Fitbit Charge Now Shipping

Dave Zatz —  October 29, 2014 — 32 Comments

As the story goes, the Fitbit Force activity tracker was recalled due to steel- or nickel-induced rashes. With hopefully less irritants, along with guidance on fit and hygiene, Fitbit is back with the Charge and Surge (that we broke in June). While the $250 Surge, expected in 2015, is more akin to a Garmin Forerunner, the Charge is effectively the 2014 Force upgrade … that builds upon the Flex with a small screen used to display time, steps, and even callerID from a synced phone. Sadly, while Fitbit Charge ($129) bands have started arriving, auto sleep and call notifications aren’t actually working… yet. Having said that, our very own Adam Miarka (who you may recognize as the hand model above) says the fit is good and that the band may actually be softer than the Force’s.

Speaking of, today Force owners were emailed one-time use 15% off coupon codes. While I didn’t get in on the prior generation activity band, a Twitter buddy hooked me up and I ordered a Fitbit Charge of my own.

As a thank you for using Fitbit Force, we’re giving you 15% off one of our trackers.

I expect the Charge will nicely compliment my existing Fitbit Aria. Yet I plan to decommission the WiFi scale as it’s the only 802.11b device on my network, dragging everything down.

UPDATE: Firmware version 74 has been pushed out, enabling call notifications, tap gestures, and auto sleep!

HBO GO Headed To TiVo?

Dave Zatz —  October 29, 2014 — 23 Comments

tivo-hbogo

As TiVo begins rolling out Amazon Instant Prime and Vudu to Roamio and Mini units, an iOS app update slip up references “HBO Go” amongst supported over-the-top video providers. While the iPhone and iPad software description has since been updated to eradicate HBO Go, we’re hopeful this foreshadows access to the prized streaming service … versus a most amazing amazing typo or mental lapse, as getting a “HBO Go” from Hulu Plus or Vudu seems quite difficult. Make it so!

(Thanks Philip!)

Amidst noise of a second generation Chromecast and a curious Roku IPO, Amazon delivers on spring Techcrunch intel with the Fire TV Stick ($39). Beyond the known Fire TV lineup, Amazon looks to extend screen mirroring support beyond Kindle tablets to capable Android devices. Of course, we’re still awaiting HBO GO and an updated Netflix app and it’s yet to be seen how Plex will run on this diminutive USB-powered HDMI stick. But, at $19, for Amazon Prime members during promotional launch pricing, why not?

apple-sim

Along with Apple’s introduction of the iPad Air 2 comes a new take on the lowly SIM card. Not only does the tablet ship with just about every LTE band and frequency one could want, the hardware is delivered preloaded with an agnostic SIM for network authentication. As T-Mobile’s CEO tweets:

So the Apple SIM theoretically saves Apple some packaging expenses and provides us, the end users, with amazing flexibility – buy the iPad and choose whichever carrier we want at any point after we get it home. And, down the road, we’d be free to flip carriers as coverage or pricing changes. It’s a grand, consumer friendly vision. However, the future hasn’t quite arrived. Due, once again, to short-sighted carrier protectionism (and technical glitches). Continue Reading…

IMG_7089

Intro

Back in March, Plantronics announced the BackBeat Fit ($130), a sportier version of their Backbeat Go 2 Bluetooth headphones designed to withstand the abuse of regular fitness workouts (and confirmed sweaty lawn mowing! :-). I’ve been evaluating these headphones the past few weeks and wanted to share a rundown of features and my overall opinion.

Product Info

When you unpack the BackBeat Fits, they come with the headphones themselves, a carrying pouch that doubles as an armband for your phone, and a micro USB cable and charger. The headphones use Bluetooth 3.0 for connectivity which gives you a range of 33ft from your device. As with most new Bluetooth devices, the pairing process was easy with an iPhone 5s. You simply go to the Bluetooth setting page, turn on the BackBeat Fit which goes into pairing mode, and then select the headphones to pair. The BackBeat fit can also remember up to 8 different devices for pairing so it’s easy to switch between multiple sources if needed. Continue Reading…

TiVo Returns To Canada (10/30)

Dave Zatz —  October 22, 2014 — 7 Comments

cogeco-tivo

It’s been a long while since TiVo has been offered in Canada. However, by way of the Investor Discussion Board and Twitter it appears that Cogeco will formally introduce their TiVo solution to Ontario cable customers at 11AM on 10/30. Whereas prior distribution was handled via retail, possibly including a drive across the border, this is obviously a provider offering… and presumably supports Cogeco’s full digital cable lineup without customers having to front a substantial chunk of change. Not to mention this is clearly the DVR from space.

tivo-winter-update

TiVo’s Winter Update nears release. And, as you can see from the pic above, it’s headlined by mobile streaming enhancements along with the previously disclosed Amazon and Vudu apps. While Vudu and its Ultraviolet library tie-in an entirely new (and welcome) TiVo offering, Amazon Instant is a long overdue update that brings the full fledged streaming app experience… and finally includes access to oodles of “free” Prime content.

Beyond the new and improved over-the-top video content, TiVo also promises “improved video quality and performance while streaming shows to mobile devices.” As to the specifics, one can only guess. But I’m hopeful this refers to a more dynamic and broader range of bitrates… to finally also bring cellular streaming to iOS devices and perhaps the retirement of the TiVo proxy, requiring extra hops for all video to flow through.

The Winter update is expected to hit TiVo Roamio and Mini extenders by late November (but hopefully sooner).