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ARROWS Kiss F-03D: Fujitsu Japan Rolls Out “Women-Only” Android Handset

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:01 AM PST

arrows kiss feat-01al

It’s not the first cell phone that has been designed specifically for women, but it’s certainly one of the most interesting, as far as features and specs are concerned. Fujitsu’s so-called ARROWS Kiss F-03D for the Japanese market runs on Android 2.3, is targeted at women aged between 20 and 30, and comes with “elegant and glimmering jewelry design”.

The area around the “gem-cut” buttons on the front starts lighting up in one of 23 illumination patterns when users receive a call or message. Fujitsu also provides a small stylus that’s supposed to make it easier to write Japanese characters. The Kiss F-03D is waterproof (and ready for use in the bathtub), too.

Users can choose between a set of different fonts, icons, and wallpapers. They can decorate pictures with a “special photo enhancement function”, control their body posture with a special app, or optimize their sleep with the Sukkiri Alarm app (which wakes them up when sleep is detected to be at its lightest point).

Spec-wise, buyers get a 3.7-inch TFT screen with 480 × 800 resolution, a single-core CPU with 1.5Ghz, 1GB RAM, an 8MP outer camera, a 1.3MP inner camera, a microSDHC slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, infrared, a digital TV tuner, e-wallet function, wireless charging (Qi) support, etc.

The Kiss F-03D goes on sale in Japan on Friday with an open price model.

Daily Crunch: Boxes

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 01:00 AM PST

AAXA’s P4 Pico Projector Puts 80 Lumens In Your Palm

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 05:22 PM PST


I’ve gotten to review a few pico projectors, but haven’t had the opportunity to test one from AAXA. This new one, the P4, looks like it could stand up to my favorite so far, the 3M MP160. As 3M did with that device, AAXA sacrifices smallness for brightness, and ends up beating the competition by some margin.

At 80 lumens, the P4 is more than twice as bright as the MP160. That’s still nothing compared to normal stationary projectors, which can produce thousands of lumens, but 80 is more than enough for a nice big screen in a reasonably dim room.

Battery life is a reasonable 75 minutes, which is enough for a presentation or a TV show or two, but no good if you want to watch a movie with your sweetheart out in the woods (or something, I don’t know). The resolution is 1280×800, though, which is better than any other pico projector I know of, and the 750MHz processor should chew through most SD video files, though I doubt it can handle highly compressed 720p; you should probably use an external source for that.

Interestingly, it runs Windows CE apps, not that those are especially common, but it may make a laptop unnecessary if you’re just showing a few graphs or slides.

Hopefully we’ll get our hands on one of these to review. At $399 (on sale for $339 at the moment) it’s not quite an impulse buy, but it is probably the best one of these devices, spec-wise, on the market right now.

[via SlashGear]

RIM Shows Off PlayBook Email And Calendar Apps

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 02:09 PM PST


One of the primary criticisms of the BlackBerry PlayBook, and rightly so, was the omission of native email, contacts, and calendar applications. It was troubling then that they hadn’t considered these primary activities as important to address natively, and it’s troubling that it has taken then so very long deliver these elementary functions.

RIM originally said these reviews weren’t “fair,” but regardless of the quality of the OS and the device itself (both of which seem perfectly fine), it’s criminal to subject your loyal users to such a long wait for an email client competitive with Apple and Google. But at least the apps are being finalized, and were just showed off at the BlackBerry Innovation Forum.

BlackBerryCool has posted some quick shots of the apps. They look clean and more or less as you’d expect, and much better in my opinion than the early versions they showed at BlackBerry World. I have no trouble believing they’re as polished as the rest of the OS, and I look forward to seeing how they have integrated off-screen gestures and the like. Ideally, the PlayBook should be as much of an email and messaging powerhouse as its handset brethren.

Unfortunately the apps won’t be arriving until February 17th, and there won’t be a native BBM client by then either. But there’s a good chance they’ll be included as part of a major update that makes the Playbook, which is in some ways ahead of its time, a more realistic competitor.

The PlayBook’s keyboard accessory should be hitting around the same time as well, which should aid in productivity.

[via CrackBerry]

2011 Holiday Gift Guide: Five Phones To Take Into 2012

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 02:06 PM PST


The holiday season is upon us, and no gift keeps on giving quite like a smartphone. Think about it — there’s probably nothing in your dear friend or family member’s life that he or she will use on a regular basis more than their trusty new smartphone. And if you happen to be a super controlling boyfriend or girlfriend, just think of this spent cash as the best possible way to keep dibs on your sweetie pie. Prices range from $50 to a whopping $300 so there should be something here for everyone. If not, check out the BlackBerry lineup at your nearest retailer because you surely won’t see it anywhere here.

Motorola Droid RAZR

The Droid RAZR currently takes the cake as the thinnest smartphone in the world. If appearances matter to your loved one, this is the phone you should be looking at. It’s super thin at just 7.1mm thick, with heavy-duty Kevlar fiber back casing and a unique shape with squared off corners. I have yet to see any Android-powered hardware differentiate itself as much as the RAZR, but under the hood things get even more impressive.

The phone is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and packs support for Verizon’s 4G LTE network. On the back you’ll find an 8-megapixel shooter capable of video capture in 1080p along with a 1.3-megapixel front-facing cam for video chat. Up front you can’t help but notice that 4.3-inch 540×960 Super AMOLED display and you’ll also find a number of pretty sweet pre-loaded apps out of the box too, such as Netflix HD and Motorola’s MOTOCast app.

The Droid RAZR will go for $299 on-contract from Verizon.

Samsung Galaxy S II

The Galaxy S II isn’t quite as new as some of the others you’ll find here (launched in late September), but it’s probably one of the most solid Android handsets I’ve used to date. Much like the RAZR, the GS II is pretty thin itself, with a 8.89mm waist line and rounded corners not unlike the iPhone 4. It sports a Super AMOLED Plus screen (4.3-inch at AT&T, 4.52-inch at Sprint/T-Mobile), runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor under the hood.

The GS II also has its photography bases covered, with an 8-megapixel flash-equipped rear camera (capable of video capture in 1080p) and a 2-megapixel front-facing shooter for video chat. You’ll also find support for HDMI out in case you want to relive the Holiday memories on a big screen.

The beauty of the GS II as a gift is that it’s available on three of the four major networks, including Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile. If for whatever reason you’re able to start your loved one on a fresh contract with a new carrier, I’d suggest nabbing AT&T’s version of the Galaxy S II. T-Mobile’s model doesn’t keep the same killer design dress as the others, and at 4.3-inches the AT&T model’s screen has a greater pixel density than Sprint’s.

You’ll be able to nab the Samsung Galaxy S II for $199 on-contract from both Sprint and AT&T, though T-Mobile’s Qualcomm processor-packin’ version will go for a tad more at $229.99.

Samsung Stratosphere

The Samsung Stratosphere is stuck in the middle (with you). Not only does it have the median price point of all of our gift guide options, but it also seems stuck somewhere in between the future and the past. By that I mean, it has all the specs of any solid mid-to-high-end handset, but throws it back a bit in the keyboard department with a physical sliding five-row QWERTY. In fact, this is the only phone running on Verizon’s 4G LTE network to have a real-life keyboard so if your puddin’ pop simply can’t stand using your touchscreen keyboard, this may be what you’re looking for.

Past the whole keyboard thing, you’ll also find a 4-inch 480×800 Super AMOLED display, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with flash, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing shooter for video chat, and a 1GHz processor under the hood. Unfortunately, there’s no 1080p video capture on this bad boy, but the trade-off for keyboard-packing LTE speeds is worthwhile for anyone who’s still hooked on real buttons.

You can find the Samsung Stratosphere at Verizon for $149.99 on-contract.

Apple iPhone 4

This year, if you’d prefer to get a stunned gleeful expression instead of the usual “you really shouldn’t have,” I’d suggest the affordably priced iPhone 4. I don’t want to sound like some Apple evangelist or anything, but there are plenty of closeted fanbois out there just waiting for the right excuse to go buy an iPhone. It’s only a matter of time. So why not just nudge the process along with one of the most popular smartphones of all time.

Specs wise we’re looking at a 3.5-inch 960×640 Retina display, a 1GHz A4 processor, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera capable of 720p video capture, and a VGA front-facing camera for video chat. But we all know it’s about much more than that. Along with some of the most expensive and high-quality hardware on the market, the iPhone 4 will ship with iOS 5 which comes with all kinds of awesome features like iMessage, a super slick Notfications Center, and iTunes Wi-Fi Sync. Plus, no one will be able to tell whether it’s the brand new 4S or the 4, which is a bit shallow but aren’t we all?

The iPhone 4 would be a great gift at its original price, but for $99 you’re pretty much out of excuses.

Samsung Focus Flash

Android and iOS are wonderful, sure, but if you’re anything like me you’re ready for a change. Luckily, there’s a new kid in town and he’s actually much cooler than you’d think. Windows Phone 7.5 is a welcome disruption in the mobile OS landscape, with threaded conversations across almost all messaging platforms, Xbox Live integration, and a tempting live-tile UI. But the Samsung Focus Flash is more than a mere vessel.

Even though it’s made of mostly plastic, a few hints of metal and a brushed dark grey finish give it a much more expensive feel, especially given the fact that the phone is a bit heftier than you’d expect. It sports a 3.7-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1.4GHz single-core processor, a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a front-facing camera for video chat. Plus, the IE9 browser in Mango is super snappy, and beat out my iPhone 4S just about every time in testing.

It sure doesn’t feel like it, but the Samsung Focus Flash costs $49.99 on-contract at AT&T.

Researchers See Retina Display, Raise Them A Cornea Display

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 01:19 PM PST


The idea of information being presented directly to your eyes, be it by glasses, contacts, distant lasers, or brain implants, has existed for decades. But like so many sci-fi concepts, the engineering is slightly more difficult than the idea work. While we’ve seen lots of work in artificial eyes, head-mounted displays, and cortical implants, the on-eye display has remained elusive.

Progress is being made, though. Researchers at the University of Washington and Aalto University in Finland have successfully created a simple wireless contact lens display and tested it on a live eye — a proof of concept that may presage more sophisticated devices. People wonder what kind of display comes after the touchscreen; it may be something like this.

The display is, as far as cornea-mounted wireless displays go, pretty basic: there’s an antenna for harvesting wireless power, a circuit to manage this power, and a single transparent LED. Obviously you’re not going to display much information with one LED, but this device was created for evaluating health risks. It was tested on a rabbit’s eye and found to be safe, by their account.

What’s next? Obviously more resolution is necessary, but more resolution requires more power, and as it is, the wireless solution they implemented could only reliably power the device from 2cm away when it was installed on the rabbit.

The next generation of displays isn’t really something we can easily speculate on, but, cynical as it may sound, those with military applications are often the ones that get the green light. A contact lens display would definitely be useful in that situation, so you’d better believe that the guys at DARPA are paying attention to this particular line of research. But I wouldn’t count on this trickling down to consumer tech for many years, if it does at all.

[via MedGadget]

Printrbot: A Cheap 3D Printer For You And Yours

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 12:14 PM PST

Based on the RepRap platform, the Printrbot is a $499 3D printer accessible to everyone. Designed to be built in a few hours, this Kickstarter project includes multiple levels of kit completion – $199, for example, gets you most of the parts except for the extruder while $500 gets you the whole caboodle. It is completely expandable and can build items 5 by 5 by 5 inches, although you can upgrade to 12 x 12 x 12.

The goal of this project is to help put a 3D printer in every home. The creator, Brook Drumm runs Vault Multimedia and he’s a fan of open source hardware. The project is fully funded. All you need to do is decide which platform you’d like to pick up and then you and your entire family can give 3D printed Christmas presents this year, which sure beats a jar of Chex Mix and/or a tie.

Project Page

Samsung And T-Mobile To Launch A White Galaxy S II By The Holidays

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 08:43 AM PST

White Galaxy S2 3

I’ve always been something of a fan (a proponent, even) of white phones. Back in another life when I was consulting mobile manufacturers on their phone designs, it was always one of the first questions I’d ask: “This is great! Can you make it in white?”

Back then, everybody acted like I was crazy. “White is too hard to keep clean!” they’d assure me. “The white bezel makes the black screen look smaller!” they’d say. These days, of course, white phones are all the rage.

Sometime before the holidays, another flagship phone is now set to hop on the big list of handsets with snowy variants: the Samsung Galaxy S II.

News of the hue-less model comes straight from Samsung themselves, though the announcement lacks details beyond its launch window of “in time for the holidays”.

The announcement was made in partnership with T-Mobile, and only confirms that T-Mobile will be getting the white model. This is particularly interesting, as pictures of an identical white variant leaked out just days ago… but for AT&T. No official word yet from AT&T on when they might get it, but I’d guess that “in time for the holidays” window is the same across the board.

Yet Another Ho-Hum Android Phone: Samsung Illusion Headed To Verizon Tomorrow At $79.99

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 07:17 AM PST


You know, I’m beginning to think that Samsung’s factory lines are rigged up like the bus in Speed. If at any time they drop below 50 newly created Android phones per month, bam! Factory falls down and Keanu Reeves never hooks up with Sandra Bullock.

Alternative Intro: Samsung and Verizon are incredibly excited about their latest handset, the Samsung Illusion. You can always tell a company is excited about a product when much of the press release is dedicated to the riveting details, like its Underwriters Laboratory score.

Before I rant on, the details: the Samsung Illusion, launching tomorrow on Verizon’s site for $79.99, is an Android 2.3 handset. It’s got a 1Ghz processor, a 3-megapixel camera, and all the standard goods (like Bluetooth, 802.11a/b/g/n, etc.) inside. And… well, that’s it, really. For the curious, there’s no support for Verizon’s 4G/LTE network.

I mean, I get it. The Underwriters Lab score (and the other eco-focused-ish specs that Samsung chose to talk up this time, like the 70% recycled rear casing) give Samsung’s efforts some degree of “green” factor. But if saving the world was at all a part of Samsung’s goal, wouldn’t they stop releasing junk that they themselves seem to make obsolete the next week? Imagine the waste that goes into researching, developing, prototyping, producing, shipping, storing, and then eventually disposing of a handset that no one will remember in 6 months.

The SlingPlayer App Makes Its Way To The Boxee Box

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 06:31 AM PST


Boxee Box owners, get ready for even more content. The SlingPlayer app is available for your downloading (auto-playing video warning) and ready to catch content slung from a SlingBox Solo or Pro-HD.

This simple app allows big things. When paired with the appropriate SlingBox, Boxee Box users will be able to remotely control and access a cable box, DVR or satellite receiver. This turns the Boxee Box into a content consuming monster.

The SlingBox sits alongside a set-top cable or satellite box and essentially captures the video stream. It then allows users to remote access and control the connected box. This stream is then broadcasted online where owners can access it via a web browser, smartphone, tablet, and, just recently, Facebook. The Boxee Box app is just the latest addition.

With a connected SlingBox, a Boxee Box basically turns into a one-stop-shop. The device was already one of the best streamer with access to most online video sources including Netflix and all the media companies. Now, as long as there’s a SlingBox in play, the ‘Box has access to cable content. Put a SlingBox on one of your cable boxes and then install the Boxee Box on a bedroom TV. Or, even better, convince one of your buddies to let you put a SlingBox on one of his cable boxes.

The app was demonstrated over the summer prior to its beta phase. The two companies took to the wire this morning to announce the app is finally ready. Fortunately there doesn’t seem to be a cost for the app or service.

2011 Holiday Gift Guide: 6 Audio/Video Gifts That Will Light Up The Holidays

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 05:48 AM PST


There may be no greater gift than a quality piece of home entertainment equipment. I mean that, too. Forget train sets, diamonds and puppies. Everyone wants entertainment this holiday season and we’ve rounded up six solid bets ranging in price from $40 to $600. There’s something here for everyone including your great aunt or boyfriend that already has everything.

Bose CineMate Series II

The last thing anyone wants is a hassle. Don’t gift a box of wires. The Bose CineMate Series II is not a hassle. And, if you give it a listen, the system defies the classic Bose saying of “No highs? No lows? It must be Bose.” The system sounds just fine but at $600, the CineMate is a tad on the expensive side. The added cost over another home theater in a box is obvious during set-up. This AV system is as easy to set up as an iMac. Just plug in a couple cables and you’re done. The 2.1 setup (two speakers and a sub) simulates surround sound and is a dramatic improvement over just TV speakers. Sure, there are “better” systems available for less (and more) but only gift those if you’re willing to donate your time to their setup process Christmas morning.

Boxee Box

There isn’t a more satisfying home media streamer than the Boxee Box. Not only does it love locally-stored files, but the ‘Box offers hundreds of legal streaming sources including Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, and all the media networks. If something is online, the Boxee Box can stream it. Best yet, the interface is designed around bringing content to the user as easily as possible. It’s brilliant. With a street price of of around $180, it’s not as cheap as, say, a Roku or Apple TV, but the feature set easily compensates for the additional price. Your significant other will love it even if they are not a cable-cutting hipster.

Roku 2 XD

Boxee Box a little expensive? Fair enough, the latest Roku boxes are still very capable and half the price. These tiny boxes — they’re really small — stream content from Netflix, Amazon, and over three hundred other stations. The smart money is on the $79 Roku 2 XD that outputs at 1080p and features a wireless connection. However, if the budget allows it, you may want to opt for the $99 Roku 2 XS that comes loaded with Angry Birds and ships with a motion controller. It’s a fun gaming experience, but sort of needless for anyone that’s already played through Angry Birds. But your parents might love it.

Logitech Harmony Link

So your significant other loves their iPad, eh? Well, the Logitech Harmony Link can turn the tablet into the ultimate couch potato tool. This little $100 device sits alongside audio/video equipment such as a TV, cable box, and AV receiver. The iPad can then control all these devices through the magic of an iPad app and the local WiFi network. But it’s the app that’s the real magic.

Logitech designed the Harmony Link app to rethink the TV browsing experience. Think of it as a cable box guide designed for the iPad. It works well and is particularly useful on a TV that doesn’t already have access to a cable box — like a bedroom. If nothing else, this device is very unique and would be a great gift for that person that seemingly has everything. They don’t have anything like this. Promise.

Logitech Harmony Remote

Nothing can replace a dedicated universal remote — not even an iPad app. If the love of your life is overloaded with remotes, consider a Logitech Harmony remote. There is one available at nearly every price point with the 300i costing $30 and the 900 running $350. To choose the right one, consider the amount of equipment under the TV. The 300 can control just four devices. The $70 650 controls five and also has clever one-touch macro controls (you want this). From there, the Harmony One features a rechargeable battery, a sleek touchscreen and the ability to control 15 devices. The $350 900 is the top dog Harmony right now and features everything as the One but can control devices through walls and floors. This would allow your signifacant other to pack up all the ugly boxes and tuck them away in a closet.

Star Wars on Blu-Ray

Hot news: Star Wars is now available on Blu-ray. This is a no-brainer. But shop around. The complete six movie set has an MSRP of $139 but can be found for a lot less online. Better yet, save some cash and just get the original trilogy: Amazon has it for $40.