Archive for: physical

Make your iPhone 4 Get Physical with the Boxwave “Keyboard Buddy” Bluetooth Keyboard.

There’s no denying the iPhone 4 is an extremely popular and successful device. The biggest reason being the touchscreen that literally revolutionized the smartphone world back in 2007. But as great as the touchscreen is, some people still prefer good ‘ol physical buttons. Apple won’t be adding in physical keys and keyboards anytime soon. So that leaves 3rd parties to fill in the gap. So far, we’ve only seen a few bluetooth iPhone keyboards. They haven’t been particularly well designed or good at what they do. Though the Boxwave Keyboard Buddy Bluetooth keyboard looks like it could be different in that respect…
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And now, the iPhone with a physical keyboard.

For the longest time, I had some weird fetish/affinity for physical keyboards. I swore off any device that was touchscreen only. And then I got the iPhone 3G back in 2008. It was a lovely time. A time in which I realized a lot of things, namely, that I didn’t need a physical keyboard to be happy. Moving past that to a Moto Droid once again brought up those physical feelings from inside, due more-so to the fact that the stock Android keyboard sucked. Replacement 3rd party keyboards were better, but still not “great”. And now I’m back to where it all started with an iPhone 4 — no keyboard.

But I could have a keyboard if I wanted. The iPhone supports Bluetooth peripherals. The picture above shows a Bluetooth keyboard. 1 + 1 = 2. Everyone is happy that wants to be happy. It’s a tad steep for an add-on accessory at $50. But for those who like to get all physical, it’s just what the doctor ordered. I have moved on from those early days when I had to “feel” everything. Many haven’t been able to cope with the separation, however. Just know that if you still need it, ThinkGeek is here to help.

[Product Page]
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1PB (petabyte) physical discs touted by Romanian “Storex Technologies”. In other news: Physical discs are dying.

Digital distribution may be the way of the future, but that won’t stop disc creating companies such as Storex Technologies from touting their Hyper CD technology. Hyper CD’s claim to fame is the lofty 1 petabyte (1,000,000 GB) storage capacity. Indeed, 1 PB is a ton of data and could prove rather useful in certain situations. But then you have the whole issue of it being another proprietary physical format.

So is Hyper CD worth holding our breath for?
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DRM at its finest: New Avatar DRM causing playback woes on Blu-ray players. Only legal purchases affected.

It never ceases to amaze me how uterly retarded, stupid, and incompetent the movie studios and “the old Hollywood” in general really are.

Todays fluster cluck of DRM spotlight features Avatar and the unplayable disc. I’m seeing reports all over the web (Consumerist in particular) of new Avatar customers unwrapping their new gift only to find it unplayable in their Blu-ray players. Effective DRM, huh?
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Motorola Motus and AT&T to sing sweet sweet music come spring of 2010?

moto-motus

While my year long honeymoon with AT&T left me looking for annulment, for my fellow gadget lovers still calling Big Blue home I bring you more hopeful information of AT&T’s potential first Android device. The Motorola Motus was last in the headlines about three weeks ago when we first caught wind of some leaked specs. But we’ll come back to specs in a hot minute. As for the whole rumor of AT&T picking up the Motus — well, that is a starting to look a little more likely. AT&T badly needs an Android phone not only for their customers who deserve at least one option, but for themselves as well. For the longer they remain glued to the iPhone image, the more it’s going to hurt when the band-aide is ripped off sometime before the year 3000 when Apple is said to be dropping exclusive AT&T support.

Right, now about those specs. When we last saw the Motus and the spec sheet that followed, we were left slightly underwhelmed. I understand OS optimization making the most of the archaic 528MHz ARM CPU destined for the Motus, but come on, every high-end Android device here on out should have Snapdragon. There’s no excuse not to. But internal specs and internal anger aren’t what we’re here for.

The latest word involving the Motus has several new external hardware features getting detailed:

  • Backwards flipping keyboard: We’ll start with the weird first — the physical keyboard on the Motus is reversed meaning when it is “closed” in the traditional sense, the keys are on the back of the phone facing outward. I’m not sure how those delicate smartphone keys will stand up to the constant abuse pockets, bags, and other dangers place on them. But the design supposedly is meant to cater the next feature…
  • Trackball: A trackball mounted behind the keyboard (so when the keyboard is closed, it will be between the back piece of the phone and the front — this thing is weird) will allow scrollable navigation when the keyboard is open thereby maximizing spacing for keys while still providing physical navigation.
  • Camera: 5mp camera w/ LED flash
  • MotoBLUR: It will run Motorola’s “MotoBLUR” which is also found on the CLIQ
  • Keyboard: The keyboard is backlit (a big plus) and said to be “domed”. All I can gather is that they’re more “clicky” or pronounced than the Droid’s.
  • Size: From the pictures it looks to be that the Motus will be a fuller figured beast falling more into line with the G1 than the Droid.
  • Processor: As mentioned earlier above, sources say that the 1GHz Snapdragon processor will replace currently slated 528MHz MSM7201A. (I say good riddance)

That’s quite a bit to chew on so I’ll give you a second…

Second’s up. The Motus is shaping up to be a decent phone at least on paper and from what our minds can draw from the few pictures we’ve seen so far. The keyboard which is always a hotly debated topic among smartphone enthusiasts looks to be a tad more responsive than the Droid’s in the sense that the keys have more key travel. I also like how the keyboard stretches the entire length of the device, relocating the trackball (which I also like better than a d-bad or arrow keys) to behind the keyboard giving a much more natural position in the hand and still allowing physical navigation.

As far as being AT&T bound, the jury’s still out. It’s still a 50/50 in my book as it could very easily go either way. For all of the Android hopefuls eying T-Mobile or Verizon, I sure hope AT&T is the carrier picking up the Motus. AT&T simply can’t sit back and watch the rest of the cellular world pass them by and remain ignorant and stubborn in their little iPhone bubble.

Android Central > Engadget

Amazon’s “Disc + On Demand” gives you physical movie and digital stream for one reasonable price.

dvds

Attention all big media exec’s and content owners: This is how you need to continue conducting business….

The digital hipsters and modern age, forward thinking individuals have come under fire the last several years from big media corporations and content owners for their disdain for physical products and embracing of digital counterparts. Going the digital route means companies shouldn’t be charging the same due to much lower distribution costs and practically non-existent shipping costs. But that’s an argument for another time for today the big story is Amazon’s “Disc + On Demand” offering. The concept is simple, and frankly, I’m shocked that it’s taken this long for someone, anyone to market such a deal. For Amazon’s Disc On Demand service, whenever you purchase a supported Blu-ray or DVD, buyers are also able to immediately stream a digital version of their just purchased movie via Amazon Video on Demand. If you don’t feel like streaming it and don’t have the time to rip the physical copy yourself, you can always download the digital copy for playback on your PC, Mac, or TiVo.

See, simple and effective. This should have been breaking news years ago. But I stopped hoping for change from the likes of Hollywood studios and other media entities long ago. Could this be the sign that they are finally waking up to the digital world? So Disc + On Demand is a big step in the right direction. But it isn’t quite perfect.

  1. Amazon Disc + On Demand is being marketed as a “limited time offer”. If Amazon or the supporting studios were intelligent at all, they’d make this permanent. One other thing to take into consideration is that the “limited offer” verbiage could simply be there to spur more sales — especially with the holiday shopping season in full swing, such a conclusion isn’t too hard to fathom.
  2. Currently, the selection of titles that feature Disc + On Demand are but a pittance of Amazon’s overall video catalog

Not deal breakers but certainly things to consider and keep a watchful eye on. Think it’s a good deal — one that could even make you buy more movies than normal?

[Amazon

Mashable > NewTeeVee

[Image Source]

Blockbuster to offer Movie-on-SD card rentals

blockbuster-sd-rental-kioskDriving all the way down the street to your local Blockbuster to pick up some old, decrepit physical media is a pain. Not to mention, cassette tapes are all but antique and DVD’s are losing their luster in this digital age. Blockbuster is one of those businesses who should be scared. Without any physical media to rent, how do they stay in business? SD cards, that’s how.

Blockbuster is currently undergoing a pilot program in which users can bring in their own SD card and load it up with movie rentals via various “rental kiosks” that are made by NCR corporation in partnership with MOD Systems. Simple insert your card, select your movies you’d like to rent, pay your dues and off you go.

If you’re looking to play the system and simply take home your rentals for quick and easy copies be forewarned — expect an extremely tight layer of DRM wrapped around them. The most notable of this new DRM is a time limit which will render the files unplayable after the expiration date has passed. Kind of cool I guess. Though if Blue-ray DRM can be cracked as fast as we’ve seen, some SD card DRM can’t be that hard can it?

Of course, other obvious questions such as “what do I play it in?” arise. A computer is a given. Game systems such as the PS3 are safe too. Though not many TV’s support SD cards yet, but it’s coming. But let’s not get to excited yet because if Blockbuster decides to use a specific form of DRM that requires certain hardware or software to play it, thereby limiting the devices it plays on, well, then this new venture is dead before it began. All in all, if you don’t have an SD card reading device, it’s easy to find some attachment or 3rd party add-on allowing such functionality. If you have a hard time finding an SD card reader in your house, you’re probably not the prime audience Blockbuster is gunning for to begin with. I don’t know how many boxes of memory cards I have. It’s like a graveyard I swear.

Personally, I think a microSD based system would fare better. Sure you have to worry about end users losing the cards more often, but Blockbuster isn’t footing the bill for the cards so it’s not their loss. With mobile phones and smartphones really taking off, being able to rent a movie on microSD and then watch it on your phone or other mobile device would be a pretty cool concept. Blockbuster, are you listening?

Do you think Blockbuster can starve off any more cash bleeds with this new SD rental program or do they just need to get over this whole physical thing already and make more aggressive strides online?

Erictric

Keep your poker face hidden behind iPhone Playing Cards

Techies and card players can finally come together in old analog harmony. While card players and iPhone users can get all kinds of digital card games on the device itself, sometimes you just want to sit down with some friends, eat some mini-sausages, and enjoy a few brewskies. Some clever souls at Meninos have brought the two loves of many and transformed them into a more physical toy that will surely please many: iPhone Playing Cards. As the name implies, the playing cards have the typical number and face cards, however they also have the added addition of an iPhone border surrounding each number/face. At $25/pack they’re on the pricey side for a deck of cards. Though if you truly love/lust after something, you’ll find a way to get the cash right?

[Product Page]

Source: The Awesomer

Braun Bell concept ensures a clean pour everytime now matter your eyesight!

Having a physical disability is never fun nor something I would wish upon anyone. For some, they were born with the disability. Yet for others it came later in life in the form of an accident or attack. Technology is great in these areas as it helps those with physical disabilities to live their lives just a tad bit closer to what there were used to. The next cool gadget (concept) to cross my ocular cavities comes from none other than popular and forward thinking design site Yenko Design. The Braun Bell concept mug has 3 separate sensors inside the mug that chime as the liquid passes each sensor. Now, for you and me, individuals with at least some eyesight, such a feature is unneeded. But for those who have less than spectacular eye balls, this mug is a boon to them. Chiming at each of the 3 levels will easily alert the person filling the mug so as not to spill whatever it is they’re about to drink. This can be especially helpful when dealing with hotter liquids such as a nice cup of hot coffee. While it is still a concept, the chances of this becoming real are I would bet highly probable as there really is a need and market to cater to. What do you think?

Source: Dvice, Yenko Design