Vizio introduces new, cheap, 4K TVs
The new M-series collection announced this week starts at only $599 for 43-inch set. The top end of the M-series will be considerably pricier—$3,999 for an 80-inch TV—but still very competitive pricing for a 4K TV of that size. These TVs have Full Array LED backlighting and something called a Spatial Scaling Engine which “upscales” 720p and 1080p content to “near 4K” resolution. Could be something to look for if you’re in the market for an upgrade.
Apple watch review
If you’re thinking about placing a preorder for Apple’s smartwatch, you may want to check out this super-complete review. The author had the chance to put an Apple Watch through its paces for over a week and wrote a “day in the life” style piece. It’s long, but as he says, “Wearing a smartwatch like the Apple Watch is a far deeper commitment than carrying a smartphone in your pocket; you are literally putting the technology on your body and allowing it to touch you and measure you while you display it to the rest of the world.” It’s a different relationship with technology so I think it warrants the exploration of both the device and what it means to live with it.
By the way: rumors are flying that the Watch is super popular. Early in the week reports said pre-orders were almost 1 million. Later in the week it was reported pre-orders were over 2.3 million.
VivoWatch: a 10-day battery life smartwatch
There has been much discussion about the Apple Watch’s barely-enough-for a-day battery charge. ASUS has an answer to that problem—their new VivoWatch has a 10-day battery life. According to Engadget, it’s going to be a very fitness-focused device, but not much else is known about it. All bets are that more info will come out during Milan Fashion Week, of all places.
Google introduces new “Designed For Families” push
It’s a new Google developer program where application designers can submit their creations for an additional review. If they pass, their app will be labeled as being “family-friendly.” These apps will be “more discoverable by parents and families” in the Google Play store. To get this designation, apps will have to meet specific guidelines and policies. Google says that in several weeks, “a new family-focused experience on Google Play” will help users find these newly labeled apps, but they don’t offer any more details…yet.
Travel tech might mean you can sleep on a plane
Boeing has patented an idea for a “sleep support system” that could mean you could catch some z’s more comfortably. The system, which can fit in a backback, straps to the top of your seat and opens up to have a massage-table-like face rest so you can lean forward and sleep face down. Of course, just because Boeing has the patent doesn’t mean they’ll do anything about. Love the idea of maybe being able to sleep without ending up with a crink in my neck though.
Kickstarter of the week: Droplet Bluetooth button—like Amazon Dash, but for anything
When Amazon announced their Dash button, did you wish you could have one for other aspects of your life? Like, how about a custom button you could push to keep track of time on a project, or one you could put on your kids’ asthma meds so you’d know if he/she remembered to take them? These are both possible applications for Droplet, a new configurable Bluetooth button. The creators think having a button to push will make reminders stick in your head (because things like phone notifications can be more easily dismissed). Kind of an interesting idea, I think (but admittedly, I’ve got kids who seem to forget…everything 🙂 ).
Coin, the all-in-one debit/credit/loyalty card is finally shipping
I mentioned this one a LONG time ago. Like, well over a year. Coin is an interesting piece of tech that let you combine all of your plastic cards into one. They planned on shipping final versions last summer…but that didn’t happen. Instead, shipping started this week, and some folks who backed the project will still have to wait a few months to get their hands on their own if they were at the back of the line. Those who funded the project have not been happy about the delay, but perhaps the final product will be worth it. That said, because of the delay, Coin now has to compete with Apple Pay and other up-and-coming mobile payment systems.
Two new Jawbone Ups—Up2 and Up4
Jawbone rolled out two new fitness bands this week the Up2 for $99 and the Up4 for $199. The Up2 is apparently very similar to last year’s Up24, but it’s prettier. It’ll track steps, sleep, and using the app will track calories, distance, and idle time. The battery lasts about 7 days. The Up4 is almost the same as the Up3 (finally shipping next week) in that it includes heart rate monitoring, but it has a new feature—mobile payments with American Express. Engadget says this makes the Up4 the first fitness wearable to have this kind of functionality.
Cheryl’s birthday question breaking the Internet
If you thought the gold/white blue/black dress issue was going to be the death of the Internet, you thought wrong. Have you seen the Cheryl’s birthday math problem yet? It has to be one of the worst story problems ever (in my opinion, it’s really more of a logic problem than a math problem). Give it a go yourself and see if you can figure it out. If you can’t (I didn’t even know where to start!), both the New York Times and the Washington Post have answers (the latter even has a video that walks you through it).
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