Android

Google Duo. A Better Facetime? Perhaps.

I’m kind of surprised it’s taken Google this long to get it’s Facetime for iOS challenger up and running. If you are interested you can get it here for iOS and Android. I’ve installed the iOS version but haven’t really tried it out yet. The real killer component of this, and something Apple should have done with Facetime quite a while ago, is the fact that this app is cross platform. It works with any Android or iOS phone across carriers. In other words, everyone can use it to call anyone. The app is extremely simple and easy to use, which I like. It’ll be interesting to see how fast this takes off in the next month, and if it will force Apple to open up the Facetime walled garden.

 

OLO, 3D printing From Your Phone for 99 bucks.

When the iPhone came out back in 2007, the idea of using it as part of a 3D printer would have probably been laughed at. Roll the clock forward 9 years and it’s pretty amazing just how far technology has come. I have had an email sitting in my in box for over a week for OLO, and had yet to open it. Today over lunch I decided to see what OLO was about and I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed. Apparently others are too, because these guys are way past their goal on Kickstarter. The video below shows how it works, so I’m not going to go into any deep details, but basically it uses the light from your phone and special polymers to print an object. The retail price is 99 bucks so it makes it a mass market item, and the fact that it works with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone makes it pretty universal. I could see myself using this on a regular basis, and I can see a huge market for prebuilt 3D models emerging specifically for this printer.

Mangroovv.

I use my iPad for more general computing than any of my other hardware. The convenience of a tablet simply fits within my workflow. One of the things That I use the tablet for is as a teleprompter. The only problem is finding a way to place the tablet at eye level for the subject while shooting. Because of this I am always looking for a tablet stand that is adjustable, and will work without placing it on a table or other surface.

Designed by Armin Muller, and Kai Trebesius in Hamburg Germany, Mangroovv is making a tablet stand that is simple, functional, and well designed. More importantly it is a free standing device that adjusts from sitting to standing height making it perfect for any occasion where you need both hands and a table stand won’t do. Mangroove weighs in at a light 1.8 pounds, the extendable feet automatically deploy allowing it to rest on a variety of surfaces, and collapsing when you pick it up making it ultra portable. The rotating ball head allow you to position your tablet at any angle, and there is no locking mechanism needed to hold your tablet in place.

I’m sold. This is a really well designed functional stand that I know I’ll be using on a regular basis.

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Minimalist Design in the Lampion Vacuum Amp For Your iPad.

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Danish audio maker Låmpion has released a new tube amplifier designed by Stefan Radev. The minimalist tube amplifier is one stylish piece of hardware with a clean aesthetic blending aluminum, wood, and glass to create a clean, simple, functional design. The amp is compatible with both Apple and Android devices and can be used with  stand alone audio equipment as well.

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There is something timeless about the look of this object, and it feels like the design team really took into account how the amp will look when paired with an iPhone or an iPad. The rounded edges and materials mirror what is going on with the Apple products so well, and the look of the build quality screams premium audio. The design team  applied a well balanced choice of proportions, materials, and accents to create the clean look of this amplifier without introducing to much technological clutter.

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Beyond the look, this amp  is solid on specs as well featuring two twenty watt custom tube driven amps, with a frequency response of 5Hz to 50Khz, multiple inputs ranging from RCA output, micro USB input, WiFi audio, an Apple Lighting dock connector, 1/4 inch headphone jack as well as mini jacks.

No word on pricing and availability, but I suspect this will be Europe only and carry a hefty price tag when it’s all said and done.

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Ikea’s 2014 Augmented Reality Catalog.

Whoever is responsible for Ikea’s integrated marketing and digital initiatives deserves a raise. Every time I turn around, Ikea is launching another fun, useful, forward thinking app, website, or digital tool that connects directly to their shop/buy strategy.

The new 2014 catalog app allows you, the shopper, to see just how their furniture would look in your home. The augmented reality catalog works with your tablet or smartphone.

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All you have to do is place the catalog on the floor in the place you imagine the new piece of furniture sitting. Then, use the app to select the product that you’d like to see there. The ikea app places the image in the room with the correct perspective and scale.

It’s a great shopping tool, and an app that helps you know what you want before you go to the Ikea store or decide to buy online. Currently the selection of pieces is limited, but since the app is net connected, updates can happen on a regular basis. The video below, while a bit silly, shows the app in action and all the potential it has.

What if Wacom Built a Tablet Computer? They Are.

If you are a designer or artist working with digital tools like Photoshop or Illustrator, you might have had a chance to work with the Wacom Cintiq. If you are unfamiliar with the Cintiq, it is Wacom’s monitor/input tablet combined. It allows you to draw and paint right on the surface, mimicking an actual physical work surface.

If you are an iPad or other tablet user, you have probably installed a few creative apps like Procreate, or ArtRage and use your tablet for sketching, drawing, photo-retouching, etc. with some kind of input stylus. And while your stylus does a pretty good job, in many ways it is not a substitute for your Wacom tablet or Cintiq. The fact is most styluses, have larger input tips, and almost all of them don’t offer pressure sensitivity like the Wacom. So, why hasn’t Wacom jumped into the tablet fray? Well they have.

The Wacom Cintiq Companion, and Comanion Hybrid are two new tablets from Wacom. The Companion runs a full blown version of Windows 8 and allows you full access to all of your desktop creative tools. The Companion Hybrid runs Android and give you access to all of your favorite Android creative apps, like Procreate, Sketch, and ArtRage.

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Both tablets offer an immersive on-screen creative experience and take full advantage of Wacom’s pressure sensitive stylus on a high resolution portable screen. The Companion running Windows 8 is essentially a mobile workstation with multi-touch control, pressure sensitive input and cloud based connectivity allowing you to create and share you r work from anywhere. Frankly I find this to be very exciting, because it take what I do on my iPad and extends it allowing me to be more creative from anywhere.

The overall specs for both tablets looks pretty impressive, especially for a first effort. Screen resolution is 1920 by 1080, Intel® CORE™ i-7 processor, 2048 levels pen pressure, 256 or 512 GB solid state drive, 16.7 million color display, 8 gig of RAM… I hope that Wacom is successful with this, because competition is a good thing, and hopefully it means Apple, and stylus manufacturers will step up their game resulting in better products for everyone.

There is no word on pricing and or availability as of yet, but you can sign up for email announcements about the tablets as they get closer to a launch date and release pricing info.

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BMW i3 “Become Electric” Immersive 360° Interactive Film.

When BMW announced the i Series cars a couple of years back I was all ears. As a former BMW owner, I can attest to the quality and design of their automobiles, so the i3 had me intrigued. Just last week I was on the phone to the local dealer asking if they would have a preview model anytime soon, since the car will be available in California early next year. Sadly they said no.

To support the launch of the i3 BMW has developed a very cool interactive campaign in the form of a fully immersive interactive film available for iOS and Android.

“Become Electric,” is  an interactive experience shot in fully immersive 360 degrees that leads you through a unique story that reveals the car over time. As you head through the streets of a foreign city in a race against time the participant picks up a mysterious stranger and engages in a thrilling mission. The goal is to outrun the sinister “Shadows” that are pursuing you and deliver “The Key” as you help the world “Become Electric.” The game is true immersive entertainment, while advertising and promoting the new i3. The promotion for the car and it’s features are cleverly disguised in an immersive game.

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Since BMW is launching the “i” series as a sub-brand I bet we see more of this kind of work from them in the future for the i3, and the i8 as well.