Archive for January, 2007

ZAP-X SUV is 644bhp electric monster

ZAP-X SUV is 644bhp electric monster

Prius owners watch out.  That mild-mannered SUV in your rear-view mirror might not look anything special, but it's not only gunning for you at the traffic lights but in the economy stakes too!  Back in 2006 Lotus Engineering did their technical thing with the Aluminium Performance Crossover concept at the Geneva motor-show, a V6 petrol-powered demonstrator intended to show off their skills at making a lightweight but strong body structure and chassis.  Now ZAP have partnered up with them and decided to throw out the V6 lump, replacing it with four in-wheel electric motors.

If you're thinking that means "city runabout", you'd be wrong.  Potentially charged in just 10 minutes, the ZAP-X will have a 350 mile range on a single "tank" of electrons and develop the equivalent of 644bhp, making its 155mph top-speed sound all too feasible.  Four-wheel drive should hopefully keep that fancy body stuck to the road, too.

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Seagate put wireless storage in your pocket

Seagate put wireless storage in your pocket

Still smarting, I'm sure, from his spat with just about all of the big tech blogs the other day, Robert Scoble takes time out to announce his sponsor, Seagate's, latest wheeze.  A shirt-pocket sized portable hard-drive called D.A.V.E. with single button (unsurprisingly a power button) and USB port, you might be wondering how it lives up to even the mediocre billing Robert gives it.  Well, it's the built-in Bluetooth and WiFi that Seagate is counting on to pull in the punters.

Anyone who wants mobile media, would like to add more storage space to their cellphone or PDA, is interested in creating an ad-hoc social network of shared presentation, document or any other sort of files, will likely be seeing possibilities now.  It sounds a whole lot like BluOnyx's Mobile Content Server, which SlashGear covered back in December last year; now Seagate (who are supplying the 10gb and 20gb drives) haven't spilt the beans on their partners yet, but with all the talk of software APIs and the dimensions (61 x 89 x 12 mm) being so similar to BluOnyx's mock-ups, it's not too great a stretch to think that they're sharing more than just a storage ethos.

D.A.V.E. stands for Digital Audio Video Experience, and the device will have 10hr continuous operation battery life or last 14 days on standby.  It weighs just 2.5 ounces (70g), and can tell within centimetres of a drop that it needs to park the drive's head, before locking them totally.  I'll be interested to find out more, after Seagate present it at the Demo Conference.

Seagate Press Release [via Scobleizer]

Vista’s visuals on the small screen

Vista’s visuals on the small screen

While Vincent gurgles happily as he unpacks his Vista goodie-bag, James Kendrick is enjoying the Vista experience shrunk down to a far smaller screen.  Only this time, it comes not from Microsoft but smartphone software developers JGUI.  If the thought of going from the beauty that is Aero to the poky confines of your Windows Mobile Smartphone (and let's face it, even Crossbow isn't that pretty) fills you with dread and the slight taste of bile in your throat, then maybe it's time that some of the flagship OS gloss filtered down a little.

Vista Smartphone Interface could be described as a skin on steroids, but even then it's doing it a disservice.  As James' video shows, it recreates the whole Today screen as a dynamic slideshow - navigation between pages is smooth and slick, even widgets are recreated.

Trying it out couldn't be simpler, as the basic Today tweaking is a free download.  The advanced version is priced at $19.99

Vista Smartphone Interface [via jkontherun]

Can Pandora make mobile music special?

Can Pandora make mobile music special?

If I were manning the product development team for one of the big hardware companies, I think I'd put my feet up on the desk and relax a while.  After all, there are legions of fans and critics across the globe dreaming up new gadgets and refining tweaks for existing ones - who needs to pay an in-house team any more?  Case in point: Geek Limit's PandoraPod music player concept, a Bluetooth and WiFi enabled DAP that not only has 4gb of internal storage but can stream a user's personalised Pandora music channels.

Pandora has already fuelled a number of tweaks and hacks as music-lovers find new ways to take enjoy the company's clever playlist algorithms.  Building on an existing Insignia mp3 player, the PandoraPod is the first one designed to take the system mobile (as far as I'm aware).  Usual Pandora-guiding features like track rating and even selecting songs to buy (whether that be instant downloads or queueing them up for purchase when you're back on your computer), it sounds like the ideal solution for anyone who gets tired of the music they've got.

Are you listening, Insignia/Pandora?  Or does any other DAP manufacturer want to take on the challenge?

The Pandora Music Player [Geek Limit]...

Unbagging the Vista Launch Party Schwag Bag

Unbagging the Vista Launch Party Schwag Bag

The Vista launch party was a blast, I came (waited in line for 50 minutes in sub 20 degrees weather), drank, ate, watch, listen, then waited again - this time it’s for the goodie bag that was giving away to attendees.  It’s big and heavy full of stuff.  I snapped a few pics to share with everyone.  I’m currently processing videos, so they’ll be up in a day or so.

More images after the jump.

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MobileCrunch review the N800 web-tablet

MobileCrunch review the N800 web-tablet

As much as the kind, loving side of me (it's only a minor part, don't fret) is tempted to feel sorry for Oliver over at MobileCrunch, who was prevented by NDA from spilling all on the Nokia N800 prior to its official launch, the knowledge that he's been using it every day for the past month or so means I'm just not able to be sympathetic.  Still, I'll happily link to his most excellent review.

 

Of interest both to those new to web-tablets and owners of Nokia's first attempt at the niche, the 770, Oliver gives a balanced view that makes obvious the time he's spent with the N800.  And while I'm still jealous as hell, phrases like this do make me feel a little better:

"And hopefully, [when I'm testing the next N-Series device], Nokia won’t keep me gagged behind an NDA while someone that has a buddy at CompUSA gets the scoop on a device that hasn’t even been charged while I read that blog post from my hard used prototype"

Next time, Oliver, next time!

MobileCrunch [via John Tokash]

USB hub doesn’t stint on ports

USB hub doesn’t stint on ports

Given the current fashion for making just about everything USB powered (fans, coffee cup warmers, soft-drink coolers, pole dancers, etc) I could see all sixteen ports on this mega hub being used up pretty quickly.  Still, if your desk is still untainted with relatively pointless tat and you're more of a functional USB user then I guess you could see it as future-proofing.

A built-in power supply means your USB powered nose-hair trimmer will never run short of juice (although in the end you might run short of hair), and you can switch between two host PCs for more sensible purposes like printer and scanner sharing.

Impress [via EverythingUSB]

Samsung add rotating screen to digicam for no real reason

Samsung add rotating screen to digicam for no real reason

Forgive my cynicism, but might the origins of this digital camera hark at least in some way from a surplus of rotating cellphone screens in Samsung's mobile handset division?  The VLUU i7's claim to fame is a twistable 3-inch display that can be swivelled around to either show portrait or landscape images or video clips in the orientation they were taken in, while audio is boosted by an SRS sound enhancer giving the impression, they'd have us believe, of 3D surround.

Perhaps I'm naive, but is there really a market for a digital camera that also does service as a video playback device?  And are there people who are so fastidious about their image reviewing that they have to see it take up as much of the screen as possible?  I could understand the latter, maybe, if this was some ultra-high resolution snapper which filled memory cards faster than you could say "go swivel" - then you'd have just reason to make sure each shot was a keeper - but at 7.2-megapixels it's nothing out of the ordinary.

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JVC media systems can access your PC’s content

JVC media systems can access your PC’s content

There's always been something of a divide between the so-called consumer electronics - DVD players, home theatre audio - and computer-based entertainment.  It's meant that, in a lot of cases, people have been reluctant to upgrade to, say, a Windows Media Centre PC because their existing hardware then seems to be made redundant by virtue of its incompatibility.  You're forced to make a choice between what often is more straightforward to control versus something with plenty of scope for customisation and future expansion.

JVC and CyberLink have obviously decided that this situation is helping nobody - after all, who profits from a consumer base that through fear or apathy sticks to their existing setup? - and have worked together to bridge the gap between the former's media storage and the increasingly powerful entertainment computers many homes have access to.  CyberLink Media Server allows PC-based content to be streamed via either a network or USB to JVC components, meaning photos, audio and video can be navigated from a familiar remote.

Currently options on the DD-3 and DD-8 Network Media Systems, which will be available this month in Europe, both units also support USB hosting for direct playback of content on memory keys, external hard-drives and digital cameras.

JVC [via eHomeUpgrade]

Darth Vader says nudge

Darth Vader says nudge

Thankfully you don't have to be a deaf, dumb, blind kid to play a mean game of pinball; in fact, if you really did have no use of your senses then you probably wouldn't get the appeal of this limited edition Star Wars pinball machine, since you wouldn't have been able to enjoy the films.  Still, for anyone else with a love of that galaxy far, far away and the itchy fingers of a flipper-lover, this might be the ideal birthday gift.

UK based Voyager Arcade, who specialise in restoring vintage games as well as crafting new, emulator-based cabinets, are celebrating the 30th anniversary of George Lucas' smash Star Wars series with a beautifully restored pinball machine.  One of only 10,400 ever produced, this one will be made even more special as Voyager have managed to persuade Dave Prowse, the original Darth Vader, to sign the machine as well as add a message of the buyer's choice.

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