galaxy Note 4. While the Gear VR has been available since early December, it has remained nearly impossible to actually find one for sale. Electronista navigated our way through Samsung's crowded booth at CES, and got a chance to sit down with the Gear VR.
Drivers can now use their watch for remote start
Hyundai is among the first automakers to bring its connected-car features to wearable devices, introducing a Blue Link app for Android Wear. Electronista checked out the new service at CES, where Hyundai brought a connected Sonata and a few Android-powered watches to demonstrate the capabilities. Owners of select vehicles can already access the full range of Blue Link features via their smartphone, and the Android Wear implementation simply serves as the watch-based extension of the service.
Ford revamps its oft-derided interface
Ford recently introduced Sync 3, an entirely new infotainment system that serves as a successor to the oft-derided MyFord Touch platform. Electronista stopped by the company's CES booth to try out the revamped interface in person, ahead of its official launch on new models later this year.
Henge Docks looks to clean up your desk
While it can be very easy to get lost among the vast CES booths of big players like Sony, Samsung, and Intel, some of the most interesting products are usually found in much more humble settings. Henge Docks is a company based out of San Francisco that impressed us earlier this year with its Vertical Docking Station for the Retina Macbook Pro, and now is using CES as a chance to demo its upcoming Horizontal Dock. We had a chance to meet up with CEO Matthew Vroom on the show floor, and chat about his vision and desires for this new product.
May suggest work underway for second-gen Apple Watches
Apple has hired three more executives, apparently with the aim of aiding Apple Watch development. One of these is Jacob Jordan, formerly the director of Louis Vuitton's ready-to-wear collection for men. Jordan quietly joined Apple in October, and is now said to be the company's director of Product Merchandising for the Special Projects team, which has been working on the Watch for years. Apple has picked up a number of people from the fashion industry in the run-up to the Watch's launch -- most notably, former Burberry CEO Dame Angela Ahrendts, who has taken over as Apple's latest retail head.
LG-produced Ultra HD touchscreens used by Fuhu for gaming, apps
Fuhu is preparing to sell larger tablets in its kid-friendly range, with television-sized touch-enabled devices. The new Big Tabs dwarf the 20-inch and 24-inch Nabi versions it launched last year, with the displays ranging from 32 inches to a 65-inch Ultra HD-resolution model, screens the company hopes to ship in the second half of this year.
Smartwatch from Alcatel OneTouch includes heart rate monitor, USB charger in strap
The Alcatel OneTouch Watch will be shipping in March for $150, it has been revealed. The recently-launched round-faced smartwatch also uses its own software rather than Android Wear, allowing the device to work with iPhones and iPads running iOS 7 or later, as well as Android devices running version 4.3 or later of the mobile operating system.
Sony targets audiophiles with four-figure price tag
Sony has introduced a new flagship Walkman, the NW-ZX2, that serves as the successor to the ZX1 model that was introduced less than six months ago. The revised edition marks Sony's latest attempt to engage the audiophile market, with its core feature being capable of playing Hi-Res Audio formats, traditional lower-bitrate audio files, streaming content and other media. Electronista stopped by Sony's CES booth to try out the new gadget, and ponder its four-figure price tag.
Android smartphone will sport limited production numbers, $6,000 price tag
Las Vegas is often associated with excess, usually when it comes to money. It's most fitting, then, that Tonino Lamborghini Mobile brought their latest offering, the 88 Tauri smartphone, to CES in Sin City in order to promote it. The headline-grabbing stat about the hand-made device is its starting price tag -- $6,000.
Sakar, Kodak preview new photo accessories at CES
Sakar International and Eastman Kodak today announced a variety of new mobile and DSLR photography accessories at CES in Las Vegas. The partnership has produced a new Smartphone Cradle, all-in-one HDMI Smartphone Cable, and Selfie Tripod with Remote Shutter Release, aimed at those who use their smartphone for the majority of their photo taking.
'Extensive' retail training lined up for February
The Apple Watch will miss a previously-rumored launch date and instead ship by the end of March, sources say. Although Apple has only ever officially stated an "early 2015" window, some rumors had suggested Apple was aiming for a February date, possibly by Valentine's Day. Even then, it was often believed that Apple was likely to overshoot its goal.
Low energy iBeacons for enterprise customers utilize TI chipsets
At CES on Monday, the iBeek beacon by Bluvision was deployed today at the Texas Instruments (TI) booth. When a device with Bluvision's CMS platform, BluZone, comes into proximity, the beacons will provide information and an interactive experience for visitors. The system was designed to provide accurate tracking using minimal energy with large-scale deployments, such as equipment tracking in a warehouse, in mind. However, the beacons can be customized for home automation, wearables, and other applications, the company says.
Sengled launches Snap, Boost, and Pulse LED "smart" lightbulbs
Intelligent lighting products producer Sengled has announced three new smart home lightbulbs at this year's CES in Las Vegas. Named Snap, Boost, and Pulse, the lightbulbs integrate additional technical functionalities. Snap offers an integrated IP camera, speaker and microphone, whereas the Boost includes a built-in Wi-Fi signal repeater, and can be controlled by its accompanying app. Lastly, Sengled's Pulse LED lightbulb integrates a JBL speaker, enabling wireless delivery of sound throughout one's home.
New edition compatible with iOS and Android with simultaneous analog connection
Unlike its predecessor -- which only recently added support for Android devices (and then just the Galaxy Note 4) -- the iRig 2 guitar-to-phone interface, announced today, will support both iOS and Android right out of the gate, developer IK Multimedia says. Outputs on the device have been improved and added -- not only provide studio-quality sound from a smartphone, but to allow musicians to additionally plug into a traditional amplifier without an adapter.
Wall-plugged controller allows non-smart devices to be controlled through apps
Internet of Things (IoT) developer iDevices has debuted Switch, the company's first Apple HomeKit-enabled device at CES in Las Vegas. The device is a hubless home automation solution which plugs into a power outlet and gives the user control of anything plugged into it using an iOS app -- extending "smart home" capabilities to non-smart devices.
Nexturn and NextOne expand company's range beyond gadgets and generic tablets
Tablet and accessory maker E Fun will be showing off several new products at CES this year. Among these will be Nexturn, a range of home automation products in kits or a-la-carte, and NextOne, a wrist-worn fitness tracker. The Nexturn line represents the company's entry into the home automation line with a variety of app-controlled products and systems. The Nextone is also meant to be the first of a new range of fitness trackers for the company.
Company shows new 4k televisions, sound base, display
Display manufacturer Sceptre will be celebrating its 30th anniversary at the Bellagio in Las Vegas this week, during CES. New and highlighted this year are an 84-inch 4K UHD television, a 49-inch 4K UHD touchscreen computer monitor, and a wireless soundbase for use to bolster sound from the flat panel televisions.
Three GPS watches with fitness tracking functions launched by Garmin
Garmin has unveiled three new smartwatches and wrist-based fitness devices at CES, devices meant for use with exercise and outdoor activities. The Fenix 3 is an upgrade to last year's GPS watch, while the Vivoactive is a more conventional fitness tracker, and the Epix is claimed to be the first rugged GPS watch of its kind with hands-free navigation.
Joined by Pixma printer and Connect Station CS100
Digital imaging giant Canon has announced several new cameras at CES, spread across its PowerShot, Elph, and Vixia lines. The leading model is the $430 PowerShot SX530 HS, which has a 50x optical zoom lens -- equivalent to 24-1200mm on a full-sized camera. The unit also has optical image stabilization, and a 16-megapixel sensor. The unit is capable of 1080p video, plus a pop-up flash and high-speed autofocus. It also includes Wi-Fi and NFC support, which can be used to connect to a smartphone and various other devices.
Art Slim OLED panels measure 55, 65, 77 inches, use webOS for smart TV
LG is continuing to commit to OLED-based televisions, by launching a number of sets alongside LCD versions it teased late last month. A total of seven 4K-resolution OLED TVs will be revealed at CES, with the collection including the company's webOS 2.0-based smart TV system, as well as a few new content partnership announcements.
New camera has more connectivity options, space, resolution
So far, the focus at this year's Consumer Electronics Show appears to be wearables. Upgraded for this year's show, the Narrative life camera (which we generally liked, with some caveats) will soon be coupled with the sequel, aptly named Narrative 2. The new version of the diminutive clip-on camera sports a number of key improvements, chief among them Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless connectivity, and a higher-resolution sensor.
Connected bindings shows 'boarders lean angles, more
Just in time for the snow season, Japanese company Cerevo has introduced the XON Snow-1, a set of connected snowboard bindings that records data and lets users analyze their run, much like a data analyzer for race car drivers. Each binding has a pair of load sensors to measure lean angle, and a flex sensor to gauge weight distribution, along with LED lights that appear to serve no other function apart from just looking cool.
Griffin adds Bluetooth connectivity to Twenty digital audio amplifier
Griffin is using CES to launch a large number of accessories for mobile devices, as well as something for audiophiles. The collection includes four items in its charging-related accessory range and two iTrip devices, along with an upgraded version of its Twenty digital audio amplifier, adding Bluetooth connectivity and a refined physical design.
China-manufactured device echoes Apple design clues, brings Bay Trail
Knockoffs of popular products aren't uncommon in overseas markets, but its not often that a knockoff has altered functionality in a way that looks good, at least on paper. Chinese company Onda has released the V919 3G Air -- a clear iPad Air design clone, but one that runs both Android and full Windows 8.1 on a single device rather than iOS -- an ability that was promised at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show by many Android or Windows tablet manufacturers, but which never materialized.