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Archive | March 1, 2011

Saab announces IQon infotainment system based on Android

Geneva Motor Show just started but the goodies are already coming. Among the most interesting new technologies shown (or at least the ones that make us gadget lovers happy) is the infotainment systems that finally got cheap enough to climb down from high-end BMW and Mercedes cars to more affordable cars. One such manufacturer is Saab with their IQon infotainment system based, you guessed on Android, the OS of choice for cheap tablets and interactive devices.

Among iQon capabilities you can find the standard GPS navigation system, media player but also a diagnostic system continuously displaying a plethora of information gathered from various sensors including speed, direction of travel, driver workload, yaw rate, steering wheel angle, engine speed and torque, inside and outside temperature, barometric pressure and the sun´s position for a total of more than 500 different signals.

Even better, Saab seems intent of producing an open API that should allow software developers to create their own applications and publish them in Saab App Store. Crazy!!!

Check after the break for the full press release and a short video.

Read More…

Financial Times might leave iOS for lack of reader data

Every self respecting newspaper needs demographic data about its readers in order to tweak their content and their advertisement. Unfortunately, it looks like Apple doesn’t want to provide this kind of info and this makes Financial Times investors very angry. Angry enough apparently that the publisher is threatening to leave the iOS platform altogether and migrate in the warm waters of Android devices where, since everything is controlled by Google, your personal data is the property of the Big Brother and they use it as they see fit.

“The important thing to remember is there are many, many tablets coming out and multiple devices,” Marjorie Scardino, CEO of Financial Times publisher Pearson said. “If Apple are not happy to give us customer data then maybe we will get it somewhere else.”

Beside the lack of reader data, another hot issue for content publishers might be the hefty 30 percent Apple gets from everything sold in their store, including in-app sales. That might work for many software publishers, but let’s face it: Newspapers are not what they used to be and 30 percent from already shrinking profits might be too much money to give up. At this point, Android might prove to be more profitable, especially due to Read More…

Barnes & Noble released Free Nook Kids for iPad

Following the latest news from Barnes & Noble in which the giant book seller announced that Nook platform controls a quarter of the eBook market, the popular Nook Kids framework that proved very successful on Nook Color jumped the street (and the OS) to Apple iPad.

The application is completely free and allows access to over 12,000 children books supporting a number of interactive features including search, zoom, notes, multiple fonts, etc. Some eBooks take the degree of interaction even deeper with the help of AliveTouch technology which allow kids to interact with their picture books.

Like the initial  release on Nook Color, the iPad version of Nook Kids also comes with two free books to help you acquire the taste:  Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling and Fun Facts about Pets by Seymour Simon.

As we already mentioned, the application (and the initial two books) are free so there is no reason why you Read More…

Die Hard collection on Blu-ray for $20 – 4 movies

For today Deal of the Day, Walmart has the Die Hard Collection starring Bruce Willis on Blu-ray for the very low price of $20. Shipping is free to the store or $1.97 to home.

The collection includes the following movies:

  • Die Hard
  • Die Hard 2: Die Harder
  • Die Hard 3: Die Hard with a Vengeance
  • Die hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard

iPad 2 to be announced tomorrow, rumors round-up

Apple will announce iPad 2 tomorrow (Wednesday) and we’ll see how many rumors/hopes posted around the web will prove true. We’ll do our take as well by trying to guess which will prove true and which won’t and we’ll calculate the score tomorrow. Based on past Apple’s actions, the second version will be just an update / price reduction over the first one, with the third generation bringing a more radical design. Among the most circulated (and closer to reality), we should mention:

  • thinner and lighter – we’ll guess true
  • SD card slot – certainly false, as much as we would wish for it. Apple hates expansion memory slots. if you want larger memory, buy a more expensive model.
  • front / back camera – for sure true, if not, Apple should hide in shame
  • A5 dual core processor – probably true
  • 512MB RAM – for sure true
  • iOS 4.3 – probably true, even if only to support the new iPad 2 features
  • thinner screen bezel – probably true, not a big deal
  • white version – probably false, it would be a dirt magnet
  • 7″ screen version – certainly false, although I would like it…my beloved Nook Color is so easy to carry Read More…

Boxee scores $16.5 Million in investment to build the “Future Of TV”

In a blog posts Boxee happily announces that they got an additional $16.5 million in investment as third round funding for a grand total of $26.5 million. The sweet funds come from several investors and venture capitalists and is an extremely necessary shot in the arm that should help Boxee get some more content on their boxes, but also to strike more hardware deals (currently Boxee box platform is supported by D0Link with the initial Boxee Box, Iomega with an upcoming Boxee NAS device and, a first, Viewsonic that will integrate the Boxee technology in a TV).

In terms of added hardware features Andrew Kippen (Boxee’s VP of marketing) talked about future models being able to handle various video inputs without switching, which might hint of a Google TV like HDMI overlay where the box is connected maybe between the receiver and the TV and every other video signal goes through it. If that will happen, it would be an excellent addition.

The company also added staff  growing to 34 employees in the last year and just added Netflix support, a move eagerly awaited by all the current users (that reside in US, that is).

Boxee Box was reviewed by Review Horizon and the verdict was that, while not without issues (both hardware and software), it is currently the best media streamer available anywhere, with good support for both online and local content. The only provider still missing is HULU Plus which we are eagerly awaiting. Read More…