prototypes

Intel UMPC prototype hands-on

Intel UMPC prototype hands-on

Not much in the way of information, but it's great to see one of Intel's UMPC concepts apparently getting the go-ahead for production.  Hyped to include the company's latest McCaslin-based CPU, it's a twisty, flippy device with full QWERTY keyboard, trackstick and dedicated mouse buttons; it also has a rotating webcam and stereo speakers.

 

Make sure you check out Steve's video of the prototype in action, after the cut...

Another prototype Tablet PC

Another prototype Tablet PC

Oh to have the sort of friends Steve Paine does.  My inbox fills up with "funny" photos of dogs doing silly things, or round-robin messages of good will, whereas he gets pictures of prototype Tablet PCs.  Admittedly the latest is conspicuous for the absence of accompanying information, but if pictures speak a thousand words then I don't have to write any more in the post anyway.

Judging by the look of the stylus I'm thinking passive digitiser, although others have pointed out what looks like a trackpoint on the lower right-hand side of the screen.  Anyone know anything more?

Nokia N95 pre-production hands-on

Nokia N95 pre-production hands-on

Pre-production phones, eh?  Who'd have 'em.  Software glitches, occasionally dodgy build quality, not being able to sell them on eBay - it's a harsh life getting your hands on luscious hardware before anyone else.  Enter stage-left the Nokia N95, not for our grabbing hands until next year but here in pre-production form getting the once-over by Jihad Abdullah Soaileek over at The Nokialist.

Does he like it?  Well, it lacks the 802.11b/g and GPS chips that go partway to making the N95 so tempting, but otherwise it's a promising start - he won't rate it, but hints that if he were to it'd score in the region of 95%.  This is a phone I'm very excited about!

Optimus Upravlator – Update

Optimus Upravlator – Update

Optimus keeps trickling out even more impressive photos of the Upravlator keyboard, a grown-up version of the Optimus Mini Three with a four by three key matrix that are larger to boot.  This time using LCD rather than OLED screens, running at a far greater resolution, Upravlator is aimed at macro-using graphic designers, computer musicians and people doing video processing, hooking up to a spare graphics card port to drive the mini-screens.

Fujitsu shows off colour e-book display

Fujitsu shows off colour e-book display

As I was writing about the Sony Reader the other day, my housemate looked over my shoulder and asked "why would you pick an e-book over a traditional one?"  Given that he's a student, I rolled out the usual justifications of being able to carry all your textbooks in one far smaller unit, easier bookmarking, faster searching.  Although he could appreciate that, at the same time he said he would find it difficult to justify the Reader as a) it's in greyscale, and b) you can't annotate it.  Well, Fujitsu have just knocked that first negative into a cocked hat, with their new colour "electronic paper". 

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Microsoft Zune in action – Wireless Song Transfer

Microsoft Zune in action – Wireless Song Transfer

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that the guys at Microsoft 10 have got their hands on a Zune, but two of them?!  I'm shocked and appalled at this blatant favouritism, and you can be sure that as soon as I've finished watching their video of the music-playing marvels transferring songs between themselves I'll be writing a letter to the Pope in complaint.

 

Seriously, though, this is a make or break one for the bods over at Microsoft.  Wireless could be the must-have PMP feature with Zune riding the crest, but if they lock it down tighter than the underpants of a particularly devout nun then they run the risk of other, more moderate companies stealing their thunder.  I mean, watch their video and tell me it's not a cool feature!

Microsoft 10 [via greg hughes dot net]

Intel Ruby gets polished up

Intel Ruby gets polished up

I'm a total Tablet PC convert, so the sight of a renovated Intel Ruby prototype brings joy to my pen-loving eyes.  Ruby was a design concept by the processor firm to signpost the direction it saw its ultra-mobile, energy efficient chips heading in; a thin framed compact touchscreen tablet, the media inevitably compared it to Star Trek's PADD portable computers (which it kinda resembled) and then unfavourably compared the chunky first-gen UMPCs to it. 

AI Wheelchair watches out for danger

AI Wheelchair watches out for danger

During a senior citizen's charity barn dance last year, my grandmother was the victim of a very slow hit-and-run incident when one of the other participant's wheelchairs ran over her foot.  With tragedy like this lacing our streets on an almost bi-daily basis, it's a corn-fed shock to the system that wheelchair users are not required to pass some sort of pavement safety testing scheme.  Thankfully, Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) are doing something about it.

Ecopod recycling bin solves cramped kitchen crisis

Ecopod recycling bin solves cramped kitchen crisis

Having recently moved into a flat with someone obsessed with recycling, the thorny subject of needing various bins has come up several times.  Me, being of the minimalist persuasion, would prefer one simple bin - probably slender and stainless steel - whereas they would like a number of colour-coded glass/paper/aluminium/cheese bins that would take up a whole bloody wall of the kitchen.

Shape-shifting home follows the sun

Shape-shifting home follows the sun

Treehugger have an intriguing post about a self-rearranging home that gradually alters its configuration with the changing weather and time of day. 

"A small channel in the floor has stopped streaming cold water, and now appears to be releasing steam. Presumably this is was intended to add a dash [of] humidity and warmth to the room"

It's not just minor features that react, it's whole walls too - shifting to maximise the sun or keep out the wind.  Each change is heralded by what they describe as "small audio clues", hopefully not of the sort that trucks make when reversing. 

I'd love to hear some more details about this, if anybody has them?

Self-Rearranging Homes That Optimize Themselves [Treehugger]

Porsche Panamera – a four door disappointment?

Porsche Panamera – a four door disappointment?

I'm thinking about starting a petition to make concept designers legally obliged to comfort members of the public upset when all their fancy promises turn out - when in the metal - to be shockingly poor.  Hopefully the designer of the Porsche Panamera, the "four-door coupé" that will take on the Maserati Quattroporte and any number of sodding fast Mercedes, will not end up footing thousands of therapy bills - worryingly likely should this heavily disguised test mule be close in shape to the end product.

Compared to the original sketches, the mule is lumpy and weighty around the hips.  The Bentley-a-like C-pillar arrangement is just that little bit too pointy and awkward, even when you look beyond the disguising sticky-tape.

Porsche Panamera concept

My fingers are crossed to the point of causing crippling pain that further evolutions of shape are in the works.

Cardisiac [via Jalopnik]

Microsoft Argo / Zune MP3 Video player

Microsoft Argo / Zune MP3 Video player

While the information provide by Engadget and Gizmodo are still rumors and unconfirmed, it's very likely and credible that the image below is indeed the Microsoft Zune (it's possible that the device also went by the code name Argo.

According to Engadget’s report, the Zuno display is 4:3 ratio not 16:9.  The screen size might be in the range of 3 to 3.5-inches wide.  There's also a big wheel with two buttons on either side; the left seems to be a "back" and the right is a "play/pause" button.

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