Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Vertix Raptor Helmet Communicator

Posted by Andrew at 8:38 AM on February 3, 2012

Vertex Raptor II Helmet Communicator

Veteran biker, Andy “Hog” McCaskey, checks out Vertix‘s Raptor helmet communicator. Let’s roll!

Vertix Raptor-i is a Bluetooth-based helmet communication system that brings together phone, intercom, radio and music player functions into a single unit. It’s perfect for any activity where wearing a helmet is the norm including motorcycling, motorport and skiing.

A microphone and speaker are fitted inside the helmet and Raptor unit goes on the outside. The unit’s controls are designed to be operated with gloves on and a remote control will be available in a few month’s time. Noise-cancellation and auto-gain control to ensure that voices can be heard clearly even at speed.

For the intercom function, two Raptor units can be paired together so that rider and pillion can talk or two riding buddies can chat between bikes.

The MSRP for the Vertix Raptor-i is $160 and it’s available now.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Built To Tylt Designs for Smartphones

Posted by Andrew at 9:07 AM on February 1, 2012

Built to Tylt logoAt CES‘s Digital Experience, Andy talks with Built To Tylt about their funky designs for smartphones and other portable gadgets. Check their website as these guys have got some great stuff.

The Tylt Band is a smartphone car charger made of a colourful flat silicon rubber cable that is nearly impossible tangle. Micro-USB and Apple connectors are available there’s an extra standard USB socket near the base of the cable for plugging in another device.

Tylt also have two portable battery packs, the Zumo and the PowerPlant, with 1500 mAh and 5,200 mAh batteries respectively. The Zumo is intended for the emergency smartphone charging, whereas the larger PowerPlant can part charge a tablet or recharge a smartphone several times.

Finally, if you are an iPhone owner, you might be interested in Tylt’s new iPhone cases, one of which comes with a lens cover to protect the camera and another that has a built-in kickstand (kickband?) to angle the iPhone for movie watching.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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inCarBite iPad and Kindle Fire Car Mount

Posted by Andrew at 9:04 AM on February 1, 2012

inCarBite iPad car mountThese days, in-car DVD players are old hat – a tablet is where it’s at. Andy talks to Linda at inCarBite on how their car mount can keep up with the Joneses.

The inCarBite tablet mounting system is available for the Apple iPad 1 & 2 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which is gaining in popularity as an entertainment device. The tablet mount fixes onto the headrest stems of the front seats using a neat clamp, which is detachable from the mount itself to make fitting easier. Power is provided from the car’s cigarette lighter socket so the tablet is charged while it’s in the mount.

And if that’s not enough, there’s a matching home dock with surround sound which takes the same mount so the device can be easily switched between the living room, kitchen and car.

It’s available now for the iPad from $79.99 to $159.99 depending on accessories. The Kindle Fire version is coming soon.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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DeLorme inReach Two-Way Satellite Communicator

Posted by Andrew at 12:23 PM on January 29, 2012

DeLorme LogoAndy talks to Jim from DeLorme about the new inReach two-way satellite communicator, perfect for those really out of the way places.

The DeLorme inReach is a tracking and communication device that uses a satellite radio link to transmit text and GPS location data, rather than the mobile phone network. Owners can communicate via text message from anywhere on the planet, not just those areas with mobile phone coverage, and it’s ideal for hikers and extreme sports enthusiasts who might have an emergency far from a phone signal (or simply want to reassure family that they’re ok.)

The inReach has two modes of operation, one where you use the control unit directly, the other where an Android smartphone app talks to the control unit via Bluetooth. The app is needed for two-way text messaging, mainly as the control unit doesn’t have a keyboard, but there is a dedicated SOS button on the control unit for emergencies. Other smartphones may be supported later.

The inReach costs $250 and a monthly subscription is required for service priced at $9.95 per month. The units are available now.

The inReach is impact-resistant, waterproof, floats and weighs 8oz. Battery life is 60 hours on a pair of lithium AAs. Overall, it’s an ideal emergency backup device but please note, gadgets like this are not a substitute for proper planning, preparation and equipment. Always tell someone your plan and expected return time.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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AfterShokz Bone Conducting Headphones

Posted by Andrew at 12:19 PM on January 29, 2012

AfterShokz Headphones LogoBruce from AfterShokz shows off their bone-conducting headphones to Courtney at this year’s CES.

Previously the preserve of military specialists and bored long-distance swimmers, bone-conducting headphones transmit sound to the inner ear via the skull bones rather than down the ear canal. This method has several advantages over headphones and earbuds including much improved hygiene and comfort. They’re good for outdoor activities and cycling as not only do the headphones grip firmly, they allow outside sounds in so you hear that truck bearing down on you before it actually hits you.

The AfterShokz headphones are available now in three different models, Sport ($59.95), Mobile ($69.95) and Game ($69.95). The Mobile model has an in-line microphone and jack for use with mobile phones. The Game version also has an in-line mic but connects via USB.

Interview by Courtney Wallin of SDR News.

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Wi-Ex zBoost Signal Boosters for Cell Phones

Posted by Andrew at 6:36 PM on January 28, 2012

zBoost by Wi-Ex logo

zBoost by Wi-Ex is a range of signal extenders that will improve cell and mobile phone coverage in weak areas. Todd and Don discuss zBoost’s latest products from Sharon Cuppett, VP of Wi-Ex (and they get a mention on Wi-Ex’s blog)

Wi-Ex launched two new products at CES, the first being the zBoost 4G-V, a signal booster for 4G frequencies on Verizon, the largest mobile carrier with over 100 million subscribers. A whole 4G product line is under development, including dual- and tri-band boosters. Available in Q2 2012 for around $220.

The second is an in-car booster, the zBoost zForce, which comprises a cradle for the phone and a magnetised antenna for the outside of the vehicle. Powered from the cigarette adaptor, the zForce can boost coverage by about 10x, eliminating dead spots and increasing range in rural areas. Retailing at only $99, it will be available shortly.

(You’ll have to watch the Blue Microphone interview to realise this, but in this video Sharon borrows Don’s phone to demonstrate the zForce and then walks off with the phone at the end of the interview!)

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

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iLuv Wins With New Travel Gadgets

Posted by Andrew at 4:10 PM on January 28, 2012

iLuv LogoiLuv will be familiar to many with their extensive range of matching accessories for tablets, smartphones and MP3 players. At CES this year, iLuv won no less than 5 CES Innovations Honoree awards to add to their collection of accolades. Todd gets a review of their latest products from Peter of iLuv.

The DreamTraveler is combined iPhone dock, USB charger and mains power strip squared aimed at those unfortunate souls who have to spend time in poorly equipped hotel rooms. It has two USB charging ports, three power outlets and an Apple connector for charging iPhones, iPods and iPads.

For the international traveller, iLuv has the RockWall, a dual USB charger that comes with the right mains plugs for different countries round the world.

Finally, the Mo’Beats is a portable tablet or smartphone cradle with Bluetooth wireless speakers that has a built-in lithium-ion battery which will run for about 4 hours.

All the products will be available in April or May. The Mo’Beats SRP is expected to be $89.99 but the website is currently showing $99.99. I think Peter gets his prices mixed up in the video as the RockWall is priced at $49.99 on the website and the DreamTraveler is $129.99.

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

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Take Control of Your Car with Mavia

Posted by Andrew at 11:06 PM on January 25, 2012

Mavia DeviceTodd chats to Madison of Mavizon about their new Mavia automotive product which keeps tabs on your vehicle in more ways than one.

Mavia is a small box (see picture left) that plugs into your vehicle’s ODB-II port – that’s the connector used by technician’s to check on the car when there’s a problem. The Mavia combines readouts from this port with its own internal GPS receiver to provide location and technical information that is sent back to an online hub at www.mymavia.comAndroid and iPhone client apps can be downloaded too.

The MyMavia hub will show data on the vehicle such as gas mileage and distance to next service, plus any diagnostic error codes. MyMavia can interpret some of the diagnostic codes and it enables the owner to consult other resources, online or otherwise, to find out more on what’s wrong with the car. MyMavia incorporates location services too, showing where the vehicle is on Google Maps and there are connections to social sites like Foursquare.

The Mavia is in a beta testing phase so pricing is not confirmed but is expected to be around $200. The device will be available from retail outlets later in the year and requires no special fitting; it’s a self-install.

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

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The Zagg Sparq Portable Power at CES

Posted by Andrew at 4:25 PM on January 22, 2012

Zagg LogoZagg’s protective films are popular “first purchases” for new smartphone owners and but Zagg offer other products in the mobile working space. Todd chats to Nate from Zagg to about the Zagg Sparq, a portable rechargeable battery pack.

The Sparq is mains charged, with two front-facing USB ports to recharge any  portable device with a USB-type connector. The internal battery has sufficient capacity to recharge four times the average smartphone. Perfect for when you’re on the road.

Available now for $99.99 from Zagg online with free shipping.

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

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Zagg HZO – Waterproofing for Electronics

Posted by Andrew at 11:57 PM on January 21, 2012

Zagg Logo

Zagg’s protective films are popular “first purchases” for new smartphone owners and at CES 2012, Zagg shows off their latest protection mechanism. Todd chats to Bill from Zagg to find out what it protects against.

The adage is that water and electricity don’t mix, and by extension, water and mobile devices don’t mix well either. Zagg hopes to change that with a new nanotech-based coating, HZO, that repels water so effectively that a dunk in the drink will have no effect on the device.

The HZO coating is applied during the manufacturing process so that every component is properly treated and waterproofed. There’s no physical skin or cover as the water-repellency is at the molecular level. Almost any device can be waterproofed – smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, headphones, but it has to be done during manufacture, not by the end-user.

Zagg is currently in negotiation with major OEMs so expect water-repellent devices to hit the market in 12-18 months and if you want to see an iPhone working underwater, then watch the video.

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

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