Tag Archives: Gadget Reviews

Chrome OS adds pinch-to-zoom for regular users, Pixel owners rejoice

When Google launched the Chromebook Pixel, we weren’t really sure what to make of the premium device’s touchscreen. Sure, finger-friendly displays were trendy, but Chrome OS just wasn’t asking for the technologies: it didn’t feature many touch apps, the laptop didn’t launch with a gesture update and user’s couldn’t even pinch-zoom web pages. Now, that’s changing — to go along with more touch-enabled Chromebooks now on sale, the latest update to Chrome OS’ stable channel adds a touch-enabled window manager and pinch/zoom webpage scaling.

[Image credit: François Beaufort]

The updated touch features have been around for a while, but Chrome OS users had to be on the “Canary” release channel to play around with the system’s unfinished features until recently. Google’s also been experimenting with a on-screen keyboard for some time. Put together, these features could make Chrome OS a viable options for tablets (and in the near future, convertibles like Lenovo’s Yoga), though Google hasn’t announced anything of that nature. Check out the company’s official update notes at the source link below.


Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/21/chrome-os-touch/?ncid=rss_truncated

Sainsbury’s becomes first supermarket to power a store with food waste alone

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has found a new way to put its food waste to good use: by using it to power one of its stores. A branch in Cannock, West Midlands will be exclusively powered by energy generated from bio-methane gas expelled by broken down food. You see, Sainsbury’s gives any food from its stores that can’t be used by charities or fed to animals to waste specialists Biffa, which uses microbes to turn it into gas. Biffa’s plant is very close to the supermarket chain’s Cannock store, and a new 1.5km cable connecting the two feeds the latter electricity created from the gas. Sainsbury’s food recycling program generates enough energy to power 2,500 homes each year, but only now is it diverting some of that back to the source. The company says the store will come completely off the National Grid for its day-to-day energy consumption, allowing it to “close the loop on food recycling” in the process.

[Image credit: Elliott Brown, Flickr]


Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/21/sainburys-cannock-waste-electricity/?ncid=rss_truncated

Whirlpool’s new machine freshens your clothes in 10 minutes flat

Swash in action

Odds are that you’re used to ironing some of your clothes to keep them wrinkle-free, or taking them to the dry cleaners when you can’t (or just won’t) put them through a washing machine. No great shakes, right? Well, Procter Gamble and Whirlpool apparently believe that these are terrible burdens — the two have unveiled Swash, an appliance that freshens your clothing one piece at a time. The device uses the combination of heat and a special solution (held in “Swash pods”) to eliminate wrinkles and smells in your apparel without either damaging it or requiring time-consuming care; your duds should be (almost) as good as new in roughly 10 minutes. It doesn’t require water, and it can handle delicate materials like cashmere and lace. At first blush, it looks like a good way to save a favorite coat or sweater from the ravages of time.

However, this is most definitely an extravagance. While Reviewed.com found that Swash worked as advertised, you’ll really have to despise dry cleaning to justify the running costs — the device by itself is $499, and each 12-pack of pods is $7. That could quickly add up if you’re using the machine multiple times a week. It’s also not going to remove stains, so you’ll still be in dire straits if you spill a drink on your shirt right before a big date. You can buy the Swash at Bloomingdale’s this September, but you’ll want to think carefully about your typical attire before you splurge on a unit. Just how badly do you want to dress to impress?



Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/20/swash/?ncid=rss_truncated

ZTE continues the trend toward minimizing Android customization

For all its beauty, Android’s openness is the reason why manufacturers and carriers are able to make their own tweaks to the OS. Some companies go as far as completely forking the platform, and we know how terrible that can be — though there are exceptions like Amazon’s Fire ecosystem, which offers a solid experience overall. Thankfully, manufacturers are beginning to realize it’s much better to deliver Android as Google intended, or at least as close to it as possible (e.g. HTC’s Sense 6). Chinese outfit ZTE will join this movement very soon, announcing that the Google Now launcher will be set as the default home screen on its future smartphones, starting with the launch of the Blade Vec 4G next week. Naturally, doing so means giving buyers a cleaner look right out of the box; plus, it puts all of the search giant’s services front and center, including the Play store and, of course, Google Now. Most importantly, it’s definitely going to make Google happy.


Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/20/zte-android-google-now-launcher/?ncid=rss_truncated

Feedback Loop: Crowdfunding perils, dying passwords, cameras and more!

It’s time for the latest edition of Feedback Loop! We discuss the dark and sometimes disappointing side of crowdfunding, ponder whether passwords are dying, look for point-and-shoot camera suggestions, share the cheapest ways to get HBO and talk about overly hyped gadgets. Head past the break to talk about all this and more with your fellow Engadget readers.

The perils of crowdfunding

For every great product that comes out of crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo or Kickstarter, it seems there’s an conversely horrible story about something that never shipped or lived up to expectations. Our own John Colucci discusses the darker side of this phenomenon and readers chimed in to share their own experiences. Do you have any crazy Kickstarter stories to tell?

Is the password really dying?

After enabling two-factor authentication on his personal Twitter account, a Wall Street Journal reporter shared his password with the public. He argues that “the password is finally dying.” Is he crazy? We discuss whether this is actually the case. Are passwords really dying? And what happens to two-factor authentication when you share one of your factors? Head over to the forums and sound off!

Point-and-shoot camera suggestions

Engadget forums user Baileylo recently welcomed a new member to his family. Congrats, Logan! He’s looking for a new camera to properly capture those special moments. What’s a good point-and-shoot under $500 that can work in a variety of lighting situations? Let him know!

What’s the cheapest way to get HBO?

HBO is basically the Holy grail of premium cable TV. Everyone wants it, but not everyone wants to pay for all the packages needed to get it. Is it possible to get access to HBO without subscribing to a ton of unnecessary channels? Or are we stuck sharing our parents’ HBO Go access? Share your tips and tricks right here.

Over-hyped gadget sightings

There have been a number of gadgets that have received tons of hype and press, only to end up forgotten and unloved. Things like the Microsoft Kin One, the Kin Two, the Nexus Q and even more recent examples like the Lytro and Samsung Galaxy Gear. Frank talks about seeing some of these “gadget unicorns” out in the wild. What are some surprising and unloved gadgets you’ve seen when you’ve been out and about?

Other discussions you may also like:

That’s all this week! Want to talk about your favorite gadget or have a burning question about technology? Register for an Engadget account today, visit the Engadget forums and start a new discussion!



Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/19/feedback-loop-crowdfunding-perils-dying-passwords-cameras/?ncid=rss_truncated

Future pacemakers might be completely biological

intensive care unit lcd monitor for several patients

It’s pretty amazing that humanity has invented a small electrical device that can be used to ensure a heart keeps a steady beat, but pacemakers have to be maintained, replaced — sometimes they can even become infected. Researchers say they’re working on a less invasive solution: a “biological pacemaker.” It’s a form of gene therapy that implants the heart with a gene-carrying virus that creates a “sino-atrail node,” a collection of neurons that acts as a natural metronome for the body’s most important muscle.

In a recent study, Researchers were able to improve the heart rate of 12 pigs with heart conditions by injecting the gene into a specific area of their hearts. Within two days of injection, the animal’s hearts started keeping a regular pace, and were reporting stronger heartbeats than those of the pigs in the pacemaker-equipped control group. After two weeks, however, the pig hearts started to regress to their irregular repetitions — the gene is delivered via virus, and the animal’s natural immune system eventually tries to fight off the therapy.

Eugenio Cingolani, the study’s author, says that the team is working on long-term experiments to assess the viability of the technology, and hopes to start human trials in the next few years. If successful, the therapy could be used to treat unborn infants with heart defects while still in the womb. Eventually, it may even replace pacemaker technology altogether — virtually eliminating the possibility of infection. Just think: you’ll never have to replace your heart’s batteries ever again.

[Image credit: Shutterstock / beerkoff]


Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/19/future-pacemakers-might-be-completely-biological/?ncid=rss_truncated