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Mobile Technology News, January 7, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Ad Blocking Raises Alarm Among Firms Like Google
    The French Internet provider Free is supplying its customers with software that will automatically block Internet advertising, the life blood of companies like Google.

  • Google’s Rivals Say F.T.C. Antitrust Ruling Missed the Point
    Some critics of the inquiry say the Federal Trade Commission should have considered harm to Google’s advertisers, not just searchers.

  • Future of TV to Be Displayed at Electronics Show
    Television makers are trying to attract attention by supersizing screens and quadrupling the level of detail in images, and they are adding apps and other interactive elements.

  • IDEO Founder David Kelley Talks to 60 Minutes About Steve Jobs, First Apple Mouse and More [Mac Blog]
    IDEO founder David Kelley had a wide-ranging interview on tonight’s 60 Minutes in which he speaks about his relationship with Steve Jobs, the creation of the first Apple Mouse and more. Kelley and his company, IDEO, were integral in Apple’s early history and designed the first Apple Mouse, the Lisa and more.

    Kelley talks about Jobs and how he was very specific in wanting things, which isn’t a surprise as there have been numerous stories of Jobs calling up people in the middle of the night finalizing details for various products. Kelley also talks about their personal relationship and how Jobs advised Kelley to seek western medicine to treat his wife’s throat cancer and how Jobs tried to set up an original iPhone for Kelley by calling AT&T.

    “The day after the iPhone was announced, he had one for me. You know,  your own iPhone given to you by Steve Jobs the day after it comes out – it was a lovely feeling. So he decides to hook it up for me, so he gets on the phone to AT&T and he’s going to hook up my phone and it’s not going well.

    Eventually he pulls the ‘I’m Steve Jobs’ card, you know, he says to the guy ‘I’m Steve Jobs.’ I’m sure the guy on the other end says “yeah buddy, and I’m Napoleon” like get out of here. Yeah, but anyway he never did get it hooked up. No, not that day.”

    The Steve Jobs and Apple parts are at the 3:00 and 7:42 marks. The rest of the video focuses on Kelley’s early life, IDEO’s process and his new relationship with Stanford.

  • Virtual U.: Massive Open Online Courses Prove Popular, if Not Lucrative Yet
    New companies are partnering with universities to offer online courses, in an effort that could define the future of higher education — if anyone can figure out how to make money.
  • VIDEO: Dell optimistic about Asia growth
    Computer maker Dell expects personal computer sales to rebound this year and says that emerging markets in Asia will key to its expansion in the region.
  • CES 2013: HAPIfork is a Digital Fork that Tracks Your Eating Habits [iOS Blog]
    HAPILABS HAPIfork (via The Verge) is an electronic fork that is designed to monitor eating habits with built-in Bluetooth, a capacitive sensor, and a vibration motor.

    HAPIfork provides information about eating schedules and alerts users when they are eating too fast, a leading cause of weight gain, according to the manufacturer.


    The fork measures each movement from fork to plate, which is recorded as a “fork serving.” The fork monitors how long it takes to finish a meal, the number of fork servings eaten per minute, and the interval between each fork serving.

    All of this information is uploaded through USB or Bluetooth to an online dashboard. The fork is also designed to work with the HAPILABS app to provide a coaching program that encourages better eating.

    HAPIfork will retail for $99.99. The USB version will ship during the second quarter of 2013 and the Bluetooth version will ship during the third quarter of 2013.

  • Will digital addiction clinics be big in 2013?
    Will digital addiction clinics be big in 2013?
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Promises 10Gbps Data Transfers, Coming in 2014
    NewImageThe trade organization behind the USB 3.0 specification has announced a new upgraded spec that promises higher data speeds over backwards compatible connections.

    The new spec enhanced SuperSpeed USB 3.0 spec should deliver a 10 Gbps data rate — the same as current Thunderbolt connectors — though don’t expect it any time soon. The new protocol should be finalized sometime in 2013, with initial products featuring the connector appearing in late-2014 or 2015, reports CNET.

    To take advantage of the double-speed USB 3.0 interface, devices such as computers, hubs, and digital cameras will need new USB controller hardware. However, the new version of USB 3.0 uses the same connectors, so existing USB devices can be plugged into the higher-speed ports.

    USB 3.0 cables may or may not work. “Existing SuperSpeed USB cables are not certified to operate at 10 Gbps; it is possible that some existing SuperSpeed USB cables may be capable of operating at 10 Gbps,” the group said.

    The new devices should be backwards compatible with older USB hardware, though not at the upgraded speeds.

    Thunderbolt, which moves data at up to 10Gbps in both directions, appears mostly on Apple devices currently, but devices tend to be more expensive than their USB 3.0-compatible counterparts. However, Thunderbolt does have a strong ally in Intel, with the company pushing the standard heavily.

  • CES 2013: Parrot ‘Flower Power’ Monitors Plant Health over Bluetooth [iOS Blog]
    Parrot, the company behind the iPhone-controlled AR Drone quadricoptor, has debuted its new Flower Power project at CES 2013.

    The system consists of a two-pronged Bluetooth monitoring device that sticks in the soil, and an iPad app. The Verge has a rundown on how it works:

    Simply place the Flower Power device — which looks like a colorful leek — in the soil near any of your plants, pair the device with your iPhone or iPad, and you can track all of your plants’ needs from anywhere. Once you’ve paired the device with your phone or tablet, you can choose your plant from a library of about 6000 plants, and if you’re not certain of your plant’s name, you can search by leaf type, color, and a number of other options.


    The app is updated every 15 minutes, pulling information from the device about the sunlight the plant receives, the ambient temperature, and the moisture level and fertilizer content of the soil.

    When plants need attention, the app will provide push notifications, and an included graph allows for the long term tracking of plant health. According to CNET, the tongs can be moved from plant to plant and the system also works with lawns.


    There is no word on a release date or pricing, but Parrot hopes to bring Flower Power to the market sometime in 2013.

  • CES 2013: Withings Debuts New Smart Activity Tracker [iOS Blog]
    Withings today announced its new Smart Activity Tracker, which is designed to measure heart rate, monitor sleep quality and food intake, and track movement.

    Health monitoring devices have seen a surge in popularity of late, with offerings like the Jawbone Up, the Nike Fuelband, and the Fitbit One.

    The Smart Activity Tracker, which is designed to clip to clothing or fit into a pocket much like the Fitbit One, is the first health monitor to also measure pulse rate. It has a touch-sensitive front allowing for navigation between functions and a heart rate sensor in the back that is activated when a finger is placed on it.

    The tracker uses Bluetooth Smart (4.0) to sync to Withings’ Health Mate app, and has an estimated two week battery life.

    Withings has also introduced the next iteration of its smart scale. The Smart Body Analyzer WS–50 now tracks air quality and heart rate in addition to changes in weight and body fat.

    Both products will be available at CES this week, which begins on Jan. 8 and ends on Jan. 11. The Smart Body Analyzer is expected to go on sale this quarter for $150, while the Smart Activity Tracker is due before the end of March. At this time, no pricing has been announced.

  • Jeff Jarvis: We Get the Net — and Society — We Build
    We are building the norms of our new net society. It can go either way; there’s nothing, absolutely nothing to say that technology will lead to a better or worse world. It only provides us choices and the opportunity to show our own nature in what we choose.
  • CES 2013: COOKOO Watch Brings ‘Bluetooth Smart’ Connectivity to iOS Devices
    One of the technologies that we’ve been looking forward to becoming more prevalent in iOS accessories is the incorporation of low-power Bluetooth 4.0, now known as Bluetooth Smart. The technology allows for low-power long term connectivity between your iOS devices and your accessories. Kickstarter-backed e-paper Pebble watch was one example that generated an enormous amount of interest with over $10 million in pre-sales.

    ConnecteDevice today announced the worldwide launch of their COOKOO watch which also begin life as life as a KickStarter project.


    The company describes the watch as a designer watch that combines analog movement with a connected digital display. By using a freely available app, users can pick and choose which notifications that appear on their watch.

    The watch can display notifications for:

    – Incoming Calls
    – Missed Calls
    – Facebook Messages and Posts
    – Calendar Reminders
    – When a Smart Device (iPhone, iPad, etc..) is out of range
    – When a Smart Device (iPhone, iPad, etc..) is low on Battery

    It also has a customizable command button which can find your phone, snap a photo, check-in to Facebook or tag your location on a map.

    The watch uses a standard button-cell battery that will last up to one year. It is scratch resistant and water resistant. COOKOO supports the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad mini, iPad (4th & 3rd generation), and iPod touch (5th generation). The watch is priced at $129 in 5 different colors.

    ConnecteDevice says the watch is shipping now and they will be showing it at CES 2013. Based on comments by early Kickstarter backers, it seems there are some dropped-connectivity complaints with the first version of the software that the company says they are addressing in an upcoming update.

  • CES 2013: Griffin Updates StudioConnect MIDI Dock with Lightning Connector [iOS Blog]

    We expect many Lightning-enabled accessories to be coming from companies at CES 2013. Griffin today announced an update to their StudioConnect Audio/MIDI dock which adds a Lightning connector. They claim it to be the first music creation accessory that supports the Lightning connector.

    StudioConnect gives your iPad: audio in and out, MIDI in and out, and a stereo headphone jack with its own volume control so you can monitor what’s going in (or out).

    The StudioConnect with Lightning will be available in the Spring of 2013 and will cost $149.

  • Google Admits To A Maps Power Play With Microsoft
    Google has backtracked. It now admits it’s been blocking Windows Phone 8 users from accessing Google Maps….
  • Critics Slam The State’s New Texting And Driving Law
    Not everyone agrees that California’s new law permitting drivers to text while driving, provided that they don’t use their fingers, is safe. The National Safety…
  • Will The FTC’s Google Decision Ignite A Patent War?
    By Andrew Longstreth NEW YORK (Reuters) – While the focus of last week’s agreement between the Federal Trade Commission and Google Inc was search, the…
  • Tweet Lands Man In Prison for 2 YEARS
    KUWAIT, Jan 6 (Reuters) – A Kuwaiti court sentenced a man to two years in prison for insulting the country’s ruler on Twitter, a lawyer…
  • Crowdfunding for Small Business Is Still an Unclear Path
    For new businesses, the regulatory path to crowdfunding — Internet-based financing that involves ordinary investors — is still far from clear.

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