Kodak's Zi8 has been one of the best mini camcorders available since it launched in 2009. It isn't perfect, but it has a lot of features the competition doesn't have, such as a switch for shooting in macro and an external mic jack. The PlayTouch (secretly called the Zi10, and seriously, Kodak, try googling product names before you go to production with them) is the update to the Zi8, and while it keeps many of the core features of its predecessor, it's a significant upgrade in design. This includes the use of a 3-inch capacitive touch … Read more
Available on Best Buy's Insignia label, the Infocast ($169) is a surprisingly unique product based around the same Chumby apps platform as the Sony Dash and Chumby One. It works as a photo frame, video player, news reader, game console, Internet radio, alarm clock, and weather forecaster, along with hundreds of extra features provided through free, Flash-based apps.
Best of all, unlike any previous Chumby spin-offs, the Infocast uses an extra-large screen that measures 8 inches diagonally, putting it in league with digital photo frames.
Do you need one? Well... no. As with all of these Chumby-based products, the … Read more
We all know how annoying fingerprints on touch screens can be, but now researchers believe they can actually leave your mobile phone susceptible to hacking.
University of Pennsylvania researchers tested the Google Nexus One and HTC G1, both of which use a graphical password system to unlock the phone that works by swiping a set pattern on the touch screen.
Unlocking your phone in this way leaves oily residues on the screen that can remain even if you wipe it. "Latent smudges may be usable to infer recently and frequently touched areas of the screen--a form of information leakage,&… Read more
Does an Android device with a 3.2-inch screen still qualify as a "tablet"? That was the first question that popped into my head when I saw images of the Archos 32 Android tablet that were published Tuesday by the FCC.
Maybe I'm still feeling the effects of my time with the Dell Streak, but aren't tablets supposed to stretch beyond the confines of the pocket? Maybe not. It seems manufacturers have decided anything with a smartphone OS and a touch screen is a tablet--a tactic that may come back to bite them if Apple starts … Read more
As I mentioned back at the end of June, camera manufacturers are beginning to announce models for the second half of 2010. Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, and Samsung have made their announcements, three of them doing so early Wednesday morning.
Sony and Panasonic are launching mostly high-end models as well as a couple updates to older, popular models. Samsung refreshed its flagship DualView cameras and introduced a 7x zoom ultracompact for $180. And Fujifilm announced replacements to three models that were barely six months old as well as a significant update to its groundbreaking F200EXR.
Here are links to all the … Read more
Like failed sitcoms canceled halfway through a season, Fujifilm is giving the ax to three of its cameras from the first half of 2010. Fujifilm is replacing the FinePix Z700EXR, S1800, and JX250 that it announced February 1 with the Z800EXR, S2800HD, and JX280, respectively. I didn't review the three outgoing models, so I can't say if there was anything necessarily wrong with them. It seems Fujifilm just wanted to retool the models with some new features.
For example, the Z800EXR has a new version of the company's 12-megapixel Super CCD EXR sensor that has a high-speed hybrid autofocus system. Using both Contrast AF and Phase Detection AF, the camera is able to measure the amount of light or contrast in the scene and pick the AF system that will focus the fastest. Also added is improved image stabilization so there's less need to use higher ISOs when using the 5x zoom lens or in low-light conditions. Now it can take panorama shots at 180, 240, or 360 degrees with a sweep of the camera. It retains the prior versions full-metal body and 460K-pixel, 3.5-inch touch screen, too. The FinePix Z800EXR will be available in late August 2010 at a retail price of $229.95, which is really cheap.… Read more
If your laptop display is too small for you, check out the latest USB monitor from Mimo. While its previous offering increased your screen real estate by 7 inches, the latest iMo Mini-Monster Touch comes with a 10.1-inch touch screen that requires only a USB cable to work.
Unlike conventional monitors, Mimo displays can be powered with a single USB connection that also streams video data. It's able to do this as the company has decreased the power consumption of this device to a low enough point that it fits within the power output of a standard USB … Read more
Regardless of your feelings about 3D, there's really no stopping the onslaught of products now. Hence we have Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-TX9 and DSC-WX5 that offer the ability to shoot 3D panorama photos.
The TX9 replaces the TX7, which is barely 6 months old. It has the same body, touch-screen LCD, and lens as that camera, but its backside-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor gets a resolution bump from 10 to 12 megapixels. The WX5 replaces 2009's WX1 and again is built essentially the same as its predecessor, but with the higher-resolution sensor. However, along with the increased megapixels come important shooting feature differences.
First, there's that 3D stuff. In addition to the Intelligent Sweep Panorama found on Sony's earlier Exmor R-based models, these have a 3D Sweep Panorama. Press the shutter release, sweep the camera vertically or horizontally, and the camera captures left and right images and then stitches them together. You then connect the camera by HDMI to your 3D-ready HDTV, pop on your glasses, and enjoy. The results are good, especially considering how easy it is to create them and that they're single-lens cameras as opposed to dual-lens cameras like Fujifilm's Real 3D W1.
The 3D fun doesn't stop there, though. Both cameras have a Sweep Multi Angle option that captures a series of shots at different angles and then combines them into one shot. Tilting the camera left and right plays through the photos, creating a lenticular lens effect. The result is very similar to what you can do with any camera and Start 3D, but these can only be viewed on the camera. And going by what was said at the demo Sony gave us, it seems like it's mostly just a gimmick to sell 3D cameras at retail stores to people who don't own 3D HDTVs. … Read more
Will iPhones, iPads, and other iOS devices usurp the venerable Mac, as some fear? Will the more versatile, powerful and universally compatible Mac prevail? Why must we fight, people? Maybe we can have it both ways.
We've wondered when (and how) Apple's iOS would evolve to challenge OS X. An absence of Mac focus at this year's WWDC has had Mac users panicking slightly.
In fact, it seems highly likely that Apple's iOS and OS X are bound to merge in some fascinating and (hopefully) useful ways.
How so? Well, let us brainstorm for you. We … Read more