The AT&T Developer Summit is being held today in Las Vegas. I’m prepped and ready to bring you all the news as it happens from the event. The keynote starts any minute now. Tune in to the above link to see the action as it happens.
We are now less than three weeks from CES 2013 and all the companies are putting their last minute touches on their presentations, all but one of the big names. Nokia has cancelled their CES appearance and will not be presenting any new devices. Nokia has now decided to focus its attention on another electronic show Mobile World Congress 2013 which is about one month after CES.
We all expected to see Nokia’s new line of Lumina devices this year at CES along with their new Pureview devices. However we will just have to wait until Mobile World Congress and see what surprises Nokia has in store for us. Hopefully the company has some new and exciting things that they are applying the finishing touches to and Nokia will add some new devices and improvements.
I dislike earbuds. Before the advent of the “in-ear” variety, when the world was stuck with only iPod earbuds, I literally could not wear them. They didn’t stay in my ear for more than about 10 seconds, and those 10 seconds hurt. Then came along the in-ear headphones with the changeable silicon tips. Instead of trying to sit on your ear, these snuggly fit inside the ear canal itself. This made it so they didn’t fall out, but extended listening periods became painful. Now we have a hybrid of the two which promises to be the most comfortable earbuds you ever wear, and guaranteed not to fall out.
I’d never heard of Yurbuds before, but apparently the company is the #3 headphone vendor in the US. These headphones are designed specifically for athletes, by athletes, and are made of some pretty tough stuff.
Comfort: These headphones are comfortable. They were in my ear for the entire 5 and a half hour trip home from CES, and never once did I have to take them out due to being uncomfortable.
Strength: I can’t say specifically what the headphones are made of, but I was told that the gauge of wire used in the headphones, coupled with the sheath material, give them the highest tensile strength of any headphones on the market. This means they will last. I have given them some pretty big yanks, and so far they are going strong with no sign of damage.
Water Resistance: All Yurbuds products are moisture and sweat resistant. This doesn’t mean you can go swimming in them, but it means that sweat and rain are not going to phase them. Read more
There is a new accessory that has gotten my attention and that’s the Hub PRIZM stand. Already earning brownie points for being universal, the PRIZM just looks intense. Made of aircraft aluminum, this stand is made of 2 pieces that slide into each other, making it the smallest stand I have ever seen when packed up. They come in 2 sizes, one universal phone size and 1 universal tablet size. The tablet size is also perfect for holding books open. Although not advertised for it, I’m also pretty sure that they would make adequate self-defense weapons if the need arose.
Both sizes come in a staggering array of color choices. The phone size runs $24.95, and the tablet size runs $29.95. You can take a look at the color options at Hub’s website.
Without a doubt, the most advertised product at CES this year was the Samsung Galaxy Note. It seemed like every other bus on the strip or at the convention center was skinned with Note advertisement, and everywhere you turned you saw Note booths doing caricatures. It seemed a little overkill at first; advertising a 5 inch phone/tablet hybrid so heavily, especially after the poor adoption of the Dell Streak 5.
However, once I made my way to the Samsung booth, which happened to be the largest in the entire show, I finally got my hands on one. Yes, it’s huge. And yes, it is also a phone. However, what completely sets this apart from anything else is the included “S Pen”. Not just a stylus, the S Pen actually registers pressure sensitivity on the screen, turning it into a mini Wacom Cintiq. It also allows a long tap with the pen on any screen, from any application, and it will immediately screenshot it, allowing you to annotate or draw on top of the image.
I love this phone. Even without Ice Cream Sandwich, which we were assured would be coming to the device eventually, it ran smooth as silk. Inside the monstrous body was a 1.4ghz dual-core processor, 1gb of RAM, a 5.3″ HD Super AMOLED screen at 1280×800 resolution, a giant 2,300mAh battery, 8MP rear camera with 1080p video with 2MP front shooter, and an HSPA+ radio for 4G speeds. Coming from my art background, I immediately recognized the potential for a portable sketchbook on your phone. Yes, there are apps like Autodesk’s Sketchbook Mobile that allow you to use a stylus to to create some pretty impressive art, but they lack the pressure sensitivity, which allows for natural lines like you would make with a pencil. It could also be incredibly useful for things like taking a screenshot of a Google Maps screen and annotating on it, then sending it to someone asking where you are or how to get somewhere. Students could potentially remove paper note taking from their lives. The possibilities are endless.
As of right now, the Note is set to debut stateside on AT&T. When I asked about a WiFi only device or a CDMA version coming out, the Samsung rep said “he wasn’t aware of any,” but that he had been asked the same question all day long, so obviously there would be a demand for it. There unfortunately isn’t a release date set for a US launch, but the rest of the world has had it for a couple months, and Samsung reportedly shipped 1 million units, so it will more than likely be pretty soon. Of all the phones ever released, this is the one that has the most potential to pull me from Verizon if a CDMA version isn’t released.
Check out a couple videos demonstrating the S Pen in action after the break.
PowerTrekk Fuel Cell Charger Earns Our Title of “Most Disappointing CES Product That Should Have Been Amazing”
When I received a press email before CES titled “CES Debut: New gadget charges your phone with water”, I was ecstatic. I imagined running away from society to live in the hills, armed with nothing but a Bear Grylls knife and my water charger. I imagined all the times I had gone through the day to end up with a dead battery, and how that would never happen again as long as I had my water charger. It immediately became the thing I was most interested in seeing in the entire show of more than 3000 companies. Who cares about new phones or cases or accessories when your phone is dead? Your phone would never be dead with this. I fell in love with my fantasy of this product.
Then I actually saw it. On my trip to the Venetian CES Halls, stuffed in the back corner of an exhibit hall that had nothing to do with mobile technology, I found PowerTrekk. I was so excited! I saw the product being demonstrated as I walked up to their booth. The charger itself looked great. I walked a little closer, trying to overhear what was being said. I saw the charger get opened. I saw the water reservoir. And then I saw something I was not expecting: a removable “PowerPukk”, which provided the power. Until then, I had assumed that this was some sort of hydrogen fuel cell technology that harnessed some small amount of solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Turns out, they have devised some chemical, which they claim is completely biodegradable and recyclable, which reacts with water to produce an electric current. Still holding onto hope, I dove in and asked the pivotal question… “How long does the PowerPukk last?” The answer? “1 full charge.”
I was heartbroken. All of my dreams of perpetually water charging my USB devices were shattered. Travelling the American Discovery Trail while still connected with a fully-charged phone at all times was now out of the question. What PowerTrekk had done and failed to mention was essentially create an incredibly-expensive battery that is about the size of a small can of cat food, and then require that battery to use water in order to output any power. One PowerPukk outputs 1500mAh of power to either charge whatever it’s plugged into, or charge the 1500mAh Lithium Ion battery in the top half. The price of this madness? €199, which at the time of this writing is over $250 US. Each PowerPukk costs €1.99, which is about $2.50. So for slightly more than the cost of a brand new Galaxy Nexus on contract with Verizon, you can buy a charger that will charge your phone about 2 times and require a tablespoon of water on top of it before needing to buy another Pukk.
Granted, the company’s vision is to provide reliable, ecologically friendly power to USB devices. It does that. However, the cost of doing that is outrageous. To put it in perspective, you could buy approximately 100 replacement batteries for your phone from eBay, or 2 external battery packs with a combined output of over 50 amp hours, which is enough to charge a typical smartphone over 30 times from dead to full.
Overall, if having a renewable way of charging your phone is a priority, your best bet is solar. The PowerTrekk Fuel Cell Charger is expensive, limited, wasteful, and underpowered. Looks like my dreams of a hydrogen fuel charger are still just that.
You can take a look at the PowerTrekk charger here at the company website.
Verizon had some pretty big news, they will be adding 59 more markets on top of the 49 that were introduced at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in the beginning of January. Not to mention the 39 initial markets launched in December giving you a total of 147 markets that will have access to the worlds first large-scale Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network.
Complete list of LTE areas after the jump. Read more