The iPad 2 was nearly a technically perfect device: what could be added to the equation on the next go-around? Apple went ahead and did what some thought would be impossible: cram a previously unheard of 2,048x1,536 resolution into a 9.7-inch screen, with the type of crispness, color and detail that most HD displays only dream of. The Retina Display iPad kicked off a new war in tablet screen resolution much like the Retina Display iPhone did previously, and the technology eventually bled into Apple's MacBooks by midyear. For media such as digital magazines and photos, … Read more
Count on Google to deliver the future before you're even quite ready to receive it, and to deliver it via a team of skydivers with Sergey Brin in tow. The company made clear its lofty ambitions for the Google Glass project -- the aptly named effort to put a smartphone's brains in a pair of interactive spectacles -- with an unprecedented press event at Google I/O in June.
Google says it wants Google Glass to help users interact with the virtual world without distracting them from the real world. The tech community responded with excitement, poring over … Read more
With much anticipation, Tesla launched its Model S electric car in 2012, beginning full line production and sales to the public. The car represents a milestone in practical electric car technology, as the top trim models boast a 265-mile EPA-rated range, while at the same time offering a sport-luxury driving experience.
The car also marks a milestone for Tesla, as it is the first vehicle the company designed and built from the ground up. The Model S comes out of Tesla's new manufacturing facility in Fremont, Calif. Tesla set up its factory line, which goes from body construction to … Read more
Nokia returned for a second -- and even more critical -- round to put its Lumia brand on the map. Its larger, thicker Nokia Lumia 920 marquee device was the first to bring wireless charging and a highly sensitive screen that can accommodate navigation with both a fingernail and a gloved hand. Although heavier and bulkier than its chief rival, the HTC Windows Phone 8X, Nokia's AT&T exclusive is also more powerful and comes in at half the price.
Nokia will need its flagship 920, and its slightly less premium 820, 810, and 822 models to also … Read more
Why do you need a browser-based laptop that won't run a full OS? Chrome OS-powered ultraportables didn't make sense at $500, but at $199 they suddenly seem a lot more interesting. Google's parallel computing environment to Android has been a bit of an experimental black sheep, but that status could be changing very soon based on price drops and significant improvements to the function and stability of Chrome.
The recent availability of low-cost Chromebooks from Samsung and Acer means that a Chromebook can finally be a low-cost viable alternative to a Netbook, provided you keep your expectations … Read more
Both OLED (a new display technology) and 4K (twice the standard HD resolution) TVs made appearances at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, but it was 4K that won the race to store shelves. Two 4K TVs are available now, the LG 84LM9600 and the Sony XBR-84X900, while OLED remains a no-show. The catch? Both of the 84-inch LED TVs cost around $20,000 -- not exactly an impulse purchase.
But make no mistake: 4K, aka "Ultra HD," will begin edging down in price, even as more screen size options appear. Billed as the successor to 1080p, the technology … Read more
The Nintendo Wii is undoubtedly a tough act to follow. Its unprecedented success was something no one could have predicted, so for its follow up Nintendo certainly had its hands full. The company chose to go in the direction of dual screen gaming in the home by introducing the Wii U console that uses a unique tablet-esque GamePad controller to interact with games.
However, the Wii U's initial reception is almost nothing like its predecessor's. The Wii U's initial launch software offering was lackluster and a series of major updates have dampened that vital first impression. Even … Read more
If it seems like you're seeing more mobile payment options around town, you're not imagining things. Mobile devices from Square and Intuit are more prevalent than ever -- popping up in farmers markets, small salons, taco trucks, and all manner of independent businesses.
And it isn't just small businesses that are offering their customers the mobile-payment option. Square recently brought its service into 7,000 Starbucks stores. Square said in November it is now processing $10 billion in payments each year.
But the field is still relatively new and unsettled. Google Wallet, which relies on near-field communication … Read more
3D printing has a way to go before it becomes a mainstream consumer activity. If it ever does cross over from its hobbyist and commercial roots, MakerBot and its CEO Bre Pettis can claim a decent share of the credit.
The MakerBot Replicator and newer Replicator 2 3D printers are fine products, but the company's marketing know-how is also a significant factor in its success. MakerBot's Thingiverse Web site hosts plans for more than 26,000 printable objects, all free for anyone to download and print. Pettis' media-friendly demeanor has landed his company's name on the digital … Read more
Hot on the heels of Windows 8 came Windows Phone 8, the first major upgrade to Microsoft's smartphone operating system. By bringing a heavy load of much-needed features like support for HD screens, multicore processors, and NFC, Microsoft did a lot to close the gap separating it from Google and Apple. The ability to customize tile size gave users more control over the OS's unique look and feel, and it didn't hurt that it debuted on strong devices such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X.
But there were some problems. Existing Windows … Read more