While many companies are tinkering with lasers, ultrasound and even arm muscles for touchless gesture control on portable devices and desktop PCs, Japan’s 16Lab just wants to put a pretty ring on you. The yet-to-be-named titanium wearable is designed by the award-winning Manabu Tago, and it features ALPS Electric’s tiny module (5.05 x 5.65 x 2.5 mm) that somehow manages to pack Bluetooth Smart radio, movement sensor, environment sensor plus antennas — there’s a video demo after the break. Despite its custom-made 10mAh lithium polymer cell, 16Lab is aiming for at least 20 hours of battery life. This is possible mainly because you have to place your thumb on the top pad (with the ring’s wedge pointing away from the user) to enable the sensors — upon which point the ring vibrates to confirm that it’s active. It’s then just a matter of waving and tilting your hand until you’re done.
In addition to gesture control, 16 Lab CEO Ko Kijima said his ring also serves as a notification tool (presumably by using the vibration motor), e-wallet and contactless key. What he didn’t say was how much it’ll cost, but since it’s entirely titanium, it’s going to do some damage to your wallet. The good news is that you’ll have plenty of time to save up for the ring: the startup is hoping to launch it in Q2 2015 with several size options, though you can also pre-order the partially-plastic development kit edition later this year, if you don’t mind its bulkiness.
Filed under: Wearables
Has your company bought into Google’s pitch for a Chrome-powered office? Then this update is for you: Google just announced a handful of Chromebook features specifically for office environments, including the ability to easily switch between personal accounts and your organization’s credential-secured account. The enhanced identity features primarily focus on enabling the SAML standard used by common enterprise authorization providers, but a new multiple sign-in mode allows that security to live alongside your personal Google account — possibly enabling users to bring their own Chromebooks to the office with relative ease. The update tacks on a handful of other business-specific features too, including better IT management for network certification and web app provisions, improved virtualization solutions from Citrix and VMware and a new annual subscription plan of $50 per device per year. Sound like it could improve your work life? Forward the source link (below) to your IT manager and get the ball rolling.
The Nexus 9 has been in the rumor mill for months now, nevertheless we’ve been able to gather that it’s coming, from a leaked photo, to a FCC filing, and a NVIDIA legal document leak. Today however, we have some news that all but officially confirms the arrival of the Nexus 9.
Jeff Tong, HTC’s President of North Asia, announced today at a press briefing in New York that the Nexus 9 is HTC’s “commitment” to returning to the tablet market. It’s been three years since HTC has produced a tablet, so it will be interesting to see them reemerge into this space in the mobile market.
Tong made no mention of a release date or specs, however we’ve reported rumors of an October 16 release date. That could possibly mean the release of Android L too, so stay tuned for more updates as we hear them.
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In the company’s first public statement regarding the bankruptcy filing by its sapphire partner GT Advanced Technologies earlier this week, an Apple spokesman tells Reuters the company was surprised by the filing and that it is now figuring out its next steps.
“We are focussed on preserving jobs in Arizona following GT’s surprising decision and we will continue to work with state and local officials as we consider our next steps,” spokesman Chris Gaither said.
GT reportedly fell into difficulty when Apple withheld a final $139 million prepayment loan, part of a roughly $580 million package intended to help GT start up operations at the Mesa, Arizona sapphire production plant owned by Apple.
With Apple opting not to use sapphire for the display on the iPhone 6 and under no commitment to purchase sapphire from GT, the sapphire producer quickly started running out of cash. And with repayment on the Apple loan set to start in January, if not sooner, GT found itself needing to enter bankruptcy protection while reorganizing its business.
While the Apple Watch will use sapphire on some models, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims GT’s bankruptcy should have no impact on that product as Apple can source sapphire for that product from multiple sources.
We’re growing closer to the launch of the first hardware accessories that are compatible with Apple’s HomeKit home automation platform, as the company has recently published the final Made for iPhone (MFi) specifications for hardware developers. With the completed specifications, hardware manufacturers will be able to create products that are designed to integrate with the HomeKit platform.
All developers creating hardware for HomeKit must follow Apple’s MFi guidelines and incorporate the HomeKit technical specifications. As outlined by 9to5Mac, some of Apple’s final HomeKit specifications cover the pairing and security of Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi connected HomeKit accessories.
While we’ve already seen several products that will take advantage of HomeKit, including a smart USB charger and a line of connected home sensors, Apple’s HomeKit supports a wide range of products like lightbulbs, locks, fans, thermostats, power outlets, garage doors, and more. Apple has also announced several partners already, including Philips and Honeywell.
Connected home sensors with HomeKit integration from Elgato
As Apple has worked to ready HomeKit for hardware developers, it has also been working on the software front. The latest beta of the Apple TV software, released alongside iOS 8.1 beta 2, includes explicit support for HomeKit, turning the Apple TV into something of a home automation hub.
The new Apple TV software turns the Apple TV into a remote access HomeKit peer, and as described by AppleInsider, this allows HomeKit devices to sync with the Apple TV, possibly giving users a way to control connected devices even when away from home.
In the future, an updated Apple TV set-top box could include long-rumored features like Siri support, letting users easily control HomeKit-connected devices from their living rooms through the Apple TV dashboard. HomeKit has been designed to work deeply with Siri, letting users control HomeKit hardware via voice commands.
At its Worldwide Developers Conference, several potential uses for HomeKit were demoed. For example, when a user has HomeKit-compatible hardware installed, Apple’s voice assistant Siri can be asked to “Close the garage, “Turn off the lights,” or “Lower the temperature.”
Apple has plans to hold a Made for iPhone (MFi) summit November 12 through November 14, providing accessory manufacturers and developers with information on HomeKit, iBeacon, AirPlay, and more, and with the finalized specification now available, we should be seeing additional hardware products with HomeKit support in the near future.
While Android has soared, Google Play has struggled a bit. Customers don’t buy nearly as many apps, songs or movies as their counterparts using iOS. According to The Information, Mountain View is working to change that with a new app trial program. Since users are hesitant to throw down money (even just $0.99) for an app without ever using it, Google is planning to offer free bite-sized trials. Rather than downloading and installing the entire app, you could pull down just a piece as a “micro app.” You might even be able to select which feature or part of the app you want to try. Obviously the hope would then be that you would love the app and throw some cash at the developer (which Google would get to keep a cut of). The smaller downloads would save time and bandwidth as well, making the trial a much smaller commitment. As for how it might work, we’re not sure. Though the company recently debuted a new way to update apps that only downloads the parts that have changed — again saving precious minutes and megabytes on your data plan.
Source: The Information
HP’s recent decision to split into two companies is undoubtedly a big deal. It’s a cornerstone of Silicon Valley, and it has been synonymous with PCs for much of its lifetime. However, this is really just the latest chapter for a technology legend that has witnessed plenty of triumphs and disasters throughout its 75-year history. We’ve rounded up some of its greatest and lowest moments in a gallery, ranging from its humble beginnings in a garage to the webOS era and a series of scandals — check them out if you want to know how HP reached yet another turning point.
[Image credit: Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images]
After a mention on stage back at WWDC when Apple Health was first announced for iOS 8, Fitbit was absent when the feature went live. Now, the activity-tracking outfit says it doesn’t “currently have plans” to opt in. “It is an interesting new platform and we will watch as it matures, looking for opportunities to improve the Fitbit experience,” a moderator responding to Fitbit forum inquires explained. “At the moment, we’re working on other exciting projects that we think will be valuable to users.” Of course, Fitbit has it’s own software and unlike others, it doesn’t shared gathered info across your arsenal of apps. Even if it has a trackerless app in the works to leverage the iPhone’s internals, it would make sense to share stats with the iOS repository. Fitbit was the top seller for activity trackers in Q1 2014 according to ABI Research, accounting for nearly 50 percent of shipments. It doesn’t appear to be struggling to grow the user base, so the need to have its wares in more places isn’t pressing. However, as you can see in the forum thread, those who have already invested in a tracker aren’t too happy with the company’s current stance.
Source: Fitbit Community
Law enforcement is no stranger to going undercover to bust unsuspecting crooks, but the Drug Enforcement Administration may have taken an online sting operation one step too far. A woman arrested in a drug case, Sondra Arquiett, sued the government after a DEA agent impersonated her on Facebook to trick at least one fugitive into sharing information. While Arquiett had consented to a search of her phone for the sake of investigations, she didn’t give permission to the agent to post photos from that phone for the world to see. Her suit accuses the agent of not only violating her privacy, but of putting her in danger by making it look like she was cooperating with officials.
The Department of Justice initially defended the DEA’s actions, but it now says it’s reviewing the case. The lawsuit is expected to go to mediation that could result in a settlement, and Facebook has already taken down the fake account for violating its terms of service. If Arquiett wins, she could establish clearer limits for what police are allowed to do with confiscated data — they’d have to get a suspect’s approval to use non-evidential content, especially if it’s going to be exposed to the public.
[Image credit: Shutterstock]
Via: AP (Huffington Post)
At Google I/O they talks about a new feature that would be coming to Chromecast that would let you choose the images that appeared on your TV when on the idle Chromecast screen. Today is that day. Google has announced the official roll out of the feature that is called “Backdrop.”
With a new backdrop option, you can customize your TV screen with:
- Your favorite photo albums from Google+
- Amazing artwork from galleries and museums around the world via the Google Cultural Institute
- News and lifestyle images from The New York Times, The Guardian, Saveur and more (U.S. only)
- Satellite imagery of some of the hardest-to-reach places on Earth from Google Maps
- and even more beautiful photos from the Google+ community
It goes a step further than just displaying a more user selected approach at image viewing though. If you see an image that you want to know more about simply open the Google search app and ask Google “What’s on my Chromecast?” to get details.
The update brings the app to 1.8.22 and is rolling out to devices in a typical staged roll out fashion. If you are impatient and want to snag it for your device right now, just pop over to gappsearly and grab it.
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