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The era of digital paper approaches

January 5, 2007 The era of digital paper where we will wirelessly connect to purchase and download a book or pick up the latest edition of a newspaper is approaching fast with the news that Plastic Logic is to build the first commercial scale factory to manufacture plastic electronics. The facility will produce flexible active-matrix display modules for "take anywhere, read anywhere" electronic reader products - thin, light, robust active-matrix displays that offer a reading experience closer to paper than any other technology. “The battery will last for thousands of pages so you can leave your charger at home," said Plastic Logic CEO John Mills. The facility, to be built in "Silicon Saxony" at Dresden in Eastern Germany will be initially capable of producing a million display modules per year and production will start in 2008 and ramp from there. This capacity will enable the creation of some radical new product concepts in a wide range of applications including flexible displays and sensors. Independent experts from IDTechEx forecast plastic electronics will be a US$30 billion industry by 2015, and could reach as much as US$250 billion by 2025. What sort of new gadgets will be possible? Well just check out the image gallery of concept products (pictured) that range from digital passports to boarding passes to maps to menus to any form where the printed word needs to be updatable … amazing new possibilities and efficiencies and every page read helps save a tree.  Read More

The first truly double-sided LCD

January 5, 2007 Each new technological breakthrough, regardless of the vertical market from which it came, seems to have the potential to influence not just its core market but dozens of other verticals. Some technology breakthroughs influence more verticals than others and we can’t help but feel that Samsung’s new double-sided LCD might have a profound effect on the form factor what we’ll be carrying a year or three from now, and subsequently on the content formats for the world’s burgeoning mobile information industry. The LCD can show two different pictures or sets of visual data simultaneously on the front and back of the same screen. Other conventional double-sided LCDs can only show a reverse image of the same video data. The LCD's efficient and ingenious use of light to display images in both transmissive and reflective modes promotes slimmer, more cost-effective products and will replace two display panels with one, thereby reducing overall thickness of mobile products by at least 1mm. The display requires only one backlight, while previous double-screen LCDs require two. One side of the panel operates in a transmissive mode, while the other operates in a reflective mode. By using a unique reflective design that utilizes the light trapped in the opposing screen's transmissive mode, the reflective mode does not solely rely on external light sources.  Read More

US$20 clip-on x6 optical zoom lens for camera phoines

January 4, 2007 Mobile phones with cameras are proving to be immensely useful for many purposes, mainly because they have the advantage of always being with you. Sadly, the evolution of many potential niche markets is being held back by phone manufacturers who wish to sell you their latest 2MPX and no optical zoom model this year before they’ll sell you another one with 4MPX and x2 zoom next year, even though they could deliver a much higher spec now if they wanted to. Accordingly, cameras with high quality optics are still rare and optical zoom lenses on cameras are even rarer. So if you’re one of those people who would like to have a x6 optical zoom on your mobile and would gladly pay big bucks for it, here’s one that will do the job for just US$20. It has a manual zoom and focus but as you can see from the images on their site, it works very well, particularly at that price. The mounting for the zoom clips onto Nokia N72, 6230, 6230i, 6680, 6600, 6630, 7610 and 6681 phones and Sony Ericsson K750i, W800i, W810i and W550i/W600i models. Via the Red Ferret.  Read More

Tangle DNA Sound Portable iPod Speakers

December 20, 2006 Best known for its twistable playthings, Tangle has announced a new design for portable speakers based on its "Fun Twisty Thing" technology. The Tangle DNA Sound iPod Speakers comprise two high powered speakers that seem to float in mid-air as they are gracefully suspended above the speaker base by four twistable Tangles. These Tangles allow you to twist and turn you DNA Sound Speakers in any possible direction.  Read More

The only available image of the Potenco string-puller available at this point in time.

December 19, 2006 The folks at Potenco have a star-studded team and a bunch of ideas, but the one we warrant is a killer app is the company’s patent-pending portable power generator – like the wind-up powered devices of British inventor Trevor Baylis’ Freeplay Energy, human-powered electrical devices make infinite sense in that they offer an off-the-grid solution for digital nomads and empowerment for those who have never had electricity to begin with. In Potenco’s case, it’s not so much a wind-up power generator as a cord-pulling generator and the ingenious solution has already been slated for use as a power provider for the $100 Laptop (One Laptop per Child). Simply pull a cord for a few minutes and generate electrical energy for several hours – with the plethora of electrical devices we all regularly carry and sadly miss when the electrons run out for even brief periods, this is logically a massive market.  Read More

The Mila Bikini Skin - form-fitting protection for the iPod

December 15, 2006 Pacific Design, a company known for colorful, functional iPod(R) cases and cutting edge laptop bags, and Gamila, a product brand dedicated to "designs that make you smile," have partnered to create the Mila Bikini Skin Collection for the iPod nano and iPod Video. Designed to protect and complement the iPod nano (1st/2nd generation) and iPod Video (30G/60G/80G), the Mila Bikini Skin features a super-strong, crystal-clear polyurethane screen protector and a connection point system that can attach to just about anything. The strength of this material protects the iPod screen from scratches without leaching or cracking while the design and flexibility of this case allows users to flip the bottom off to sync or stand their iPod on a desk. The Mila Bikini Skin can also be customized by attaching personal fashion statements to its connection points, making it the ultimate fashion accessory.  Read More

First Internet-Connected GPS Device

December 15, 2006 Dash will be showing a very interesting device at the coming 2007 International CES in Las Vegas – the first Internet-connected GPS device. As it’s connected live to the rest of the world, the first GPS device with two-way connectivity, Dash Express has a rich set of real-time features to help consumers make smart decisions behind the wheel. It will for example, get you where you want to go in the fastest time possible using information generated from other Dash devices in the company’s driver network. You can select from three routes for any destination based on accurate travel time forecasts from the network. It’ll also enable you to find virtually anything -- people, places, products and services -- using Internet-enabled local search, send addresses from any computer right to your dashboard and make sure you always have the most up-to-date maps and software. Dash will be available in California in spring 2007, and will be available nationally in fall 2007.  Read More

Digital GPS Multimedia Travel Guide

December 14, 2006 Calabash’s new World Explorer, is a hand-held, digital GPS travel guide that is now available for daily rental to St. Thomas USVI visitors. The number of useful gadgets for travellers is burgeoning, and this week yet another arrived at market. The Calabash World Explorer combines the functionality of a hand-held touch screen GPS, audio tour guide, MP3 player, photo viewer, encyclopedia, and a user digital user review form.  Read More

USB-to-USB Transfer Device for iPod, Digital Cameras, and Other USB Devices

December 7, 2006 The US$100 Hitch is a unique USB sharing accessory that gives iPod users the ability to share their files on the go without a PC, Hitch can connect USB devices such as digital cameras, digital audio/video players, USB flash drives and is compatible with many brands of USB devices, such as Apple, Creative, iRiver, Samsung, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Casio, Olympus, Panasonic, etc. It’s well worth a look if you’re a professional who needs to carry lots of files around with them, a photographer, or have need to regularly transfer music, video, photos, documents, and more. Hitch will even charge all of these devices during use!  Read More

US$500 wrist watch telephone and MP3/MP4 player

December 5, 2006 The wrist watch telephone has been one of the most anticipated gadgets in history, having been introduced to the public psyche by Chester Gould’s globally-syndicated newspaper comic strips featuring Detective Dick Tracy who began using a wristwatch phone in 1946 (supersleuth Tracy was quite the technophile, with his wrist phone becoming a two-way video watch in 1964, and a wireless wrist-worn computer in 1987). Now the dreams of a billion people are about to be answered with the coming launch of a miniscule (43 x 56 x 16.8 mm) US$500 wristwatch weighing just 45 grams (1.6 ounces) with a 96 x 74 Pixel touch screen and as well as making and receiving phone calls (GSM/GPRS 900/1800/1900 MHz Tri mode (HW and SW) it’ll play MP3s and MP4 videos. Initially expected to be available in mid-2007 in Pastel Blue & Pink, Baby Blue & Pink, Navy Blue, Electric Blue, Red, Yellow, Black and Grey, there’s also a range of upmarket versions in the design phase (see design sketches in the image gallery) made in 18 carat gold, black titanium and other exotic substances.  Read More

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