Is your life so complicated that you must strap a small machine to your wrist, learn a new interface, and wear this device during almost all waking hours to avoid missing appointments?
Maybe not: Many of us stopped wearing watches years ago in favor of glancing at our phones.
But Samsung's Galaxy Gear is no ordinary watch. This $299 device, unveiled early last month, functions as both external monitor and peripheral for its new Galaxy Note 3 Android smartphone--the only phone officially compatible with it, although Samsung plans to add Gear support to such recent Android models as its Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III and Galaxy S 4. Read the rest
The people at Google charged with putting Web multimedia on TV haven't just spent the last few years getting kicked around the living room: The new Chromecast shows the company's learned something from the flops of Google TV and last year's abandoned Nexus Q.
This $35 thumb-sized pod plays audio and video from apps on an Android or iOS phone or tablet, but its utility doesn't depend on the cooperation of potentially uncaring media companies: It can also play what's in any Chrome browser tab.
Samsung's new smartphone contains multitudes.
The Galaxy S 4's touchscreen doesn't need to be touched to respond to your actions. Its software looks less like Android than almost any other phone running Google's operating system, but the thing ships with a newer version of it, 4.2, than almost all others. And its 5-inch screen outsizes the 4.8-in. display of the earlier Galaxy S III, but it's smaller and lighter than Samsung's flagship phone of last year.
And like its best-selling predecessor, the S 4 invites an assessment from multiple perspectives. Read the rest
AUSTIN—The knight who invented the World Wide Web came to SXSW to point out a few ways in which we're still doing it wrong.
Tim Berners-Lee's "Open Web Platform: Hopes & Fears" keynote hopscotched from the past of the Web to its present and future, with some of the same hectic confusion that his invention shows in practice. (The thought that probably went through attendees' heads: "Sir Tim is nervous at public speaking. Just like us!")
But his conclusion was clear enough: The Web is our work, and we shouldn't put our tools down. Read the rest
The cable box can make channel serfs of us all. It's big, it's bulky, it has an interface an Excel spreadsheet might salute, and it sucks down too much electricity. It's one reason why cable TV bottom-feeds in customer-satisfaction surveys--only airlines and newspapers score lower in the University of Michigan's research.
But for a still-sizable majority of American viewers, the cable box is How They Get TV, and nobody can fix it except for their cable operators.
The industry's just-finished Cable Show in Boston featured exhibits by dozens of networks hoping to see new channels added to cable lineups, plus a few starry-eyed demos of technology we may not get for years. (Disclosure: A freelance client, Discovery Communications, owns quite a few channels.) But it also revealed modest hope for "clunky set-top boxes"--to quote an acknowledgment of subscriber gripes in National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell's opening speech. Read the rest
It's tempting—oh so tempting—to lead off a review of Samsung's Galaxy Note by mocking its enormous size. So I shall.
The Note is big enough to give me a sense of empathy for our toddler when she picks up our phones. Its 5.3" display is the largest I've used in a pocket-sized gadget since 1998's MessagePad 2100. Read the rest