Archives For Gadgets

samsung-tv-sdk

As Samsung continues to hedge against Google/Android reliance and standardize across disparate product lines, while perhaps avoiding Microsoft royalties, the company has expanding the Tizen OS initiative beyond smart watches and to connected televisions. Via Liliputing:

Samsung’s Tizen-based TV SDK Beta will be available early July following the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco from June 2–4th. The Tizen-based Samsung TV SDK Beta supports the HTML5 standard through its framework called Caph and enables developers to write apps that run on a Tizen OS –based TVs.

For maximum impact, we expect Samsung will have to provide an efficient mechanism for developers to port Android apps to the similarly Linux-powered Tizen. But what of the Boxee team? The video startup was acquired by Samsung about a year ago… and, since then, it’s been radio silence. I have it on good authority that “Boxee” is dead and personnel form a product innovation team within Sammy’s “visual display” business unit. As to what the NYC-based group is currently working on, we can only guess. But, given their skillset, fleshing out a new television OS and UI certainly wouldn’t be out of the question.

amazon-fire-bundle

Well here’s an interesting promo should you lack for both a TV streamer and tablet. Amazon has paired their new Fire TV with the 7″ Kindle Fire HDX tablet for $249, which clocks in $79 cheaper than purchasing each separately. While the Fire TV remains somewhat app poor, the platform has grown on me and we’ve enjoyed dozens of hours of Amazon Instant video at this point (and unloaded our Apple TV). Had the offer been available at launch, I’d have gone this route given my deep ties into Amazon’s ecosystem and synergies between the products (that may or may not ultimately extend to other tablets):

  • Second Screen—Fling movies, TV shows and photos from your Kindle Fire HDX to your HDTV so you can use your tablet to control media playback or browse the web
  • Mirror your Kindle Fire HDX on your HDTV—Share everything you enjoy on your Kindle Fire HDX from apps to music and photos with everyone in your living room

(via Swanni)

Monarch-iPad-holders

As a former frequent flier, I can’t tell you how many battles between passengers and/or flight crew I’ve witnessed in relation to wireless devices and reclining seats (including very dramatic testimony from a breast-feeding woman who asserted the man in front of her had starved her infant). Fortunately, we appear to have moved to a better place with the advent of gate-to-gate wireless gadgetry and what looks to be an end of reclining seats… on at least a few airlines. And next up is Monarch Air. The carrier is outfitting their fleet with thinner, non-reclining seats… that conveniently provide a tablet holder where one might expect an entertainment console — which sure beats attempting to prop up your device via water bottle (as shown below), providing more stability and a better viewing angle. Not to mention if US carriers like Southwest or United follow suit, our iPads would truly replace the seat-back TV given onboard streaming options. Continue Reading…

simpletv-drilled

Remember that buzz saw of a fan that the second gen Simple.TV shipped with? Well Simple, and their hardware partner Silicon Dust, have resorted to a variety of software updates and a drill to rectify the issue. And, as you can see above, they’ve begun shipping devices with a newly perforated chassis. But the good news doesn’t end there…

Built into Simple.TV’s Android and iOS apps for phones and tablets, support for Chromecast enables users to easily ‘cast’ their favorite live or recorded over-the-air TV shows onto any HDTV powered by Google’s device.  With Simple.TV’s ability to stream live and recorded TV anywhere, users can watch their favorite shows on the big screen at home and anywhere a Chromecast is connected. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Simple also has flipped the switch on video downloads for offline viewing. While this is (currently) accomplished via PC/Mac desktop, we imagine the MP4s can simply be relocated to the mobile device of one’s choosing – until such a time that the apps themselves are updated with this functionality. Speaking of updates, Chromecast and content downloads are only available to Gen 2 hardware at this time, but Simple indicates future support for early adopters running first generation hardware.

Given the enhancements, and new press representation that we hope keeps it real, we’ll probably give Simple.TV another look (in relation to Tablo, which we’ve been quite impressed with). Stay tuned.

lyve-perspective

With the amount of pictures that I take every year, making sure they are backed up and easily accessible is a primary concern of mine. In the past, I have been burned by losing all my digital photos from a drive crash. Once that happened, I vowed to never let it happen again. Now, at any given moment, my photos are backed up via a local NAS, Dropbox, Google Plus Photos, and Amazon Cloud. Prices have come down for online storage that it is actually affordable to store 80+ gigs up in that beautiful cloud.

lyve-screen

Lyve ($300) brings yet another solution to the mix. Think of it as a centralized place that sucks in all your photos from a mobile phone, tablet, computer, etc. You can even just pop in an SD card or attach a USB drive and have it transfer photos directly to the device. On top of the centralization, Lyve also then presents your photos and videos in a streamlined view. All of this done within a small white box with a touchscreen interface. Safe to say, I was definitely interested in the product when it was announced.

Now Lyve has finally shipped. And we wanted to give a quick unboxing before a proper review. Stay tuned for our impressions!

nest-ads

Google, by way of the WSJ:

We expect the definition of “mobile” to continue to evolve as more and more “smart” devices gain traction in the market. For example, a few years from now, we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities.

I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of Dropcam ($149-199), primarily given their recurring fees — an upload-everything model that starts at $99/year for 7 days of cloud DVR capabilities (potentially threatening your broadband cap). However, the introduction of Dropcam Tabs to augment one’s camera with motion detection, via accelerometer, around the house seriously sweetens the deal. For example, afix Tabs to a door to receive alerts when it opens or closes. Further, it looks like there’s some basic geolocation smarts built-in via Bluetooth LE (which is also how it communicates with the Dropcam Pro you’ll need). Like existing Dropcam hardware, the incoming battery-powered Tabs ($29) are more attractive than most of the utilitarian hardware in this space and a prime selling point has been an extremely user friendly interface. Hm!