While this might not be the first kid-centric tablet we’ve seen, it’s certainly got the coolest name. All we know about the MEEP! kiddie-slate right now is that it’s made by Oregon Scientific, has a 7-inch touchscreen display, WiFi, an SD card slot, a “G-sensor” for improving viewing angle — and runs on an as yet unspecified version of Android. The makers claim it’s suitable for ages six and up, and parents can monitor and limit web access via an online control panel. We’re told that accessories will soon be on their way, including every parent’s favorite: musical instruments. The full unveiling will be at the TIA toy fair this weekend. Road-run over the break for the full press release. MEEP! MEEP!
Not all mobile news is destined for the front page, but if you’re like us and really want to know what’s going on, then you’ve come to the right place. This week, we’ve learned that T-Mobile is offering some of its best phones free after rebate (today only), and we’ve also spotted a new power management feature that seems destined for BlackBerry 7.1 OS. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride. Let’s explore the “best of the rest” for this week of February 6th, 2012.
ComScore released its annual US Digital Future in Focus report this week, offering a year-end wrap of many of the trends its tracked throughout the past year and a look towards the next. One of the more telling stats concerns email use among those in their teens and twenties. According to the report, web-based email use among 12-17 year olds dropped 31 percent in the past year, while use among those 18 to 24 saw an even bigger drop of 34 percent. Some of that can no doubt be attributed to Facebook and other email alternatives, but a big factor is the growth of email use on mobile devices; both of those age groups saw double-digit growth in that respect, with mobile email use jumping 32 percent among 18 to 24 year olds.
In terms of sheer growth in the past couple of years, though, there’s not much that matches the trajectory of tablets (obviously aided by one in particular). ComScore notes that that US tablet sales over the past two years have topped 40 million, a figure that it took smartphones as a category a full seven years to reach. Another area that saw some considerable growth in 2011 is digital downloads and subscriptions (including e-books), which jumped 26 percent compared to the previous year, leading all other areas of e-commerce. The full report and some videos of the highlights can be found at the source link below.
Is there such a thing as revolutionary technology? Many Egyptians believe there is. A year ago, they used mobile phones, social networking and banned TV channels to spread word of the protests in Tahrir Square. Hearing the news, thousands of young people risked their lives to join in and overthrow the dictator Hosni Mubarak. To mark the revolution’s anniversary, Engadget caught up with five Caireans of different ages and backgrounds to find out about the gadgets they use to keep in touch with their world. For the love of freedom, democracy and at least one bar of mobile reception, please read on.
While Moxi may live on in spirit as a white label multiroom HD DVR for cable companies, parent company Arris announced on its website this week the retail boxes and extenders are no longer being sold. Initially, a note on the company’s home page indicated tech support and guide data would come to an end at the end of 2013 as noted by Zatz Not Funny, but references to that have since been removed. Potentially abandoned users on AVS Forum have already started looking for alternative ways to keep the guide data flowing and possibly get help from Arris in prying open the code to do so. We’ve contacted Arris for more information but haven’t received a response yet — we’ll update you when / if we do. In the meantime Digeo’s baby is still operational, so owners can enjoy however much time they have left, we’d recommend studying up on the stages of grief so you’ll understand how to handle them over the next several months.
Ever found yourself without a signal and wished you could just spray one on like magic? Well, maybe soon, you’ll be able to do just that. Chamtech Enterprises has developed a spray-on antenna it says is more lightweight and energy-efficient than current technology. Revealed at Google’s inaugural Solve for X shindig, the antenna can be “painted” onto almost anything, including trees, walls and fabrics. Chamtech’s already talking with government-based customers, and as such can’t spill too much detail on how it works, but said it uses organic elements to tinker with magnetic and radio-frequency fields. The start-up’s CTO, Rhett Spencer, claims the antenna could increase mobile energy efficiency by 10 percent. It was also found to work particularly well under water, and being organic, we presume, would make it ideal for sub-aquatic telecom infrastructure, and of course, rainy days.
The FireCore team has been busy updating its pay-to-play ($30) aTV Flash software package for jailbroken Apple TVs and just rolled out the latest bundle of updates in version 1.3. Now it can automatically perform backups, speaks more languages, supports more remote commands, reads more subtitles and the list goes on. You can check after the break for the full changelog, or just hit the Maintenance section if you’re already running it to download the update. Take a peek at what it can do and let us know if this is a worthwhile alternative to XBMC, or any of the other media streaming platforms out there.
Enjoying your Spotify tracks on the go just got a little better, at least on iOS, where an app update to v0.4.23 gifts users “very high quality” 320kbps music streaming (for Premium subscribers) and syncing, up from the previous max of 160kbps. Enabling the higher quality streams — though heavy listeners may want to mind those bandwidth quotas — is as simple as ticking the “Extreme” box in the settings, as shown above by The Next Web to join in a quality that was previously only available via the desktop app or in the living room. If you’re just signing up or setting up the app again the one-tap Facebook log-in should also be a convenient addition (or not, if you don’t use Facebook and insist on telling everyone you don’t at every opportunity — we heard you the first ten times). There’s no word on updates for the other mobile platforms yet, but we’ll keep an eye out.
We knew the folk at Foursquare had been trying NFC out for a while, and Symbian’s had it since November, but now tap check-ins are available for Android 4.0. Okay, so that means it’s pretty much limited to Galaxy Nexus owners at the minute, but the chosen few can now share their Venue, Lists, Me pages, initiate friend requests and, of course, check-in at the touch of a phone. Foursquare claims it’ll save vital seconds when checking in, but we’re just glad there’s another way to use Andoid Beam.The update’s available now, so if you’re snacking on an Ice Cream Sandwich, head on down to the source link and get your download on.
After the numerous leaks that preceded the Droid 4′s launch, you’d think we’d have a handle on every detail (read the review here) but some day one buyers are still a little confused by one thing. While the spec sheets indicate 16GB of internal storage, a few readers quickly noticed their units only report 8GB. So why the variance in what’s being reported and what the phones actually show? While Android vets may be used to this, not all are aware of how some phones are partitioned, and Motorola has opted to go with an 8GB for the user / 3GB for apps / 5GB for OS and updates split (just like the Razr). So the phones do have the 16GB you were promised, it’s just how it’s being used that may not be immediately evident — and now you know.