It’s early 2018 and the year has already seen a match made literally in the heavens. Two days ago, Intel‘s CEO, Brian Krzanich, became one of the first people to fly in German air taxi company Volocopter‘s latest prototype. He did so as he announced a strategic partnership between the two companies, which was met with all sorts of fanfare and applause.
Knowing that everyone wanted a closer look, we headed over the Central Plaza here at CES 2018 to get next to the device, and to hear what Volocopter leadership had to say. More on that and videos can be found below.
Google Home is a little device that plugs into the wall and responds to your voice. It can play recorded music or the radio through services like Google Play Music and TuneIn, and it can respond to questions based on the knowledge Google has amassed throughout the 21st century. If you’ve got the correct hardware at home, like a Nest Thermostat, Samsung’s Smartthings, or Philips hue, Google Home can allow you to control some of your home’s functions with your voice.
We’ve had some time to get to know the Google Home and there are a LOT of things to like about it. Its voice recognition is robust and its audio is impressive for being a little tiny speaker. At the same time, when one looks at Google Home through the lens of a smarthome, AI, product, one quickly realizes that the device is not quite where the demonstrations were during the 2016 Google IO developers conference, nor is it a device that delivers on the promise of its advertisements.
This week, the FBI stands firm on the Sony hack, a top VC’s predictions for 2015, Apple unlocks the iPhone, DISH wants you to cut cable, thousands of free games, and drones on demand. All this, and much much more…
One of the confounding problems with modern mobile devices is how to keep them charged. Sure, the battery on your mobile phone or tablet will last all or much of the day if you just take a few calls, or surf the web at the local Wi-Fi hot spot. Sadly, that’s not all we usually do. Set up e-mail on your mobile device, and the battery drain increases. Play a few rounds of games like Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga and battery levels drop even faster. Then there’s that hour-long call with a friend or for business. What’s a person to do? Carry a power supply and cable to plug in to any electrical outlets to be found? Carry a battery-backed charger? Find a device case that contains a backup battery?
Alas, none of these alternatives has been particularly well thought out in the consumer space. Finding outlets can be awkward, especially when traveling. Battery backed chargers can have cables that make them awkward to carry when not being used. Other chargers attach directly to the unit, making them cumbersome to charge while in a pocket or purse. Device cases with batteries can substantially add to the profile of the devices themselves, can deny the opportunity to use a decorator case or skin, and can be more quickly prone to failure before the devices they contain.
Recently, the fine folks at GearZap.com offered us the opportunity to review some of the products from their Galaxy Tab 3 accessories line, and I got my grubby little hands on a Universal Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard Dock. I already own a bluetooth keyboard that I use for virtually everything, but I was really curious how this one would stand up to my needs. Too many of these universal keyboards fail to live up to their claims. I’ve tried a few of them and found them wanting. But I try to give everything a fair shake, so here goes.
Now, to be fair, I didn’t expect to see the unit very quickly at all since they are based in the United Kingdom. Imagine my surprise when the keyboard showed up four days later. I have to admit, I was amazed it had gotten to me so fast. It was well packaged and suffered only minor denting to the item’s box. I was less than impressed with the plain white box in which the keyboard was packaged, it looked cheap and generic. But looks can often times be deceiving, especially with this one.
The unit itself is made for up to 10-inch tablets. It’s got a nice weight to it, definitely setting it apart from most other generic keyboards. The slot that holds the tablet is fixed in size, so no moving parts to break. The keys are solid and feel just as nice as the average laptop keyboard, though at about 80% of the overall size. A charging cable was included, but it’s a generic mini-USB connection so you can use pretty much any other one to recharge the unit.