First look

GAIA, A One Billion Pixel Camera By European Space Agency

One billion pixel camera

Construction of the largest ever digital camera at one billion pixels for a space mission by the European Space Agency is now complete and it’s called the GAIA. And the name indeed reminds one of Mother Earth of Captain Planet, as rightly pointed out by folks at Engadget

GAIA has been created for a monstrous ambition of mapping one billion stars in our very own galaxy the Milky Way, that too in 3D (Looks like 3D is in demand out of space as well). Now coming back to the camera; it has been created by e2v Technologies in collaboration with the ESA. The camera contains 106 snugly-fit charge coupled devices. These devices are the shape of a credit card and ultra thin too, human hair thick to be precise and are made of silicon carbide (yes it’s the same compound used in bullet proof vests as well).

Each of the silicon carbide slab stores the incoming light as a single pixel and is highly sensitive with an unusually long range. By long we mean that GAIA can measure the thumbnails of a person on the moon from the earth itself. Now that’s some range. Isn’t it?

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Lost Route or Unable to Find a Direction? ‘Route Finder is Here To your Rescue’

Going on a trip or some place of which you have no knowledge about? One would simply log on to the internet on your phone to seek out directions. But, what if you don’t have a smartphone and face a language barrier and are unable to really locate the place you’d want to go?
We might be sick and tired of stopping and asking again and again. (As it is we don’t really have time to waste, do we?)

Tata Docomo Route Finder

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The Z110: New USB Powered Speakers by Logitech

 

Logitech is world renowned for its devices and accessories. And off late their speakers have been creating a buzz in the Indian markets as well. We all have experienced the shortages of power outlets, sometimes even after using those multiple outlet strips. Keeping this in mind, Logitech has come up with their all new Logitech Stereo Speaker -Z110, which is compact and is powered by a USB port (no power outlets required on this one).

Logitech USB speaker z110

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Apple’s BBM Killer: iMessage

Amongst the ton of updates that Apple announced yesterday, one interesting communications update on iOS5 was iMessage. The closest we can relate an iMessage to is the Blackberry Messenger. BBM as it is popularly known, RIM has a ton of people sticking to Blackberry services just to keep in touch with their network. In one swipe, Apple has connected nearly 200 million iOS devices with something more powerful than BBM. To begin with you can bid goodbye to a dedicated Blackberry plan, but built straight into the default Message box, this one looks super integrated.

Apple has taken a different approach to messaging and it has accommodated the fact that many of us own more than one iOS device. Be it an iPhone, iPod touch or and iPad, there is a good possibility that you own more than one iOS device and why wouldn’t you like to have a good messaging support on it? With iMessage rivaling carrier SMS plans and working purely on data connectivity (WiFi + 3G), the concept of having messages only on your phone becomes dated. (more…)

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Windows 8 Demoed At D9, Impressive, Far From Flawed

Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky and Julie Larson-Green gave an early preview of Windows 8 at the D9 conference. Win 8 was labeled by Ballmer as their riskiest bet in Oct 2010. While I had played down the ‘riskiest’ remark last year, it seems that Ballmer wasn’t kidding. Windows 8 poses a unique challenge to Microsoft. While the world is moving towards touch and they continue to play catch-up in the mobile race, it wouldn’t be long before the regular desktops / notebooks start to get more touchy.

Surprising many, what was shown at D9 is a touch centric OS that borrows a lot of Windows Phone. While conceptualizing Windows Phone 7, its clear that Microsoft was also working on a bigger picture with desktops and tablets in background. On the touch interface the applications are built with HTML5 and Javascript, but if the app isn’t made for touch, you would boot into a regular Windows dektop look. In the demo video you would see MS Excel opening up in a Windows 7 shell, rather then the tablet / touch interface that you see above.

Microsoft might well have its learnings from the infamous ‘courier’ project as well. Labeled as ‘snap’ a Windows 8 feature allows you to run two apps side by side on the screen. Its a promising concept to say the least. To an extent this looks pretty odd to me as we aren’t used to seeing Microsoft doing great on the touch front, but WP7 and Win 8 both impresses me. While I wait for Windows Phone to mature and add a lot of missing features, Windows 8 has a task of transforming the entire PC ecosystem. Given their 25 years of legacy, it sure would happen in parts.  (more…)

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Wynncom Launches W-102 Low Cost Phone, Low Cost but Loaded

Ever heard of the name Wynncom? Well if not, you’d surely hear about them very soon. An upcoming handset manufacturer SAR group has launched the W-102 Mobile. The company surely aims to unite the Urban and Rural users with this phone.

Wynncom's latest and low cost phone

The W-102 is a dual-SIM entry-level phone which has a 3.6cm colour display. The company seems to be inspired by the word ‘DUAL’ ; as the phone portrays Dual T-Flash cards, Dual Languages in the form of Hindi and English (along with keypad inputs for both) and comes in two colours. It also supports Internet connectivity via GPRS, so surfing and social networking is an attractive prospect along with Yahoo and Gmail. The dual t-flash card can be expandable up to 2 GB. So we can store 4GB of data in it. (more…)

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TDK WR700 Launched In India, Wireless Love

Music enthusiasts are always in with a craze for a device with brilliant sound quality. With that in mind, TDK-Life on Record has launched the WR700 designed specially for passionate audio lovers. It delivers uncompressed, lossless digital studio sound which is ideal for in-home use with stereo systems as well as music- on-the-go. The best feature of WR700 is that it is wireless and delivers excellent sound quality. (more…)

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Type Test: Acer Iconia Dual-Touchscreen Notebook

Acer Iconia Touch

We spent little time with this beautiful dual touchscreen notebook from Acer, but the Iconia sure is iconic. The touchscreen was super responsive and the Acer customizations for touchscreen input was amazing. We just wish that Windows was a little more refined to make good use of such a beautiful concept. If you are tuned into the TV9 coverage of the Acer Iconia, you might well hear me saying ‘seen the time-viewing computer that Hrithik Roshan makes in Krrish? Thats what Iconia is like’ :)

Here is a quick video of Acer Iconia keyboard test. We tested out how the keyboard on this works. Video downstairs: (more…)

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Acer Iconia S300 Smartphone / Tablet – First Impressions (Video)

Acer Iconia A300

We spent a good amount of time checking out the Iconia range at the Acer launch today. One of the early birds here was the A300 smartphone / tablet hybrid. Acer likes to count this as a tablet and we would call this a large phone, but either ways, this thing is gorgeous. The Iconia A300 / S300 is a 4.8″ touchscreen (21:9 aspect ratio ) running Gingerbread and custom Acer shell. The device has a strong feel and despite its large display / size it feels good to hold.

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The best comparison of the feel is perhaps the good old Nokia 9300 communicator. A300 packs in Dolby sound (lot of Dolby audio options to play with) and a 8MP camera. This thing records 720p HD videos and packs in a 1GHz processor from Qualcomm. The device is currently being tested by field engineers and the personnel we spoke to mentioned a 1500 mAh battery which lasts a day easily. Acer is probably missing out on Super LCD or AMOLED on its devices, but the quality still serves the purpose with good brightness and viewing angles. On the software end the cutomizations by Acer aren’t out of the world, but its work in progress.

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The Iconia Smart A300 would launch in India towards the end of June. The pricing is currently unknown. Here is a video demo of the A300:

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Intex Announces ‘V. DO Touch’, Full Touchscreen Phone

Intex has announced a full touchscreen phone in for the Indian market. The device looks inspired by the Nokia N8 in looks and sports a 3.5″ touchscreen. The V. DO Touch from Intex would cost just below Rs 5000 and we are waiting to hear back about the availability. The phone runs a Java based OS as it seems and comes preloaded with Opera Mini. The company is promoting the handset with a answering machine and motion sensing features. (more…)

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HP TouchPad Launches This Summer, 4G Version Promised

HP WebOS Touchpad

HP has just gone live with its webOS tablet (along with a couple of smartphones), named ‘TouchPad’. The TouchPad sports a iPad sized i.e. 9.7″ display with 1024×768 resolution. However the magic seems to be on the software end and if we are to go by the comments on our twitter feed, its surely a true competition to iOS.

The WiFi version of TouchPad would come in first (followed by 3G and 4G versions), though the pricing remains a mystery. While it looks competitive, but we are afraid that the iPad 2 would be out before the summer launch of TouchPad and chances are good that Apple would take the game to the next level by then. But pretty exciting developments at HP Palm (they have actually dropped the ‘Palm’ branding officially now), stay tuned for more on the announcements from HP today! (more…)

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Android Market Webstore Out, Over the Air Love, Fills A *Big* Gap

It was just yesterday that we published our Android app, and I was pulling my hairs on the bad Android Market structure. And just 24 hours later, here comes the new Android Market Web store announced at the Android event by Google. While the event covered a lot of Honeycomb, we are really excited to see http://market.android.com come up to give a web search for Android apps (in-app purchases are also coming up). The Android web store has a pretty simple interface with features apps, categories etc being laid out in a very simple and lightweight structure. The App page shows you the ratings, features, updates for the app and also lets you seamlessly install the same to your phone from the browser itself (yes over the air!)

Previously it was a headache to find an app on Android Market. If your phone isn’t compatible with the App in question, you just cant see it on the market (no notification of non compatibility, straight disappearance). The lack of visibility on Android.com gave markets like AppBrain a business model. All they did is to redirect you to the correct Android Market download link. I am certainly happy as a consumer as well as a publisher on the market today! For, social media lovers there is some social love out there in the market, you can tweet out your favorite app from the market (and anyone wonder about Facebook share?) (more…)

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Akai ‘Trio’ Triple SIM Phone Goes on Sale, Priced Rs 3295

Akai Triple SIM

We have seen the Quad SIM phone, but the nearest you can get your hands-on for now is the Akai triple SIM phone. With a claim to be the first triple phone in India (Intex sure would feel offended by that claim), the ‘Trio’ was first seen in late 2010 and according to Akai, it has now passed the test market phase to roll out across the country. Targeting the lucrative multi-SIM phone market (which according to IDC figures has a 38.5% share of total mobile sales), Akai packs in a decent number of features for a price of Rs 3295.

The phone offers a 1.3MP camera with video recording and playback capabilities, a 2″ screen and MicroSD support upto 8GB. The phone also packs in FM & Bluetooth (AD2P) along with a 1100mAh battery, promising 5 hours of talk time (400 hours standby). (more…)

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Quick Preview: LG Revolution – Verizon LTE [Video]

We went hands-on with the LG Revolution at CES 2011. The Revolution is amongst the Android handsets LG has announced this week. The Revolution is a LTE enabled phone with a 4.3? full touchscreen & DLNA smartshare. There is a 5MP camera on the back and a 1.2MP front camera for video calling. You can see a Skype client loaded on this and LG claims that this is the first Android smartphone that will ship with a Netflix application. The handsets shown to us were beta / prototype, which mean that the software / UI weren’t final yet, and we can expect a lot to change there. However, the hardware specs and features are mostly known. The Revolution will go live with Verizon sometime later in 2011 and also features HDMI out. However, no fixed date of availability or pricing is given. We are pretty keen on knowing the battery performance as well (for the ones wondering, yes we are comparing it with an iPhone 4 in the picture up there). Video and gallery downstairs:

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Fable 3: Limited Collector’s Edition, A Brief Review

All right, we know what you are going to say – “Why would anyone go all the way and unbox a videogame when all the thrill is actually in slipping it into a console and playing it?” Well, our rationale is easy – this is a special edition of a special game, none other than Fable 3, from the famous Peter Molyneux. Yes, we know the game was launched late last year, but we just got our hands on the Limited Collector’s Edition, which has some extra goodies apart from the game itself and comes in a package to die for. If you do not believe us, take a look for yourselves.

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Upcoming Android Market Update: Exclusive Screenshots

As seen on Android Developers Blog, Google is all set to roll out one more Android market update in coming weeks before Christmas. Last time we kept you updated for the previous Android Market, but this time we took a step ahead and managed to grab and test the upcoming Android Market release. We tested the latest (to be released) Android Market on Android v2.3 gingerbread emulator. Though we were not able to port it fully, but we manged to make it work. So here are the exclusive screen captures of yet to be released Android Market: (more…)

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