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All posts by Andy Walker

  • Google’s smart home is now open as Nest API seeds to eager devs

    Nest Labs, the smart thermostat manufacturer, today opened its hardware platform for developers, making Nest the centre of Google's smart home ecosystem. Purchased by Google for a hefty US$3.2-billion earlier this year, Nest has chiefly produced smoke detectors and smart thermostats connected to the internet. But thanks to the rapidly growing home automation market that includes Apple's HomeKit and Quirky's Wink among others, Nest will be the de facto Google command hub in the home. Google, curiously enough, is labeled by WSJ as a "partner," allowing the Nest name to forego the company's smart home efforts. Google Now will act as a...

  • Nvidia-powered HTC Volantis is the new and possibly last Nexus tablet

    After an epic weekend leak, multiple sources are now reporting that HTC will manufacture Google's latest Nexus tablet. In fact, the device dubbed the HTC "Volantis" already exists, according to Android Police. The Android-centric blog claims the tablets will start at US$399, pitting it directly against the 8.4" Samsung Galaxy Tab S. HTC's Volantis (codenamed "Flounder") -- which will likely be called the Nexus 9 prior to release -- will pack some sterling hardware too. Nvidia's Logan SoC will be at the heart of the device, with 2GB RAM and up to 32GB storage. The Logan architecture makes use of the...

  • Valve’s Steam Summer Sale comes early, has added Adventure mode

    Gamers upset that Valve hasn't actually officially launched its Steam Machine platform yet, can today take comfort in the company's massive annual Steam Summer Sale. Valve, through its Steam store, is offering discounts on "thousands" of gaming titles for the next ten days. Although the sale is earlier than last year's, the company will still be offering its customary daily deals, community choice sales and a sales-orientated meta-game, allowing members to win additional titles. This year, eight-hour flash sales also join the fold, because waiting sucks. Current daily deals on offer include the dark DayZ, cut by a measly 15% to US$25.49....

  • AirDog action sports drone will let us view life in the third-person

    The one feature dearly lacking on GoPro action cameras is a set of wings. But the developers behind the AirDog have likely solved that problem with the creation of the "world's first auto-follow action sports drone" designed to film the user from high above. The US$995 AirDog is a waterproof, foldable, quad-copter drone that has a quirkily attractive LEGO-like appearance, but features a gyro-stabilised gimbal that reduces camera shake while automatically adjusting pitch and yaw. It's serious machinery, developed by Helico Aerospace Industries, a group of extreme sports enthusiasts themselves. Other electronic wizardry ensures that the drone doesn't crash into anything,...

  • This ingenious device lets you send scents and odours from your iPhone

    If the world thought constant uploads of meals to the internet was a thing of the past, they may soon have to deal with more than just pictures. Cambridge-based start up Vapor Communications, has developed the oPhone, a device that literally allows its users to receive photographs with odours. The unique project this week launched on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, with inventors David Edwards and Rachel Field yesterday sending the first scent message across the Atlantic. The device is available to early backers for US$149. The oPhone reproduces scents tagged in an image sent from the device's iPhone app - oSnap. Eight...

  • Glance turns any classic timepiece into a TV-controlling smartwatch

    Smartwatches have saturated the wearables market this year, but many consumers won't part with their expensive and stylish timepieces just to receive a few notifications. Enter Glance, the wrist-mounted accessory that turns any old strap or watch into a wrist-mounted smart device. The US$70 Glance, developed by Toronto-based Kiwi Wearables Technology, has garnered only a third of its Kickstarter funding goal, but it's more promising than these statistics would suggest. The company's previous endeavour birthed the Kiwi Move, an app-centric wearable relying on sensors and motion technology, which was praised at this year's CES. The Glance however, features a tiny OLED...

  • Afrihost readying Zest T1 smartphone deal with 12GB free data

    Afrihost, known as one of South Africa's ISPs, has announced that it will offer the Zest T1 smartphone, coupled with 1GB mobile data per month for a R1 999 once-off fee. The phone will be available exclusively in a choice of white or black to Afrihost clients from 18 June, while outside orders will commense a day later. Only 1000 bundles will be available, but lucky early birds will get 12GB free of data for the year, along with a very capable smartphone. The Zest T1 is a South African-produced Android KitKat device and packs dual SIM support, allowing users to...

  • Samsung’s slim Galaxy Tab S pair announced with AMOLED screens

    Samsung has officially unveiled its flagship Galaxy Tab S tablet in both 8.4" and 10.5" guises, with base prices starting at US$399 and US$499, respectively. The Korean electronics giant, after too many leaks to count, has finally lifted the curtain to reveal a lighter, faster tablet duo, with much denser screens. Both Galaxy Tab Ss are a mere 6.6mm deep while weighing in between 465 and 298g for the respective models. The screen is however, the real selling point. The Super AMOLED, QHD 2560x1600 units, enjoy pixel densities of 288ppi for the 10.5" and in excess of 300ppi for the 8.5"....

  • Mozilla to offer $25 Firefox OS-powered smartphones by year-end

    While Google's Android and Apple's iOS compete at the higher spectrum of the smartphone market, Mozilla is aiming a little lower. So low, in fact, that its planning to sell a US$25 Firefox OS smartphone in India and Indonesia before this year ends, according to WSJ. This price largely undercuts the retail price of most feature phones, an indication that Mozilla hopes to capitalise on emerging markets' massive smartphone boom. Rather than marketing their OS for high end phones competing with Android and iOS, it plans to embrace low income adopters, a market area largely forgotten my smartphone manufacturers. Mozilla will...

  • Alienware’s Windows-based Alpha to join Xbox One, PS4 in console war

    Alienware, Dell's enthusiast division, has announced that its Alpha gaming machine will not launch with SteamOS as initially planned, but instead with Windows 8.1 booting into a Steam interface. The Xbox One and PS4 competitor was unveiled in January at CES 2014 with the cheapest Alpha retailing at US$549 once launched. Initially, the device was to run Valve's modified version of Debian dubbed SteamOS, but Alienware has grown impatient citing Valve's companion peripheral's constant delays. The platform's predicted release date is now 2015. The developers at Alienware has now decided to go with a proven and trusted platform in Windows 8.1,...