How about renaming the company "Windows"?

5 February 2013 by Steve Blum
, , , , ,

Honest, my first name isn’t Baghdad.

Epidemics are easy to spot in retrospect, but it’s difficult – even dangerous – to predict that one case of a new disease will turn into something virulent. That said, our planet’s mass market of seven or so billion people is slipping away from Microsoft. They’ve caught the same bug that floored the company formerly known as RIM.

Three news items point in that direction. First, Acer is seeing growth in Chromebook sales and sliding Microsoft numbers.… More

Back of the mobile OS pack getting crowded

23 January 2013 by Steve Blum
, , , , ,

For geeks only. For now.

Telefonica, a multinational telecommunications carrier, is walking point on HTML5. Working with the Mozilla Foundation, the Spanish company announced the upcoming availability of a smart phone running the new Firefox operating system, which is being developed specifically to support HTML5 apps.

The advantage is, in theory, an HTML5 app can run on any phone, regardless of the OS, so long as it has sufficient browser horsepower. So far, the language hasn’t been fully baked (and some question whether it ever will be) but development continues.… More

Show loved ones you virtually care

17 January 2013 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Hey. The guy on the left doesn't have an exhibit floor pass.

You don’t have to settle for just sending flowers to a relative in a nursing home. You can send yourself, and the whole family, via a $1,500 teeping robot. Or if you’re on a budget, maybe rent the telepresence device for a few bucks an hour. It’s cheaper than a plane trip, easier than packing the kids in the car and not as hairy as a dog.… More

Playing with augmented reality

Great way to meet new friends.

It'll be small development companies like Sphero that turn wearable computing products like Vuzix's headset mounted smart phone video display into genuine augmented reality (AR) devices.

The Boulder, Colorado based company already has a neat gizmo on the market. It's a white plastic sphere about the size of a tennis ball that glows in different colors and rolls around on the floor, powered by an internal motor. You control it with an iOS or Android app via a Bluetooth link.… More

Useful augmented reality not so far over the horizon

14 January 2013 by Steve Blum
, ,

Wearable, but not quite a fashion accessory yet.

An augmented reality (AR) product showed promise at last week's CES. Vuzix was showing its boom-mounted smart phone display. It's not light enough yet to mount on a pair of regular eyeglasses, but with a dedicated headset it's comfortably wearable.

The video display is small, but it's always in front of you and at most requires a brief glance to read. Right now AR apps require you to hold a smart phone up in front of you to see a data overlay on reality – the names of streets, say, or product information in stores.… More

Leaving CES, entering the future

Developers jump on a new mobile platform.

If mobile, desktop and other devices like TVs converge on a single operating system, it'll be a Linux variant. When processing, display and input technology get to the point that the size and form factor of a device is irrelevant, an open source ecosystem will provide a cross-sector point of convergence for developers and manufacturers. Service providers will follow. It's an entrepreneurs' world.

Windows 8 will survive as a mobile operating system.… More

Makers move CES

10 January 2013 by Steve Blum
, ,

Today an arm, tomorrow a kidney.

One of the most talked about technologies at CES this week is 3D printing. When asked what impressed them most at the show, four out of four FCC commissioners – who might be expected to focus on telecommunications gear – said is was the promise of making physical objects, even human kidneys, with the technology.

Makerbot showed its Replicator 2X, intended for producing commercial products. Sculpteo pushed its cloud-based production and fulfillment service.… More

Wearable computing delivered

9 January 2013 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Migicovsky shows Pebble watch and app.

“We're proud of it, it's a full blown consumer electronics product,” said Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble, as he introduced the Pebble smart watch at CES, promising a shipping date of 23 January 2013.

It's a real watch. It sits on your wrist, tells the time and you can swim with it. It's also “a connected device, which talks to your smart phone,” Migicovsky explained.

If the production units perform like this morning's demo, Pebble has a shot at being the first mass market, non-geek smart watch.… More

Headset turns thought into deed

8 January 2013 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Taking flight on wings of fancy.

The ultimate input and control method is a direct connection to your brain. NeuroSky has just such a device on the market. It's a reasonably sleek headset that reads your alpha and beta brain waves, and then translates the readings into commands that are passed on to whatever you're trying to control.

Their breakout product last year was the Necomimi – fuzzy cat ears that attach to the headset and then move up or down or wiggle according to your mood.… More

One OS to rule them all

7 January 2013 by Steve Blum
, , , , , ,

Built for ARM and x86 processors.

Ubuntu will be the next major player in mobile and desktop operating systems, if it delivers on its promise of releasing a fully integrated platform by April 2014.

Founder Mark Shuttleworth put the mobile version of the company's Linux distribution through its paces at the Pepcom event at CES 2013 tonight. Running on a Samsung Galaxy – for no particular reason except it's a convenient development platform, he said – Ubuntu did all the things you'd expect from Android or iOS.… More