Quick Bytes May 2012

Nice-looking pad
Impress your colleagues with an iPad holder with style and precision engineering. The Rokstand aluminum stand from Rokform “incorporates 10 individually machined parts and intricate assembly components, including high-speed bearings, non-slip contact surface rings and an ingenious interlocking cam system for instant view-angle adjustment.” Rokform was founded by the owners of Two Brothers Racing Inc., an aftermarket manufacturer for the powersports industry.

Easy file transfers between iPhone and laptop
AnyMP4 iPhone Transfer helps users transfer files, including DVDs and videos, between their iPhone and computer, according to software producer AnyMP4. The software allows users to export iPhone movies, music, TV shows, podcasts, iTunes, e-pub, PDFs, audio books, pictures, voice memos and camera shots to a computer; and to import video, audio, e-pub and images from a computer’s local disc to iPhone. In addition, users can backup iPhone SMS to computer, and delete the unwanted messages from the database.

Slam dunk
Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat will prevent determined sales reps from returning customers’ calls on their Samsung Rugby® Smart smartphone. The phone, sold by AT&T, is said to be dustproof and capable of withstanding extreme temperatures and submersion in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. The phone – which costs $100 with a two-year commitment and monthly minimum data plan – runs on Android 2.3 with 4G capabilities, has a virtual QWERTY keyboard, a 3.7-inch screen, a 5MP camera and an integrated flashlight. Talk time is said to be up to eight hours.

For $60, users of iPhones, iPads or iPod Touches can get two years unlimited repairs on their devices with the iSmart Protection Plan, available from iQue Repair LLC., “Many warranties are front loaded with fees because we have been lead to believe our devices need to be replaced and not repaired,” says iQue Repair owner KC Kelly. “The truth is, the vast majority of insured consumers don’t cash in on new devices when they break and only a small percentage actually needs them replaced.”

Disinfectable phone cover
SEAL SHIELDS™ from Seal Shield LLC are form-fitting, polyurethane covers that are said to make iPhones and iPads 100 percent waterproof, washable and disinfectable. According to a Stanford University study, a cell phone is covered with 18 times more bacteria than a toilet handle, says the company. The shields are invisible, and they contain an antimicrobial fungistatic agent. They cost about $20.

Are app developers taking your address book?
The address book in smartphones is free for app developers to take at will, often without the phone owner’s knowledge, according to a report in the New York Times. While Apple says it prohibits and rejects any app that collects or transmits users’ personal data without their permission, that has not stopped some of the most popular applications for the iPhone, iPad and iPod – like Yelp, Gowalla, Hipster and Foodspotting – from taking users’ contacts and transmitting it without their knowledge, said the report. Congress is investigating the practice.

Dell hopes to one-up MacBook Air
Dell hopes its ultraslim XPS 13 will help the company steal away would-be buyers of Apple’s super-slim MacBook Air. The XPS 13 has some nice features, says Wall Street Journal Technology Editor Walt Mossberg. Its 13-inch screen is no wider than other models with 11- and 12-inch screens. Dell uses edge-to-edge glass for its screen and leaves much less of a bezel, or border, around the screen, than the Apple does, says Mossberg. It’s thicker and a tad heavier than the comparable MacBook Air, and, like the Apple, it’s significantly heavier than Toshiba’s ultrabook. If there’s a downside, it’s the battery life, which is four hours under heavy load. The 13-inch XPS 13 costs $1,000.

Rose-colored glasses
Will you still call me Superman? They might, if you’re wearing Google’s smart eyeglasses. Google won’t comment, but the company reportedly is developing eyeglasses that will stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time, according to a report in the New York Times. The glasses may be available by the end of the year. People familiar with the Google glasses told the newspaper that the glasses will be Android-based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from the wearer’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a number of sensors, including motion and GPS. The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that monitors the world in real time and overlays information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, according to the Google employees.

Laptop, tablet or both?
Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga is said to be both laptop and tablet. The device achieves its duality from a patented hinge that lets the keyboard flip flush to the back of its 13-inch screen, according to a review in the New York Times. With the keyboard folded back, the screen is controlled through touch as with any tablet. The hinge design allows the user to hold the gadget partway open, so it can be set on a table as a display for watching videos. The IdeaPad Yoga runs on the Windows 8 operating system; it has an Intel Chief River processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB solid-state drive, with a claimed battery life of eight hours. It is expected to be available in the second half of 2012 for $1,200.