Quickbytes

High performance, low price
BLU Products has announced that its BLU Dash 4.5 smartphone device has begun shipping. The device is powered by MediaTek’s MT6589M 1.2 GHz Quad-Core chipset, bringing 4G speeds to consumers. The phone’s battery reportedly can last several days without having to be recharged. In addition, the device features a 4.5-inch FWVGA LCD, producing a pixel density of 218 ppi, and includes a 5.0 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, an HDR feature, HD 720p video recording and secondary front facing camera. It runs on Android v4.2 Jellybean OS. It currently is available through several U.S. online retail partners, such as Amazon.com, for $139.

Smart TV, not-so-smart choice
Smart TVs may not be the wave of the future, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics’ Digital Home Observatory. The study, “Online Video Lead Adopters Bypass the Smart TV with Personal Devices,” offers an in-depth examination of how the behavior of eight advanced-user households has changed over the past three years as new connected TV technologies have arrived. Although half of the sample has acquired a smart TV over the past three years, no one has been found to be using it as their main source for connected media entertainment since they found tablets, smartphones and other connected TV devices easier to use. Early adopters who have not purchased a smart TV yet have been concerned that these products are not ready to deliver an adequate experience.

3D printing
3D Systems and Deloitte, a provider of consulting services for manufacturing and supply chain, change management, and innovation strategy, announced an exclusive alliance to jointly assist companies and industries in adopting and integrating 3D printing design and manufacturing systems and solutions into their business for sustainable competitive advantage. The companies will jointly launch and operate a series of solution centers or “labs” in various locations where mutual clients will get exposure to integrated capabilities, from hardware and software to change management, process reengineering, talent and organization, technology integration, legacy retirement, and innovation adoption. For more information, visit www.3DSystems.com.

Smart holiday
Smartphone technology may be lighting up the holidays this year as MooresCloud, an Australian start-up company, has launched a new product, Holidays by MooresCloud at CeBIT Australia 2013. The product reportedly is the world’s first connected, intelligent set of festive lights, designed for Christmas trees or other holiday decorating. Applications include:

  •  A color wheel for selecting any of 16 million possible colors.
  • Built-in patterns for team colors of U.S. sports.
  • Lights that track Santa’s approach!

New generation laptops
Toshiba’s Digital Products Division, a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., recently unveiled a redesigned version of its premium lines of Satellite® P Series and S Series laptops, with the latest quad-core 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors, as well as its new mainstream Satellite L Series and entry-level Satellite C Series laptops. The processors, from Intel, are said to offer smart performance with high power efficiency, allowing Toshiba to further slim down its premium laptop lines to nearly the size of an Ultrabook.

Activity tracker
Salutron Inc., a manufacturer of fitness and wellness products, recently launched its newest activity tracker, the LifeTrak Move C300. The device is designed to capture, hold and wirelessly transmit health-related data to Bluetooth-enabled devices, including smartphones and tablets, permitting users to track their heart rate, distance, calorie burn and steps. The device provides feedback on daily and weekly fitness progress. A full display rests on the user’s wrist, while an open API platform allows universal integration to some of the popular health and fitness apps, keeping users on track with their goals. Additional features of the C300 include:

  • ECG-accurate heart rate feedback.
  • Calorie and step counter.
  • Distance calibration. (The device adjusts to stride length based on identification of walking, jogging and running motions.)
  • Step filtering to filter out false steps.
  • Hourly and weekly recordkeeping.
  • Independent workout mode.
  • Low power monitoring.
  • Waterproof, up to 90 feet.

A newer device, the Fit C410, which is expected to be introduced later this year, will incorporate additional sleep monitoring features, providing more data from sleep patterns and their influence on overall wellness.

Say cheese
Photography buffs will be happy to learn that Nikon has launched a Facebook application, My Nikon World, which awards users for taking great photos. User participation is rewarded with community points and digital badges for uploading photos and participating within the community. The more a user participates, the higher the level he or she can attain within the community. The experience includes contributions from Nikon professional photographers, who will issue challenges for users to earn points, badges and bragging rights. In addition to sharing photos and participating in photo challenges, users will also be able to create an online photographer profile and personal gallery where they can track their participation, feature their favorite photos and share their visual victories. With a strong focus on social sharing and engagement, participants will also have the option to include links to their personal social profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, in order to interact with photographers both within the community and outside of My Nikon World. For more information visit www.facebook.com/nikon.

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