Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we’re using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.
Desperate times call for desperate measures — namely, new gadgets. Disappointed with his Droid Charge’s ever-depleting battery capacity, Tim took a $100 portable charger for a spin to see if he could eke out a little extra runtime before racing for an outlet. Meanwhile, Dan agreed to wear his first E-Ink watch after his analog Fossil timepiece outlived all compatible wristbands. Rounding things out, we have a more traditional account of gadget nostalgia from Don Melanson, who explains why he won’t be replacing his aging D90 anytime soon.
Here we thought the citizens of Kansas City couldn’t get any more fortunate after being chosen by Google to get a fiber optic gigabit network. Turns out, Google Fiber may be bringing more than just web access, as the company has asked the state of Missouri to allow it to deliver video services as well. We first heard about Big G’s possible foray into pay-TV late last year, as the company was in talks with various content providers to see if it could make it happen. Given this official move towards becoming a video provider in America’s heartland, we’d say those conversations must have gone fairly well. Either that, or the folks in Kansas City will be watching a whole lot of YouTube’s new niche content.
It’s been barely a month since Google Docs on Android got offline support, but here comes Mountain View with another equally impressive update. Those upgrading today are treated to collaborative editing, much in the vein of their desktop counterparts. That means you can now watch edits happen in real time from your Android tablet or smartphone. In addition, there’s a bevy of interface tweaks too, including a new pinch-to-zoom gesture and rich text formatting. Feel good video demoing all awaits after the break.
With the assimilation of Ericsson’s wireless stake now neatly a footnote in its corporate history, Sony’s moving on and making its newfound freedom known — albeit quietly. According to a rep for the company, its first rebranding baby steps began just last night, with the former SonyEricsson portal now redirecting to SonyMobile.com. Other related properties, like its social networking extensions and various related digital properties, are also slated to make the transition throughout March, with further announcements planned for Mobile World Congress next week. We’ll be there live in just a few days, so stay tuned. In the meanwhile, hit up the source below to see synergy at its finest.
Been keeping up with Mozilla Labs’ Apps project? Today the company’s focused on developers, with pleasing news if you’ve been looking to get your app’s feet wet in it. In the coming weeks at Mobile World Congress, the Firefox maker will finally open its self-titled Marketplace’s doors for app submissions. If you’re unfamiliar, Mozilla’s been working to create an “operating system- and device-independent market,” based on its own APIs, HTML5 and other open source materials. The end result will be the ability to use said apps without being locked down by your devices and their respective app stores. The store is set to open up for consumer consumption later in the year, so now’s your chance to reserve your software’s spot and name on the list. More details await in press release after the break and at source link below, while you get your code ready.
Pro tip: when suing the pants off another company for patent infringement, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re not violating any of that same company’s intellectual property. That’s the lesson we imagine Sprint is learning at this very moment. Just two months after it filed a lawsuit against Comcast for getting all up in its VoIP business, the digital services company is now ready to go Comcastic on the Now Network’s derriere, as it has filed a lawsuit of its own in a Pennsylvania court. While it’s not directly tied into December’s case, it seems oddly coincidental that this new suit came into existence so soon after Sprint fired the first shot.
Comcast and subsidiary TVWorks, LLC allege that Sprint is guilty of violating four wireless patents: its wireless broadband cards, Vision Pack and other SMS services, MMS transfers and voice and data using IP / MPLS backhaul. That’s a pretty hefty portion of the carrier’s basic operations, it seems, and we’re assuming that a settlement or licensing agreement will be the end result here. Regardless, as the adage says, what goes around comes around.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/22/comcast-sues-sprint/
Back in the fall, Apple gave developers an ultimatum: sandbox your applications, or see yourself out of the Mac App Store and sell your apps elsewhere. Originally, devs had until March 1st to make the change, which limits the resources apps can access, thereby making a malware infection less likely. Still, sandboxing inherently means less control for developers: the fewer resources an app can use, the less it can actually do. Well, code monkeys, you’ve now got a few more months to decide which camp you’d rather be in: Apple has extended that deadline to June 1st. As MacRumors notes, the move comes amid mounting concerns from developers, who have been complaining of bugs and other issues associated with the sandboxing process. In a statement on its developer site, Apple gave a pithier explanation, saying it wants to give devs more time to make use of new sandboxing entitlements available in OS X 10.7.3, along with new APIs in Xcode 4.3.
There’s a new adventure video capture company in town, and both Zeyez and GoPro would have good reason to be afraid. You may not have heard of Pivothead — the company has had a remarkably quiet push to market over the last few months — but the video recording eyewear startup could very well become a household name after its first products hit the market this April for $349. Aurora, Durango, Moab and Recon may offer distinct exterior designs, but they’re virtually identical under the hood. Each model includes an eight-megapixel Sony sensor (that reportedly captures higher quality images than the iPhone 4S cam), a four-element glass lens, 8GB of built-in storage, a 440mAh battery (with about an hour of shooting time) and three video modes: 1080/30p, 720/60p and 720/30p. We had a chance to go hands-on with Pivothead earlier today, and took the glasses for a spin on the streets of New York City. You’ll find that sample video, along with our impressions, just past the break.
Gallery: Pivothead video glasses hands-on
Samsung’s RD department has been working overtime as it strives to break the idea it copies wholesale ideas from its competition. Yesterday we heard word about its planned new cloud service and today it’s announced that it’ll be unveiling a unique education-focused app for Galaxy Tabs 8.9 and 10.1. Learning Hub will provide free materials from 30 major educational establishments from elementary schools through to universities, although there’s no word on what certificates you’ll be able to earn at the end of your course. The program will expand to other devices in the Galaxy family later on, once the company’s done showing off the software at MWC.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/22/samsung-learning-hub/
The conflicts and behind-the-scenes drama surrounding India’s Aakash project once again threaten its existence. Despite a record-breaking 1.4 million pre-orders gained in under a fortnight, maker DataWind has only shipped 10,000 units to nearly universal derision. Early adopters have found the processor too slow, battery life too short and the resistive touchscreen difficult to use. Kapil Sibal’s Human Resource Development ministry now plans to re-open tendering for a replacement contractor and withdraw DataWind’s deal for a further 90,000 units. An anonymous ministry official has said that they’ve seen “sufficient interest [...] to get better specifications at the same or lower price.”
In response, DataWind has claimed that its development-partner, the Indian Institute of Technology, pulled a bait-and-switch, demanding at the eleventh hour that the tablet meet US military criteria for durability — including being able to withstand four inches per hour of “sustained rain.” Work has been on hold since then but neither party can afford another delay. DataWind promised it would sell the commercial version of the slate this month, while Kapil Sibal has promised that a second edition of the Aakash would be announced in April.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/22/aakash-stalls/