You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
Scanadu’s new Wello iPhone case promises to make checking vital signs super easy. The wellness device is thin and light, yet it can measure heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and blood oxygen levels. It can even display the ECG waves from your heart. Should it be approved by the FDA, the Wello will ship this fall for $199.
Ever heard of Satoshi Nakamoto? He’s the mysterious individual said to be the creator of Bitcoin, and Newsweek claims to have found him. Indeed, a man by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto lives in California, but whether he’s really the father of the digital currency is still up for debate.
Earlier today, Spotify acquired The Echo Nest: the company which happens to power the majority of internet radio services. What does this mean for the likes of Twitter #Music and Rdio? According to a Spotify representative, the company will continue to work with direct competitors to determine its “next business steps.”
This isn’t the first time Facebook has attempted to freshen up its news feed, and it won’t be the last, either. Today’s update brings a few relatively minor UI changes. For instance, comments from your friends will no longer be indented, but will instead be separated into their own post.
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Filed under: Misc
Last year, Scanadu caught our attention with Scout, its simple-to-use tricorder-style health monitor. Now a new iPhone case promises to make monitoring your vital signs even easier. Called Wello, the case has sensors built in that can give you a picture of your overall health after holding it a special way for just a few seconds. The slim device measures your heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and blood oxygen levels and displays the ECG waves from your heart — you can even test your lung function through a small included attachment you blow into.
Designed to be both fast and simple to use, the prototype we tried out this week was ultra-light, and thinner than the Speck case on one of our iPhones. Readings are done with your hands in a comfortable position, and the health tracker was able to return our vital signs as well as a fancy ECG graph of our heart in just a few seconds. Out of the box, you’ll be able to pair it with your Wi-Fi scale and fitness tracker, so you can keep an overall picture of your health in the same place. Over time, additional add-ons could become available for the case to test for other things like glucose. Everything you track can be viewed on a daily, weekly, or monthly scale so you can see at a glance if your health starts to change.
Founder and CEO Hamish Patel has been working on the technology behind Wello for two years. He told us that he sees the device not only being useful for people in the US, but even more so for people in developing countries where access to health services are limited. When the $199 device ships this fall (pending FDA approval) it will be available for the iPhone 4S, 5, and 5S in 35 countries. Android users can also use Wello, but as a standalone device rather than a case for their phone. All of the tech for Wello is contained in a removable card roughly the thickness of your average business card. Azio plans to make the card available for other manufacturers to include in cases, so you might ultimately see Wello come to a third-party Android case, or even a different iPhone case.
Wello is open for pre-orders today in United States as well as Canada, China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom and across the EU. Early buyers can earn $10 for each person they get to pre-order — depending on how many people you refer, tracking your health could be not only easy, it could be free.
There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly cooked bacon to help you get out of bed in the morning. Unless of course, that smell is a clever r(o)use by an iPhone app and there is no bacon. A new alarm app by Oscar Mayer deceives you out of bed every morning to not only the sweet sound of frying bacon, but to the smell as well. A small gadget attached to your iPhone’s headphone jack sends a bacon fragrance your way as the alarm sizzles. But, there is no bacon. It’s similar to what we saw last year with Scentee, except this bacon device isn’t being sold – you’ll have to win it through a sweepstakes on Oscar Mayer’s website. The bacon alarm clock also isn’t for everyone – Android and Windows Phone users will have to opt for a more vegan, but perhaps slightly less heartbreaking, wake up call. Did we mention there’s no bacon?
Source: Oscar Mayer
Right now you can ask Siri to nab you some movie tickets or reserve a table at your favorite restaurant, but there’s still plenty she (or he) can’t handle. According to a report from The Information though, the folks in Cupertino are working to make Siri smarter by giving it the ability to search and point to third-party apps.
Pumping up Siri’s search smarts means that the virtual assistant will reportedly be able to recognize what your apps do and point you to them when you ask for something related. Imagine asking Siri to check for nearby cabs or track your run — it could soon route you to apps like Hailo or RunKeeper. Apple has forged relationships with companies like OpenTable, Fandango and Wolfram Research to flesh out Siri’s feature list in the past. Those agreements resulted in some neat app integrations, but this new approach could ultimately mean similar functionality for all apps, not just the ones Apple inks deals with. The Information adds that Siri may soon be able to decide what apps should be displayed when there’s not enough screen real estate for all of them. Sounds like a crucial feature for something like the fabled Apple smartwatch, doesn’t it?
Source: The Information
Starting today, Apple is expanding its iPhone trade-in program to French retail stores, making France the third country to offer Apple’s in-store recycling initiative. Though not publicly announced, an Apple spokesperson in France confirmed the launch to iPhoneAddicts.
The program allows customers to trade-in an older iPhone at a retail store and immediately receive up to €215 ($296) in a gift card credit that can be used towards the purchase of a new iPhone. French retail store employees have been briefed on the program and have been told to inform customers of the recycling option when they buy a new phone. Trade-in details already listed on France’s Apple Store website.
Apple’s in-store iPhone recycling program debuted in the U.S. in August 2013 and was rolled out to the UK a few months later. Apple has a similar online trade-in program that requires customers to send in their old iPhone before receiving a credit. This mail-in program may offer greater value for a used iPhone, but the in-store program offers the convenience of a no-hassle credit that’s immediately applied to the purchase of a new model.
Apple’s iOS in the Car has been a long time in coming — we first heard about the automotive interface last June, and it still isn’t ready despite the presence of relevant code in recent iOS 7 builds. The wait may soon be over, though, as the Financial Times hears that Apple will unveil formal car integration deals with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo next week. There aren’t more forthcoming details, although the rumored announcement implies that the automakers could name compatible models and possibly show the technology in action. We wouldn’t refer to iOS in the Car as Apple’s “first in-car operating system,” like the FT does — it’s still dependent on an iPad or iPhone to work. Even so, any potential launch next week would represent a big step forward for 1 Infinite Loop’s in-car efforts, which haven’t advanced much since iPod Out.
[Image credit: Steve Troughton-Smith, YouTube]
Source: Financial Times
Best Buy is introducing another special deal this weekend, offering a minimum of $150 for trade-ins of working iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 smartphones. Customers must buy a new smartphone with two-year contract on AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, however. The offer is good through the end of the day tomorrow, March 1. The chain has also reduced the price of the base 16GB iPhone 5s to $150 to match the buyback.
With a number of carriers moving away from two-year contracts for its customers — instead focusing on non-subsidized, but cheaper, monthly plans — it may be affecting the bottom line of retailers like Best Buy because plans like AT&T Next do not, in many cases, require customers to pay money up front.
For upgrade-eligible iPhone-owners looking to move to the iPhone 5s, this promotion could be an inexpensive way to do that.
Instapaper’s already broad device support has just grown a little bit broader. The service’s updated iOS app lets you send articles to Kindle for reading on one of Amazon’s devices, and you can push videos to your big-screen TV through AirPlay. Even if you’re happy with catching up from your iPad or iPhone, you may also like a new option to auto-renew your Instapaper subscription. It’s not the most life-changing Instapaper update we’ve seen. Stay tuned, though — the developers promise that their next release will be the biggest since Betaworks acquired the app last year.
Via: The Next Web
Downloading an app from the federal government might not top your list of priorities at the moment, but if you’re looking to tick that public service box without a need to worry about measly pay, background checks and furloughs, the FCC could sure use your help. That org’s latest venture, the FCC Speed Test app for iOS, delivers yet another connectivity benchmark tool to iPhone and iPad users. This free download also benefits the government’s Measuring Broadband America program, however, enabling the FCC to build out a public database of network performance across the country. Unlike its Android counterpart, this iOS app doesn’t test performance in the background, so you’ll need to fire it up to see how well your cellular or WiFi connection is doing. It’s available from the App Store today.
Proctor and Gamble first introduced its smartphone-connected Oral-B toothbrush earlier this month, but the company is on hand at the Mobile World Congress conference in Spain to give attendees a look at the upcoming device.
The Oral-B SmartSeries 7000 connects to the Oral Blue iPhone app using Bluetooth 4.0, allowing the app to provide real-time guidance on brushing habits. It records brushing activity on a chart that can be shared with dental professionals to create personalized brushing routines and because the Bluetooth connectivity works both ways, the app can also be used to program the toothbrush.
Engadget went hands-on with the Oral-B SmartSeries 7000 to show off how the app interacts with the brush itself. While brushing, the iPhone app runs a timer in real-time to keep track of how long a user has brushed and it also includes a stream of news articles to keep users entertained while brushing.
In case the sheer boredom of brushing your teeth for that long is too much to bear, you can also thumb through a stream of news articles or local weather reports (no, really) to help you hang in there. Turns out, just furiously mashing those bristles into your teeth isn’t great either, so the timer will blink red if you’re pressing too hard.
In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, the SmartSeries 7000 features oscillating-rotating-pulsating technology, six different cleaning modes (Daily Cleaning, Deep Clean, Whitening, Gum Care, Sensitive, and Tongue Cleaning), a pressure sensor to prevent users from brushing too hard, and several different travel accessories.
Oral B’s Bluetooth 4.0 smart toothbrush technology will be available in several of its toothbrushes, beginning with the Oral B SmartSeries 7000, which is expected to launch later this year for $220.