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Google, Latest Technology

Orbotix taps Google Apps to bring robots to life

Editor's note: Colorado has enticed all sorts of pioneers since its Wild West beginnings. We’re excited to highlight a handful of these trailblazers - the intrepid entrepreneurs, aspiring micro-brewers and ambitious thought leaders - who have helped create the adventurous and innovative culture the Centennial State is known for. Today, we hear from Ian Bernstein and Adam Wilson, co-founders of Boulder-based Orbotix, a robotics toy company.

Can you tell us about Orbotix and how the company got started?
Orbotix is a new kind of robotics toy company: we’re creating a game platform that combines physical objects, smartphones and a software marketplace. We launched in 2010 with our first product, the Sphero ball, a robotic ball you can control with a tilt, touch or swing from your smartphone. You can drive the Sphero ball through a virtual obstacle course or let your dog chase it across your actual yard (under your control, of course) — it lets you both engage in the virtual world and play in the real one. We just released Sphero 2.0, and with a team of 35, we’re just getting started.

Why did you choose Google Apps? How are you using it day-to-day?
We use Google products like Gmail, Drive and Docs in our personal lives, so it was natural to use Google Apps for Business when we started Orbotix. We rely on Drive to securely store, centralize and share our executive documents — everything from legal forms to non-disclosure agreements. We use Docs to brainstorm, create and collaborate on new ideas, or to upload and store product specs that multiple people need to access on a regular basis. The fact that we can create and edit a single document at the same time has dramatically increased our efficiency and reduced the amount of time it takes to finalize a project. We’re a very collaborative team, and Google helps us keep a very team-oriented work environment. Docs is especially vital when we’re on the road, attending events or working remotely. The fact that we can pull up important docs on our mobile devices is crucial to keeping our business running 24/7.

How do you stay connected with your employees outside of the Boulder office?
Hangouts are integral to keeping the company connected, especially as we’ve expanded beyond Boulder — and into China. Our team there has the Hangouts app on their smartphones so they’re connected and available for a quick chat or for a virtual tour around a factory on the other side of the globe. It makes a world of difference to see each other face-to-face rather than just hear a bunch of voices on a conference call, and the experience is such an organic, seamless part of our daily routine. We saw it ourselves just a few weeks ago, when we were in China to check in with the team and do a global press tour: we found ourselves relying entirely on Hangouts to keep in touch with the Boulder office. Ian would be in one room on a Hangout with our CEO, I'd be in another room on a Hangout with our engineers. It was like we hadn't left Colorado.

Has Google Apps helped in your recruiting efforts?
We're always looking to add tech-savvy programmers and talent to our team, and the kinds of people we're looking for expect us to use cool and cutting edge-technology like Google Apps. I know that if I was looking to join a new company it would be a red flag if they were using anything different. We all use Google in our personal lives, so it’s natural that we want to extend that experience to our professional lives.

Do you use Google Apps to partner and collaborate with groups outside of your company?
Absolutely. We recently launched Sphero Rangers, which teaches kids of all ages how to program using Sphero robots. We go to local classrooms and host meetups in the Boulder area, but because we can’t travel to every city where there’s interest, we made a universal Rangers training deck using Google Presentations. That way, there’s a single master document we can share with our partners just by sending along a URL, and we know they always have the most up-to-date version. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, for example, have hosted a handful of programming classes for kids, thanks to our handy shared Google Presentation.
Latest Technology

Oppo N1 hands-on

Back in September at the Oppo N1 launch event we managed to get some quality time with the smartphone, but now we are finally able to welcome it to our office. As tradition dictates we’ve prepared a hands-on video to whet your appetite before the review comes.

The Oppo N1 is powered by a Snapdragon 600 APQ8064 chipset with four Krait 300 CPU cores clocked at 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM and an Adreno 320 GPU. There are two versions in terms of storage, 16GB and 32GB, but there’s no microSD card.

The Oppo N1 is a phablet rocking a 5.9″ screen with 1080p resolution resulting in a pixel density of 373ppi. It’s a fairly large device, measuring 170.7 x 82.6 x 9mm and weighing 213g. For comparison a Galaxy Mega 6.3 measures 167.7 x 88 x 8mm and weighs 199g and that’s with a bigger 6.3″ screen. On the up side, the N1 packs a generous 3,610mAh battery.

The Oppo N1′s camera packs a twist – it’s can be rotated 206 degrees so you don’t have to use a secondary lower-quality camera for self-portraits. Inside it there’s a 13MP CMOS sensor with 6-element lens on top and a custom imaging chip that Oppo and Fujitsu co-developed. The rotatable mechanism is quite complex – there are as many as 67 parts in it and Oppo has calculated the gaps so that it can rotate 206° and feel perfectly solid in every position.

Oppo N1 at ours

The back of the N1 holds another interesting feature called O-Touch. It’s 40 x 30mm touch-sensitive patch on the back of the phone which is used to control the UI and apps. We demonstrate how it works in the video below and it really helps with one-handed use.

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is at the driver’s seat and has been heavily modified by Oppo’s Color OS user interface. It adds a lot of cool customizations and alterations to the stock Android experience.

Check out the hands-on video below.

Latest Technology

Samsung Galaxy Gear update brings full support for notifications

The Samsung Galaxy Gear got treated to a major update which addressed one of its biggest shortcomings – its lack of proper support for notifications. The latest firmware for the gadget allows users to receive all types of notifications on their device.

Once applied, the update for the Samsung Galaxy Gear allows users to select the apps which send notifications to the smartwatch. Preview of emails and messages is also available, thus massively improving the functionality of the device.

Before the firmware update, an unofficial app solved the Galaxy Gear’s notification woes. It was far from perfect though, so Samsung’s solution to the problem is certainly a welcome sight.

You can check out our Samsung Galaxy Gear review over here.


Latest Technology
Latest Technology
Latest Technology

Download : Spotify

With Spotify, it’s easy to find the right music for every moment – on your phone, your computer, your tablet and more.
Latest Technology, Misc. Mobile Phones
Latest Technology

The wait is over. Greatness is here!

Last night the PlayStation® 4 system made its debut. In order to get this stunning piece of machinery into the world, 30 of our Sony® Stores held midnight release events.



Some of our Sony Store team members couldn’t contain their excitement for the launch!


Lines started much earlier in the day…even earlier in the week. But we were stocked and ready and honestly jazzed about the number of folks who came last night to pick up a PS4 system. Some of you were in line at the crack of dawn! Now that’s dedication.


Didn’t get your hands on a PS4 system yet? Follow @SonyStore on Twitter for the latest updates on restocks and availability. While you wait, stop by a Sony Store and get your game on. All Sony Stores have the PS4 system hooked up and ready to go.

For all the latest news on PlayStation in general, check out their official blog.

Latest Technology
Latest Technology, Sony

Sony Xperia Z1S leaks again posing next to its bigger brother

The upcoming Sony Xperia Z1S made yet another appearance this week. This time around the smartphone got caught on camera next to its bigger brother, the 5” display toting Sony Xperia Z1.

A juicy bit regarding the specs of the Sony Xperia Z1S came alongside the photo you seen above. Allegedly, the pocket-friendly Android powerhouse will feature an IPS display panel. Should the report pan out to be the real deal, the Z1S display is certain to be a massive improvement over the far from perfect TFT displays Sony currently uses.

The Sony Xperia Z1S is expected to bring the powerful internals and camera of the Xperia Z1 in a smaller form factor. It will swap the 5” display of the flagship for a 4.3” unit.

Previous reports have pointed that the Xperia Z1S might launch in late November.

Source | Via

HTC, Latest Technology

Five Favorite Transit Apps on Android

You’re at Point A (congrats!), but you’re supposed to be at Point B.

Whether playing tourist in a new city or embarking on your daily commute, nothing’s got your urban-navigating back like your trusty smartphone and it’s wide array of travel-assisting applications.

Before diving headlong into the infinity of code and color that is the Google Play Store, try out a few of our favorite Transit Apps, all wonderfully engineered to help you find your way.   

It would seem a bit odd to not top our list with the most aptly named Transit App, The Transit App. Montréal to Milwaukee, Paris to Portland—no matter where you find (or have lost) yourself, click on Transit to quickly find out all of the upcoming departures for the public transit routes nearby. This App also features a Trip Planner element to help chart your path to righteousness.

The Transit App on Android


If you haven’t hailed a hipster cab yet, now’s the time to give Uber a try. 50 cities and 20 countries worth of private taxis and drivers awaits with most arriving to your exact spot before your matcha latte can begin to de-foam. Gone are the days of long taxi lines and rushing busy streets to wave your arm at a sea of yellow motors. Plus, link it to your Google Wallet account for a quick, cash- and card-less payment option for your ride.

Uber App on Android

We had to give the local upstarts a nod. Faithfully aiding our daily Seattle bus rides is the quick and reliable OneBusAway App. You enter a bus stop that you’re looking to get to, and OBA shows you what buses are coming and when. Simple, right? For time-crunched Northwest commuters, it’s pretty much a must-have.  Now available in four regions in the US: Atlanta, New York, Puget Sound (Seattle), and Tampa.

OneBusAway App on Android

If there’s one thing we learned growing up, it’s to always hop into a car with a mustache. Lyft’s trademark pink mustache over the front grills may look a bit funny, but from your very first ride, you’ll be amazed at the ease, quickness and incredibly friendly nature of the trip, captained by some truly welcoming and funny folks in your city. Local, peer-to-peer based transit is on the rise, and Lyft is leading the way towards a happier, speedier, furrier future for your voyages. You can hop in a Lyft car in nineteen cities across the US.

Lyft Android App

Don’t leave home without it. Pre-installed on all HTC devices, Google Maps is the fastest and easiest way to get your fine-looking backside from Point A to Point B (and maybe even a quick dip over to Point Z). Whether sitting in your car, cruising on your bicycle, or grooving along by the count of your pedometer, tell Google Maps where you want to go, and it will get you there. To top it off, the turn-by-turn directions are the best we’ve seen (…Re-Calculating…).

Google Maps Android App

What are your favorite transit apps?

Latest Technology

Samsung Galaxy S III mini gets Crystal Edition in Germany

Samsung has introduced a brand new Crystal Edition of the last year's Galaxy S III mini smartphone. The new lady phone is headed to the German market and there is no info on international availability.

The Samsung Galaxy S III mini Crystal Edition is completely identical to the standard handset, but comes with 166 Swarovski crystals embedded into its battery cover.

There is no other difference in the specs of the S III mini. It still comes with a 4.0 Super AMOLED WVGA display and runs on a dual-core 1GHz Cortex-A9 processor. Android Jelly Bean ticks inside the Galaxy S III mini Crystal Edition and we doubt Samsung is going to release KitKat for this particular device.

The Samsung Galaxy S III mini Crystal Edition costs €299 in Germany. It will join soon its other fashionable sibling - the Galaxy S III La Fleur Edition.


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