Archives For Gadgets

kindle-mhl

Having missed the ever so lucrative holiday hopping season, we stop to wonder what Amazon might pack into their forthcoming TV streamer (after failing to reach a deal for the Netflix-backed Roku a few years back).

First, given pulled and presumably filled job openings, one technology Amazon’s Lab126 Kindle division has been interested in is MHL - something we’ve seen leveraged by the Roku streaming sick, as means of doing away with the set-top box. Of course, the M in MHL is “mobile” and this could equally refer to the Kindle Fire line of tablets — either on their own or as a means of interfacing with a Kindle streamer. However, we fully believe any Amazon TV stick or set-top would act as an endpoint to the Kindle Fire’s Miracast capabilities. Continue Reading…

LyveMinds

GigaOM’s Janko Roettgers has been dogged about trying to discover the raison d’etre behind stealth start-up Black Pearl Systems, and now, six months after first revealing the company’s existence, Roettgers is finally able to give us details on what exactly the company aims to do. Black Pearl has launched its new consumer brand name, Lyve Minds, and plans to introduce a product called LyveHome next spring that lets users share and back up their personal media across a variety of devices and apps.

The big deal with Black Pearl, er Lyve Minds, is the management team behind it. The CEO and co-founder Tim Bucher used to be head of engineering for Apple, and the rest of his team brings in experience from companies including Netflix, Danger, YouTube, Microsoft, TiVo, Roku, and Amazon. Interestingly, I discovered separately that co-founder and Content CTO Scott Smyers left the company in October, and has now moved on to a VP role at the audio company DTS. It seems odd that one of the co-founders would abandon the pirate ship before launch. Perhaps a management disagreement? Or maybe something far less interesting, like logistics or start-up fatigue.

In the meantime, here’s what we know about the LyveHome product: Continue Reading…

While I’m the CTO of the Zatz household, my wife Melissa is also capable of making tech purchasing decisions… and living with the consequences. What follows is her realization that one gadget doesn’t fit all.

Dave’s pattern of flipping gadgets must be contagious because I’ve caught the bug! More importantly, I’ve inherited his appreciation (or lack thereof) of a gadget’s usability and functionality. As such, technology is frequently coming and going in our home.

A year ago I wrote about swapping my iPad 3 for the new iPad Mini. At the time I wanted a smaller device that I could more comfortably handle when lounging around; a gadget I could use for mundane web browsing and video streaming. But, the Mini and I had a short lived love affair as I quickly starting yearning for something sexier. The lack of retina display was hard to get used to and I never adjusted to the fonts. Having to constantly pinch and zoom the screen became annoying. My $330 toy started collecting dust.

My iPhone became my “go to” device when doing non work-related web browsing. But as close to perfect as the iPhone is, size does matter! I was missing a larger screen. A larger screen that I could still easily hold without needing a stand or case. When the iPad Mini retina display launched earlier this year I was tempted to buy one. I’m a loyal Apple fan who loves their sleekness and simplicity. But, I didn’t want to indulge myself by purchasing the new model knowing that I would likely want something new sometime soon! Yup, I’m a true Zatz!

When we got up Sunday morning, Continue Reading…

Shortly after TiVo co-founder Jim Barton resigned from the DVR maker in 2012, he reunited with his former DVR compatriot Michael Ramsay to found InVisioneer. While the Kleiner-backed company is somewhat shrouded in secrecy, descriptions from their recruitment efforts provide some insight (1, 2):

InVisioneer is building a product that sits at the nexus of exciting trends in video, mobile, and social.

We’re building a compelling new way to discover and play media that will become an integral part of people’s lives.

Scouring the web for clues has turned up a variety of intriguing LinkedIn profiles and other social mentions, including an early survey and what appears to be a test Twitter account… with one very familiar follower. Of course, given the headline and imagery above, you’ve already discerned that InVisioneer sent some hardware through the FCC in the form of a Qplay TV Adapter. Continue Reading…

AT&T Kills U-Verse On Xbox

Dave Zatz —  December 6, 2013 — 1 Comment

We suppose it was inevitable that AT&T would drop U-verse support for the Xbox 360 sometime after Ericsson’s acquisition of Microsoft Mediaroom due to the complex Microsoft-centric integration. Not to mention, AT&T cites “low customer demand” in their decision to cease service come 12/31. Fortunately, AT&T is doing the right thing in compensating the small subset of customers who invested in the solution, via a media center remote purchase, Xbox Live Gold subscription, and installation fees, by crediting $99 to their accounts. While Microsoft sill has its sights set on living room Input 1, via Xbox One IR blasting HDMI pass-thru, this concludes the underwhelming IPTV chapter originally announced by Bill Gates at the 2007 edition of CES. As to AT&T, they currently have no plans to rejoin Comcast and Verizon on Xbox via a pure OTT U-verse app.

Elgato Smartkey

Both Elgato and Pogoplug have released new products this month… and the two gadgets are somewhat out of character, as the companies expand their product lines and seek new customers this holiday season.

Elgato, best known for video-related solutions is trying something completely with their Smart Key ($40). The doohickey uses low power Bluetooth to report its location to an iPhone or iPad, similar to others in this space such as StickNFind. While its primary use case may be attached to a keyring, Elgato also proposes throwing the Smart Key into a handbag or suitcase to keep an eye on one’s belongings. Beyond an iOS app, Continue Reading…

google-glass

As you may have heard, Google is expanding its Glass program beyond the initial couple thousand “Explorers” … and, by way of Tim Stevens (the “nicest guy in tech”), I received an invite. As an independent entity on a budget, versus a bankrolled journalist or celebrity, the potential $1500 fee stings. That amount could fund both a PS4 and an Xbone, with room for several accessories and games. Or the last plasma on earth. Or a solid projector. Or 6 crappy Chromebooks.

Yet Google Glass is a brand new product category, despite exploring augmented reality widgetry as far back the mid-90s with some grad school associates. It may or may not be more practical than a “smart” watch, but it’s way more compelling on a geek level… even if law enforcement isn’t a fan. The refreshed version supports lenses, starting with the new and included “twist-on Active Shade” Continue Reading…