11 July 2012

After just 8 hours of posting the project on-line the android gaming console had already met and surpassed its initial $950K goal on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. This morning most on-line press websites echoed the success and the project had already reached the 2Million dollar mark, and one day after the project already has over 3million dollars. Can a project like Ouya die of success?

the initial Ouya interface
the initial Ouya interface

There are still too many unanswered questions and doubts about this upcoming device… not a defined business or distribution model for the game developers… at first they’ve talked about an “all free” gaming experience, games included, but then, developers should be able to choose the monetisation formulas to earn some $$ and make of Ouya a credible and viable platform where to place their babies.

Some are criticizing the poor specs of the mini-box which equals most Android-based portable devices nowadays with a Tegra3 quad-core processor, 1GB of Ram and 8GB of internal storage. Others are praising its launching price ($99) and for positioning Julie Uhrman’s shiny box on the affordable/low end side of the gaming market.

With the increasing relevance of the indie game industry, cloud gaming and the dematerialisation of traditional gaming platforms Ouya could easily become a cheap substitute for those in need of a casual gaming alternative. As many point out, it may not become a short term threat to Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft who’ve got the partnerships, content and right muti-screen & portability ecosystems but these may soon see hundreds of developers stop knocking at their door for a an arcade or a live window.

Ouya controller
Ouya controller

And like many Android-based projects Ouya is also willing to make use (and depend) not only on the crowdfunding but the crowdsourcing benefits too. A hackable platform (so popular nowadays to release “hackable” devices…) which poses many concerns but that hopefully will become a credible alternative and not a one-summer-wet-dream project like that other open & social project once was. More info on their KS page.

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Feel UX

19 June 2012

There was this thing called Surface that was announced yesterday, some sort of tablet with a great keyboard+smartcover fusion that (admit it) has surprised quite a few people. A (risky) move by big M to set a pretty high standard of what future Windows8 and WinRT slates should be like, but no big details have been announced yet (no official price, specs…), so we decided to move to the next best thing announced this month: Frog’s Feel UX for Sharp.

Sharp - Feel UX app-widget-shortcut drawer
Sharp – Feel UX app-widget-shortcut drawer

Japanese manufactures (as well as carriers) are known for having added some pretty amazing customizations to the Android universe and Sharp is no exception. Their newest Aquos phone model with Android 4.0 will include a new usability approach starting this summer (Japan only unfortunately) to correct some of Android’s  fundamental  issues.

Sharp - Feel UX lock screen
Sharp – Feel UX lock screen

This user interface has been designed in collaboration with Californian studio Frog well-known for many of their other collaborations with the tech-industry (HP, Intel..). As in many other cases the paradigm of simplicity + usability was installed @ Frog’s headquarters and pretty much after a year the final result is ready to reach some of Sharp’s smartphones. Some nice features include the animated weather motion screen or the highly customizable lock-screen, and for the rest… you have the video up here.

No Feel experience outside the land of the rising sun, and much like Infobar, Plenue and many other Japanese candies I guess we’ll only get them in our dreams.

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13 March 2012

Not all crazy and toyish music devices come from Japan (even if the CEO behind this company, Yoshinari Yoshikawa, is Japanese…). Neiro, a new “social music device” by Silicon Valley startup Miselu just presented their first invention @ Texas’ SXSW festival this week, hoping music geeks, enthusiasts (or pretty much any cool kid) will buy their still to-be-released portable “instrument”.

Halfway between a V-tech laptop, a toy keyboard and a retro Atari console look the Neiro seems like “another” bulky and apparently pricey (as no details on price have been given yet) toy, but reading carefully throughout the details & upcoming specs of the mini-moi unveils a rather ambitious project with many industry-respected music partners.

Ok, so basically Neiro is an  Android-powered tablet attached to a keyboard (or an Android power synth…). Then comes the  25-key MIDI-controlling keyboard, a sound chip designed by Yamaha (their AudioEngine Series Sound Chip NSX-1), digital speakers developed with Onkyo and Trigence, a list of exclusive touch-based music apps developed by well-known  iOS developer Retronyms… and the backing of Japanese VCs.

Miselu Neiro 2
Miselu Neiro 2

Now honestly, if with all those names the Neiro ends up being rubbish… then we’ll buy one just to prove it once existed, if not, we’ll probably be in front of the newest geeky music maker toys that Björk (or anyone else of corz) will be purchasing before it’s even released.

Miselu Neiro back view
Miselu Neiro back view

If Sony got to release the rolly (which is a player and not an instrument, but as a “serious platform” it may well be compared), why wouldn’t Miselu manufacture their idea?

Adding a few more details… Neiro features a  features audio I/O, MIDI I/O, two USB ports, an HDMI port, a dock area for accessories and an SD card slot. They nice people @ Engadget got a preview… so you can get an idea not only of the early prototype but of the potential of this beauty in & out the music studio.

Miselu Neiro side view
Miselu Neiro side view
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Hard Lines

5 October 2011

Maybe Tron Legacy looks like an old classic by now but its visual effects to which Josh Nimoy contributed quite a lot are still shaking the industry with its impossible neon & flashy shapes & figures.

Maybe trying to leverage on the neon hype that invaded the world (from Tron to Android) last year the good guys at Spilt milk studios decided to bring a new twist to the traditional snake game. Funny noticing how both, Tron & Snake appeared around the same time.

Released for iOS last summer it’s now finally available on Android market too. In essence “Hard Lines” (which unfortunately isn’t free.. priced at £2.3) is a mix of snake + light-cycle battles from Tron, you’ll have to help Lionel eat glowy things and kill the rest of the lines… and while you do Lionel will make you laugh with her endless list of very bad jokes.

6 modes: Survival (as simple as it gets), Dead Line & Time attack (timed scenarios), Pinata (pure Tron mode), Gauntlet (a blood line mess survival mode) and the always essential and traditional Snake mode.  Now up to you to spend or not, we would.

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2 August 2011

I’ve been dying for a thing “like” this for ages. An Android-powered device I could use for “everything” except phone calls and that would be as tiny as an iPod nano. Unfortunately this one is not, but it’s closer than anything (and I still prefer my nano’s tinyness).

We have to inevitably compare it with those magic “Sifteo” cubes, Sony’s LiveView… or anything that comes out of the MIT labs. Now that manufacturing tiny development boards has become really inexpensive and connectivity modules are as small as a 1 penny coin there’s a LOT of room to come up with new toys & connected devices.

WIMM as a watch? as a sports accessory, as a...

WIMM Labs are proposing this (sort of thick) tiny little cube with bluetooth & wi-fi capabilities (besides the touchscreen, accelerometer and other nice things) which is not an mp3 (has no headphone jack), nor a sports Garmin watch with GPS (booo) but they rather describe it as a “platform”.

The good thing is that as a modular platform you can develop any cradle or accessory (besides Android apps of course) and it may well become those mp3, watch or bike accessories you desire. You’ll have to develop specifically for it as despite running Android 2.1 not all apps are suitable of course…. but imagine a mini-Spotify app for it.

with a Scorpion bike clip

They’re still looking for partners (retailers mainly) and app developers (through their website), so in case it doesn’t make it to the market (should launch this Christmas) you can always ask for it as a “development tool”. Price? Nothing yet, but we’ll be happy to tell you when it launches.

The guys from TIMN already had a look at it…

Gorgeous right?  We need more of these “open” products (or… why did Apple not allow this on the nano?)

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Optimistic Weather

5 July 2011

There are great apps, and not-so-great apps. And then you have funny and sometimes useful apps. Android urgently needs more of the latter… all those creative orgasms iOS has and Google dreams of building… of convincing their developer community one day. But little by little we keep seeing new examples arriving to the robot market.

Optimistic Weather is one of those “put a smile on your face” apps which aims to let you control your optimism… over the weather conditions. Not a “conventional forecast we must admit… no charts, no 10-day future guesses… only pure positivism.

These app will always bring you a sunny future because all “tomorrows” are “sunny tomorrows” (English guys @ Nation are behind the project).

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Infobar A01

19 June 2011

When and why did we miss this last month? It should be released next moth but iida’s Infobar A01 is already making a world viral tour across the web. Partly because of that amazing User Interface designed by Yugo Nakamura and the always “cool toy” design iida has accustomed us to.

Apple may still make everyone dream with its amazing designs and iOS simplicity (especially since the 5 update) but they’re starting to feel a bit old since the arrival of tile-based designed WinMo7 and these amazing ideas by Idaa & Naoto Hukazawa.

The best thing of all is that despite resembling Windows phone 7, Infobar A01 is actually an Android-powered smartphone with a custom modular interface willing to break with the icon&widget ecosystem.

Unfortunately the device will only be released in Japan under KDDI, running Android 2.3 and some other nice hardware features … 3.7-inch qHD display, 8 megapixel camera, a 1Seg TV tuner, and dual-mode GSM / CDMA connectivity… and more info yet to be confirmed.

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30 May 2011

Is it a bird? Or is it a plane? A bit of a ridiculous (but funny) teasing that Asus has been carrying for the past few days and that was unveiled earlier today at Taiwan’s Computex. And even if we were far more impressed with the also announced UX21 laptop series (a serious MacBook Air competitor), the Padfone was the start of the day.

What Asus proposed today (and should market by the end of the year when Google’s Android Ice Cream version is out), is as simple as a Tablet with a dock for your 4.3″ Asus smartphone. Smart? Well… I’m pretty sure Telco operators aren’t very keen on it (you would only need the phone’s 3G/4G connectivity), and personally I’m a bit reluctant about its future success; but hey… they introduced the transformer, the slider & the MeMO and they didn’t seem that crazy at first…

As in most cases when the product is announced more than half a year before its release, most specs and design might change, so a few ports will be added here, and a few slots there but you get the basic idea. However there’s one thing they should definitely attempt to radically change… their PR events & their advertising… just as bad as Microsoft’s.

What we know however from the presented mock-up (it wasn’t even a working prototype because they probably don’t even know what Android’s next iteration looks like) is that the tablet should have a 10.1 inch screen…. and that’s about it.

More pics on the Asus website.

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big G’s I/O 2011 bis

11 May 2011

And today it was all about Chrome OS, or nearly (well not really, only the buzzy keynote part of it). A deep Chrome OS demonstration was made, hardware integration, file managing, webstore, apps, more apps, more offline stuff support, more big partner names unveiled, hardware, programs and a constant message “always connected”.

The most interesting stuff from the Chrome OS side weren’t the hardware or the software themselves (despite agreeing that a browser-based OS for the masses is fairly groundbreaking), but the pricing & aggressive strategy Google has for the upcoming years.

Google is pointing a big gun at Microsoft head right now. Gauging Microsoft’s world domination from a software perspective. By offering extremely affordable machines ($28/month per user for businesses and $20/month per user for schools) with included software & hardware updates (we would have to see the engagement details) Google has just unveiled the last piece of their gruesome strategy: building up a serious Windows competitor and attacking Microsoft’s historical cash cow.

Samsung ChromeBook 12.1-inch & the usual stuff

I/O is obviously about much much more that Chrome OS and tons of sessions about dev tools, HTML5 coolness, libraries, games, marketplace etc took place (and still are). A few other interesting bits included a new redesign of Android’s market store, the Android Manifest (developers can now decide on which devices and… was that carriers too? their apps are used), or the (basic for survival) big steps towards app monetization Google has taken. Too much to tell, too many details.

Google have finally become the new Microsoft. Facebook… your move!

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big G’s I/O 2011

10 May 2011

In your night soup too! Because Android’s omnipresence is about to get bigger, bolder, better? I was reading an article this morning that questioned Apples iPad supremacy. Just like with the Smartphone market, it’s not the “how” but the “when” (will Android and its tablet army claim market supremacy) that we want to know .

Today & tomo are Google’s days (bad date for Msoft to announce …. to announce something they bought).  Google I/O 2011 is all about Android (so far, hopefully Chrome OS to follow), Android for home, a hardware standardization framework for Android, a Music iTunes (more like Amazon) service competitor… (not Android-only this time… but compatible with Android devices of course), a few tips on Android’s future OS version… Ice Cream Sandwich. Our stomach is about to get upset if we keep eating so much Android. Seriously.

So let’s start with the most evident one… Google “Music Beta” (the video up here). A project which clearly seems incomplete as no-one will be able to buy any tracks or albums directly from Google…. labels probably don’t want another diluted streaming service (especially now that Apple is about to launch theirs and Spotify about to enter the U.S…. nearly).

What Music Beta allows you to do however is to store up to 20K songs (you upload them for free to the cloud) and stream them wherever you want… desktop, Android phone, Tablet (details of the service this way). Then, like any other music library manager you can create your own playlists aaaaaaaaand save them locally (like with Spotify).

The rest of the Android new features announced today (like that open accessory API framework, or the movie rental option for Android market or some impressive figures) we’re not going to bore you with them. We’ll let Engadget do that for us (and you can follow their live coverage for tomo too this way).

Can’t imagine Apple’s belly…. but I’m sure they’re not that sad… after all Google hasn’t managed any important agreement with music labels… yet.

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Sony’s honeycomb tablets

26 April 2011
the S2... which looks more like a 90s Casio agenda

It’s been a while since the last gadget whim I wrote about. And when I woke up this morning to  the announcement of Sony’s first Honeycomb tablets I thought “that’s it, that’s my future honeycomb tablet” (S1 I mean of course). But after a careful look and despite all the goodies & potential this product may offer (synchronisation & control of all your other Sony products, Qriocity, Playstation-only games.. blablabla), then I realized this may not be my tablet. I may just go for the 9mm thick Samsung 10.1 model.

Where do I go with a tablet that has a “curved wrap design that resembles a folded magazine”?

S1... the magazine



What about the tech specs?

They may change again but apparently the S1 will be a 9.4inch model with a front- and rear-facing cameras. While the S2 has two 5.5-inch displays (1,024 x 480 res), Tegra 2 SoC, and a camera… and obviously both will come in wi-fi or 3G models, come PlayStation Certified and support DLNA.

They should be made available globally next fall (when any other manufacturer in the world will already have released a tablet)… and pricey, like any other Sony product.

I’m sure they’ll look good, Sony will add a great laggy user interface on top of Honeycomb which will look amazingly polished & integrated with their media services but might destroy the rest of the experience. (still remember the SonicStage). We’ll see.

more info on Sony’s press release site.

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5 January 2011

We’ve been saying 2011 is the year of the tablet for a while now. Apple may have set the referent (as usual), Android and Honeycomb are about to explode and Asus was just the first @CES to unveil a few of those netbook cannibals…

Continue reading MeMO

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29 December 2010

The hype & expectation is not around mp3s or DMPs anymore, maybe tablets, maybe e-readers but the media player market hasn’t been completely cannibalized by the phones yet. And proof of that is the Galaxy Player released next year. Cowon (also South Korean) thinks the same way and here’s their plenue…

Continue reading Plenue

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3 August 2010

Having to kill your running apps and reconfiguring all aspects of your phone every day can get tiring, but now you get “Tasker” which basically makes your droid phone even more intelligent… and scary….

Continue reading Tasker

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21 July 2010

We registered on MOG like months ago and never used it. Why? Because we’re mostly Europeans so basically their “All Access” is yet not available here and on the other side we had a pretty good alternative: Spotify. Now they’ve just launched (finally) their mobile app…

Continue reading MOG

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15 July 2010

If you have an Android device you’ve probably grown massive headaches each time you’ve opened the message app (or any other that involves typing). If you didn’t want to pay a few €€€ for a major improvement then u were pretty much screwed with that great Android keyboard… until now….

Continue reading swiftkey

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