Smartphones

If the BlackBerry smartphone dies at the hands of iPhone and Android, it won’t be because the marketing team failed to rope in pop culture luminaries. Following the rather embarrassing announcement of…








Apple has unveiled Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking versions of iPhone voice-controlled personality Siri, known for her subservient manner and witicisms. But Siri isn’t willing to crack a joke about everything. It may or…


NavisonChristopher Mims spills the beans for Technology Review:

Location services company Navizon has a new system, called Navizon I.T.S., that could allow tracking of visitors in malls, museums, offices, factories, secured areas and just about any other indoor space. It could be used to examine patterns of foot traffic in retail spaces, assure that a museum is empty of visitors at closing time, or even to pinpoint the location of any individual registered with the system. But let’s set all that aside for a minute while we freak out about the privacy implications.

Most of us leave Wi-Fi on by default, in part because our phones chastise us when we don’t. (Triangulation by Wi-Fi hotspots is important for making location services more accurate.) But you probably didn’t realize that, using proprietary new “nodes” from Navizon, any device with an active Wi-Fi radio can be seen by a system like Navizon’s.

To demonstrate the technology, here’s Navizon CEO and founder Cyril Houri hunting for one of his colleagues at a trade show using a kind of first person shooter-esque radar.




Created by Crowdflow, a visualization of the movement of 880 iPhones across Europe during the month of April, 2011, made from the phones’ location data. In the dystopian future, a thousand video feeds like this one will flicker across a wall of screens in Big Brother’s central surveillance facility:


Did you know that the iPod is basically a ripoff of a German transistor radio from the 1950s? Via the Atlantic, selections from Bill Buxton’s collection of little-known gadgets (such as early…



AT&T and Verizon are testing a new feature designed to “supplant more than 1 billion plastic cards in American wallets” – by letting people make traditional credit card purchases using their cellphones!…


Babel FishSure beats inserting a Babel Fish into the ear. Ryan Kim writes in the San Fransisco Chronicle:

In science fiction, characters often turn to a portable universal translator to help bridge the linguistic divide, either among humans or with aliens.

But the concept doesn’t just exist in the imagination of “Star Trek” writers or the pages of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Researchers are actually closing in on the technology and foresee its application in the coming years in a very familiar device: the smart phone.

Imagine walking into a restaurant in Beijing and ordering off the menu and talking with waiters in Chinese. It’s a future that is on the way to becoming a reality.


Kopin makes advanced night vision goggles and thermal weapon sights for the U.S. Army, but they’ll soon be releasing a wearable Windows/smartphone eye display!

Imagine your smartphone feeding information to a virtual 15-inch Microsoft Windows PC display that sits in front of one eye, just beneath your line of sight. You speak commands using hands-free speech recognition to control both wireless access to the internet and your phone…