We apologize for being fanish, but Google has pulled off something with its new Navigation elements in Google Maps (or is it Google Maps in a Navigation app? It’s hard to tell) that has serious ramifications for a navigation device industry used to charging money for functionality. The introduction of satellite view, a tasteful touch of street view (peep a still of your next turn, or see your destination), and of course regular stuff like spoken directions and street names, and Google’s voice recognition applied to search (anywhere on the device just tap voice search and start your phrase with “navigate to”) make this a pretty astonishing offering for what’s essentially a free app with the purchase of an Android 2.0 device. The biggest worry here is that if you lose signal you won’t be able to pull maps, but while there’s no whole-map caching, it does cache a route when you enter it in, so as long as you don’t stray too far from the beaten path you should be fine with a dropped signal here or there. But enough of our blather, check out a video walkthrough after the break.
Oh, Sony. You’ve been doing so well with not making things blow up lately. Even a seemingly minor fizzle turned out to be a false alarm. While it’s not laptop batteries this time, it seems that Sony has run into a bit of trouble with some of the AC adapters used for its VAIO all-in-one desktops and docking stations. Specifically, the insulation used in adapters for the company’s VGC-LT and VGC-JS2 series desktops and VGP-PRBX1 and VGP-PRFE1 docking stations can apparently fail over time and pose an electrical shock hazard for users, although there have been no reports of injuries to date (and only four reports of any short circuiting). Still, it’s probably a good idea to take Sony up on its offer for a free replacement. Hit up the link below for all the necessary details.
Apple’s Mighty Mouse was one of the most loved and loathed rodents of all time. When it worked, it was a magnificent productivity booster for Mac users. Unfortunately, over time, even after hours and hours of vigorous rubbing, the top-mounted trackball would become so ensnared in hand-jam that owners were left with two options: delicately splay the mouse for a bit of X-acto home surgery… or smash it with a vengeance hammer until justice is served. So maybe now you can understand all the hopeful fuss made over its successor: the Magic Mouse. It’s now shipping to those of you who ordered it separately from its iMac bundle. Snow Leopard users can even download the software update now so that all those multi-touch and gestural features will be enabled once the bluetooth mouse arrives. Then we’ll see if this is the mouse that rights all those wrongs.
The nettop might not be the most riveting piece of machinery out there, but ASRock‘s hoping to generate at least a small amount of buzz by outfitting its next trio with NVIDIA’s Ion graphics technology. Reportedly, the Ion 330HT, Ion 330Pro and Ion 330HT-BD will all ship with a dual-core 1.6GHz Atom 330 processor, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, 7.1 channel audio, gigabit Ethernet, HDMI / VGA outputs, six USB 2.0 sockets and a powered eSATA port. The 330HT and 330HT-BD are both bundled with MCE remotes, while the latter also gets its DVD burner swapped out with a Blu-ray drive. There’s no mention of a price or release just yet, but we’re figuring that both of those points should be clarified shortly.
A few forward-thinking libraries in the UK have started offering ebook downloads as an alternative to borrowing physical copies of books, and the local public’s reaction has been one of overwhelming enthusiasm. Seemingly attracted by the idea of being able to collect and return books without having to actually attend the library, Brits have been eagerly joining up to the new scheme. Free downloads that last for 14 days before self-deleting can be had either in the library or at home, and transitioned onto your Sony Reader, iRex iLiad, or that new hotness, B&N’s nook. Naturally, the proprietary-format Kindle isn’t invited to this party. We’ve already seen a similar initiative in the USA, and can only hope this kind of convenience becomes mainstream before too long.
When we heard word of a “big announcement” back in July we imagined an e-reader of some sort, but what is it that we have here? Based on a technology Bridgestone calls Quick-response Liquid Powder, the company’s all-color touchscreen e-book reader is about 5.8mm thick, features a 13.1-inch touch-sensitive e-paper display (with 4,096 colors and a refresh rate of about 0.8 seconds), and some sort of unspecified mobile phone connectivity. Most exciting, of course, is that the entire package — circuit board, touchscreen, and housing — are designed to bend together. A neat trick, sure, but probably not too practical for jotting down notes with your stylus. Still, we’d take two. Trials begin at the Kansai Urban Banking Corp early next year, but you can check it out sooner at FPD International 2009 in Yokohama City, Japan, starting tomorrow.
If 7,000 dominoes fall in a forest of cheering Microsoft employees, do they make enough noise for us to care? We don’t usually tell Microsoft how to run its promotions, but a domino installation that takes a full three minutes to topple is pretty much an open invitation for “slow boot-up” jokes, and a climactic finale that revolves around a hot air balloon version of your logo crashing against a glass ceiling might also create the wrong impression. Ah well, these guys are engineers and not choreographers, after all — you can see the fruit of their labor after the break.
MSI’s Wind Top line seems to be expanding at a breakneck pace, and the latest entry is actually worth bending over backwards to get a look at. Boasting a 21.6-inch multitouch display (1,920 x 1,080 native resolution), the all-in-one desktop also features Windows 7 Home Premium, 4GB of DDR2 memory, a 640GB hard drive, NVIDIA’s GeForce 9300 integrated graphics set (or Ion, if you please), an HDMI output, a bundled wireless keyboard / mouse and your choice of a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T6600 or 2.1GHz Pentium T4300 processor. You’ll also get eSATA support, WiFi, a 1.3-megapixel camera and a 6-in-1 card reader. Three versions are up for pre-order right now at Amazon, with the cheapest pegged at $659.99 and the most pricey at $899.99.
No matter how bad the global economy gets, you can always rely on there being a select few people with (a lot) more money than sense. Exclusively for them, Dutch outfit Intelligent Design has put together this handcrafted Bluetooth laser mouse, which boasts a neodymium scroll wheel, high quality plastic resin and a grade 1 titanium body. We didn’t know you could handcraft titanium and we challenge anyone to explain what neodymium has to do with good input ergonomics, but then maybe that just shows how little we know about luxurious items like this. So, if you have $1,200 (or €800 in Old World money) to spare, why not add this unnamed mouse to your shopping list, just under the Mnemosyne USB drive? More snaps can be found after the break.