If you didn’t get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we’ve opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week brought a new handset from Sony to the US and UK, updates to Nokia Creative Suite and three new (and very inexpensive) smartphones from Blu Products. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that’s happening in the mobile world for this week of May 13th, 2013.
What you’re looking at above is a demo board carrying a next-gen Wolfson WM5110 audio chip for smartphones. This bit of silicon isn’t in any market-ready handsets just yet, hence the DIY setup, but given Wolfson’s well-cemented partnership with Samsung there’s every chance this’ll be the audio hub in the next Galaxy S, as well as potentially in other manufacturers’ phones coming out in 2014.
One of the WM5110′s headline features is the ability to handle high sample rate music tracks at 24-bit and 192KHz, aka “studio master” or “better than CD quality” sound. Such skills are generally reserved for pricey standalone DACs like iRiver’s AK100, which allows Wolfson to claim that this is the first implementation for inside a smartphone. We have an ears-on video for you after the break, but it’s not much use for judging audio quality — the event was too noisy even for us to attempt that, so we’ll just wait to do another audio round-up in more controlled conditions — but at least there’s some proof of principle. On the other hand, if you’re unconvinced as to whether 192KHz is even a worthwhile spec to have in smartphone, then read on to learn about some of the WM5110′s other abilities, which have a more practical bent.
At $ 349, Nvidia’s Shield portable game console has a lot to prove, but one celebrity is already making the leap: Luke from Modern Family. In this week’s episode, it looks like the youngster’s Nintendo 3DS has been at least temporarily displaced by the Android-based Tegra 4 handheld. But the significance isn’t what gadgets a character on a popular TV sitcom might play with, it’s that Nvidia managed to get the device onto the show.
Modern Family is no stranger to product placement — executive producer Steven Levitan told Advertising Age that the show constantly turns down offers — but Nvidia certainly is. The Shield is arguably the first consumer product ever built and branded by the chipmaker, and cost a reported $ 10 million in R&D….
Sending money with Google Wallet wasn’t a tremendously difficult affair before today, but Mountain View’s now discovered a clever new way to part you from your cash. “Over the coming months,” the company will roll out a new payments feature within Gmail, letting you attach money just as you would an image or document. After clicking the new “$ ” symbol within the composer, you’ll type in an amount and select the source of your funds. Then hit Attach, click send, and say goodbye to your Greenbacks. It’s that simple. You can probably get a solid feel for how this works just from looking at the image above, but given the onslaught of announcements today, we’ll forgive you for needing a more comprehensive explanation. Goog’s got your back, too — there’s a demo video waiting just past the break.
Source: Gmail Blog
PayPal just announced a new Android SDK for developers. Previously released for iOS, the kit lets app devs integrate mobile payments via both PayPal and credit card. As the mockup above demonstrates, it’s very straightforward — and we’re pretty sure that’s the point. The SDK will support Android 2.2 (Froyo) and up when it becomes available to US developers on May 15th.
Filed under: Mobile
Via: The Next Web
Today, electric cars are too expensive for most of us, even with prices creeping downward. A Tesla Model S will run you over a grand a month, and even Ford’s electric Focus sells for nearly $ 40,000. Making matters even tougher on the wallet is the fact that a home charging station will set you back as much as another $ 2,000. The auto industry knows all of these prices have to come down if electrics will catch on. And finally — on the home charger side of things anyway — something is being done about it. Bosch is taking online pre-orders for a $ 449 home car charger that is set to ship in June across the US and Canada.
Having crushed its $ 400k funding target on Kickstarter last year, Stainless Steel games has finally delivered the goods for Android users. An improved re-release, Carmageddon: Reincarnation, is now available on Google Play for $ 1.99. Show sufficient disregard for pedestrians and you might even get there in time to download it free.
Rumors have been circulating for some time that Microsoft is prepping a streaming media box. The Xbox may have many of the same functions, but it’s still primarily a gaming console. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that there are prototypes of a simpler, cheaper set-top device designed exclusively for consuming media floating around Redmond. Obviously this would provide a cheaper path to consumer’s living rooms, but it could also offer a way to keep the Xbox brand separate and primarily gaming focused. On, the other hand, if a Roku competitor with Xbox branding were to hit shelves for $ 99, it would further broaden the scope of Microsoft’s entertainment division. The latter wouldn’t be terribly surprising, since some of the prototypes are reportedly designed to work with Kinect. Whether or not these devices will ever see the light of day is still anyone’s guess, but it could provide a cheap way to get that Heroes reboot into people’s living rooms.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Nest proved that energy monitoring can be tantalizing. And it’s about to get even better. The company just announced that it has acquired MyEnergy to further enhance its suite of monitoring tools. Terms of deal were not released.
Originally called Earth Aid, the startup launched its online dashboard in 2009 as one of the first energy monitoring solutions. Similar to EnergySavvy, Google’s Powermeter andMicrosoft’s Hohm, Earth Aid, and now MyEnergy, provides consumers with information on how much electricity, water, and natural gas they use and how much they spend on these utilities. Simply connect your online utility accounts with the platform, and the system imports all the necessary bits and displays them on the beautiful web dashboard.
Spend a few quick minutes on MyEnergy.com and it’s easy to see why Nest wanted MyEnergy in its corner. The system is wonderful. Just like the Nest Learning Thermostat.
In 2011 the startup raised $ 4 million in Series A funding from Point Judith Capital, the Clean Energy Venture Group, and Capital-E. According to today’s announcement, MyEnergy has users in all 50 U.S. states and spans more than 1,500 utility territories.
“Giving our customers more in-depth access and analysis of their energy usage has always been part of the Nest vision,” said Tony Fadell, Nest founder and CEO said in a released statement today. “We’ve made great strides in the past year and a half; by bringing MyEnergy into the Nest family, we can reach our goals even faster. The MyEnergy team is incredibly like-minded and we’ve already begun working with them to find ways to integrate their technology into Nest products.”
The Nest Learning Thermostat is beautiful. But the web dashboard is lacking in depth. There is plenty of room for improvement. MyEnergy will likely not only make it look better, but dramatically enhance the tool set by giving the homeowner information from their neighborhood.
Nest is charging forward, simultaneously building out consumer aspects and partnering with utility companies. This acquisition clearly fits within Nest’s vision. It’s unclear exactly what Nest plans to do with MyEnergy, but as a Nest user myself, I’m rather excited to see what Tony Fadell and team does with the beautiful MyEnergy platform.