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By January 5, 2014 Read More →

Should Google Glass be banned for drivers?

Should Google Glass be bannedGoogle Glass isn’t even on sale here in the UK but the authorities are already looking to pre-emptively ban its use by drivers of motor vehicles. There have been similar motions from law enforcement in the US too.

According to Stuff Magazine, a spokesperson for the Department of Transport said:

“We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving.”

“It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road.”

It’s at this point I have a real issue with the ban. “It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road” – so does that mean that looking at my instrument cluster in my car should also be banned? Looking at my speedo requires me to look down, take my eyes off the road and to shift my focus. Then what about tuning the radio, or looking at the directions on SatNav? All of these things potentially shift my attention from the road ahead to something inside the car. So on the same basis should everything that the driver looks at inside the vehicle also face the same ban?

As a Google Glass user and convert I have to say that the ‘authorities’ have really got this wrong and that the technology-backward bureaucrats making these decisions clearly do not understand Glass nor have they, most likely, even tried it for themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for road safety, but I firmly believe that tools such as Google Glass can improve road safety, not reduce it. Glass shows information in front of the user, and you don’t have to ‘take your eyes off the road’ to see it. Showing navigation directions, vehicle speed and other important, relevant to driving alerts in what is effectively a HUD is way better than having to look down at the inside of the vehicle, instrument cluster or elsewhere in the vehicle. If HUD systems are good enough for the military, and costing billions in development, then why not similar systems for in-car use.

There also seems to be a general lack of understanding when it comes to Google Glass. They are not ‘always on’ or ‘always recording’ and the display only turns on when the user wants it to. When there is an info update there’s an audible alert that then allows the user to turn on the display if appropriate or to simple ignore it.

Further consider the safety aspects of Google Glass, and other similar products when they come to market, when there is an incident on the road. If Glass was linked to the vehicle systems it would know if there had been a collision, if an airbag had deployed, the vehicle location via GPS etc. With its compass and G-sensors the direction and severity of the impact could be recorded and upon there being a collision the camera could be enabled and video could be captured for evidence at a later date.

So yes, I think the ban is all backwards. Should Google Glass be banned? NO! There is much that Google Glass does to improve safety rather than detract from it and I firmly believe that the authorities have this one totally wrong. Perhaps a proper study into the safety would be better rather than this whole technophobic approach to something new. If the authorities would like to properly investigate then I’m sure Google would lend them a couple of headsets to try out or you can contact me and I’ll let you try mine out!

Google: Please fight this!

 

So readers, what do you think? Are the authorities right to ban?

Posted in: Editorial, News
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By January 4, 2014 Read More →

The second Nexus 10 for CES 2014

imagesDigiTimes claim that a next-generation Google Nexus 10 tablet will be unveiled by Samsung at CES 2014 next week. They don’t have any indication of what the specs will be for the device, but we can assume it will come with Android 4.4 KitKat. Along with this rumour, they also suggest we will see the Exynos 6 announced by Samsung, plus a few other intriguing releases from Lenovo and Asus.

Samsung is expected to unveil its new Exynos 6 series processor at the show adopting a 64-bit ARM architecture and eight-core design.

Google is expected to launch the new Nexus 10 tablet at the show with Samsung remaining the manufacturer of the device. Many market watchers expect the device to adopt an AMOLED panel.

Asustek Computer is expected to showcase several new products featuring a dual-operating system (OS) design (Windows 8.1/Android), while LG will also announce its latest tablet products.

Seeing its first-generation Yoga series tablets achieve over one-million-unit sales in the first month after release, Lenovo is set to release its second-generation Yoga series tablets at the show to prolong its momentum.

 
Might be nonsense fuelled by speculation however we are only days away from finding out and if there is a possibility then it’s exciting!
Posted in: News, Tablets
By January 4, 2014 Read More →

Acer announce a few new devices early

acer-iconia-b1-720-a1-830Acer jumped the gun on their CES Android tablet announcements. Rather than wait until next week, they revealed two new tablets, plus a 27-inch All-In-One Android-based PC-style tablet. Here’s the full skinny on all three devices:

Iconia A1-830 – Android tablet for $180 (available in the coming weeks)

  • 7.9-inch HD IPS LCD
  • Intel Atom Z2560 processor running at 1.6GHz
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 7.5 hours of battery life
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • Up to 32GB with the microSD card slot
  • 5MP rear camera
  • Aluminum chassis that measures 8.5 millimeters in thickness and weighs 380 grams
  • (Smart cover, Bluetooth keyboard, and other accessories available as options)

acer-iconia-a1-830

Iconia B1-720 – Android tablet for $130 (limited details released, but more to come)

  • 7-inch Display
  • Dual-core processor of an unspecified brand clocked at 1.3GHz
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Either WiFi-only or 3G connectivity
  • Five hours of battery life
  • Two color options – smoky grey and vermillion red (front frame only)acer-iconia-b1-720

Acer TA272 HUL All-in-One Android Tablet – $1099

  • 27-inch PC monitor 2,560 x 1,440 resolution with 10-point multitouch
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Quad-core Nvidia Tegra processor (no details yet on which one)
  • Web cam
  • 16GB of storage
  • USB 3.0 port
  • DisplayPort and HDMI ports

acer-all-in-one-TA272-HULWe should know more about these devices at CES next week.

Posted in: News, Tablets
By January 3, 2014 Read More →

Presenting a Bluetooth ZX Spectrum

bluetooth_zx_spectrum_at_a_glance_l13_v3_2Recently a new Kickstarter idea has raised an eye-brow over here are T&M. We love all things techy from today, tomorrow and yesterday. Even more when it combines today, tomorrow and yesterday. A clever start up is developing a Bluetooth version of the classic ZX Spectrum 48k, the icon black machine with rubber buttons we all know and most of us love.

“One Device … Two Functions”

  • Controller for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum apps
  • Bluetooth Keyboard in the form factor of a 48K ZX Spectrum

In the default ‘GAME Layer’ mode, the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum acts as a controller for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum running on iOS / Android (and later Windows) phones and tablets. In this mode it offers authentic, rubber-key play control over the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum apps. (1)

In the optional ‘QWERTY Layer’ mode, the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum acts as a Bluetooth keyboard, in the form factor of a 48K ZX Spectrum, for other apps and applications running on most phones and tablets as well as on PCs and Macs. In this mode it offers the opportunity to type a letter, send an email or play a game with the other apps and programs(2) you use every day, on your PC / Mac.

(1): The simultaneously released and separately sold Bluetooth ZX Spectrum apps (and ‘backwardly compatible’ apps, such as the ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection / HD apps) are the only apps which have been customized and optimized to operate with the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum. Each of the apps in this comprehensive catalogue of 100% original, officially licensed, paid-for Bluetooth ZX Spectrum games (and more) is available via a secure App Store environment and offers simple and swift PLUG’N’PLAY access to the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum.

(2): Compatibility with 3rd-party apps and programs is not guaranteed. Encourage you app or program supplier to offer compatibility with the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum by sharing this Technical Overview with them.

Both the default and the optional functionality of the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum will be available at the time of the device’s launch. Details of how the optional functionality may be enabled will be revealed at a later date – most likely as a further full project update of the Kickstarter appeal for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum and by the addition of a further device specification to the BluetoothZXSpectrum.com site.

This is something I think every household will require. If successful imagine where it might lead! Amstrads, Commodores, Vic 20s, Virtual Boys… forget that last one. With an end-user price of between £39.99 and £49.99 (plus delivery) this will be a nostalgic Christmas gift for any kid of the 80’s.

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By January 3, 2014 Read More →

What to expect from Archos at CES 2014

archos-smartwatch,C-K-416468-22Earlier this week, we mentioned Archos was planning launch a smartwatch this year and show the wearable off next week during CES 2014. Keep with Archos’ cheap and cheerful approach the watch is likely to retail for $85 Stateside and looks to use some form of e-paper technology.

One of the bigger features of the smartwatches is an Activity Tracker that monitors daily footsteps, calories burned, and automatically displays time when the device is synchronized with a smartphone. The Activity Tracker will be equipped with a battery life of up to 7 days, and recharged via a hidden microUSB port.

Also scheduled to make an appearance is a new Helium 4G range of unlocked smartphones, the company’s first LTE smartphones powered by Android 4.3 “Jelly Bean”. Two phones featuring Android 4.3 “Jelly Bean” out of the box, and upgradable to Android 4.4.2 “KitKat” soon after.

Posted in: Gadgets, News, Phones
By January 3, 2014 Read More →

A battle for your HDMI socket?

belkin-miracast-3The surprise success of the Chromecast has added a whole new dimension to the tech industry. Instead of DVD players or using the Smart TV system built into the TV folks are opting for a little dongle that does lots of weird and wonderful things. In years gone past we have seen Roku, Apple, Google and Western Digital, to name a few, pushing out little boxes to bring services from the Internet and streaming solutions to your living room. Now, with the 8th incarnation of the game console both Microsoft and Sony are incorporating more than just gaming content into their living room hardware, at a price.

Google scored big recently with the cheap and cheerful Chromecast, a somewhat limited dongle that delivers an ever expanding list of services to your TV. From watching Youtube to playing back music and steaming movies from your computer (via Plex) Google managed to package together a beautiful little out-of-sight stick that costs peanuts and stretches the boundaries you normally expect from your TV, be it Smart or dumb.

Now, the folks at Belkin are launching a dongle that looks somewhat similar to the Chromecast but promises one thing, screen mirroring. Imagine wirelessly pushing the screen of your smartphone to the TV. You can? Well, yes Samsung, Airtight, Allcast and many others all offer this sort of service however they are more geared towards media and particular apps. Belkin boast you will be able to broadcast ANY app to the television.

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By January 2, 2014 Read More →

More on the HTC One successor

HTC-One-BackWe spoke about the rumoured HTC One replacement a while ago and now more details of the new flagship phone from HTC, codenamed the HTC M8, have been tweeted by the ever-accurate @evleaks. It would seem that the specs that we hoped for last year could well come to fruition…

Preliminary HTC M8 specs: Snapdragon MSM8974, 5″ 1080p display, 2GB RAM, UltraPixel rear / 2.1MP front cams, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, KK, Sense 6.0

As yet there’s no news on the final name of the new smartphone but we’re expecting to hear more about it at or just before MWC this year.

Posted in: News, Phones
Tags: ,
By January 1, 2014 Read More →

Samsung Chromebook to be given a polish

ss-cb-promolanding-1Chromebooks are the next big thing by the looks of it and some hardware manufacturers are committed to making it work. We all have been asking, what next for Samsung ARM Chromebook. And today, there is a rumour from businesskorea.co.kr.

Business Korea reports that Samsung is preparing the upgraded ARM Chromebook for 2014. Well, they just have the year, not a quarter or a month, which is unfortunate. But they have put together some specs, which is convincing, but obvious.

  • Exynos 5 Octa 5420 processor
  • Price $250 – $300
  • 16GB or 32GB SSD
  • 12″ or less screen
  • 2560×1600 resolution
  • 3GB RAM
  • Slightly over 1 Kg on weight
  • 7 hours battery life
  • Possibly, USB 3.0 port

Chomebooks make a lot of sense to me and I am liking the progressive hardware stride. New models are not yet knocking the ball out of the park however they are packing just enough over the previous generation to make you consider an upgrade,very much like Smartphones, without the lengthy contracts or hefty price tags.

Posted in: Laptops, News
By January 1, 2014 Read More →

Archos connecting you and your home

ARCHOS Connected HomeWe have always liked Archos and their attempt to marry value for money, higher specifications and a dash of innovation. Over the years they have managed mixed results but that has never stopped them from trying to reach the cutting edge and this year is no different. Coming up next week at CES are a bunch of new solutions to your gadget needs.

 

ARCHOS Connected Home

Archos-Connected-Home
Accessing the ecosystem from anywhere in the world and from any iOS or Android platform, users can retrieve data or command actions using the ARCHOS Smart Home App or the custom- designed Smart Home Tablet – a unique gateway that combines Android with multiple connected objects. ARCHOS’ proprietary app and 7” home gateway give users the ability to customise actions based on different scenarios or triggers such as turning on the light and recording video as soon as a motion
sensor is activated.

Archos approach to this new solution is based on key principles such as sleek design and small accessories (the cam is the size of a pin pong ball), use of Bluetooth Low Energy for long lasting battery life, easy set-up of each connected objects and easy pairing with the Home Gateway and user’s phones or tablets. ARCHOS’ ecosystem of Connected Home Objects, including a mini cam, motion ball, movement tag, weather tag and smart plug, adhere to the tenet that innovative solutions should be easy to use, unobtrusive and efficient.
ARCHOS will also unveil a Weather Station during CES 2014. The ARCHOS Weather Station provides both indoor and outdoor information including CO2 levels, humidity, temperature, atmospheric pressure and environmental noise levels. Similar to the Smart Home App, a proprietary Weather Station app will showcase home and national weather information while recording, tracking and graphing all data for historic comparison and analysis.

ARCHOS Connected Self

ARCHOS-Activity-Tracker
The ARCHOS Connected Self App will serve as the backbone application for all connected self devices and will provide key metrics for quick health assessment, display graphs to track activity over time and enable up to 8 different users to set goals to increase motivation. ARCHOS’ selection of Connected Self products on display during CES 2014 include:
ARCHOS Connected Scale – this elegant scale recognises 4 difference users, measures body shape based on mass and height, tracks body fat mass to help users lose weight intelligently and is equipped with onboard memory to prevent data loss between synchronisations.
ARCHOS Activity Tracker – this stylish activity tracker monitors daily footsteps, calories burned and automatically displays time when synchronised with a smartphone. Recharges using USB connector and is equipped with a battery life of up to 7 days.
ARCHOS Blood Pressure Monitor – Easy and quick to use blood pressure monitor equipped with memory for over 40 different measurements also displays heart beat information. Comes with irregular heart beat detector and can filter data by time period (morning, day, night).

ARCHOS’ entire selection of connected objects will be on display during CES 2014 at Central Hall Booth 9844. ARCHOS will also be unveiling a selection of smartwatches starting at under £50. ARCHOS smartwatches embrace simplicity and function, feature a pebble-like design and will be compatible with both iOS and Android devices

Posted in: Gadgets, News, Tablets
By December 31, 2013 Read More →

Top Technology Toys and Tools of 2013

2013-tech-futureJust one year ago we didn’t have watches that run your favourite apps or a palm-sized HDTV streaming device. The technology advances in 2013 brought us even more ways to enjoy TV, watch our homes and talk to our smartphones. Check out these favourite tech toys which are the new stuffed animals for kids and tools of the year and add some of them to your must have list of technology for 2014.

Posted in: Editorial, News
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