Home Tags Posts tagged with "tech"


0 16


Yota’s latest E Ink smartphone takes a great idea and makes it pretty
YotaPhone is an Android smartphone with a regular touchscreen on one side and an E Ink display on the other. It’s been around for well over a year now, and in our time with previous prototypes we’ve been impressed with its premise, if not Yota Devices’ execution. At MWC this year, the Russian carrier-turned-manufacturer is showing off an all-new prototype it believes solves many of the original model’s flaws.

0 19

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hMJJuHY2pA?wmode=transparent&autohide=1&egm=0&hd=1&iv_load_policy=3&modestbranding=1&rel=0&showinfo=0&showsearch=0&w=500&h=281]

7bit Hero – Combining Tech with Live Music

7bithero is an indie bitpop band that is experimenting with new ways of capturing their audience’s attention – yes, forcing the Gen X, Y and no doubt Z-ers to actually engage with their personal tech during their performances.

They do this by combining video games and concert visuals with their performances! « You should read this line again.

According to 7bit Hero, your smartphone (Android and iOS only) will be your joystick which allows you to control a character in the multi-player game that is projected behind the band. Your opponents or friends are somewhere in the crowd around you, and the band is playing the soundtrack.

Visit the band’s site and press start…

Interview on the concept with 7bit Hero video is here

0 17

The Grounds of Alexandria meets the new HP Omni10 Windows 8 tablet

This review of the HP Omni10 Windows 8.1 tablet starts at a very popular Sydney location, a renovated warehouse full of industrial and rustic chic. I’m talking about The Grounds of Alexandria – home of Kevin Bacon the resident pig!

You can find The Grounds of Alexandria on the corner of Huntley and Bourke St or if you need a map, click here.

Located in an old pie factory from the early 1900’s, The Grounds is easily the icon of Alexandria and for many reasons too: fresh produce grown onsite, open air market-style carts with mixed wares, onsite florist, and of course the cafe. The site has a large outdoor seating space with a kids play area and a petting zoo.

The best part? The site hosts a coffee research and testing facility! 

The beans used at The Grounds are selected for their unique qualities and sourced from all around the world. Each origin has its own flavour characteristics; Brazil; sweet and woody, Colombia; smoky with spicy overtones, Ethiopia; wildly sharp with fruit undertones, India; rich and syrupy, and Uganda; aniseed with dark chocolate.

The Grounds is serving me coffee from Carmo de Minas. This is a town and municipality in the state of Minas Gerais in the Southeast region of Brazil. I’ve chosen to order the Iced coffee from the menu to get me through this review. 

And now for the review…

First impressions count. I, for one, must enjoy the un-boxing experience and first few minutes of handling a gadget: the surface, weight, contour, colour and overall aesthetic.Then, the operation or capability of the gadget.

I can honestly say that the un-boxing experience with the HP Omni10 tablet was simple yet sufficient.

The package contains the tablet, the power cable/charger and the OS licence certificate. And that’s it. 

Picking up the tablet, I’m immediately appreciative of the matte black or ‘graphite’ soft-touch finish on the body and the high resolution screen on the front. We’ll get into specs in a bit. Stepping through the setup process for Win8.1 is a breeze and I tether to my Nokia Lumia 1520 for a few minutes to complete activation and assign my Windows account.

The brilliant 10.1” screen (1920×1200 IPS panel) makes the modern UI tiles look sensational. The clarity and the definition makes looking at just the tiles alone a joy.

Ice coffee has arrived…. brb.

Flicking my way around the menu and apps, the most noticeable feature is its performance, especially when compared to HP’s ‘corporate’ WinTab, the ElitePad 900 G1. The Omni10 uses the new quad core Intel Atom ‘Bay Trail’ CPU which smokes the ElitePad’s dual-core ‘Clover Trail’ CPU. I’m sure HP’s next release will bring the ElitePad 900 up to speed with quad-core, but for now, this puppy is impressing me…. a lot.

Looking at the storage and expansion, its a little light on for what I personally expect, but for most, 32gb eMMC storage is sufficient. I would like to think that any new tablets coming out with Windows 8.1 in 2014 would have a starting capacity of 64gb. But to keep the starting price down, at least HP has included a MicroSD slot to bump the built-in capacity up by another 64gb memory card (that’s what I’ve done with my ElitePad 900!).

A nice touch, although not unique or unexpected, is the haptic feedback on the Windows button on the front face. I don’t know why I value that as much as I do, I simply prefer it to a mechanical button – keeps the face of the tablet unspoiled.

The volume rocker is well-placed, in reach of any user’s index finger on the right side of the back of the tablet, contoured with the device’s curvature keeping it neatly tucked in.

There is a front and rear facing camera – nothing ground breaking here: 2MP front support 1080p HD video and a little indicator so that you know you’re on-the-air. The rear lens is an 8MP piece of glass, supporting HD video recording with auto-focus built in too.

Battery life should not be an issue – remember we’re using the Atom CPU here, not an i-Series (like Surface Pro). Throughout my visit and usage, the battery indicator hasn’t moved much at all, but that’s largely due to the fact that this unit does not have a 3/4G broadband module in it. Wi-Fi doesn’t seem to drain it too badly. I should see about 8-10 hours on it, depending on what i’m doing (disclaimer: I’m not guaranteeing 8-10hrs).

Lastly, the audio is important to me. If I’m listening to music or watching a show or movie, I’ll normally plug in my Beats headset – nuff said, audio is fine. But! If I’m sharing the screen to watch something, or got a group of people huddling over YouTube videos for a laugh, the in-built speakers need to hold their own. The Omni10’s stereo speakers stand up to the challenge and I am satisfied with them *except* when the tablet is resting on its bottom edge. The bottom firing speakers are easily muzzled and the audio suffers. Maybe a folding compendium can take that problem away by keeping the edge off the resting surface and giving my arm a break from holding it up at the right viewing angle!

If I had to summarise the pro’s and con’s, the list of con’s would only be a few:

  1. lack of built-in mobile broadband provision (not a deal-breaker for most, so let’s not count this one); 
  2. non-universal MicroUSB charge port (just so i only need to carry one type of cable in my bag/glove box – fussy much??!)
  3. stereo speaker placement causes audio muzzle in some usage modes
  4. seemingly no HP genuine accessories at this stage – would be nice to have a dock or a compendium of sorts

Pros? Besides what I’ve stated throughout this post, lets start of with the Australian RRP. Starting at around $399 you are already in front. Everything else is a bonus ;P

  1. HP Connected Music « give this a go if you don’t have a subscription with any other service. HP Connected Music leverages Tunein Radio and 7Digital Music store, plus your own library of files that you can import
  2. HP Connected Photo (Snapfish service)
  3. HP ePrint (print from your tablet from anywhere if you have a compatible HP printer)
  4. Microsoft Office (try/buy)
  5. Box (with 50gb free cloud storage)
  6. Screen sharing through Miracast or WiFi Direct or HDMI cable

So, all in all, for the average and enthusiast consumer, I would have no problem recommending the Omni10 Windows tablet from HP. 

I’ll wrap this post up with a few ratings out of 10:

Location/Ambiance – 9

Gadget – 7

Coffee – 8

Thanks for reading!

0 12

HP re-enters smartphone game in India, for now…

Wind back a few years at HP and you’ll recall the short-lived existence of a couple things: Leo Apotheker and Palm webOS.

Neither were successful at making HP a better brand or for bringing new things to a saturated market (or maybe HP wasn’t successful at making Palm a better brand?). In any case, its seems HP is taking another stab at one of these things, but not in the conventional way. And no, Leo isn’t coming back.

Unlike webOS’ celebrity endorser, Manny Pacquiáo, HP’s latest foray into the mobile space will be getting chummy with one of Bollywood’s leading ladies, Deepika Padukone.

I’m a phan of the phablet form factor so I couldn’t be happier that HP has launched a 6” and 7” phablet. However, HP is not using the phablet naming convention we are accustomed to.

Enter the HP Slate VoiceTabs, or more concisely, the HP Slate6 VoiceTab and HP Slate7 VoiceTab.

However, HP has flipped the script on what the VoiceTab is and is not. The VoiceTabs are Android tablets with voice calling capabilities. In other words, tablet-first, voice-second.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that HP has squarely targeted the emerging market in Asia – namely India – as the launch bed and testing ground – it’s said that the next billion ‘PCs’ are to come out of that region.

Only time will tell if these devices make their way into other countries and since I’m yet to get my hands on one, the written tech spec is all I can go by for now.

Looking at the specs on HP India’s site (URL above), both devices have exactly the same inners, except for the obvious screen res differential and battery sizes. The VoiceTabs pack a decent punch for their size and RRP (~$400 through rough currency conversion for the Slate6 VoiceTab), but I do have complaints:

  1. No 4G support (3G/GPRS/Edge)  « not acceptable for developed countries, but understandable for the launch market
  2. 5MP camera. Really? Is that it?  😐

These are my complaints, but I would really need to see one in the flesh and play around with it for a couple weeks to formulate a final opinion. 

My guess is that it will be hard to launch a 3G dual SIM phone in Australia, HP would have to build them with 4G and perhaps drop the dual SIM approach to get any traction, so it really depends on where HP wants to play. 

(Photo credits: HP.com; http://www8.hp.com/in/en/ads/phablets/products.html)

0 14

Libratone ZIPP

Obsessed with portable speakers? Me too.

This Libratone ZIPP wireless speaker, in my opinion, is the “Space Furniture” version of portable speaker options out on the market. Sleek design, zip cover interchangeable with other colours, plenty of connectivity options including AirPlay, DLNA and PlayDirect.

Oh and the covers are Italian wool and sport a fetching leather handle. 

Check out the whole family of Libratone audio products at www.libratone.com

(Photo Credit: Libratone.com)

0 16

Nokia Charging Plate DT-900 and Charging Stand DT-910

Both accessories from Nokia pictured above are must haves for any Lumia owner with a wireless charge capability.

Simply placing your supported Lumia on the charging plate initiates the ‘Qi‘ wireless charging standard and in the case of the DT-910 stand, you get a cool ‘display’ option or can continue watching a video, listening to music or even continuing that Skype call!

By the way, both chargers were recognized with the iF product design award 2013. Check out their entrances here and here.

(Photo Credits: iF Design, Nokia Australia)

0 14

Flappy Bird on Windows Phone 8

Its a third-party port (unofficial) in the WP8 Store by IG Mobile. Try it out on your WP8 device by clicking here.

It is insanely addictive but will make you rage quit in 10 minutes! Install at your own will.

And yes, 21 46 is my best score to date.

(photos are screenshots captured on my Nokia Lumia 1520)

0 14


Nokia Smartwatch: Windows Phone Watch

Perfect mix of smart and watch.