Monday, February 24, 2014



Missed Me? Flappy Bird is Here Again But With A Twist

Flappy Bird IRL 2

Among the list of everything that is annoying, useless and frustrating, the most recent entry was that of a game which is known as Flappy Bird. The damned game is just so stupid that it’s not funny at all. It is rather frustrating and gives users more than enough reasons to bang their heads in the wall! Although the game has been taken down and while it is possible to find it online after some hard work, what we have today for you is something better than the game itself.
Flappy Bird IRLA DIY box version of the game, Flappy Bird, has been created by Fawn Qiu who came up with the IRL version of the game by employing Arduino based sensors. Other components that have been used include two servo motors, magnets and a reed switch. This is a more fun way to play where the box closes up if you screw up and then you have to ‘restart’ the IRL version of the game.
Flappy Bird In Real
The game is as hard as the real game where the difficulty level continues to increase and you need to dodge the obstacles by making use of taps, as can be seen in the picture above. While the whole concept of the game may be crazy, it is crazy enough to be fun to play.
Good job Fawn Qiu!
Check out the video below to see the game in action:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fly Or Die: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

In early October, we brought you our thoughts on the seven-inch Kindle Fire HDX, of which John is a huge fan.
Today we bring you the seven-incher’s big brother, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9.
In terms of Amazon’s evolution as a hardware (and specifically tablet) company, the Fire HDX 8.9 is a markedly improved device from previous generations. It’s thinner, lighter at just 13 ounces, and more powerful with a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor and improved software.
But how does it match up to the competition this holiday season?
John seems to think that this next-gen Kindle Fire has finally achieved “productivity status,” moving from a reader on steroids to a full-fledged computing device. I’m not as convinced, but I also haven’t been able to spend quite as much time with these Fire HDX tablets as him.
Would either of us save $100 and choose the HDX 8.9 over an iPad Air? Probably not, based almost entirely on the iPad’s ecosystem and App Store.
However, both of us feel that the smaller size tablets are a better idea for the average consumer.
Unless you require a larger screen for reading, or use the tablet almost exclusively to watch movies and TV, a smaller device like the seven-inch HDX or the iPad mini with Retina are more portable and comfortable options.

Qualcomm Toq smartwatch now available for pre-order, $349.99 price tag

Qualcomm Toq smartwatch
Qualcomm announced back in early September that it would be joining the ever-growing group of manufacturers that are working on a smartwatch with a device known as the Toq. The Toq features a 1.55-inch Mirasol display that Qualcomm says is “clearly visible” in sunlight and helps the watch to run for days without needing to plug in for juice. Fast-forward to today, and we’re getting near the Toq’s December 2 launch date. But Qualcomm announced today that anyone who’s interested in its smartwatch can pre-order one right now.
Qualcomm is now taking pre-orders for the black Toq, which includes the smartwatch itself as well as Qualcomm’s WiPower LE wireless charger, an AC adapter and USB cable. The entire package will set buyers back $349.99, and Qualcomm says that it expects to begin shipping units out to buyers in 1-3 weeks. Anyone interested in the white Toq will have to put their wallets away for now, as it’s currently listed as “Coming Soon.”
The Qualcomm Toq uses Bluetooth to pair with Android devices running 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. Once the Toq and a user’s phone are buddy-buddy, the Toq can be used to view calls, messages and other alerts from your Android device on your wrist. While its $349.99 price tag may be a tad high for some, Qualcomm has said that the Toq is meant to be more of a demonstration of what its tech can do rather than a mainstream product that appeals to all consumers. For folks that nerd out about mobile tech like many of us do, Qualcomm’s promises of sunlight readability and multi-day battery life may make that price a bit easier to swallow. The Toq is now available for pre-order at the Qualcomm link below.

Phonebloks: Motorola Partners With 3D Systems For Modular Smartphone Future In 'Project Ara’

Google Motorola Phonebloks 3D Systems DDD GOOG Moto X Modular Smartphone
Motorola (GOOG) will partner with 3D Systems (DDD) for manufacturing a "phonebloks"-like device. 3D Systems (DDD)
Motorola will partner with 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) to develop Project Ara, a line of modular smartphones that it says will be easily upgraded by consumers. Rather than throwing out a smartphone when a must-have feature comes out on a new model, such as an upgraded camera, Project Ara promises to allow smartphone users to purchase Phonebloks, and swap out components like Lego bricks.
3D Systems, specialists in the printing process also known as additive manufacturing, will work with Motorola on the 3D printing production of the "Phonebloks" which it calls Project Ara. 3D Systems sells the Cube line of consumer 3D printers, and also works with manufacturers in aerospace and other industries.
Motorola Project Ara Phonebloks 3D Systems Printing Modular Smartphone Goog DDDMotorola has released concept images of Project Ara, which it says it had been developing for "over a year" when the Phonebloks video went viral in Sept.  Motorola Mobility
“With Project Ara, we asked the question, ‘How do we bring the benefits of customization and an open hardware ecosystem to 6 billion people?’ That is our driving application. It requires technical advances in areas such as material strength and printing with conductive inks for antennas,” Regina Dugan, head of Motorola’s Advanced Technology & Projects group said in a release. “And those advances must support production-level speeds and volumes, which is a natural partnership with 3D Systems.”
3D Systems says it will expand its program for printing multiple materials, focusing on creating components that conduct electricity. The two companies previously partnered for MakeWithX, a cross-country promotional tour where users were able to design and create cases for the Moto X smartphone using Cube 3D printers.
3D Systems Motorola 3D Printing Moto X Case Project Ara PhonebloksMotorola (GOOG) previously partnered with 3D Systems for a promotional tour where consumers were able to design and print cases for the Moto X.  Motorola Mobility
Phonebloks was an idea developed by design student Dave Hakkens, who made a YouTube video featuring the “open-source hardware” that went viral this past September. Hakkens said at the time that Phonebloks would consist of a “made-to-last” base, with easily replaceable parts, or bloks, that connected to a main board (and transferred data and electicity) via a pin system.
The original Phonebloks video has over 18 million views as of this writing. When the video made it big, Motorola announced Project Ara, claiming that it had been under development for over a year.
What Hakkins called the main board, Motorola had been developing as an endoskeleton it called an endo. Project Ara featured a similar design to Phonebloks, but appears to lose the pin system of connecting to the main board in favor of sliding metal contacts.
Motorola invited Hakkens to work alongside Project Ara on a social community to support the project. Hakkens agreed and is seeking donations to keep the Phonebloks community independently-funded and distinct from Google and Motorola’s Project Ara.
Hakkens said in a video follow-up that he and Motorola agreed that phones developed by Project Ara would be “modular, open-source, designed to last and made for the entire world. Motorola “is committed to developing their modular hone in the open,” Hakkens said, and will be “listening to the Phonebloks community” to find out “our suggestions, ideas and what we want from a new kind of phone.”
Motorola Project Ara Phonebloks 3D Systems DDD GOOGMotorola said earlier that it will release a "phonebloks" style kit to developers this winter, so that Project Ara could start 3D printing soon.  Motorola Mobility
Motorola announced that it would attempt to release a modular developer’s kit this winter, to allow smartphone developers to begin tinkering with the “hackable” hardware.
“We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software,” Paul Eremenko, Motorola VP of advanced technology said when Project Ara was announced. “Create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines."
Motorola promises that Project Ara will be “built on an open platform”, but has toned down the original video’s other lofty goal – that Phonebloks will reduce the waste that accompanies electronic devices in an upgrade-obsessed, throwaway culture; including a more consumer-friendly second-hand market for phone parts.

ZTE To Launch Their Own Smartwatch; Exclusive to ZTE Devices

In what can only be described as an “intriguing” move, ZTE will soon enter the smartwatch arena. However, their smartwatches will only work with their own devices, which at first sounds like a pretty bad idea but, ZTE is thinking of their home market here. The Wall Street Journal is running a piece on the Chinese company looking to get in on the smartwatch game by offering a device similar to this year’s Galaxy Gear from Samsung. On the surface, it’ll feature many of the same things but, come in at a lower price-point.
Talking to the WSJ in an interview, Lu Qianhao, head of the Shenzhen-based company’s handset marketing strategy, said that they were trying their best to hit the mainstream market. Which, for a very China-centric company like ZTE, means that the price needs to be right. It’s debatable that the Galaxy gear is just too expensive for the wearable market of today. The same thing happened with Android tablets, the Nexus 7 was a hit because of its price more anything and since then, prices of tablets have risen just a little bit but, users are still happy with what they’re paying for.
What seems like another smartwatch mistake to us is that ZTE’s watch would only work with their own devices. It’s hard not to see why, after all it could boost their brand presence and it could certainly give their phones a boost at home in China. However, the smartwatch is likely to be built on top of Android – as most others are – and so we see no reason why the device can’t work with all Bluetooth-enabled devices. Sony’s SmartWatch 2 for instance works with pretty muchany Android smartphone, which instantly widens Sony’s net of potential customers. When we’re talking about a still very small customer-base, capturing as much of it as possible is important.
Make no mistake, smartwatches aren’t going anywhere and now that Samsung has thrown their hat into the ring with the Gear, we’re only going to see more and more of them. CES 2014 is going to be an interesting event and we’re sure smartwatches will feature heavily.