Canonical releases Ubuntu 14.04 for desktops and servers, update for phone and tablets
Canonical has released its latest Long Term Support version of Ubuntu for desktops and servers. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS includes an update to its phone version as well as for tablets. Stated in a press release from by the company, the most recent Ubuntu version will "form the basis of the first commercially available Ubuntu tablets from Canonical OEM partners."
Google Glass Home Try-On scheme sends Glass units, frames to customers
Google has started a pilot scheme where it sends potential Google Glass customers test units, so they can try the device on from home. E-mails sent to people who had previously let Google know they wanted to buy the device, offering for a free "home try-on kit" to be sent to them, including a variety of Glass units and its Titanium Collection prescription frames.
Charming, surprising, intriguing finds now available or coming to market soon
Continuing our look at some of the more interesting devices and services we ran across at Macworld in San Francisco last month, MacNN and Electronista staffers will periodically write about items and vendors that caught our eye at the show that we thought our readers would like to know about. Today's focus is on two successfully-funded Kickstarter campaigns: The Roost stand for notebooks, and the iMacompanion USB port from Wiplabs.
iOS-compatible toy race car line-up Anki Drive expands, adds new cars, tracks and new race mode
Anki Drive, a line of toy race cars that feature iOS compatibility, has updated its Anki Drive app, as well as released new cars and tracks. Using AI robotics, Anki Drive aims to integrate the nature of video games into a physical game context, requiring Anki cars, a physical track, and at least one compatible iOS device to play. The new cars, Corax and Hadion ($70 each) are the newest "characters" for Anki Drive, with Hadion featuring Turbo Boost speeds capabilities. Corax, on the other hand, has the option to mount multiple weapons.
Range includes 85-inch flagship, budget-priced 4K televisions
Sony has outlined the pricing and availability for its range of Bravia 4K Ultra HD televisions, sets it originally revealed at CES in January. The high-resolution televisions, including one high-priced model measuring 85 inches diagonally priced at $24,999, are detailed at the same time as an updated version of the company's 4K media player.
Smart watches usable with 12 smartphones, 8 tablets
Samsung has added more devices to the list that will work with the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit smart devices. A total of 20 Samsung mobile devices are now compatible with the smart watches, with the list of eight tablets and 12 smartphones including a large number of recent releases, as well as some of the more prominent best-sellers from the last few years.
French hardware company reveals its year-long malware security breach
LaCie, a major retailer and tech company from France, has confirmed that its website has experienced a security breach for over a one-year period. Informed about the security violation on March 19 by the FBI, transactions between March 27, 2013 and March 10, 2014 are thought to have been affected. Customer names, addresses, email addresses, and payment card numbers with their expiration dates are at risk, in addition to usernames and passwords. LaCie began notifying affected customers on April 11, and its digital store is currently closed while fixes to its secure payment infrastructure are under way.
Patent filing in South Korea shows display mounted by earpiece
Samsung may be working on a wearable display in a similar vein to Google Glass, based on patents uncovered at the Korean Patent Office. Described as an "Earphone" in the filing, the device appears to provide a small display in front of one eye, with the attached earpiece being used not only for sound, but also to hold the entire apparatus on the head by clipping around the ear.
Google Glass update bundles media together for simpler navigation
Google has revealed it will be updating Glass to Android KitKat later this week. While the update introduces a number of changes, including a more refined photographic experience, Google has decided to remove its video calling function from the wearable device, claiming that it has received poor user feedback over the function, and that less than ten percent use it in the first place.
Atlantis Productions announces upcoming wildlife documentary to be created for Oculus Rift headset
Atlantic Productions has announced its plan to create wildlife programming for virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift. Sir David Attenborough is said to be fronting the production, entitled Conquest of the Skies. Currently filming in Borneo, Conquest of the Skies could potentially be the first major wildlife production made available for the new tech gear, offering a 360-degree visual experience. Atlantic has already created natural history productions through its Sky 3D joint venture firm Colossus Productions, with the upcoming project for use with Oculus Rift being treated as an opportunity for pursuing a new film medium.
TYLT announces new Energi Sliding Power Case and ALIN screen protector for new Galaxy S5
Portable power and wireless charging manufacturer, Tylt, has today introduced its Energi Sliding Power Case and Alin Screen Protector for the newly released Samsung Galaxy S5. The Energi Sliding Power Case pairs portable charging with physical protection, and is equipped with a 2,800mAh internal battery that is double the capacity of the Galaxy S5. The ALIN screen protector facilitates an easy installation, with its accompanying alignment tool. Four screen protectors are provided, with each featuring two removable tabs to avoid fingerprints during the application process.
Google opening up Google Glass sale April 15 for one day
Confirming earlier rumors, Google is opening up wearable computing device Google Glass for purchase for one day in the US. Any US adult can join the Explorer program with any shade or frame for $1,500, plus applicable local sales tax. Available devices are limited. Purchase begins April 15 at 6AM PDT.
Razer Nabu hopes to avoid Fitbit Force skin irritation problems
Razer is delaying the release of its Nabu connected wristband, in order to make sure the device is safe to wear. In the wake of the Fitbit Force skin irritation fiasco, which saw users complain of rashes on their skin where the band was worn, the gaming peripheral manufacturer will be performing more medical testing on the fitness tracker, pushing the release back from the original first-quarter launch date until late May.
Flagship Samsung smartphone, smart watches go on sale today
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has gone on sale in 125 countries, as part of its global launch. Initially unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February, the flagship smartphone is being sold in stores and through carriers in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the majority of Asia, flanked by the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit smart watches.
Chromecast support in Android app brings Aereo to televisions
Troubled television rebroadcasting start-up Aereo will be adding support for the Google Chromecast to its Android app at the end of next month, the company has announced. The move will allow customers to watch live broadcast television via the Chromecast, as well as programs recorded on the service's cloud-based DVR, starting from May 29th.
Charming, surprising, intriguing finds coming to market soon
Now that we've had time to recover from the fury of meeting so many vendors at this year's Macworld, MacNN and Electronista have had a little time to reflect on some of the products and services we saw there. Many have yet to come to market -- a running joke was the number of projects crowdfunded last summer that will be arriving in stores soon -- some have won awards, and some are just little gems we were delighted, intrigued and wowed by. First up in this ongoing series is a successful Kickstarter startup, Glowdeck.
Kinivo launches BTE40 Bluetooth Receiver and headset
Kinivo has announced the launch of its new Bluetooth receiver and wireless low-profile headset, the BTE40. Its audio receiver features multi-point Bluetooth support, allowing for simultaneous connection to up to two devices for wireless streaming, even while switching between sources. Its headphones, which connect to the BTE40's receiver, doubles as a remote control for mobile devices.
Samsung Gear Solo may be smart watch with own cellular access
Samsung's smart watch with cellular connectivity is apparently called the Gear Solo, according to reports. Continuing earlier rumors, the device being worked on between the manufacturer and SK Telecom is said to have its own cellular radio, allowing it to work as a standalone device using its own SIM card instead of connecting to a smartphone.
Apple's main FCPB supplier plans $100 million in upgrades
Three flexible PCB suppliers have reportedly been delivering validation samples to Apple in preparation for iWatch production, sources tell Digitimes. The people are scarce on other details, but do say they expect Apple to announce the iWatch in September. A company called Zhen Ding is said to be Apple's largest FPCB supplier, and planning to spend $100 million to upgrade its capacity not just for the iWatch, but for greater demand of iPhone and iPad parts.
Allows curators to easily incorporate iBeacons into exhibits, develop interactive guides
A Dutch startup called LabWerks is introducing a new platform aimed at museums, called mApp, that incorporates Apple's iBeacon technology to allow staffers to quickly and easily roll out interactive exhibits, potentially revolutionizing the mini-industry of museum tour self-guidance. The customizable mApp platform lets institutions use iBeacons that only trigger when visitors come within range of an exhibit, room or area of the museum where more information is available.
Consumer-oriented 3D printer includes self-levelling, configuration
A small 3D printer that launched on Kickstarter reached its crowdfunding goal within 11 minutes. The Micro, a compact 3D printer that hopes to offer the same printing options as the MakerBot Replicator series and other devices but with a more user-friendly approach, has soared past its $50,000 target with 29 days of the campaign left to run.
New addition to Sony Alpha 7 range aimed at videographers
Sony has added another model to its Alpha 7 line of full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, one with an extremely high level of sensitivity. Where the A7 and A7r offer a maximum sensitivity of ISO 25,600, the A7s ranges between ISO 50 and an extended ISO 409,600, with the sensor said to optimize the dynamic range and minimize noise in dark scenes.
New HDX-SDI video interface with Thunderbolt offers capture and playback for variety of programs
Motu has announced the release of its new HDX-SDI video interface with Thunderbolt technology. Offering a HD/SD video production workstation for any Thunderbolt-equipped Mac (or PC), its I/O technology supports high-resolution displays and high-performance data services though a single port. Users can connect any video source to the HDX-SDI, with best image quality derived from uncompressed video capture.
Black Eyed Peas member shows smart watch during interview
Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am is producing a smart watch, the musician has revealed. Appearing on a chat show in the United Kingdom, he gave a demonstration of the device's capabilities, claiming that unlike the Samsung Gear range and other smart watches, his version is able to make phone calls without needing to be connected to a smartphone.
Amazon announces Dash barcode scanner, expands e-commerce versatility
Amazon has announced the release of a new LED barcode scanner, entitled Dash. Offering the ability to scan household objects and groceries, the aim of Dash is to facilitate replenishing stock within one's home by scanning existing products to order replacements. Users can scan or verbally dictate what is desired to be purchased, with Dash featuring a simplistic setup and sturdy design. Those interested can sign up through Amazon for a free Dash gadget, currently by invitation only.
US Patent and Trademark Office objects to single word 'Glass' trademark from Google
Google has hit a minor stumbling block in releasing its Glass smart headwear, thanks to the US Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO is resisting an application to trademark the single term "Glass," with a letter to the company unearthed by the Wall Street Journal revealing a pair of objections by one examiner, though this is unlikely to have stalled the device's eventual release.
Alarm could be accidentally disabled by motion, now disabled in existing units
Ahead of any reported problems among existing users, Nest is voluntarily halting sales of its Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm due to potential issues with one of the features. In addition, the company will be remotely disabling the Nest Wave feature in existing units, which allowed users to turn off alarms by simply waving their hands at the unit. Internal company testing had shown that the feature could in some circumstances disable the alarms unintentionally, which might delay an alarm in the event of a real fire.
Amazon finally releases streamer for video, audio, gaming
An Amazon-branded set-top box like a Roku or Apple TV has really been inevitable for some time. Yesterday, Amazon formally introduced the Amazon Fire TV box, an HDMI peripheral for a so-equipped television. The media streaming market is very crowded. Solutions like Roku and Apple TV dominate the landscape, with the new Google Chromecast device coming in with a bit less independent functionality than its competitors. How does the Amazon Fire TV hold up to its competitors in the living room, rather than a media event floor?
Panasonic reveals new line-up of eneloop rechargeable batteries
Panasonic Energy Europe has announced the arrival of its new line-up of eleloop reusable batteries to the UK this April. A combination of the performance of dry cells with the sustainable aspects of rechargeable batteries, envelop can be recharged up to 2100 times, claiming to be the most reusable battery in the industry. The new products line-up will feature "standard", "pro" and "lite" models. Eneloop batteries are resistant to self-discharge, as well as offer versatility in respects to a wide range of temperature conditions.
Reign23 Bolt portable USB wall battery charger released
Reign23 has released its combination USB wall charger and rechargeable portable battery, Bolt. Its portable battery has a 3000mAh capacity, large enough for two full charges of an iPhone or other mobile device. Initially launched as a Kickstarter project in 2013, Bolt is small, at 2.75 inches by 1.33 inches by 1.10 inches. Its smart charge technology automatically bypasses the battery when fully charged, and is available in blue and black color options. Priced at $60, the Bolt USB Wall Charger and Battery can be purchased online.
Withings announces retail debut of its new wireless blood pressure monitor, AMGA sponsorship
Health technology producer Withings has announced the retail debut of its wireless blood pressure monitor, which has achieved FDA clearance. Additionally, Withings has joined the American Medical Group Association's Measure Up/Pressure Down hypertension campaign as a project sponsor. Users can take measurements with the Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor by wrapping the cuff around one's arm, and turning on the device.
Fire TV set-top box offers voice search by microphone in remote control
Amazon has launched its new streaming media player, the Fire TV, at its New York media event today. Part of the retailer's push into the streaming video marketplace and building upon the success of its Kindle tablets, the Amazon Fire TV is a small set-top box that allows users access to TV shows and movies watch video from Amazon's Instant Video, as well as other services.
BT prepares sports channels for use on Chromecast
BT Sport will soon be available to watch on Chromecast in the UK. The sports channel, currently available as a paid service on Sky but free to BT Broadband customers, will appear on the streaming device in the future, reports the Financial Times. There is no mention of exactly when it will be rolling out to the Chromecast, though it seems to be likely BT will continue restricting access to anyone using their Internet service.
Nest adds Heat Link to Thermostat for British boiler compatibility
Nest has opened up sales of its smart Thermostat in the United Kingdom, marking the first time the device has gone on sale outside of the United States and Canada. The smart digital thermostat from the Google-owned company joins the Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector on sale in the country, and could be the sign of a further expansion into Europe.
New Lenovo tablet range offers Dolby audio, low price point
Lenovo has announced a quartet of budget Android tablets it will be releasing later this quarter, with all said to provide high-quality Dolby-powered audio. A pair of seven-inch tablets, the A7-30 and A7-50, will be joined by the eight-inch A8 and the 10.1-inch A10, with all appearing to be focused on offering a basic set of features and specifications at a low cost.
Twitter updates to include new tweet date range search option
Social media platform Twitter has added a new element to its search function. On its Advanced Search page, Twitter users can now search for tweets by a date range, making old messages easier to find with a date range estimation. Though this feature was technically available prior to now by including the search terms "since:" and "until:," manual operators are now not required.
Full Windows tablet still fanless, starts at $1,230
Panasonic today announced a "value version" of its seven-inch, fanless, ruggedized full-Windows tablet, the Toughpad FZ-M1. The device uses the Celeron N2807 processor and a 1280x800 touchscreen, and is tailored for companies replacing "aging business PDAs" according to Panasonic. The Toughpad FZ-M1 Value tablet comes with 2GB RAM (4GB optional) and 128GB SSD and is equipped with the Windows 8.1 operating system.
New tablet comes in three sizes, all with LTE optional
As expected, Samsung has launched a trio of Galaxy Tab 4 tablets for the entry-level market. The new line consists of the seven-inch Galaxy Tab 4 7.0, eight-inch Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 and the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 devices, all with thinner bezels and less weight than the previous similar models from the Korean manufacturer.
Republic Wireless offers Moto X via Moto Maker, wood backing offer
Republic Wireless is finally offering the Moto X through Moto Maker, from 12pm Eastern Time. The budget carrier will be selling the Motorola flagship off-contract in 16GB and 32GB variants for $350 and $400 respectively. As an incentive for launch, the carrier is offering a coupon to the first 2,000 people to visit a specific site from 11am Eastern and provide their e-mail address, for a free wooden cover upgrade worth $25.
Exhibit helps Westerners understand the fear of living in area with land mines
To help promote awareness of land mines and international efforts to clear them from former battlefields around the world, a museum in New York City will be hosting an exhibit utilizing Apple's iBeacon technology, headphones and an iOS or Android app to create a "virtual minefield." The idea, part of the UN International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action being held on April 4, is to allow users to experience the fear of land mines.
Former media event lives on as accessory, app showcase
The Macworld Expo (now called Macworld/iWorld) certainly isn't the show it was five years ago, the last year Apple attended. Its a much smaller show -- maybe 25,000 attendees at best -- but with a more sustainable focus: a showcase for computer and mobile peripherals, accessories and gadgets, as well as a gathering of app developers. Because Apple doesn't make big announcements timed to the conference anymore -- and the one company that did, Microsoft, chose not to have its Office for iPad event there -- the Macworld/iWorld show doesn't make the news as often as it used to.
Samsung adds baby monitoring feature to Galaxy S5
The Samsung Galaxy S5 can be used as a baby monitor, when used in conjunction with a Gear smart watch. SoyaCincau discovered the Samsung flagship includes a "Baby crying detector" feature that will send a vibrating alert to a paired Gear if it hears a nearby child makes a sound. Leaked screenshots note it will work best when the smartphone is placed within 1 meter (3 feet) of the child in a room with no background noise, followed by a large number of parental warnings and disclaimers.
Successful crowd-funded projects a fresh source of innovation
Macworld/iWorld 2014, currently going on at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, handed out its Best of Show awards on Friday, including a mix of hardware devices and software apps, many of which started life as successful Kickstarter or similar crowd-funded ideas, both from established companies and novice entrepreneurs. Winners included a portable RAID drive, a thermal camera for the iPhone, an app to get kids to do their chores, and new Thunderbolt adapters, among other useful apps and gadgets.
Coding legend feels VR is ultimately 'The Final Platform'
The driving force behind game developer and distributor Valve's virtual reality effort has left the company. Michael Abrash has taken a job at post-Facebook acquisition Oculus, as chief scientist. In a post announcing the shift (and defending the acquisition), Abrash claims that "Facebook's acquisition of Oculus means that VR is going to happen in all its glory."
Swatch turning away partnership deals
Apple, Google, and Samsung are among the wearable tech developers trying to court help from Swiss watchmakers, says the Financial Times. One of the core targets has been Swatch, the world's biggest watchmaker. "We have been in discussions – not ever initiated by us – with practically all players in smart wearables up until today," says Swatch CEO Nick Hayek. "However, we see no reason why we should enter into any partnership agreement."
Switch brings local control to lineup, designer lamps 3d-printed
Philips has unveiled a trio of smart lighting accessories designed to support their Hue controllable lighting line. Leading off the announcements are the Hue Tap switch and a white-only variant of the Hue light called the Hue Lux. Also debuting are a trio of 3D-printed Hue Luminaires, bringing what the company calls "a piece of art to your living room."
LG starts Android 4.4 update roll-out for G Flex in South Korea
LG has started to roll out the Android KitKat update to the G Flex smartphone. The update for the curved mobile device will include LG's Knock Code security system, among other changes, with units located in South Korea being the first to receive Android 4.4. Other markets are also expected to receive the software update, though the timing for this will depend on the region and individual carriers.
Sony Digital Paper can open, annotate PDF documents using touch, stylus
Sony has unveiled a new tablet that uses an e-ink display for note taking and reading, one it trialled last year. Digital Paper is a 12.6-ounce device with a 1,200x1,600-resolution 13.3-inch display, capable of displaying 16 levels of grayscale, though it differs from e-book readers by offering both touch controls and using an accompanying stylus for handwriting, drawing, or for a finer level of control.
Tech-specialized wood desks offer much more than hiding cords
Accessories maker iSkelter -- best known for their all-wood Slate portable notebook lapdesk with pre-cut grooves to act as stands and holders for tablets, smartphones and even coffee mugs -- is accepting pre-orders for its next project, the SlatePro. The full-sized desk, originally funded through Kickstarter, is again a wood-based productivity center, available in up to eight different configurations with pre-cut slots and cut-outs specifically aimed at serious computer users. The company expects to begin shipping the units in July.
New York media event may be Amazon streaming media device unveiling
Amazon could be preparing to reveal its rumored set-top box next week, after the retailer sent invitations to the media for a special event. The gathering, set to take place in New York on April 2, is said by the company to introduce "an update on our video business" with Peter Larsen, Vice President in charge of Amazon Kindle, and is thought to involve some sort of hardware launch.