Hardware

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Netgear’s Arlo security camera spin-off files for IPO

Netgear’s Arlo wing has been a surprise hit for the networking company. The line of cameras are relatively new to the market, but they’ve utterly dominated the connected security space, breathing new life into the company in the process.

Back in February, Netgear spun off Arlo, courtesy of unanimous board approval and announced plans to file an IPO in the process. That bit came to fruition this week, as the company filed an S-1 form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The security camera company has also applied for the “ARLO” ticker symbol with the New York Stock Exchange. Makes sense.

As it notes in a press release tied to the news, neither the number of shares nor price range have been determined yet. Earlier this year, however, it suggested that it would issue less than 20 percent of common stock, while retaining interest on the rest. As usual, all of this is pending approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

According to the company, “BofA Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank Securities, and Guggenheim Securities are acting as lead book-running managers for the proposed offering. Raymond James, Cowen and Imperial Capital are acting as joint book-running managers for the proposed offering.”

The Arlo line has been highly successful for Netgear, in spite of it playing in a crowded market alongside the likes of Ring, Nest and Canary. The unit effectively doubled revenue between 2016 and 2017, as connected home devices pushed toward mainstream acceptance.

Oh, the things I would do to get this cardboard-style Nintendo Switch

Nintendo is building on its strange but wonderful cardboard Labo platform with some sweet Mario Kart integration and a truly fabulous limited edition Switch with a faux-cardboard finish. It really is just the greatest thing and I would do terrible things to have it. Unfortunately some smart kid will probably get it, because you have to win it by designing something cool with Labo.

So, first the Mario Kart stuff. If you have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Switch, and you really should because it’s excellent, you can now use the Toy-Con (buildable with the Labo Variety Kit) as a sort of real-world controller. You twist the right “handlebar” to accelerate and rotate the whole thing to turn.

This is the first game to get its own special Labo support, but the company says more are on the way. Splatoon 2, perhaps?

If you’re a creative type and you have a Labo set, you’re in luck. There are two new contests you can enter, and entry puts you in the running to win the amazing neutral-colored Switch shown up top. I really don’t know why I love it so much, but I do. And if you do too, you should enter. (If you’re in the U.S. or Canada. Sorry, world.)

The first challenge is to create a musical instrument with the Toy-Con pieces and “craft materials.” You’ll have to document its creation and show it working on video; it’ll be judged on “Quality, Creativity, Spirit, and Sound.” Caps Nintendo’s.

The second challenge is to create a game or game-like experience using Toy-Con Garage. Same judgment categories as before, minus Sound.

There will be one grand prize winner and four runners up per contest. Grand prize is that amazing Switch (approximate retail value $1,000?!), plus a cool (?) Labo jacket. Runners up get a pair of cardboard style Joy-Cons and a jacket. Respectable.

If you’ve been looking for a reason to pick up that Labo kit again or use some random pieces you never tried, this is surely that reason. Now get to work!

Amazon starts shipping its $249 DeepLens AI camera for developers

Back at its re:Invent conference in November, AWS announced its $249 DeepLens, a camera that’s specifically geared toward developers who want to build and prototype vision-centric machine learning models. The company started taking pre-orders for DeepLens a few months ago, but now the camera is actually shipping to developers.

Ahead of today’s launch, I had a chance to attend a workshop in Seattle with DeepLens senior product manager Jyothi Nookula and Amazon’s VP for AI Swami Sivasubramanian to get some hands-on time with the hardware and the software services that make it tick.

DeepLens is essentially a small Ubuntu- and Intel Atom-based computer with a built-in camera that’s powerful enough to easily run and evaluate visual machine learning models. In total, DeepLens offers about 106 GFLOPS of performance.

The hardware has all of the usual I/O ports (think Micro HDMI, USB 2.0, Audio out, etc.) to let you create prototype applications, no matter whether those are simple toy apps that send you an alert when the camera detects a bear in your backyard or an industrial application that keeps an eye on a conveyor belt in your factory. The 4 megapixel camera isn’t going to win any prizes, but it’s perfectly adequate for most use cases. Unsurprisingly, DeepLens is deeply integrated with the rest of AWS’s services. Those include the AWS IoT service Greengrass, which you use to deploy models to DeepLens, for example, but also SageMaker, Amazon’s newest tool for building machine learning models.

These integrations are also what makes getting started with the camera pretty easy. Indeed, if all you want to do is run one of the pre-built samples that AWS provides, it shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to set up your DeepLens and deploy one of these models to the camera. Those project templates include an object detection model that can distinguish between 20 objects (though it had some issues with toy dogs, as you can see in the image above), a style transfer example to render the camera image in the style of van Gogh, a face detection model and a model that can distinguish between cats and dogs and one that can recognize about 30 different actions (like playing guitar, for example). The DeepLens team is also adding a model for tracking head poses. Oh, and there’s also a hot dog detection model.

But that’s obviously just the beginning. As the DeepLens team stressed during our workshop, even developers who have never worked with machine learning can take the existing templates and easily extend them. In part, that’s due to the fact that a DeepLens project consists of two parts: the model and a Lambda function that runs instances of the model and lets you perform actions based on the model’s output. And with SageMaker, AWS now offers a tool that also makes it easy to build models without having to manage the underlying infrastructure.

You could do a lot of the development on the DeepLens hardware itself, given that it is essentially a small computer, though you’re probably better off using a more powerful machine and then deploying to DeepLens using the AWS Console. If you really wanted to, you could use DeepLens as a low-powered desktop machine as it comes with Ubuntu 16.04 pre-installed.

For developers who know their way around machine learning frameworks, DeepLens makes it easy to import models from virtually all the popular tools, including Caffe, TensorFlow, MXNet and others. It’s worth noting that the AWS team also built a model optimizer for MXNet models that allows them to run more efficiently on the DeepLens device.

So why did AWS build DeepLens? “The whole rationale behind DeepLens came from a simple question that we asked ourselves: How do we put machine learning in the hands of every developer,” Sivasubramanian said. “To that end, we brainstormed a number of ideas and the most promising idea was actually that developers love to build solutions as hands-on fashion on devices.” And why did AWS decide to build its own hardware instead of simply working with a partner? “We had a specific customer experience in mind and wanted to make sure that the end-to-end experience is really easy,” he said. “So instead of telling somebody to go download this toolkit and then go buy this toolkit from Amazon and then wire all of these together. […] So you have to do like 20 different things, which typically takes two or three days and then you have to put the entire infrastructure together. It takes too long for somebody who’s excited about learning deep learning and building something fun.”

So if you want to get started with deep learning and build some hands-on projects, DeepLens is now available on Amazon. At $249, it’s not cheap, but if you are already using AWS — and maybe even use Lambda already — it’s probably the easiest way to get started with building these kind of machine learning-powered applications.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard skims space in successful 8th test launch

Blue Origin conducted the 8th launch of its New Shepard sub-orbital rocket and crew capsule today out in Texas, and things couldn’t have gone better for the growing space tourism company. The rocket ascended into a cloudless sky, reaching a max velocity of about 2,200 MPH, and delivered its capsule to the edge of space, where its occupant, “Mannquin Skywalker,” will have had a lovely view of the Earth.

New Shepard isn’t meant to deliver things into orbit, of course; Blue Origin has a different purpose and technology from the likes of SpaceX, focusing on giving people a quick, safe lift into space followed by a period of weightlessness and a pleasant descent.

That’s what was demonstrated today, and you can watch the whole thing live in the video below — the pre-launch coverage starts about half an hour in, and liftoff is at the 1h10m mark.

Everything went smoothly from liftoff to touchdown. I love watching the altitude graph filling in slowly at first, then blasting upward as the rocket gradually accelerates. After main-engine cutoff, which occurs just after crossing the Karmann Line, which indicates you’ve entered space, and anyone inside would experience weightlessness for about a minute and a half as the capsule slows down. Apogee for this flight was 347,000 feet, or about 106,000 meters.

While Mannequin Skywalker was enjoying microgravity, the booster was returning to Earth at high speed — over 2,600 MPH. The drag brake deploys around 100,000 feet up, reducing speed to a more manageable 370 MPH before the booster re-ignites at 2,500 feet and brings itself down to a hover landing.

This is one of the most obvious differences to a viewer between New Shepard’s booster and the Falcon 9s; New Shepard has more control over its thrust, allowing for a highly controlled landing where it could even float for a bit if necessary. The larger Falcon 9 has to land using much more powerful thrust, meaning if they aren’t careful, they might just take off again. It’s kind of like the difference between having to let up on the gas to ease into a parking spot, and having to pull the e-brake at precisely the right moment.

Meanwhile the capsule, with its higher apogee and greater drag, has been falling down this whole time, waiting for the right time to deploy its parachutes. It didn’t happen until below the 7,000-foot mark, making me sweat a bit. It wouldn’t be a good look to have your crew capsule impact at 240 MPH.

The commentator describes the capsule touchdown a minute or two later as a “beautiful soft landing,” though honestly it looks like it would give anyone inside something of a jolt. Let’s hope the seats are comfortable in that thing.

Is the world ready for the return of the PDA?

I want to live in the Gemini’s universe. It’s one where the promise of on-demand hardware has been fulfilled. Where crowfunding, rapid prototyping, scalable manufacturing all of those good things have improved our lives by giving us the devices we both want and need. It’s the utopian dream of 2011, fully realized.

In the Gemini universe, the PDA never went away. It simply adapted. All of those irritated anti-touch typers had nothing to complain about. Sure, the iPhone still moved a billion units, because Apple, but the physical keyboard simply evolved alongside it, because tech should adapt to people and not the other way around.

Of course, the realities of technological Darwinism are much darker, and every half decade or so, there’s an extinction-level event, and Apple’s smartphone hit the earth like football field-sized asteroid covered in the bubonic plague. Over the past 10 years, many have and tried and all have failed to address the shrinking, but vocal niche of consumers bemoaning the death of the physical keyboard.

Many of us, myself included, fell in love with the Gemini at first sight when we spotted it across the room at CES. It wasn’t the hardware or the execution, so much as the idea. And, of course, we weren’t alone. When an astonishing 6,200 people came together to pledge $2.2 million on Indiegogo to help bring it to life, it was clear London-based Planet Computers had struck a chord.

And with both Nokia and BlackBerry having waged comebacks of sorts (albeit through licensing deals), it seems the iPhone’s 10th anniversary has been the perfect time to revel in a bit of mobile nostalgia. People have gone utterly gaga over the 3310 — clearly there must also be space in amongst this smartphone fatigue where a PDA can positively flourish.

In one sense, it almost didn’t matter what the final hardware looked like, this felt like a kind of bellwether. But in a larger and more important sense, of course it did. When it comes to consumer electronics, people don’t buy ideas, they by hardware. And in the cold, harsh light of day, the Gemini is a far more exciting concept that it is an actual product.

The product is a return of sorts for the Psion 5, with some of that clamshell’s designs back on board. And indeed, the device takes more than a few design cues from that 20-plus-year-old piece of hardware. The build itself is a bit of a mixed bag, here. It’s solid, but the clamshell ensures that it’s big and bulky, compared to standard smartphones with similarly sized screens (5.9-inch).

It’s not much to look at from the outside, with a plain metal casing, through there are some innovative touches here, including a break in the top that can be plied open to access the device’s innards, using compatible tools. The lid flips open, with a nice, satisfying motion, but screen’s hinge feels loose, moving each time you interact with the touchscreen. It would have also been nice to have the display open at different angles, but there are only two positions here: opened and closed.

As for typing, well, if you’re among the vast majority of mobile users have made the leap to touchscreen typing, you’re going to have to unlearn those skills. My own typing on the keyboard is nowhere close to what I’m able to achieve on a touchscreen these days. For a few fleeting moments, I entertained the idea of writing this review on the thing, but almost immediately backed down, when I found it difficult to type even a sentence right the first time.

The device’s size makes for an extremely cramped keyboard, in which many of the keys have to do double duty. But the width and girth of the device itself means there aren’t too many scenarios in which using the keyboard make a whole lot of sense. Attempting to type while holding it feels like an almost acrobatic feat. Really, a flat surface, like a desk, is your best bet, at which point you’re left wondering why you didn’t simply shell out the money for a real laptop. The ability to dual-boot Linux and the inclusion of a healthy 64GB of storage are interesting cases for the product as more of a small computer than a massive phone, that, of course, is ultimately hampered by the small display with smartphone dimensions.

That gets at what is perhaps a larger issue here. It’s unclear which problems the device is looking to solve in a world of ubiquitous slate phones and low-cost laptops and tablets. There aren’t ultimately all that many scenarios in which the throwback makes more sense than the hundreds of other available options, so it’s hard to recommend this as either a primary phone or laptop in 2018.

Perhaps many of its issues can be chalked up to first-generation hardware issues. There’s a lot to be said for the mere fact that the company was able to deliver a product in the first place. The Gemini certainly works as a compelling niche device, and it would be great to see Planet explore this idea further.

Anything that frees us from the oppression of nearly identical handsets is a victory in and of itself. As I said earlier, I want to live a world where devices like the Gemini can peacefully coexist with more mainstream devices. I just won’t be using it as my phone any time soon.

Is the world ready for the return of the PDA?

I want to live in the Gemini’s universe. It’s one where the promise of on-demand hardware has been fulfilled. Where crowfunding, rapid prototyping, scalable manufacturing all of those good things have improved our lives by giving us the devices we both want and need. It’s the utopian dream of 2011, fully realized.

In the Gemini universe, the PDA never went away. It simply adapted. All of those irritated anti-touch typers had nothing to complain about. Sure, the iPhone still moved a billion units, because Apple, but the physical keyboard simply evolved alongside it, because tech should adapt to people and not the other way around.

Of course, the realities of technological Darwinism are much darker, and every half decade or so, there’s an extinction-level event, and Apple’s smartphone hit the earth like football field-sized asteroid covered in the bubonic plague. Over the past 10 years, many have and tried and all have failed to address the shrinking, but vocal niche of consumers bemoaning the death of the physical keyboard.

Many of us, myself included, fell in love with the Gemini at first sight when we spotted it across the room at CES. It wasn’t the hardware or the execution, so much as the idea. And, of course, we weren’t alone. When an astonishing 6,200 people came together to pledge $2.2 million on Indiegogo to help bring it to life, it was clear London-based Planet Computers had struck a chord.

And with both Nokia and BlackBerry having waged comebacks of sorts (albeit through licensing deals), it seems the iPhone’s 10th anniversary has been the perfect time to revel in a bit of mobile nostalgia. People have gone utterly gaga over the 3310 — clearly there must also be space in amongst this smartphone fatigue where a PDA can positively flourish.

In one sense, it almost didn’t matter what the final hardware looked like, this felt like a kind of bellwether. But in a larger and more important sense, of course it did. When it comes to consumer electronics, people don’t buy ideas, they by hardware. And in the cold, harsh light of day, the Gemini is a far more exciting concept that it is an actual product.

The product is a return of sorts for the Psion 5, with some of that clamshell’s designs back on board. And indeed, the device takes more than a few design cues from that 20-plus-year-old piece of hardware. The build itself is a bit of a mixed bag, here. It’s solid, but the clamshell ensures that it’s big and bulky, compared to standard smartphones with similarly sized screens (5.9-inch).

It’s not much to look at from the outside, with a plain metal casing, through there are some innovative touches here, including a break in the top that can be plied open to access the device’s innards, using compatible tools. The lid flips open, with a nice, satisfying motion, but screen’s hinge feels loose, moving each time you interact with the touchscreen. It would have also been nice to have the display open at different angles, but there are only two positions here: opened and closed.

As for typing, well, if you’re among the vast majority of mobile users have made the leap to touchscreen typing, you’re going to have to unlearn those skills. My own typing on the keyboard is nowhere close to what I’m able to achieve on a touchscreen these days. For a few fleeting moments, I entertained the idea of writing this review on the thing, but almost immediately backed down, when I found it difficult to type even a sentence right the first time.

The device’s size makes for an extremely cramped keyboard, in which many of the keys have to do double duty. But the width and girth of the device itself means there aren’t too many scenarios in which using the keyboard make a whole lot of sense. Attempting to type while holding it feels like an almost acrobatic feat. Really, a flat surface, like a desk, is your best bet, at which point you’re left wondering why you didn’t simply shell out the money for a real laptop. The ability to dual-boot Linux and the inclusion of a healthy 64GB of storage are interesting cases for the product as more of a small computer than a massive phone, that, of course, is ultimately hampered by the small display with smartphone dimensions.

That gets at what is perhaps a larger issue here. It’s unclear which problems the device is looking to solve in a world of ubiquitous slate phones and low-cost laptops and tablets. There aren’t ultimately all that many scenarios in which the throwback makes more sense than the hundreds of other available options, so it’s hard to recommend this as either a primary phone or laptop in 2018.

Perhaps many of its issues can be chalked up to first-generation hardware issues. There’s a lot to be said for the mere fact that the company was able to deliver a product in the first place. The Gemini certainly works as a compelling niche device, and it would be great to see Planet explore this idea further.

Anything that frees us from the oppression of nearly identical handsets is a victory in and of itself. As I said earlier, I want to live a world where devices like the Gemini can peacefully coexist with more mainstream devices. I just won’t be using it as my phone any time soon.

Don’t just stir; Stircle

Although I do my best to minimize the trash produced by my lifestyle (blog posts notwithstanding), one I can’t really control, at least without carrying a spoon on my person at all times, is the necessity of using a disposable stick to stir my coffee. That could all change with the Stircle, a little platform that spins your drink around to mix it.

Now, of course this is ridiculous. And there are other things to worry about. But honestly, the scale of waste here is pretty amazing. Design house Amron Experimental says that 400 million stir sticks are used every day, and I have no reason to doubt that. My native Seattle probably accounts for a quarter of that.

So you need to get the sugar (or agave nectar) and cream (or almond milk) mixed in your iced americano. Instead of reaching for a stick and stirring vigorously for 10 or 15 seconds, you could instead place your cup in the Stircle (first noticed by New Atlas and a few other design blogs), which would presumably be built into the fixins table at your coffee shop.

Around and around and around she goes, where she stops, nobody… oh. There.

Once you put your cup on the Stircle, it starts spinning — first one way, then the other, and so on, agitating your drink and achieving the goal of an evenly mixed beverage without using a wood or plastic stirrer. It’s electric, but I can imagine one being powered by a lever or button that compresses a spring. That would make it even greener.

The video shows that it probably gets that sugar and other low-lying mixers up into the upper strata of the drink, so I think we’re set there. And it looks as though it will take a lot of different sizes, including reusable tumblers. It clearly needs a cup with a lid, since otherwise the circling liquid will fly out in every direction, which means you have to be taking your coffee to go. That leaves out pretty much every time I go out for coffee in my neighborhood, where it’s served (to stay) in a mug or tall glass.

But a solution doesn’t have to fix everything to be clever or useful. This would be great at an airport, for instance, where I imagine every order is to go. Maybe they’ll put it in a bar, too, for extra smooth stirring of martinis.

Actually, I know that people in labs use automatic magnetic stirrers to do their coffee. This would be a way to do that without appropriating lab property. Those things are pretty cool too, though.

You might remember Amron from one of their many previous clever designs; I happen to remember the Keybrid and Split Ring Key, both of which I used for a while. I’ll be honest, I don’t expect to see a Stircle in my neighborhood cafe any time soon, but I sure hope they show up in Starbucks stores around the world. We’re going to run out of those stirrer things sooner or later.

Elon Musk’s Boring Co. flamethrower is real, $500 and up for pre-order

 So that flamethrower that Elon Musk teased The Boring Company would start selling after it ran out of its 50,000 hats? Yeah, it’s real – and you can pre-order one now if you want need a ridiculous way to spend $500. Musk revealed the flamethrower on Saturday, after some digging tipped its existence late last week. The Boring Company Flamethrower is functional, too, as you can see… Read More

Google has planted its flag at CES

 Google’s here, and it’s planning something big. The company’s presence is impossible to miss as you drive down Paradise Road toward the Las Vegas Convention Center. Like much the rest of the show, the company’s parking lot booth is still under construction today, but the giant, black and white “Hey Google” sign is already hanging above it, visible from… Read More

Certain Sonos and Bose models can be accessed by hackers to play sound remotely

 Researchers at Trend Micro have discovered a potential hack opening key speakers from Sonos and Bose to remote access. As first reported by Wired, the Sonos Play:1, Sonos One, and Bose SoundTouch systems can be located and taken over through an online scan, letting hackers play music through the system. For now, the access appears to be largely prank-based. The researchers, naturally, used… Read More

Apple’s hand is down and its $1 trillion dream now rests with consumers

 As we head into the end of 2017, it’s pretty safe to say that Apple’s fate — barring any major issue with its phones — is now in the hands of its consumers. With the iPhone X now in stores (if you catch them at the right time), Apple has now laid down its hand and waits to see where consumer demand lands. Read More

LG shakes up its struggling mobile division with new top executives

 If you’ve stopped paying attention to LG in the last couple of years, you’ll learn everything you need to know from the first paragraph of its latest press release that highlights a “sweeping realignment to better address the challenges ahead.” The company’s in a tough spot. It makes good and innovative phones, but just seem to make a dent in a crowded mobile… Read More

OmniHub tries to fix the MacBook Pro’s port shortage with magnets and modules

 My five-year-old MacBook Pro finally gave up the ghost. After traveling the world and surviving several CESes, it was time to finally lay the thing to rest. I had some misgivings about replacing the old workhorse with one of the new models, not the least of which was the company’s fairly unpopular decision to ditch all existing ports for a quartet of ThunderBolt 3 ports. Read More

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BlackBerry’s KEYone ‘Black Edition’ offers more than just good looks

 BlackBerry’s most interesting phone in years – if not an entire decade – is the KEYone, an Android device with a classic BlackBerry hardware keyboard that finally answers the needs of truly dedicated thumb typists with a modern mobile OS. Now, the KEYone ‘Black Edition’ has arrived, and it’s more than just a fresh coat of paint on an older gadget. In fact,… Read More

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Petcube Bites is a capable canine companion for when you’re not home

 Keep your dogs close but your kitties closer, is I think the expression. Maybe. Whatever it is, pets are important to people. And keeping a close watch on them even when you’re not located in the same place has become increasingly possible thanks to the broad proliferation of tech like Wi-Fi connected cameras. Petcube Bites is one of those cameras, but it’s also a treat… Read More

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The Amazon Echo now doubles as a home intercom system

 Amazon will officially release the Show in a few days, but in the meantime, the company is introducing a long-awaited intercom feature for existing Echo devices. The addition uses Drop-In, a teleconferencing feature introduced on the Show that lets close friends and family members call into one another’s device with little warning. I really didn’t like the feature when I tested… Read More

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Time-tracking startup Timeular raises $1.1M to help you work smarter

 Timeular, the Austrian startup behind the neat Zei time-tracking device that we wrote about last year, has raised €1 million ($1.1 million) in funding to develop new productivity coaching tools to help you work smarter. The company is best known for the Zei, its eight-sided device that is Bluetooth-enabled and acts as a timer. You simply program each side to a different task and tip it… Read More

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Smart running shoes won’t make you faster, but they could help you avoid getting hurt

 Altra’s Torin IQ were inevitable. Sensors integrated into articles of clothing have long been acknowledged to be the next step in wearable tech, and the Utah-based footwear maker just happened to beat most of its competition to the finish line with a pair of running shoes that bake tracking directly into the sole. But unlike the scads of smart clothing that’s almost certainly on… Read More

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At under $60, Misfit’s Flare trims all the fat and many of the features from fitness tracking

 Misfit’s new fitness tracker comes in at under $60. The Flare is a device completely devoid of all bells and whistles for the sake of offering users simple tracking functionality without losing an arm and leg in the process. It’s a logical play for the Fossil-owned hardware maker. After all, Misfit’s roots lie in simple trackers like the Ray and the modular Shine. Though this… Read More

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A UK entrepreneur takes flight by attaching miniature jet engines to his limbs

 A YouTube collection of grainy video clips highlights the progress Gravity founder Richard Browning has made toward his outlandish dream over the past year. Each seems more terrifying than the last, with multiple jet engines attached to his limbs in various configurations, as he hovers a few feet from the ground. Read More

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Your next smartphone is not going to be a revolution

 Samsung promised a revolution today. The company opened today’s Unpacked event by contextualizing the history of mobile phones, from the 1980s to today. The conceit was simple: Today’s big announcement marks a step in cell phone evolution akin to the jump from the Zack Morris brick to the flip phone or the clamshell to the smartphone. What it delivered was a phone with fewer bezels. Read More

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BeeHex cooks up $1 million for 3D food printers that make pizzas

A heart-shaped pizza printed by BeeHex. The phrase “3-D printer” typically brings to mind devices that churn out plastic objects like jewelry, toys, hardware prototypes or even prosthetics. Now, a startup building a 3-D food printer, BeeHex, has raised $1 million in seed funding to launch its first product, a pizza printer called the Chef 3D. Initially, BeeHex wanted to develop a printer that would be able to make a… Read More

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Camera wars, retro phones and aspect ratios: MWC’s biggest announcements

splash-mobile The news happens before the convention really starts. That’s the rule of thumb for covering tech show. The big companies scramble all over one another to make their announcements at overlapping press conferences in the days leading up to an event. Mobile World Congress only just opened, but we’ve already seen all the big news from Samsung, Sony, LG and Motorola, among others.… Read More

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Live from Samsung’s 2017 MWC press conference

mwc-2017-pc_main A very happy Mobile World Congress to you and yours. The world’s largest smartphone show is still a couple of days from its official kick off, but there’s plenty of news to be had this weekend. Samsung will be taking the stage tonight in Barcelona to show off – well, not the Galaxy S8. That much we seemingly know for sure. The company announced a few weeks back that… Read More

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The BlackBerry Mercury is now the KeyOne

img_0692 If you thought the BlackBerry Mercury had a bit of a codename vibe to it, you weren’t wrong. Today at Mobile World Congress, TCL officially took the wraps of its first true BlackBerry handset, now going by the admittedly less sleek KeyOne (pronounced “key one,”) name. Though I suppose when your company is attempting to plant its flag firmly in the world of enterprise, sexy… Read More

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HP’s Spectre 15 makes 4K on a laptop a livable experience

cma_1520 What makes it better than other 4K laptops is its decent battery life and healthy selection of ports. If Windows is your jam and you need full-size screen, this is the notebook to get. The latest edition of the 15-inch Spectre x360 is only offered with a 4k (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) screen. HP is that committed to providing an ultra-high res experience. But having a 4K display on a 15-inch… Read More

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HP’s Spectre 15 makes 4K on a laptop a livable experience

cma_1520 What makes it better than other 4K laptops is its decent battery life and healthy selection of ports. If Windows is your jam and you need full-size screen, this is the notebook to get. The latest edition of the 15-inch Spectre x360 is only offered with a 4k (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) screen. HP is that committed to providing an ultra-high res experience. But having a 4K display on a 15-inch… Read More

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HP’s Spectre 15 makes 4K on a laptop a livable experience

cma_1520 What makes it better than other 4K laptops is its decent battery life and healthy selection of ports. If Windows is your jam and you need full-size screen, this is the notebook to get. The latest edition of the 15-inch Spectre x360 is only offered with a 4k (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) screen. HP is that committed to providing an ultra-high res experience. But having a 4K display on a 15-inch… Read More

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Oppo teases new mobile camera technology ahead of MWC

oppo We’ve entered crunch time for getting all of those last minute teasers out before the kick of Mobile World Congress, the year’s biggest smart phone show. Some have been cagey around their big news ahead of the event in Barcelona, while others, like LG haven’t left much all that to the imagination. Oppo, the rising-est star in a Chinese market full of them, is playing its… Read More

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Ornithologists are using drones to eavesdrop on songbirds

listening When conservationists put drones to work in field research, they typically function as flying eyes that gather imagery of the habitat and wildlife below. Now, ornithologists from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania are using drones as flying ears to monitor songbirds in the Appalachian Mountains. Results of their drone study were published in the peer-reviewed journal The Auk:… Read More

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Barbie becomes a hologram version of herself

UNITED STATES - Jan 15: Check In Barbie greets visitors to the Senate Gallery Check In in the Capitol Visitors Center of the U.S. Capitol on January 15, 2014.  (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call) Yes, after pulling herself out of her 1950’s rut as a swimsuit model to become everything from a doctor, lawyer, computer scientist, astronaut and even the president of the United States, Barbie has now become a 3D-animated hologram that can serve up the weather on command. As first reported in Wired, The Hello Barbie Hologram debuted at the New York Toy Fair this week. And like… Read More

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Faulty batteries caused a small fire at a Samsung plant in China

SAMSUNG CSC Samsung has seemingly put its on-going Galaxy Note 7 issues behind it, courtesy of a couple of recalls, an expensive investigation and promises to implement stricter standards. But the company’s battery woes aren’t yet fully behind it, as it was no doubt reminded earlier today when a small fire broke out in a plant located in Tianjin, China.
The company reported that the fire… Read More

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Lenovo’s new $300 Android tablet features the Yoga Book’s keyboard/sketchpad

unnamed-1 Lenovo’s Yoga line has offered some of the most innovative tablet form factors around, from modular projectors to digitizing pads of paper. The A12 borrows the latter from its predecessor — and manages to do so at a dollar under $300. The specs are fairly middling, as out would expect from the price point, but the 12.2-inch HD display swivels around at 360-degrees from the keyboard,… Read More

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Outdoor ad firm buys Swiss dating app Blinq to power beacon push

Blinq The dating game sure is tough to maintain. Zurich-based dating app Blinq has been acquired by a Swiss outdoor advertising firm, APG|SGA, with the latter coveting the team’s experience in rolling out beacon networks for a new division that will be developing interactive ads. Read More

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Touch Bar MacBook Pros are being banned from bar exams over predictive text

macbookprotouchbarpictures When it launched late last year, the new MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar was largely reliant on first-party applications to show off what it could do. Since then, a number of other companies have jumped on board, helping the secondary screen grow into something more than novelty. Of course, as with any new technology, there’s going to be some unanticipated downside. Test taking… Read More

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Google’s Sundar Pichai says it’s ‘very early days’ in battle against Amazon Echo

Sundar Pichai   Between the Pixel and Google Home, 2016 was a big year for Google voice search, but the company’s plays in the space still seemed to pale in comparison to Amazon’s infiltration, courtesy of its wildly successful Echo devices. In today’s Q4 Alphabet earnings call, Google Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai addressed what looks to be a late start from the company, calling the… Read More

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Samsung details Note 7 battery findings and highlights future safety measures

SAMSUNG CSC After explosions, recalls, and months of bad press, Samsung is attempting to put the drawn out Galaxy Note 7 saga behind it once and for all, with the long-promised official release of the findings of its internal investigation. Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh kick off a packed press conference in Seoul by “deeply” apologizing to customers and business partners, before adding on a… Read More

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Qualcomm fires back against Apple over lawsuit and FTC action

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 06:  Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf speaks during a press event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the 2014 International CES on January 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs from January 7-10 and is expected to feature 3,200 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 150,000 attendees.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Never a dull moment in the smartphone wars. This week, Qualcomm started getting serious regulatory heat when the Federal Trade Commission filed charges against the chipmaker, accusing it of anticompetitive tactics designed to shut competitors out from supplying components to handset companies. Apple was one of the few manufacturers mentioned by name in the complaint, and accordingly, the… Read More

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Qualcomm fires back against Apple over lawsuit and FTC action

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 06:  Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf speaks during a press event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the 2014 International CES on January 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs from January 7-10 and is expected to feature 3,200 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 150,000 attendees.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Never a dull moment in the smartphone wars. This week, Qualcomm started getting serious regulatory heat when the Federal Trade Commission filed charges against the chipmaker, accusing it of anticompetitive tactics designed to shut competitors out from supplying components to handset companies. Apple was one of the few manufacturers mentioned by name in the complaint, and accordingly, the… Read More

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Qualcomm fires back against Apple over lawsuit and FTC action

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 06:  Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf speaks during a press event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the 2014 International CES on January 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs from January 7-10 and is expected to feature 3,200 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 150,000 attendees.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Never a dull moment in the smartphone wars. This week, Qualcomm started getting serious regulatory heat when the Federal Trade Commission filed charges against the chipmaker, accusing it of anticompetitive tactics designed to shut competitors out from supplying components to handset companies. Apple was one of the few manufacturers mentioned by name in the complaint, and accordingly, the… Read More

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Qualcomm fires back against Apple over lawsuit and FTC action

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 06:  Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf speaks during a press event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the 2014 International CES on January 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs from January 7-10 and is expected to feature 3,200 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 150,000 attendees.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Never a dull moment in the smartphone wars. This week, Qualcomm started getting serious regulatory heat when the Federal Trade Commission filed charges against the chipmaker, accusing it of anticompetitive tactics designed to shut competitors out from supplying components to handset companies. Apple was one of the few manufacturers mentioned by name in the complaint, and accordingly, the… Read More

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Unboxing six gadgets from CES 2017

I had a great time out here at CES 2017 in Las Vegas — every once in a while I got to sneak away and walk around a little bit and check out the goodies. A little walking here, a little checking stuff out there. Sometimes I fell asleep under tables… it’s just the nature of the beast. Sometimes people wanted me to check out their product, but I couldn’t do it right away… Read More

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Consumer Reports now recommends the MacBook Pro after a software fix

macbookprotouchbarpictures Apple’s newest computers will no longer have to bear the title of the first MacBooks not to receive Consumer Reports’ coveted seal of approval. After working with the company over the holidays to address irregular battery life tests, ranging from an extremely inconsistent 3.75 to to 19.5 hours, the publication has re-run tests to much better effect. The new tests were run after… Read More

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Boosted issues battery recall for its second-generation board

boosted-board-2-recalled Customers who pre-ordered the new Boosted Board 2 will be disappointed to hear there’s been a recall for the new board’s battery. The Boosted Board 2 had a small general release along with units sent to personalities and publications; it’s those units that are affected. The most cumbersome process about a recall like this for myself and other riders is that Boosted is… Read More

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As UAV internet proves too complex, Google shifts the Titan team to Projects Loon and Wing

titan aerospace When Google picked up Titan Aerospace in April 2014, the sky was, as they say, the limit. The high-flying drone producer seemingly had a lot to offer the tech giant, including the potential to expand Project Loon, its balloon-based plan to develop low-cost internet access to remote rural areas. The UAV maker, which was reportedly also being courted by Facebook around the same time, also had… Read More

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August’s CEO on lock hacking and releasing hardware before it’s ready

august-mortis-3-4-viewoutdoor-urban-for-magazine August launched a new device this week at CES. “That’s five products shipped within 24 months,” explained CEO Jason Johnson during an on stage interview with TechCrunch earlier today. “I don’t know if you’re going to find too many companies that have our retail presence and a customer base that ships that many products in that time.” It’s a lot for… Read More

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