Browsing articles in "Gadgets"
Jan 18, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Apple Launching Touch-Enabled PC In 2010

According to a source, Apple shall be launching a touch enabled 22 inch “all in one” PC later this year. This shall be in addition to 21.5″ and 27″ non-touch PCs. It is not exactly clear when the company plans to launch this device.

Folks at DigiTimes write that Taiwan based Sintek Phontronic shall supply the touch-screens to the device which shall be manufactured by Quanta. DitiTimes says this news was revealed by  a Chinese language newspaper Commercial Times.

While there is not much of evidence rather than the Chinese author’s sources, we are a bit skeptical about this now. Apple is expected to release their Apple Tablet later this month and it is expected to be Apple’s long term plan to move away from iMacs towards Tablets. While Apple is yet to comment on this, we believe the company would not want to launch two high profile devices within months of each other which could cannibalize sales.

What are your views on this?

[via DigiTimes]

Jan 13, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Nintendo To Bring Netflix Movies To Wii

Your Nintendo Wii can soon be used to watch streaming online movies from Netflix according to a report from New York Times. According to a report published on the newspaper, the announcement is expected to be made later in the day today.

The move, it is said, is because of the declining numbers of gaming sequels which have meant that consumers are no longer looking at buying dedicated gaming consoles. As a result, console manufacturers have been forced to position their products as a platform to bridge living room television with online multimedia.

This is not the first time a gaming console manufacturer has taken this move. Sony’s PlayStation already has the ability for viewers to puchase movies from Sony’s library of movies while Xbox users can buy high definition movies from the Zune store.

The deal with Netflix will let Wii users access the vast library of older movies and television shows from Netflix. Users will still need to separately purchase the $9 a month subscription from Netflix to use the service.

[via The New York Times]

Jan 13, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Xerox Brings Behavioral Targeting To Television Advertising

Xerox, the leader in document management solutions has filed an intriguing patent recently. Titled “APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR EMBEDDING COMMERCIALS”, the invention talks of a technology that will alter audio/video of a TV program in order to suit the tastes of the television viewer.

Here are some excerpts from the patent which will be of interest

“As shown in FIG. 4, there is a display 400 which may be displayed at an end user’s home and a display 410 which may be displayed at another end user’s home. The two end users may be next door neighbors, live on different streets, in different cities, different states, or countries. Both display 400 and display 410 depict the same television program. However, the broadcasted program is altered so that it is customized for the individual user. For instance, the end user watching display 400 may be into sports. Therefore, the audio data would be altered so that when the character says the name of the store, the character would say Modell’s.RTM.. In addition the video of the broadcasted program would be replaced so the sign 402 on the storefront shows Modell’s.RTM. and lips 401 of the character would also be altered so that it seems as if he/she is saying Modell’s.RTM.. On the other hand, the end user watching display 410 may be into clothing. Therefore, the audio data would be altered so that when the character says the name of the store, the character would say Macys.RTM.. In addition the video of the broadcasted program would be replaced so the sign 412 on the storefront shows Macys.RTM. and lips 411 of the character would also be altered so that it seems as if he/she is saying Macys.RTM..”

Significant Invention

As the inventors claim, ROI of television advertising has been falling of late because more and more people are choosing not to view advertisements aired during commercial breaks. Also, product placements within the program are not relevant to all the audience.

With such an invention, ads may be personalized to suit individual tastes so that the advertisers get the maximum benefit. Could this also mean the end of commercial breaks?

Why It Would Ruin The System

This is no doubt a significant invention. But this would change the landscape of television programming forever. At present, TV content monetization is so fairly focused on content. The program with better content gets more eyeballs and hence more revenues.

But such an invention could alter content in such a way that producers needlessly get their characters speak of brand names just for the sake of monetization. The quality of programming could suffer.

As internet marketers would know, this could be the television version of the “Made for Adsense” websites – those that are built for the sole sake of displaying Google ads.

What do you think?

Jan 13, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Apple Tablet Not To Come With Camera Or Webcam

Earlier this week, Stephane Richard, VP at French Telecom/Orange seemed to agree with a journalist that the upcoming Apple Tablet could come with a camera or webcam. While this was promptly denied by the spokesperson for Orange who claimed that Richard’s statements were misread, it was still taken as a confirmation of a crucial Apple Tablet feature.

However, John Gruber from Daring Fireball has claimed that his sources have told him that the Apple Tablet will not be coming with a camera or webcam. In his words,

“Carriers do not get to see Apple products in advance. Remember Stan Sigman, CEO of Cingular? He admitted it flatly when the iPhone debuted: Cingular agreed to carry the iPhone without having seen it.

And, for what it’s worth, I’m hearing there is no camera, webcam or otherwise, on The Tablet.”
For now, we choose to side with Gruber on this one. Translations can always be misleading and it is probable that we all jumped the gun on this one.
Jan 12, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Apple Tablet’s 10.1″ Display Screen Confirmed?

For a long time, it was being doubted whether or not the Apple Tablet is coming with a 7″ screen or 10.1″ screen. However, of late, the biases have shifted completely in favor of the 10.1″ screen.

A recent report claims that Apple has preordered millions of 10.1″ screens from Asian manufacturers; so much so that it is impossible to make another order. According to an anoymous designer

“We were designing a product for a customer and we needed 10 inch screens, but we’ve been trying for months and can’t get one from any of the Asian suppliers”

This should add one more layer of confirmation to rumors about Apple Tablet’s tech specifications.

[TG Daily via Mashable]

Jan 12, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Lenovo Develops “Kill” Technology To Protect Security On Stolen Laptops

What do you do when your laptop is stolen? How do you protect all the sensitive information stored in the laptop? Lenovo has just developed a technology that will enable the rightful owners to not only disable their laptops but can also get a list of all information that was accessed prior to the disabling so that one might know what all information was compromised.

In a recently filed patent, the inventors at Lenovo write

“Portable computers may be provided with a mechanism to disable the computer if the rightful owner has lost the computer or suspects it of being stolen, to prevent access to potentially sensitive information on the computer.

A method includes receiving a disable command at a computer and in response to the disable command, transmitting information indicating accessed data. After transmission of the information, the computer disables itself.”

The inventors also go a step further to let users set a specific benchmark time. So, if this time is set to 1 hour, all information that was accessed in the earlier one hour shall be gathered and transmitted before the system goes on disable mode. The technology is believed to work using GPS.

Jan 11, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Qualcomm’s Removable Module To Support Location Based Features

Location-sharing has now become the in-thing. Just in the past few weeks, we saw companies like Palm, Apple and the likes file patents to develop technologies that can help in users sharing their location information with their friends.

Now what if the location sharing feature was available as a plug-in to your phone rather than an in-built feature? Apparently, Qualcomm is working on just this. In a patent recently published by the company at the US Patent and Trademark Office, the inventors have sought the rights for a technology that will help in supporting location-based services with the help of a removable module.

The inventors write

“The removable module may store subscription information, personal information, and/or other information for a user and may be inserted into a terminal, e.g., a cellular phone. The removable module may include LBS applications that may utilize location information to perform various actions. The location information may comprise a location estimate, speed, orientation, etc., of the terminal.”

The technology described here can be much more powerful than patents published by individual companies.  Most location sharing features have been made available only within users of a single manufacturer. Now since Qualcomm chips are used by more than one manufacturer, a location sharing service developed by Qualcomm can be much more useful and popular among users than other similar features provided cellphone manufacturers.

What do you think?

Jan 11, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Samsung Working On Creating Composite Pics From Multiple Camera

Samsung has been working on technology that seeks to create composite pictures from multiple camera sources. In a patent published recently at the US Patents and Trademark Office, the inventors write that presently composite pics are possible only from a single camera source. They seek to extend it to multiple camera. The patent apparently looks to introduce this to their cameraphones.

The inventors write

“[Presently,] To use the multi-photo framing feature, these pictures have to be taken by the same mobile terminal, and, if the pictures are related to persons, the persons may have to be present at the same place and time.”

“An aspect of the present invention is to address the above-mentioned problems and/or disadvantages and to provide at least the advantages described blow. Accordingly, an aspect of the present invention is to provide a mobile terminal and a composite photographing method that enable multiple mobile terminals to jointly produce a composite photograph.

Another aspect of the present invention is to provide a mobile terminal and a composite photographing method that reduce communication costs by utilizing short-range wireless communication to transmit a picture for composite photography.

So, if I understand it correctly, with this new technology, two users may connect themselves via Bluetooth or Wifi and pick the “host” device. Once done, pictures taken via the second device can automatically be stored in the first device to enable development of composite photography.

Jan 3, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Google To Launch Apple Tablet Competitor?

The Google Nexus One is all set to make its debut this week and is touted to be the iPhone killer. Now, even as rumors of an Apple tablet launch is doing the rounds across both traditional media and blogosphere alike comes a rumor that Google could be launching its own version of the Tablet very soon.

The buzz comes from an Australian publication called SmartHouse that says their sources reveal that HTC has been working “very closely” with Apple to launch this Tablet device. Among several models that the company is working on, one of them even is assumed to be running on the much acclaimed Google Chrome OS.

We have no clue about whether this is true or not. The article is pretty vague on what the sources have said and at this moment, we would tend to believe that this is a false alarm.

Nevertheless, it would be fun if Google were to launch their own Tablet device. What do you think? Will that sell? Please tell us in the comments.

[via SmartHouse]