Calls, texts, appointments will appear on Basis Peak display
The Basis Peak, a fitness tracker launched in September, will soon gain some extra smartwatch-style functionality. The tracker from the Intel-owned company will be able to show notifications from a connected smartphone on its monochrome display, while another change will let the wearable device pass heart rate data to other fitness-related mobile apps.
Starbucks adds Powermat wireless charging to 200 San Francisco stores
Starbucks is expanding its wireless charging efforts, by adding more Duracell Powermat charges to 200 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, ahead of plans to offer it across the United States and possibly in Europe and Asia by next year. For customers without a compatible wireless charging device, Duracell Powermat "Rings" will be available to borrow and return for each visit, or can be bought for $10 each.
Improved image stabilization, autofocus speed touted in Sony A7 II
An updated version of the Sony Alpha 7 has been launched in Japan. The A7 II is a 24.3-megapixel full-frame mirrorless camera and the first of its kind to have a five-axis sensor-shift image stabilization system, one which is said to reduce shake by up to 4.5 CIPA-standard stops, and is capable of automatically combining it with the in-lens stabilization of an E-mount lens with OSS.
Fire TV Stick described as most successful Amazon device launch ever
The Fire TV Stick, Amazon's second media streamer after the Fire TV, has started shipping. Pre-orders of the competitor to the Google Chromecast are the first to go, dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis, though new customers will have a considerable wait for their order, as new stock will not be available until January 15th, 2015.
New projector easy to install, features 2200 lumens of color brightness
Epson today announced the PowerLite Home Cinema 5025UB, the newest addition to its high-performance line of 3LCD 2D/3D Full HD 1080p home theater projectors. The new projector delivers to home entertainment enthusiasts 2,200 lumens of color brightness and 2,200 lumens of white brightness, up to a 600,000:1 contrast ratio, and advanced image processing technology for a big screen experience.
Which fashion-forward recipient will you gift with a smart watch?
Wearable devices have become an important part of the technology industry this year, with almost every manufacturer producing a smartwatch, fitness tracker, or some other form of technology designed to be worn, not carried. If you feel the need to buy a present for someone you know who wants a wearable item, here is Electronista and MacNN's first gift guide of the season, covering the newest expansion of mobile technology.
Multitasking Jolla Tablet achieves funding goal within hours
Jolla, a Finnish startup formed by ex-Nokia employees, has moved from creating a smartphone into tablets. The company is aiming to produce the Jolla Tablet, a device running its Sailfish OS, though in a process similar to the ill-fated Ubuntu Edge smartphone, Jolla is trying to cover the cost of production via crowdfunding efforts, with seemingly more success.
Smartwatch app offers retailers code to accept PayPal payment
PayPal is filling out its roster of apps for mobile payments by smartwatch, with the launch of its first Pebble app. Available to download from the Pebble App Store, the PayPal app allows the wearer to make payments in stores directly from the watch, without needing to bring out their payment card or having to interact with the smartphone PayPal app.
Bluetooth 4.0, NFC-enabled speakers offer 360-degree sound coverage, compact size
Accessory maker Rapoo announced the US release of two of its wireless speakers today, bringing the revamped style of the A500 and A300 models to a new audience. Both of the Bluetooth 4.0 speakers feature NFC pairing, a dual-mode that enables an auxiliary connection, and 360-degree sound coverage. Each speaker has its own construction features, as the A500 contains speakers made from bio-fiber materials, while the A300 has an aluminum alloy exterior.
8.2 release enables testing of Apple Watch apps
Apple is now seeding two important releases to developers, beginning with the first iOS 8.2 beta. The only mentioned addition is support for the Apple Watch, granting Watch apps the ability to access data from a paired iPhone. "You can also enhance your Watch app by providing two optional Apple Watch interfaces that give users timely, high-value information: A Glance provides a screenful of meaningful information related to a Watch app," Apple's release notes read. "As its name implies, a Glance displays information that users can absorb instantly, without interaction; in fact, tapping a Glance on Apple Watch launches your Watch app.
Google Nexus 6 pre-orders begin in United Kingdom
The Google Nexus 6 will be going on sale soon in the United Kingdom, with a number of retailers offering pre-orders for the device. Carphone Warehouse is selling the smartphone SIM-free for £499 and £549 ($780 and $860) for the 32GB and 64GB models respectively with delivery expected on December 1st. Amazon UK is stocking the 32GB model at the same price, but with a later release date of December 15th. Google Play does list the Nexus 6 for the UK, with identical pricing for both versions, but it is not allowing for pre-orders, nor states when it will be available.
Android-based Nokia N1 tablet has 7.9-inch display, Z Launcher
Nokia's first hardware release since its break-up with Microsoft is an Android tablet, though rather than producing the device itself, Nokia is applying its branding and design skills with a third-party manufacturer. The N1 possesses a 7.9-inch 4:3 aspect ratio IPS display with a high 2048x1536 resolution, protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and using the same fully-laminated zero air-gap process as its smartphones, packed into a 6.9mm-thick aluminum unibody casing highly reminiscent of the iPad mini.
LG G Watch R delivers breakthrough high-quality circular P-OLED display
We have previously taken a look at the LG G Watch, LG's launch device that helped to usher in Google's wearable platform, Android Wear. LG has introduced the next model in its Android Wear range, the LG G Watch R, which is a much more interesting and thoughtfully-designed smartwatch. Where the rectangular G Watch is quite nondescript in appearance, the G Watch R incorporates much more design flair and much more interesting technology.
Ecobee3 gains shelf space alongside Honeywell smart thermostat
Starting on Monday, Apple Stores are now carrying at least one rival to Google-owned Nest's self-titled smart Learning Thermostat. The Ecobee3 offers an advantage over the Nest in terms of multi-room support, utilizing sensors that can be bought separately to bring more intelligent energy management to the full home rather than relying on a single point of reference. Like Nest and Honeywell's rival entry, the smart device can be managed through a smartphone app from anywhere with a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. The Ecobee3 sells for the same price as the Nest, $250.
Analyst firm believes Apple will sell 20 million units in first full year
The Apple Watch is not yet out, and is expected to entirely miss the holiday buying season this year -- and may not even hit the alleged internal goal of coming out before Valentine's Day -- but is still expected to sell some 20 million units in its first year, according to analyst Amit Darayanani of RBC Capital Markets. The firm raised its target price on AAPL from its current $115 a share -- a goal likely to be accomplished before the year's end -- to $120. Darayanani predicts the average selling price of the Apple Watch range will be about $520.
Shenzhen conference gathered HomeKit, iOS accessory manufacturers
On the heels of reports that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips that feature Apple's HomeKit API already embedded in them are now arriving to accessory makers, Apple announced during its "Made For i" (MFi) developer conference in China that manufacturers can now submit product plans for HomeKit-based products to the iPhone maker for approval, making it possible that the first group of such devices could arrive before the end of the holiday buying season. Apple's MFi certification would be the last step for devices before hitting the market.
Origin PC sells Millennium, Genesis cases to celebrate its five-year anniversary
Custom computer builder Origin PC is celebrating its five-year anniversary, kicking it off with a special sale to commemorate the occasion. Origin PC announced that it's giving consumers the chance to buy the custom computer cases used for its Millennium and Genesis desktops for a limited time. Both cases feature Origin PC's industrial design and variable mounting, which allows the system parts to be configured in four different ways that include standard, 90-degree and inverted mounting options.
MacNN and Electronista deals for November 14, 2014
Slowly, like a creeping predator intent on a meal, Black Friday approaches -- but it is not this day! This Friday, like every Friday, we search the Internet for deals on gadgets, peripherals, accessories, apps, and games for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, all prices are verified at the time of publication, and may or may not be valid if you're reading this at a later date, so check before you buy. Be sure to check over the weekend, as it is likely more deals will be added to the list.
Depth-sensing Project Tango listed as unavailable to purchase
Google's Project Tango has appeared on the Google Play Store, strongly suggesting the search company is making it available to purchase shortly. The development kit is shown with a complete specifications list and a collection of promotional images, including one which displays the multi-sensor back cover for depth sensing and motion tracking.
Cellular equipment on small planes allegedly used to track criminal locations via smartphone broadc
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has allegedly created fake cell towers to monitor the position of cellphones for surveillance purposes. A report claims the bogus towers, called "dirtboxes," were placed by the US Marshals Service (USMS) on planes, in order to trick smartphones owned by criminals into broadcasting their location, allowing authorities to track their movements.
Move makes DirecTV the first video provider with 4k
This weekend, satellite television provider DirecTV will become the first multi-channel video provider to offer 4K Ultra HD programming direct to customers. At launch, the company will begin offering 19 movies and documentaries from both Paramount Pictures and Havoc, with more titles to be announced soon. Customers will need an Internet-connected Genie HD DVR model HR34 and above, and a Samsung UHD TV that is DirecTV 4K ready. Pricing for 4K movies will range from $4 to $16, and will be on a per-movie basis.
Walmart attempts to retain holiday sales by price matching Amazon
Walmart stores will soon offer price matching against Amazon product listings, in time for the holiday shopping period. Managers at the retailers stores have been informed of the policy change, formalizing a practice already being conducted at half the stores according to Reuters, with the ultimate aim of encouraging customers to continue visiting its stores rather than shopping online.
Calls on Congress to make general 'data brokering' more transparent
Android Lollipop update dated for Nvidia Shield Tablet among other updates
Nvidia is finally going to offer its Grid cloud-based gaming service to customers later this month. Nvidia Grid will allow gamers to stream a selection of PC games from its servers over the Internet, similar to PlayStation Now and OnLive, though the GPU producer will only allow owners of the Shield Tablet access initially, before a wider launch of the service to other devices.
Assembly work likely remains distant
Apple chip suppliers are almost ready to begin production of components for the Apple Watch, industry sources claim. The sources add that based on the first batch of orders, Apple could be planning to churn out 30 to 40 million watches. Even if parts production begins shortly however, it may still be a few months before final assembly begins; Apple is only due to ship the product early next year, possibly by Valentine's Day.
Samsung Professional Audio required for Android version of iRig
IK Multimedia has made a version of its iOS-based iRig HD for Android Devices, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 being the first compatible device. The iRig HD-A digital guitar interface is also accompanied by an Android version of the AmpliTube app, the guitar processing app, which will also only work with Samsung mobile devices.
LG bringing Android Lollipop to G3 smartphone in Poland this week
LG is claiming it will be the first major manufacturer to roll out Android Lollipop to its flagship device. The company is aiming to ship the Android 5.0 upgrade for the LG G3 in Poland this week, with "other key markets" to follow in the "near future." A rollout schedule for other LG smartphones and tablets will be announced by the device producer at a later date.
Home mechanics and pros alike may benefit from this app-driven code scanner
There's no doubt about it, having the check engine light pop on just might top the list of "most dreaded events" that car owners face. The warning doesn't have to herald disaster to home mechanics with the help of OBD 2 scanner tools. One such device, the Lemur BlueDriver, is designed to provide peace of mind and guidance to anyone who might have come down with a case of the check-engine-light-blues. We've had some check engine lights ourselves -- check our review to see how the Lemur BlueDriver did.
MacNN and Electronista deals for November 7, 2014
Once more unto the breach! Every Friday, we search the Internet for deals on gadgets, peripherals, accessories, apps, and games for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, all prices are verified at the time of publication, and may or may not be valid if you're reading this at a later date, so check before you buy. Be sure to check over the weekend, as it is likely more deals will be added to the list.
Android Wear smartwatch from Asus uses rectangular display, offers fitness functions
Asus is bringing its attempt at an Android Wear smartwatch to the United States this weekend, a report claims. Initially revealed at a pre-IFA event in September, the Asus ZenWatch will ship in the US on November 9th, with Best Buy being the first to sell the smartwatch before a wider general release via Google Play at some point afterward.
Chromecast-style HDMI streamer from Walmart may ship soon
Walmart is preparing to launch a streaming HDMI dongle, similar to the Google Chromecast, Amazon's Fire TV Stick, and the Roku Streaming Stick, according to an FCC filing. The Vudu Spark is similar in shape and size to its competition, connecting directly to the HDMI port on a television, though it is unclear if it will have the same level of utility as other devices.
Likely connected to lack of HealthKit support and/or Apple Watch
Apple has pulled all Fitbit products from its online store, shoppers note. The change was made without explanation, although last month sources indicated it might happen. Inventory of Fitbit devices at the store began to run low during the past week.
LG G Watch R available to purchase on Google Play for $299
LG's G Watch R is now available to purchase from Google Play, just as the smartwatch is about to appear in stores in the United States. The Android Wear smartwatch, complete with a 1.3-inch round P-OLED display and a heart rate monitor, finally joins the original G Watch on the Google online store, though it is priced at a rather expensive $299.
Nexus 6 goes on sale via Motorola, sells out within hours
Motorola is now selling the Nexus 6 directly in the United States, via its own online store, giving potential customers an alternative route to Google Play to acquire the smartphone. At the same time, the company is introducing its recently-leaked metal strap options for the Moto 360 through the store, as well as a champagne gold colored version of the Android Wear smartwatch.
Echo speaker answers questions, plays music on command via voice recognition
Amazon has quietly launched a network-connected speaker with voice recognition. The Echo is a tall cylindrical speaker unit which can be used for music playback, but it also includes a seven-microphone array at the top for listening to voice commands, allowing users to give the device instructions to play music, ask questions, and set appointments.
NASA, Department of Defense among first to access Lytro developer kit
Lytro, the producers of the light-field cameras of the same name and the Illum, is giving interested parties access to its technology. The company is releasing the Lytro Platform and its first Lytro Development Kit for enterprise users to try using the technology in other ways, with the first customers including NASA and the US Department of Defense.
Arlo Smart Home Security Kit records video clips to cloud servers
Netgear has unveiled a wireless security camera, one which dispenses with both network and power cables. Arlo is a battery-powered Wi-Fi-enabled camera system capable of transmitting video from the weatherproof camera at a distance of up to 150 feet away from the base station, with the camera also providing VueZone-style night vision capabilities.
Bluetooth earphones, standalone Samsung Gear S smartwatch head to market this week
Samsung has confirmed it is bringing its Gear Circle wireless earphones to the United States this month, ready for the holiday shopping period. At the same time, it has been revealed the manufacturer's standalone Gear S smartwatch will be making its way to the United Kingdom, with the first units set to go on sale later this week.
Excalibur RGB gaming keyboard features backlighting in a 16.8 million color palette
Tesoro Technology has announced the introduction of its Excalibur RGB LED backlit mechanical keyboard, featuring a 16.8 million-color palette. Gamers can choose virtually any hue for backlighting their keyboard, and illumination can be set to breathing mode, color loop mode and two gaming modes, where only the gaming keys are illuminated. Its Full N-Key Rollover offers gamers full anti-ghosting functionality or USB 6 N-Key Rollover, and its 512KB of onboard memory allows for recording sophisticated macros without the need for external software. The keyboard's mechanical switches are engineered for 60 million key strokes, and an anti-slip rubberized foot design keeps the keyboard in place. Priced at $120, the Tesoro Excalibur RGB mechanical keyboard will be available in December.
New Jawbone fitness trackers include entry-level, high-specification models
Jawbone has unveiled two fitness trackers, in time for the holiday shopping period. The Up Move is billed as a low-cost and simple-to-use fitness tracker, while the Up3 extends from the earlier Up bands, with the tracker able to monitor the body more closely than in previous versions thanks to the inclusion of multiple new sensors.
Company allegedly hoping to launch product by Valentine's Day
Stainless steel Apple Watches will start at $500, while gold models could start at $4,000 to $5,000, unnamed sources claim to French site iGen. Apple has been largely quiet about the Apple Watch since it was revealed September 9, particularly in regards to pricing. It has stated only that the Watch will start at $349, presumably referring to the aluminum model. If accurate, the newly-suggested prices would be well beyond the range of most smartwatches, which often cost $250 or less -- but come in much lower than fashion watches, which can start with price tags in the thousands.
Globe Theater opens video on-demand store for Shakespeare plays
The Globe Theater has launched a streaming service specializing in Shakespeare plays. Available globally, the Globe Player store offers a selection of performances filmed at the London theater, with a seven-day rental priced at approximately £4 ($6.50) and sales including offline viewing priced at £8 ($13) for each of the famous plays, though it also hosts a number of interviews with notable performers which can be viewed at no charge. Currently, the service only works through a web browser, but the service is considering creating mobile apps if the demand warrants it.
Broadcom, TI and Marvell shipping chips needed for 'smart home' accessories
A new report says that at least two of the three Apple-approved vendors for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips that feature Apple's HomeKit embedded in the processors are now shipping the components to home appliance manufacturers. The news, confirmed by Forbes, suggests that products taking advantage of HomeKit technology should be appearing more commonly in the market over the course of the next few months. Though several HomeKit-centric products are already out, a forthcoming conference should vastly increase that number.
MB Chronowing uses split monochrome display for separate watch face
HP has revealed its attempt to take on the smartphone market, with a device it collaborated on with designer Michael Bastian. The MB Chronowing attempts to bridge the style of luxury watches with the basic functionality of a smartwatch, with the main monochrome display split into a small round clock face area with digital hands, while the rest is used to provide extra information.
MacNN and Electronista deals for October 31, 2014
It is time for the last Friday Deals of October! Every Friday, we search the Internet for deals on gadgets, peripherals, accessories, apps, and games for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As today is Halloween, don't be too surprised to see sales and deals with a spooky theme. As usual, all prices are verified at the time of publication, and may or may not be valid if you're reading this at a later date, so check before you buy. Be sure to check over the weekend, as it is likely more deals will be added to the list.
Wearables create 'expectations of choice'
The Apple Watch has been a tougher product to design than the iPhone, according to Apple's lead designer, Sir Jonathan Ive. "Even though Apple Watch does so many things, there are cultural, historical implications and expectations," he said last night while accepting the 2014 Bay Area Treasure Award from San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art. "That's why it's been such a difficult and humbling program ... As soon as something is worn, we have expectations of choice." Ive joked that only "in prison" do people wear the same exact thing.
Over-the-air DVR is a user-friendly solution, but can be limited without subscription
With over-the-top content options growing past Hulu and Netflix, consumers may be finding it harder to justify paying a monthly fee for cable. An unfortunate casualty of severing these ties is the loss of convenient technology and local channels, keeping some television viewers from making the final leap. Thankfully, new options have hit the market for those that have access to an antenna and a USB storage device. The Tablo is one such digital video recorder (DVR) that captures free, over-the-air broadcasts, allowing people to watch their favorite time-shifted shows through a tablet or browser. But is Nuvyyo's Tablo a device that does the job with minimal hassle, or are consumers better off with the attachment to cable? Find out in our review.
Domed lens on Kodak action camera allows for panoramic video capture
Kodak has introduced an action camera that can take 360-degree photographs and video. The PixPro SP360 has a domed lens located on the top, allowing its imaging sensor to take pictures or capture video from all angles surrounding the camera, allowing for 1080p video to be recorded showing the front, rear, and side views from wherever it is mounted.
Curved face Android Wear smartwatch gets $5 price plan on T-Mobile
Samsung's Gear S will be going on sale in the United States at the start of next month, with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon all carrying the Android Wear smartwatch. The carriers are also varying the way they host the standalone smartwatch on their network, with T-Mobile introducing a new plan specifically for wearable devices.
Cross-platform Microsoft fitness tracker has claimed 48-hour battery
Microsoft has officially announced its fitness tracker, the day after images leaked via companion apps. The Microsoft Band is able to track the wearer's vital signs and physical activities, with some included sensors not typically included in such devices, with it also providing a number of smartwatch-style interactions using its customizable display.