Archive | July 2014

Apple Takes Home Three Brand of the Year Awards

apple_crown

Here’s an achievement certain to be trotted out at Apple’s next big media event. Harris Interactive on Thursday declared the company the top U.S. brand across a trio of consumer electronics categories – the only three in which it’s rated.

According to Harris Interactive’s 2013 EquiTrend survey, which polls some 38,000 U.S. consumers about their brand preferences, Apple dominated not only the tablet segment, but the mobile phone and computer segments, as well.

Quite the hat trick, and one Apple has pulled off for two years running now, beating out some serious competition. In the computer category, Apple bested Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Sony; in the tablet category, it surpassed Amazon, Google and Samsung; and in the mobile phone segment, it beat HTC, Samsung and LG.

Said Harris Interactive senior VP Manny Flores, “… What really stands out is that in all three of the categories Apple brands are measured – Computer, Tablet and Mobile Phone – its Brand Momentum scores are in the top 30 of all 1,500 brands evaluated in the study.”

And that’s worth noting. Harris Interactive’s Brand Momentum category measures – among other things – ubiquity, future outlook, leadership and popularity. In the eyes of U.S. consumers, Apple clearly meets its brand promise.

Yet Another Way to Get a Super-Cheap Web TV Box

now tv

What’s that? You say you’re intrigued by the notion of a Web TV box, but $35 for a Google Chromecast is too rich for your blood?

Here you go – if you live in the U.K.: Satellite TV service BSkyB has rolled out a Web TV box for 9.99.

That works out to about $15, and what that gets you is essentially a rebranded Roku HD box – BSkyB invested in Roku last year, and once again this spring – tailored to support BSkyB’s Now TV streaming subscription service. That also means that the box won’t support BSkyB rivals Netflix and Amazon/Lovefilm.

You can see more specs and details here, but the big picture is that this shows yet another approach to distributing Web-to-TV hardware: Rather than have consumers buy the gadgets directly from the manufacturer, a programmer/distributor sells the box and subsidizes the cost.

Expect to see more of this in the future. For starters, note that Roku’s other investors include 21st Century Fox, Dish Network and Hearst, which owns both TV stations and stakes in TV networks including ESPN.

Meanwhile, Apple is in talks with Time Warner Cable about an Apple TV tie-up; for now, that deal doesn’t call for the cable operator to sell Apple’s boxes, but you could certainly imagine a pact where it does.

And remember that Amazon, which tried to buy Roku last year, has its own TV box in the works, which will be optimized for Amazon’s own video offerings.

Zepp Labs intends to help softball players improve with new sensor

zepp

Zepp Labs alongside Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) have come together to settle on an agreement that will see a multi-year partnership formed, as Zepp is now the designated Official and Exclusive Swing Analysis and Technology Platform of PGF. Using Zepp’s advanced 3D technology, it will be able to assist softball players regardless of their age and skill levels, as part of an effort to improve their game. The sensor is extremely small, and is a snap to attach right at the end of a bat.

This particular sensor will be able to capture more than 1,000 points of data per swing, resulting in a perfect 3D rendering when used in tandem with a smartphone or tablet. Apart from that, parents and coaches alongside their players too will be able to check out instant and actionable feedback and data, and these data will include the likes of bat speed, hand speed, time to impact, and attack angle among others.

It does look as though fastpitch softball is not going to be the same again with the help of sensors from Zepp Labs, and we could see new records being broken as the analysis helps coaches to go through the different ways that their understudies will be able to react the next time they step up to the plate. It will go a long way in helping girls maximize their playing potential, which in turn will be able to fuel additional confidence to the softball players as they get better and more proficient at the game.

In the future, it is said that PGF camps and clinics will also make use of the Zepp 3D sensor in order to capture, measure and analyze player swings at a Zepp hitting station. This would clearly place the Zepp sensor in a unique position, having it establish a new standard of swing evaluation metrics. The Zepp 3D sensor is definitely a worthy addition to any other sports-related accessories like this Play By Play Announcing Scoreboard.

Press Release
[ Zepp Labs intends to help softball players improve with new sensor copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]

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The Paleos PRONATIV chain mail running shoes protect your feet

Paleo PRONATIV

Chainmmail was used to keep warriors safe during battles long ago. While we don’t need to worry about hand-to-hand combat anymore, that doesn’t mean this type of armor doesn’t still have practical uses. While it may be more commonly seen in re-enactments, movies, and with LARPers, there’s a use for chainmail that you may not have expected.

The Paleos PRONATIV shoes are foot coverings that are solely metal rings and cord. These can be worn in water, used for running, hiking, and all manner of outdoorsy activities. The lacing is done in such as way that it will hold even while you’re running in wet and muddy areas. In fact, that is said to be the ideal place to wear these. This pair will run around $260, but if you’re not wanting these for vigorous activity, there are options that are $20-40 less.

If you want to use these for everything under the sun, you can also get “Multi-Paws” attached that are placed strategically which will help you to avoid slipping on naturally slick areas or smooth surfaces in urban settings. It is said that with this addition you’ll also be all but silent on hard flooring. These will cost close to $50 as an add-on, and there are a variety of colors and thicknesses for you to choose from depending on what you plan to use these open-air shoes for.

Available for purchase on magento.gost-barefoots

[ The Paleos PRONATIV chain mail running shoes protect your feet copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]

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T-Mobile’s Latest Promo Offers Entire Lineup of Phones for No Upfront Payment

T-Mobile is continuing to shake things up.

t-mobile_iphone_ad

The No. 4 U.S. carrier on Friday announced a promotion that will offer its entire lineup of phones for no upfront payment. It isn’t really dropping the price of phones, just spreading the entire cost of the phone over 24 months instead of using a mix of an initial down payment and monthly payments.

Still, the move shows the flexibility T-Mobile has since moving to a model in which it separates the cost of the phone from its monthly service.

“The number of reasons not to switch to T-Mobile this summer is ZERO,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. “This is a fantastic offer and we’re making it easier than ever for customers to get the latest amazing devices.”

Under the new promotion, which starts on Saturday, customers can get a 16 gigabyte iPhone 5, for example, for no upfront fee and 24 monthly payments of $27 per month. The Samsung Galaxy S4, BlackBerry Q10 and HTC One are all $25 per month, while the entry-level Nokia Lumia 521 is just $5 per month.

The device fee is then added to T-Mobile’s monthly service fees. Options range from a $50-per-month plan that includes unlimited talk, text and 500 megabytes of high-speed data to an option for $70 per month that includes unlimited high-speed data. Additional lines for family members cost $30 for the first extra line and $10 per additional line after that.

Though not cutting device prices, the move could nonetheless be attractive to those looking to get a new phone without a big initial cost.

Update: In a telephone interview, T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said that the new option came in response to a move by AT&T to offer some devices for no money down.

“This is really about being fast and highly competitive,” Sievert said. “We aren’t going to cede one inch of the territory and of the momentum” it has gained from its “un-carrier” approach.

As part of its Next early-upgrade program, AT&T is offering a number of phones for no money down, with installment payments of $15 to $50 per month for 20 months. A Samsung Galaxy S4, for example, would cost $32 a month for 20 months under that program. (Customers would also pay AT&T’s standard monthly rates in addition to the device financing payment.)

Sievert did not give an end date for T-Mobile’s new offer, but said promotions such as these tend to run days or weeks, and not for months.

He also said this move was not the next step that Legere had hinted will come in the fall.

“Un-carrier 3.0 is still to come,” Sievert said.

L.A. Unified School District Wants iPads for All 640,000 Students

blackboard_ipad

Back in June, the Los Angeles Unified School District awarded Apple a $30 million contract to provide its students with iPads. Under its terms, the company will supply about 31,000 iPads to 47 LAUSD schools, each preloaded with a bunch of educational software. But evidently that’s just the first phase of the program.

According to an LAUSD representative, the nation’s second-largest school district hopes to provide iPads to all 640,000 students by late 2014. Which means it’s going to buy a few hundred thousand more iPads over the next year – though it’s not yet sure how it’s going to do it. “We’re hoping that we will get a lot of private donors,” Mark Hovatter, chief facilities executive for LAUSD, told CITEworld.

That’s very good news for Apple. If LAUSD is able to pull together the money to realize this plan, it will be purchasing hundreds of thousands of additional iPads. Which potentially means another big iPad contract in the offing, and the chance to expose thousands of kids to the iOS ecosystem.

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