Jun 30, 2011

Hanako 2 Robot Acts Like a Human Dental Patient, Makes us Say 'aah'

No, she's not in a state of shock, nor is she hunting for plankton -- she's simply waiting for the dentist to polish her pearly whites, just like any other conscientious robot. Known as the Showa Hanako 2, this humanoid was originally developed last year as a tool for dentists looking to practice new procedures. 

Now, engineers at Japan's Showa University have updated their dental denizen, adding a motorized head and replacing her PVC skin with a more realistic silicon coating. She also boasts speech recognition capabilities and can execute freakishly natural movements, including blinking, sneezing, coughing and, under more unsavory circumstances, even choking. 

An App That Pretends Your iPhone Is Dead

Don't you hate it when your friends with Android phones loaded with games asks to borrow your iPhone to play something? Then they bleed the battery dry and you feel like a used tool. Crappy!

Play Dead is an app that fakes like your iPhone is dead with a loop of the shutdown screen. That way the next time your friend asks to borrow your iPhone, you just fire up the app, flash the screen and say sorry dude, phone's dead. Get it here.

Samsung Galaxy S II Gets Official for Canada

Bell and Virgin Mobile -- neither of then are confirming a price at the moment -- plus regional carrier SaskTel, which plans to offer the phone for $79.99 on a three-year contract. SaskTel and Virgin Mobile both also say that the phone will be available in the coming weeks, while Bell isn't offering much more than a chance to win the phone in a contest that ends July 19th -- it was previously heard that the phone will be hitting Bell on July 14th. Perhaps not surprisingly, it's looking like the phone will also alternatively be known as the "Galaxy S II" or "Galaxy S II 4G" depending on the carrier.

Jun 29, 2011

HTC Status for AT&T Announced on Facebook

The HTC Status (formerly known as the ChaChaCha, the ChaCha, and "the Facebook phone that's not a Facebook phone") is inching ever closer to its AT&T debut. Now it's been revealed for all the world to see, appropriately enough, on Facebook.

This social networking-focused, QWERTY candybar has had its CPU bumped up to 800MHz -- price and availability are still as much of a mystery as ever. 

Delkin Intros 64GB SDXC Card

Months after taking a victory lap to flaunt the world's fastest SDHC card, Delkin is back, this time with a superlatively speedy SDXC. The 64GB Elite633 card promises read and write speeds of 95 MBps and 45 MBps, respectively -- that compares with 95MBps and 80MBps for the company's 32GB SDHC.

With a price of $539.99, of course, it wasn't exactly intended for those of you who are too lazy to dump some 17,000-odd photos onto a hard drive. Rather, it'll come in handy for the enthusiast crowd, especially folks with a penchant for high-def and 3D video. As for the rest of you casual shooters, we're quite partial to a game we like to call, "How much camera could I get for that $540?"

Angry Birds Lands on Windows Phone 7

Nowadays, you can't really claim to have a mobile OS worthy of the title if your users can't run Angry Birds on it. Good news from Microsoft, then, as Windows Phone 7 can finally be admitted at the grown-up table now that it has released its port of Rovio's epic bird-launching experience. $2.99 is the Marketplace price for the full version, though there's also the option to try out the first few levels for free.

 Because, you know, there might still be people out there who haven't yet been exposed to the charms of this perniciously addictive little game.

Jun 28, 2011

Google Launches all Out Social Networking Assault With Google+

Social networking has long been Google's white whale. The company has done plenty of dabbling in the space, snatching up Orkut, which has failed to catch on in the US, and rolling out Buzz to the relative indifference of its massive user base. Announced today after seemingly endless leaks, Google+ represents a major push for the software giant. The service began showing itself to a smattering of users last night, as a black bar across the top of various of the company's properties. A "+You" button on the far left of the bar currently brings you to the service's landing page, offering a tour of the many features that fall under the Google+ umbrella.  

Among the sub-services is Circles, which lets users divide up which of their friends / followers can see which content, assuring that only your "Epic Bros" and not your boss sees what you were up to at last night's bachelor party. Hangouts, meanwhile, offers up multi-person video chat with members of your Circle. Sparks is a customized feed aggregator of content you curate from across the web -- remember when RSS feeds were a thing? This is kind of like that.

There's also, not surprisingly, a mobile element to the service. Huddle offers up group messaging, largely targeted at arranging real-world meetups for those times you actually want to, you know, socialize with humans in the flesh. The Instant Upload feature makes it easy to transfer photos to private albums in the cloud. Google+ is still in a limited trial mode and has a few "rough edges," according to the company.

Tag Heuer Outs $6,700 Link Phone for Those Who Like Alligator Skin With Their Froyo

As far as most of us are concerned, if we're going to pay a lot for a phone -- you know, like, $350 on contract -- it had better come with the works. We're talking a qHD display, dual-core processor, 8 megapixel camera with 1080p recording, NFC, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a 4G radio, to boot. If you're someone who buys things made by Tag Heuer, you've got different priorities. The company just introduced the Link Phone, a darling clunker of a handset festooned with steel, 18K rose gold, or titanium, topped off with leather, alligator- and lizard-skin, rubber, and diamond accents -- a medley that'll set you back no less than €4,700 ($6,712). 

What's that you say? You want specs? The Link, named after the Swiss outfit's storied watch line, runs Android 2.2 -- a clear step up from its feature phone predecessor. Other ho-hum features include the 3.5-inch (800 x 480) display, 5 megapixel autofocus camera, 256MB internal memory, an 8GB memory card, 1400 mAh battery, and EDGE / HSUPA connectivity.

LG's DM50D HDTV / Monitor Promotes a Passive 3D lifestyle

LG is talking up its forthcoming DM50D 3D monitor -- not a lot, mind you, but just enough to get people interested. It has "Flicker Free" capabilities borrowed from its Cinema 3D TV line, and double the brightness of conventional 3D sets. The display has a built-in DTV turner, HDMI capabilities for connecting with 3D-capable consoles and the like, and the ability to view images and videos directly from a USB flash drive. It'll be hitting Europe in July, with more of the world getting a crack at it later.

Jun 27, 2011

Acer's AC700 Chromebook Coming to the US This Month for $350

Samsung's Series 5 Chromebook too expensive? Fear not, Acer just announced that its Chromebook, dubbed the AC700, will go on sale in the states this month for $349.99, to be followed by a 3G-equipped version later this summer.

If you're part of the niche market that would happily live in Chrome OS in exchange for instant-on access, be advised that it runs on an Atom N570 processor and 2GB of RAM, and has 16GB of flash storage, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, two USB 2.0 ports, and a 4-in-1 memory card reader.

MasterCard App Bringing Mobile Payments to iOS, Android and BlackBerry

Shortly after MasterCard announced plans to become entangled with Google Wallet, it looks as if the company is diving into yet another mobile payment arena. And this time, it's personal. MasterCard and CSI Enterprises already offer a smattering of customized business cards for those with highly specific needs, and soon that partnership will extend to iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS.

The CSI Virtual MasterCard app is currently scheduled to launch in July, presumably enabling folks with a GlobalVCard to use their mobile device of choice to make payments. What's interesting here is the inclusion of RIM and iOS; there's no BlackBerry device (nor iOS device) on the market today with NFC, which leads to one of two things: that's either changing by July, or this here service won't rely on NFC at all.

iOS 5 Beta 2 Blocks Gevey SIM Unlock

It's only been a few days since Apple released iOS 5 beta 2, but developers spent some quality time with the update and uncovered a few of its more salient features. Here are some highlights.
  • It looks like Apple has blocked Applenberry's Gevey SIM software, which allowed users to unlock devices running iOS 4.3 or iOS 5 beta 1 without having to jailbreak.  
  • According to Dev Team member MuscleNerd, iOS 5 beta 2 can still be jailbroken using the RedSn0w 0.9.8b1 tethering tool, released earlier this month.  
  • The beta refresh also brings a few tweaks to iOS 5's notifications system. Traditional alerts and reminders now pop up on the lock screen in larger typeface, alongside their appropriate icon. If left unattended, the notifications will eventually be added to the Android-like banner menu, at the top of the lock screen.  
  • Users can now create and curate photo albums directly from their iDevices.
  • The next beta release might be issued over the air. When a tipster checked for updates on an iPad running beta 2, he received a "No updates were found" message, suggesting that users may be able to find future refreshes without syncing their devices with iTunes.

Jun 26, 2011

Nokia's N950 With a 12-megapixel Camera Lurking Within

Friends over at the FCC have somehow both scored and already torn asunder Nokia's new flagship MeeGo development phone. Slicing and dicing Espoo's latest confirms the watered-down N9 spec with a 12-megapixel camera. 

An intriguing addition, as the N950's official specs list an 8-megapixel shooter, which the Finnish firm touted as "different" than the unit in its brother. Perhaps different means the additional 4-megapixels we spotted earlier this year? 

3D Printer Harnesses the Sun to Transform Egyptian Sand Into Glass

After starting off with what looks like a jaunt through the dunes of Tatooine, this3D printer uses the immense power of the sun to turn sand into glass.

The 3D printer, called the Solar Sinter, was conceived of by Kayser to create shapes from the vast nothingness of the Sahara Desert, specifically the portion that runs through Egypt.

Monster’s New Earbuds Are Strictly for Concert Junkies

Monster seemingly has headphones for every niche, music genre, and usage scenario you could ever imagine. So it makes sense they worked with legendary funk/soul group Earth, Wind and Fire to churn out a headphone specially-tuned for live music.

According to CrunchGear, the Gratitude earbuds are designed to replicate sound and instruments as accurately as possible (as opposed to, say, the Beats headphones, which emphasize bass). Price for the Gratitude earbuds is unknown, but they're expected to launch in September.

Jun 25, 2011

This Massage Chair Has Everything

This massage chair by Panasonic has everything you'd want. 3D mapping! It creates a map of the body-height, weight, dimensions—and then massages accordingly. There's even hot stones! It can heat itself up to 108 degrees.  

Yeah, you dont get massages there but the chair, called the Panasonic EP-MA70 Real Pro Ultra Luxury massage chair, has every other trick in the book: shoulder massage, hand and arm massage, waist and back, thigh and hip, and even calf and foot. And the 'hot stone' therapy can increase your blood flow, lessen your anxiety and bring you to your happy place. Gotta count for somethin'. $8,000.

Dress Your iPad as a Stylish Notepad

Some of you enjoy flaunting the beauty of a naked iPad, but Pad and Quill's gorgeous birch wood Contega for iPad 2 gives your device both rugged protection and good looks, without losing any of your device's functionality.

Jun 24, 2011

BlackBerry Bold 9900

RIM's BlackBerry 9900 is the device that the BlackBerry diehards have been hoping, wishing, and waiting for since the original Bold launched way back in 2008. However, this time around the company has added in a capacitive touchscreen, swapped the trackball of yesteryear for an optical trackpad, and slimmed the whole thing down into a 10.5mm thick package.  

The Bold 9900 bears a striking resemblance to the original "big Bold" 9000, and fans of that device's large but sturdy form factor will absolutely love the 9900. Gone is the faux-leather back cover, which has been replaced with a slick carbon fiber-esque flat battery door. Interestingly, whereas the entire back of the device could be removed and swapped on the 9000, only the part of the housing that covers the battery itself comes off on the 9900. The carbon fiber midsection is surrounded by soft touch black rubber finishes that taper the outer edge of the device slightly, resulting in a really nice overall form factor.

Voltaic Spark Tablet Case Powers Your Pad With The

Voltaic makes tons of solar-charging gear, from laptop bags to backpacks, the company just unveiled its Spark Tablet Case -- a thin, padded case designed for your iPad or other slate that can generate 8-watts of power in sunlight. In addition to directly charging your iPad in about 10 hours, it can also bank the Sun's rays in a universal battery pack, for use when those fluffy things in the sky don't cooperate with your outdoor computing schedule. Optionally, the included V39 USB Battery can be charged (as you may have guessed) via USB, for extra insurance. The Spark is available now for $299 and extra battery packs can be had for $99.

Jun 23, 2011

Amenbo Five-Finger Mouse Has One up On Mickey

If you're using a standard mouse or a trackpad, there's a good chance you've got a finger or two going to waste, and really, what's the point of having all of those digits if you're not going to put them to work? Japan's Double Research & Development Co. is showing off the Amenbo, a new input device that doesn't waste a single finger. Each gets its own pad with a mouse sensor, all connected to a single base with a flexible material that allows for movement. 

The device can detect pressure and motion of the fingers, and is ideal for interfacing with things like 3D CAD data, which usually requires two hands. It's also apparently great for use with robot hands and getting androids to flash the metal sign.

This Mermaid Swims Through Your Digestive Tract

Say hello to the Mermaid, a self-propelled endoscopy device used to photograph your digestive tract. The Mermaid was created by a team of researchers from Ryukoku University and Osaka Medical College in Japan. Not only is it kinda cute in a medical device sort of way, the Mermaid is a testament to Japanese engineering.

It's less than a half-inch in diameter, two inches long and has a magnetic propulsion system. Once it enters your stomach or colon, the Mermaid snaps two photos each second and is controlled remotely with a joystick. The entry point for the Mermaid is either your mouth or your—well, you know. The whole trip from stem to stern takes only a few hours and is minimally invasive when compared to the traditional colonoscopy.

Jun 22, 2011

Eizo Industrial Monitor Does 4K Resolution at 36-inches

Looking for a display that can do justice to all that 4K footage? Okay, perhaps not. But if you were, then the DuraVision FDH3601 from Eizo Nanao could handle it easily with 4096 x 2160 pixels spread over 36.4-inches of LED-backlit real estate. It comes with another big number too: a price tag of ¥2.88 million ($36,000), which gently hints at the fact that this beast is primarily aimed at specialist industrial applications. Eizo claims it's perfect for air traffic control, where staff can make full use of specs like "Digital Uniformity Correction" circuitry to compensate for uneven color or brightness, motion sensors to power the monitor on or off as needed, and a stand that can be minutely adjusted to get the perfect angle. Suddenly, despite the heavy burden of responsibility and the fact that you have to keep your phone switched off all the time, that career choice seems almost worth it.

Samsung Reveals 'Premium Accessory Suite' for Galaxy Tab 10.1

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Loving your Galaxy Tab 10.1 but just itching for some accessories? Samsung knows you are, and today helpfully unveiled a "premium accessory suite" to soothe your jones for both add-ons and premium prices. The collection (parts of which appeared earlier on Sammy's German site) includes a full-size keyboard dock ($70) and a multimedia dock ($35) enabling HDMI pass-through – you can have Tab video on your TV, as long as you buy the separate HDTV adapter ($30).

 You have your choice of cases, as well: a book cover model ($60) you can leave on while using the tablet, or a leather pouch edition ($30) that is, you guessed it, a leather pouch. A few miscellaneous items round out the collection, including various chargers, a conductive stylus and the already-released USB adapter. The company also promises a Bluetooth keyboard and SD card adapter to come "mid-summer"

Jun 21, 2011

Nobody Needs a $100,000 Razor

Ukranian sapphire blade that stays sharp for a year. Iridium handle. Magnetic connectors. There are many unnecessary aspects about this razor, but none moreso than the price. $100,000.

Japan Speeding Ahead With 500km/h Maglev Train

Traveling the 515 km (320 miles) from Tokyo to Osaka by Shinkansen bullet train currently requires 2 hours and 25 minutes (and costs a small fortune, too). Come 2045, travel between Japan's two largest metro areas will take just over one hour, following the launch of the country's longest maglev track, which just received construction approval from Tokyo. The nine trillion yen project (approximately $112 billion) was first proposed in the 1970s, but was tabled indefinitely due to its astronomical costs, most of which stem from an extensive network of tunnels that will represent 60 percent of the route. 

You'll be able to get your Japanese Maglev fix beginning in 2027, when the Central Japan Railway launches its high-speed route between Tokyo and Nagoya. One notable neighbor to the west is already operating its own maglev train. China's Shanghai Transrapid has been blasting riders to Pudong airport since 2004, and once achieved a top speed of 501km/h (311 mph). The country is also constructing a 1000km/h vacuum-based train that it plans to launch within the next few years.

Jun 20, 2011

Toshiba's Regza AT300 Tablet for The Japanese Market Delayed

To any of our Japanese readers who've been impatiently awaiting Toshiba's Regza AT300 tablet, you're going to have to hold your breath a touch longer. The 10.1-inch, Japan-only slate is going to miss its expected June arrival, and ship in late July instead. That extra tedious trip to market could be worth it, though: when the AT300 finally does land in Akihabara, it'll come with Android 3.1 and all of its resizable widgets on board. 

But don't expect any surprises, hardware-wise: it'll still pack Tegra 2, a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, and those full-sized HDMI and USB ports that can make a nerd's heart sing.

A Village Renamed Itself

As a show of gratitude for donating $5000 worth of water pumps, a remote Indian village changed its name to, mirroring that of their Groupon-esque benefactor. Wait, wait, wait. Huh?

From TechCrunch:
Snapdeal has adopted a remote village in India and enabled clean drinking water facilities for its people by installing manual pumps. To show their gratitude, the village's residents have decided to rename their village to Nagar, actually taking the company by surprise. CEO Kunal Bahl tells me the goal has always been to build a socially responsible organization, and that the decision to provide clean drinking water for the village came from a conversation with one of its 500 employees in the hallways.
A righteous gesture indeed. And I know it's not my place to tell a village what they should and shouldn't do, but this decision doesn't seem terribly well thought out. Especially when considering the longview.

Jun 19, 2011

Nanogenerators Could Power a Bluetooth Headset With Your Pulse

Scientists have developed the first self-powered nanogenerators that scavenge energy from their surroundings. They could someday replace conventional batteries in small electronics.

Even the slightest movement or vibration, such as a light breeze or the thump of your pulse, can provide enough energy for these nanogenerators. The energy is stored in a capacitor and used to power sensors or even a small wireless radio like those found in Bluetooth headsets. Signals from these wireless radios can be detected up to 30 feet away.

These technology could be used in tiny spy cameras, small wearable electronics or even medical implants.

The Heart Healthy iPhone

iPhones are being used in all sorts of interesting ways to track our health, but this is one of the more interesting ones. It's a small piece of hardware that turns your phone into an electrocardiogram.

Just millimeters thick, the iCard ECG sticks on the back of an iOS device with velcro and sends ECG data to an app on the device. Place the phone against your chest, start the app and it records ECG data and uploads it as a PDF to the AliveCor server for physicians to review. And it comes in red!

Kobo eReader Touch Edition Goes on Sale in the US and Canada

At the moment, there are two very similar-looking e-readers with black-and-white Pearl E Ink touchscreens on the market, and now, the smaller and less expensive of the pair is up for grabs. TheKobo eReader Touch Edition went on sale today in the US and Canada for $129.99 (or $139.99 Canadian Dollars) at Best Buy, Borders, Walmart, and the Canadian bookseller Indigo. 

If you'll recall, the 6-inch Kobo is thinner, lighter, and more compact than the Nook Touch, even though its screen is the same size. It also undercuts it by $10 but, there's only 1GB of internal memory reserved for book storage. Could these trade-offs be worth the trimmer design?

Jun 18, 2011

Firefox 5 Slips Out Ahead of Schedule, Gets Official June 21st

Mozilla promised a faster refresh cycle for its wily web browser, following the release of Firefox 4, and it's made good on that promise. The latest incarnation brings with it support for CSS animation and a more easily accessible do-not-track setting -- now available at the top of the privacy pane -- but won't see much in the way of GUI enhancements. Of course, if you want to play it safe, and avoid any last-minute tweaks, you can always hold off until version 5 gets official, but what's the fun in that?

Jelly Belly Cases Make Your iPhone and BlackBerry Smell Edible

There are 53 "official" Jelly Belly flavors available at present, few of which are MP3 compatible -- strange, really, in an era where pretty much everything else is capable of music playback. The company's new gadget cases are perhaps the next best thing, though despite the fact that they'll add a candy-like scent to your iPhone, iPod touch, nano, or BlackBerry (sadly not this guy), biting into them will almost certainly void your warranty -- and raise your dental co-pay.

The cases are currently available and will run you $15 apiece, the same price as the new Jelly Belly-branded headphones, which are similarly recommended for external use only.

Razer Ships $80 Orochi Black Chrome Edition Mobile Gaming Mouse

It's an Orochi, but with 100 percent more gloss. The Orochi Black Chrome Edition is the exact same mouse that shipped last fall, but with a much more vivacious set of duds. Aside from being fully capable of sneaking into either of your front pockets, this Bluetooth-enabled unit also touts an ambidextrous design, a 4000DPI laser sensor (with tracking at up to 100 inches per second), on-the-fly sensitivity adjustments and a gold-plated USB connector for those who'd prefer to roll wired. If you've been looking to treat yourself, she's in stock now for $79.99.

Jun 17, 2011

Acer Aspire Ethos: A Detachable Trackpad Is a Pretty Good Idea

Acer's new Ethos Laptop isn't the world's craziest lappy when it comes to guts—Core i5/i7 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M graphics—but it has one interesting feature: a detachable trackpad. that not only detaches from from the laptop, but also functions as a media remote.

The card-sized trackpad functions exactly the same while detached, but then with the touch of a button, LEDs appear from beneath the trackpad's surface and it gains a second life as a media remote with music, movie and presentation control capablities. Useful if you have your laptop plugged into a TV.

The rest of the laptop's feature set skews towards entertainment purposes, with edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass in 15.6-inch and 18.4-inch sizes, instant-on media mode and Dolby sound. The Ethos is available now, with prices starting at $1600.

LG's Optimus 3D Officially Launched, Debuting in Europe With Dual Lens and Dual Core CPU

The long wait is finally over! Joining the likes of HTC EVO 3D and Sharp SH-12C is LG. The specs for this Android 2.2 device have remained untouched: a 4.3-inch glassesless 3D LCD with 800 x 480 resolution, a 1GHz dual core TI OMAP4430 processor, 512MB of speedy dual channel RAM, a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, and a couple of 5 megapixel cameras on the back that can capture 3D 1080p video at 24fps, or 3D 720p at 30fps. Other tidbits include 14.4Mbps HSPA+ connection, an HDMI-out port, and a removable 1500mAh battery, all inside a 5.93 ounce package. Alas, no date's been mentioned for the phone's US launch, but the lucky Europeans will get to pick up this phone first, followed by the rest of the world "over the next several weeks."

PowerSkin Battery Case Pumps Juice to HTC Inspire 4G, Desire HD

When it comes to battery-boosting power sleeves, the iPhone's covered, but what of the little green monster? Well, at least two Androids can now get juiced by way of a new charging case from PowerSkin. HTC's Inspire 4G and Desire HD are getting a little extra power with the release of this black silicone skin, which promises 1500mAh and up to eight hours of added battery life. The PowerSkin will set you back $60, and is now available at Amazon.

Jun 16, 2011

iCufflinks for the iFan in your iLife

These iCufflinks are so cool, yet oh so nerdy. I secretly would like to buy them for Father's Day, but would be slightly embarrassed if my man actually wore them to our next formal occasion.

Crafted from machined aluminum, just like your MacBook Pro, the iCufflinks are shaped like the familiar Apple power button. They include a pulsating LED to make all the guests at the party take note of the extreme Apple nerd in their midst. The group behind the iCufflinks have made the design open source, so you can download the schematics and mod them to your liking. If you want to snag a pair, they can be had for a cool $128 here.

Fujitsu Releases F-022 Flip Phone for Women Who Like to Smell Good

Because they're brutish and sweaty, most men don't have a problem with their phone's naturally metallic musk, but 20 to 40 year-old women with a well-developed sense of fashion" apparently do. That's why Fujitsu has announced the F-022 -- a glittery flip phone designed for females who demand slightly morefrom their handheld's olfactory offerings. Developed in collaboration with Japanese accessory maker Folli Follie, this bejeweled little bauble comes with a "detachable fragrance chip" that allows users to mark their tech territory with the perfume of their choice. Just spray the chip with a dab of your scent, latch it on to the phone, and every conversation you have will end up smelling like roses. The F-022 goes on sale in China on June 24th, but for more information, just follow your nose to the PR, after the break.

Sony Tablets Hitting Europe in September

The device, will be available through Sony Direct, UK department store John Lewis, and a third still-unconfirmed retailer at launch. Availability will apparently open up after the Christmas holiday.

 The note doesn't offer up much info on the tablet, though it does promise that it stacks up well against the iPad and offers up some "unique design features," which may well refer to the S2's clamshell -- or, for that matter, the S1's curved back.

Jun 15, 2011

Microsoft's Comfort Curve Keyboard Makes a Contoured Comeback

Like a vinyl record left out in the sun too long, Microsoft's Comfort Curve Keyboard has returned,slightly more warped than before. The ergonomic peripheral is an attempt to improve the comfort and posture of users who just don't go in for the split variety.

The 3000 features uniformly-sized QWERTY keys, offering up a similar layout to traditional straight keyboards. You'll be able to get your fingers on the input device in August for $20, to see if the comfort does indeed match the curves.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook now Shipping in Arctic White

Samsung hasn't been particularly shy about its teasing -- but the big day has finally arrived, and the Series 5 Chromebook is now officially shipping to those eagerly awaiting the Google-powered laptop. If you weren't among the high-end coupon clippers who snatched one up during the surprise sale at Gilt a couple of weeks ago, you can now pick up a Chromebook of your own.

At least for now, however, it looks like you'll have to settle for a white exterior -- the "Ttian Silver" (also known as black) edition is still in pre-order mode at both Best Buy and Amazon.

Starbucks Rolls Out Mobile Payment App for Android Users

After having already introduced its own iOS app, Starbucks has now decided to bring mobile mocha payments to Android users, as well. With the free Starbucks for Android app, all you have to do is add credit to your mobile Starbucks Card, scan the app's barcode at the cash register, and that triple shot skinny latte will be yours to pound.

 Available on devices running Android 2.1 or above, the service will also locate all outlets within your immediate vicinity, while offering even more coffee-based incentives, via Starbucks' rewards program. Thus far, there are about 6,800 stores that support mobile payments, though the company is planning to add an additional 1,000 locations, this July.

Jun 14, 2011

A Peek at the Steve Jobs Comic Book

From the people that brought you the Mark Zuckerberg comic book comes the boringly named (yet still enticing!) Steve Jobs: The Co-Founder of Apple, a pulp biography in pictures. A few of which PC World has gotten an early look at.

As you can see from this shot—the pages still need to be colored in and dialog needs to be added. A shame for those looking forward to a minimalist kabuki interpretation of La Vida Steve!

The book will be available in August for a reasonable four bucks; no word yet on whether that includes an iBook version. And be sure to check out PC World for more of a taste.

USB Power Pot Uses Excess Heat to Charge Your Gadgets

Most stoves produce heat that far exceeds the temperature necessary to boil water, but TES NewEnergy has found a way to convert that excess energy into power, which can subsequently be used to charge your USB gadgets. Released yesterday in Japan, the Hitochaja HC-5 USB power pot can generate up to 400mAh of juice -- enough to charge your iPhone in three to five hours. If you want to expand the service offerings at your local soup kitchen, this double-duty cooking vessel may be the solution you've been looking for.

Logitech Lets Loose HD Webcam C615 Gets You Video Chatting in 720p

So, you're looking to up your video chatting game using SkypeHD, but found that little camera in the lid of your laptop can't cut the mustard? Good news, friend, because Logitech's latest HD webcam, the C615, is here to shoot images of your face over the internet in 720p. Like its sibling, the C910, it works with both Macs and PCs and has one-click uploads to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Additionally, the new unit takes 8-megapixel stills and 1080p videos (software limits video chat to 720p), plus it packs a 360-degree swiveling autofocus shooter to make viewing those hard to reach places easy. It's available now in the States for $79.99, and is making its way overseas in September.

Jun 13, 2011

ASUS to Ship 300,000 Eee Pad Transformers in June

ASUS has had a hard time meeting demand for its Eee Pad Transformer since the device's launch earlier this year. Jerry Shen, the Taiwanese company's CEO, says that he expects to sell 300,000 of the tablets this month, following shipments totaling 400,000 in April and May. That figure puts the device in the number two spot for worldwide tablet shipments, just behind the prevailing iPad 2. At that rate, ASUS's latest hybrid will bring in NT $2.5-3 billion (approximately $86.6-104 million), accounting for 10 percent of the company's total revenue for June -- a figure which could increase after sales pick up in Europe and mainland China in Q3. As for North America, it looks like e-tailers are finally able to maintain inventory of the $399 (16GB) flavor -- it's listed as in stock with major sites, including Amazon and Best Buy.

Toshiba Thrive Pre-order Now Live, Starts at $430

As promised, Toshiba is marking June 13th with pre-order availability of its Thrive Android (3.1!) tablet, a device whose life aspiration and name happen to coincide perfectly. This 10-inch Tegra 2 portable has the usual 1280 x 800 resolution, dual cameras (5 megapixel on the back, 2 megapixel up front), a gigabyte of RAM, and a 23WHr battery, but it also brings nice expandability with full-size HDMI, USB 2.0 and SD card slots. 

The Easy Grip back covers can be swapped -- which, yes, means you can also replace the battery -- though you'll have to splash out $20 for any non-black hues. The 8GB Thrive costs $430, followed by the 16GB unit at $480 and the 32GB option at $580. You can order yours directly from Toshiba or at Amazon, Best Buy or Office Direct, with deliveries slated for mid-July.

Jun 12, 2011

3M’s Silicone Medical Tape Will Make Bandage Removal a Painless Process

Imagine taking off a band-aid or medical tape, not grimacing in pain as the bandage adhesive pulls hair and skin cells with it. That is what 3M is promising with their new silicone tape technology, which bonds with skin in a way that other tape adhesives don't.
The unique properties of the tape's silicone adhesive work with skin in a different way than acrylate adhesives, found on most traditional medical tapes. This allows tape with silicone adhesive to be removed with minimal disruption of fragile skin layers or pulling of hair, without compromising securement.
Aside from use in hospitals, this medical tech could be useful for sports trainers (who have to wrap and tape ankles, knees, fingers and wrists), or kidnappers (who have to tie up and tape the mouths of those they snatch).

Virgin Mobile lets Android run Blur-free on the Motorola Triumph

Motorola hopes to rescue its tarnished MOTOBLUR UI with a name-change. The rust runs deeper than that, Virgin Mobile has decided to give its prepaid customers the "true Android experience" from now on, which means you'll find no proprietary shell whatsoever sitting atop its new Motorola Triumph handset. Aside from a few bits of Virgin bloatware, the Triumph escapes with a relatively standard install of Android 2.2. Meanwhile, MOTOBLUR will still be foisted on pay-monthly customers who buy a Photon 4G or XPRT from Sprint, Virgin Mobile's parent company. Some of them might like the shell and its add-ons, but others will be better off without such OS contamination.