TiVo has unveiled its latest home DVR devices, and they’re going to do a lot more than just record your shows for you now.

Known as HD Series 4 and as TiVo Premiere, the new set top DVRs are adding Internet connections to deliver even more content to your TV than the shows you choose to record. Both the TiVo Premiere (320 GB hard drive) and the TiVo Premiere XL (1 TB hard drive) will be able to deliver content from Netflix Watch Instantly, Amazon Video on Demand, Blockbuster on Demand, YouTube, Pandora and more.

Both units will have 1080P outputs and feature expansion slots for additional storage.  The Premiere will for $299 and can record up to 45 hours of content in HD recording, while the Premiere XL will sell for $499, record up to 150 hours of HD content and adds THX certification.

Both devices will include Ethernet ports, but if you want to go for a Wi-Fi connection, you will have to purchase a $90 dongle.  Also, there will be a Bluetooth enabled QWERTY keyboard released later in the year you will need to buy separably.

One of the biggest additions, and one I have wanted for ages, a meter will show you how much hard drive space you have left at any time.  Thank goodness!

Full press release after the break

Read More »

Categories: Gadgets, Home Electronics   
 

At least one analyst is predicting that there will be shortages of Apple’s iPad when it launches this month, but it isn’t someone with the best track record when it comes to predictions regarding Apple.

There is no doubt that Apple’s iPad is going to be in high demand when it launches later this month, but Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek is saying there may be some supply chain problems that will keep the inventory low, and possibly delay the device all together.

According to All Things D, Mr. Misek said, “We have…heard that the upcoming iPad launch may be somewhat limited as a manufacturing bottleneck has impacted production of Apple’s newest device.”    The only problem with this information is that it seems Mr. Misek is the only one to have heard this rumor thus far.

The other unfortunate piece of the puzzle is that Mr. Misek is the same analyst who incorrectly predicted that Apple would announce iPhone OS 4.0 and the iPhone being available on Verizon at its January press event.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view and desire to get an iPad this month, this makes us take his latest tidbit of information with a generous helping of salt.

Whatever the case may be, our advice still holds to skipping this first release of the iPad, and waiting for the inevitable second generation.

Categories: Apple, Gadgets, Mobile Computing   
 

The speculation can finally end, the Apple Tablet shall now be known as the iPad.

Steve Jobs took to the stage today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco to announce Apple’s long-rumored tablet, the iPad.  Measuring 9.7-inches, the device first strikes you as just a giant iPod Touch, but it appears to be a whole lot more than that.

With the benefit of a much larger screen, the iPad will be able to run nearly all of the current 140,000 iPhone/iPod Touch applications, but development is already underway for iPad specific apps that will take full advantage of its 1GHz Apple A4 chip and 1024 x 768 screen.  Gaming seems to be the major focus from the comments made today at the event, and considering the success that category has already seen on the smaller devices, isn’t terribly surprising.

While the iPod Touch has been all about entertainment, the iPad will be able to run a specialized version of iWork. (presumably sold separately, but not stated at the event)  This will allow you to work on spreadsheets, word processing and presentations from the device, with syncing presumably happening via the iTunes connection.

If you’re going to be working on documents, do you really want to do all of this on a virtual keyboard?  Probably not, so luckily Apple will be releasing a physical keyboard dock that will place the iPad in a vertical orientation and essentially turn it into a laptop.  Sure it isn’t going to have all the programs of a laptop, but with the number of apps available, it will be darn close.  No price for this peripheral has been announced as of yet.

None of this is to say that the iPad is going to be all about work, it is going to play videos, music, movies and will also introduce the new iBook application.  What iTunes has done for music, the iBook store could do for books as Apple has made deals with Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group.

The actual specs of the device are fairly nice, and show it to be much more than just an over-sized iPod Touch.

  • Memory capacities of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • 1GHz Apple A4 chip
  • .5-inches thick
  • 1.5 lbs
  • 9.7-inch screen
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Speaker & microphone
  • Accelerometer & compass
  • 10 hour battery life, one month standby
  • 3G connectivity for $30 a month via AT&T without contract.

The price was the factor holding people back, and while rumors had pegged this at around $1000, Mr. Jobs used that as a point to announce the pricing we would see in 60 days when this launches, and 90 days for the 3G versions.

16GB

32GB

64GB

Wi-Fi

$499

$599

$699

WiFi + 3G

$629

$729

$829

Categories: Apple, Gadgets   
 

iPhone and iPod Touch owners rejoice that a physical keyboard is finally coming out for your favorite device … but try to keep yourself in check until you learn the details.

Ion, a company best known for its USB devices, has announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that it is releasing a physical keyboard for the iPhone and iPod Touch, something users have been longing for since both devices first came to market.  Called the iType, the device will allow you to snap your Apple product into the top of the device and type on a nearly full-size physical keyboard while your device is in landscape mode.

While this sounds exciting at first, and you may have images of catching up on your emails dancing in your head, the keyboard will only work while you’re in the iType application.  You will then have to copy anything you write there and then paste it into the application you want to use it in.  A definite nuisance, and one that makes you wonder if the product will be worth it once it’s released.  No price has yet been announced which makes us even more suspicious that it is just not going to be worth the investment for being so limited in scope.

Categories: Apple, Cell Phones, Gadgets   
 

It seems “slate” is the word du Jour amongst the tech set to describe their pending tablet devices.

At the Microsoft keynote address to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, unveiled the HP Slate which runs on Windows 7.  While a vague release date was given that implied it would be out for the holiday season, and an even vaguer suggestion of a price between $500 and $700, it was obvious this was announced just to cut off the pending iSlate announcement from Apple.

While the rumors of the Apple tablet, tentatively named the iSlate, are still just rumors, it is looking pretty definite that it will be announced in the last week of this month for delivery in March.  While the HP Slate may have gotten the first announcement out, considering the biggest things they demoed was the ability to play the 1980′s game Frogger and using the Amazon Kindle PC reader, we can’t say we’re exactly awe struck by the device.  Of course, we’re still trying to figure out the whole point of these tablets, but that’s a thought for another day.

Check out this very brief introduction video of the product.


Categories: Gadgets   
 

Thanks to the latest failed terrorist attack, it may be best for you to leave as many electronics at home as possible.

While there is no doubt we love gadgets around here, with the increase in travel regulations due to the failed terrorist attack on Christmas Day by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab are making us all rethink what we take on a flight with us.

While the rules for travel inside the United States seem unchanged at this time, the amount of security checking at the security checkpoints is definitely up.  The amount of electronics you have with you is going to definitely increase that time even more, and putting gadgets in your checked luggage is never desirable.

Those of you going on international trips will be fine leaving the United States, but your return trip will be a different matter all together.  While the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) has yet to make a formal announcement, some international airlines have posted comments on their sites.  This one come from Air Canada:

New rules imposed by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration also limit on-board activities by customers and crew in U.S. airspace that may adversely impact on-board service. Among other things, during the final hour of flight customers must remain seated, will not be allowed to access carry-on baggage, or have personal belongings or other items on their laps.

There is also a statement from British Airways you can read, but it says essentially the same thing.

If you are traveling outside of the U.S. any time in the near future, you need plan ahead for your return trip, or if you are a resident of another country coming to the United States, plan for your arrival.

Hopefully these rules will get more formalized soon, and perhaps they won’t sound quite so scary, but for now you need to reduce how much you are carrying with you period.

Categories: Gadgets, Travel   
 

Did you remember to fill out the warranty for your new gadget?

Yesterday we reminded you to be careful about throwing out your packaging after unwrapping gifts.  Part of the reason for this is you don’t want to throw out vital information you need for filling out your warranty cards.

A lot of companies now let you do the warranty information online, but you still need information that sometimes appears only on the box.  Model numbers, serial numbers, part numbers, etc are quite often printed on a label that is only found on the outside of the box.  Did you remember to keep it all?

Companies are actually hoping you will forget to fill this stuff out so that when you need service you won’t be able to claim it.  Also, if sending in by postcard, they can conveniently say they never got it, as happened to me once.  Always make sure the warranty information gets registered before you need it unless you want to go through a ton of hassles.

While warranties can be a pain, they are well worth registering, and we highly recommend it.  Just make sure you do it as soon as possible and don’t hold off as some companies have a time limit on how long after you receive the item for registering.  Get on it tonight if at all possible … you know, while not enjoying your new gadgets.

Categories: Gadgets, Shopping   
 

Got that new gadget you wanted for Christmas? GREAT! … don’t throw out the packaging too quickly!

I remember when I was younger my family always wanted the living room cleaned out of the wrapping paper, boxes and so on as soon as were done opening gifts.  Inevitably there was always a toy piece  or some little part of an item tossed out that we would then have to go dig through the trash for.  Good times …

So as you are opening up all your iPods, smart phones, video game systems and so on, just make sure you keep all the packaging for at least a few days.  Sure you can throw out the wrapping paper, just make sure to shake it out before you put it int he trash bag so you can be certain no little pieces got caught up in it.

This is also a good plan as you never know when a gadget may fail and you want to return it.  I always keep all of the packaging for my gadgets for at least a few months with all of the corresponding backup discs, cables I don’t necessarily need to use and so on.  I store them all in the garage and after about six months or so I toss them out.  I then take all of the extra items stored in them, put it in a zip lock baggie, label the bag as to which item it came from and keep them in a filing drawer.  Overly anal retentive?  Probably, but having lost cables before that I thought, “Oh, I’ll never need this one …”, you know exactly what I ended up needing down the road.

Most of all have fun with your gifts, but try to control your excitement long enough that you don’t end up losing that all important sync cable!

Categories: Gadgets, Shopping   
 

fccnexusoneThe government has inadvertently confirmed the NexusOne, also known as the Google Phone, by showing its FCC approval.

Before any cell phone is released in the United States it must go through approval of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  As the FCC is an open body, all approvals are posted to its Web site, and thanks to this little trick, the FCC approval for the NexusOne, the official name of the Google Phone, was revealed this morning.

The reason this is even remotely interesting is that all of the technical aspects of the phone must be revealed to get the needed approval.  So, what did we learn?  Well thanks to the information about its wireless bands, it looks like it will work on T-Mobile’s 3G network, but not on AT&T’s.  Thanks to its EDGE band, it should work on all carriers, but if you want true wireless high speed, you may be stuck with only T-Mobile.  That is not what a lot of us were hoping for, and it will severely limit how much of a dent this phone will put in the United States cell phone market.

We also learned it will have 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, which has been tricky for some phones to include because of the possibility of network interference.  It will also be sporting the ubiquitous Bluetooth connectivity and a microSD slot for memory expansion, both are pretty much a requirement in this day and age.

Without support for the AT&T 3G network this won’t be the threat to the iPhone we all thought it might be at first, but that won’t be fully decided until it is actually in the hands of consumers and we can see what this thing can do.

Categories: Cell Phones, Gadgets, Google   
 

nexus oneAs you have undoubtedly heard by now, it appears Google is releasing its own cell phone next month called the Nexus One.  Why is everyone so hyped about this?  What does it mean to the average cell phone user?  Follow along.

Evidence has mounted all weekend to the fact the long rumored Google Phone is finally real and will be called the Nexus One.  While it appears from the photos that have leaked to just be the new HTC Passion that is due out on T-Mobile next month, it’s what under the hood that will make this a totally different beast, as well as how it is being sold.

The Nexus One will be running a copy of the Google Android operating system, which is nothing new since many phones now run it, but what will be different is that it won’t be fractured.  As Android has gone out to the various carriers, they’ve all made little tweaks to it that have caused it to act differently on different handsets, and in turn this has made it hard for application developers to make sure their products work across all the different versions.  So the copy that will run the Nexus One will probably be the truest version of the Android OS we’ve seen yet.

As for the way the phone is being sold, that is where things will get a bit odd.  The rumors currently point to Google selling it themselves via the Web as an unlocked phone.  If you are unfamiliar what this means in the term of phones, unlocked phones are not tied to any one carrier and you can walk in, sign up for their service, get a SIM card from them and your phone will work.  Most phones have a carrier logo on them meaning you can’t take a BlackBerry you buy from Sprint and expect it to work on the T-Mobile network and vice versa.

While companies such as Nokia have sold unlocked phones before, none of them have had the name “Google” attached to them which is going to make this a highly desirable device.

The one problem we may encounter is in the price.  If you have ever tried to buy a cell phone that isn’t attached to a contract, or before your upgrade is allowed, you know that smart phones cost more in the range of $500 – $600.  No matter what Google does, unless they find a way to subsidize this phone, people won’t be dropping that much on it.  One suspicion floating around the Web is that Google will sell it as a lower price with the expectation you will be clicking on ads on the phone.  It’s how they bring you services like Gmail for free, so the company is well versed in the business model.  Will it be enough to make the phone affordable?  Only time will tell.

Quite possibly the Nexus One could end up being a game changer for the cell phone industry.  A highly desirable phone not tied to any one carrier will make them compete for your business.  I could easily see the carriers running “Nexus Pricing Specials” where they try to out do each other to woo the most Nexus users to their network.  That is just my theory at this point, but if the phone takes off like I suspect it will, I can really imagine it happening.

My only regret is I got a new BlackBerry Tour in early August, but boy do I want to drool on a Nexus One.

[photo credit Cory O’Brien]

Categories: Cell Phones, Gadgets, Google   
 
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