Mobile Make Out: Pucker up on your iPhone

Mobile Make Out app

Mmm, tastes like iPhone.

Sparkling Zoo)

Mobile Make Out is an iPhone app on a mission. It wants to help your cheating heart get some release without completely destroying your real relationship. The free app works by connecting to another user over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. You then smooch away on a pair of lips on your
iPhone‘s screen while your app partner mashes lips on his own device.

This raises an interesting question. Is kissing someone else through your iPhone considered cheating? The app makers encourage you to invite your colleagues, friends, and strangers at parties to join you in your kiss-a-thon. Try explaining to your significant other why you were caught making out with your mobile phone. Somehow, I don’t think that will go over well.

The best part about Mobile Make Out’s marketing is its insistence that loving up your iPhone is “almost like the real thing.” I’m not quite ready to test that out, but I suspect that necking the cold hard glass of an iPhone is pretty far from the real thing. The app does give a helpful warning that too much lipstick can damage your iPhone. So, ladies, go easy on the Avon.

Related links
? Cloud Girlfriends teach you how to fake it
? How to kiss your Facebook friend online for real
? Blow a Valentine’s kiss with your iPhone

There is a catch. It takes two iPhones to make the app work. That means having a potentially embarrassing conversation with the object of your crush. “Um, excuse me. Sorry to interrupt you in your cubicle as you’re crunching spreadsheets, but would you mind downloading an app that will allow me to virtually smooch you up during work hours? Yes, I am married, but this is purely platonic, of course.” Good luck with that.

The app’s YouTube promo video invites you to make out with all of your Facebook friends. I don’t know what your Facebook friend list looks like, but mine includes close relatives and colleagues. One word comes to mind: “Eww.” Still, this app could be a godsend for Apple fanboys who finally have an excuse to lay some real lovin’ on their beloved iPhones.

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Land Rover EV sneaks up on big game

Land Rover Defender EV

This Defender EV concept runs silent, so is less likely to spook animals.


The Land Rover Defender has been a mainstay for African safaris, but concern over the carbon dioxide emissions from their 2.4-liter diesel engines spawned the development of the first electrically powered Defender. Battery producer Axeon fitted a Defender with an electric drive unit and will show the concept at a tourism convention in South Africa.

The 28.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack gives the Defender a range of about 60 miles, three times further than a typical game drive. Axeon touts the reduction in emissions, going from the diesel Defender’s 295 grams per kilometer to zero, and the electric Defender’s quiet operation, allowing it to get closer to animals in game parks.

The battery pack has been placed in the engine compartment, maintaining the Defender’s ground clearance and fording depth.

The next step: electric vehicle charging stations in
safari camps.

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HP reveals a handful of new laptops

HP’s latest Envy 14 laptop.


As sure as the sun rises in the East, every few months you’re going to see some new laptops from leading PC maker HP. That time is here again, and the latest additions include new versions of the high-end Envy, the Netbook-size Mini, and even a few professional-level ProBooks and Elitebooks. Here are some of the highlights:

HP Envy 14
The Envy 14, part of HP’s premium Envy line, gets a refresh with Intel’s 2011 Sandy Bridge CPUs, which offer better performance and battery life than the 2010 models. While it looks the same as previous Envy models, HP promises that the large clickpad is more responsive (multitouch gestures were a little wonky on the current versions), and USB 3.0 gets thrown in as well.

We’ve generally been big fans of this line, as its one of the few high-design, gamer-friendly series of laptops from a major brand. You won’t be able to get one of these new 14-inch models until June, and they start at $999.

The HP Mini 210.


HP Mini 210

It turns out Netbooks aren’t totally dead after all (just mostly dead). The new Mini 210 is pretty much the same as last year’s, with a dual-core Intel Atom CPU, and this is one of only a handful of new Netbooks we’ve heard about so far for 2011 (by this time last year, we were flooded with 2010 models).

But the new Mini 210 does add some new lid colors (including sweet purple, charcoal, crimson red, luminous rose, and ocean drive). Despite still being only about one-inch thick, it works in a streamlined six-cell battery, and, surprisingly, the Mini 210 includes a Netbook version of the same Beats Audio technology found in the high-end Envy laptops, which is something of a bold move.

Also available in June, these will run $300-$330, which is still the standard for basic Netbooks.

The HP Pavilion dv4.


HP Pavilion dv4
Other than a few vibrant new colors, the most notable thing about the Pavilion dv4 is the new version of HP’s Cool Sense technology it includes. This is basically a user control panel for the cooling fans, but now it actually includes some recommended user settings, instead of leaving it all for you to figure out.

The Pavilion dv4 is coming May 18, starting at $599.

Corporate and business users shouldn’t feel left out, there are a handful of new ProBook and EliteBook models as well. The $799 ProBook 5330m is a slim 13-inch with Intel’s newest Sandy Bridge CPUs and a backlit keyboard, as well as TPM and Intel vPro technology (which are important for corporate IT departments).

The EliteBook 2560p and 2760p are aimed at high-end business users, with metallic finishes and thin designs. The $1,100 12.5-inch 2560p is a traditional clamshell, while the $1,500 12-inch 2760p has a swiveling convertible touchscreen. All three should be available in May, and our sister site ZDNet has some additional details on the business systems, but the part we’re most interested in is the pay as you go 3G data plans, which is something we haven’t seen in a laptop before.

The system is called Data Pass, and with it, users of select HP laptops with 3G antennas can buy small chunks of data on an a la carte basis. The service is provided by Sprint, and seems like a good idea for those who need only occasional access, but the prices did seem steep — $5.00 for 75MB of data, which could easily be a single PowerPoint document, or up to 1GB of data for $30.

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Musicmask keeps your music in the dark


Listening in the dark is a surprisingly different experience than listening with visual stimulation. Sure, the sound is exactly the same, but by eliminating visual distractions, we hear differently. That’s why some audiophiles prefer to listen in total darkness. Turning the room lights off gets you almost there, but even the small distraction of the little power-indicator lights on your electronic devices can be enough to give your eyes something to focus on.

The Musicmask was developed by Corly Bedacht at Acoustic Projects in Amsterdam. He said, “The idea for Musicmask came about during a meditation session in a darkened room. The music played sounded particularly spatial. When the light was switched on later, the spatial effect was diminished.”

The Musicmask is essentially a blindfold, but one that allows you to keep your eyes open. Construction quality isn’t lavish: it’s made with matte black plastic, foam inserts, and an adjustable Velcro strap, but I found it comfortable to wear for hours at a time. Yes, you can duplicate the Musicmask “effect” for free by shutting off the lights and covering all the tiny lights on your equipment, or making your own blindfold, but it’s a little harder to make one that lets you keep your eyes open. One thing’s for sure: you won’t be able to multitask when you can’t see! You won’t be texting or surfing the Net when you’re in total darkness. All you can really do is listen to digital music. LP playback requires more hands-on participation, but you can easily slide the Musicmask up onto your forehead when changing records.

Listening with the Musicmask (or in total darkness) you focus on the music and hear more details in it. I listened to the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” with the Musicmask and heard things I’ve never noticed before. I loved the way Paul McCartney’s bass lines locked in with Ringo Starr’s drum patterns on “Fixing A Hole,” and the swirling, psychedelic tape loops on “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” were more intricate than I’d imagined. I’m more aware of subtle shifts in the stereo image, soundstage depth, and very quiet background vocals while listening with the Musicmask.

Musicmask is sold direct from the Netherlands with a 10-day money back satisfaction guarantee and retails for $44.95.

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This week in Crave: The animal-magnetism edition

Delias painting

Click on the above image to see which up-and-coming young artist painted this masterpiece using an iPad.

Amanda Kooser/CNET)

Too busy talking to a live parrot on Facebook this week to keep up with Crave? Here’s what went down while you were chatting up your feathered friend.

? iMacs got faster CPUs, Thunderbolt ports.

? Why isn’t Nintendo’s 3DS selling well? Some thoughts.

? New Nook likely to get e-ink treatment. (What’s in store for e-ink this year anyway?)

? Meet our favorite Blu-ray player of 2011 so far.

? Artistic cat + iPad app = Motherwell with an obvious Jackson Pollock influence.

? Don’t judge this monster by its evil looks.

? A new weapon in the piracy battle (piracy as in “arrr,” that is).

? Listen up, lazy lovers of live music.

? Into leather?

? Close the curtains on annoying noise.

But don’t you dare close the curtains on Crave! Write to us at crave at cnet dot com.

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Jaguar building C-X75 hybrid, minus the turbines

Jaguar C-X75

Jaguar says it will build a production version of the C-X75 concept car.

Daniel Terdiman/CNET)

Jaguar’s C-X75 concept was the most stunning
car unveiled at the 2010 Paris motor show. Along with its sleek exterior, it boasted a hybrid power train, mixing electric motors and microturbines that would make it go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. Now Jaguar says it will build a limited production run of 250 vehicles.

We often see concept cars at auto shows and wish the automakers would actually build them. In this case, Jaguar is granting our wish, sort of.

Jaguar C-X75 hybrid concept (photos)

The company pledged to keep the body style of the concept, a low, exotic-looking car that should fit well with the McLarens, Paganis, and Gumperts of the world. Jaguar will work with Williams F1, a racing team, to develop a carbon fiber chassis for the car.

The concept featured electric motors at each wheel, a power-train design Jaguar will keep. It also used two microturbines as generators to keep juice flowing to the motors. That part of the design, alas, won’t happen. Tata, Jaguar’s parent company, is working with Bladon Jets to develop microturbines for use in cars, but that technology is not ready for prime time.

Instead, the production C-X75 will use a compact gas engine as a generator. Think Chevy Volt. That arrangement may not be as interesting as the concept, but at least it will allow the car to come to production. Those microturbines looked very cool under the car’s back glass, and the engine generator won’t have nearly the same visual impact.

Still, Jaguar says the C-X75 will actually hit 60 mph in less than 3 seconds, and will have a pure electric range of over 30 miles. Top speed will be 200 mph, yet its CO2 emissions will only be 99 grams/kilometer.

The story of the C-X75 looks very similar to that of the Porsche 318 Spyder, a hybrid supercar originally shown as a concept. Porsche later found enough potential buyers that it decided to build a production version of the car. It would seem that many millionaires are interested in hybrids these days.

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