Posts Tagged ‘Home’
Keen to capitalize on the ever-growing segment of landline cutters, US Cellular appears to be launching a home phone service similar to the Home Connect offerings by Verizon and Sprint. According to information we’ve received, all you have to do is plug in a regular cordless or corded phone into the provided base station and voilà — you’ll be able to make calls via US Cellular’s wireless network instead. You’ll get unlimited voice calls for only $ 19.99 a month, which also includes voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, three-way calling and that all-important E911 service. Of course, as it’s voice-only, you won’t get data or text messaging as part of the plan.
The PCD-made base station seen above has a model name of FT2260 and boasts dual-band support (800/1900 MHz CDMA), a QSC6055 chipset, two phone jacks and a USB port for diagnostics purposes. Also included in the package are a charger, an antenna and a 1500 mAh NiMH battery that promises up to two hours of talk or 36 hours of standby time. We’re not sure when exactly this’ll roll out, but from the looks of it, we won’t have to wait long for yet another alternative to ye olde POTS.
More signs today the HTC First might also be the last smartphone to ship with Facebook Home pre-installed: UK carrier EE confirmed today that the first Facebook Home phone won’t be launching in the UK soon as planned, as Facebook has decided to concentrate its efforts on making improvements to the Home software before looking to add international markets. EE says it will soon be contacting customers who already used its pre-order system to express interest in the First to let them know about the delay, which is indefinite in length.
Here’s the full statement direct from EE:
Following customer feedback, Facebook has decided to focus on adding new customisation features to Facebook Home over the coming months. While they are working to make a better Facebook Home experience, they have recommended holding off launching the HTC First in the UK, and so we will shortly be contacting those who registered their interest with us to let them know of this decision.
Rest assured, we remain committed to bringing our customers the latest mobile experiences, and we will continue to build on our strong relationship with Facebook so as to offer customers new opportunities in the future.
We’ve also received a near-identical statement from Orange in France, where customers were also able to register their interest, so this isn’t limited to just the UK.
This is not great news for either Facebook or HTC. We’ve seen reports that Facebook Home has been performing poorly as a download, and that the First isn’t selling well in the U.S. Home currently has a 2.5 cumulative average rating in the Google Play store, and AT&T is reportedly in the process of discontinuing the HTC First, though we’ve not heard definitely either way if that’s the final word as of yet.
A so-called “Facebook Phone” under-performing is nothing new; the HTC Status did almost just as poorly, lasting only 36 days before AT&T started considering a swing of the axe.
As of press time, there’s still a button on the Facebook Home splash page that directs you to a page where you can express interest in a pre-order, but presumably that will come down as the carriers move to reflect this change in their own pages and alert customers of the change in the First’s status.
Update: Facebook has povided the following official statement regarding its decision, which mirrors those issued by EE and Orange France:
We’ve listened to feedback from users on their experience using Home. While many people love it, we’ve heard a lot of great feedback about how to make Home substantially better. As a result we’re focusing the next few months on adding customization features that address the feedback we received. While we focus on making Home better, we are going to limit supporting new devices and think it makes a lot of sense for EE and Orange to hold off deploying the HTC First in Europe.
When it comes to tech events, there’s nothing quite like the International CES. It’s a challenge, it’s a marathon and it can be a little overwhelming — but we wouldn’t miss it for the world. CES has evolved dramatically since its inception in 1967 as a small, NYC offshoot of the Chicago Music Show and at Engadget we’re proud to have been the Official Blog and Online News Source for the past five years running. This year we’re taking that relationship a step further. A big step further. We’re thrilled to announce that Engadget is the official home of the 2014 Best of CES Awards!
In January, the Engadget editorial team will be scouring the International CES show floor to find the best, most exciting products making their debut there. We do this every year, but in 2014 we’ll formalize the procedure. Finalists will be selected for each of 15 categories and, through an entirely editorially controlled process, individual products will be awarded the honor of Best of CES. Those lucky standouts will receive custom, 3D printed trophies courtesy of our friends at 3D Systems. Awards will be printed live at the International CES, so you can see them emerging from nothing as the show goes on.
We’ll be detailing our judging process in the coming months and providing more information on how companies can submit their products for our consideration ahead of the show in January. For now, know that we’re very excited to be the new home of the 2014 Best of CES Awards. Here’s what Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of CEA, had to say:
Engadget and CEA share a passion for technology and for showcasing innovations to a global audience. Their dedicated editorial team canvases the CES show floor to cover the best products across all key categories of CES. Their quality coverage is sought after by CES exhibitors and the independent editorial judgment they will bring to these awards will help highlight the top products at the 2014 CES.
We can’t wait to see you in Vegas.
Filed under: Announcements
Engineering Update #10: Smart Home Robots & The Printable Bionic Ear This episode of Engineering Update from ECN is brought to you by Mouser Electronics, the…
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Facebook isn’t the only company that wants to give your Android experience a makeover. The Korean startup behind the massively popular messaging app KakaoTalk has just released KakaoHome — a launcher that lets you quickly reply to KakaoTalk messages without having to open the app, somewhat like Facebook Home’s vaunted Chat Heads. Reported by The Guardian, the app also lets you quickly check notifications for Kakao’s suite of apps, including the Tumblr-like KakaoStory, and KakaoGame, which is similar to Apple’s Game Center.
A Google-built alternative to Game Center on iOS and Games Hub on Windows Phone surfaced last month, and we know even more about it. Android Police dug into a new Play Services (an Android component you don’t access directly, but does things like update Google apps) APK, and found the latest version hid a massive update getting ready for Google Play Games. Although it’s not directly accessible yet, so far it’s revealed support for system wide notifications, standardized notifications managed by Google+, and cloud synced game saves to work across multiple devices. Also built in are the other parts of any modern gaming service like matchmaking, leaderboards, achievements, lobbies and such. Exactly how all this works and how devs will put it to use will probably be revealed next week at Google I/O, but for now there are a few more screenshots beyond the source link.
Source: Android Police
The Ouya is making its way out to backers even now (though my shipping notification still hasn’t arrived. Grrr.) and judging by early impressions, it’s no silver bullet to take down behemoths like Sony and Microsoft. The $ 99, Android powered console still isn’t fully formed exactly, but it’s doubtful that between now and June 25 it’ll take on giant-killer proportions. Likewise the recently-announced BlueStacks Android gaming console, which features a subscription-based pricing model, probably won’t alone topple the giants.
But combined, these and a slew of other devices including the GameStick, smart TVs from manufacturers, Steam Boxes, and even Google and Apple hardware are eating away at what was once a fairly exclusive field. It seems a lot of people are waiting for a watershed moment to signal a significant shift away from traditional console gaming to a new paradigm, but increasingly, it looks likely that what we’ll see instead is an erosion that more closely resembles glacial shift, but on a less geological time scale.
There’s evidence to suggest that console gaming is already losing significant ground, like quarterly results from Nintendo that show a dramatic decline in consumer interest in the recently-launched Wii U console. And while Sony saw its first full-year profit in half a decade, most of the good news was on the smartphone side, and PlayStation sales fell for the year. Microsoft is still doing fairly well with the Xbox 360, but growth of key accessories like the Kinect have slowed with time.
Slower Kinect sales are a good bellwether for the industry’s overall health, if only because it and devices like it are where console makers are turning to try to inject some fresh life into a market that had recently started to look fairly stale. To some extent, Kinect, Move and other gimmicks like the screen of the 3DS are an answer to incursions by mobile gaming and other alternatives. Just like point-and-shoot cameras needed differentiating features like long zooms to prove themselves relative to smartphone cameras, video games needed something new to reel in new buyers.
The new crop of challengers to the console gaming market, including Ouya and the new BlueStacks GamePop console, risks getting discounted by critics as just another round of devices like the GP2X Wiz or the Gizmondo, which had limited appeal and then faded into the background of video games history as little more than a minor footnote. But that’s taking too short-term and dismissive a view on what’s currently happening in the video game space. It’s true that, as ardent console gamers continually remind me, there will always be a demand for that type of content.
Increasingly, however, there’s a growing contingent of players that are fine saying, “if I can get it on my phone, why do I need it anywhere else?” and that’s a market that’s ripe for a living room transition like the ones being attempted by Ouya and BlueStack. It’s easy to discount these ahead of their full consumer launch, and I don’t expect them to have an immediate impact on console sales, but they are signs of a sure shift, and one that won’t go away, even if doesn’t provide the sort of bomb shock disruption that we’re so fond of identifying and championing.
Electric vehicles still have a few obstacles that prevent them from going fully mainstream. These typically center on the price of the vehicle itself (though this is changing), and its range. One other barrier has also been the price of home-based chargers. Now, Bosch is offering a level 2 (quicker than the usually cheaper, and slower level 1) home charging system for just $ 450. For that price you get 16 amp charging and a 12 foot cord. There are two other options that increase the amperage to 30, with a choice of 18 or 25 foot cables — costing $ 593 and $ 749 respectively. These don’t include any additional networking features and so on, but for this price, and reduced reliance on external charging networks, it’d be worth clearing out the garage for.
Via: The Verge
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.
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.