Posts Tagged ‘handson’
“It’s more like Tumblr.” That’s how one BlackBerry rep described BBM Channels to us, the company’s new social networking service announced this past week at BlackBerry Live in Orlando. While Channels, alone, may initially seem like nothing new — it’s an iteration of a social communication model we’ve seem countless times before — the service actually speaks more to BlackBerry’s forward-facing strategy for BBM as a device-agnostic mobile solution. And, certainly, with the BBM messaging service heading to Android and iOS later this summer, BlackBerry only stands to gain from making its platform more robust, more engaging and more attractive to the big name brands, personalities and publications that draw followers.
Gallery: BBM Channels
The XO Tablet that One Laptop Per Child was shuttling around the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center at CES back in January wasn’t quite the final version of the company’s first consumer-facing device. Now, a few weeks out from its official June 1st online availability, OLPC’s finally got its hands on the shipping product. It’s designed by Vivitar, a price-conscious manufacturer hand-picked by retail partner Walmart, marking the first time that the educational company didn’t have a direct hand in the creation of its hardware, a big change from the custom components that have traditionally gone into its XO line.
OLPC’s made some tweaks to the software, which runs atop of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, taking more advantage of the swipe functionality while navigating through its “I Want to Be An…” UI, which builds the child’s experience around dream jobs like astronaut, artist and doctor. It’s a super simplified interface built with an even younger target audience in mind than its XO laptops (ages 3 and up, according to the company). The tablet will come pre-loaded with 200 apps (100 in English and 100 in Spanish) and 200 books (also 100 English, 100 Spanish), including selections from content partners like Sesame Street and Oxford University Press. The idea is to offer up enough content so the child can be sufficiently entertained / educated even when not online.
Filed under: Tablets
Take the 3D sensor inside the Microsoft Kinect, shrink it down to a tenth of its original size and add a bunch of mobile capabilities, and you have yourself PrimeSense’s latest conquest, better known as Capri. The company, which is the brains behind the Kinect, has been openly working on bringing a tiny-yet-advanced 3D experience to tablets, televisions and smartphones for quite some time now. And it’s proud enough of its progress so far that it’s willing to give some real-life demonstrations to developers attending Google I/O. You may not see Capri embedded on the PCB of your portable gadget anytime soon — at least, not until PrimeSense winds up wooing the pants off a lucky OEM or two — so in the meantime, the company has connected the sensor board to the Nexus 10 via micro-USB.
Unlike the Kinect, however, PrimeSense doesn’t think gestures will play a significant role in how we use Capri to interact with our gadgets. Rather, it seems to be more focused on 3D-based use case scenarios, many of which haven’t even been thought up yet. As you’ll see in the video below, we were shown an AR game that takes the environment around you — walls, furniture and other elements — and uses them as restrictions, just as much as they would be in real life. In another app, Capri snapped a three-dimension shot of an object on the table in front of us, captured its measurements and let us export that image to another device or even a 3D printer. In many respects, PrimeSense appears to be taking the same strategy Google does with Glass: get developers excited about the tech in the hopes they’ll come up with clever uses for it. And while the company isn’t ready to put Capri in their hands yet, the SDK is up for grabs, and I/O is no doubt an ideal place to build excitement for it. If you’re looking for more info, we have a gallery, video and press release below, and you’ll find the SDK at the More Coverage link.
At Nokia’s London launch event, we’ve just managed to spend a bit of time with the 4.5-inch Lumia 925. If you felt its polycarbonate predecessor was a little unwieldy in dimensions or weight, you might be pleased with what Nokia’s crafted here. Its new Windows Phone flagship marks the company’s return to metal-bodied smartphones, and in the process, it’s become both lighter and thinner. This isn’t a marginal shedding of a few grams, either — there’s a noticeable difference when compared to the Lumia 920. Likewise, the smaller frame makes the Lumia 920 feel all of a sudden rather chunky. Despite the slimmer lines, Nokia keeps the internal specifications largely the same, so you’re getting an identical dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, although this time there’s only 16GB of storage — sacrifices had to be made somewhere, we guess.
Imaging-wise, and yes, it’s still all about the camera with Nokia, there’s the same 8.7-megapixel camera sensor from the 920 model, although Nokia says it’s made countless improvements to noise-reduction algorithms and other inner workings. While the hardware has remained mostly unchanged, the company’s gone to town on the camera app, moving beyond the Windows Phone Lens system to craft a new Smart Cam interface. Our favorite part here is the ability to leap straight into it instead of the standard camera app. Once we set it up within the app itself, it launched just as swiftly as the regular option. Performance, in general, was identical to what we’ve experienced on both the 928 and 920 (the same processor will do that), keeping up with our task transitions and web-browsing tests. We’re putting the finishing touches to our hands-on video, but you can find more impressions on the hardware (and that Smart Cam) after our gallery and the break.
Gallery: Nokia Lumia 925 hands-on
Take a closer look at the newest expression of the world’s most innovative smartphone exclusively for Verizon Wireless. Nokia Lumia 928 comes with Windows Ph…
Pry open any Android-powered game console on the market today, and you’ll likely find a mobile processor — an ARM-based chip originally designed for tablets, smartphones and maybe the odd specialty device. It seems to make sense — after all, isn’t Android a mobile OS? Christopher Price, CEO of Mobile Media Ventures, doesn’t seem to think so. “Android is the future of personal computing,” Price told Engadget. “Even on the desktop.” According to Price, developers just haven’t had a chance to play with a truly powerful Android gaming machine. So naturally, he’s building one.
Despite its Apple-esque name, the iConsole.tv claims to be the most powerful Android device to date. It’s a bold claim, but the specs add up: the company’s Unit 00 developer kit runs Android on a 3.3GHz Intel Ivy Bridge CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and two 500GB hard drives. Graphics are handled by Intel’s integrated HD 4000 chipset — a surprisingly capable GPU, though still a far cry from dedicated hardware. Price stressed that these specifications are for the $ 999 developer version the company announced today. The final product’s build hasn’t been finalized. Still, with all that power, we had to wonder why MMV chose Android. Price reiterated the potential he sees in the platform. “We’re pushing the envelope and adapting it for high-performance gaming, but we see Android being the change agent in personal computing, on the TV and the desktop. People hate walled gardens, and they hate maintaining their PCs. Android can solve that, and we’re going to help make that happen.”
Gallery: iConsole.tv hands-on
PhoneArena presents a hands-on video of Robot Unicorn Attack 2. http://www.phonearena.com/news/Robot-Unicorn-Attack-2-hands-on_id42496 For more details, chec…
After teasing it in a strange, Star Trek-infused commercial, Acer has finally revealed its mysterious transforming device. At an event at Milk Studios in New York City, the company has announced the Aspire R7. It has a (beautiful) 15.6-inch, 1080p touchscreen and it’s powered by an ultra-low voltage Intel Core i5 processor. While we know the specs, we’re not sure what to call it, honestly — it’s technically a laptop, but thanks to Acer’s new “Ezel” hinge the device sounds (and looks) an awful lot like both a tablet and a desktop computer. Maybe, as Acer calls it, it’s “the notebook designed for touch.” It’s certainly unlike any laptop we’ve seen before.
Whatever you want to call it, the R7 is an impressive and unique piece of…
Acer’s making a big Windows 8 play at its event today in New York city, announcing a handful of unique devices including the new Aspire P3. Acer calls the P3 an “ultrabook convertible,” and that’s a fairly apt description: it’s a tablet and detachable keyboard dock running Windows 8, with a Core i3 or i5 processor. It reminds us a bit of the Surface, with the clip-on keyboard and pen support. Acer claims its the first of its kind, though that may be semantic: we heard about the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix months ago, though we’ve yet to see it in stores.
Acer calls the P3 the perfect device for consumption and creation, an increasingly common trope among Windows PC manufacturers. It has an 11.6-inch HD display, weighs 3.06 pounds, and is…
Barnes & Noble’s refusal to open its ecosystem has long been one of our principle complaints about the company’s tablet offerings. The Nook HD and HD+ are extremely nice pieces of hardware that have been held back by their own walled software offerings — having a fast device with a nice screen only gets you so far without the proper apps. The company line up to now has been that walling off content allows for a sort of quality control, assuring that apps are developed specifically for the unique form factor of its devices. And while there’s perhaps something to be said for that sentiment in the sometimes-fragmented world of Android devices, it was hard to ignore the fact that offering up exclusive access to content through your own marketplace assures better cash flow. It also, unfortunately, means that without extensive developer outreach, there are sure to be plenty of popular apps that just never make it over to your side of the fence.
With its announcement tonight, B&N acknowledges that, in this case, open is better. The company has responded directly to user feedback and will be issuing a software update to its Nook HD and Nook HD+ devices (sorry Nook Tablet and Color owners) that brings Google Play directly to the desktop. The software will come pre-loaded on new devices and will be available as an over-the-air update. If you can’t wait that long, you’ll also be able to download it directly from the bookseller’s site. The update also brings a few other tweaks to the system, but this is far and away the biggest news. The first question we asked upon getting a quick demo: will you be able to buy content like books, magazines and movies through Play? Yep, that’s coming too.