Samsung’s latest and greatest smartphone, the Galaxy S 4, is making a big move into the US today with an online arrival at Sprint and in-store availability at AT&T. If you’re a Now Network subscriber and happened to miss out on the carrier’s pre-order action, you might want to make some quick moves onto Sprint’s website in order to secure your new handset, which goes up for sale at midnight Central Time. In a not-so-cool move, however, only those porting their number to Sprint are eligible for the carrier’s $ 100 price break, which means all of you who’ve stuck through the dark days of EV-DO will need to pony up $ 249.99 for the Galaxy S 4. Meanwhile, if you’re aching to lay your hands on Samsung’s 1080p handset, you can finally get some gratification, as AT&T is now offering the smartphone for in-store purchase and play. Here, you’ll pay $ 199.99 for the handset, and while it’s potentially more expensive, at least AT&T’s pricing scheme doesn’t involve fine print shenanigans.
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Microsoft revealed today that it is expanding the retail availability for its Surface RT tablets. Surface RT will be made available at “additional retailers” from mid-December in the US and Australia as part of “increased production” by the software giant. Microsoft is also transitioning some holiday pop-up stores into permanent retail outlets. Microsoft has not yet shared which stores will be made permanent or a list of the new retailers.
The confirmation follows rumors of Microsoft’s plans to move up its retail distribution during the holiday shopping season. Microsoft had originally planned to extend retail availability in January, but a lack of distribution seems to have pushed Microsoft’s plans forwards. Surface tablets have been s…
Hey friends, it’s been a while, but we’re live once again. Tim and Brian are back in the studio and are joined this week for the first time by our very own Barb Dybwad. Join us after the break!
Lumawake, an innovative iPhone dock designed to work with both 30-pin and lightning dock connectors, today kicks off its own pre-orders in a self-run crowdfunding attempt to bring its product to market. The team faced rejection from Kickstarter just one short week ago, after that crowdfunding platform changed its hardware project rules to minimize their role in the overall platform mix. Now it’s back, and the team tells me they’re confident that going it alone in the manner of App.net and Lockitron will help make sure that Lumawake makes it to market.
So what exactly does Lumawake do? Well it’s an iPhone dock, which means it’ll charge your device, and it’s made to be used with replaceable modules to help make sure that it’ll work with both iPhone 4/4S and the iPhone 5, using either the legacy dock connector or the new Lightning port. And, as indicated by the “luma” portion of its name, it features a soft-lighted top, which you can customize through your device. But the real magic is in the Lumawake’s more advanced, intelligent functions, including its ability to monitor your sleep patters from a bedside table via IR motion sensors, wake you when you’ll feel most rested, and work together with home automation systems to ensure that as you’re waking up, your house will be, too.
The Lumawake is no ordinary dock. It has a built-in microprocessor, the aforementioned LEDs and motion sensors designed to be as accurate as wearable monitors, but without having to stay with you in bed as you sleep. Using a free app, it can be used to schedule wake and sleep events, like turning off lights or the TV as you nod off, or starting the coffee maker when it wakes you up in the morning. And thanks to those built-in lights, it can simulate a sunrise to try and ease the transition from bed to waking life.
Click to view slideshow.Already, Lumawake has partnerships with SmartThings and Belkin’s WeMo, two home automation solutions that should help it perform a variety of wake up and bedtime tasks. Lumawake’s Scott Roehrick, the company’s Chief Outreach Officer, told me in an interview that the startup is working on a number of other partnerships, too. Lumwake also is an existing Apple MFi licensee, meaning it should have no problem getting the devices approved from the perspective of Apple sign-off on its designs.
Lumawake is looking for pre-orders from early adopters of $ 149 per unit, using the Selfstarter.us open-source crowdfunding platform created by Lockitron for its own fundraising efforts. Lockitron was also turned down by Kickstarter, but went on to raise $ 1.5 million on its own for its remote home locking system. Roehrick says that going it alone should help Lumawake gain more attention, since it’s still an exception rather than the rule, and also says it means they can set additional rules, like the one they’ve established that says they don’t collect any funds from backers until they’re actually ready to ship a physical device to their homes.
“At the end of the day, I think we’re confident enough in our product that we can just go off and do it,” he said. “It’s kind of scary… it was incredibly intimidating, but Lockitron was the first to do it and they’re Y Combinator as well, so they have that advantage. It’s a calculated risk, and we’re not 100 percent sure it’ll work… but we think there’s going to be a movement to do this, and we want to be one of the first.”
The SmartDock is definitely an impressive-looking product, and one that goes well beyond your typical, relatively inert bedside smartphone stand or even speaker dock. The company is putting a lot on the line by trying to crowdfund itself, without the benefit of a brand like Kickstarter to back it up, but the possibilities it entails are exciting, and that’s likely going to go a long way towards convincing a highly motivated group of early adopter, gadget-loving risk-takers.Related Posts:
Kobo’s Arc tablet is hitting stores for the first time in Canada and the UK today, leaving eager punters in the US of A wondering if they’ve been forgotten. In America‘s hat, the 7-inch competitor to the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 is showing price tags of 200, 250 and 300 Canadian dollars for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, respectively. A WHSmith exclusive in the UK, £160 and £190 is what you’ll need for the lesser two options, and we can’t see a 64GB listing online just yet. French store Fnac will keep customers waiting til Monday, when they’ll be able to swap €200 for an Arc avec 16 gigs — its listings show no other sizes right now, barring a non-existent 8GB variant. Kobo hid a surprise for us in the announcement PR, too: it’s already working on a Jelly Bean 4.1 update for the ICS tablet. If you’re American and bummed you’re not reading this on your own shiny new Arc, it’s already passed inspection, so should be shipping before you know it.
Filed under: Tablets
Amazon has just announced that the Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch ships today, ahead of its previously planned schedule of a November 20 ship date. The larger-screened version of Amazon’s Android-powered tablet starts at $ 299 and will also be available to purchase in stores at Best Buy locations beginning tomorrow, with additional units making their way to Staples and Radio Shack later on.
It’s rare to see a consumer electronics company ship a device earlier than expected, and in fact even delivering things on time. But the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ is already backordered on Amazon’s site until at least December 3, so those of you who want to pick one up but haven’t already ordered online will need to brave Best Buy tomorrow to try to find one.
Amazon’s stated reasoning for going a little bit early with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch is to get a jump on holiday sales, according to a statement from Kindle VP Dave Limp in an Amazon press release. The 4G version of the larger Kindle tablet still goes on sale on November 20 as planned, for $ 499. Amazon’s undercutting Apple’s prices across the board here, so it’ll be interesting to see how competition for holiday shopper attention between the two companies shakes out this year.Related Posts:
Space junk is an undeniable problem when there’s over 500,000 dead satellites, spacecraft pieces and other human-made obstacles that could crash into active orbiting vehicles. DARPA is more than a little overwhelmed in trying to track all those hazards by itself, so it’s recruiting amateur help through its new SpaceView program. The effort will buy time for non-professional astronomers on existing telescopes, or even supply hardware directly, to track the spaceborne debris without the sheer expense of growing an existing surveillance network. While that amounts to using hobbyists purely as volunteers, DARPA notes that the strategy could be a win-win for some when hardware donated for SpaceView could be used for regular astronomy in spare moments. The challenge is getting through the sign-up phase. While SpaceView is taking applications now, it’s initially focusing on options for standard commercial telescopes and hand-picking those who have permanent access to hardware in the right locations — there’s no guarantee a backyard observatory will pass muster. Those who do clear the bar might sleep well knowing that satellites and rockets should be that much safer in the future.
Happy Carl Sagan Day. It’s his birthday — he would have been 78 today. So go read ‘Cosmos’. Then watch the TV series. Then go read and watch ‘Contact’ (the movie with Jodie Foster). Or just read the quote above, ‘The Pale Blue Dot’, in reference to the photo Voyager 1 took of earth from 3.7-billion miles away, at Sagan’s request. Dammit, can we please just hold hands and sing Kumbaya and forget all our differences? For Carl?
Thanks to everyone who sent this, cosmos at the bar for everybody! Except me, I don’t drink pink drinks (yes I do too I love them!).