Here are some of yesterday’s stories on TechCrunch Gadgets: A Cheerful Memento Mori Clock For Your Home Or Office Lego Tries Augmented Reality With “Life Of George” Game Sony To Stop Comping 3D Glasses For Theaters – Because Movie Tickets Aren’t Expensive Enough Already Sync By 50 Headphones Leak Early, Appear To Be Appropriately Street Huzzah! A Wooden Frame For Settlers Of Catan
The FunBox is a bedside alarm clock but it’s also a widget-running Chumby, which means it’ll let you check your twitter feeds, load up a track on Pandora or do other inappropriately stimulating activities right before catching some Zs. The device has just passed through the FCC and its paperwork reveals a 3.5-inch (possibly resistive) touch screen, a 454MHz processor, 1GB DDR memory, SD card slot and a USB port for an external drive. We couldn’t tell you price or availability at this stage, but with top smartphones increasingly coming with night dock accessories the FunBox is hardly likely to find a guaranteed perch beside our pillow.
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The Kindle Fire announcement set the interwebs ablaze as Amazon burst into the tablet scene. But the retailer-turned-CE player might be looking to go a different way in the future. Amazon has been named as Palm’s current top suitor among “a handful of contenders” as HP looks to rid itself from the TouchPad/webOS disaster.
It’s unclear from VentureBeat’s leaks why Amazon is interested in Palm. Ditching Android for webOS after building an ecosystem around Android seems foolish and shortsighted. This move, if it’s really happening, could be more about hardware development and patents than reviving a dead operating system. Sorry, fanboys.
Amazon launched the Kindle Fire earlier this week, which brings nearly all of Amazon’s cloud services into one device. Even Amazon’s massive cloud servers, Amazon EC2, are used in the clever Silk browser and the Amazon Appstore finally has flagship device in the Fire. Amazon rebuilt its Kindle syncing platform, Whispersync, to enable resuming of TV shows and movies purchased or streamed using its Prime Instant Vidoes Android app. The Fire is the compilation of a lot of Amazon’s work — and it’s all built around Android.
Adding a second tablet to Amazon’s offering seems to go against the Kindle brand’s mantra of keeping it simple. The Fire isn’t about Android or specs. It’s a tablet built around the same principles as the iPad. By bringing webOS into the fold, Amazon turns the attention to the platform, capabilities and differences rather than the form and function. A webOS Kindle doesn’t make sense.
Instead, if Amazon is indeed looking to acquire Palm from HP, the company could be looking to acquire a proper hardware design team. Amazon reportedly outsourced the Fire’s development to Quanta, who, as Ryan Block puts it, “helped them shortcut the development process by using the PlayBook as their hardware template.” Amazon is clearly going all-in on tablets and will need the right principles in place for future products. However, Palm, and even HP, have never been known to make killer hardware so even this motive is a bit questionable.
The notion of Amazon buying Palm seems a bit untimely at this point. Amazon is fully vested in the Android ecosystem with a host of apps and services. Plus, the Android-powered Fire is seemingly a hit. The install base of webOS, even after the $ 99 TouchPad fire sale, isn’t large enough to compensate the upfront cost and effort resurrecting a dead platform. Palm off-loaded most pre-webOS patents before HP acquired the company in 2010 so Amazon would only be purchasing whatever patents were left over or granted within the last few years.
Steve Ballmer proudly proclaimed that Android isn’t free and his company is constantly signing new Android licensing agreements. In fact Microsoft reportedly makes more money from Android than its own Windows Phone 7. Amazon’s only play, and this is a stretch given the company’s Android investment, would be to buy webOS upfront to avoid any potential deals with Microsoft down the road. Some companies are fighting Microsoft’s patents but others, including Samsung, HTC and Acer, have already signed on the dotted line.
From this vantage point outside of Amazon’s boardrooms, it doesn’t seem like Amazon needs Palm or webOS. The company did a fine job retooling Android into a consumer-friendly offering and is the only company outside of Apple to supplement hardware with a rich set of services and media, properly setting up the Fire for success. But if the price is right and Amazon foresees a legal battle with Microsoft, it’s completely plausible Amazon will be the next owner of the company that first innovated and advanced touchscreen tablets.
- KINDLE FIRE
Palm, Inc. was a leading mobile products company, creating instinctive yet powerful mobile products that enabled people to better manage their lives on the go. The company’s products for consumers, mobile professionals and businesses included Palm® Treo™ and Centro™ smartphones and Palm handheld computers, as well as software, services and accessories.
In July 2010, Palm was acquired by HP. The Palm brand was subsequently discontinued upon the introduction of webOS products under the HP brand.
Product: Kindle Fire Website: Company Amazon
Kindle Fire brings you Movies, apps, games, music, reading and more, plus Amazon’s cloud-accelerated web browser
18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books Amazon Appstore – thousands of popular apps and games Ultra-fast web browsing – Amazon Silk Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle Fast, powerful dual-core processor Amazon Prime members enjoy unlimited, instant streaming of over 10,000 popular movies and TV shows
This is a gallery of geeky logos made out of food. They’re called ‘”foogos”, because they’re a combination of “food” and “LEGOS”. Weird, I know. But I’m not here to ask questions, I’m just here to type the first thing that pops in my head and get drunk. Also, please don’t email me telling me foogos is actually a combination of “food” and “logos” because you might laugh now but I swear on eventually seeing a tit IRL I’d get at least two people who just stumbled into Geekologie telling me how dumb I am. And I am dumb, just not that dumb. But, as stupid as I am, I more than make up for it in handsome. And by handsome I mean obesity. Got a whole lot of that going on. Now, what was I talking about? “Food.” Ha — of course I was.
Hit the jump for a dozen more.Related Posts:
We might not have chosen the above weird baby chick to pitch our autostereoscopic technology to the world, but at least it makes for some memorable imagery. The hatchling is a 3D image generated by projectors, overlayed on top of a real world object, which can be viewed by multiple people at multiple angles without the need for 3D glasses. Built-in sensors detect the viewer’s positions and adjust the viewing angle accordingly. Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this sort of technology — heck, this isn’t even the first time we’ve seen this sort of thing from Hitachi, but the company says it’s continually getting better, with a marked depth resolution improvement over a technology shown off this time last year at CEATEC. The company is looking to implement the technology for both digital signage and entertainment purposes, eventually revolutionizing the way the world looks at 3D baby chickens.
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A false-positive update for Microsoft’ Security Essentials software has removed Google’s Chrome browser from hundreds of Windows desktops.
Reports of problems originally started at Google’s support forums on Friday. A support thread with 200 comments includes a number of users reporting that Microsoft Security Essentials identified Google’s Chrome browser as a “severe” threat and removed the software. Some users reported that the threat was PWS:Win32/Zbot, a variant of the Zeus (Zbot) malware.
Microsoft acknowledged the mix up on Friday and addressed the problems by releasing a new definition file update for Microsoft Security Essentials. ZDNet reports that the software giant updated its Malware protection center listing for the Win32/Zbot listing with the following:
“On September 30th, 2011, an incorrect detection for PWS:Win32/Zbot was identified. On September 30th, 2011, Microsoft released an update that addresses the issue. Signature versions 1.113.672.0 and higher include this update.
PWS:Win32/Zbot is a password-stealing trojan that monitors for visits to certain Web sites. It allows limited backdoor access and control and may terminate certain security-related processes.”
Microsoft’s Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky, introduced Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 Metro style earlier this month at the company’s BUILD conference. Sinofsky joked: “I don’t think anything is better than a Chrome-less browsing experience.” Perhaps he’s more of a visionary than we first thought.
Faulty Microsoft Security Essentials update removes Chrome from Windows originally appeared at WinRumors.com.
Canonical, the commercial backer behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, have been hosting a file synchronization service called Ubuntu One for a couple years now. A free account gets you 5GB of storage, and the client side controls have been baked into the last couple of releases of the Ubuntu distribution. It works pretty much like Dropbox or similar services, but has been — until today — Linux-only.
In an announcement late last night, Canonical has revealed that there is now a Windows client for Ubuntu One, allowing you to access all your files from either Linux or Windows computers.
We have long received feedback from Ubuntu users regarding their evolving needs to manage all their content from a single, secure place across multiple platforms and devices. We’ve looked at many use cases, the most common being the Ubuntu user who is using more than one device or OS. Many people have to work in Windows or Mac environments, even if they prefer to use Ubuntu as their home desktop or OS of choice. Another case is enabling more opportunities for sharing across platforms. For example families using different operating systems in one household can use Ubuntu One as their central place to store all their music, documents, photos and share them easily with each other and friends.
Ubuntu One also offers a nifty music streaming service. For $ 4 per month, you get 20 GB of storage and the ability to stream music files from your account to your mobile device. The Ubuntu One app is available for iOS and Android, and Android devices get the added benefit of a controllable offline cache, allowing you to listen to your cloud-stored music without requiring a network connection. Neat stuff.
Virgin Mobile was originally intending to celebrate the new month by flipping the switch on throttled data, but it decided to push those plans back and announce a couple new phones instead. The prepaid carrier announced the upcoming launch of the LG Optimus Slider (note: it’s not the Optimus Note) and the HTC Wildfire S in October and, in the same press release, nonchalantly mentioned that it would delay reducing throughput speeds for heavy users until sometime next year. No word on why this came about, but we’ll take good news whenever we can get it. The LG Optimus Slider is an Android 2.3 device with a 3.2-inch HVGA display, a 3.2MP camera and 1,500mAh battery, and will be available online beginning October 16th for $ 200 and in Sprint stores October 30th. The HTC Wildfire S will show up in silver at Best Buy and in white at Radio Shack starting October 23rd, and can be yours for $ 200 as well. We can imagine which announcement you’re most excited for. Check out both press releases in their glory after the break.
Continue reading Virgin Mobile announces LG Optimus Slider, sneakily postpones data throttling until 2012
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Back in March, we heard about a breakthrough from MIT: an “artificial leaf” that produces pure oxygen and hydrogen gas, powered entirely by sunlight. The technology was described in yesterday’s edition of Science, and the team has released a video showing one of the devices in action.
I say device, but it’s really more of a material. There are no moving parts and it has no set shape or size. The leaf is semiconducting silicon, coated on one side with a special cobalt catalyst, discovered by the project’s Daniel Nocera in 2008, and on the other with a nickel-molybdenum-zinc alloy. Sunlight creates a current within the silicon, and the catalyst causes water molecules to split into gaseous H2 and O2, which rise off in bubbles from opposite sides of the leaf.
Take a look at the video. It’s not particular exciting, but it gives you an idea of what kind of conversion rate we’re talking about:
The gases could be isolated and stored in a fuel cell, which could provide power later and produce pure water as its exhaust.
Nocera and several other researchers formed a company, Sun Catalytix, to independently research, apply, and market the artificial leaves, and last year raised $ 9.5 million from Tata and other investors.
The leaf-like form factor is easy to demonstrate on a human scale, but there’s no reason why the “leaves” couldn’t be microscopic or enormous. The different use cases require much research and testing, however, which is likely what Sun Catalytix is working on at present. That and figuring out to do with the extra protons the process generates. They envision banks of these things powering houses and communities and storing the excess in tanks for sale or emergencies.
There’s more information at MIT’s news page, and, if you’re scientifically minded (and subscribe to the journals), the various papers listed on Sun Catalytix’s tech page.
[image credit: Dominick Reuter]
We here at Engadget tend to spend a lot of way too much time poring over the latest FCC filings, be it on the net or directly on the ol’ Federal Communications Commission’s site. Since we couldn’t possibly (want to) cover all the stuff that goes down there, we’ve gathered up all the raw info you may want (but probably don’t need). Enjoy!
Read – Alcatel OneTouch 910A Read – Fujitsu F02D Read – Fusion Garage Grid 4 Read – Haier HG-M508 Read – Haier HG-Q100 Read – HTC PH39100 (Holiday) Read – Huawei C8512 Read – Huawei G5510 Read – Huawei U2801 Read – Huawei U5100 Read – Huawei U8350 Read – Huawei U8600 Read – Huawei U8800 Pro Read – LG L-01D Read – LG T565 Read – Mobo KRAZE Read – Motorola P56MD2 Read – Motorola WX306 Read – Nokia 603 Read – Samsung GT-B5510 Read – Samsung GT-I8150 Read – Samsung GT-I9220 Read – Samsung GT-P6810 Read – Sony Ericsson Xperia Active Read – Virgin Mobile JukeB
Tablets and peripherals
Read – Huawei E173Z-6 USB stick Read – Samsung GT-7300B Read – ZTE Smart Tab 7 Read – ZTE Smart Tab 10
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