Tablet Nirvana

I’ve been playing around with tablets for a while now along with several smartphones along the way, and I believe I’m getting very close to my idea of what the ideal tablet should be.

I started out with a Nook Color. The original Nook Color is a nice piece of hardware with a beautiful 7″ inch color screen, but the hardware behind it was somewhat lacking. The original Nook Color’s processor was a bit slow, and the performance lagged somewhat. I even experimented with other versions of Android on it. What I found was that I loved the 7″ inch 16 x 9 format color screen size, which is close to ideal, but the processor was too slow, it didn’t have an integrated GPS chip, nor did it have functioning Bluetooth capability. Overall, the hardware just wasn’t enough to push it beyond the locked-down version of Android that Barnes and Noble shipped on it. I ended up finding the Nook Color a good home and sold it.

Next, I got an iPad 2. I really like the iPad, and I still have it. The iPad 2 came close to the ideal tablet, but it lacked an integrated GPS chip. It is also a bit bulky to easily handle with one hand. The problem came with the upgrade to iOS 6. I drive a truck over-the-road, and I was constantly using the integrated Google Maps. Google’s satellite maps are very clear and detailed, and I often make use of Street View as I’m constantly having to travel to new places I’ve never been before. iOS 6 ripped out the quite superior Google Maps and substituted Apple’s inferior also-ran excuse for a replacement. I can see no good reason for them doing this, other than a lame back-stabbing attempt to punish Google for coming out with Android. I am still quite unhappy with the loss of mapping functionality. Of course I realize that I can simply go to the Google Maps website and use Google’s satellite maps along with Google Street View, but doing it through the browser is an inferior experience to what the original iPad Google Map once was before iOS 6 took it away. By the way, I’ve never found much use for the integrated cameras in the iPad 2. Mostly I’ve used the forward-facing camera for occasional video Skype or Facetime chats.

A few days ago, I purchased a 32 gigabyte Nexus 7 manufactured by Asus, priced at $249 for the 32 gigabyte version and $199 for the 16 gigabyte version. After using the Nexus 7 for a while, I think I might be in tablet heaven. I love the 7″ inch 16 x 9 widescreen size. It can easily be held in one hand. Also, it will easily fit in many inside coat pockets.

The Nexus 7, which of course comes with Google Maps and turn-by-turn street navigation, has an integrated GPS chip. It also has a powerful quad-core Tegra 3 processor, along with full Bluetooth functionality. It has a forward-facing camera for video chatting, along with great battery life, and a stellar high definition screen.

I’m finding that I’m tending to reach for the Nexus 7 rather than the iPad 2. The Nexus 7 is so light. The iPad 2 now feels a bit clunky and kludgy.

Am I ready to sell the iPad? Not just yet. I want to wait a while and see how it shakes out. It’s still handy to be able to have two separate devices to watch streaming videos on — when one runs down, I can switch to the other if I don’t have them plugged in.

The Nexus 7 is an incredible value. Now that the vast majority of apps also come in Android versions, why needlessly spend hundreds of dollars extra for a product where the manufacturer has a proven history of deleting popular functionality with so-called upgrades?

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GNC-2013-01-31 #832 Change in Plans!

I will be remaining in Texas for one more week and then will be back in Honolulu. Two more road shows before I get back.. Needless to say not very happy with Wirecast it keeps on destroying the video recordings and I am at a loss as to why. Time to look for a different solution which may require me to stop using the green screen while on the road.

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Casio G-Shock with iPhone Mobile Link

Casio G-Shock GB6900AAFor digital watches, there’s really only one range to look at – Casio G-Shock. From day-to-day wear to aviation and snowsports, there’s a G-Shock watch that will fulfil your needs. The GB6900AA takes this to a new level, providing incoming call and email notifications from your iPhone. Don straps it on.

The GB6900AA has all the features of a rugged digital watch, but it also has a low-power Bluetooth transceiver, allowing the watch to connect to the Apple iPhone and display or buzz on incoming phone calls and new emails. As a security feature the watch will alert the owner if they get too far, reminding them not to leave their phone behind.

The GB6900AA is currently only certified to work with the iPhone 4S and 5, and there’s Casio’s “G-SHOCK+” application to be downloaded from the App Store. However, an Android version is expected later in the year. Available now in limited numbers for $180.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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LG’s $12,000 OLED TV

LG LogoLG bills its OLED screens as “The Ultimate Display” and Don Baine takes a look to see if the claim holds up.

LG’s OLED TVs are stunning on so many levels – the slimness of the screen, the thinness of the bezel, the curved screen with 3D, the blackness of the blacks, brightness of the colours and finally the price. At $12,000 for a 55″ screen, it’s not cheap, but it is the ultimate display.

If you’ve got the cash, you can pre-order now with availability expected in the US from mid-March.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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The USB Cloud Key

Hassle-Free AccessAndy McCaskey was at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and had a chance to check out the USB Cloud Key. This is a new secure way for accessing web pages.

How does it work? It holds URL’s, user names and passwords in its memory. More importantly, the webmaster can use it to track what users are doing when they access the account. That means you can track usage stats down to the last person.

It sounds like a potential security risk, but it is currently being used in the medical industry in Japan, which should mean it has been vetted for security. You really need to watch the video to get the real explanation, which will give you the lowdown on what this technology can do for you.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net

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The MirrorCase

MirrorCase The MirrorCase by RHP Multimedia was originally designed for the iPhone 4 and 4s, however it was a little too bulky for some users. The new design for the iPhone 5 and iPad is much sleeker. The mirror can be pivoted. It can work either when the iPad or iPhone is in landscape or portrait mode. The mirror slides back into the case when you’re done and you can then use the camera as you would normally.

If you take a lot of pictures or videos with your iPhone or iPad you know that it can get quite awkward after a while. The MirrorCase allows you to hold your iPhone or iPad in a more natural position while taking pictures or videos. You can save everything directly to the iPhone or iPad camera roll. You can set different resolutions to save storage space. There is a built-in acoustic port which directs the sound back toward the user. There is also a built-in stand which you can adjust to various heights. The mirror itself is a second surface mirror with a piece of glass on top to prevent the mirror from being scratched. When you take a picture using the mirror there is no distortion added to the photo by the mirror. The basic app on the iPhone and iPad are free. The plus app which is available for $00.99 adds sharing features and in app access to the camera roll.

The iPad version is $79.95, the iPhone 5 version is $59.95 and the original case for the iPhone 4 and 4s is $49.95. The original case for the iPhone 4 and 4s is available now on the MirrorCase website and the iPhone 5 and iPad cases are available for pre-order and should be release around the end of the 1st quarter.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor and by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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MultiCharger-X by iLuv

iLuvMultiCharger-X by iLuv can charge and sync up to ten iPads in at once. You can stack one MultiCharger-X on top of another. You can daisy chain up to three MultiCharger-X  in a row so you can sync up to thirty iPads with one MacBook. The box has a locking feature so you can lock the iPads up to keep them secure overnight. You have the option of putting casters on the bottom so you could roll it across the floor or you can also lock it to the floor. Each slot charges independently so you don’t need to fill all slots for it to work. There is an individual LED light to indicate charging level of each slot. You can go from charging to syncing with the touch of a button.

This type of device would be great for businesses where a lot of the employees use iPads. For example if you have a sales force and you want them to all to use the same PowerPoint presentation you could easily sync that presentation to multiply iPads from one Mac. Employees who use iPads for work could place them in a slot when they leave. The iPads then could be synced and charged over night so they would be ready for them in the morning

The MultiCharger X will be available around May-June and will cost $799. It should be available at various retail stores and on the iLuv website.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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HeartMath Inner Balance for iOS

HeartMath LogoIt’s a brave man who attempts to find inner balance at CES, but Jamie gives it a go with HeartMath‘s forthcoming Inner Balance.

HeartMath’s Inner Balance combines an iPhone app with a heart rate sensor, providing a feedback loop that helps people control their heart rate, relax and relieve stress. The sensor gently attaches to the earlobe and measures heart rate variability. The app uses a breath pacer and graphical display of the heart rate to help the person concentrate and control their breathing and pulse rate.

The Inner Balance sensor will be available in February for $99 and the free app can be downloaded from the Apple AppStore for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Interview by Jamie Davies of Health Tech Weekly.

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