Indiegogo’s Slava Rubin at CES

Indiegogo logoIn less than ten years, crowd-funding has come from nowhere to a seriously considered option for many startups and entrepreneurs. Crowd-funding isn’t only about the money, it’s about being able to engage early with potential customers to make better products.

And when it comes to crowd-funding, Indiegogo‘s right up there at the top and at the top of Indiegogo is Slava Rubin, co-founder and CEO. In a great score, Todd and Jamie interview Slava about Indiegogo’s trail-blazing approach, venture capitalists and the latest expansions into charity (Indiegogo Life), commerce (Indiegogo InDemand) and merchandise (Amplifier).

Interview by Jamie Davies of Health Tech Weekly and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Powerocks with New Battery Products at CES

Powerocks LogoUSB power packs for charging smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous and companies are striving hard to find their niche in a market that’s full of products from both established names and up-and-coming specialists. Todd talks with Craig Miller from Powerocks about how they’re going to set themselves apart.

Powerocks has adopted a two pronged approach. In its established market for mobile devices, it’s taking USB battery packs and giving them a lifestyle makeover, in this case a leather covering, to make them more appealing to a wider audience and sold in mainstream stores.

Secondly, Powerocks is using its battery expertise to be build products that aren’t only smartphone chargers but still have a battery at the core. The Jump Starter vehicle emergency unit includes a 10,000 mAh battery, USB charging ports, an LED signal light, a torch, a distress alarm, a steel break-glass and a car jump-starter all in one unit. Seriously!

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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GNC #1008 25/3 mbps Victory!

The FCC has just come out swinging and the broadband companies are not happy in the least with the new minimums of 25/3 mbps. This is a big win for rural America and could at some point see faster broadband speeds for the folks that need it the most.. I totally jacked the beginning of the show so be ready for that.

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Robot Underpants: 01.27.15 (186) “Who Ya Gonna Call?”

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, “Starman” Michael Gaines, and Kathy Hopkins have everything you need to know about everything that possibly happened (of interest) this week, including: Ghostbusters news, Indiana Jones news, Apple news, Fantastic Four news, Super Bowl news, Stormageddon and more!

* Female Ghostbusters
* Indiana Jones
* Apple Earnings
* Seattle Seahawks

iSwimband Returns to CES with Updated Product

iSwimband logoPool and water safety are serious concerns. iSwimband returned to CES in 2015 to talk about its updated product for swimmers. Imagine being able to receive an alert on your smartphone when a young child enters the water. Or imagine being able receive an alert when a more advanced swimmer has been underwater for too long.

Jamie spoke with Paul Newcomb for the second time in as many years about iSwimband. Paul talked about the updated iSwimband and how the band can be used in conjunction with a swimmer’s current set of goggles or swim cap. Paul also noted that iSwimband makes a customized set of goggles that easily allows for iSwimband integration, and that the company will soon be releasing a specialized swim cap that does the same.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly for the TechPodcast Network.

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MakerBot Brings Robohand to CES

MakerBot logo

3-D printing has come a long way over the last year or so. But it’s still seen primarily as a curiosity by most people. Of course, those in the know have always realized 3-D printing’s true potential. And the great minds over at MakerBot had some fine examples of that potential at CES 2015.

Jamie caught up with Jen Howard, Director of Public Relations at MakerBot. Jen related the story of how two engineers on opposite ends of the planet worked together to fabricate a prosthetic “Robohand” for a man who had recently lost his hand in a work accident. Jen also showed off a 3-D printed skeleton that would go well in a classroom environment.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly for the TechPodcast Network.

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Luminette Provides Light Therapy for the Winter Blues at CES

Luminette logoDepression can be a real problem, especially during those long, sun-deprived winter months. There are plenty of treatments available to help those who are feeling blue during those dark days, and Luminette is the latest product to try and tackle the problem.

Jamie met with Eric Delloy, General Manger of Lucimed, the company behind Luminette. Eric demonstrated how this specialized set of glasses uses LED’s to provide light therapy to the user. Lucimed has found that regular use of the Luminette helped to regulate users’ melatonin and serotonin levels.

Luminette is currently available for sale in Europe and is expected to reach the U.S. market in September, with a retail price of $239.00.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly for the TechPodcast Network.

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MonBaby is a Smart Baby Monitor at CES

monbaby logoBaby monitoring is a product category ready for some real disruption. For years, baby monitoring systems have pretty much only consisted of walkie-talkie style radio setups. MonBaby is a new product that brings baby monitoring into the 21st century.

Jamie visited with Arturas Vaitaitis, a MonBaby representative. Arturas explained that MonBaby is a button-style Bluetooth-enabled monitor that attaches to any part of a baby’s clothing. MonBaby then sends alerts to a parent’s smartphone. Alerts include things like baby movement, rollovers or lack of baby movement. MonBaby is expected to hit the market in mid-Fedbruary and is currently available for preorder on the MonBaby website for $169.00.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly for the TechPodcast Network.

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Keep Your Devices Charged and Ready with myCharge at CES

myCharge logoBattery-charging solutions were a busy vertical at CES 2015. One of the many companies hoping to solve the never-ending problem of discharged devices is myCharge. Jamie stopped by the myCharge booth to take a look at the myCharge Ultra Hub.

myCharge products come with integrated cables that can connect to either Micro USB or Lightning-powered devices. myCharge is itself a battery-pack style solution; load up the myCharge with a full battery and then take it with you to charge up your devices when you can’t gain access to standard power points.

Video hosted by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly for the TechPodcast Network.

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Motorola Moto X (2014) Review

Motorola M LogoThe latest iteration of Motorola‘s Moto X has appeared on many end of year lists as the best of phone of 2014. Much as I dislike “best of” lists, I have to agree they’re probably right as the Moto X is an excellent phone. So much so, I’m tempted to simply say that the 2014 Moto X is “the 2013 Moto X – only better”. However, I guess I’d better be a little more rigorous. Let’s take a look.

Motorola Moto X 2014

I’ve spent a little around a month with the Moto X courtesy of Motorola and as an upgrade from my previous workhorse, the LG Nexus 4, it’s a significant jump which is emphasised by the coincidental arrival of Android 5. The Moto X arrived with KitKat out of the box, but upgraded to Lollipop within minutes.

Checking out the specs, it’s a 5.2″ 1920 x 1080 full HD AMOLED screen powered by a Qualcomm 2.5 MHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor supported by an Adreno 330 GPU. There’s 2 GB RAM and 16 GB of storage and a 2300 mAh battery keeps the Moto X going, with Motorola reckoning on around 24 hours use. It’s a GSM phone with 4G LTE on the 1, 3, 7, 8 and 20 bands. Dimensions are 72 x 141 x 9.9 mm (3.8 mm at the narrowest point) and weighs in at 144 g. Broadly, it’s faster, bigger and heavier than the previous generation.

Using Geekbench 3, the latest Moto X clocks in at 1001 single core and 2801 for multi-core with the previous generation Moto X scoring 666 / 1258. The bump in clock speed (1.75 to 2.5 GHz) and cores (2 to 4) are responsible for the big jump in multi-core performance.

Motorola Moto X PowerThe Moto X looks good, and this particular phone is nearly all black with the on/off and volume rocker in a dark grey metal. There are speaker highlights at the top and bottom of the phone too. Using MotoMaker there’s wide range of colour combinations for both the metal frame and the back of the phone, which also comes in a few different materials including leather. Nice.

Motorola Moto X BottomMoving round the phone, the right-hand side has the ribbed on/off button and similar volume rocker. There’s a micro-USB socket at the bottom and 3.5 mm audio jack at the top. I like the left-side clear so it’s easy to rest the phone on the edge and there’s no fiddling around for the volume controls. The back has the rear-facing camera with flash ring and there’s the signature dimple in the back which might have been a fingerprint scanner. Powering the phone up reveals two things….first the screen is even better than last time and second Motorola has still kept it near to stock Android. The full HD screen gives a high pixel density of 423 ppi and everything looks good. True to AMOLED displays, colours are strong and vibrant, though some people may find it oversaturated.

Returning to the user interface, anyone familiar with a Nexus device will be totally at home. It’s all fairly standard and what Motorola has done is to tweak some of the standard apps and include a few value-adding apps which you can use or not use, as you wish. They’re Moto X Motoall pretty good and several have been updated with new names and extra functionality. Both Help and Migrate are much as before and Connect now supports newer devices such as the Moto 360 smartwatch or Keylink tracker.

Moto has replaced the earlier Assist as a personal assistant-type app that sets up rules for when the phone needs to be quiet, based on driving, meetings or sleeping. The new version adds extra features to set up rules for reacting to motion, responding to voice and displaying notifications on the screen. Active Display is still cool – go up to the phone and notifications will fade into view. It’s one of the best Moto features by far. The new Moto X now has Attentive Display too which keeps the screen on when the owner is looking at the phone but turns it off to save power when the owner looks away. Neat.

Camera-wise, some other reviewers gripe that the 13 megapixel camera lets the phone down. I’m not so sure: while it’s not a necessarily a great camera, my photos seemed to me to be an improvement on those taken by the previous generation of smartphone camera. I was able to zoom in further without loss of detail and colour reproduction was good. Frankly, if you want great photos, use a DSLR.

To round off the review, here are a couple of family photos with the 2014 Moto X next to the original and a Nexus 4 snuck in the middle. The new one is bigger but it’s not crazy big like the Nexus 6 or the OnePlus One. I think it’s a good size.

 

Motorola Moto X and Nexus 4

Motorola Moto X and Nexus 4

Reiterating, the Moto X is an excellent phone which is competitively priced, starting at £419 here in the UK, though there are occasional offers that drop the price by good chunk. It feels great in the hand, has a lovely screen and sticks to stock Android while adding value through apps rather than eye candy. I’m seriously considering buying one for myself to replace the ageing Nexus 4, so consider that a recommendation.

Thanks again to Motorola for providing the Moto X for review.