Oct 31, 2011

Varley's evR450 All-Electric Supercar set to hit Australian Roads Next Year

As Autoblog Green points out, Australia's Varley Electric Vehicles is known more for bulky industrial vehicles than high-end sports cars, but the company's now looking to change that perception with its new all-electric evR450 supercar. While it'll no doubt turn a few heads simply standing still, it also looks to measure up reasonably well under the hood, boasting a top speed of 200 kilometers per hour (or 124 MPH) and a zero to 100 km/h time of 3.8 seconds. 

The company's also promising a range of 150 kilometers (or 93 miles) that can be doubled with an optional range-extension pack, although its not letting anyone actually drive the car just yet (or even look under the hood, for that matter). As for a price, Varley's saying that the base package will come in "below" $200,000 Australian dollars (or about $213,000 US), and it says it could roll out "as early as January 2012."

Ubuntu Coming to Tablets, Phones, Cars and Smart TVs by 2014

We've already seen Ubuntu running on tablets and smartphones, but not in any official capacity. Rumors had it that Canonical would be making a serious push into the tablet space in early 2011, but that effortnever materialized, or at least was never acknowledged. Still, Unity has some finger-friendly streaks and Oneiric added ARM support -- so it's not much of a stretch to see the popular Linux distro on your mobile devices. 

Well, at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth made that move official by issuing a challenge to the Ubuntu community to start pushing beyond the traditional PC form factor. There were no products to announce, but Shuttleworth was confident the OS would be ready and in shipping consumer electronics by the time version 14.04 arrived in April of 2014.

Oct 30, 2011

Productivity Future Vision

Garmin Announces FR70 Fitness Watches to Keep you on Track

Looking to keep those New Year's resolutions past the first week of January in 2012? Garmin's out to help you stay the course with its FR70 fitness watches for both guy and gals. Using this trainer's timepiece, you'll be able to track your workout time, heart rate and calories burned right on your wrist. Powered by ANT+ technology, the FR70 can connect to compatible devices like treadmills, bikes, elliptical machines, your boyfriend's Segway, etc.

For avid runners, pairing the watch with a wireless foot pod will clue you in on speed, distance and cadence during your training sessions. If biking is more your style, a pace sensor is available for you as well. Combine an FR70 with the Tanita BC-1000 system and you can track weight, water levels, body fat and a handful of other measurements that will be stored right on the device. Once all the data is collected, it can be sent to Garmin Connect whenever you return with range of your PC. The pair will be available in the UK, starting in November, for £129 / €139 ($197).

Do You Think This New Urban Camo Will Fool Anyone?

It goes without saying Western soldiers haven't seen a lot of jungle and woodland shooting these days. The arid climes of the Middle East—and their urban centers—have been warfare hotspots. So how about some crazy new urban camouflage?

This experimental piece of kit, by camo firm HyperStealth, might look like a hideous screen printed dress. 
This is the unconventional pattern in field trials, previous computer simulations showed this pattern to be quite effective for both outdoor and indoor urban environments. The perceived depth within the pattern throws off the ambient and focal vision from noticing the target.
So, you think this would work? It's hard to say without actually being out there, but it's fascinating to see the psychology behind something as simple as a shirt.

Oct 29, 2011

New High-Precision eye Surgery Robot Helps Doctors Stay Sharp

A researcher at the Netherland's Eindhoven University of Technology has invented a new type of eyesurgery robot designed to steady the ophthalmologist's hands and minimize error -- always a good thing when it comes to having needles and knives near your peepers. Kind of like an Igor to a mad scientist, the robot is considered a "slave" to its "master" doctor, who controls the automaton's arms using two joysticks.

The doctor is still in charge of the cuts, but the technology makes sure the MD jabs that needle in at the exact same entry point each time without shaking to minimize ocular marring. Another notable feature is the robot's ability to switch between tools quickly, ensuring that if this whole doctor thing doesn't work out, it'll at least have a job at Hibachi waiting.

Are Stars the Origin of Organic Life?

Our Sun's energy is the source of all life on the planet, sure. But what if it was also the source of the first organic compounds that gave rise to life itself? A team of Hong Kong researchers believe they've proved just that.

The team from the University of Hong Kong have published a report that apparently explains the phenomena of Unidentified Infrared Emission features. These features cause observable infrared emissions in stars and were originally thought to have been caused by simple polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules comprised of carbon and hydrogen. However, this report pins the source of the UIE features as complex organic compounds—structurally akin to coal—that are made naturally by stars and ejected into space. Trace amounts of these compounds can be found in interstellar dust clouds.

This isn't the discovery of extraterrestrial life, mind you, as these compounds are organic but can't be classified as either alive or dead. However, they are the first evidence that stars can naturally generate compounds on this scale of complexity—and quickly, producing them in a matter of weeks.

"Our work has shown that stars have no problem making complex organic compounds under near-vacuum conditions," said Prof. Sun Kwok, of the research team. "Theoretically, this is impossible, but observationally we can see it happening."

A Volcano Casts a Shadow on the Sky Itself

Volcanoes are incredible sights on their own—but toss in a stupendous sunset, and you've got yourself a photo, homie. This shadow scene looks like the world turned upside-down.

What you're seeing here is just the shadow of Mount Rainier cast up upon low clouds. No magic, no strange natural phenomenon. Just a fantastic find by photog Nick Lippert. Half apocalyptic, half idyllic.

Oct 28, 2011

600,000 Facebook Logins Are Hijacked Every Day

Facebook thought it was bragging when it announced recently that just 0.06% of its 1 billion daily user logins were made by hijacked accounts. But that's a hell of a lot of logins by hackers and spammers: 600,000/day, according to Sophos. Their new incredibly complicated super-friends scheme should fix this.

Apple's Lossless ALAC Goes Open Source, it's like FLAC for iPods

Well, it's not nearly as exciting as a new iPhone, but Apple recently announced a bit of news that will set people in certain circles abuzz. The company's lossless audio codec, ALAC, is going open source. Similar to FLAC, the Apple Lossless Audio Codec offers some file compression while still delivering a bit-for-bit recreation of the original source material. The primary difference being that Apple devices and software do not support FLAC (at least without some tinkering) but can handle the Cupertino developed ALAC. The decision to release the code under the Apache license won't have much of an immediate impact on your digital audio routine, but expect support for ALAC to start popping up in more media players (both hardware and software) soon.

Google+ Now Displays "What’s Hot" Trending & Post Sharing Data

Nerd Facebook Google+ has added another collection of decent features to its web interface, now showing "What's Hot" on the network and building "Ripples" infographics to show how posts have been shared with other users.

The changes aren't immediately noticeable. The What's Hot section appears at the bottom of your Stream and consists of a slightly irrelevant collection of updates from people you don't know, which Google's system has somehow decided are popular. It's a little strange seeing nonsense from strangers sitting in your Stream, to be honest.

As for the Ripples post sharing data, that's found within the drop-down menu to the right of each post. Click on that and an infographic appears, illustrating how your photograph of your shoes has spread around the world — and if any popular, big-time Google+ users have stumbled across it.

Oct 27, 2011

Three Eyed Fish Caught Outside a Nuclear Power Plant

Fishermen in Córdoba, Argentina caught athree-eyed wolf fish in a reservoir fed by a local nuclear power plant, which will surely hinder the plant's owner's attempt to run for local office.

The fishermen say their discovery, which actually bears no resemblance to Blinky the three-eyed fish from The Simpsons, has begun to worry local residents who live near the reactor. And instead of feasting on their catch, and presumably gaining superpowers from its probable high levels of radiation, the men have decided to let it be tested to see if the mutation was actually a result of it being exposed to the water from the nuclear plant. After that they plan to have it embalmed for posterity, or sell it to Fox as a promotional item for their long running, and eerily prophetic, animated series.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Only Fortified Glass, Not Gorilla Glass

Looks like Google's latest flagship Android phone is slightly less awesome than it was — no Corning Gorilla glass, just 'fortified glass'. Of course Samsung didn't actually speak about the glass originally, we just hoped-and-wished it was furnished in Gorilla.

Sony to Buy out Ericsson's Stake in Joint Venture, call it Quits After Ten Years

We all saw it coming and, sure enough, it's finally happened. After all the rumors and opaque comments, Sony has just bought out Ericsson's share of Sony Ericsson, effectively assuming ownership of the entire venture. Ericsson confirmed the buyout this morning, adding that it will receive a cash consideration of €1.05 billion in exchange for its 50 percent stake. Sony, meanwhile, will now have the chance to integrate smartphones more tightly within its arsenal of tablets, laptops and gaming devices. The agreement also gives Sony an IP cross-licensing agreement and ownership of "five essential patent families" pertaining to wireless tech, though the breadth of this coverage remains unclear. The separation won't be finalized, however, until January 2012, pending regulatory approval.

Oct 26, 2011

Recycled Re-Case Is Literally Garbage

Your fancy new iPhone deserves a fancy new case lest it get dinged, scratched or covered in unsightly fingerprints. But Miniwiz thinks you'd be better off wrapping it in discarded rice husks and plastic bottle caps, some of the ingredients that go into its completely recycled Re-Case.

The rice husks are reclaimed from farmers who usually dispose of them as agricultural waste, and are mixed with "post-consumer thermo-plastics" to create an engineered material known as Polliber. The rice husk material actually serves to strengthen the poly propylene plastic ingredients, which get slightly degraded during the recycling process. The new material can be created with minimal CO2 emissions, and the Re-Case, and its packaging, are completely recyclable themselves. But besides being better for the environment, the $25 case also features a contoured back allowing a user to stash an RFID security card inside, as well as that distinct textured finish of something that's been recycled, letting everyone know you put Earth first, you unkempt hippy. Get it here.

Mythical Snow-white N9 Spotted at Nokia World

Is it possible to improve on something as minutely refined as the Nokia N9 simply by adding another color variant? Well, that depends on what color weʼre talking about. Sure, we already have black, cyan, and magenta, but what weʼve been missing -- until now -- is white. Plain, simple, ethereal white. It happens to be one of the hardest hues for a manufacturer to pull off without making a handset look tacky, or making its surface susceptible to the general grubbiness of everyday life. But Nokia did a smart thing: it added a glossy coating that completely changes the look and feel of the device.

Nokia Unveils Purity HD Stereo Headset with a Little Help From Monster

Nokia doesn't just have phones on display, check out their new audio product, the Purity HD Stereo Headset by Monster. The line includes headphones and earbuds (Purity In-Ear Stereo Headset), whichever tickles your fancy, and with that trademark M on the side, you can bet they'll bear a healthy price tag when they hit shelves.

Oct 25, 2011

Windows XP Turns 10, Enjoys its Golden Years and Slow Transition Into Retirement

It's hard to believe that it was ten years ago today that Windows XP first hit retail shelves. It's even more astonishing when you realize that it was still the most popular operating system in the world until the beginning of this month. The sun may finally be setting on the stalwart OS that has powered countless home and business PCs (it crossed the 400 million mark way back in 2006), but it's still number two -- right behind it's youngest brother Windows 7 and well ahead of the black sheep, Vista. 

Sure, our relationship with Microsoft's OS has had its ups and downs, but it's clear we've developed an attachmentto the ol' bird. After all, consumer demand kept it shipping on PCs until late 2010 and Redmond has pledged to support it until April 8th of 2014. If nothing else, XP will be remembered for its incredibleresilience.

Stanford Builds Super-Stretchy Skin Sensor out of Carbon Nanotubes

An artificial skin that senses pressure, pinches and touch sounds like a macguffin from The Outer Limits, but that's what a team from Stanford University has cooked up on the back of its pick-up truck. Sensors made of silicon films with a matrix of liquid carbon nanotubes ensure the material snaps back to its original shape no matter how frequently it's pulled about. When compressed, the electrical conductivity of the skin changes, and by measuring where and by how much, it knows the location and pressure of where you jab your fingers.

The team wants to combine this super stretchy film with a much more sensitive sensor and if it can do it, then the technology could end up as an artificial skin for burn victims, covering prosthetic limbs or even replacing your multitouch display -- just be careful, you might hurt Siri if you pinch-to-zoom her too hard.

Tokyoflash Kisai Seven Tells Time with Tron Design, Makes fan Dreams Come true

Tokyoflash has always been more about the showy aspects of time, rather than the practical telling of it. And that trend continues on here with a Tron-inspired schema that's gone from original fan concept to wrist-wrapping product completion. Dubbed the Kisai Seven, this watch takes its cues from the aforementioned Disney flick, and incorporates two pulsing LED rings -- available in blue or white -- that are customizable via three animation pre-sets. Timepiece collectors interested in this bit of avantchronographic kit can snatch it up late night on the 25th when it's set to be released. You might wanna order up quickly, though, as the company's offering a special two-day only price of $99 that'll get a bump to $139 shortly after. Like what you see fellow '80s nostalgist? Then get your credit cards at the ready. Tomorrow's only a day away.

Oct 24, 2011

How Much the iPhone Camera Has Improved

When the first iPhone came out, the camera was an afterthought, only tossed in to feature match its competitors. Fast forward four years and it's an entirely different story, Apple has made it a point of emphasis and the camera in the iPhone 4S sh-sh-sh-shines.

But how much has it really improved? Lisa Bettany took the same picture with every iPhones (that's right, original, 3G, 3GS, 4, and 4S) to see the differences and PetaPixelstitched 'em together to show you how each new generation improved upon the previous model (aside from the original and 3G, that is). And it's a HUUUGE difference. Like seeing the world for the very first time again different. The 3GS was the first big jump in camera quality but then it just went up from there with the lovely 4 and the king of the hill, stupidly detailed 4S.

Turn Any Pair of Glasses into a Heads Up Display

Putting vital performance stats where they're always visible, the Sportiiiis adds a simple heads up display to almost any pair of glasses so an athlete doesn't have to glance down at a wrist monitor or smartphone to know if they're keeping pace.

The HUD easily straps to the arm of a pair of glasses, positioning a thin boom just below the wearer's right eye. And instead of using a complicated, cluttered stats display that's projected onto the lens, or even directly into the eye, the Sportiiiis has a simple set of seven colored LEDs that light up and flash to indicate an athlete's performance. The HUD wirelessly connects to existing performance monitors such as pedometers or heart rate chest straps using the ANT+ protocol, and the user can configure exactly how the LEDs light up in response to their current level of activity.

For example, the green LED in the middle could illuminate once they've reached their optimal heart rate, while the surrounding yellow LEDs would make it easy to tell when they're above or below their target. It could even be configured to serve as a simple speedometer while biking, or flash faster or slower based on the intensity of their current workout. The Sportiiiis also provides an audible cue of your current heart rate with a simple tap, while double tapping will easily switch between paired sensors currently in use. It will be available sometime in November for just $199, and come with more i's than any product name should ever need. More here.

Melanie Iglesias Halloween Flip Book

GoPro Launches HD Hero2 Helmet cam, Announces Video Streaming Wi-Fi Pack for Winter

Want to catch every frame of your next extreme sports wipeout in all of its grotesque glory? GoPro knows where you're coming from, and has updated its line of high definition helmet cams to help you capture every bone-breaking moment. The HD Hero2 competitively boasts that it's twice as powerful its 2009 predecessor, the original HD Hero. The new helmet cam promises to capture 1080p 16:9 footage from atop your sweaty noggin at both narrow (90-degree), wide (170-degree) and medium (127-degree) angles, and can snap up to ten 11 megapixel photos per second.

The camera's mini-HDMI port, composite out, USB, SD card and HERO ports will help you share the spoils of your spills when your adventure ends -- at least until this winter, when GoPro's WiFi BacPac promises to enable live broadcasting and camera control over WiFi. Best of all? The Hero2 kills the original HD Hero's confusing 3-digit code interface in favor of a simple language-based menu.

The HD Hero2 comes in three $300 configurations: outdoor, motorsports, and surf editions, all of which are compatible with existing accessories. Too rich for your blood? Then you'll be happy to know that the previous models are getting price drops -- $200 for the original HD Hero and a paltry $150 for its "960" variant. 

Oct 23, 2011

Remington’s Touchscreen Stubble Trimmer Offers Precise Adjustments

That trendy unshaven look usually requires a careful amount of shaving in the morning. So Remington has upgraded their beard and stubble trimmer with a slick touchscreen and an electronically controlled cutting blade that can be electronically adjusted for a precise amount of ruggedness.

The monochrome display, which sits just beneath the trimmer's plastic housing, provides details on its charge level, remaining run time and whether or not it's been locked. While a set of touch sensitive up and down arrows allows the height of the trimming blade to be adjusted to one of 175 different length options, from 0.4mm to 18mm. That blade's also titanium coated and self-sharpening, so it should be able to handle even the steel wool that grows on my face. And the $50 Touch Control Trimmer can be charged via a wall outlet, or from your laptop's USB port if you're a real multitasker in the morning. Get it here.

The iPod turns 10, Celebrates a Decade of Destroying Physical Media

It's hard to believe, but it's been exactly ten years since the iPod was first unveiled, ultimately changing the music industry forever. The iPod wasn't the first, it wasn't the smallest, it didn't have the largest hard drive, but it did have an iconic style and simple to use interface that led march away from CDs. When the history of Apple is written the iPod (perhaps more than the iMac, OS X or the iPhone) will be credited with helping spearhead the company's second coming. 

Over the years the music player has seen countless iterations and redesigns, and an expansion of the product line to include smaller devices and touch screens -- but for most it's the scroll wheel and white earbuds that define the iPod. Sure, what is now called the iPod classic hasn't seen a serious update since about 2007, but it still holds a special place in our hearts, especially for those of us who don't measure their music collection in a few dozen iTunes downloads.

Pixelated Mario Cushion From Japan’s Club Nintendo

The U.S. version of Nintendo's reward program, Club Nintendo, never seems to have quite the same caliber of awesome schwag as the original Japanese version. Items like the Wiimote TV remote that was never available here, and now this pixelated 8-bit Super Mario throw cushion.

Platinum members in Japan will have their choice of three new premiums including a 2012 calendar, a couple of game soundtracks from a handful of titles and this amazing Dot Mario Cushion featuring a pixelated version of the hero plumber from his old school Famicom days. Now given Mayan predictions, that 2012 calendar could be a real collector's item if the Earth does come to an end next year. But I'd take my chances with the cushion instead, ensuring my last days on the planet were at least comfy. The premiums are also available to members who cash in 400 points, so if you want all three and can afford it, I'd still say just get three pillows. More here.

Oct 22, 2011

A Surfboard Bag for Dedicated Beach Bums

Camping on the beach with the sound of the surf is a great way to relax, but when you're a surfer, it's also the easiest way to guarantee you won't miss a great wave when the tide rolls in. So the Wave Cave is kind of like an emergency shelter for a situation that's not really an emergency.

It's primarily designed for use as a padded case, capable of storing up to four surfboards of various sizes. But in a side pocket you'll find a pop-up tent that clips and zippers to the case, which doubles as a padded floor when empty for comfortable sleeping. The Wave Cave is available in three different sizes depending on how many boards you want to carry, and vary in price from about $260 to $315. It looks like each model provides the same amount of sleeping space when setup, and while the tent will protect you from the sun and the rain while you spend your days at the beach, it's not going to do much to keep your critical parents at bay.
Get it here.

Monster Slipper Is Sadly Too Good to Be True

Tom Boddingham only wanted a cool pair of monster foot slippers. What he received instead was a monster-sized slipper, after Chinese factory workers ignored an extremely crucial decimal point. Hurray for obvious marketing stunts!

The seven foot long shoe is in all likelihood just a stupid PR publicity scam for some brand of goofy monster slippers, but hell, I think they'd have more luck selling enormous house sneakers than they would with shoes actually meant to fit your foot. More here.

Scientists Capture Birth of New Planet on Camera

After all the pushing, squeezing and screaming, the universe has finally given birth to a new planet, in an eruption that two scientists managed to capture on film. The newborn pile of planetary pudge, named LkCa 15 b, was discovered by Drs. Michael Ireland and Adam Kraus, who, over the course of 12 months, successfully documented the event using Keck telescopes and a technique called aperture mask interferometry. Their findings, published in Astrophysical Journal describe a Jupiter-like gaseous planet that likely began forming some 50,000 to 100,000 years ago.

Located about 450 light years from Earth, it's also the youngest planet ever observed, having dethroned the previous record-holder, which was about five times older. According to Ireland and Kraus, the LkCa 15 b is still being formed out of a circle of dust and gas surrounding a 2-million-year-old star. By observing a "young gas giant in the process of formation," the researchers hope to find answers to fundamental questions that have long eluded them. "These very basic questions of when and where are best answered when you can actually see the planet forming, as the process is happening right now" 

Oct 21, 2011

USB Animal Cushions: Providing The Warmth You Never Had

Winter is creeping up. Luckily, your pet dog is there to greet you and offer the opportunity for a warming hug the minute you get home. But for animal lovers who are allergic to furs? Don't be discouraged — grabbing one of these USB Animal Cushions might be a solution.

They're no replacement for a real man's best friend, but they can get you toasty warm within a few seconds of a USB power. They also don't look as cute or have a face for that matter, but for $53, they're cheaper than owning an actual pet. And they won't wiggle away when you need that heat! The cushions come in three different colors with your choice of a dog or pig. Get it here.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus WiFi Hitting the US November 13th for $400, Available in 16GB

Nearly a month after its initial announcement, Samsung's ready to deliver the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus to the good ol' US of A just in time for the winter gift-giving season. The WiFi-only device, which packs a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU with 1GB of RAM, Android 3.2, 3MP camera with 720p HD video capture and a 7-inch LCD with 1024 x 600 resolution, will be begging for your credit card as of November 13th at Best Buy, Amazon and other retailers.

Are you an early adopter? No prob -- you'll have the opportunity to pre-order yours at "select retailers" this coming Sunday, though no specific outlets were called out by name. The 16GB is the only version arriving so far, but Sammy told us to expect the 32GB flavor later this year or early 2012 (likely for $499, if yesterday's brief appearance on Amazon is any indicator).

Turn Your Instagram Photos Into a Sweet-Ass iPhone Case

All those awesome shots you've put on Instagram have got to be good for something other than collecting internet dust, right? That is right, because now you can turn those photos into the coolest iPhone cases I've seen.

No, they're not gold-embossed or diamond-studded, but they're covered with your art. It's an elegant expression of who you are, and it's a truly unique case because only you can print your design. Casetagram has four layouts to choose from: even squares, even circles, uneven rectangles, or uneven circles, and you can choose whether you want it on a white case or a clear case. You just sign on with your Instagram ID, and pick the shots you want. Easy peasy.

This is one of the best uses of Instagram's API we've seen. You can get cases that fit the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, and they'll run you 35 bucks (which includes international shipping). Make one here.

Qaddafi Died Packing a Giant Golden Gun

Qaddafi: dictator, despot, dead, man of immense style. If you knew your reign of shitty terror was moribund, wouldn't you want to go out in style? And so he did, wielding this gold pistol to the very end.

The glistening piece was looted by Mohammed al-Babi, easily one of the most awesome dudes on the planet at the moment, who took it off Qaddafi's after he was shot up. This will be one hell of a family heirloom. So long, Moammar. You left behind a pretty awful legacy, but your taste for so-tacky-it's-cool weaponry was fine indeed.

Oct 20, 2011

HTC Rezound Render Resoundingly Revealed

The first renders of the HTC Rezound have appeared online, thanks to some of the device's cases going up for pre-order. You can see that, like the Sensation XE, the phone has red-glowing soft keys -- a bit of a departure from HTC's traditionally conservative design language.

 If you recall, the phone formerly called Vigor is said to have a 4.3-inch screen, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB RAM, Beats Audio and an 8MP rear camera. Now that you know what the Verizon 4G cellular telephone will look like, you'll be able to pick one out of a lineup when it's available, which should be on November 10th for $300 on contract.

OCZ Pushes Access-Time Boundaries With Octane and Octane-S2 SSDs

OCZ Technology's pushing SSDs on step further this morning, with the introduction of the Octane SATA 6Gbps and Octane-S2 SATA 3Gbps SSDs. These guys promise "record-breaking access times" and up to 1TB of capacity, with Indilinx Everest internals playing things out on the inside. Oddly enough, the company claims that this is the world's first SSD to hit 1TB, but in fact, we saw the first one from pure Silicon way back in early 2009. At any rate, the company claims that these guys can deliver up to 560MB/sec of bandwidth and 45,000 IOPS, and they rely on a proprietary page mapping algorithms allow for steady mixed-workload performance. 

The Octane series also includes a number of features unique to Indilinx -- including latency reduction technology -- enabling both read and write access times as low as 0.06ms and 0.09ms, respectively. Aside from that 1TB flagship, there will also be 128GB, 256GB and 1TB models, and while no pricing details are being outed just yet, we're told to expect around $1.10 to $1.30 per gigabyte. Interested? They'll start shipping on November 1st.

Sony Ericsson Bringing Ice Cream Sandwich to Xperia Handsets?

HTC may be busy pondering its Android 4.0 future, but Sony Ericsson is apparently ready to take a bite out of Google's Ice Cream Sandwich. Yesterday, in a post on its Facebook page, Sony Ericsson's Dutch branch stated that it will indeed upgrade its Xperia lineup to the latest Android OS, though it didn't offer any details on release dates.
Sony Ericsson is currently rolling out the upgrade to Gingerbread 2.3.4 across its entire 2011 Xperia smartphone portfolio. This software upgrade will be available through a phased roll out in select markets. Beyond Gingerbread 2.3.4, we plan to upgrade our 2011 Xperia smartphone portfolio to the next Android platform made available to us.
The company went on to say that all official software announcements will be posted on its blog.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Song!

Oct 19, 2011

What Should the Next Android Be Called?

Ice Cream Sandwich here! Ice Cream Sandwich is here! And in the world of Android, that can only mean one thing (besides a bunch of nerds whining about not having their update yet): Oh god I need to know what's next.

The name might already be settled, but for now, what you think will be coming down the pipe in the next iteration of Android, and more importantly, what alphabeticalized dessert it'll be named after.

Google Encrypts Search for Users, Paranoiacs Unsure how to Respond

When Al Gore first created the internet (hard wink, everybody),  the plan was for Big Brother to collect your data, not Silicon Valley titans. Now Google, the company that mainly tends the gates to the web's vast array of information, is stepping up to its "Do No Evil" motto, and making encrypted search the norm -- for account users. While Gmail's long had SSL set as a default login, good ol' Joe Public's had to specifically access Mountain View's dedicated encrypted search page for anonymous surfing privileges. No longer, as Gmail users signed in to Goog's suite of web services will be automatically redirected to where their searches and results will be hidden from prying eyes. The protection doesn't extend out to web advertisements, so those specific clicks willdeliver the same metric-relevant info that helps marketers optimize their hyper-targeting. 

Samsung's Galaxy Nexus Gets Official: Android 4.0, 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED Display

Wait no more. Google and Samsung have just made the long-awaited Galaxy Nexus. Those with bantam hands need not apply, as this 4.65-inch behemoth is bound to bring back talk of Sidetalkin'. Naturally, Ice Cream Sandwich is onboard, with Google finally revealing the version number as 4.0. Other specs include an HD Super AMOLED display (1,280 x 720), a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 5 megapixel rear camera (with LED flash), a 1.3 megapixel front-facing cam, 1080p video recording and playback, a newfangled panorama mode, a 3.5mm headphone jack and Bluetooth 3.0. You'll also find USB 2.0, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, an embedded NFC module, accelerometer, compass, gyro, proximity sensor and even a barometer -- yeah, a barometer. Finishing things out, there's 1GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of internal storage space and a 1,750mAh battery. As for radios? There's an HSPA+ model on tap, while an LTE version will "be available depending on region."

Focusing on Ice Cream Sandwich for a tick, Android 4.0 will bring "an entirely new look and feel to Android," boasting a redesigned user interface, bolstered multitasking / notifications, full-on NFC support and a new People app, which enables users to browse friends, family and coworkers' photos whilst peeking their status updates from Google+. ICS also introduces Face Unlock, which taps into facial recognition protocols in order to unlock your handset. And then there's Android Beam, an NFC-based technology that allows you to "quickly share webpages, apps and YouTube videos by simply tapping two phones together." According to Goog, the "lock screen, home screen, phone app and everything in between has been rethought and redesigned," and this is quite the beastly phone to launch with.

Oct 18, 2011

Splatter Some Pumpkin Guts with This Jack-O-Lantern Drill Bit

Not sure why, but the thought of gooping out all the slimy mess from inside a pumpkin makes me a bit queasy. This Halloween, I'm going to keep my hands clean and give this power-drill-propelled Pumpkin Gutter a shot.

The Pumpkin Gutter by Dakota Products looks and works much like the beater wand from a hand mixer, except this is designed to fit into a standard drill chuck. Its fast-spinning steel blade quickly and cleanly tears out all the stringy material and slime without damaging the seeds. It can even thin the pumpkin's walls for more elaborate Jack-O-Lanterns. Get it for $12 here.

OmniTouch Projection Interface Makes the World Your Touchscreen

Sometimes you just want to make notes on your forearm. Put that permanent marker down though, because PhD student Chris Harrison at Microsoft Research have created a new system that allows touchscreen interaction on hairy and uneven surfaces. It uses a short-range depth camera instead of the infrared sensor we've seen on similar devices, which allows it to gauge the viewing angle and other characteristics of surfaces being used -- and it can even handle pinch-to-zoom.

Logitech M525 Wireless Mouse Lasts Three Years on a Single pair of Batteries

That is the Logitech M525 wireless mouse, a rather unassuming hunk of plastic and rubber with a scroll wheel that also tilts for navigating pages both horizontally and vertically. Sure, you get your choice of white or black, for what that's worth, but probably the most distinguishing feature is the battery life. This £35 ($40) pointer gets up to three years on a single pair of AAs. In the states you get a few more color options, including green and blue, and all versions use Logitech's proprietary wireless connection, which lets you connect up to six devices to a single tiny dongle. The M525 is available now in the US and should be available in the UK before the month is out.

Oct 17, 2011

iPhone 4S hits Four Million in Sales After First Weekend

How did you spend your weekend? If you're Apple, the answer is simple, really: selling a whole lot of iPhones. Cupertino this morning announced that iPhone 4S sales have reached four million -- quite an impressive number compared to what its predecessor was capable of, a fact no doubt helped by the addition of some carriers, like Verizon and Sprint here in the States. The handset is currently available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK, with plenty more countries coming by the end of the year.

LG DoublePlay Makes its Official Intro on T-Mobile, Offers Dual-Screens and Split Keyboard

Where have all the split-keyboard phones gone? It's been roughly seven years since the days of the Nokia 6820, a messaging device with an innovative form factor, but handsets with a similar mold have become extreme rarities in the market -- if they even make it to the market at all (remember the MotoSplit?). LG's hoping to gain some ground in this area by officially announcing the DoublePlay, a unique Android 2.3 handset with dual touchscreens and split QWERTY. Here's the scoop: the DoublePlay's powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU and offers a 5MP rear-facing camera capable of capturing 720p HD video. 

Where it gets interesting, however, is in the DoublePlay's design -- it uses a 3.5-inch display on top, sliding out to reveal a 2-inch internal screen sandwiched in between both halves of the keyboard. As it turns out, both screens can be used separately or in tandem with each other, depending on your needs. No pricing or availability was specifically announced, but the presser appears to coincide with the 2011 National Texting Championship beginning October 26th, so the phone will likely launch around the same time. Perhaps we have a device here that'll be a legend in another seven years?

Oct 16, 2011

There’s No Such Thing as Too Many Handles on a Suitcase

Unless you travel with just the clothes on your back, you're going to be spending part of your vacation awkwardly wrangling a heavy suitcase through airports and in and out of taxis. Cursing American Tourist for their single handle designs all the while.

You'd think that by now luggage manufacturers would have realized this and provided ample places to grip, pull and tug a heavy suitcase. But they haven't. Instead, it took a Quirky inventor to come up with a third-party solution called the Lift. It's literally nothing more than an adjustable, heavy-duty, nylon t-strap that wraps around a suitcase. But what makes it awesome is the inclusion of extra handles located all over the strap, making the whole kit and caboodle easier to lift. It attaches with plastic seatbelt-like buckles so you can easily pop it off for inevitable luggage inspections, and is currently available for pre-sale on Quirky for just $24 get it here.

Colorware Spills its Inks on Your iPhone 4S, Charges Dearly for it

You didn't think the latest iPhone would be saved from Colorware's paint-dipped hands, did you?
Lo and behold, the company's swatches are currently ready for application on the 4S. Similar to its iPhone 4 treatments, you'll be able to spice up your device -- and its earbuds -- with a mixture of glossy, metallic and soft-touch coatings (excluding mainly the front face, which remains stock black or white). Colorware'll gladly sell you a fresh 16 or 64GB model for a whopping $1,500 or $1,700, respectively, or you can mail yours in to get a Benetton-esque makeover for just $250. More here.

Japan’s Latest Radiation Scare Was Caused by Nuclear Paint

The elevated radiation levels discovered in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward have been confirmed—thankfully—as not having originated from the damaged Fukushima power plant. So what was causing the Geigers to jump? A stash of radium-226 under a home's floorboards.

The mystery, though, is how they got there.

Japan's Science Ministry discovered the cache Thursday which consisted of numerous bottles and vials containing a white, powdered substance believed to be radium. Some containers bore the label, Nihon Yako ("Luminous Japan")— radium-226 can be used as a luminous paint.

Radiation levels at the surface of the bottles measured 600 microsieverts per hour. The elderly owner of the home said she was unaware of the materials stored beneath her. She reportedly had lived in the home from 1953 until February of this year while receiving about 30 mSv of exposure annually. Radium, when inhaled or ingested, accumulates in the bones and for every 100 mSv of exposure, increases one's chances of dying from cancer by one half percent.

Authorities have removed the isotopes from the property and stored them at a radioactive isotope disposal agency for the duration of their 1,600-year half life.

Oct 15, 2011

Celebrating 50 Years of Space Flight with Corn Mazes?

With what has to be the first crop circles officially confirmed to be related to space travel, NASA is continuing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of manned space flight with a series of complex corn mazes highlighting their achievements.

Space Farm 7, as the program's called, has enlisted seven of the top agritourism farms across the country to each create a unique, elaborate corn maze that highlights the progress and successes of the agency since it put a man into orbit. The mazes are strategically located near NASA's research centers, and each design represents the unique contributions made by each location. 

Windows 7 Overtakes XP Globally, Vista Found Weeping in a Corner

According to StatCounter, it's taken roughly two years for Redmond's latest to surpass XP and become the world's most popular operating system. October 2011 marks the first time that Windows 7 has overtaken XP globally, with a 40 percent share of the market versus the latter's 38. As for Vista, it's been holding steady at around 11. Not that it's much of a surprise, as in North America, Windows 7 took the crown back in April of this year. Rounding out the top five, are OS X (though it's not clear whether that captures all of Cupertino's beasts) and Linux, which come in at 7 and 0.82 percent respectively.

NVIDIA Intros 3D Vision 2 Glasses With Brighter Field of View, Comfier Design

NVIDIA's 3D Vision is impressive and all, but one trade-off you'll have to accept when you put on those active shutter glasses is a markedly dimmer field of view than what you'd get if you settled for plain-Jane 2D gaming. Well, the outfit just unveiled the second generation of the technology -- appropriately named 3D Vision 2 -- and this go 'round it promises not to strain your vision quite so much. These shutter glasses have a lens that's 20 percent larger, promising a brighter experience. As an added perk, the frames have been rejiggered to be lighter and more flexible so that you can comfortably wear headphones without pinching your lobes.

As for the newest 3D Vision monitors and laptops, those panels promise reduced ghosting, as well as 120Hz 2D gaming. If a new rig's not in the cards, the company also assures us that these glasses will be backward compatible with older 3D Vision panels. Look for them this month in the form of either standalone frames ($99) or as part of a $149 kit.

Oct 14, 2011

It’s A Case! It’s A Battery! It’s A Projector! It’s … ALL OF THEM

Sometimes, smartphone screens are just not big enough. Linking it to a projector is helpful but it's hardly portable and before you know it, the battery's gone. The Monolith, a triple-threat iPhone case that works as a projector and a battery pack, can light up your room while keeping your gear booboo-free.

The case, made by Japanese accessory maker Century, is said to be capable of providing about three hours of image projection at sizes up to 60 cm (in 16:9 format), in 640×360 resolution, with a 1,000:1 contrast ratio. But with a brightness of a mere 12 lumens, it's certainly no makeshift movie theater. At best, you'll probably end up using it for a viral video party … if you're entertained by three hours of that stuff.

If you are (and I'm not judging you!), you won't have to worry about killing your battery life; the 1,900 mAh battery will either cancel out the drain or boost your iPhone's lifespan up to 50 percent without projector usage and takes four hours to fully charge. For $260, it's a pricey battery pack, but you can decide whether the novelty of having a handy projector is worth the investment. The monolith is available in black or white. More here.

Stow Your Buds on Your Wrist

Finally, a Live Strong-style bracelet that does more than serve as a smug fashion accessory!

The Budwrap is a silicone wrist strap that securely stores your ear buds. You just tuck the buds under two integrated flaps, wrap the loose wire around it and insert the jack into a small hole in the band.

This Kickstarter project is getting funded and for the next three days (until the campaign ends) Budwrap is giving away a free, bonus bracelet for donations of $15 or more. More here.