Friday, August 22, 2014

Omate Outs Handsome ‘Companion Smartwatch’ That Cost Just $129


Omate first shot to fame with its hugely successful crowdfunding campaign last September with the Omate TrueSmart, a standalone smartwatch for times when bringing a phone is not possible or not convenient. Nearly a year on, it is back with what the startup referred as a companion smartwatch, Omate X. so what’s the deal with the Omate X? Well, for starter, it is like the smartwatches that you may be familiar with, but not bound to an OS.


The watch itself runs on Nucleus OS (surprised?) and works with both Android and iOS smartphones (4.3 or later and iOS 6 or above, respectively). on the functionality aspect, it is what you expect of a smartwatch to be: it pairs with your Android or Apple smartphone and pushes notifications, such as incoming calls, social media update, reminders and more to your wrist (and tell time too, naturally).


On the hardware department, the 45 x 41 x 11.2mm aluminum case watch has a 1.54-inch display TFT LCD curved touchscreen display with 240 x 240 pixels and is powered by a MediaTek MT2502A SoC with an unknown processor clock speed. it also packs a speaker, a microphone, vibration motor for discreet notifications, a 3-axis motion sensor and accelerometer, and a 400 mAh battery that last for up to week. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy to connect with your mobile device and is also capable of displaying weather information (pushed from your smartphone), function as a handy remote for music control, stopwatch and timer functionality, and it has a customizable clock, wallpaper and sound. There is no dedicated pedometer, but the watch can still monitor your fitness activities such as walking, running and more through its accelerometer.


Apart from those, Omate is also working on porting the voice controls to the X. the Omate X Companion Smartwatch will be available for pre-order starting from September 1st through to the 30th with an associated sticker of $129. Shipping is expected to happen sometime in October 2014.


Sharp’s Near Bezel-Less Aquos Crystal Ditches Earpiece For Direct Wave Technology


Rejoice bezel-haters. Sharp has a new handset that will take you one step closer to the bezel-less utopia you have been dreaming of for like forever and the smartphone that took this giant leap to the applause of the bezel-hating community is the Sharp AQUOS Crystal. As we all know, reduction in bezel size is like the holy grail of a handset design, but minimizing bezel can only be done on the long sides, never on the top where the mandatory earpiece resides, or the bottom where the microphone calls home. With the Sharp AQUOS Crystal, things work a little differently. Not only has Sharp trimmed the bezel on the sides to near nothing, it has also done the same with the top and in the process, ditching the traditional earpiece altogether.


But how the hell do you listen without an earpiece, you ask? Well, here’s where the technological marvel of Direct Wave Receiver comes in. with this technology, the whole front panel vibrates to recreate the sound which is then transmitted to your ear. So yeah. It is only as effective if the handset touches your face, but according to the Japanese electronics maker, you can put your ear anywhere on the display and you will be able to hear the conversation. As a boon, if the other party screams, all you have to do is to lift the phone away from you face and you won’t hear a ding. Details are pretty scant, but our guess is, it probably works along the line of bone conduction technology which has been around for quite some time. That said, it could also mean that phone conversation in noisy environment is possible, though we are not sure about the other end.


Anyways, beyond the lusty bezel-less design, the Crystal is quite full on features too. it comes fitted with a 5-inch HD display and powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1.5GB RAM and 8GB storage (meager for sure, but expandable up to a whopping 128GB with microSD card). further details includes, Harman’s LiveStage that promised a more “lifelike headphone listening experience”, Clari-Fi technology for improved digital sound quality (it basically restores compressed digital music to recreate the hi-fi sound), Clip Now for taking screenshots in a swipe and saves them with an embedded URL for easy sharing, a 8.0MP main camera, a 1.2MP front-facing item, Crystal clear HD voice and a 2,040 mAh battery pack.


Now for the good news, well, at least for U.S. customers. thanks to the acquisition of Sprint by Japan’s Softbank, the Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone is available in the U.S. through, you guessed it, Sprint for $0 down and $10 per month under a two-year agreement. However, if Sprint isn’t your cuppa for whatever reasons, you can also pick up one from Virgin Mobile or Boost Mobile for $149.99. Sprint is marketing both the black and white versions, while Virgin only carries the black model and Boost, the white model. Just thought you should know. Oh and the device is, naturally, available in Japan too from, who else?

Q Designs’ Qbracelet Is A Fashion Statement That Charges Your Mobile Devices Too


Heavy users of mobile devices will agree that portable battery is likely one of the best thing since sliced bread, but having the power at your disposal is one thing, to carry yet another object is another. This is where Q Designs’ QBracelet comes it. The outfit wants to provide a charging solution that will get rid of the ‘burden’ of external battery once and for all.


The QBracelet appears and functions like a regular bracelet that provides you with a dose of fashion statement, but hidden away under its minimalist jewelry appearance is a lithium-ion battery packing 1,160 mAh worth of juice that can recharge most devices up to 60 percent.
Available to work with iOS, Android or Windows devices, the QBracelet features a built-in charging connector – Lightning connector for Apple devices and mini USB connector for Android and Windows devices – for charging your mobile devices, so there is no cord to mess with. A set of LED indicator, discreetly located above the the connector and on the cross-section of the clasp, lets you in on the current charge level. Though it is worth noting that whichever connector type you opt for, the discharge rate is pegged at a modest 1A which translates to approximately 60 minutes to charge up your device – though that will also depends on the level of charge left on your device.


When the QBracelet is fully discharged, it will take about 90 minutes to pack in the onboard battery via the USB port, either using your computer or USB power adapter. The accessory has a metal exterior and available in five finishes: polished and matte silver, polished gold, brushed and matte black, and comes in three sizes: small, medium and large, to suit a variety of wrist sizes. The QBracelet has a retail sticker of $99, but limited quantities are available now for pre-order now with a 20% discount, which works out to be $79.99.



This Accessory Will Turn Your Smartphone Into A Heart Monitor That Detects Atrial Fibrillation


In the past, smartphone is associated to personal organization, replacing the once trusty Filofax, but now, with the appropriate hardware and app, it could even save lives too. The AliveCor Heart Monitor For Mobile Devices is one such example. Unveiled earlier this year, the device has recently been cleared by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its algorithm to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia. The heart monitor is integrated to an iPhone 5/5s case (referred to as iPhone 5/5s Heart Monitor Case) and also as a standalone monitor with universal attachment plate for use with Android devices.


When attached to your device, Android or iOS, and rest on your fingers or chest, the heart monitor will record your electrocardiogram (ECG) and transmit the info to your smartphone via an ultrasonic signal which is picked up by your device’s microphone. By not using Bluetooth, it saves power and also saves the hassle of pairing. The heart monitor is powered by a 3V coin cell battery, which is good for around 10,000, 30-second ECGs before needing replacement. Primarily, the AliveCor Heart Monitor is designed to record and display ECG rhythms through a companion app, and detects the presence of atrial fibrillation. This info can then be uploaded to AliveCor’s secure servers via the app where you can access anytime, anywhere and even grant access to your physicians, or email them to health professionals.


The fact that ECG can be measured and accessed as and when you wanted is absolutely brilliant, considering that a lot things can happen in between scheduled checkups which could be as far apart as a year. Of course, the AliveCor Heart Monitor is by no means a substitute to your doctor. Your specialist attending to you is always your first line of defense, so to speak, and the AliveCor Heart Monitor is merely a supplement to that effort, so you and your doc can keep a close tab on your heart condition and take actions or measures if necessary. Also, it is not only geared towards heart patients; anyone health conscious individuals can also use it; however, at $199 a pop, the latter group will unlikely take the plunge.


New Charger Converts Sound Into Electricity To Charge Your Phone


Smartphones are the most crucial everyday item nowadays and that is justified owing to the huge number of tasks that they are able to do for the users. However, scientists are still busy working to find out a solution to the battery problem, which we all face with the smartphones. Recently, a new invention has surfaced that can be owed to a collaboration between Nokia and the Queen Mary University of London and builds upon a research carried out by the QMUL previously.


This new device is able to pick up the sound waves and uses them to charge mobile phones. The prototype has been made and is about the size of a mobile phone itself while employing Zinc oxide to harness vibrations that have been caused by sounds and transform them into electricity. Zinc oxide upon being squashed/stretched, generates a voltage by the conversion of kinetic energy to electrical energy via nano-rods. These rods can be coated on to different surfaces located at multiple locations in order to bring versatility to energy harvesting.
The surface, upon being squashed/stretched, results in the generation of high voltage by virtue of nano-rods.This new device is able to pick up the sound waves and uses them to charge mobile phones. The prototype has been made and is about the size of a mobile phone itself while employing Zinc oxide to harness vibrations that have been caused by sounds and transform them into electricity. Zinc oxide upon being squashed/stretched, generates a voltage by the conversion of kinetic energy to electrical energy via nano-rods. These rods can be coated on to different surfaces located at multiple locations in order to bring versatility to energy harvesting. The surface, upon being squashed/stretched, results in the generation of high voltage by virtue of nano-rods.


The nano-rods respond to everyday sound and by providing electrical contacts on both ends of the rods, one is able to harvest enough electrical energy that can be used to charge a phone. The production at a large scale was made possible by finding innovative ways that resulted in cost-cutting in the production process. The team developed a process by which they are able to spray the nano-rod chemicals onto a plastic sheet and cover it with Zinc oxide. Afterwards, the sheet is heated to a temperature of only 90°C and the nano-rods grow all over the surface. Also, instead of using a gold contact, the team managed to make use of aluminium foil.


The end product is of the same size as a Nokia Lumia 925 and is capable of generating a total of 5 volts that is enough to charge a phone. Dr. Joe Briscoe from QMUL says; ‘Being able to keep mobile devices working for longer, or do away with batteries completely by tapping into the stray energy that is all around us is an exciting concept. We hope that we have brought this technology closer to viability.

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