Archive for Technology
Here is another take on the concept of a smartphone offering an e-ink display. The Midia InkPhone made its debut at the CeBIT show with rumors of it being finally ready to hit the streets soon enough. We have been seeing the unique phone design from Chinese manufacturer Onyx for over a year now and it’s really good to see it emerge in its production ready avatar at last. Engadget has mentioned that the e-ink phone will be hitting streets in Germany and Poland where it will be cost 140 Euros, which comes to about $195.
As for the salient features of the device, the biggest of them all is the 4.3 inch e-ink display that it comes with. Also with a resolution is 800 x 480, images and texts are pretty sharp too. Then of course there is the energy saving attribute that e-ink display have come to be known for, which in case of the InkPhone stands at 2 weeks of usage on a single charge. This no doubt will be a boon for business users or for those who’d prefer to give up on some fancy features just to gain battery life.
The rest of the specs speak of a 1 Ghz Rockchip CPU, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage. There is also a micros SD card slot, 1800mAh battery along with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth. The device runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. There is no camera though, something that is increasingly becoming the biggest USP of modern day smartphone devices. The black and white display together with slightly less screen refresh rates compared to conventional LCD panels wouldn’t have made the InkPhone suited for photography in any case. Apart from photography, the other aspects that the InkPhone will be seen lacking will be its inability to playback video or game playing.
The InkPhone will however serve as an excellent mobile ebook reading device and should serve well to die-hard ebook enthusiasts. Being equally readable in direct sunlight will no doubt be another definitive plus for the InkPhone. E-Book reading apps such as the Kindle too works well enough with the InkPhone as should other popular ebook reading apps such as the Kobo, B&N and such. Overall, the InkPhone may not be a mass market device but should serve well in a niche market, which again could be big enough if the device work delivers what it promises.
A few years ago I purchased a Keurig coffee maker, mainly to see how the whole process played out in my daily life. Needless to say I am hopelessly hooked and regularly buy specialty coffee or use my custom refill pod to grind my own beans. Apparently DRM is not limited to audiobooks, ebooks, music or videos, but is rearing its ugly head at Keurig.
Keurig, Tassimo, and Nespresso have been locked in a battle over your primarily coffee maker. The companies see the device being a gateway to buying refills from your local supermarket or buying them direct from a website. Recently, we have been seeing third party re-sellers start to make their own refills and undercutting the brands by offering them for 25% of less for their coffee.
Why are we suddenly seeing an influx of K-Cup competition? This is because the patent on the technology recently expired. This allows anyone to basically approach established coffee companies and get their beans in their brand of cup, and then market it to people that already have a Keurig.
Keurig is borrowing a page out of eBook, music and video DRM and employing it in a model coming out this year. Dubbed the Keurig 2.0, it will have technology that will lockout unauthorized K-Cups. The company will be using this encryption system on all models going forward. Surprisingly it is estimated that 13% of US homes currently have a Keurig and its turning into a billion dollar business.
I honestly feel like DRM is permeating every aspect of my life now. I read on my tablet and e-reader books i don’t really own. I watch streaming internet television where my DRM is disabled with certain content. Why not my coffee too?
BlackBerry is up against stiff competition from mobile security solutions provider Good Technology, besting BlackBerry’s perceived lack of ability to deliver in a multi-platform environment, although BlackBerry claims they’ve been providing multi-platform support for almost 2 years now. The Canadian company backed that up with figures that show there have been 30,000 new BES servers installed around the world in the past year, compared to Good’s 5,000 customers.
California-based Good Technology has said their presence in this field can be considered a fallout of the unsatisfactory experience that customers have had with BlackBerry hardware and software. Its CEO, Christy Wyatt, has also expressed satisfaction over the way her company has evolved over the years and claims to be on a steady path of growth. However, Wyatt has stated that she wouldn’t like her company to be branded as a BlackBerry killer, especially since she hails from Canada.
BlackBerry has been more concerned with retaining its enterprise clients, which may be the company’s comfort zone but entails adapting to a fast changing tech scene than what it was even a few years ago. They also have to adapt to customers bringing in their own devices based on different platforms but need to work seamlessly with the BlackBerry at work.
Good Technology acquired BoxTone, a mobile management firm which Wyatt claims to have cost them hundreds of millions of dollars, which shows they are looking towards the long run.
The Good e-Reader Android and Blackberry App Store is celebrating a new milestone today with 80 million new visitors in one year. This is tremendous growth and a testament to the fact that the public wants an app store that focuses on quality. Google Play, Blackberry World and a number of other app markets are always trumpeting the number of apps they have. Seriously, how many fart, flashlight and Clone apps do we need?
Currently, Good e-Reader has close to 100,000 Android and Blackberry Playbook apps listed in the store. The apps come from developers who use our Developer Portal and our team of curation specialists. We monitor all of the latest apps, games and cool tools that we think matter.
We have developed a series of proprietary technology that simplifies a developer’s life. Our APK TO BAR Converter allows everyone to take an Android app and output it to a BAR file, that is compatible with any device running Blackberry 10. Right now, we are working on a bleeding edge converter that will take Android files and convert them to Tizen. This is useful to any developer that wants to make phone, tablet or smartphone apps for the new Tizen OS Samsung is using.
The Good e-Reader App Store is available via the Web, and you can download thousands of apps, without having to register. All of the Android or Blackberry apps can be downloaded with just 1 click. We have also developed a fairly awesome APP Store client that you can install on any Blackberry or Android device.
Android and malware seem to like each other very much, but Google is about to spoil it. The search giant is in the process of launching an update for its Play Services that will make is difficult for mischief makers to inject malware-infected apps into the Google app store. An update to Android’s Verify Apps function will now be made to work 24/7. Verify Apps will now be scanning apps at all times behind the scenes to find out if there are any issues to be dealt with. This will no doubt be a good thing given the popularity of the Google platform and recent reports that Android has the highest susceptibility to malware attacks.
The Verify Apps function was first introduced with Android 4.2 version but it would only verify an app when it went live at the Google Play Store or when an update was made available. Verify Apps will also look for issues in apps that a user might have installed directly and not via the official Google Play Store. It will search for known trouble making codes and when a match is found, it will notify the user via warning messages.
According to Google, it will be relevant for almost 99 percent of devices running Android. While some developers choose to bypass the Google strategy of matching apps against known codes by launching some advanced codes, these no doubt will eventually get caught once Google becomes aware of the malicious codes. Now it comes down to how often Google updates its own database of malicious codes. In any case, this is an excellent development considering the threat level associated with Android.
Amazon Prime has a number of compelling features that makes people glad to spend $79.99 per year. There is free shipping, a free eBook every single month and access to Amazon Instant Video. The Seattle based company announced during a recent earnings call that they were talking about increasing the Prime membership by $40.00. They cited rising shipping costs as being a prime motivator, but the price increase may also pave the way for a new Amazon Streaming Music Service.
Amazon is reportedly in talks with major music labels with the aim of releasing a music service of the future, hoping for low rates much as Apple did when negotiating for iTunes Radio. Amazon is hoping to go head to head with Beats, Spotify, Pandora, and Apple.
According to Re/Code “Amazon has been beefing up its roster of executives with digital music experience in the last few years. In October 2012, it hired Michael Paull, a Sony music executive, to head up its digital music operations. At the same time, it brought in Drew Denbo, who had handled business development at streaming services Rhapsody and MOG, to do the same job at the e-commerce site. And last year it hired Adam Parness, who handled licensing for Rhapsody.”
The industry standard for a streaming music service is currently six cents per 100 songs streamed. Apple ended up agreeing to pay 13 cents for each song played, along with 15% of net advertising revenue. Likely, Amazon is looking for the same deal, or cheaper.
Disney Studios has just launched a new iOS app that is compatible with the iPhone and iPad. It is bringing over 400 movies from Disney, Pixar and Marvel right to your device. One of the more compelling features is the service linking to your iTunes account, so you can purchase content and watch it on your Apple TV.
Setting up an account in the Disney Movies Anywhere app is free. The only time when you’ll have to pay is when you find a movie that you like, and those cost around $19.99 each. There is also a number of totally free exclusive content available and Disney will throw in a free copy of the The Incredibles for signing up.
Jamie Voris, the Walt Disney Studios’ chief technology officer, said in a statement “Disney Movies Anywhere is an adaptable digital ecosystem designed to help consumers consolidate their Disney movie collections and enjoy them for years to come. The beauty of this technology is that it enables us to work with iTunes and future provider partners to ensure movie lovers have streamlined access to all of their favorite Disney titles no matter which device the are on.”
This is actually a fairly solid deal, true you might be able to find the Disney Studios moves on Amazon Instant Video for cheaper. This deal makes sense from a retail point of view. Disney is notorious for never having their complete library in a store like Best Buy. Often, they put out old movies once or twice a year as reissues and thats it. This dedicated app may be the only way on iOS that you can own the complete library and relive your childhood.
Yahoo is growing tired of the standard way advertisements are presented in their extended network. The company wants to go beyond text and simple images and hearken back to an era where Vogue or Wired Ads are a work of art.
Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo wants to re-energize her advertising network and one of the latest examples of her vision is via Yahoo Food. This is the new magazine the company started around six weeks ago and blends advertisements into the standard template. It is hard to know where the adverts actually are, when you casually look at it, which is Yahoos new mandate.
Yahoo signed a deal with Microsoft that blended their two advertising networks together. This gives advertisers and websites a better alternative to Google Adsense. Although, the system to display ads, is fairly woeful. Better, more useful ads would certainly make Yahoo’s 800 million monthly users and its legions of advertisers happier all around.
According to the New York Times “Rebuilding Yahoo’s advertising business is an immense challenge that has toppled several previous chief executives.”
“They’ve just hemmed and hawed over the last couple of years, and it doesn’t help that they have had executive turnover,” said David Cohen, chief investment officer of Universal McCann, an advertising agency that is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.
“We have had really great success over the course of 2013 in getting in place a tremendous team as well as building and launching new products. And we’ve got traffic up,” she said. Yahoo released popular apps like Yahoo Weather and Yahoo News Digest and new versions of Flickr and Yahoo Mail — though some users were critical of changes to the email service.
“We’re very focused on revenue now,” she continued. “The path to revenue is really about delivering for advertisers ads that perform in whatever format or setting our users are working in and making those ads really enhancing for the user experience.”
Mobile revenue for phones and tablets is Yahoos next primary focus. In the last few months they have laid down the groundwork for stream ads, in which marketing messages are mixed in with the feed of news headlines and other information and sponsored articles or photos that resemble regular editorial content.
The WWE Network has launched today, that gives thousands of hours of PPV and original content. The service is flagged as US only, and if you want to watch it on your Apple TV there are a few things you have to do, other than subscribe to the service. Today, we are going to look at what you need to do to get it up and running.
The first thing you need to do is open up the Apple TV and go to the Settings > General > Network. Next, you need to select your internet connection, whether its wireless or ethernet. Once the connection is clicked on select Select Configure DNS and select Manual. Enter following number and click Done: 220.127.116.11. Once this step is done, the last thing you need to do is change your country to the USA. This is accomplished via setting the iTunes store to the United States. Once this is all done, you want to unplug your Apple TV and reboot it.
When you have followed all of the above steps you will be able to access the entire USA Catalog of Apple TV. This will give you Apple Radio, Netflix, ABC, Hulu+, WWE Network and a slew of other content.
I recommend to signup for a SmartDNS Service, this is ideal.
Google is redefining what a smartphone is, with the advent of Project Tango. The Mountainview company is betting on the next generation phone that will have motion and depth tracking. The five inch device is packed with cameras that will render the world around you in real time.
Microsoft Kinect pioneered how normal people can interact with their game system and Google has hired former lead engineers to work on their phone. Over 200 developer units are currently available to corporations and schools. The intention is to make a slew of new apps, augmented reality games and tools to really showcase what the phone can do.
The essence of Tango is to utilize the phone sensors to make 250 million 3D measurements every second and use that data to build a 3D model of the phone’s surroundings. It includes custom APIs that give developers access to the phone’s position, orientation, and depth. One of the more interesting aspects is the compatibility with the Unity Game Engine.
“Project Tango strives to give mobile devices a human-like understanding of space and motion through advanced sensor fusion and computer vision, enabling new and enhanced types of user experiences – including 3D scanning, indoor navigation and immersive gaming,” said Johnny Lee, ATAP’s technical program lead.
What are the practical uses of this phone in the real world? Think about someone who is visually impaired and the phone can render the world around them. Audio cues can be given on what shops they pass by, or if there is an intersection ahead.
Another stand-out feature of the device is that most of the processing is done at the Visionect servers, which also explains the use of a rather meager 120 Mhz chip to power the device. The working is seamless though and users won’t ever have any inkling of the device merely acting as a terminal in most of the cases with the processing being carried out at Visionect Servers. This is much like the Chromebook strategy of using slightly low powered hardware while relying on cloud computing to get the work done. The obvious benefit of such a setup is keeping a check on the price, which in this case is 239 Euros ($320). The device also boasts of gsensor and Wi-Fi connectivity. Other tech specs include a 6 inch capacitive e-ink display that is encased in a sturdy water proof casing that can take quite a beating.
Visionect also mentions companies such as Plastic Logic, eInk, Epson, ST as its key partners. The company also claims to have delivered solutions to Sony, Samsung and such. The Wemar Nautipad pictured above is also based on the Visionect hardware that acts as a boat information display and can be used as an interactive control system to aid in navigation. Visionect products can also be used as a product information display system, as has been done by Slovenia’s biggest telecom company in their stores.
The student community in Zambia can now look forward to the use of the ZEduPad to further their educational prospects. The tablet project which has been spearheaded by British tech entrepreneur Mark Bennett aims to replace the use of traditional books in the African nation right from the elementary stages and up to grade 7. The 7 inch tablet is also designed to aid teachers in the teaching process as much as it is oriented towards students.
The ZEduPad is designed to understand eight different native Zambian languages and comes pre-loaded with more than 12,000 classes and lesson plans to help even the untrained teachers to get started right away. The tablet is programmed to help students with almost all subjects, be it math, art or music. This apart, the tablet also exposes the children to all that the internet has to offer, be it email to Wikipedia and such. The tablet will help the students to better hone their skills and knowledge with the help of the internet. As for the device itself, the tablet comes with 32 GB of storage and offers a ‘long battery life’.
The tablet also couldn’t have arrived at a better time in Zambia what with the extensive changes that the country’s educational system has been witnessing off late. With renewed focus on education, something exemplified with the over 90 percent enrollment that has been achieved in the primary level, the ZEduPad can help take education to a new high in the African nation. The World Bank has already feted the Zambian education system which it has christened as the most improved among the developing nations.
As for its cost, Bennett said it costs about $100 after it is put together and lands in Zambia. Thereafter, his team installs the software that makes the tablet all the more special. Thereafter, the ZEduPad is sold for $200 apiece to the schools though efforts are already on to bring down the price even more. Bennett has also said he hopes to replicate the success he has achieved with the ZEduPad in other African nations as well.
Amazon is all set to unleash its Prime services in the UK which will enable Britishers to avail of unlimited access to Amazon’s video library, next-day deliveries and ebooks downloads all as part of a single package that cost £79 a year. The online retail giant said the above mentioned cost is 35 percent cheaper if users subscribe to LoveFilms and one day delivery schemes separately. In any case, the above move will bring curtains down to LoveFilms which will cease to exist post Feb 26 which is when Prime Instant Video takes over. However, existing LoveFilm subscribers can still continue to pay £5.99 to rent or buy TV shows or movies as they have been doing, while allowing them the option to walk out of the contract or re-join anytime they want. However, when the term expires, new renewal will cost £79 instead of £49. Also in doing so, they won’t have additional Prime benefits such a quick deliveries and access to ebooks.
The above move is aimed at bettering similar schemes offers by Apple while also posing a direct challenge to the likes of Netflix, Sky and BT. Amazon has stated they also plan to produce their own programs for which the retails giant has already earmarked millions. Netlix already boasts of the hugely successful series House of Cards.
“We’ve worked hard to offer the best selection of TV shows and movies for Prime Instant Video.
“We also added high definition video and introduced apps for popular devices like Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung and Sony TVs and iPads and iPhones,” said Tim Leslie, Vice President of Amazon Instant Video for the UK and German.
Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, said: “Millions of customers in the US have streaming video included as part of their Prime membership and they tell us they love the combination of unlimited delivery, the ability to borrow Kindle books, and access to thousands of movies, TV shows and exclusive videos.
“We are delighted to be bringing that same combination of services to the UK, providing members truly unique benefits they can enjoy every day of the year.”
Meanwhile, Amazon by post services remains unchanged though it remains to be seen how long before users will be asked to make the digital switchover.