Archives For Mobile

Ultimate Ears Boom Review

Adam Miarka —  July 22, 2014


A few weeks back, we put the G-Boom rugged Bluetooth speaker through its paces and concluded that it packs some impressive sound in a distinct looking package. This time around, we’re looking at the competing Ultimate Ears Boom ($200) which offers some unique features not seen on the G-Boom, while shrinking the overall speaker size.

The UE Boom, by Logitech, reminds me of holding a can of Pringles, but slightly smaller and definitely less salty. The circular shape is intended to allow sound to travel 360 degrees from the speaker. On one end of the tube, there is a power button and Bluetooth pairing/switching button. The UE Boom supports Bluetooth up to 50ft and NFC pairing. I can attest to the range using my iPhone 5s and Chromebook. Having the speaker out back for a bonfire, I was easily able to move around the yard without any issues in streaming. Continue Reading…

Goodnight Oyster, Amazon Preps "Kindle Unlimited" Subscription

This week’s Fitbit iOS app update brings with it a welcome feature, in live tracking. Along with tracking steps throughout the day via one of their many trackers, new live tracking functionality relies on the iPhone’s GPS to monitor and provide real-time feedback on your exercise.

Fitbit has always been one of the fastest companies to allow 3rd party apps to update your stats. You have been able to import exercises through Runkeeper or MapMyRun for quite some time, but this is the first time that Fitbit it tackling this feature head on.

How Live Tracking Works

When you want to begin a new exercise, you simply open the Fitbit app and scroll down to the exercise entry. Continue Reading…


By way of the US Patent & Trademark Office, as the Apple iWatch crescendo rises, we learn that Fitbit has much grander intentions than merely producing a refreshed hypoallergenic Force activity tracker. Also in the pipeline, should these marks pan out, are Fitbit PurePulse, Surge, and Charge. Trademark applications such as these are attached to extremely broad category descriptions and it’s not clear which of the three are services (PurePulse?) versus hardware (Surge, Charge?) nor is there any guarantee any will ultimately ship. But, hey, the speculation game is fun and I’ve taken the liberty of bolding a few interesting tidbits from the wearable pioneer and market leader. Stay tuned!

Fitbit PurePulse

Heart rate monitors; optical heart rate sensors; wrist-based sensors; multifunctional electronic devices for displaying, measuring, and uploading to the Internet information including time, date, heart rate, calories burned, activity, intensity, exertion; computer software for wireless data communication for receiving, processing, transmitting and displaying information relating to fitness, heart rate, calories burned, activity levels, intensity, exertion; computer software for managing information regarding tracking, compliance and motivation with a health and fitness program

Continue Reading…


While we’re still an hour away from Amazon’s smartphone reveal, what I believe to be their Android-powered handset just passed thru the FCC. We don’t have much to go on other than a shell company and my successful track record in turning up Lab126 products ahead of launch. Beyond the label, identifying the unnamed smartphone as the SD4930UR, documents indicate it features a variety of wireless frequencies (as you’d expect) – including multiple LTE and WiFi bands, along with Bluetooth. Amidst rumors of AT&T exclusivity, the device will supposedly possess a number of front-facing detectors to work in conjunction with an accelerometer for new methods of interaction and perhaps 3D viewing. We’ll find out shortly…


While Coffee Bean may have given up on café table Qi charging, Starbucks has just announced a nationwide initiative to bring Powermat inductive charging to all US stores. Despite the promise of wireless power, a variety of competing standards and far-from-universal mobile manufacturer integration have led to limited consumer uptake. Perhaps more than 12,000 retail SBUX outposts will stimulate adoption. Although, iPhone and iPad owners will require compatible cases or external chargers, which probably defeats the purpose, as wireless power hasn’t (yet?) been integrated. Continue Reading…

Amazon Prime Music Arrives!

Dave Zatz —  June 12, 2014


After months of rumor and speculation, Amazon Prime Music has arrived. And, as with other Prime benefits, the streaming service is effectively free for existing Prime members ($99/yr). At launch, Amazon’s collection pales in comparison to other streaming music services, such as Spotify. Yet, as The Verge notes, it doesn’t have to compete head-on. Prime Music is a just-nice-enough perk that it’ll surely replace my $4/mo Pandora and provides another reason to stick with Prime (despite LaserShip’s ongoing delivery challenges).

As to the service itself, it’s an interesting ad-free hybrid of albums, tracks, and playlists… with favorites ending up cross-pollinating your library of Amazon music purchases. In fact, anything tagged Prime can be downloaded for offline listening. Sadly, Amazon “Cloud Player” joins “Unbox” in the digital media dustbin as the e-tailer goes with the clear, yet dull, “Amazon Music” app branding for iOS and Android. Regarding app distribution, Fire TV support remains notably absent and my Sonos connected speaker system hasn’t yet been updated. Soon?

2014-06-09 20.29.20

Ever misplaced your keys? Or wanted to know when your luggage has arrived at the baggage claim?  Maybe marked the spot where you parked the car in the mall lot?

The Elgato Smart Key aims to address all of these situations as a sensor that you either attach or place on different items for tracking. Depending on what you are looking to track, the Smart Key can notify you of certain situations that might need attention.  Walk too far away from your keys, it will start to beep. Attach to your luggage and when it comes near to you at baggage claim, your phone will notify you. Continue Reading…