A patent filing from Apple has sparked rumors of a new, low-profile keyboard. Designed with perforated keys, the input device would provide its end-user with tactile feedback by forcing air through the perforations in the key-tops. According to a report by Patently Apple, the “Advanced Keyboard Feedback System” will pair the punctured keys with a pressure and proximity sensor. When a user’s finger is detected to be just above the key in question, a light stream of air will be emitted to provide pre-press feedback. “As a twist to this patent, Apple goes on to describe that flowing of air could also be implemented in a virtual keyboard, wherein each key location is merely a defined region on a solid surface, where contact with that surface region will generate a defined input signal,” reads the report. The implication there being that Apple could include this technology on touchscreen devices like the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The problem Apple is trying to solve is delivering adequate input-feedback on low-profile keyboards while continuing to make thinner and lighter keyboards — usually, feedback is provided by the downward travel of a depressed key. Apple is known for patenting dozens of technologies that never make it on to mainstream products; it is unclear if this filing falls into that category as well. More →
Reviewers and early adopters seemed to agree that Motorola’s Webtop laptop dock for the ATRIX 4G was both very nifty and very overpriced. At the same time, we were all intrigued when Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said back in February that all of the company’s high-end smartphones would be compatible with the quirky Webtop laptop dock beginning later this year. Last week, Jha reiterated these intentions during the company’s earnings call, noting that the Webtop dock is one way Motorola will set itself apart from other manufacturers of Android-powered smartphones. “In the Android ecosystem, there is a need for us to differentiate,” Jha said. “[With] Atrix devices with the Webtop and lap-dock we really think there is an alternative way of viewing the convergence between mobility and computing. And we will continue to focus on that.” Jha continued, “You will see multiple devices from us in the second half… and we will expand the range of our lap-dock devices so we cover a broader price point, addressing both enterprise tiers as well as more consumer tiers.” That note about covering a range of price points may be the key factor here, and we’re anxious to see how Motorola will make this accessory more accessible while still refining the experience. More →
On Tuesday, Sony took the wraps off of two new Android tablets, the S1 and the S2, but two other devices — the “Freestyle Hybrid PC” and the “Ultimate Mobile PC” — were also teased by Sony execs during its IT Mobile Meeting in Tokyo. Sony’s keeping the specs for both devices close to the vest for now, but the Freestyle Hybrid PC offers a tablet form factor with a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard that doubles as a stand. Sony’s Ultimate Mobile PC appears to be a new thin and light laptop with HDMI-out, but its screen size and other specs remain unknown. We wouldn’t be surprised to see both of these devices break cover in time for the back to school season. More →
If you’ve been patiently waiting to get your paws on the Sidekick’s sweet, sweet, keyboard, the wait is over. The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G — built by Samsung — sports a 1GHz processor, Android 2.2 (Froyo), 3-megapixel rear-facing camera, and HSPA+ radio for access to T-Mobile’s 4G network. Despite packing more heat than any other Sidekick before it, the device still maintains the same lovable form factor of the Sidekicks from yesteryear. We dug the colorful user interface and sturdy build quality during our initial hands-on, and think it will be a big hit with Sidekick fans everywhere. T-Mobile’s offering the phone for $99.99 with a new two year contract, and it’s available in matte black and magenta. More →
The brood over at PreCentral have managed to acquire a leaked copy of HP’s webOS 3.0 beta 1 software development kit (SDK). Why is this a good thing? Because contained within said SDK rests a TouchPad, webOS 3.0 emulator, of course. While emulators only provide 50% of the TouchPad story — the other half being hardware — it is useful to get a high-level overview of what user interface will look like. If you want to whet your appetite for this summers TouchPad release, hit the jump. There’s an eighteen minute video overview awaiting your scrutiny. Be sure to click through the read link as well for a host of screen grabs. More →
Finnish mobile giant Nokia has quietly made its business-centric E7 handset available to U.S. consumers. Released overseas in early February, the Symbian device packs a 4-inch, polarized, AMOLED display with a 640 x 360 pixel resolution, peta-band WCDMA radio, quad-band GSM radio, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, 16 GB of on-board storage, 8 megapixel camera with 720p video recording and dual-LED flash, HMDI connector, and 1200 mAh battery. The E7 is available from Amazon.com for $649, or Nokia USA for $679. More →
New images of Motorola’s DROID 3 smartphone have surfaced online, courtesy of Howard Forums. The device —which will be heading to Verizon Wireless — is seen exposing its QWERTY keyboard, complete with dedicated number keys. Since the numerals are no longer piggybacking on lettered keys, Motorola was able to provide easier access to more non-alphanumeric characters — the presence of the Euro (€), Pound (£), and Yen (¥) symbols are most notable. We also can see and HDMI-out port flanking the micro USB port on the device’s side. Hit the jump to see one additional image. More →
When Apple first launched its iPhone in 2007, the odds were against it. Pundits, bloggers and even competitors found countless faults in the iPhone’s design and in Apple’s strategy. A new report from Reuters notes that one such competitor was BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. The report quotes an anonymous RIM employee as saying RIM thought the iPhone was “so badly flawed from day one,” and “users wanted great battery life, great security, great mail handling, minimal network use, and a great keyboard experience.” As it turns out, many users appear to have had different priorities. RIM wasn’t entirely wrong, of course, and the original iPhone was lacking in several key areas. While hindsight is 20-20 and the first-generation iPhone could have been better in countless ways, it was enough to propel Apple to its current position as the leader in smartphone profit share by a staggering margin. More →
Rejoice QWERTY fans! Sprint has just made HTC’s EVO Shift 4G official and the company’s 16th 4G capable device. The Shift, which will be available on January 9th for $149.99, will pack a 3.7-inch display, full QWERTY keyboard, 5 megapixel camera with 720p video recording, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth, GPS, hotspot capabilities, and Android 2.2. The price mentioned above reflects a $100 mail-in rebate and all purchasers will be subject to the $10 monthly tariff imposed on all Sprint 4G smartphone owners. Hit the jump for the full press release.
We’re hearing that pre-orders will start at Best Buy Mobile this Friday, January 7th, with Reward Zone members getting pre-order availability one day earlier: Thursday, January 6th. More →
Ah yes, the proverbial handset-image faucet is really starting to leak now. Blog CellPhone Signal has acquired several images of Motorola’s CLIQ 2 handset that is bound for U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile. The device will sport Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + ERD, aGPS, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, an interesting honeycomb-style keyboard, and will run the MOTOBLUR UI. The report speculates that the device could be Moto’s first HSPA+ device and the Android version the device will ship with is still unknown. This one should touchdown next week at CES and CellPhone Signal pegs the release date as January 19th, lining up perfectly with previous rumors. More →
Almost a full year ago, Google offered up its vision of what a mobile phone experience should be. We’re not talking about just the phone itself, funny enough, but also how consumers purchase devices, choose their carriers and sign up for service. Jump to today, and Google’s back at it again, except there’s one (well, not just one) very big difference — instead of being sold directly by Google online, the Nexus S is available at physical stores, letting consumers and potential customers see and feel the device before they buy it. The Samsung manufactured Google Nexus S packs a heck of a lot of features into a small figure, and it runs Google’s latest Android OS, Gingerbread. Does Google’s implementation of hardware and software make for the best Android phone available on the market today? Is it the perfect phone for you? Hit the break to find out what we think!More →
We just said adéu to our friendly FedEx delivery person and ripped into our care package sent by Google. On first glance, the Google Cr-48 Chrome laptop looks very similar to Apple’s black MacBook. The screen is 12.1-inches, the entire computer is done up in a soft-touch rubberized finish, and — while it’s a bit thick (we’re used to using a MacBook Air) — we have had some fun typing on the well thought out (and well spaced) keyboard. Here are our first impressions:
- We can’t get over how instant this thing is — it boots and wakes from sleep literally in one second max!
- The soft-touch rubber finish, which at first didn’t sound very appealing, works really well on this super stealth, never-being-released notebook.
- This is more of a preference, but we’d take a glossy display over the matte one on here any day… although the matte finished does fit into the anti-gloss vibe of the machine.
- We can’t begin to explain how great of a feeling it is to have Verizon cellular support built in and how simple and easy the set up process is. Activating our 100MB/mo free account was extremely simple. One or two more steps than signing up for AT&T’s prepaid iPad plans — very solid.
- Switching between open windows (think Spaces on a Mac with less jazz) is incredibly quick.
- It’s so hard to get used to the fact that everything is browser-based, but it all has seemed to work very well for us so far.
- Guest accounts rock!
- All of our Google Chrome extensions and bookmarks were transferred over instantly for us — super cool.
- The speed of the machine, in general, is obviously slower than we’d like and for a 12-inch (read: large) computer. But again, this isn’t meant to be released to the general public.
- We had some wonkiness with the upper part of the LCD screen when we first turned it on, but we’re thinking that might have been due to the extreme temperatures this poor sucker had to endure on its journey to us this morning.
- The trackpad hates us. It’s incredibly annoying and difficult to use. First off, it feels cheap, and second, unless you are scrolling with two fingers, don’t even try and have more than one finger at a time on here.
We’re cranking away and exploring Google’s first Chrome OS laptop and we will be sure to report back with more findings over the next couple days. In the meantime, hit up our hands-on gallery while we go make some insanely hot hot-chocolate!
The gang over at PreCentral.net have done some tinkering with a Palm Pre 2 running webOS 2.0 and have managed to gain access to the mobile operating systems on-screen keyboard. While the performance of the keyboard was described as “a little buggy,” it does give us hope that HP is working on a full-touchscreen device that was designed for the company’s latest mobile OS iteration. If you’re interested to see what the keyboard looks like in action, hit the jump… a video is waiting for you. More →