LG is an Android smartphone OEM that, like many others, finds itself in the shadow of Samsung. But it scored an impressive hit with the Nexus 4, the $300 unlocked Google-branded Android reference phone it released last year, and according to the Korea Times, it’s already working on a follow-up with the search giant.
The new report claims that LG is working on a new Nexus-branded smartphone, and that LG also wants to add to its existing partnership with Google for TV products, and would like to be closely involved in future developments like Google Glass. LG clearly sees the value of being closely associated with Google, as it managed to pull into third place in the global smartphone race in Q1 2013 according to IDC and Juniper.
LG’s Optimus G and the Nexus 4 helped it gain some ground in the smartphone war, although it still trails far behind Samsung and Apple, who hold 32.7 percent and 17.3 percent of the global market respectively, compared to LG’s 4.8 percent. Recent estimates have put sales of both the Optimus G and the Nexus 4 at somewhere north of 1 million, which, while once again trailing devices by Samsung and Apple, are impressive enough. Especially in the case of the Nexus 4, LG proved that it could make a strong seller out of a line that usually has more limited consumer appeal.
In the past, we’ve seen reports that an LG Nexus 5 was in the works, with the code name “Megalodon.” This isn’t just an upgraded version based on the LG Optimus G Pro, but a truly new device with a very powerful quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor on board. Recent rumors indicate we might see a Nexus 4 variant at Google I/O in two weeks, with a 32GB storage option and both LTE and CDMA cellular wireless bands on board. The current Nexus 4 maxes out at HSPA+, but it does have an LTE-capable radio, early hacks revealed.
There’s very little downside to LG building a new Nexus device, and Google might be more inclined to let them, given the success of the last one. It’s possible we’ll hear more about this at I/O, but given that the Nexus 4 only arrived late last year, we might have to wait a little longer, too.
View original post here: LG Working On A Nexus 5, Wants Deeper Partnerships On TVs And Glass, Report Claims
Acer just announced the Aspire R7, a strange hybrid of a desktop all-in-one, laptop, and a tablet that was previously teased in some promotional Star Trek commercials. It’s honestly really, really weird.
We always expected that Windows 8 would lead to some really strange convertible touchscreen devices, but the Aspire R7 is a whole new kind of crazy. The first thing you’ll notice about the Aspire R7 is that Acer seems to have forgotten how laptops are made. The trackpad sits behind the keyboard, which is a bit perplexing until you realize that Acer doesn’t really want you to use the trackpad at all.
That’s because the Aspire R7 has something called an Ezel hinge that gives the 15.6 touchscreen display an amazing agree of flexibility. You can lie the 15-inch, 1080p touchscreen display completely flat with the device, turning the Aspire R7 into an oversized tablet. You can also angle the display so that it sits flush with the keyboard and covers the trackpad completely. I’m honestly not sure why the trackpad is there in the first place.
As a whole, the Aspire R7 seems to be incredibly well built. It’s made of some type of aluminum-like material, and there’s virtually no flex to the device. On the other hand, it’s very large and very heavy, which means that it won’t be very portable. It’s probably one of the nicest pieces of hardware Acer has ever built. But I don’t know who would use something as crazy as this.
Other key specs for the R7 include:
Acer also announced the Aspire P3, an ultra book convertible with a detachable display, and the Iconia A1, a 9.7 inch Windows 8 tablet. But it’s the Aspire R7 that stole the show here. It’ll be available for sale exclusively at Best Buy retail locations starting May 17th, and can be pre-ordered now at the Best Buy online store for $999.
(and a friendly shout out to Stefan over at LaptopMemo, who was kind enough to let me borrow his camera for these shots)
Go here to see the original: Acer Goes To A Whole New Level Of Crazy With The Aspire R7
I don’t want to awaken the ire of any committed pet owners — because I think you can do whatever you want with your pets (and your money) — but I would be lying if I said I didn’t cringe a little bit when I hear about extreme pet products and services like doggie treadmills, pet psychiatrists or pet fitness centers and the like.
In a quick conversation behind the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, an unofficial, unscientific, non-statistically sound poll indicated that “if you don’t have time to walk your dog and need to outsource that to a health club…maybe you just shouldn’t have a dog.”
I concur with those results.
Still, I came across FitBark on the floor of the Hardware Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 and while it could, at first, seem “extreme” I found that after talking to these guys and hearing their explanation, their little device actually seems pretty reasonable.
What is the FitBark? From a technological standpoint, it is a wearable accelerometer that you put on your dog’s collar to monitor their activity. In most ways the product is very similar to products like the Nike Fuel + Band or the FitBit, however the strategy behind it — and this is the reasonable part — is quite different.
FitBark is not designed to be a performance indicator or weight loss utility or competitive device for animals. Instead, it’s just an activity monitor so loving pet owners can make sure their dogs are getting enough activity.
How it works is that, as the dog moves about, their activity is captured and stored on the device (up to three weeks of data can be stored).
Whenever the FitBark comes into the proximity of the owners iPhone’s or optional homebase unit — via Bluetooth 4 or Wi-Fi — the data is transferred off of the FitBark, passed through the FitBark app on the iPhone and transferred up to the cloud where that data is stored.
The historical data can then be visualized on any of the iOS devices that are allowed to view the data. In this way, dog owners can have real-time info about the pet’s activity.
Another hint that the FitBark is reasonable is their one-time pricing model. There are no ongoing monthly service fees or memberships required. You buy the hardware device upfront ($99 from their Kickstarter page), and you get the data it produces for free. I”’m guessing they have worked their data hosting costs into the hardware price.
In this way, it really seems like a tool for care and not a stingy racket for recurring fees.
I’m not sure this is a product I myself would ever use, as I tend to think dogs are evolutionarily equipped to survive living in what James Brown would call “a man’s world.” However I can see how loving, caring and yes, reasonable pet owners might like to see this data about their dogs. Because of that, the FitBark seems like a useful piece of hardware.
While you are riding into work on your daily bike commute, why not charge your phone? There’s a bit more to it than that, but ultimately that is exactly what the Siva Cycle Atom does. A brilliant idea.
The Atom is a generator, complete with a detachable battery, that is fixed to the rear of your bicycle. As you pedal away, the generator is charging the attached battery. However it can also directly charge your phone too, using a smart switching system that goes back and forth between the device and the battery.
For example, if your phone is hooked up to the device it will directly charge your phone while you are pedaling, however when you come to a stop, your phone will automatically draw from the battery to keep you topped off.
Once you reach your destination, you simply detach the 1300mAh battery and take it with you for extra juice for your smartphone.
View original post here: Charge Your Phone While You Ride Your Bike With The Siva Cycle Atom
Recently, consumer electronics have tended to be more about closing things down then opening them up, but New York-based Adafruit is working to help reverse that trend, and to make it so that people aren’t afraid of what’s inside their devices, and instead become more comfortable with electronics components and the concepts behind how gadgets actually work. Adafruit founder and CEO Limor Fried was on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY today, and talked about how her company is going about achieving that goal.
The mission helps the company generate revenue, by priming an audience early on to become buyers of the components, DIY kits and open-source devices Adafruit sells through its online store. The key is to start young, Fried says, and to take advantage of urges that children already have around exploring their environment and the things around them.
“At a certain age, they just want to be comfortable with it, and everyone here probably liked to take stuff apart,” he said. “That’s how we learn, we take stuff apart and then we learn from them. That’s how software works, too.” With software, we pull apart the code to find out how it’s put together, she said, and we should be doing the same thing with hardware.
“We open the box,” she said, referring to our instincts when young. “The gadgets you have now, tablets and smartphones, theyr’e not easy to open anymore, so we provide that.” The idea is to make sure that if the need to break something down and repair it does arise, we aren’t afraid of it, and we don’t feel like we need eight years of specific education just to replace a broken capacitor.
Adafruit recently launched a video series for children called Circuit Playground to help familiarize them with electronics at a very early age. The company also put out a coloring book for electronics, which you can print out and use under a creative commons license. This is designed less to provide a rigorous early-age electrical engineering education regimen, and more to help get kids comfortable with terms, designs and shapes early on so that they’ll find it easier to pursue that kind of formal training later on. Basically, it’s about planting the seed for a generation of makers to come.
Asked about Adafruit’s identity, and whether it’s an educational organization or a business, Fried said her company is an ‘educational, tutorial company” that then has essentially a gift shop at the end. The model works in the same way that art supply stores functions; you could technically make your own paint, she says, but most people don’t because it’s easier to buy. Budding electronics hobbyists can likewise build their own PCBs, but they instead turn to supply stores and pre-fab components like those supplied by Adafruit. But in the end, the emphasis is on education and open source.
Fried envisions a world where people treat hardware the same way they do software, by mostly leveraging open source tools to quickly start up their own companies. But that change represents a major shift that will require fundamental changes in how we think about hardware, and Adafruit is trying to bring that about starting as early in our educational lives as possible.