The City of New York is reportedly planning to revive 250 old phone booths with the introduction of 32-inch Internet-ready “smart screens” throughout the five boroughs, The New York Post reported on Monday. The touch-screens will display local neighborhood information in multiple languages, including lists of nearby restaurants, stores in the area, traffic updates, landmark information and safety alerts. If the pilot program is successful, the futuristic screens could replace all of the city’s 12,800 outdoor pay phones. “The goal is to pilot it and see what the response is,” said Nicholas Sbordone, a spokesman for the city’s department of Information Technology & Telecommunications. “It will help inform the city’s ongoing reassessment, with public input, of what we want or what we think the future of public pay phones will entail.” Read on for more. More →
Amid the inevitable rush of last-minute iPad rumors we’re trying desperately to avoid, one report in particular caught our eye. It suggests that Apple may include an emerging tactile technology in its third-generation iPad display that is as fascinating as it is unexpected. Speaking with Pocket-lint last week during the annual Mobile World Congress trade show, touchscreen interface solutions developer Senseg seemingly hinted that Apple may be including the company’s innovative technology in the iPad 3, or iPad HD, as it may be named. Senseg’s technology allows touchscreen device makers to alter the feel of a screen to coincide with graphics being displayed at any given time. So rocks might feel rough, silk might feel smooth and the user might actually feel an object he or she is moving around the device’s UI. Read on for more. More →
Samsung has developed a new universal remote control for its televisions and home theater accessories that ditches dozens of buttons in favor of Siri-like voice command support and a touch pad. As Apple reportedly readies an assault on the TV industry, established vendors such as Sony, LG and Samsung looked to cut the Cupertino-based firm off at the pass during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. All the big names at this year’s show added voice controls and gesture support to their flagship HDTVs, and now Samsung has taken the wraps off its new voice-controlled universal remote, Nikkei’s Tech-On blog reports. The device allows users to speak commands in many cases rather than typing on a keyboard or pressing buttons, and it uses a combination of Bluetooth and infrared connectivity to improve reliability. While Samsung hasn’t yet stated exactly which devices will be compatible with its new remote, it did say TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and other accessories will be supported. More →
Apple certainly helped shape the mobile space by popularizing multitouch screens on smartphones and tablets, but can it do the same for desktop computing, too? The United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published an Apple patent application that describes a desktop computer — likely the iMac — with a touchscreen display. Dell, HP and plenty of other firms have introduced all-in-one PCs with touchscreens, of course, but Apple’s invention may make some applications more intuitive. Read on for more. More →
ASUS reportedly has plans to unveil a convertible ultrabook running Microsoft’s next-generation Windows 8 operating system at the annual Computex trade show in Taiwan next June. DigiTimes’s anonymous industry sources claim that the super-slim notebook computer will feature a swiveling touchscreen display, allowing the computer to be used like a standard laptop or like a tablet. No other details are available at this time. The report claims that ASUS’s new convertible ultrabook will launch in September alongside Windows 8, though Microsoft has not yet confirmed a launch timeframe for its new operating system. More →
A patent awarded to Apple on Wednesday points to one possible solution the company might use once it finally equips the first MacBook computer with tablet-like functionality. The unique design described in the new patent uses a clutch barrel pivoting component that serves two purposes, Patently Apple reports. First, it houses two embedded antennas that provide integrated cellular connectivity. More interestingly, however, its design allows the laptop’s display to be rotated and folded down on top of the keyboard to provide a touchscreen-only tablet configuration. Read on for more. More →
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday published 14 new patents that were recently granted to Apple. According to PatentlyApple, two of those patents are related to “high profile multitouch” technology. One describes “front-end signal compensation” on a display and a second involves a “method for forming crystalline ITO on top of a nonconductive substrate.” As PatentlyApple notes, the first patent is related to the touchscreen technology that was first introduced on the original iPhone, which made its debut in 2007. It describes how a “host device may, for example, correspond to a computer such as a desktop, laptop, handheld or tablet computer. The host device interprets the touch event and thereafter performs an action based on the touch event.” The other multitouch patent describes a more efficient way of creating a touchscreen by combining an LCD display with a touch panel. More →
Rumors of an iPhone nano are almost as old as the iPhone itself: the first such mumblings began in 2008. Now, Patently Apple suggests that Apple definitely was once, or still is, considering a smaller version of the iPhone. The patent in question shows a device with multiple inputs and hardware buttons or LED lights that would allow a user to interact with the phone. Given the touchscreen technology used in today’s iOS devices, we suspect this patent from 2006 would no longer reflect what an “iPhone nano” might look like. In any case, it is arguable that Apple does not need to create an “iPhone nano” now that it sells a $50 iPhone 4 and a free-on-contract iPhone 3GS. The patent was just one of 20 recently published patents that were granted to Apple. More →
During the “Let’s Talk iPhone” keynote on Apple’s campus in Cupertino, California today, Apple updated the iPod nano with a new multitouch display. Building on a number of watchband accessories that were made available for the last-generation nano, Apple has also created 16 different clock faces on the media player. Users also do not need to purchase additional accessories to take advantage of the nano during workouts; it will automatically begin tracking your walk or run. The new nano is available now and Apple is stocking seven different colors. The 16GB model is priced at $129 and the 16GB mode is priced at $149.
Microsoft announced that it is releasing a developer preview of its upcoming next-generation operating system, currently named “Windows 8,” during its BUILD conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday. President of Windows and Windows Live Division Steve Sinofsky took the stage during BUILD’s opening keynote and discussed several of the operating system’s new features. “We reimagined Windows,” he said. “From the chipset to the user experience, Windows 8 brings a new range of capabilities without compromise.” As Microsoft has already revealed, Windows 8 will offer a new “Metro style” user interface that is built to take advantage of touch input but works just as well with a keyboard and mouse. Internet Explorer 10 will also offer full support for touch browsing, and Sinofsky hinted that even desktop-sized Windows 8 computers will largely take advantage of touchscreen monitors. Developers will be able to create Metro style applications that will fill the entire screen, too. Microsoft said the next-generation of Windows 8 hardware will turn on instantly and will be capable of running all day on a single charge. The OS is designed to run on devices ranging from a 10-inch tablet to a large desktop, and developers will have access to Windows 8 later this week. Read on for the full press release that discusses several other new features in Windows 8, as well as a hands-on video from WinRumors. More →
RIM didn’t envision creating a touch device. Yet here we are in 2011 with the company abandoning it’s prior failed attempts at making a touch-only smartphone, and instead copying the competition instead of innovating. The BlackBerry Torch 9850 is a no-frills touch phone. There’s no SurePress display, thankfully — just a regular capacitive screen. The device features a 1.2GHz CPU, a 5-megapixel camera, 4GB of built-in storage, and more. Does it stand a chance at competing with the iPhone and Android devices, though? Read on for my review.
Verizon Wireless is now offering RIM’s highly anticipated BlackBerry Bold 9930 smartphone for $249.99 on contract. BGR exclusively reported last week that Sprint would soon be selling the new touch-and-type Bold for $249.99, and at that time we indicated that other U.S. carriers would likely launch the device at the same price point. Verizon Wireless is now the first carrier to do so, and while early adopters are sure to snatch up the long-awaiting 9900/9930 despite its $250 price tag, widespread adoption may be hindered until the new smartphone dips to $199.99 on contract. We reviewed the new BlackBerry Bold last week and found that the hardware is absolutely worth carriers’ high cost of entry. We also found that RIM’s BlackBerry 7 software, despite improved performance and fluidity, left much to be desired.
UPDATE: Verizon Wireless’ full press release now follows below. More →
Another BlackBerry out of RIM? We might as well consider them done and finished. Or should we? With a brand new take on BlackBerry hardware and an improved and enhanced operating system in BlackBerry 7, RIM hasn’t been sitting still. I have been using a BlackBerry 9900 for over a week, and as a reformed BlackBerry addict, I have some thoughts on this latest flagship smartphone out of Waterloo. Is this the device that’s going to save RIM? Is this the phone that’s going to make iPhone and Android users switch to a BlackBerry? Can RIM finally compete in the smartphone arena? Will it take RIM 9 months to make a BlackBerry 9900 in white? Is Will.i.am going to haunt me for eternity? Hit the break to find out. (And I sure as heck hope not on those last two.)