Attitudes about the iPod Touch and the iPhone can be distilled into two groups: (1) It’s a grossly overpriced unitasker; or (2) it’s a brilliant multitasker that’s well worth the price. And reactions to Logitech’s newly introduced Touch Mouse will perfectly illustrate this dichotomy.
Logitech’s free application for the iPhone and Touch allows users of PCs and Macs to control their computer from their device. It mimics a laptop touchpad, complete with mouse button input. Plus, its got a keyboard option. It’s a small keyboard, to be sure, but it does display the text you type on the iPhone or Touch. Logitech’s offering is a natural fit for those connecting their computer to their TV. You can sit back and relax, without having to drag along a keyboard and mouse, or buy an expensive, sole-purpose peripheral.
Logitech’s Touch Mouse joins other touchpad/mouse apps for the iPhone and Touch, such as Gabriel Höhener’s WeBe Bluetooth Mouse, R.P.A. Tech’s Air Mouse Pro, and JumiTech’s JumiMouse. One advantage for Logitech’s app is the price--it's free.
But, depending on where you stand, this app makes the iPhone/Touch an outrageously expensive wireless keyboard and mouse, or it makes the iPhone/Touch an infinitely adaptable device that is worth every penny you paid for it.
Looking to shed a few lingering holiday pounds? The Withings Wi-Fi scale might be just what you're looking for. To help keep you accountable, Withings on Thursday announced it has teamed up with the Google Health service, making it a piece of cake (mmm, cake) to maintain and and update an online health profile in real time.
"It's exciting to be one of the early hardware devices to integrate with the Google Health service," said Cedric Hutchings, Withings General Manager. "Keeping your doctors and caregivers informed on all aspects of your health is important in maintaining a consistent health plan, so being part of Google Health's effort to make this possible is thrilling."
Google's Health service hasn't received a ton of media attention, and in case you're not familiar with it, you're able to organize your health info all in one place, including your medical records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies. You can then share this profile with your doctor.
As for the scale itself, it measures weight, lean and fat mass, and calculates your body mass index (BMI) and uploads that info to a secure webpage. It also comes with Twitter integration which, when enabled, will tweet your weight and how far you have to go to reach your goal.
If you're a Nexus One owner struggling with 3G connectivity problems, hang tight, because a fix is on the way, Google said on Monday.
"Our engineers have uncovered specific cases for which a software fix should improve connectivity to 3G for some users," a Google employee named Ivar said in a Google Nexus One support forum. "We are testing this fix now, initial results are positive, and if everything progresses as planned, we will provide an over-the-air software update to your phone in the next week or so."
Ivar was quick to caution, however, that the fix won't address all 3G problems users have reported having, especially those that are the result of "being on the edge or outside of 3G coverage, which a product fix cannot address."
In an attempt to attract more business travelers, Amtrak announced plans to offer free wireless Internet service on some of its high-speed trains traveling between Boston, New York, and Washington, USA Today reports.
Amtrak's timing comes as more airlines begin to adopt Wi-Fi service of their own, which is one reason Amtrak has followed suit.
"That's part of it," admitted Cliff Cole, an Amtrak spokesman. But "It's more about our initiatives to add services for our passengers and create a better riding experience."
And it's been working, says Cole, who points out that Amtrak's share of the market between New York and Washington, compared with the airlines, has risen to 61 percent from 50 percent from September 2004 to June 2009.
Adding Wi-Fi to the designated routes is just the beginning. Amtrak said it plans to expand Internet availability to its Northwest regional trains, and eventually offer it beyond the East coast.
Trying to get noticed at CES is a nearly impossible task, but the RCA Airnergy certainly caught my attention when I was sifting through the list of the most interesting devices I saw from the show floor. The idea behind the Airnergy is both fiendishly simple, and infinitely useful all at the same time. To put it simply, they are able to convert Wi-Fi signals into energy at a high enough efficiency level that you can actually use it to wirelessly charge your gadgets.
The technology can either be bundled into an external enclosure as shown above, or even integrated directly into a replacement battery for your phone. The external enclosure version charges up an internal battery whenever it finds a hotspot, and will discharge upon command to any USB powered device it is plugged into. Gizmodo claims it was able to charge a Blackberry Bold all the way from 30% to full power in less than 90 minutes using only Wi-Fi harvested energy.
So far so good right, but what about the price? RCA claims it will be available by the summer, and they are aiming at an MSRP of around $40 for the external enclosure version, and around $60 built into a replacement battery for your cell phone. Imagine a day when you can actually charge your laptop simply by surfing the web on a wireless network. They have a long way to go before they get that efficient, but its a pretty cool concept for mobile gadgets all the same.
Anyone else excited by this one? Hit the jump to check out the interview.
Ever been stuck on a flight watching Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and wished you could whip out you’re laptop and download something else? Well Aircell, the founders of the largest in-flight Wi-Fi network are hoping that’s true, and are planning to launch a new video rental service later in the year to capitalize on that very idea.
Movies downloaded using the Aircell video service can be saved to any Windows PC and the renter has 24 hours to watch their purchase. The approach is similar to the iTunes model, but Aircell promises that the pricing will be competitive with Apple at $2 to $4 per TV show or movie, and presumably the file will be optimized for the limited bandwidth available in the air.
Surveys conducted by Aircell have suggested that a video on demand service would be popular with users who find most airlines entertainment options somewhat lacking. Unfortunately we still don't know if users will need to pay the $5-$13 Wi-Fi access fee in addition to the rental costs for the video, and clearly this will make or break it for most people. If you pay $10 for a 2 hour flight + $4 for a movie, that’s a $14 rental. It’s hard to imagine this would be the case, but you never know when it comes to the airlines these days.
The perils of leaving your Wi-Fi unsecured can be plenty. It can even jeopardize a country's security in extreme cases, as appeared to be the case around 18 months back, when Indian cops found that terrorists were using open Wi-Fi networks to send emails to take responsibility for terrorist activities or to issue threats.
The United States leads Europe when it comes to the number of open Wi-Fi access points. According to WeFi, 40% of all hotspots in the States are unsecured compared to only 25% in Europe. But United States trails France in terms of the number of open access points with captive portals, which are used to “moderate the entry of users into unlocked hotspots.” Although it is not uncommon for public hotspots to be open for the sake of convenience, the use of captive portals can help monitor access and prevent misuse to a certain degree.
Nearly one-third of the world's total Wi-Fi hotspots are unsecured, as per WeFi's estimates. WeFi's database of hotspots includes nearly 50 million hotspots, which the company says is around 10% of the total number of hotspots worldwide.
One recurring criticism of Eye-Fi's Wi-Fi SD cards has been their slow upload speeds. But the all new Eye-Fi Pro X2 unveiled today promises brisker uploads. The Eye-Fi Pro X2 features an 802.11n radio besides a revamped antenna design, resulting in faster uploads and increased Wi-Fi range. The card itself is said to boast faster read/write speeds thanks to the propriety X2 engine, which also helps it deliver Class 6 performance.
Next on the list of enhancements is greater storage space: the Pro X2 features 8GB space instead of the current 4GB. Apart from directly transferring images and videos to a computer, it is also possible to wirelessly upload them to a host of photo and video sharing sites. The new Endless Memory mode can help optimize storage space by deleting “files that have been safely uploaded, beginning with the oldest - even when the card is not connected to a network.” You can pre-order the card now for $150.
Touchscreen digital cameras are all the rage (just ask any teenage girl who's seen Ashton Kutcher pimping a Nikon Coolpix), and while that isn't new territory for Samsung, the company's upcoming CL80 boasts a few new tricks.
Electronista describes the CL80 as "Samusng's first real connected camera," which points to the model's Wi-Fi connectivity to upload photos to Facebook, Flickr, Photobox, and Picasa without having to sync up with a PC.
The CL80 will also sport a 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen display with haptic feedback, a 14MP sensor, a 7X wide-angle lens, and hardware image stabilization. And of course it will come ready to take H.264 videos at up to 720p.
No word yet on price or a projected release date, both of which are likely to be revealed during CES next month.
AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega may have stuck his foot in his mouth recently when he suggested tiered pricing may be needed to bring mobile data usage under control. This resulted in a wave of complaints from users. De la Vega is now saying his comments were misinterpreted. "There are things people say I said that I didn't say. We have not made any decision to implement tiered pricing," said de la Vega. The iPhone carrier is apparently planning to take strain off its network by partnering with various networks of Wi-Fi hotspots.
AT&T hopes that better availability of free Wi-Fi will get users to consume less cell data. A deal with McDonalds has already been announced that will waive the $2.95 charge for Wi-Fi access. AT&T already has similar deals with Barnes & Noble and Starbucks. It’s not clear if this is supposed to be an interim solution while the 3G network is built out further.
It’s nice to see AT&T won’t be resorting to tiered pricing, but they haven’t made any firm commitments to network enhancement either. Maybe those golden arches can help a little, but wouldn’t you rather have a more robust data network?