Today I’m messing around with running Android 1.5 on my old HTC 8125 (Wizard). I don’t have the data network working yet, but I can place a call (but no audio) and send text messages. WiFi is also broken. Whenever the screen should go to sleep, instead of a blank screen, you get scrolled terminal text about the screen sleep function. It’s not practical at all, but it sure is fun.
Now, whenever I use a desktop, I find myself feeling like a technological amputee. I know what I want to do, but the second-nature link between my mind and the computer is missing. Customizable buttons on a mouse solve a lot of this, but there’s a limit to how many buttons you can cram onto a mouse before it starts to become cumbersome. Â Keyboard shortcuts are useful, but aren’t a direct replacement for many of the analog gestures you can accomplish on a trackpad like zooming, rotating, and axis-free panning.
Engadget is reporting, and readers are confirming, that Wacom has started shipping the Bambo Touch input device, which can potentially bring the gesture based input I’ve become so dependent on to the desktop space. For $70, you get a capacitive touch tablet that recognizes multi-touch input. Engadget reader Adam reported that $100 and $200 gets you tablets that accept touch and digitizer pen input in two different tablet sizes. A larger tablet that can be used for gesture input full time and provide accurate digitizer input for creative applications use is a no-brainer to me. I also hope we see this functionality make its way into the Intuos line of tablets soon.
I haven’t seen any reports of operating system requirements yet, and oddly, any mention of the product is absent from Wacom’s own website. The Bamboo Touch is being launched at a great time, with Windows 7 supporting multi-touch input. I’m hoping, hoping very-very hard, that the Bambo Touch also supports OS X. I’ve wanted a Macbook style trackpad on a desktop for use with OS X’s gestures for a long time, and I’m hoping that this product can be the answer. I think it could even replace a mouse for most casual computer use.
Joshua Topolsky, the current editor of Engadget, was a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and he brought along a pre-production Palm Pre to show off. It turns out that Jimmy Fallon is a big gadget geek, and Palm gave Topolsky a Pre to talk about on the show. No new information about the Pre was divulged, but it was fun to see the Pre getting some mainstream exposure. Check out the video below, or see it at NBC’s site.
In the last gdgt podcast I found out about the announcement of the Eee Keyboard, one of the newest additions to the Asus Eee line of lower power computers and netbooks. The Eee Keyboard has several features that make it particularly interesting. First of all, if it’s not obvious yet, the entire computer is housed inside of a keyboard casing. To the right of the keyboard there is a reasonably sized, and vertically oriented, touch sensitive LCD display that doubles duty as the trackpad and secondary display. Of, if you’re not connected to an external display, the built in screen will serve as the main display. The “Keyboard” has wired ports for USB, VGA, and HDMI connectivity, but most notably the unit has wireless HDMI built in, letting you use the computer as a MediaPC or mobile workstation without having to physicaly plug up to your TV.
At the moment it is a prototype, but should be coming to retail in the near future. I can’t tell if it has a battery built in or not… If it has a battery I think it could be a really interesting gadget. This concept isn’t new. When I first saw it I instantly though of the AlphaSmart Dana PalmOS device.
That title has some nice alliteration doesn’t it? For the past few years I’ve had this goal in the back of my mind to take at least one of my electronic devices completely off the grid. Optimally, a solar charger for something like my laptop or cellphone. While such chargers do exist, they just haven’t been practical or cost effective enough for me to make the jump. (5.5 years of college didn’t lend itself to experimental spending either)
Samsung is delivering a device with the potential to prove the practicality of a device that can exist completely off the grid. Their “Blue Earth” phone is a touch screen phone with a solar cell on the back, taking up nearly all of the surface area on the back of the device. Samsung has really pushed the “green” theme far on this one. If the name isn’t enough, there’s also a calculator that will help you figure out what quanitity of resources you’ve conserved through your actions. Beyond superficial names and questionably gimicky applications, Samsung has made a serious step toward conservation by making the phone’s casing out of recycled plastic bottles, and they ship the phone in completely recycled paper packaging.
I hope that this concept doesn’t die with this model. I’d love to see effitient solar panels popping up on the backs of all sorts of devices. (Can I get one on a laptop lid please?) It’d be great to be able to set my phone face-down on the table on a coffee shop patio and get a little charge boost.