Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
CTO
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions

Gadgets

Gadgets

Microsoft Surface Surfaces With Dual Mic Skype!

June 18, 2012


The verdict is in and alas the new Microsoft Surface does not support PixelSense as I first theorized. The good news there is a lot to like about the new Microsoft Surface. First off, Surface sports a 10.6", 16:9 widescreen HD Display along with Microsoft's ClearType HD Display technology and multitouch. It also has an ultra-wide viewing angle and comes with an integrated Kickstand and what Microsoft calls a "revolutionary, 3mm thin, pressure sensitive cover" that doubles as a fully functioning keyboard and trackpad.


Microsoft XBOX Surface To Feature PixelSense?

June 18, 2012

Today is the big Microsoft "reveal", with everything pointing towards a Microsoft designed tablet. One rumored spec sheet via Shift2U is very fascinating detailing a new device called Xbox Surface:

At first glance I saw the 250GB 2.5" SCSI 10K RPM disk drive, which is way too thick and heavy for a tablet device. But then I read the rumored announcement is actually two devices. The other intriguing spec I saw was the maximum resolution of 1280x720, which seemed to be pretty small for a 7" tablet device.

Apple's FaceTime in iOS 6 Now Works Over Cellular

June 11, 2012


In a bold move (not really), Apple is lifting the restriction that only permitted FaceTime to work over Wi-Fi and not 3G/4G cellular networks. Apple announced this at the Worldwide Developers Conference and no doubt users will be happy since there is not always a Wi-Fi connection available.

This is a highly-requested feature, because users are not always connected to a Wi-Fi signal. Another FaceTime enhancement in iOS 6 includes the unification of a user’s phone number with an Apple ID, which allows calls to be answered on an iPad and Mac. Apple said it is doing the same with iMessage too.

Of course, AT&T is regretting unlimited iPhone data plans and Verizon is phasing out unlimited data plans, in favor of tiered plans, which means just when you can use FaceTime anywhere, anytime - Verizon and possibly AT&T in the near future will slam the door. Personally, I think Apple was slow on the draw on this one.




Terahertz Wi-Fi Super Speed Breakthrough Coming Soon...

June 8, 2012


Japanese researches have crushed the record for wireless data transmission utilizing the terahertz band, an uncharted part of the electromagnetic spectrum, resulting in 20x better performance than Wi-Fi.

The band makes use of frequencies from about 300 gigahertz (300GHz or about 60 times higher than the current highest Wi-Fi standard) to about 3THz and it lies between the microwave and far-infrared regions of the spectrum. Wait, between microwaves (cook/heat via vibration) and infrared, which can be used to heat or cook things? And you thought cell phone radiation was bad for your brain...

But don't worry, the 20x faster than Wi-Fi data rate is worth cooking a few brain cells! I jest - there is absolutely no evidence terahertz frequencies poses any health risks.

According to the BBC terahertz rays or "T-rays" can "penetrate many materials as effectively as X-rays but deposit far less energy and therefore cause less damage." Well, there you have it - the BBC says it causes less damage than X-rays, so it must be safe.






Polkast 2.0 Improves on P2P Personal Cloud Access to Your Files

May 31, 2012

Polkast, a personal cloud service that connects computers and mobile devices through a secure peer-to-peer connection, today announced Polkast 2.0, available on Windows, Mac OSX, iOS and Android devices. Polkast 2.0 includes several new features and a Pro subscription version.

I tried out their service recently and it works very well. It reminds me of Orb, although Orb caches thumbnails and filenames of your photos, music files, and videos on their web server. Privacy advocates may not like this.

Why the Cisco Cius Failed & Why Microsoft Might Beat the Mighty iPad

May 25, 2012


Rich Tehrani has a good post today on why the Cisco Cius failed. He put it succinctly and with a nice metaphor when he writes:
Company after company is learning what most of instinctively know already – competing with Apple head-on is like trying to tackle a freight train with your bare hands as it is barreling down the tracks in your direction. Amazon with its Kindle Fire competed on price and used its services to subsidize the device. Other tablet makers are finding it virtually impossible to compete without such advantages.
Rich is exactly right.

Nokia City Lens Augmented Reality Launches on Lumia Phones

May 8, 2012


Nokia today released its City Lens app for Windows Phone, an app that is an augmented reality browser.  Users open the app, and depending on the phone's angle (landscape [facing away from you], 45 degrees, or parallel to ground) it automatically changes modes - augmented reality, list of locations, and map mode respectively.

The coolest mode is obviously augmented reality where you hold the phone up and scan the horizon with the camera and it shows icons where various points of interest (POIs) are located. You can specify the POI category, such as Food.

Then you can just tap to read reviews and descriptions, or call to get directions. You can also share your location with friends via social networks, SMS, or email.




Ooma Telo Review

May 4, 2012


Back in 2007 I wrote an article "Ooma goes Booma" because Ooma's claim-to-fame feature was that it worked by 'sharing' your PSTN analog phone line with other Ooma users. I was right that this PSTN sharing feature and business model wouldn't work, so certainly that did go "Booma". However, 5 years later after dropping the PSTN sharing and moving to a VoIP-centric business model Ooma has redeemed themselves with some really cool features. Ooma is a low-cost phone service provider similar to magicJack, netTALK, and Vonage in many ways, but with some key differentiating features.

The first big difference of note is that unlike the other three aforementioned phone providers, rather than charge a monthly flat rate for service and per-minute costs for calls, Ooma only charges for the initial hardware - $199 Ooma Telo, +$50.99 for Wireless adapter, +$29.99 for Bluetooth adapter and then they only charge you the taxes and local fees for calls in the United States.


Ooma Telo installed - Ooo Look, Shiny Bright Blue LEDs!

April 26, 2012

Skype@Home Telephone Products Coming?

April 20, 2012

Today, Rich Tehrani wrote about Microsoft "working on Skype Everywhere Initiative" based on another Microsoft-careers.com job listing. Just a few days ago I wrote about a Microsoft job listing was pointing toward Microsoft and Skype building a HTML5 Web version of Skype.

Rich believes there are some good synergies with Microsoft and Skype that can result in a whole like of Skype at home phone products (Skype@Home?) including DECT 6.0 phones. The problem with DECT wireless phones over WiFi phones is you need a base unit, which adds to the cost. Wi-Fi phones can just connect to the Wi-Fi access point with no additional hardware necessary.

However, what if the next XBox 360 has a built-in DECT transceiver?



Featured Events