Category Archives: video

Pioneer Brings CarPlay and Android Auto to the After-Market



Pioneer logoPioneer is a brand for well-known for its in-car audio and entertainment systems so it comes as no surprise that the company is bringing a range of after-market units with Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. Todd and Marlo get a demo of the latest product with Ted Cardenas from Pioneer.

On show here is the freshly-announced Pioneer AVH-4200-NEX, which is one of three products which incorporate both CarPlay and Android Auto. As a result, the display and user interface will take on the persona of the connected device. The in-dash receiver connects to the smartphone using a wired connection as the phones contribute heavily to the running of apps. Plugging in the phones avoids issues with data speeds and keeps the battery charged, though Bluetooth is used in Android Auto for calls.

Voice is heavily used by both the driver to control the NEX and for the system to respond. Voice can be used to compose and listen to text messages, to navigate and to talk to Siri or Google Now. This keeps the need to look at the screen to a minimum and enhances safety.

If your current vehicle’s in-car entertainment system doesn’t support CarPlay or Android Auto, the Pioneer NEX range offers a great way to upgrade to the latest auto technology. Priced at around $700, the AVH-4200-NEX will be available in March.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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Invisible Touch with HandScape at CES



Handscape logoHandScape claim to be “Reinventing touch” and honestly, it’s not far from the truth. Their HandyCase puts a touch-sensitive panel on the back of a smartphone or tablet which lets the user work the device without fingers obscuring the display. LG has put buttons on the back of smartphones before but HandScape take it to the next level. Todd and Marlo see the possibilities with Tong Luo, founder and CEO.

Originally a Kickstarter project, the HandyCases for iPhone and iPad incorporate a touch-sensitive digitiser into a shell case. With multipoint capability, the touches, swipes and taps are transmitted via Bluetooth to the device which then reacts as if it had been tapped on the front display. This is genius. Imagine holding your smartphone in your hand and being able to scroll through your contact list by stroking the back of the phone with with one finger, and then double tapping to dial the number. Fantastic!

Cases are currently available for select Apple products with prices up to about US$150. It’s not 100% clear from the website what works now and what requires developer support so if you are thinking of buying you might want to confirm to avoid disappointment.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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Motus Baseball Performance Tracker at CES



Motus LogoThe availability of detailed performance information for sportsmen and women is one of the big changes in recent years. From tennis to basketball, there’s almost certainly a smart device for the sport. Motus specialise in tracking baseball players, both pitchers and batters, with a new smart sensor. Todd and Marlo find out what it takes to knock one out of the park from Jason Lamendola of Motus.

Motus clip and sensorFor Motus, the new sensor that comes as part of MotusBASEBALL is a great improvement over the previous generation as it’s not only smaller with a longer battery life, but it now provides data whether the player is at the mound or the plate. The only difference is that pitchers wear a compression sleeve on their arm with the sensor fitting in a small pocket, whereas the sensor fits on the back of a batting glove.

With regards to reviewing the performance stats, there’s an app for that. In fact there’s two, one for batting (Motus Batting) and one for pitching (Motus Throw), though it seems the apps are only available for iOS. The apps provide a wealth of stats in real-time, allowing coaches to identify problems and avoid injury as it happens.

MotusBASEBALL with the new sensor is expected soon and the Motus site says “early February”. Once on sale, it will be priced at US$149 which is very affordable for coaches and keen players.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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Vivitar Gets More From Life at CES



PrintVivitar has a long history in photography and cinematography going back to the middle of the previous century. Constantly reinventing itself, Vivitar’s latest iteration is to focus on the fun side of consumer electronics. Marlo and Todd enjoy the new cameras from Vivitar with Director of Marketing, Melissa Hoistion.

First up is the Vivitar DVR988HD 360 Cam which will feature two 180 degree lenses on the front and back of the camera, taking a full 360 degree view. Built-in video stitching software merges the two views into a seamless panoramic image of the journey, whether on a roller-coaster or a scenic bicycle ride. The 360 Cam will record full HD 1080 x 1080 pixel video at 30 frames per second, capture still images at 12.1 MP resolution and shoot about four hours of video on a single battery charge. There’s 200MB of internal storage and a micro SD slot for an additional 256 GB. The Cam will be US$169 when it comes out in Q2.

Next is the new Vivitar MicroCam Air DVR939HD is a miniature life-blogging camera with a 160-degree lens and records full 1080p HD video and 10MP still photos. With very simple controls, the resulting footage can be viewed using a free companion app on smartphone or tablet and there’s a range of clips and mounts to attach the camera to clothing, bikes and helmets. Expected on sale in Q2 for only US$79, I could see myself getting one of these as the MicroCam can record key moments without intruding on the experience.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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Ford SYNC 3 Drives Choice at CES



Ford LogoThe third iteration of Ford’s SYNC in-car communication and entertainment system, SYNC 3, came into the dealer showrooms during 2015 in the latest “2016” vehicles. At CES, further updates were announced with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration available as a user OTA upgrade. Todd and Marlo go for a ride with Kenneth Williams from Ford.

The new SYNC 3 gives choice to consumers, supporting both iOS and Android. SYNC 3 automatically chooses what to launch based on the connected device, so if the phone is an iPhone, then it’s CarPlay, if it’s a Nexus, then Android Auto. The AppLink technology works with over 90 app providers to launch apps from the attached smartphone but display on the SYNC console. Consequently the owner gets the experience that they’re used to on their phone or tablet.

The AppLink protocol is being opened up and made available to other car manufacturers and Toyota is already on board. It’s an interesting move and could be a major benefit to consumers as it creates a standard in the market that app developers can work to.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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Deeper Smart Fishfinder at CES



Deeper Fishfinder One of the challenges of sport fishing is knowing where the fish are and it’s not much fun fishing when there are no fish. The Deeper fishfinder can help with this problem: Todd and Marlo cast their lines with Casey McKnight, President and COO of Deeper USA.

The Deeper fishfinder is spherical device, roughly the size of a tennis ball. Dropped into the water on the end of a line, the Deeper scans the water beneath it with two sonar cones, transmitting signals back to a nearby smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. The Deeper app (for both iOS and Android) shows the location of fish (or other objects) below the water.

Popular with fisherman, the Deeper is finding favour with search and rescue teams too, as the device can be used to identify suspicious objects and prioritise recovery options.

The Deeper fish finder is on sale now with a recommended price of US$229, though you may find it cheaper than this.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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Spün’s Smart Spoon Counts Calories at CES



SpunIt seems like everyone’s counting calories these days but much of the time it’s not convenient or accurate. My calorie book says that banana has 102 calories but what size banana is that? Anyway, to help with this first world problem is Spün Utensils – that’s Spün as in “spoon” – and Scott finds out more from founder, Umar Bakhsh.

Spün uses a combination of technologies to count those calories. First, you take a picture of your plate loaded with food with the Spün app. The app identifies the individual portions of food – ham, eggs, potatoes – and gets you to confirm that it’s got it right. You then use the Spün smart utensil and as you eat from the plate, it works out the calories consumed. After so many mouthfuls, the app will let you know how many calories you’ve chomped, along with a breakdown of the food types.

The utensil itself is stylishly designed with interchangeable heads – there’s a fork and two sizes of spoon. No knife as everyone knows you don’t eat from knives!

Expected price is US$75 with general availability in June 2016. Pre-orders are being taken on the web site here, though at the moment it looks like it’s only registering interest.

Scott Ertz is a software developer and video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Somabar Robotic Bartender mixes it up at CES



Somabar

The Somabar is robotic personal bartender that makes over 300 different drinks and listens to your drunken maudlin without complaining. Originally a Kickstarter project, the Somabar mixes spirits and infuse bitters to make the perfect cocktail in seconds. Scott drinks it all in with Dylan Purcell-Lowe, CEO of Somabar.

Neatly designed for the stylish home, the Somabar has six owner-refillable Soma Pods which hold liquid ingredients of choice, whether spirits, bitters or fruit juices. A connected smartphone app is used to call up the cocktail of choice which is then thoroughly mixed and dispensed by the Somabar. If there’s a particular recipe that you enjoy, it can be programmed into the app and the Somabar for your own custom drink.

The Somabar is currently in pre-order for US$429 with an expected delivery in July.

Of course, GNC always recommends responsible drinking and following alcohol consumption guidance as set by the relevant health body in your country.

Scott Ertz is a software developer and video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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iRig Pro DUO for Recording on the Road



IK MultimediaThe iRig Pro DUO is the first portable dual channel mixer for recording to smartphones or laptops. Palm-sized, this is perfect for travelling and recording an impromptu jam on the road. Daniel hears more from IK Multimedia‘s Starr.

Powered by AA batteries, USB or DC jack, the iRig Pro DUO has dual XLR / 1/4″ combo  inputs, along with a MIDI interface. Output is through two 1/4″ TRS jacks or digitally to smartphone, laptop or PC, whether iOS, Android, Mac or Windows. The DUO includes a plethora of cables, including Lightning and USB cables.

The iRig Pro DUO is available now for around US$200.

Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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iKlip A/V Smartphone Mount



IK MultimediaYou’re covering an event and travelling light with a smartphone for video. For audio, you’ve got your radio mic but where’s the receiver to go? IK Multimedia have got it covered with the iKlip A/V smartphone mount for broadcast professionals. Daniel gets a demo from Starr.

The iKlip A/V is the first portable mount with a built-in pre-amp, allowing HD video from the smartphone to be matched with high quality audio from a radio mic. The mount can hold most standard-sized smartphones, and on the other side, there’s a XLR connection for the receiver. Output from the amp is a TRRS 3.5mm jack which is plugged into the smartphone to give great sound quality.

The iKlip A/V is expected to go on sale in Q2 2016 for around US$179.

Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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