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Gadget Ogling: A Waterproof Reader, a Phone That's Got Game, and Gloves That Make Paying Up Comfy
November 14, 2017
One of the great joys of reading is that you can do it anywhere. A relaxing bath is a prime opportunity for getting through a few chapters, but woe betide those who let their paperback slip into the tub or accidentally splash water into the most delicate part of an e-reader. And, lo! Amazon has a solution with its Kindle Oasis. The device can survive in fresh water up to a depth of two meters for as long as an hour.
Fighting Off the Harvey Weinsteins of the World Through Technology
October 23, 2017
Harvey Weinstein just went from most powerful man in Hollywood to punching bag -- and while he deserved this, perhaps greater attention should go toward taking aggressive measures to prevent future Weinsteins -- and there will be future Weinsteins. We need to stop acting surprised when this stuff comes out and instead take stronger steps to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
Gadget Ogling: Same Old Apple
October 6, 2017
Watching Apple's product announcement showcase is a bit like celebrating New Year's. People from all over the world are drawn to this annual event with the promise of something new and exciting, a vision of tomorrow and untold promise. Yet the more it comes around, the more disappointed we are. That promised kiss from a stranger at midnight is a dud. Our best intentions fall by the wayside.
Amazon's Alexa May Get Into Your Head
September 21, 2017
Developers at Amazon's secret Lab 126 reportedly have been working on audio-only smart glass technology that would allow users to communicate with its virtual assistant Alexa. The smart glasses would connect wirelessly to users' smartphones and transfer communications through a bone-conduction audio system that would negate the need for headphones. Amazon plans to release the device this year.
Apple Unveils Highly Secure, High-Priced iPhones
September 12, 2017
Apple has made its long-awaited iPhone splash, accompanied by announcements of major upgrades to Apple Watch and Apple TV. The company launched two new generations of mobile phones -- iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and iPhone X -- with enhancements in photography and device security in all models. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are built for durability with a new glass back design.
Apple to Sate iPhone Curiosity Sept. 12
August 29, 2017
Apple plans to refresh its iPhone, TV and watch lines at an event scheduled Sept. 12. In addition to upgrading its iPhone 7 models, the company is expected to debut the "iPhone 8" to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand. It reportedly will have an OLED display with barely any bezel, a fingerprint scanner at the rear of the phone, and support for facial recognition and wireless charging.
Merged VR: Augmented Reality Cubed
August 18, 2017
There is considerable development activity at the high end of hardware and content creation for virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as such AR aliases as mixed reality, extended reality and others. Most industry investment is aimed at leading-edge gaming and industrial application development. However, the low-end of the market is also worth looking at.
Gadget Ogling: Trending Hot Plates, Toys for Future Coders, and a Ringy Dingy Ring
August 16, 2017
If you've looked at Facebook for more than a minute over the last few years, there's no question that you'll have encountered a top-down, perfectly filmed food video from BuzzFeed's Tasty channel. The cooking clips are enormously popular on the social network, racking up billions of views a month. Now BuzzFeed is trying to monetize its success in a new way. Enter the Tasty One Top, a hot plate that seeks to make cooking simpler.
Microsoft Adds AI to HoloLens Silicon
July 25, 2017
The next version of Microsoft's HoloLens may be better at navigating reality than the current version of the mixed-reality headset, thanks to a new coprocessor the company announced Sunday. The second version of HoloLens' custom multiprocessor -- called a "holographic processing unit," or HPU -- will incorporate artificial intelligence technology, Harry Shum, executive vice president of the Artificial Intelligence and Research Group.
Google's Ugly Duckling Glass Becomes Enterprise Swan
July 19, 2017
Google's augmented reality goggles were a flop several years ago -- when intrepid explorers wore the devices in restaurants and bars, sparking reactions ranging from disapproval to outright violence -- but they have become very welcome in the workplace. Their success in a host of business settings led The Team at X on Tuesday to announce an expansion of its Glass Enterprise Edition program.
Wearable Tech Can Detect Life-Threatening Heart Problems
May 18, 2017
Cardiogram last week announced that it has developed a preliminary algorithm to use with the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices to detect atrial fibrillation with higher accuracy than previously validated detection methods. Atrial fibrillation, or AF, affects about 2.7 million Americans, and increases the risk of stroke by five times. Overall, it causes about 15 percent of strokes.
The iPhone Model's Impending Obsolescence
April 24, 2017
VCRs gave way to DVD players, which in turn have given way to streaming services. Brick cellphones evolved into flip phones, which were swapped out for two-way pager phones and then wiped out by the iPhone model. Tape players gave way to the Walkman CD player, which gave way to the iPod, which also ended up in the iPhone model. I think we soon will see another big industry shift.
Apple May Transform Diabetes Care and Treatment: Report
April 15, 2017
Apple is working on a secret project to develop wearable devices that can monitor the blood sugar of diabetics without using invasive finger sticks, according to a report. Apple has assembled a team of biomedical engineers from various companies to work on the project. Glucose monitoring traditionally has required that diabetics use lancets to pierce their fingertips at least four times daily.
Was Apple's Outstanding Q1 a Fluke?
February 6, 2017
Apple had a good quarter, but if you look under the numbers there is a ton of trouble. It just dropped behind Google in brand value, and valuation may crater in a few months. The iPhone 7 did well, but that shouldn't be a surprise, given that its biggest competitor, Samsung, saw its phone literally go up in flames last quarter. The Galaxy 8 is coming, though, and it looks really impressive.
Apple Goes on Record-Breaking Spree
February 1, 2017
Apple stunned Wall Street with Q1 earnings that set new quarterly unit and revenue records in key product segments, and its highest-ever earnings per share. CEO Tim Cook said the company set all-time revenue and unit records for its iPhone and Apple Watch brands, all-time revenue records for its Mac and Services businesses, and all-time revenue records for four of its five geographic sectors.
Devs Alerted to Long-Delayed Android Wear 2.0 Reboot
January 13, 2017
Google is moving ahead with its long-delayed launch of Android Wear 2.0, an operating system for its emerging wearables ecosystem, which finally could decouple the smartwatch from the smartphone. A notice to developers states that Android Wear 2.0 will launch in early February, Android Police reported Wednesday. Google reportedly has been working on two new smartwatches as well.
Gadget Ogling: Floating Speakers, Neckbrace Audio, and Charming Caffeine Fixes
January 6, 2017
LG features twice in this edition of the column with two very different but similarly strange speakers. The "Levitating Portable Speaker" has as descriptive and accurate a name as the "Small Transparent Speaker" from last month's edition of this column. You can call it "PJ9" if you prefer the duller moniker. Yes, through the magic of electromagnets and a base station, this speaker will levitate and pump out audio in every direction.
Snapdragon-Powered AR Smartglasses Are the Real Deal
January 4, 2017
Qualcomm on Tuesday debuted its groundbreaking Snapdragon 835 system on a chip at CES. Following the 835 launch, the company joined Osterhout Design Group in unveiling two new ODG augmented reality headsets, the R-8 and R-9, which are the first Snapdragon 835-powered devices to be announced. The Snapdragon SoC is the first chip built using the ultra-advanced 10nm FinFET process node.
Gadget Ogling: Heightened Hearing, Toasty Toes, and Glass Speakers
December 22, 2016
Bose's latest earbuds are designed to help you tune in to the specific sounds you want to hear. Hearphones are a sort of blend of noise-cancelling earbuds and hearing aids. There are several presets in the app, with names like "focused conversation," "gym," "airplane" and "television." You can opt to crank up the volume on all sound from the world around you or turn it down.
Apple AirPods Finally Good to Go
December 14, 2016
Apple has begun taking online orders for its wireless AirPods, and said it would start delivering the $159 earphones to customers, Apple Stores, resellers and carriers next week. At the iPhone 7 launch in September, Apple SVP Phil Schiller said the AirPods would be available in October. Missing the deadline for release of any hot product is bad news for a company.
New Smartwatch OS Debuts on GitHub
December 9, 2016
Can a new smartwatch operating system based on Linux breathe some new life into the smart wearables market? Florent Revest hopes so. Revest, a French computer science student, on Wednesday announced the alpha release of AsteroidOS, an open source operating system that will run on several Android smartwatch models. Revest has been working on his OS for two years.
Fitbit Pulls Pebble From Rock, Hard Place
December 9, 2016
Fitbit has announced an acquisition deal with smartwatch maker Pebble. It clearly has been struggling, having laid off 25 percent of its staff earlier this year, when CEO Eric Migicovsky acknowledged that money was tight. "Fitbit is acquiring certain assets of Pebble, including key personnel and intellectual property specific to software and firmware development," a Fitbit spokesperson said.
Without Numbers, Cook's Apple Watch Claims May Be Hollow
December 8, 2016
Apple drew some pointed questions this week following CEO Tim Cook's vague response to reports suggesting Apple Watch demand has plummeted. The Apple Watch is on track to set a holiday sales record and post its best quarter ever, Cook said. Sell-through of the watch -- that is, units sold to consumers and not just stocked on retailers' shelves -- also is on track to reach a new high, he added.
Fitbit May Pick Up Pebble
December 5, 2016
Fitbit, the leader in the wearables category, is close to an agreement to buy struggling smartwatch maker Pebble for up to $40 million, in a move to gain the firm's intellectual property and software. The negotiations follow several months of financial turmoil at Pebble, which reportedly slashed its workforce by 25 percent in March and has rebuffed several prior offers to be acquired.
Gadget Ogling: Streaming Merrily, Snapping Happily, and Listening My Way
October 1, 2016
Roku has refreshed its lineup of media players with lower prices, so bringing streaming video to every screen in your home just got a little more accessible. At the lower end, the Roku Express costs $30. The lineup includes $40, $50, $80 and $100 models with a variety of feature combinations. At $130, the Roku Ultra, pictured here, is the feature-loaded top-of-the-line option.
Snap Unveils Eye-Popping Camera Spectacles
September 27, 2016
Snap, the company formerly known as "Snapchat," on Saturday announced sunglasses that take videos through a built-in camera in the frame. Snap's Spectacles let users take 10-second videos by tapping a button on the top left-hand corner of the eyeframe. Users can tap on the record button to record two more 10-second segments, for videos of up to 30 seconds long in all.
New Apple Products Have the Right Gaming Stuff
September 17, 2016
Apple wants to attract gaming fans to the more powerful graphics and processing power embedded in its new iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 products. The iPhone 7 features the new A10 Fusion chip -- the most powerful ever in a smartphone, according to the company. The CPU fuses two high-performance cores that run twice as fast as the iPhone 6 with much more efficient use of battery power.
Apple Hopes iPhone 7 Extras Will Make Up for Missing Headphone Jack
September 8, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday officially unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone Plus, confirming a rumor that has evoked widespread dread: The traditional headphone jacks are gone. The new iPhones are sleeker than their predecessors, though, as well as water resistant. Their biggest plus might be the advanced lenses in what Apple claims is the most sophisticated smartphone camera in the world.
Snazzier Fitbits Sport Beefed-Up Feature Sets
August 30, 2016
Fitbit on Monday announced two new fitness trackers with sleeker looks, more durable construction and greater data-gathering capabilities. The Fitbit Charge 2, priced at $149.95, features continuous heart-rate tracking. It uses the data to generate a cardio fitness score and provides guidance for improving it over time. The Charge 2 displays real-time exercise stats.
Gadget Ogling: Musical Pizza Boxes, Backup Backpacks, and Tattooing Robots
August 25, 2016
Call it a gimmick, but I'm very much into the idea of having a pizza box that doubles as a turntable. Pizza Hut partnered with Novalia to make the box, which includes pitch and volume controls, a mixer, and touch-sensitive decks. Using printed electronics, DJs can crossfade, rewind and even scratch. The box pairs with smartphones and computers using Bluetooth and works with DJ software.
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Which form of smartphone security do you rely on most?
Face ID or Fingerprint
Strong Password
App Locks
Storage Encryption
VPN with Public WiFi
I don't use any smartphone security tech.