May 31, 2011

Toshiba Announces Oak Trail-based WT310/C Windows Tablet for Japan

The company has just officially announced its new Oak Trail-based WT310/C tablet for the country, which packs an 11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 display and runs Windows 7 Professional. 

In addition to that Atom Z670 processor, you can expect to get 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, an SD card slot for expansion, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera and a 3 megapixel 'round back, and an optional cradle that adds some extra ports. No word on a price, but this one should be available in Japan sometime next month.

SanDisk Outs Faster U100 And i100 SSDs for Ultra-Portables and Tablets

SanDisk has been pumping out press releases all day. The biggest news is the U100 range of tiny SSDs for ultraportables, which crank data in and out at twice the speed of SanDisk's previous generation P4 drives. We're talking 450MB/s reads and 340MB/s writes thanks to the latest SATA III interface, plus a max capacity of 256GB -- specs which have already enticed ASUS to use the U100 in its lightweight UX-series notebooks. Mass production is expected in Q3 of this year.

Meanwhile, SanDisk hasn't forgotten about our desperate need for faster tablets. The company has doubled the speed of its existing iNAND embedded flash modules, and is also releasing a brand new SATA III drive, the i100, specifically for this form factor. The i100 maxes out at 128GB and achieves a significantly slower write speed (160MB/s) than the U100, but it has same impressive read speed (450MB/s) -- which should mean nippier tablets in the not-too-distant future.

Caffeine-Eating Bacteria May Fix Your Broken Heart

Everyone loves a good cup of joe, including our friendly neighborhood bacteria Pseudomonas putida CBB5. This microbe can consume caffeine with the best of us, a talent that could help heart arrhythmia and asthma patients.

This caffeine fiend takes a molecule of the stimulant and uses an enzyme to break it down into carbon dioxide and ammonia. A team of researchers from University of Iowa isolated the gene responsible for this caffeine-digesting protein and have cloned it into E.Coli.

Now that it's in E. Coli, this enzyme can be produced mass produced for pharmaceuticals or other industries. It could be used in medicines to increase blood flow, treat heart arrhythmia, or help patients with asthma. It could also be used by coffee manufacturers to clean up excess caffeine left over from the decaffeination process. All this from an itty bitty microbe found in a flowerbed.

May 30, 2011

LG V300 Does Multitouch, 3D, All-In-One

With the high-end configuration you'll get a second generation Intel Core i7 processor, AMD Radeon HD 6650M graphics, a 750GB hard drive, 8GB of RAM, and a Blu-ray player all packed inside the system's slender 1.8-inch thick frame. The V300's multitouch 23-inch Film-type Patterned Retarder (FPR)-enabled display offers up 3D with the aid of polarized glasses. 

The AIW is set for a Korean launch in July, followed by trips to Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of Asia. No word on if or when it'll hit desks in the States, but at least you won't have to find much room on your desk when it does.

ASUS Announces The Padfone

If pads and phones are the fastest growing categories in consumer tech, surely a Padfone would be the ultimate combo? That's what ASUS thinks, and it's just introduced an Android smartphone device that comes with a tablet it can dock into. Display switching is done dynamically, so that reading emails or browsing the web on the phone portion expands itself seamlessly once it's connected into the pad. Also expanded will be battery life, with an extra cell included in the slate. The mockup ASUS is showing the world today includes a 4.3-inch smarpthone and a 10.1-inch tablet dock, but the company says it hasn't yet settled on the final dimensions of the eventual retail product. 

TomTom Working on its Own Street View-Like Service?

TomTom's already seen Google muscle in on its turf in a big way, and it looks like it might now be trying to return the favor. If camera-toting vans like the one above are any indication, it would appear that the company is currently working to bolster its navigation options with its own Street View-like service. So far, all of the van sightings seem to be confined to Europe (France and Belgium, specifically), and they of course don't necessarily confirm that TomTom is indeed working on a Street View competitor.

May 29, 2011

This is What 43,000 Galaxies Look Like On a Map

The image above is the most complete map of our local universe to date. It took more that ten years to create, has 43,000 galaxies and extends out 380 million light years from the earth. The 3D coordinates of each galaxy was recorded so the raw data could potentially be used to build a realistic 3D model of the universe. Throw in some holographic technology and you have something straight from Star Trek.

And if you're wondering where we are in all these dots? Our galaxy, the Milky Way, runs horizontally through the center of the image. 

Apple Testing A5-packing MacBook Air?

Could Apple really be considering putting its mobile-minded A5 processor in a MacBook Air? According to Japanese website, Macotakara, a trial of the ARM chip is already underway. Apple's reportedly been experimenting with a Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Air with the A5 on board, and "according to someone who has seen a model running with [Apple's] A5 processor, the performance is better than had been thought." 

Of course, this information has trickled a ways down the grapevine, and the presence of an A5-packing test vehicle doesn't mean much anyway.

May 28, 2011

Mosquitoes Bite Because of Your Smelly Feet

According to the research of one Remco Suer, mosquitoes might somehow be attracted to the bacteria in your sweat-soaked feet. That means finding a way to isolate these odors could reduce their nuisance and even slow the spread of disease.

Suer worked with the African mosquito Anopheles gambiae, one of the primary vectors for the spread malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, and tested them against the smells in his lab:
Suer tested their sense of smell in the labratory by pumping additional CO2 into a container to simulate human breath, then added a high concentration of five different foot odors and found that the mosquitoes were unable to react to the CO2 for several seconds. The sole-ful odors actually stopped mosquitoes from sensing CO2 from breathing — which could be a reason why malarial mosquitoes divert when honing in on a person and move instead to the feet at close ranges.

Did You Know Microsoft Makes Five Times More Money From Android than From Windows Phone?

According to Citi analyst Walter Pritchard's lastest big report on Microsoft, the Redmond company makes five times more income from Android than from Windows Phone. You may pick up your jaws now.

Here's how it's happening: Back in April 2010 Microsoft settled an intellectual property infringement case against HTC. In the agreement, HTC agreed to pay Ballmer and his cronies $5 per shipped Android set. Citi says that HTC has sold 30 million sets, adding $150 million of fresh greens to Microsoft's piggy bank.

Now, Microsoft sold two million Windows Phone licenses over the same period, which accounts for $30 million dollars using an estimated license fee of $15 for each Windows Phone shipped.

But there's more. That's not the only way they are going to be getting money from the Android handsets: Microsoft has sued other Android phone makers. And if HTC gave up, you can be sure that those are lawsuits that are also likely going to be settled too. To the tune of $7.50 to $12.50 per handset sold.

So no matter what, they are winning. And on top of that, Windows Phone 7 Mango is only going to make things better for them.

PlayStation Announces Official Wireless Cans for PS3

Perhaps Sony deemed the Ultimate Weapon too powerful (or too expensive) for PlayStation 3 owners, but these new wireless cans ought to keep your ears warm, at the very least. The new official PS3 Wireless Stereo Headset features 7.1 virtual surround sound, a retractable, mutable microphone, and standard embedded volume controls.

 These proprietary sound-muffs connect via USB dongle, and push headset related status updates (that's your battery status) directly to your TV screen; if you're into that sort of thing. Sony-approved hearing will set you back $100 starting this September.

May 27, 2011

ASUS Eee Pad Slider Going on Sale 'soon'

ASUS' Eee Pad Transformer might still be difficult to track down, but at least all systems are go for the company's other Honeycomb tablet, the Eee Pad Slider. The company confirmed today that the 10.1-inch tablet, originally slated for May, is "coming soon" -- no word, of course, on whether it will ditch Tegra 2 for an Atom Z670 CPU, as rumored. Next up, ASUS, give us a price, capiche? Last time the company was estimating it would cost between $500 and $800.

Lenovo IdeaPad K1 Tablet

Lenovo still hasn't officially confirmed it, but all signs are pointing to an imminent US launch of its Android-based IdeaPad K1 tablet. The specs include a 10.1-inch display, a Tegra 2 processor, 32GB of storage, dual cameras (5 megapixel rear and 2 megapixel front-facing), a microSD card slot, a micro HDMI out, and even a SIM card slot -- somewhat notably it's also listed as coming with Netflix pre-installed. While most of those specs seem like a safe bet, others apparently aren't quite set in stone, the listing alternatively mentions both Android 3.0 and Android 3.1, for instance, and both a 1280 x 720 and 1280 x 800 resolution (though the latter seems likely). What's more, while isn't providing a price just yet, the tablet has also hit Krex Computers of all places, where it's listed at $510. 

The Everlasting Deliciousness of the Candwich Sandwich

The world was denied a breakthrough in food-in-a-can technology and deliciousness when a petty thing like money kept Candwich, the sandwich in a can, off of store shelves. But now it's here.

Peanut butter & grape jelly to start, with BBQ chicken (oh sweet christ) and PB & strawberry jelly on the way. These undying sandwiches run $12 for a 4-pack or $72 for a 24-pack. Pricey! But how many foods are "perfect for emergency food storage needs in the event of natural disasters" and totally delicious? Not very many.

Windows tablet OS preview coming next week?

It was heard an awful lot about a Windows tablet OS this past year, with stirrings of a 2012 launch -- heck, even Steve Ballmer's fanned the flames of speculation -- and now the rumor mill's been set in motion with word of an impending preview expected next week. According to Bloomberg, three sources have confirmed Microsoft's plan to flaunt the much-anticipated UI.

The showcase is supposedly set to run the touchscreen-enabled software on a Tegra-equipped machine. 

May 26, 2011

Japanese Emergency Toilet

When disaster strikes and society comes to a halt, the necessity to relieve yourself doesn't. If anything, you'll be more inclined to crap your pants. But it needs to be clean, or else disease spreads. Enter, the Japanese emergency crapper.

It's definitely a low-tech approach to pooping in the field. But hey, what do you expect? This is an emergency—anything to keep you from having to just do it behind a tree or something. Still, it's essentially just a big black plastic bag that you wear and squat down in. There are also some strange pellets that seem to absorb liquids and re-solidify. Not sure how that helps you when you've gotta go number two, but that's a scenario I'll leave for your imaginations.

Hasselblad's 200 mmegapixel H4D-200MS Camera

This latest piece of kit is nearly identical to the 50 megapixel H4D-50MS externally, but internally adds an astonishing 150 more megapixels to the mix -- yes, that's an astounding 200 megapixels! Don't feel forgotten just yet if you have the older model, though, as Hasselblad can upgrade your sensor for €7,000 (roughly $10,000) -- a great deal considering the full kit costs €32,000 (about $45,000). With that said, the details are null on the medium-format sensor's native resolution -- similar to the multi-shot feature on the 50MS, the new 200MS combines six shots to create ridiculously detailed 200 megapixel still images, and it handles less intensive photos with a four-shot 50 megapixel still mode. Should you dare to venture outside the studio, there's a 50 megapixel single-shot live mode for quick shots as well.  

Kingmax Flaunts World's First 64GB MicroSD Card

Kingmax used to have a thing for setting small records -- even if it meant one-upping itself. Four years later, the king is back and he brought a 64GB microSDXC card with him. If history repeats itself, we can expect similarly sized storage from SanDisk and other manufacturers soon. But don't get too excited: only a handful of devices currently have the architecture to support microSD cards bigger than 32GB, so make sure you have a compatible device before you empty your wallet. Don't have one? Don't sweat it; there's no word yet when the new cards will be available, so you have plenty of time to upgrade. 

May 25, 2011

A Wrench Necklace

The makers of this necklace say it's a "Honeycomb pendant with cord." But we all know what we're looking at: a set of four wrenches that hangs around your neck. It fits 8, 10, 12, and 14mm bolts. And in my opinion, $55 for a set of four wrenches and a necklace is a pretty good bargain. You can find them here.

Xperia Play First in Line for Mobile Minecraft

If you want to be the first in your hood to take Minecraft with you wherever you go, you'll have to pick up an Xperia Play. The block-building game where cubed avatars hide from creepers and create virtual CPUs will land on the so-called PlayStation Phone before coming to other Android devices and iOS later this year. The Play version will have customized controls that take advantage of the gamepad and button layout found on the Sony Ericsson handheld, though when exactly it will launch or how much it will cost is still unknown.

 It's also unclear how long the title will be exclusive to the gamer-centric smartphone. Now is the time to wrap up any loose ends in your life before what little free time you have left gets buried beneath a pile of bricks and mobs -- even when your PC isn't handy.

Ford Car Seat Keeps Its Sensors on Your Heart

Chevy had the whole "Heartbeat of America" thing cornered in the 80s, but now its Ford's turn to get in on the action. The car maker's European research team unveiled a prototype car seat capable of monitoring a driver's heart courtesy of six embedded electrodes, which can take measurements without coming in direct contact with skin.

 The technology, the latest in a recent string of health-related in-vehicle concepts from the company, can detect whether the driver is having a heart attack and transmit that information to the vehicle's safety system. According to the researchers, the system is already highly accurate in its prototype state, making correct readings for 98 percent of drive time with 95 percent of the drivers tested.

May 24, 2011

Gigabyte's ECO600 Mouse Boasts 12-month Battery Life

Gigabyte's ECO600 wireless laser mouse just landed at the FCC, which means it and its tiny 2.4GHz adapter should be in the hands of consumers very soon. As far as mice go, the ECO600 is actually pretty interesting -- two buttons on top allow you to quickly cycle between resolutions of 800, 1200, and 1600 DPI for either more accuracy or better battery life which, the company claims, is up to a year on a single pair of (generously included) AAs.

Windows Phone 'Mango' Will Be Used On first Nokia WP Devices

Nokia has noted Microsoft's announcement of the new Windows Phone 7 (aka Mango) with word that the software being demonstrated today will be the one we'll see on the first Nokia with Windows Phone device. It also slightly contracts the roadmap for the first handset born from the Microkia partnership, though Nokia's statement makes sure not to make any promises about when said device will show up. Finally, the "Nokia with Windows Phone" phrasing somewhat peculiar, don't be surprised if you see it turn into a branding strategy for Nokia's smartphones going forward. Here's the relevant statement, straight out of Finland:

"Today Microsoft has announced the key new ingredients of the latest 'Mango' release of the Windows Phone operating system. This is the software that will be used on the first Nokia with Windows Phone device, and so should be of keen interest to Nokia-watchers everywhere."


MF Doom Sneaker Speakers

The professional sneaker customizer has significantly stepped up his game after being commissioned by Sneaker Freaker Magazine, creating two pairs of speakers from some giant suede Pumas.

The finished Sneaker Speaker Doomsday Edition models have mic inputs and red, green, and blue lights with eight effects, like speed control and a dim function. They've got plenty of power and can only be fired up by someone with the key.

May 23, 2011

Ballmer: 'Next Generation of Windows Systems' Coming Next Year

The name "Windows 8" may have been tossed around a lot as of late, but Steve Ballmer himself has only just now uttered the name for the first time in public at the company's developer forum in Japan. What's more, while he didn't divulge a ton of specifics, he did say that the "next generation of Windows systems" will be coming out next year, and that "there's a whole lot more coming," including "slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors." As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley notes, the distinction between "slates" and "tablets" as two separate form factors is certainly an interesting one, as is the fact that he curiously didn't use the name Windows 8 in connection with those next generation Windows systems. 

What does it all mean? Perhaps Microsoft's Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky, will have more to say during his appearance the D9 conference next week.

Kogeto Dot Brings Bite-Size Panoramic Video Recording to iPhone 4

The Kogeto Dot snaps onto an iPhone 4 in your choice of pastel colors, and catches 360-degree video when placed face down. It's got an accompanying iOS app that will un-distort the video for sharing, or even broadcast it on the net in real time. 

This implementation requires your iPhone be held perpendicular rather than upright, making previewing a capture virtually impossible until after you've stopped the recording, which seems unnatural. Combine that with a minimum Kickstarter pledge of $98 to secure one of your own, and suddenly the less-portable and lower-degree alternatives start sounding a little more attractive.

iPhone 5 may Feature Curved Glass Screen Like the iPod Nano

Steve Jobs' team are said to have purchased between 200 and 300 glass-cutting machines, specifically in order to use them to slice up curved glass display covers for the iPhone 5. This move has apparently been in an effort to accelerate production, with glass makers reportedly showing a reluctance to buy the machinery themselves due to its prohibitive cost. Lest you think this sense of urgency might accelerate the iPhone 5 from its earlier-rumored September launch, DigiTimes also reports that yields of curved glass are not yet good enough to start using said fancy machines. 

At least those Cupertino designers have a couple of generations of curved iPod nano screens under their belt, giving them a good idea of how to handle the atypical glass frontage.

May 22, 2011

Lady Gaga uses Chrome OS

One of the world's most (in)famous names has picked a side in the browser battles -- last night saw the debut of a new Google Chrome commercial, starring Lady Gaga and her "little monsters." Spanning a minute and a half of Gaga and her fans singing and gyrating their way through her latest single, the ad is intended to illustrate the power of the web and its creative new modes of interaction.

To be fair, said interaction is mostly Lady Gaga saying "jump" and a crowd of YouTubers doing it without bothering to ask how high, but hey, the result is fun to watch.

Apple to Customer Service: Don’t Help Our Customers with Malware

You'd like to think that customer service is out to serve the customers (you), right? Not exactly! After an unusually broad spread of Mac Defender, a piece of OS X malware, Apple is telling customers they're on their own.The order, straight from an internal memo to Apple's customer support reps, states the following "Not our problem, sucker" rules:
AppleCare does not provide support for removal of the malware. You should not confirm or deny whether the customer's Mac is infected or not.
Should not confirm or deny? Intentionally leaving a customer in the dark as to whether their computer has a virus seems pretty low. But is this next part lower? Hmm:
Do not attempt to remove or uninstall any malware software.
Do not send any escalations or contact Tier 2 for support about removing the software, or provide impact data.
Do not refer customers to the Apple Retail Store. The ARS does not provide any additional support for malware.
So even if a customer is sure their computer's infected, Apple wants nothing to do with these malware lepers. Keep 'em off the support lines, keep 'em out of the stores. This doesn't seem like a great precedent to set for malicious code landing on Macs.

The ChromiumPC from Xi3 Is the First Desktop Ready to Run ChromeOS

The ChromiumPC modular computer, first unveiled by Xi3 last year, is ready to ship this summer, with an architecture designed specifically for Chrome.

Xi3 has been working on their concept for awhile, and even got some praise back during CES for it. The computer is housed in an aluminum chassis that hold three boards or "modules" that determine the functionality of the machine. These modules are interchangeable, allowing the ChromiumPC to run other operating systems. However, Xi3 designed the system with the cloud especially in mind, and the out-of-the-box set-up will be made to get you online as fast as possible. It's their hope that, as people move to the cloud in greater numbers, they can follow them there with the help of Google and Chrome.

Pricing for the ChromiumPC hasn't been announced yet, but Xi3 has it slated for release in the second half of this year.

May 21, 2011

Sharp Aquos Android Clamshell

Looking for a handset that harkens back to simpler, pre-smartphone era, without losing the Googley luster of Android? This is the perfect phone for you, and all you've got to do is move to Japan and get a Softbank Mobile account. Sharp, one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in its native country, rolled out the retro-future Gingerbread-packing Aquos Phone Hybrid 007SH, an Android 2.3 flip phone with a 180-degree swiveling touchscreen above the hinge and a numeric dial pad below that all the cool kids in Shibuya crave. 

It's also got some pretty solid specs, so far are clamshell phones go, including a 16MP camera and a 3D-capable display. The handset will hit Softbank in mid-June followed shortly by Sharp's rotary Honeycomb tablet.

HTC Evo 3D, View 4G Available for Pre-Order at Sprint

Sprint customers holding out for the HTC Evo 3D can now inch slightly closer to that glasses-free display. The carrier has confirmed that you can reserve the WiMAX handset by visiting a Sprint-owned retail store and plunking down $50 for a gift card. 

There's still no word on when you'll be able to get the device in-hand (and the 3D's exclusive carrier is mum on pricing), but, if you don't mind reserving a phone without any hint as to how much you'll eventually need to pay, then Sprint seems happy enough to swap your Grant for a spot on the list. It's also taking names for the Evo View 4G tablet and, like the 3D, that $50 deposit can be used to take a bite out of a 2D handset. You know, in case you decide that a third dimension is too hot to handle.

Zuckerberg Wants Kids Under 13 on Facebook

Facebook's already pretty inane. The only thing that could make it worse is, oh I dunno, having 10 year-olds running wild on it. Luckily, it's against the law for sub-13 year-olds to join data-collecting sites. Unless The Zuck changes that.

At a recent symposium on education reform, Zuckerberg argued that Facebook could, and should, play an important role, CNN reports. Doing... what exactly? Facebook doesn't know! ""Because of the restrictions we haven't even begun this learning process," Zuckerberg said. "If they're lifted then we'd start to learn what works." Pretty convincing stuff.

The restriction he's talking about is the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which bars kids under 13 from the site. Zuckerberg wants this changed.

May 20, 2011

NEC's Dual-Screen LifeTouch W tablet Shipping in Japan This June

Under the hood nothing has changed -- it's the same pair of 7-inch, 800 x 600 resistive touchscreens, 384MB of RAM, and Cortex A8 CPU of unspecified speed. Sadly, that also means we're looking at the same dated Android 2.2 OS and paltry five hour battery life. No word on cost or whether this will ever appear outside of Japan.

Dutchman Integrates a 4.5GHz Water-Cooled Rig Into His Desk

Peter from the Netherlands has managed to fit a pretty bombastic set of components -- 4.5GHz Core i7-980X, two ASUS GeForce GTX 580 graphics cards in SLI, over 12TB of storage with an SSD boot disk, and two PSUs providing 1,500W of power in total -- together with a water-cooling setup and the inevitable glowing lights inside one enclosure, which just so happens to also serve as his desk. The three-piece monitor setup is also a custom arrangement, with a 27-inch U2711 IPS panel being flanked by two 17-inchers. 

Is Fanboyism a Religion? Neuroscience Says Maybe

Ever wonder why Apple fans stand in line for hours end just to buy a phone? According to the BBC's Alex RIley, it's because Apple is their religion. Neuroscience suggests he may be right.

For his documentary Secrets of the Superbrands, Riley talked to fans, industry executive, and even porn stars to find the reason behind such brand fanaticism. But it wasn't until he met the Bishop of Buckingham that he stumbled upon his answer. While talking to the Bishop, he realized the extreme dedication people have for Apple mimics the devotion religious people have for their faith. He found his proof in an MRI study of Apple fans. The same part of the brain that responds to religious images also responds to Apple products.

So the next time you are feeling a bit snarky, find a fanboy stroking his MacBook air, and call him a religious zealot. If he protests, point him to Riley's film.

May 19, 2011

Adobe Dominates Kaspersky Lab's top ten PC Vulnerabilites List

Being number one is usually an honor, but not when it comes toKaspersky Lab's top ten PC vulnerabilities list. Unfortunately for the software giant, Adobe took top dishonors for Q1 this year, pulling in five total spots on the list, including the top three. According to the security firm, all of the vulnerabilities appearing on the list allowed cyber-criminals to control computers at the system level. 

The number one spot was occupied by a vulnerability in Acrobat Reader that was reportedly detected on 40 percent of machines running the application, while Flash Player flaws took second and third. Other dishonorees included the Java Virtual Machine, coming in at fourth and fifth place, Apple QuickTime, Winamp, and Microsoft Office. That ain't bad, considering Microsoft ruled the vulnerabilities roost in 2010.

Kingston Refreshes DataTraveler Ultimate USB 3.0

Sick and tired of the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0's slow-as-molasses 80MB/sec read speeds? Good news, the flash drive has been souped up for a second generation, offering up 100MB/sec read and 70 MB/sec write speeds when plugged into a USB 3.0 port -- plugging into a 2.0 port should give you in the neighborhood of 30MB/s for both read and write. That speed ain't cheap, however -- the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB drives will run you $77, $116, and $213, respectively.

Sharp Shows off the World's First Super Hi-Vision LCD With 16x More Detail Than 1080p

While Japan's NHK has been working on the successor to HDTV, Super Hi-Vision, for years, there haven't been any direct-view HDTVs capable of showing its full 7,680 x 4,320 pixel resolution until this prototype unveiled today by Sharp. Its 103 pixels per inch, but that's still far more than the 36ppi of a 60-inch 1080p HDTV. If estimates are correct, we'll still be waiting until around 2020 for that 33MP video and 22.2 channel sound to actually be broadcast, although there's a possibility of some demonstrations happening during the 2012 Olympics. Just head over to the NHK's Science & Technology Research Laboratories in Tokyo between the 26th and 29th of this month to see it live.

May 18, 2011

Now That Samsung Is Making Lightbulbs, Maybe They’ll Be Cheaper

Samsung is getting into the LED lightbulb game. And they may have the manufacturing clout to drive the price of the bulbs down because they're making all the parts in house.

As the ban on incandescent lighting begins to take effect in 2012, other technologies, like the more costly LED and CFLs will have to replace them. Starting next year 100-watt LED light bulbs will flood the market with a price tag as high as $50 per bulb. Lower wattage bulbs will replace incandescent bulbs in the next few years with the same sticker shock for everyone, but costs will drop more quickly as big companies with LED expertise start making and selling them. 

Unlock Your Door with Your Phone

It's late, you're hammered. And you've lost your house keys? Still got your phone somehow but looks like yet another drunken camping night on the front stoop. With the Lockitron, you could have at least passed out in the foyer.

The Lockitron system by Apigy combines an electric deadbolt with a plug server connected via an Ethernet cable. You use your smartphone to communicate with the server controlling the lock over the web (the data is encrypted and avoids potentially dangerous Wi-Fi systems) to open or close the bolt. The Lockitron also has an available NFC option for select phones and accepts physical keys in the event of an emergency. Another interesting feature is the ability to make digital "keys" and send them via email to friends, relatives, or drunken exes.

The initial setup cost runs from $295-$500, so you're definitely going to be investing more than your average Schlage but how else will you be able to open your house like a Jetta? You can find it here.

The World’s Smallest 3D Printer Is Only a Little Bigger Than a Milk Carton

3D printers are typically behemoth-type machines that can spit out crazy things like houses, cars and titanium balls. The world's smallest 3D printer is too puny to do any of that but it could be more useful than any other 3D printer.

The 3D printer was built by engineers from the Vienna Institute of Technology and it's much lighter and cheaper than previous 3D printers. The idea is to make this 3D printer the one that people could actually use, instead of being another tall tale and fable that we've heard 3D printers do. Priced at about $1,700, it's still ridiculously expensive but it could possibly be cheaper if there ever is a mass demand for such a device.

The engineers are using the same technology behind typical 3D printers: a synthetic resin that hardens when a beam hits it but this runty 3D printer uses "light beams are just a twentieth of a millimeter thick" which gives it the ability to print things in better detail.

May 17, 2011

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Hits Verizon for $200 On-Contract, in Stores May 26th

It will be available for pre-order on the carrier's website starting May 19th, and be available in stores on May 26th for the usual $199.99 on a two-year contract. That, of course, gets you the first PlayStation Certified handset with console-style controls -- a real D-pad and PlayStation face and shoulder buttons, plus a pair of miniature touchpads for dual-analog gameplay on the go. You'll also get seven games pre-loaded on the device (including Madden NFL 11 and The Sims 3).

Eole Concept Watch Has Turbine Bezel, Shows Time When You Blow

Traditional electronic watches may be practical, but there's nothing elegant about battery power. With the Eole watch concept, designer Julien Moise envisioned a device that's powered by blown air, displaying the time only when you want to see it. Sure, compulsively blowing on your watch in a meeting is less discreet than sneaking a peek under the table, but you'll still have your BlackBerry around for when you need to count down the minutes until freedom. There's also a weather indicator and alarm function, so there's a battery in there that's doing more than keeping time.

BlackBerry PlayBook Coming to the UK on June 16th

UK retailers have revealed the date and prices at which they'll be selling RIM's PlayBook: depending on how much integrated storage you want, you'll have to pay up £400 (16GB), £480 (32GB), or £560 (64GB) for your slate, starting from June 16th. Aside from the gigabytes, you'll be getting the gigahertz too, with a dual-core 1,000MHz TI OMAP4430 processor keeping the PlayBook's insides warm and its outsides responsive. 

Availability will be widespread, with Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4u, and Best Buy UK having already announced they'll be stocking the tablet. You can even pre-order it here.

May 16, 2011

Lenovo Ultraslim ThinkCentre 91z

Not surprisingly, the company's really playing up aesthetics with the ThinkCentre Edge 91z, calling it the thinnest AIO, at 2.5 inches -- and certainly its thinner than, say, the HP TouchSmart 610. The centerpiece of the system is that glossy 21.5-inch widescreen HD Infinity LED display (1920 x 1200), which is capable of playing back HD video with ease.

The system ships with an optional spill-proof wireless keyboard, also packs built-in speakers, a 2MP webcam, six USB ports, Windows 7, and a 6-in-1 card reader.

At the high end, you'll get an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, AMD Radeon HD6650A 1GB graphics, 8GB of DDR3 memory, and either a 1TB 7,200 RPM SATA HDD or an 80GB mSATA SSD -- either way, Lenovo says the system boots 30 percent quicker than "non-optimized" systems, though the latter promises to have you up and running in a breezy 20 seconds. It'll begin shipping in June, with pricing starting at $699.

Apple Offers Free Repairs for iPhones Damaged in Japan Quake

Apple customers with Macs, displays, and iOS devices that were directly damaged in the Japan earthquake and tsunami may be eligible for free repairs. The offer, posted on the company's Japanese website, excludes iPod classic, nano, and shuffle, and only applies to customers living in areas covered by the Ministry of Health's Disaster Relief Act.

 Considering water and other accidental damage typically voids a device's warranty, you'll want to give AppleCare a call soon -- the acceptance period only runs through June 30th.

NEC MEDIAS WP N-06C Announced in Japan With Waterproof Body

Seriously, why does Japan get all the fun toys? The launch date: fans will be able to nab this device around June or July, meaning owners need not seal this waterproof phone in a plastic bag before heading out for a summer swim.


May 15, 2011

PlayStation Network Restoration Spreads Across the World

Now that North America has been thoroughly blanketed in the beautiful green light of a working PlayStation Network, it's time for other countries to sign on too, and the first out of the gate are the United Kingdom, Ireland and unspecified nations in the Middle East. 

Sony's official PlayStation Europe Twitter account reports that parts of the EMEA are beginning to light up now, and while there's no convenient map for you to monitor the rollout this time around, you can still get updates straight from the source.

Ring Mouse Just in Time for Your Nerd Wedding Proposal

Sure, Ring Mouse sounds like something you might catch from an out-of-control rodent population while on vacation in a foreign country. And yes, the whole concept sounds a bit awkward to those who have spent their entire computing lives using more input devices, but some compelling feedback from those actually tried Genius's wearable wireless peripheral turns out that the thing is actually usable. For $70, you can get your hands on -- or, rather, in -- one of these things, if you're a Windows user. Of course, you could use it for an engagement ring; just plan on being single for a very long time.