Archives For Gadgets

chromecast-v2

More than a year after release, Google appears poised to refresh Chromecast (in addition to cranking away on the new Android TV platform). As to what’s improved, FCC filing details are scarce due to the typical 180 confidentiality request. Having said that, we anticipate this is a minor hardware revision given the incoming device sports the same model number as my original streaming+mirroring stick (tho the FCC ID increments from -42 to -2A) – perhaps representing a swapping of internal components for cost savings and/or performance gains. Continue Reading…

sonos-light

For several hours this weekend, the Sonos website featured an unexpected “Light-1″ menu option. Combing through the FCC and USPTO, along with the requisite, tho cursory, Googling, has turned up squat. Is this nothing more than a textual error? Or is Sonos getting into the lightspeaker game? Another possibility, assuming this is something more than a coding mistake, could be programmatic light+music synchronization as seen from the likes of SyFy and Philips Hue. We love a good mystery almost as much as we love Sonos whole home audio.

Meanwhile, the Sonos Boost streaming enhancer must near release given a large number of live support documents and updated product imagery, while the Sonos Playbase remains shrouded in mystery.

(Thanks Mike!)

Soundfreaq Pocket Kick Review

Adam Miarka —  October 10, 2014 — 1 Comment

soundfreaq6

Previously on ZNF, we had the opportunity to review two Bluetooth speakers, the massive, if not questionably looking, G-Boom speaker, and the Pringles shaped Logitech Ultimate Ears Boom. Both of these speakers had their pros and cons depending on your situation. The G-Boom was great for parking in one place and letting the music rock. The UE Boom on the other hand offered a smaller package, great sound, and the ability to update features via firmware updates. Today we’ll be looking at an even more compact – the $100 Soundfreaq Pocket Kick.

Hardware and Setup

Compared to the sharp corners of the G-Boom or the circular shape of the EU Boom, the Soundfreaq Pocket Kick features a slab design with rounded off corners. The speaker grills are made of a steel featuring a nice pattern with the Soundfreaq logo in the middle. The outer edges of the of speaker feature a nice rubber material that makes the Pocket Kick easy to hold without slipping out of the hand.  The rubber sides also allow the speaker to stay put on any surface while the music is jamming. Speaking of size, the Pocket Kick is the smallest of the three speakers we’ve had the chance to review. It’s roughly the size of an iPhone 5s from a surface area perspective, and about 3 times as deep. Continue Reading…

By way of the FCC and the USPTO, we learn Jawbone may have a variety of new activity trackers and services in the works. We can discern a few things from the “JL06″ filing… Given the test submissions, naming convention, and removable battery this is clearly not a Bluetooth earpiece. Further, in regards to labeling, the Jawbone UP fitness band is listed as the JL01 – suggesting this gadget lives within the same product category, versus representing, say, a new Jambox. Lastly, a number of trademark submissions refer to additional entries in the UP line, including the UP Move, UP2, UP3, and UP4. Our very own Adam Miarka wonders if this “handheld” device requiring “a small coin” to insert or replace the battery might be something akin to the Misfit Shine puck or Magellan Echo Fit watch. We’ll continue to monitor and speculate as we anxiously await the new Fitbit and Jawbone healthful widgetry.

gopro-entry-level

As GoPro introduced their new $400-500 Hero4 action cam, they also unveiled a camera for the rest of us. The new $130 Hero is waterproof, out-of-the-box, shoots 1080p, and is compatible with a wide variety of accessories… and will presumably help fill the vacuum left by Flip. Whereas the advanced feature set coupled with extreme pricing kept me out of prior Heroes, at this price point I can justify a purchase for the occasional vacation adventure. While storage and battery details remain elusive, we do know the GoPro Hero weights in at a mere 3.9 ounces and can be submerged to 40m. Stay tuned, as I’ll be picking one up as soon as it becomes available in October or November.

kindle-family-library

Beyond unveiling a boatload of new Kindle reader and Fire tablet hardware, Amazon finally gets with the program in allowing households (or close approximations) to share their digital media. Not that the current situation has prevented my wife, mom, and I from sharing our Kindle books and Amazon Instant Prime video streaming, Amazon will soon smooth the experience and remove the criminal element by delivering a Family Library:

Never again worry about whose account has the Prime membership or who bought that book you want to read. Family Library links your Amazon account to that of your spouse or partner so you can easily share apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content within your household without changing accounts. Family Library lets families share their content across multiple devices, including Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire phone, and Amazon Fire TV, as well as on all of the other most popular devices and platforms with the free Kindle, Audible, and Amazon Instant Video apps. Family Library will be coming soon as part of a free, over-the-air software update.

Further, Amazon one ups the iPad by bringing Profiles to their line of Android-based Fire tablets:

Give everyone a personalized experience—each family member gets his or her own Profile, including individual email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, settings such as display brightness, page in the book, spot in a movie, and game levels, without taking up extra storage on the device for multiple copies of large files like videos and games.

Catching up with Simple.TV

Adam Miarka —  August 29, 2014 — 5 Comments

simpletv-home

Although our initial impressions of the dual tuner Simple.TV was less than stellar, the company has been hard at work not only updating the little cord cutting, place shifting black box, but also launching new features. Recently, I had the chance to talk to Simple.TV CEO Mark Ely to discuss some of these changes.

First, from a software perspective, Simple.TV will be moving away from Silverlight as the default player outside of Safari on Mac. Currently, if you’re using IE, Chrome, or Firefox on a Windows computer, you are required to install Silverlight for video playback of your shows or live TV. Chromebooks are not supported at the moment. A move away from Silverlight and to a more compliant HTML5 video player will allow Simple.TV to expand their device playback on Windows, but also for Chromebooks. Continue Reading…