Posts Tagged usefulness

Live from CES day one afternoon keynote with Verizon

The gadgets get center stage at the International CES but in reality their usefulness is significantly dependent on their connectivity to the rest of the world. And so the topic of the afternoon day one keynote at CES is related to connecting those devices. Lowell C. McAdam, chairman and chief executive officer of Verizon Communications, will be sharing his vision of the future of connected devices and we’ll be there to give you our first hand impressions in real time.

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Fuhu Introduces A 10" Tablet Designed Just For Tweens – Say Hello To The $250 Nabi XD

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Fuhu – the creator of the nabi and nabi 2 tablets – is on fire. Just a little over one week ago, they announced the nabi Jr., a new 5″ tablet designed for small children, and today they’re back at it with a tablet designed just for tweens: the nabi XD.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Seriously? A tablet just for tweens? I’m not going to lie – I, too, was skeptical of the usefulness of another specialty tablet for kids. And then I read the specs, looked at the pictures, and caught the price. I changed my mind almost immediately – this thing is seriously impressive.

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Fuhu Introduces A 10" Tablet Designed Just For Tweens – Say Hello To The $250 Nabi XD was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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[New App] Use Any Live Wallpaper As A Daydream In Android 4.2 With ‘Live Wallpaper Daydream’

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Android 4.2 brought a nifty, albeit it somewhat useless, new feature called Daydreams. In a nutshell, Daydreams is just a screensaver, which might be useful in some situations – specifically on tablets. For the current time, though, there are only a few different stock options for Daydreams: clock, colors, Currents, Photo Frame, and Photo table. There are also a few apps out there that have incorporated the feature – like Beautiful Widgets, for example – further increasing Daydreams’ usefulness.

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Live Wallpaper Daydream, however, is a little different. It’s simple in nature: it lets you use the currently-applied LWP as a daydream.

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[New App] Use Any Live Wallpaper As A Daydream In Android 4.2 With ‘Live Wallpaper Daydream’ was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Meet The DoorBot: A Wireless Doorbell With Video, Two-Way Chat, And Lockitron Support

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I have a confession to make: I’m usually not a big fan of anything I see as a “novelty” product. Sure, there are cool ideas, but I’m all about usefulness. Things that make life easier, more convenient, or just generally better. I think the DoorBot is one of those things.

The DoorBot, in short, is a W-Fi doorbell with one-way video and two-way chat. Here’s how it works: someone rings your doorbell, which notifies you on your phone. You answer it like a call, thus activating the DoorBot’s camera so you can see who’s there. Then you’re free to talk back and forth.

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Meet The DoorBot: A Wireless Doorbell With Video, Two-Way Chat, And Lockitron Support was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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HD Widgets Updated To v3.7, Brings Support For Android 4.2′s Lockscreen

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HD Widgets, one of the nicest looking widget sets for Android, just got updated with support for the new lockscreen widgets in Android 4.2. This will add a bit more usefulness to the rather bleak set of stock widgets offered by Google for the time being, bringing information like weather, various toggles, battery status, and, of course, a slew of different clocks.

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HD widgets is highly customizable, allowing users to choose from various backgrounds, fonts, colors, theme packs, and a lot more – so you should be able to find something that matches the look you’re going for.

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HD Widgets Updated To v3.7, Brings Support For Android 4.2′s Lockscreen was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Dennis Crowley: Foursquare’s a discovery and recommendation engine first, social service second

Dennis Crowley FourSquare's a discovery and recommendation engine first, social service second

Plenty of Foursquare fans use the app primarily as a means to share their own location and see the locations of others around them, but Foursquare isn’t only about socially-acceptable stalking. At the GigaOm Mobilize conference today, company co-founder Dennis Crowley informed those of us in the room that thinking of Foursquare as merely a check-in app is misguided. According to him, the plan for Foursquare has always been for it to be a customized discovery and recommendation engine first, and a social tool second. You see, all your check-ins provide Foursquare with valuable information about you and your friend’s habits. Those check-ins, as far as Foursquare’s concerned, are merely an efficient means to get the data needed to build the individualized, location-aware search and recommendation engine that powers the explore tab in the app. Crowley said that he’s been hearing plenty of positive feedback from users about the accuracy and usefulness of Foursquare-powered search, and some folks have even begun using it instead of Google. Foursquare isn’t on Mountain View’s level just yet, but it seems that Crowley and his cohort have the reigning king of search squarely in their sights.

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Dennis Crowley: Foursquare’s a discovery and recommendation engine first, social service second originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 20 Sep 2012 22:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chameleon Beta Updated To Version 0.9.0 – The Widget API Is Here!

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Since the Chameleon beta first became available, the most requested feature has been for more widgets. The initial build only offered a handful of choices, and while they were all useful, they didn’t showcase the launcher’s usefulness. More recently, the team updated the application to offer even more widgets, adding a bit more value to the launcher.

Now, however, the launcher has received what I think is its biggest and most important update thus far: the launcher just hit version 0.9.0, which brings the first version of the widget API. Why is this a big deal, you ask? Because developers can now start working on their own widgets just for Chameleon!

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Chameleon Beta Updated To Version 0.9.0 – The Widget API Is Here! was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Instagram 3.0 adds Photo Maps, infinite scrolling and speed improvements (video)

Instagram 30 adds Photo Maps, infinite scrolling and speed improvements video

Wondering if that Facebook acquisition would slow down the pace of innovation at Instagram? Perhaps v3.0 will answer that. The famed photo sharing network — now some 80 million users deep — is detailing its latest user interface overhaul today, and geolocation is at the heart of it. Lining up with our own feelings on the benefits of geotagging and the usefulness of tagged photos from an archive / diary perspective, the newest edition of the app introduces a Photo Maps view. As the name implies, it overlays photos with a map underneath, giving people a far more visual look at what they were seeing at a given point on Earth (or Mars, assuming Curiosity hasn’t reached its data limit this month).

Beyond that, the app includes “multi-line caption editing, more streamlined photo uploading, speed improvements and infinite scroll,” according to our pals at TechCrunch. Interestingly, the Twitter “Find Friends” feature has been yanked in the latest build due to Twitter shutting off its API to the company last month. If you’re wondering about a master plan for Photo Maps, it’s pretty simple; just as you’d tune into #nbcfail on Twitter to read the latest musings about the Summer Olympics, hovering over London in Instagram could give you a highly filtered look at what kind of photos are emerging from an event in real time. And really, who wouldn’t want to see 807 sepia-infused 1:1 shots of Usain Bolt? Per usual, you’ll find the demo vid after the break.

Continue reading Instagram 3.0 adds Photo Maps, infinite scrolling and speed improvements (video)

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Instagram 3.0 adds Photo Maps, infinite scrolling and speed improvements (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 16 Aug 2012 12:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Samsung Releases The Ice Cream Sandwich Kernel Source Code For The AT&T Galaxy S II

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When a new device comes out or gets a new version of Android, one thing developers want need to ensure ROMs run as smoothly and efficiently as possible is the kernel source code. Samsung has been quite good about releasing source code for new and updated devices, and it has now made available the Ice Cream Sandwich kernel source for the AT&T Galaxy S II.

While that may not mean much for the bulk of the crowd in terms of actual usefulness, it’s definitely good news for the development community. Hit the link below to grab the download.

Samsung Open Source Release Center

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Panasonic Eluga Power earns nod of approval at FCC

Panasonic Eluga Power earns nod of approval at FCC

Thanks to recent certification from the FCC, the Panasonic Eluga Power has just earned its figurative passport for travel within the United States. We first met the 5-inch behemoth back at Mobile World Congress, which packs a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 and Android 4.0. At the time, it was thought that the smartphone only supported quadband GSM and 2100/900MHz UMTS connectivity. The story has changed a bit, as FCC documents reveal additional 3G support for the 850MHz spectrum. While the Eluga Power’s usefulness here in North America is still rather limited, those who’d hoped to import one can now do so with a solid pat on the back from the FCC.

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Panasonic Eluga Power earns nod of approval at FCC originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 13 Jul 2012 03:15:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Samsung Galaxy S III On Sprint Gets Its First OTA Update (Version L710VPLF9), Brings ‘Security Updates’ And Not Much Else

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Sprint customers with the recently-released Samsung Galaxy S III are in store for a small, tiny, itty-bitty little OTA update that started rolling out today. The update brings but one thing:

  • Security Updates

Sure, it’s not a huge update in terms of usefulness, but it marks one milestone for the GSIII: its first OTA update. Aww, they grow up so fast.

To pull the update manually, head into Menu > Settings > About phone > System updates > Update Android.

[Sprint]

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NEC’s Gaziru takes image recognition to the cloud, looks a lot like Goggles (video)

NEC's Gaziru takes image recognition to the cloud,

While Google’s remained relatively quiet on the Goggles front, NEC’s picking up where that image recognition left off with its own product, dubbed Gaziru. Showcased at Wireless Japan 2012, the company’s angling its service, which aims to leverage both hardware- and cloud-based processing for smartphone queries, towards enterprise and consumer markets, highlighting its usefulness across a range of services from marketing to search. Much like the aforementioned Mountain View version, users would need only to snap a picture of an object with their phones to receive relevant search data, access product manuals or, in one scenario, car and real estate listings. Given its planned commercial launch this June, it won’t be long before we’ll get a chance to test this software en vivo. For now, content yourself with a translated video tour after the break.

Continue reading NEC’s Gaziru takes image recognition to the cloud, looks a lot like Goggles (video)

NEC’s Gaziru takes image recognition to the cloud, looks a lot like Goggles (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 07 Jun 2012 05:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Kurio 7 Tablet Is Up for Just $199.99

Gadgets targeted for children are becoming a bigger and bigger niche in today’s electronics market. These devices, which provide hours of entertainment and learning for toddlers, as well as carry enough functions to be used even by adults, are being explored by more companies as parents realize their usefulness. Archos, for one, has recently released the Child Pad, a tablet with attractive Chipmunks-themed interface that the company had been talking about for months. Now, Techno Source has made available for pre-order the new Kurio7 tablet PC at Toys R Us online. Techno Source calls the device the ultimate tablet for families, with its decent list of specifications.

Techno Source’s Kurio7 features a 7-inch TFT display with 5-point multi-touch functionality. Under the hood is a Cortex A8 processor clocked at a speed of 1.5 GHz. It also has an integrated 3D graphics processor, which makes it possible for users to enjoy 3D videos and games on the device.  A 512 MB of DDR3 RAM is also onboard, as well as 4 GB of internal storage. If user needs extra storage, they may use the built-in microSD slot that can expand storage to 32 GB. Its operating system is Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread.

Wi-Fi b/g/n provides connectivity to the Internet on the device. Like most other tablets today, the Kurio7 also has an HDMI out connection, allowing users to view the contents of the screen in an HDTV in full HD 1080p quality.

A built-in USB host port enables users to connect the device to an external hard disk drive, a camera, or a thumb drive. For web chatting, A VGA webcam with 640 x 480 pixels is also available, as well as an audio jack and an integrated microphone. It is as well comes with a built-in web browser that supports Flash 11.

The Kurio7 tablet is powered by a 3000 mAh battery which promises more than 5 hours of video playback in optimal conditions. The device has dimensions of 195 x 123 x 50 mm and weighs 0.336 kg. It currently sells for $199.99.

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iRig for iOS lets you record high quality audio

IK Multimedia has released a special accessory for Apple devices, which lets you record high definition audio through an external microphone. This device, called iRig MIC Cast, is extremely useful for travellers who like to record podcasts on the go, or travel bloggers who like to keep voice journals. The device is tiny, and attaches itself through a 3.5mm jack onto your iPhone or iPad. It also has a headphone output so that you can monitor the recording. iRig has been created to provide you with clear, and high quality audio, without the background noise as you normally get while using the built in microphone on your phone while talking on Skype or Facetime.

The manufacturers have priced the product at $40, which isn’t cheap, but the performance of iRig more or less makes up for it. Early reviews suggested that the device definitely lives up to its expectations in terms of sound quality and noise reduction. Sound captured by the microphone was crystal clear without a hint of background chatter. This tremendously boosts the usefulness of the device for even professional purposes.

There’s a tiny toggle switch which lets you toggle the level of input between lo and hi. The device is small and light, which greatly enhances its usefulness as a portable device. The accessory works with a number of apps specially created for use with iRig MIC Cast. You can choose which app to use based on your needs. The free version of the app, called iRig Recorder is meant for every day usage whereas if you need more specialised work done, you might go for the paid version, which offers voice processing and many other capabilities. IK Multimedia has really come out with an innovative product, which will prove to be very useful to a lot of iOS enthusiasts.

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[Weekend Poll] Voice Control Apps: Future Or Fad?

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This is the latest in our Weekend Poll series. For last week’s, see Follow Up: Is Gaming On Android Lackluster?

Though voice control apps have been around for quite some time, it took Apple’s release of Siri to bring the functionality to the mainstream. Now, competing manufacturers are trying to push out similar services. Samsung’s first to the punch with a Vlingo-based "S Voice" service, though it remains to be seen how well it works. Google, too, is rumored to be working on improved Google Voice Actions, reportedly named Assistant.

Debates over the usefulness of voice control have cropped up around the Android Police offices before, with the team fairly split on the topic.

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[Weekend Poll] Voice Control Apps: Future Or Fad? was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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New Kickstarter Projectm ‘Pebble’ Revamps The InPulse Smartwatch, Makes It Prettier And More Functional

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Remember the InPulse smartwatch? Looks like the crew behind that nifty little device learned a lot from their initial watch creation, and now they’ve hit Kickstarter with a new project called Pebble.

Pebble is basically an upgrade to InPulse, as it offers quite a few enhancements over its predecessor. It has a 144×168 e-ink display, Bluetooth, a vibrating motor, and three axis accelerometer; it’s also fully compatible with Android and iOS.

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It doesn’t skimp on usefulness, either. Since it connects to your smartphone over Bluetooth, it can alert you of incoming calls, emails, and SMS/MMS messages; control most popular media players (like Pandora and Google Music), and has support for proprietary apps.  Of course, even will all of its bells and whistles, Pebble is still a watch at its core – a watch with a seven-day battery life (thanks to its e-ink display, no doubt).

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New Kickstarter Projectm ‘Pebble’ Revamps The InPulse Smartwatch, Makes It Prettier And More Functional was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Video: Utter! Not Just Another Siri For Android

We have put spotlights on a couple apps that try to replicate the usefulness that iPhone users receive with Siri. None of them have really been able to fully grasp the everyday handiness exactly like Siri, but then again, that’s what makes it Siri. Enter a new player called Utter! The app doesn’t just message people and [...]

Click through to continue reading…

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Face Unlock option finds its way to Nexus S Users

While many of you Nexus S owners are patiently waiting for your Ice Cream Sandwich update to roll out to your device on its own, others are taking to the forums for custom ROMs and getting better support and more features. Even though the Face Unlock feature of ICS is one of a kind, it is still a hung jury on its usefulness. It has been shown various times that it can be tricked with a photo instead of a real life face. While that might be the case, it is still something everyone is dying to have or at least try for themselves.

Two ROM developers located in the AndroidCentral forums have taken the Face Unlock capabilities from the Galaxy Nexus and built it into a nice Android 4.0.3 AOSP ROM for both variants of the Nexus S. Giving you guys the luxury of all that is ICS.

Be sue to read all the install instructions before hand and know that you flash any custom ROM on your own. We, nor anyone else, will accept any responsibility for any damages you cause to your device. With out further ado, head to the link that is for your device and grab the ROM if you are so inclined.

Download – ICS with Face Unlock for Sprint Nexus S 4G

Download – ICS with Face Unlock for GSM Nexus S

Let us know how it goes and if the Face Unlock is everything you expected it to be.

Source: AndroidCentral 

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Talk about the weather, live, with Weddar

Android app Weddar claims it is “the first people powered weather service in the world” which gathers together actual observations from humans, rather than presenting generic satellite observations.

As ever with these sociable, crowd sourcing tools, the usefulness of Weddar will depend on if it reaches a CRITICAL MASS of people reporting their weather, rather than just a few trendy types talking about cloud formations off the coast of San Francisco…

weddar android app 1 weddar android app 2

…which is presumably why there’s a Leaderboard in the app, to encourage regular updates. Weddar’s on the Android Market here.

Related posts:

  1. Report: Weather apps the most profitable on Android

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Galaxy Nexus Barometer Should Speed Up GPS Location

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Every once in a while we see a barometer listed among the specs of an Android device, right next to the accelerometer, gyroscope and other sensors. We saw it in the Motorola XOOM and now we are seeing it included among the components that make up the Samsung Galaxy S II. What has never been quite clear has been the exact purpose of such a sensor. It’s a bit naive to think a barometer crammed inside a cell phone has the power to divine the weather, even if that is among the first conclusions most reach when trying to peg the usefulness of including one. This is not the case, as Google’s Dan Morrill pointed out in a recent blog post.

The actual reason for the barometer’s presence is tied directly into GPS. For GPS to function it must first locate a person in three-dimensional space. To make this process quicker, aGPS helps to identify two of those coordinates (latitude and longitude) quickly, the third (height) is where a barometer comes into play. By getting a read on estimated atmospheric pressure, the Galaxy Nexus is able to make a quick determination about how far the phone is from sea level. Knowing the general location of the handset thanks to aGPS and the barometer, it becomes easier to get an accurate GPS lock. It is worth noting that Morrill states that the Galaxy Nexus’ barometer  isn’t quite powerful enough to make any meaningful predictions about the weather.

[via AndroidPolice]


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Logitech Revue hits its promised $99 price point

Logitech Revue

Logitech announced in its earnings call last week that its Revue Google TV set-top box would get a deep discount to $99 — that’s $200 off what it initially sold for — and that pricing is now in effect. Logitech’s site actually still says $299. But add the Revue to your cart, and it can be had for $99.

We can argue about functionality and usefulness all day. But for access to Pandora, Netflix, a full browser, Youtube’s sweet "Leanback" display, Amazon’s movies and a handful of other features, $99′s pretty tough to beat.

Purchase: Logitech Revue; Thanks to everyone who sent this in!


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4G LTE Equipped Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (And Accessories) Now Available At Verizon

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Two days ago we let you know that the 4G LTE variant of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was set to hit Big Red’s sales floor on July 28th for $530 (with a two-year agreement, that is). That day is here, and right on schedule, the LTE Tab 10.1 is ready to go in VZW stores across the country.

Accompanying what is probably the best Android tablet on the market, you’ll find a whole slew of accessories to optimize the usefulness and experience of the Tab. Among the add-ons is the Multimedia Charging Dock for $50, a desk accessories that…

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The Ultimate Collection of Transparent Widgets

None of us are strangers to the usefulness and almost need for widgets on our home screens. The sad reality is some of the widgets we use or need, are less then visually appealing when we have worked so hard to theme out our devices. The solution I have found for my ever growing clean but required look on my device is greatly due to all the work of  rushco over at XDA. I am sure many of you may have already stumbled upon this list and might already use it often. Seeing as how we active hundreds of thousands of Android phones daily, I wanted to be sure to point this out for others.

Rusco currently has 110 widgets themed in the 1st post and they are getting updated all the time. He has some that are pending completion, some he needs the .apk for to complete and others have links through out the entire 58 page thread to help everyone out. If that wasn’t enough for you, ilangoadigal, has another thread with the step by step walk through for you to create your own transparent widgets.

Feel free to head on over to rushcos page for all the currently available themed out widgets. If you are more interested in doing your own custom themed widgets, go check out ilangoadigal page.

Don’t forget to thank these guys for all their hard work and for sharing with the community. Please post you widgets or send them to the respective OP for others to enjoy.

 

Source: XDA

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Android hacked wireless printer will write out texts with marker

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Like to write on peoples facebook walls? How about writing on their living room wall? You may be able to do that sooner than you think…without ever having to be there physically. This hacked printer device is set to receive messages from facebook, twitter and SMS, and be able to scribe them physically on a wall using 7 felt markers attached to an IOIO board with what looks like a Google Nexus One stripped down. As the device receives messages, the markers begin to write by the printer pushing the markers up and down to form text on a flat surface.

Here’s a video below to show you this cool meld of software and hardware, bringing SkyNet global domination ever closer, and thus making the master plan of removing humans from any real usefulness almost complete.

Android hacked wireless printer will write out texts with marker


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Laptop Dock Wasn’t a One Time Thing, Says Moto

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The Motorola Atrix 4G launched alongside a unique accessory – its laptop dock – that piqued many’s interest. Although we still have our reservations about its usefulness and overall quality, Motorola’s gone ahead and made it known that phones in the future will be launching with docks of their own.

You will see multiple devices from us in the second half launching with these capabilities, and we will expand the range of our Lapdock devices so we cover a broader price point, addressing both the enterprise premium tier as well as more consumer tiers.

They say we’ll see multiple devices from them in the second half of this year with an accompanying lapdock. The full quote – above – suggests each phone will be getting a dock especially designed for it. It makes me wonder, though: if Motorola’s going full sail ahead with this, why not make a universal lapdock?

I’m not sure how technically feasible that is, but it would suck for someone who is forced to go to a different device to have to ditch their current dock for a new one. In any case, if you didn’t fancy the ATRIX but still wanted a phone like it with similar features, keep your eye on Moto in the latter parts of 2011. [Engadget]


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