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29Apr/11Off

Flipbac Camera Grips help you to get a grip on your camera

I normally shoot photos with a Nikon D80 DSLR when I want to take really good pics. I like the camera because it has a comfortable grip and high image quality, in all the years I have been shooting with the D80, I have never had it slip out of my hands. I also have a new small point and shoot that takes HD video and the little thin rectangle has slipped out of my mitts on more than one occasion only to be saved by the wrist strap.

I bet I am not the only geek who has a hard time keeping a hand on the slim rectangular and very slippery point and shoots on the market today. If you have dropped your camera or just want a more comfortable grip, the Flipbac Camera Grip may be perfect for you. This little grip gives you a raised area to wrap your fingers around. The thing is easy to apply and would fit just about any camera out there.

The grip is held on the surface of the camera with 3M adhesive, and you can peel it off should you never need to. The grip is made from silicone, which’s would make it nice and soft and reduce the chance of allergic reaction to those that can’t deal with latex or rubber. The Flipbac comes in three styles, including G1, G2, and G3 with the difference being the shape of the grip. They are all 38mm H x 22mm W and cost $9.99 each.

[via Flipbac]


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29Apr/11Off

Connect A Sketch is a networked Etch A Sketch

I would bet that everyone has used an Etch A Sketch at some point in their life. I remember having one when I was a kid, I was always making stairs on the screen or having dueling light cycle fights after Tron came out. I always wished that you could have another set of knobs on top for some two-player Tron style battles on the toy. A cool new device called the Connect A Sketch will let me do just that.

The device is a pair of Etch A Sketch tablets that are hacked together to communicate and allow whatever is drawn on one screen to be automatically drawn on the other. That means that two people can collaborate on a drawing. In my case that also means I can have some two player light cycle battles like I always wanted. When one player is done with their image on the device and shakes it to erase, the other user is notified to shake their screen too.

The designer of the cool toy is Andrew Little, a product design student. Little said, “We all love to leave personal messages for one another, be it productive or playful, Connect A Sketch was designed to take this interaction to a larger scale. The reason I chose to do this through an Etch A Sketch is because of my appreciation of the toy I grew up with.” The Connect A Sketch will be unveiled at the 2011 Dundee Degree Show and at the London exhibition, New Designers.

[via DesignaLittle]


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29Apr/11Off

Square launching new iPhone card reader this summer with encryption at read head

Of all the iPhone credit card readers that are available for mobile card payments today, the one that is most visible is the Square card reader. This is the one you can get now in the Apple Store and then start taking credit card payments right from your smartphone. Square made a big announcement this week with credit card heavyweight Visa making a strategic investment in the company. Mobile payments on a device as popular as the iPhone is huge for Visa and will give the credit card company one more source of revenue.

You might also remember that back in March the major competitor to Square, VeriFone noted that Square needed to recall all of its readers because they lacked encryption at the read point. VeriFone claimed that the lack of encryption at the point that the card was scanned left the user’s credit card details open to a hacker. Square fired back and claimed that its readers were hunky-dory.

While Square was touting the investment from Visa, Square COO Keith Rabois wrote a blog post that basically validated everything VeriFone accused the Square reader of. The crux of the post was that Square would be meeting Visa’s industry standards, and those standards mean they have to encrypt all the credit card data, including the data at the point the information is read. Square will be releasing a new reader of the iPhone this summer that encrypts the data as soon as it is read, VeriFone was accurate after all.

[via TechCrunch]


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29Apr/11Off

Rumor: Sony Ericsson Xperia Mango and Smultron (Mini Pro II and Mini II) to Be Released in May

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We’ve been seeing a lot of that heir apparent to the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro and that’s because it may be set to come out soon. It’s said to be named the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mango (codename, apparently) and will feature the same specs we’ve heard before – a 1GHz processor, a 3 inch HVGA display and that all-important slideout QWERTY keyboard. We’re now hearing about the Xperia Smultron, too, which will virtually be the same phone as the Mango sans keyboard. Folks are saying that this thing could be out as early as next week so we’ll keep an eye on the scene and let you know when or if that happens. [ePrice via PocketNow]


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29Apr/11Off

Samsung Mobile Profits, But Thinks They Could Have Done Better in Q1’11

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Samsung’s made public their financial results from quarter 1 of 2011 (something we’ve been seeing a lot of this week from other OEMs and carriers.) Long story short: their mobile business profited to contribute to the company’s overall profit. To be specific, they sold 70 million handsets.

18% of those handsets were smartphones. Samsung does make Windows Phone 7 phones, but we’re sure the success of the Galaxy S and other affordable Android handsets contributed a lot. Overall, they raked in 1.43 trillion won which comes out to about $1.3 billion. Overal revenue for the telecoms division was 10.64 trillion won, or $9.9 billion. (Most of this extra cash likely came from their deals with network operators both in wireless and wireline communications.)

Even then, Samsung says they could have made more if not for things beyond their control. Namely, the Japanese earthquake, higher cost of raw materials, and more contributed to Samsung’s need to spend more money than they would have liked. Samsung did well in other areas, too, such as their semiconductor business. Partners like Apple rely on Samsung-made chipsets (and other components) for their devices. As for panels, they actually saw a loss. (But it wasn’t huge enough to be concerned about.) [via Yonhap News]


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29Apr/11Off

HTC Reportedly Bringing a Slightly Better Version of Sensation with NFC

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HTC may be looking to jump into the NFC game just as Google and Samsung have if this rumor is to be believed. Bright Side of News is reporting that an anonymous HTC representative mentioned to them a new phone that would follow the HTC Sensation and “should be positioned slightly above” it.

This version is said to have an NFC chip inside, but will feature the same 4.3 inch qHD display that the Sensation does. We’re not exactly sure what “slightly above” means outside of NFC, though – perhaps it’s the HTC Rider or Kingdom that’s said to have 3D features similar to the EVO 3D. Who knows? [via PocketNow]


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29Apr/11Off

Manually Download and Install Android 2.3.4 for the Nexus S (on GRI40)

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Still waiting for that upgrade to Android 2.3.4 that’ll bring video calling to GTalk, are you? You should know by now that most OTAs are eventually put up on the interwebz for all to download and flash. This isn’t a leak, really. Someone just intercepted the URL from Google’s servers and publicized the link. We imagine this will eventually be mirrored, but we don’t expect Google to ever take the current link down.

That said, please note that this is only for Nexus S devices with build GRI40. If you’re not on said build, Google has separate files for you to apply so be patient as they’re uncovered. (Or just upgrade to GRI40 first.) [Download Link (Right Click, Save Target As)] [Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]


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29Apr/11Off

Android 3.1 to Bring Hardware Accelerated Video With Flash Update, Says Adobe

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Although Google themselves haven’t made mention of the next Honeycomb upgrade, Adobe took it to themselves to do so in the change log of their most recent update. “Hardware accelerated video presentation (requires Android 3.1)” and “Enhanced browser integration for Honeycomb tablets (requires Android 3.1)” grace the listing.

It’s a very much needed change for folks who can’t enjoy flash content in 720p on their Honeycomb tablets the way they should – choppy framerates and slow device performance plague an otherwise good experience. The listing has since been updated to change the words in the parenthesis which now says “requires an upcoming release of Android 3″.

People are wondering if Adobe made a typo, but it’s highly unlikely they made the same “typo” on two different lines. I’d bet my bank account that Android 3.1 is real. And really, is there any reason to believe it isn’t? [via Droid-Life]


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29Apr/11Off

Project iKinect adds iPhone to Kinect gaming for boosted control [Video]

The great Kinect hacks continue, and next up is a way to bypass Microsoft’s limitations on micro-movement recognition by throwing another controller into the mixture: namely an iPhone. Project iKinect is a PC-based co-play system which allows for more complex gameplay, using the Kinect motion sensor to track general movement and the iPhone’s various sensors and touchscreen for micro-movement recognition.

As the team points out, what isn’t currently offered for Kinect gamers is a flight game with guns, primarily – they suggest – because the sensor can’t recognize sub-movements. By throwing the iPhone into the mixture, however, the Kinect is free to track general movement of the spacecraft while the smartphone is used to control its weapons.

It’s the handiwork of Khairul Nizam and his Rockmoon team of merry Unity3D, Kinect and iOS developers. No word on what they intend to do with the system, but we’re hoping this means more integration between smartphones and Kinect games in future.

[Thanks Ben!]


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29Apr/11Off

Logitech admits just $5m in Google TV profits; hopes “next-gen” will save it

Logitech has confirmed a mere $5m in sales of its Google TV product range, centered around the first STB for the Android-based project, the Logitech Revue. Revealed in the company’s recent financial report [pdf link], the sluggish sales were accompanied by a slump in Harmony universal remote profits, despite overall sales being up.

Logitech blames that disparity on an increasing number of sub-$100 remotes gaining traction. In fact, low-cost and mainstream peripherals were the stand-outs in Logitech’s ranges, with keyboards the best performing category and cordless mice driving up pointing devices sales.

The company now says it is looking to the “next generation of Google TV” to kickstart digital home sales. Google has been tipped to consolidate Google TV with its Android smartphone and tablet strands, creating a single AOSP which would allow the company to accelerate development and more quickly push out much-needed functionality like Android Market access.

We’ve laid out our opinions on how Google could fix Google TV before, and made no disguise of the fact that in its current iteration it’s on shaky ground. We found the Revue to have promise in our initial review, but since then the platform has seemingly been left to idle, with little outward sign of movement or progression from Google itself.

Press Release:

Logitech Announces Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Financial Results for FY 2011

FREMONT, Calif., April. 27, 2011 and MORGES, Switzerland, April. 28, 2011 – Logitech International (SIX: LOGN) (Nasdaq: LOGI) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of Fiscal Year 2011.

Sales for Q4 FY 2011 were $548 million, up 4 percent from $525 million in the same quarter last year. Excluding the favorable impact of exchange rate changes, sales increased by 3 percent. Operating income was $3.6 million, a decrease of 87 percent compared to $27.7 million in the same quarter a year ago. Net income for Q4 was $2.8 million ($0.02 per share) compared to $24.5 million ($0.14 per share) in Q4 of FY 2010. Gross margin for Q4 FY 2011 was 32.8 percent, down from 35.8 percent one year ago.

Logitech’s retail sales for Q4 FY 2011 grew by 2 percent year over year, with an increase in Asia of 32 percent, an increase in the Americas of 11 percent, and a decrease in EMEA of 17 percent. OEM sales decreased by 10 percent. Sales for the LifeSize division grew 88 percent, reaching a record high for a quarter. For the full fiscal year, sales were $2.36 billion, up 20 percent from $1.97 billion in FY 2010. Operating income was $142.7 million, up 82 percent from $78.4 million a year ago. Gross margin for FY 2011 was 35.4 percent compared to 31.9 percent in FY 2010.

“FY 2011 was a strong year for the company, with sales growth of 20 percent and operating income nearly doubling, driven by our LifeSize division and our Americas and Asia retail regions,” said Gerald P. Quindlen, Logitech president and chief executive officer. “The disappointing conclusion to FY 2011 – which resulted in lower-than expected full-year sales, operating income and gross margin – was due to weaker than anticipated demand in the second half of Q4 for our products in EMEA. The weakness in demand in EMEA was compounded by poor execution of channel pricing and promotional programs within the region, which we have begun to remedy.”

Outlook

For Fiscal Year 2012, ending March 31, 2012, Logitech expects sales of approximately $2.6 billion, operating income of approximately $185 million and gross margin of approximately 35 percent. The tax rate is expected to be approximately 15 percent.


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