Avoid Cell Phone Driving Distractions with ZoomSafer January 31, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Cell Phones, CES and Macworld , 1 comment so far
While working on our CES coverage, we had a chance to talk with Matt Howard, founder of a software company called ZoomSafer, which is designed to prevent the urge to text and use your phone while driving.
We all know as new drivers how we shouldn’t text and drive, as it not only impairs our ability to drive properly and puts us and our car at risk, but it also puts everyone else on the road around you at risk. No text, email or Facebook update is important enough to risk your life for.
So what is ZoomSafer and how do they get rid of this urge (which we all admittedly have at times)? ZoomSafer is an app for your BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone (the Windows Mobile app is currently in beta, with other platforms like Android also in the works) that runs in the background on your phone, and by using GPS, senses when your driving (when it senses your GPS is going over 15 MPH) and automatically blocks incoming texts and other updates from coming up on screen and distracting you while you drive. The texts are all still there, and once you stop driving you can reply back to them as you please, but ZoomSafer prevents it from flashing all over your screen and thereby becoming a distraction.
It will also lock out your keypad to help fight the urge to send that quick text back, and will also even send out an auto-reply for you saying your driving right now and can’t text/email back. If you really need to check to see if you got a new text, ZoomSafer can read you your texts (albeit in a very computerized voice) and even let you record replies to send back. Now you can still make and receive calls, but they will need to be over a Bluetooth or other hands free device. You are the one who turns ZoomSafer off once you reach your destination, and if you are a passenger in a car and want to use your friend’s phone, you can still exit the app and use the phone and text, IM, email whoever you want (and yes, if you’re a driver and want to ignore ZoomSafer, by all means you could).
We know this seems harsh, but considering how many teen deaths are caused from distracted driving (some studies say this is the leading cause of teen deaths) and how using your phone while driving is illegal in 21 states already, we feel this is a very important PSA to mention. The app itself is free to download, though it will cost either a $2.99 monthly subscription or $25 one time fee to use, something we don’t find too bad at all considering what it could help save.
You can learn more about ZoomSafer at their site here. Video of what ZoomSafer is and how it works after the break.
Lenovo Shows Off 2 New Touchscreen PCs January 14, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : CES and Macworld, Computers , add a comment
The Lenovo U1 Hybrid, in laptop mode
The Slate PC by Microsoft wasn’t the only touchscreen computer shown off at CES (not by a long shot), and while at CES, Lenovo announced two really cool touchscreen PC’s of their own– the S10-3t netbook, and the U1 which, is… well you’ll see–think of it as a regular laptop mixed with a tablet. Read on for all the info.
3D Coming to a Television Near You? January 13, 2010Posted by Zev Rosenbaum in : CES and Macworld, Misc. , add a comment
Have you seen James Cameron’s Avatar? If you were impressed by the usage of 3D by Cameron to immerse you in the world of Pandora, then you will be amazed by sports and TV in 3D. One of the big themes last week at CES was 3DTV’s in the home and coming this June DirecTV will begin broadcasting a few channels in 3D and one of the big headlines here, is that sports will also be in 3D. Fox Sports and ESPN are already on board to begin showing some games in 3D this summer, though if sports ain’t your thing, don’t worry a number of other broadcasting companies will join them including:
- and CBS
To go along with 3DTV there will be also be Blu-ray players that can play Blu-ray in 3D! The first Blu-ray player that can play 3D was announced from Sony last and is called the BDP-S770 (this is in addition to Sony updating the PS3 to 3D)
And finally, to go along with 3DTV a bunch of new TVs have been announced that can handle 3D. One in particular is the Sony Barvia LX900 which will come in sizes ranging from 40 – 60 inches, and will be able to broadcast 3D in full 1080P HD.
Now, you’re probably thinking, out of all the 3D movies I have seen, I’ve always had to wear glasses, do I have to wear them in my own house? The answer is for now, yes. There are glasses that will come along with the TVs that will allow you to see the television broadcast in 3D, though there are a lot of companies working on 3D without the annoying glass.
Palm Introduces Pre Plus and Pixi Plus to Verizon; Updates webOS January 8, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Cell Phones, CES and Macworld , 2comments
Yesterday at Palm’s CES keynote, CEO Jon Rubinstein announced what we’ve been waiting for since the Pre first hit one year ago– availability on carriers other than Sprint, like Verizon. Sprint’s exclusives on both the Pre and Pixi have finally run up, so Palm plans to bring some updated version of both devices to Verizon by the end of the month (January 25th!).
But that’s not all. They talked a lot on the future of webOS, something that’s good for all devices (be it Pre, Pixi or the Plus versions). Read on for exciting details on both the new phones and the new software.
Microsoft Unveils the Slate PC January 6, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : CES and Macworld , add a comment
Microsoft showing off 3 new Slate PC’s
Forget about the Apple Tablet (or as it’s now known as, the iSlate).
Microsoft in their CES keynote tonight just unveiled a whole new type of Windows PC– called Slate PC’s, which, like the rumored Apple Tablet, are all touchscreen Windows 7-running computers, that have multi-touch, and are in sleek, thin designs. As Microsoft is putting it, this is really Windows 7 with an even stronger emphasis on touch.
Microsoft has announced a few early partners for this new PC design– including HP, Archos, and Pegatron. Lemme just say– these things look to be great, and could definitely be the next digital version of not just our books, magazines and newspapers (you have many eReader apps for these PC’s, like the Kindle and Nook’s Windows apps), but could also very well replace traditional laptops and netbooks as the future of both our regular PC experience both for use in school and at home.
As you can see from the shot above of the 3 Slate PC’s, these devices definitely look to go with the rising tablet trend popping up here at CES (there’s talk of Android tablets, and of course non-stop talk on the Apple Tablet). All in all, if there is one thing we can take out from all this– whether it’s from Microsoft, Apple, Google or some other group — touchscreen and tablet computers are here, and they look to change how we use computers in 2010 and beyond.
We’re still digging for more on these new Slate PC’s, so stay tuned for additional info on them and all the other tablet/slate PC’s. In the meantime though, hit the “more” link for a quick teaser video of HP’s Slate PC (which looks absolutely sick).
Lenovo Introduces the Skylight smartbook January 5, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : CES and Macworld, Computers , add a comment
The Lenovo Skylight
Just because CES starts on Wednesday doesn’t mean companies cant get a head start on announcing a bunch of new products. Lenovo has really taken full use of this, today officially unveiling a whole new line of computer called the Skylight smartbook. So what is the Skylight and what’s different about it than your normal netbook or laptop?
The Sprint Overdrive 4G hotspot shown in a Sprint online ad
With CES only 2 days away, the news and rumors flying out of Vegas are crazy.
Among the older ones is that Sprint is releasing a 3G/4G portable WiFi hotspot — basically a 4G-capable version similar to the MiFi 2200 we saw last year. For those unfamiliar with the MiFi, it takes the 3G/4G Sprint signal and turns it into a WiFi network, where any other device with the ability to connect to WiFi (iTouch, Zune HD, laptop– heck even iPhones) can get internet connection. In other words, let’s say you got your iTouch or laptop and want to get an update on the Jets-Bengals game this Saturday, but you don’t have any WiFi networks to connect to. With this new device attached, all you got to do is turn it on and you’ve got all the latest updates streaming down to you on Sprint’s fast 3G and really fast 4G network (think speeds close to the ones you get on your home broadband network, and much faster than the current 3G networks).
The device, called the Sprint Overdrive, does all that and is also quite compact, so it should be no problem for you to carry this in your pocket. Other specs on the device are said to include a microSD card slot (perhaps for sharing files over your portable network), support for location services (like a GPS), and has an 100 150 foot range (which is definitely not bad for such a small device).
Now while Sprint hasn’t yet confirmed any of this, some of their 4G ads online just so happen to be showing this off (that’s how we were tipped off on it), and going to sprint.com/overdrive takes you too a Coming Soon page, so an announcement and official details (like price and release date) can’t be too far off now.
UPDATE (1/06): With CES now really starting to get underway, Sprint has come out and made this official. Updated specs include sharing your 3G/4G connection with up to 5 WiFi devices– like the MiFi– a built in GPS, and support for up to a 16 GB microSD card which can be used as shared storage over your network. The Overdrive will be available online and in Sprint and Best Buy stores starting January 10th for $99.99 after a $50 mail in rebate and a new 2 year contract (with a $59.99 a month 3G/4G data plan).
CES 2010– Everything You Need To Know, Right Here January 2, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Announcements, CES and Macworld , add a comment
Happy New Year! Yes, we are finally into the first decade of the 2000′s. Along with the new year comes the upcoming annual Consumer Electronics Show, which showcases a lot of the new tech you’ll see next year.
Among categories in which we expect particular development, smarter, even more powerful smartphones, faster, better computers (particularly netbooks), 3D TV’s (just a lot of 3D in general), eBooks, tablets (especially Apple, if you’ve been following any news), and 4G.
4G, which is the next step in cell phone networking, with even faster, higher-quality connection, is anticipated to be launched by Sprint in the US very shortly–with the inclusion of more modems and a some new 4G-capable phones–and Verizon is said to begin the rollout of their 4G network this year as well.
So stay tuned, CES kicks off January 6th and runs through the 10th, and we’ll be relaying to you everything about the latest, coolest tech out there.
(Oh, and for all those wondering about Macworld– Apple isn’t participating in it this year, but don’t worry, word is that they got a January announcement of their own planned for later this month…)