This week on the Gadget Lab Show: reviews editor Michael Calore and staff writer Roberto Baldwin check out the tentpole phones from Samsung and BlackBerry.
The BlackBerry Q10 is a return to physical keyboards for the Canadian company. It’s a great phone if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool BlackBerry power user that needs a keyboard made of physical buttons. It probably won’t get too many coverts from iOS and Android. But if you do get your hands on one, expect a rather startling transformation as illustrated by Mr. Calore.
Now if you’re not worried about your stock portfolio, the Samsung Galaxy S4 might be more of your speed. It has a larger five-inch screen, faster processor, and has more battery life than its predecessor the Galaxy S3. It’s a better phone. But it’s filled with wacky features like eye tracking and above-phone hand movements to help navigate. Unfortunately, these gimmicky features only work with Samsung’s default apps.
Weird features aside, the Galaxy S4 is an awesome phone and a worthy upgrade from the Galaxy S3.
For one week each January, Las Vegas becomes the epicenter of the tech world. Tens of thousands of people descend on Sin City for the Consumer Electronics Show, where there are more gadgets than you could ever fondle, more announcements than you could ever hear and more schmoozing than you could ever stand.
It’s big. Too big, some would say, which is a big reason why a growing number of companies and industry insiders are skipping the show. Microsoft has bailed, Motorola will have only the smallest presence and Amazon, Google and Apple have never even been there.
“Other than the traditional home entertainment guys, the big tech vendors have kind of pulled out,” said Gartner analyst Van Baker. “I don’t even go anymore. I don’t see any reason to. Any significant announcements are either done before or after CES.”
Creating a powerful new input device for computers is hard, but not as hard as convincing people to ditch the mouse for something entirely new. Like, say, waving your hands in the air. You can either hand them out on street corner (bad idea), or bundle them with a computer maker. Leap Motion is doing the latter.
Apple was granted a number of patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Tuesday morning, the most interesting of which concern Apple’s television software and a new method for packaging touchscreen technology.
In United States Patent 8,243,017, “Menu overlay including context dependent menu icon,” Apple describes ways to display onscreen menus and video for its Apple TV set-top box. What’s most interesting about this patent, which was originally filed in 2006, is that the patent illustrations show that the Apple TV either was originally designed to work with cable TV, or that Apple is primed to collaborate with cable providers in the future.
The set-top box (described in the patent as a “video device”) would employ a number of elements that are already familiar to users of TiVo and other DVRs, such as the ability to record live TV. Some of the shows included in patent diagrams include The Late Show With David Letterman, as well as circa-2006 favorites like King of Queens, Lost, and The O.C. Apple’s aspirations to include live network content may have died after networks like CBS declined a deal with Apple to stream content over its set-top box.
….but what we *really* want to know is: who is Dave interviewing in this patent illustration? We think it looks like the security guard from Goodfellas who helped set up the Lufthansa heist.
This is how the article should start, but sadly it doesn’t. Being an apple fan myself, this series of “art” has officially made me shed a few tears. However, it is beautifully done and its worth sharing.
To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous remarks about obscenity, the concept of the “gadget” is not easy to define—but we know a gadget when we see it. They capture our imaginations like little else. We become compulsively attached. The best gadgets fulfill basic needs we’re hard-pressed to describe, and because of that possess a magical ability to conjure money. They become talismans for economic vitality, as the gadgets in this gallery show.
While the “gadget” predates the invention of electronics, we stuck to devices that one way or another make use of electricity, in keeping with the 21st-century sense of the word. We also decided that for this list, a gadget was something a person had to be able to hold and more or less use with one hand, which ruled out laptops, for example. We picked gadgets that tipped toward the “gizmo” side of the continuum.
The gadgets we chose weren’t just popular. They didn’t just make their inventors or manufacturers a lot of money. These diminutive devices cracked open the earth, shoving tectonic plates east and west to build new mountains of economic activity. They demonstrate the profound capacity of the most unassuming bits of metal, glass and plastic to transmute the basic elements of labor and commerce into new sources of gold.