Archive for the ‘jack’ tag
Romotive is the company who created Romo, a smartphone robot. By attaching the base through the universal audio jack you can bring Romo to life as he drives around your home. Romo’s face and behavior can be changed by downloading different apps. And he’s open source for easy hacking.
It’s not often that a company decides to postpone the launch of a high-profile hardware product indefinitely just days before it’s expected to ship the first units. But that’s exactly what Google did with the Nexus Q this week. The spherical Nexus Q media streamer wasn’t just Google’s first consumer electronics hardware project that was designed completely in-house, but it was also a key product the company showcased at its I/O developer conference and put into every attendee’s swag bag. Even at I/O, though, it was already clear that Google wasn’t really sure what the Q was supposed to be and maybe that explains why the on-stage demo of the Q, which was supposed to retail for $299, was the single worst demo of I/O.
Not all is lost, though. Google says that it is working on making the Q “even better.” Having used the Q for a bit after I/O and then quickly forgotten about it, I can’t help but think that postponing the launch was the best thing Google could have done. There is a lot to love about the Q, but it was nowhere close to being ready for public consumption.
Stunning Design Can’t Overcome A Lack Of Features
Here’s the problem with the Nexus Q: it’s a stunningly beautiful piece of hardware that’s being let down by the software that’s supposed to control it.
The moment you unbox the Q (at least the version Google gave away at I/O), it’s clear that this is a high-end device and once you plug it in, the glow of the 32 RGB LED lights around its perimeter just confirm that this is not some cheap plasticy consumer electronics device. The fact that there is not standard 3.5 mm headphone jack and just banana plugs, an optical out port and an HDMI connector also tells you that the Q was meant to be used with relatively high-end peripherals as well (it doesn’t have a built-in speaker, by the way). There are no obvious controls on the device itself, but the upper half rotates and functions as the volume control. With its 25W ARM Cortex-A9 CPU the Q also has enough processing power for games and to stream 1080p video.
After you unbox and plug it in, though, it just takes two minutes to realize that Google either put so much emphasis on the hardware, it forgot what that hardware was actually supposed to do, or that the company rushed the software out to have something ready to show at I/O.
Given that the Q doesn’t have any hardware controls to speak of, you must have an Android phone to control it. To get started, you tap your phone against the Q to initialize the download. In my tests, that mostly worked, but it often took a few attempts to get going. The software itself is very barebones. Once installed, you can stream music and videos from the Q to your TV or audio setup and this works well enough. For some reason, though, Google decided that you can’t stream any music or video from your phone the way Apple’s AirPlay allows you to do. Instead, the Q needs to be connected to the Internet and only plays content from YouTube, your Google Music account and the Play store. There’s absolutely no reason for this limitation, but it’s what Google decided to do.
The least was say about the Q’s party mode, which allows everybody with an Android phone to play DJ at your party, the better. The I/O demo of this feature was awkward and using it at a party would be even more so. If you’re looking for some ammunition to claim that Google doesn’t get social, the Nexus Q “party mode” is pretty good example.
That’s all you can do with the Q that Google gave away at I/O and planned to ship to paying customers. For $299, that’s significantly less functionality than what Apple TV offers for $99.
The fact that Google decided to offer free Qs to everybody who pre-ordered one can only mean two things: Google only got so few orders that shipping them out wasn’t going to hurt the company’s bottom line, or Google plans to modify the hardware and not just the software. I doubt Google will make any major changes to the hardware (except for maybe/hopefully adding a standard headphone jack), so I’m going to assume that the Q pre-sales weren’t looking very good before the postponement and the company realized that the only way to salvage his product was to take at least parts of the experience back to the drawing board.
Making The Q Better Is All About The Software
The good thing is, thanks to this postponement, Google has given itself a second chance to get things right. Most importantly, the Q needs to support more apps. If you are going to make a device that is meant to be hooked up to a TV, why not allow streaming from Hulu Plus, Netflix and other services? Why not add built-in support for Picasa, Flickr and other photo-sharing services? Why not add a browser, too, while you are at it? And maybe throw in a few games that use an Android phone as their controller, too, while you are at it. The Q runs Android and Ice Cream Sandwich, after all. With those features, the Nexus Q could compete with Apple TV – especially if Google manages to hit a lower price point with the new version – without cannibalizing Google TV sales (not like there’s much to cannibalize there in the first place given Google TV’s lethargic sales).
Photos of the earliest known iPad prototype from the early 2000s have hit the web, thanks to some digging by the fine folks at NetworkWorld.
The photos, which have been lifted from Apple and Samsung court documents, show a bulky device that takes design elements from earlier Apple hardware, including the first iPod and the MacBook. The device has similarities to the first publicly released iPad: It has a single port at the bottom, a headphone jack, and a black bezel around the screen. Noticeably different is how thick the prototype is and how it’s missing the iPad’s circular home button.
In a deposition by Samsung, Apple Senior VP Jonathan Ive said the following about this prototype:
My recollection of first seeing it is very hazy, but it was, I’m guessing, sometime between 2002 and 2004. … I remember seeing this and perhaps models similar to this when we were first exploring tablet designs that ultimately became the iPad.
Personally, I can’t imagine this device “making a dent in the universe” like the first iPad did. It appears to be quite heavy, and the specs were likely poor.
Take a look at the photos below and let us know what you think of it:
Filed under: mobile
Reviewing a drive isn’t very exciting. What can you say? “It contains a storage medium, is small, and surprisingly light.” Thankfully, the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt can add one important point to that litany of mundanity – a Thunderbolt port and cable that jacks the read and write speed up to amazing levels – thereby turning a ho-hum review into a real barn-burner.
This $229 1TB drive is no slouch on design, either. It has two ports – one USB 3.0/2.0 jack and a Thunderbolt port – and it’s clad in aluminum and white plastic, giving it a definitive Mac feel. The drive gets hot over extended periods of time but it’s entirely bus powered. It weighs a mere 9 ounces.
In my tests, I saw this drive hit RW speeds of about 97 MB/s, considerably faster than a USB 3.0 drive I tested and on par with what you’d expect from a standard Thunderbolt drive. The best thing, obviously, is the fact that Buffalo includes a Thunderbolt cable, a $50 value, right in the box. They also include a USB 3.0 cable for the technologically benighted.
A 500GB version will cost you about $195, but it really doesn’t make sense to buy a smaller drive in this case.
So, in closing, I wish to amend the MiniStation Thunderbolt review with one important point: “It contains a storage medium, is small, and surprisingly light and, most important, you get a $50 Thunderbolt cable for free. It’s also really fast. And pretty.”
iPod Nano straps have been around for a year or so now and they’ve been approximately exciting as tying a string to an iPod Classic and hanging it around your waist. Here’s something completely different. The Syre is a Bluetooth-enabled Nano watch case that transmits the audio wirelessly to compatible headphones. That’s right – no more looking like a weirdo with headphone cables sticking out of your wrist.
No battery specs but the entire watch encases the Nano, protecting the headphone port and jack from water and perspiration. It has a built-in battery.
The case, created by Anyé Spivey, is about to launch as a Kickstarter project but you can check it out now right here.
Coin is offering small businesses merchant processing for 2.55%, a rate 20-basis points lower than Square. Although the rates aren’t as low in most cases as those that Groupon is offering, Coin represents another competitor in a very crowded space. The savings are hardly worth crowing about: A merchant who processes $1,000 a month in transactions would save $24 over the course of a year compared with Square.
Coin’s circular device connects to a phone’s audio jack via a cable instead of mounting directly onto the device. Coin claims that mounted devices can damage a phone’s audio jack. Its Web site takes direct aim at Square, saying “So you can see, we actually thought a lot about how to build a better device rather than copy everyone else’s. Then we remembered something simple: The world is round, not square.”
Unlike Square, Coin is offering businesses immediate access to money through an attached prepaid debit card. (PayPal offers a similar feature.)
Like the other services, Coin offers email receipts and apps for iOS and Android.
Austin, Texas-based RevCoin charges $9.99 for its reader but refunds the fee once a merchant has processed $400 in transactions. That may be a significant hurdle to adoption among small businesses, considering that other providers offer the hardware for free.
Another important difference is that Coin doesn’t process American Express or Discover cards.
I expect we’ll continue to see new competitors jump into this space. I’m still waiting for an octagon.
Filed under: VentureBeat
Love it or hate it (I find myself strangely leaning toward the former), that peculiar two-tone metal housing supposedly meant to wrap around Apple’s forthcoming iPhone has just recently been given the video treatment by the folks at eTradeSupply.
Now, there’s not much here that wasn’t visible in the original set of images that 9to5Mac obtained — a thinner, longer frame to accommodate a larger 16:9 display, the inclusion of a much smaller dock connector port, an annoyingly positioned headphone jack — but the fellow on video seemed eager to provide viewers with a bit of extra context. It isn’t long at all before he whips out an iPhone 4S and starts addressing design changes point by point, though it’s still infuriatingly unclear whether or not the component will actually grace Apple’s final product.
The video also points out an interesting little change in the new casing’s SIM card tray — it’s noticeably smaller than the one Apple uses in the iPhone 4/4S, which has prompted some to believe that it’s meant to work with the new, ETSI-approved microSIM format. It’s tough to tell whether or not that’s the case, or if Apple just found a way to trim some of the (admittedly minor) cruft from their existing SIM tray designs.
Though I’m sure some people are hoping against hope for a surprise appearance at WWDC what with Apple’s previous predilection for June unveils, the iPhone 4S’s October debut may mean that Apple will hold off on an official announcement for a few months yet. Bummer, I know, but look on the bright side — that just means we’ll have plenty more wacky iPhone leaks and rumors to tear apart.
Pictures claiming to show the back panel of an unreleased iPhone suggest Apple’s next-generation handset could feature an aluminum back, a new, smaller dock connector, and a relocated headphone jack.
Parts claimed to be from Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone continue to surface, with the latest components showing a headphone jack, earpiece and Wi-Fi cable claimed to be from a future iPhone.
We’ve all been there.
You’re listening to a song on your iPod (or iPhone or whatever) as you walk up to meet your friend and you want them to hear it, too. You pop your right earbud into their ear and bop along awkwardly together. But is your friend really enjoying the music? Are you?
The song is only half as good as it should be, which is exactly why ShareBuds exist.
They are a a pair of headphone sets that connect under one 3.5mm headphone jack. So the idea is that you can plug into your mp3 player, or really anything with a 3.5mm audio-output jack and listen along with a friend. The sound quality on them isn’t amazing or anything, but they solve a problem.
I can think of at least ten examples where ShareBuds would have come in handy. One would be the time that my boss John took me on a road trip with his family to visit startups in DC. His kids, Kasper and Milla, were in the back and wanted to watch Netflix. Meanwhile, John was listening to his own music in the front seat, and I had my own music in my headphones. Luckily, we had a set of ShareBuds for the kids to pop in and get their Tangled on.
Or, remember that one time that Jim and Pam from The Office had their “first date?” They had dinner on the roof, and then as they left, Pam asked to listen to Jim’s music. They shared — one earbud per person. But wouldn’t it be cute if, at that pivotal moment, they could both listen to his song at its full potential?
Of course, you can always hop over to Amazon and buy a 3.5mm splitter for $1.50.