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.

May 14, 2011

HTC Thunderbolt Inductive Charging

That inductive-charging backplate for the HTC Thunderbolt just came out, which means keeping the battery-devouring device juiced is about to get a little less inconvenient. Instead of having to plug in three times a day just to keep that LTE radio happy you'll simply be able to rest it on a charging mat... three times a day. The part made a brief appearance in the Verizon shop for $39, but the rumored April release date came and went without so much as a peep from Big Red. 

1080p Mobile Screen Slaps Retina Display in the Mouth

The iPhone 4's screen looks delicious—but Ortus Technology's got an even dreamier looking display, packing a 1920x1080 resolution into a scant 4.8 inches. That's 458 pixels per inch, as opposed to the iPhone's 326.

Now roughly five inch display—though the world's smallest 1080p—is in awkward place. It's way too big for a phone, and way too small for a tablet. 

Apple Patent Keyboard Blows Air

A patent application from Apple, filed in 2009 now revealed, aims to improve the user experience by "expelling air from the input device proximate the key when user selection is imminent." That's right -- your keyboard could blow on your fingertips as you blow my mind in the comments. Another solution in the patent would function like a vacuum to pull keys away when a proximity sensor detects that you're about to type, providing simulated feedback. If this concept takes off in the future, your next MacBook Air could really live up to its name.

May 13, 2011

Samsung’s Foldable Display Will Let You Stuff Giant Tablets in Your Pants

Tiny tablets' major advantage over the 10-inch crowd: They'll fit in your pocket. Samsung's latest foldable, creaseless AMOLED display will let you fold a tablet in half—effectively making bigger tablets pocketable.

Back in 2008, the South Korean company showcased a foldable OLED mobile phone at the FPD conference for display manufacturers. The technology was stunning back then but it suffered from one major flaw — the hinge required for folding produced a crease in the middle of the display.

The electronics manufacturer has removed this imperfection using a combination of silicone rubber, two protective glass panels and a pair of AMOLED displays. The AMOLED displays are mounted seamlessly next to each other on a flat piece of silicone rubber, two glass panels are placed on top of the AMOLED panels, both to protect the displays and let you use them as touchscreens. This rubber sandwich is then mounted in a case and folded in half.

The magic in this equation lies in the silicone rubber which is hyper-elastic and lets you fold it 180 degrees with a hinge less than 1mm. The researchers were able to fold the display over 100,000 times with minimal effect on the optical quality of the AMOLED (just a 6 percent brightness loss at the crease) or the elasticity of the rubber. This system is better than other foldable OLED technologies as it uses components that are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Fujitsu's TH40/D Convertible Tablet Slides Into Japan, Packs Atom Z670 and Windows 7

A slide-out tablet running on Windows 7, you say? Inside this 2.4-pound convertible laptop you'll find a 1.5GHz Oak Trail Atom Z670, 1GB of non-expandable DDR2 RAM, a 10.1-inch 1,024 x 600 touchscreen, a 120GB 4200rpm hard drive, and a battery life of around 6 hours. Other tidbits include 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, a couple of USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, an SD card slot, and a teeny optical trackpad placed next to the short space bar. If you still want one, then be ready to fork out about ¥80,000 ($990) at the end of June.

May 12, 2011

Adapter-Friendly Power Strips Never Get Old

The Pivot Power strip isn't the first to try and solve the bulky power adapter problem. And like others, its rotating design probably won't top the Power Squid in sheer utility. But others aren't nearly as attractive as this one.

Why You Should Never Ever Post Your Mom’s Photo on a Message Board

The internet is a cruel place. We're all pretty well caught up on that by now, yes? More so, anyhow, than this unfortunate LSU Tigers fan, who asked a message board at Tigerdroppings to fix up a picture of his blessed mum. You can probably guess what happened next.

The torrent of Photoshops and gifs was unrelenting; everything from the Mona Lisa to Austin Powers.

May 11, 2011

Play Angry Birds Online, Right Now, for Free

Google isn't above killing a little productivity to prove the power of its web browser. The search engine king has released a special free browser-based version of Rovio's avian-flinging sensation Angry Birds on the Chrome Web Store, just to prove it can be done.

Announced earlier today at the Google I/O Conference in San Francisco, the new browser-based version of Angry Birds is a testament to how far Google's Chrome browser has come in a short time. According to Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Chrome, Angry Birds in a web browser wouldn't have been possible a year ago. With a graphics rendering speed ten-times-faster than earlier versions, today's Chrome can make it happen.

The free version of Angry Birds features the game's first level, Poached Eggs, along with a set of exclusive Chrome-themed levels. You can install it now via the Chrome Web Store. It runs rather nicely, and as an added bonus, remains cached for offline play.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got pigs to kill.

An iPad Keyboard That Lays On Top of the iPad

The iKeyboard lays on top of your iPad and has cutouts that fit the iPad's keyboard perfectly. There's a thin layer of film within each key cutout that when pressed, presses into the iPad key. Not only does that film let you rest your hands on the keyboard without touching the screen, it gives you that tactile feedback that most of us need. And since it's not really a keyboard itself, the overall size of the iKeyboard is much smaller than the Apple Bluetooth keyboard. You can find it here.

Sharp Aquos Phone SH-12C Has 3D Cameras

The HTC EVO 3D and LG Optimus 3D just got themselves a new buddy in the three-dee picture-taking arena in the shape of Sharp's Aquos Phone SH-12C. We know, that name just rolls off the tongue. What's remarkable about the 12C is that the dual cameras on its back go all the way up to 8 megapixels (to the EVO 3D's 5), which will be creating quite the tasty workload for the 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 chip contained within. A qHD (540 x 960) screen resolution also keeps up with HTC's latest, though the 4.2-inch, 3D-capable display on the Aquos offers more pixel density and less in absolute real estate. Android 2.3, replete with some evident customizations, will serve as the OS, and 720p video recording in 3D will also be available when Sharp launches the 12C in Japan on May 20th.

May 10, 2011

Google Ice Cream Sandwich

"One OS that runs everywhere." There you have it, folks! Google intends to meld its Honeycomb tablet wares and Gingerbread smartphone software into one delicious Ice Cream Sandwich. Maybe that's why the "sandwich" bit is in the name? Either way, it'll be a universal OS that runs on everything from teeny tiny Android phones to 10-inch tablets and will intelligently adapt to each form factor with things like a resizable status bar. Some other fancy new additions were added, including face-tracking and camera focus shifting based on voice recognition, but most of the salient details remain under lock and key for now. 

This iPhone Finds Landmines

Your iPhone can find a lot of stuff: taxis, toilets, caf├ęs, nearby sexual partners. How cute! And pitiable. While you've been scouting the best place to poop, Harvard researchers are working on an app that finds landmines.

Landmines detection is still surprisingly rudimentary: a human being waves a metal detector over the ground, and listens for audible cues that's there's something metal underground. But that poses a lot of problems. There's a lot of metal junk in the ground where stuff is blowing up all the time. Worse, operators have to be able to pick out mines from debris without losing life or limb. They do that by listening to beeps as they make passes trying to figure out what shape that metal thing underground is. It's hard!

Enter PETALS: pattern enhancement tool for assisting land mine sensing. The basic idea is that it allows anyone, even an inexperienced sweeper, to determine if there's a landmine and where it is. The app receives data from a metal detector and creates a visualization of the spatial pattern below ground. It helps reduce judgement calls in determining if something is or isn't a mine, making de-mining easier, safer and faster.

May 9, 2011

ASUS Eee PC 1015PX Netbook Now Shipping

Heads up, netbook enthusiasts: the ASUS Eee PC 1015PX is now available for stateside delivery. Essentially an upgrade to last year's 1015PEM, this puppy rocks a 10.1-inch, 1024 x 600 display and houses a 1.66Ghz Intel Atom N570 dual-core CPU. It also comes equipped with a 250GB hard disk, up to 2GB of DDR3 memory, Bluetooth 3.0 capabilities, LAN and VGA ports, and a 0.3-megapixel camera.

Buyers have the choice between two models: the MU17, which promises a ten hour battery life and the PU17, designed for an eleven hour run. Despite their battery-related differences, both models weigh 2.76-pounds and are available on Amazon for $320 and $390, or on Newegg for $330 and $350, respectively.

Julian Assange Thinks Facebook Is the "Most Appalling Spy Machine That Has Ever Been Invented”

In an interview with Russia Today, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange went all conspiracy theorist on Facebook. He says:
Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented. Here we have the worlds most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their location their communication with each other, their relatives all accessible to US intelligence.
Assange didn't out and declare Facebook was working in cahoots with US intelligence but said that:
Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies, and building this database for them
Julian Assange! What a guy. Watch the whole interview at Russia Today.

Samsung's 75-inch D9500 3D TV Announced in Korea

3D is best served on a large plate, this 75-inch platter, dubbed D9500, has stolen the short-lived crown off LG's 72-inch LZ9700 to become the world's largest LED-backlit 3D LCD HDTV, and obviously Samsung's still staying faithful to its active shutter 3D technology following its recent price drop on its glasses. 

The 240Hz display will also come with the usual Smart TV features, garnished by a QWERTY flip remote for your web-browsing and SNS needs on that large screen. Oddly enough, only an ex-factory price of a whooping ₩19,000,000 ($17,600), so customers will have to pay a bit more than that during the pre-sales at the end of the month.

Easily Distracted People May Have Too Much Brain

Those who are easily distracted from the task in hand may have "too much brain". So says Ryota Kanai and his colleagues at University College London, who found larger than average volumes of grey matter in certain brain regions in those whose attention is readily diverted.

To investigate distractibility, the team compared the brains of easy and difficult-to-distract individuals. They assessed each person's distractibility by quizzing them about how often they fail to notice road signs, or go into a supermarket and become sidetracked to the point that they forget what they came in to buy. The most distractible individuals received the highest score.

The team then imaged the volunteers' brains using a structural MRI scanner. The most obvious difference between those who had the highest questionnaire scores – the most easily distracted – and those with low scores was the volume of grey matter in a region of the brain known as the left superior parietal lobe (SPL). Specifically, the easily distracted tended to have more grey matter here.

May 8, 2011

Charge Your Gadgets With Solar Panels and Moving Furniture

Wander through MIT's Killian Court and you'll spot something distinctly modern nestled amongst its classical buildings -- a set of solar-powered lounge chairs called SOFT Rockers. These curved, solar-panel-covered seats rotate on an axis to keep them facing the sun, generating additional energy from the rocking motion created when people climb inside. All that harvested electricity can be used to recharge gadgets plugged into the three USB ports and to illuminate a light strip on the inside of the loop.

Take iPhone Photos, Get Paid

That's what Gigwalk promises at least, providing you the chance to make some money for snapping some street shots with your phone if you're in the right place.

It's simple: you sign up, enter your PayPal info, and look on the map to pick up a nearby "gig." TechCrunch uses Gigwalk's client TomTom as an example, explaining that the navigation company could use the photos from GigWise users to verify information about streets, such as signs, lights, points of interest or one-way paths. Small gigs pay as little as $3. Others pay as much as $90.

PQI’s USB 3.0 Is the World’s Smallest Flashdrive

We're living in the Dropbox era-I can beam an album, text, or naked pictures to anyone in the world without the need for barbaric physical media. Still, when it comes time for heavy lifting—say, swapping TV seasons with an office buddy or collaborating with obese HD video files, having a blazing, tiny USB drive can be a godsend. This little sucker just might be the logical conclusion of the flashdrive.

May 7, 2011

World's Biggest CMOS Sensor Could Help Doctors Detect and Treat Cancer

Move over, Canon, because scientists at the University of Lincoln have just seized the crown for world's biggest CMOS image sensor with their new Dynamic range Adjustable for Medical Imaging Technology microchip -- or 'DyNAMITe,' for short. Measuring a hefty 12.8 square cm (or about five square inches), DyNAMITe is roughly 200 times bigger than the chips you'd find in most PCs, making it the largest imager ever made on a wafer of standard, eight-inch diameter. This extra girth allows the active pixel sensor to capture images in high detail, with a 100-micrometer pitch boasting 1280 x 1280p aligned next to a 50-micron layer, carrying 2560 x 2560p. 
It can also run at up to 90fps and withstand high levels of radiation for several years, making it ideal for medical imaging, including radiotherapy and mammography. Researchers say these enhanced images could help doctors detect cancer in its earliest phases, while allowing them to monitor radiotherapy treatments more closely.

Creative ZEN M300

Secretly want an iPod nano? Creative's ZEN M300 is like a slightly jumbo-er nano—but it plays video, has a microSD card slot, is Bluetooth and doesn't force you to use a thumbnail-sized touchscreen.

What matters most, though, is that it isn't made by Apple, right? Out in June, it starts at $50 for 4GB, and goes up to $90 for 16GB. 

Google Searches Around the Globe Visualized

Using WebGL and different color crayons for each language, the coders at Mountain View have put together the above Search Globe, which presents a single day's worth of Google queries in a beautiful, skyscraper-infused visualization.

A Weather-Proof Sneaker

The outer layer is hand-crafted using an updated form of Ventile, a densely-knit cotton fabric invented by the British Navy to protect pilots shot down in the North Sea during WWII. That, along with a construction process that employs only two exterior stitches, should keep your feet dry and warm no matter what weather you're riding through.

The inner is made from a double layer of French calf leather (because socks are for hobos) and the outsole uses Vibram rubber over vegetable leather to maintain a solid grip on the pedals. You can find them  here.

May 6, 2011

Jaguar Million-Dollar C-X75 Hybrid Supercar in 2013

The British automaker has just announced its intention to produce a limited run of 250 C-X75 supercars in partnership with Formula 1 team Williams, however the retail model will eschew the craziest aspect of the original design -- the twin turbine engines at the back. Those will be replaced with a four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine, which will aid the four electric motors (one attached to each wheel). Don't worry, though, this tweak has actually made the C-X75 accelerate even faster, as it's now rated to go from 0 to 60mph in under three seconds. 2013 is when the earliest production of this road-faring beast is expected to commence, with prices starting at £700,000 ($1.15 million), and there's even a glimmer of hope that a version with the gas turbines will also be built at some point down the line.

Samsung's Shutter Glasses Fets a Price Cut

Following its pledge to make 3D TV experience more affordable, Samsung's just announced a price drop on the rest of its active shutter glasses lineup.

 The entry-level SSG-3100GB went from $129.99 down to just $49.99 last month; and now the better-looking SSG-3300CR plus SSG-3300GR reduced by $50 down to $129.99, along with the swanky SSG-3700CR(pictured above) getting a $70 discount to just $149.99. Of course, these premium spectacles are still far from affordable compared to their passive counterparts, so it'll be interesting to see if Samsung's attempt to lure more 3D viewers will work at all.

May 5, 2011

Osama’s Hideout on Google Maps

Osama bin Laden was camped out in a Pakistani mansion—and in typical internet fashion, it's already pinpointed on Google. The mapper's anonymous, but they reveal strange things—police station neighbors?

Sony Ericsson Announces new Generation of Xperia Smartphones

Sony Ericsson has just outed a brand new pair of compact Xperia smartphones. The new Xperia Mini will run Android Gingerbread (2.3) on a 3-inch, multitouch, scratch-resistant display, which comes with Sony's proprietary Bravia Engine with Reality Display. There's a 1GHz processor inside, access to Android Market, and home screen customization with custom shortcuts available in the four corners of the screen. A 30 percent improvement in battery life is also touted, courtesy of a larger cell. SE is also pretty jolly about having the world's smallest smartphone capable of recording video in 720p HD. You'll be able to grab yours in one of four different colors this August.

Samsung SENS-240 Navigation Tablet

According to Akihabara News, the SENS-240 uses Bluetooth to take over your voice, data, voice search, and even "video features" from your smartphone when driving. You can then control the SENS-240 using your smarpthone or tablet as an "advanced" remote when idle. Tthe SENS-240 comes packing 256MB of RAM, USB-host mode, and an SD slot in addition to a 1.43GHz processor said to be powerful enough to handle 3D maps, video, or DMB TV on that 7-inch, 800 x 480 pixel display, it's Korea-only for now.

May 4, 2011

World’s Tiniest Video Camera

Just a few weeks ago, the world's tiniest video camera was as small as a grain of rice. Today, the world's nanoest camera is even smaller.

It's made by medical device company Medigus, and it's only 0.99mm wide. The measly fraction of a millimeter doesn't seem like much, but it means a lot in the world of endoscopic/medical procedures. Using a 0.66 x 0.66mm CMOS sensor, this puniest of cameras produces images with a resolution of 45,000 pixels (just under 1/20th of a megapixel).

This Mousepad Never Wears Out

Say what you will about the silliness of gaming mousepads, but Razer's new Goliathus has a serious selling point: A new textured weave and anti-fraying stitched frame allows you to tear ass without tearing up your mousepad. The smaller pad starts at $15, and they go up to $25 for larger surfaces.

The Classy Cord Tamer

Cords! All gadgets have 'em. They're everywhere. And there are a million different ways to deal with them. But this cord tamer from Pinza  is prettier than most, cast from solid stainless steel and hand-polished. $26

May 3, 2011

Origami Laptop

The teeny MacBook Air has tried inserting itself between the two, but for those of us who prefer a full-sized screen, Niels van Hoof's Feno laptop concept could be the answer.

Well, if it were more than pixels on our screens, that is. The designer suggests flexible OLEDs could be used on laptops so they could fold up in three, making them smaller and lighter than before. I like how it's still wide enough to slide a CD in, and that there's also room for a little pop-out mouse. It'll never get turned into a real product of course, but it's nice to dream isn't it?

Vodafone lets Londoners Pay For Taxis via Text Message

Mobile payment systems may be gaining only gradual steam in the US, but over on the other side of the pond, Vodafone UK has launched a broad new campaign to integrate smartphone technology where Londoners may need it most -- in the back of taxis. As of today, many cab passengers will be able to charge their smartphones in transit, thanks to a wide range of chargers that the mobile carrier has installed in more than 500 of London's iconic black vehicles. Vodafone is also rolling out a new payment scheme today, whereby cash-strapped travelers can text their cab's license number to a specific code, allowing any owed fares to be charged directly to their phone bills. The system certainly doesn't sound as elegant as some of the NFC-based operations we've heard about, but it still beats having to navigate your cab driver to the nearest ATM, with the meter tick-tocking away.

LG Blade Laptops Bedazzle With Slim Bezels, Aluminum Bodies, and Core i7

The 14-inch P430 and 15.6-inch P530 mark the start of LG's new Blade series of laptops, which are the result of some obsessive slimming work at the LG labs -- display thickness is 4.5mm and 4.7mm, respectively, while the bezel on the 14-inch model is so narrow as to fit its screen within the dimensions of a traditional 13.3-inch laptop. Weight, at 1.94kg on the P430 and 2.2kg on P530, is also said to be on par with machines offering significantly smaller screens, but that's not at the sacrifice of construction materials as brushed aluminum is used to strengthen LG's new slimsters. A Core i7 CPU and GeForce GT520M GPU will provide the internal firepower, though the rest of the hardware specs are as yet unannounced. The P430 will launch in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America at the end of May, to be followed by the P530 in June.

May 2, 2011

Samsung Sliding PC 7 Series Now Available for $649 Amazon Pre-order

According to Amazon's listing, the 7 Series should ship with many of the same specs: a 10-inch touchscreen with 1366 x 768-resolution, dual front and rear cameras (1.3 and 3.0 megapixels, respectively), a 32GB SSD, 2GB of RAM and, of course, Intel's 1.5GHz Atom Oak Trail Z670 processor, which was originally scheduled to launch in March, before being pushed back to May. The slider will also run on Windows 7 Home Premium, and come equipped with 802.11b/g/n WiFi. When it debuted earlier this year, the Series 7 boasted optional 3G and WiMax features, as well as a six-cell battery that claimed to last up to nine hours on a single charge. And, at $649, it's even a little cheaper than expected.

Biological Viruses Might Actually Give Us Better Solar Power

Boffins at MIT have discovered that a genetically modified version of the M13 virus can actually increase the efficiency of solar cells, to as much as a third greater efficiency. This means converting sunlight to electricity wouldn't take so darn long, and perhaps even more electricity out of mother nature's rays, as well.

Fooling around with viruses at the microscopic level is only a tiny process, but has extraordinary benefits. In fact, MIT's researchers have only added 0.1 per cent extra weight to the finished solar cells, but as Professor Belcher says, "a little biology goes a long way."

May 1, 2011

Gigabyte's S1080 Windows Tablet

Looks like Gigabyte's S1080 tablet, which landed in Taiwan earlier this month, is getting ready to hit shelves in the US. The 10.1-inch Windows 7 slate stopped by the FCC, where it got cracked open and had its silicon-packed innards exposed for the camera. There's nothing new to glean here -- specs are still the same (dual-core Atom, 320GB hard drive, etcetera).

Finger-Nose Smartphone Stylus

Finally! For those of us who happen to take our smartphones into the bath with us—admit it—Dominic Wilcox has the answer. It's a stylus wrapped in plaster that you wear on your nose to peck at your phone.

As insane as this sounds and looks, it does what its supposed to. Nevermind the fact that you shouldn't get your phone or tablet wet with whatever is on your hands when you use it. Just take the extra time to put your Finger-Nose on, and away you go.

I can just barely see using this indoors for those guilty moments when I need an almost hands-free solution for my iPhone. I really want to see this catch on just to see professionals walking around looking like characters out of a Tim Burton movie. There is literally no downside.