Mar 26, 2011

GumPack wearable vitals monitor: the new MedicAlert bracelet?

It may not have the charm or good looks of, say, the uBOT-5, but a new wearable vital signs monitor could cut back on doctor's visits for the chronically ill. Produced by a Kansas State University student, the GumPack -- known as such for its size -- is a multi-sensor monitoring device that fits in the palm of your hand and relays vital stats to your doctor via the internet. Along with a built-in camera and microphone for record keeping, as well as WiFi capabilities for connectivity, the battery-powered GumPack will sport various sensors, like a reflectance pulse oximeter or a two-thumb ECG. The monitor is still in the concept stage, and will likely not be available for mass-market distribution for years -- if ever -- but with technology like this in the works, the "I've fallen and I can't get up" lady might as well start looking for a new gig.

Adobe outs experimental Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool, calls it Wallaby

Ah, if only we could flip a big happy switch and convert all the web's Flash content into (functional) HTML5 code. It's a dream shared by many and, funnily enough, the company pushing to make it a reality is none other than Adobe itself, the owner and proprietor of Flash. Its Labs research team has just released an experimental new dev tool, dubbed Wallaby, that's targeted at taking Flash-encoded artwork and animations and turning them into a more compatible mix of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Of course, the intent here is not some magnanimous move to free us from the shackles of Flash -- Adobe openly admits that the initial goal for the new tool will be to help convert animated banner ads so that they work on the iOS platform -- but hey, even bad tools can be used for good sometimes, right?

Motorola Droid 3 for Verizon breaks cover once again

Want some more Droid 3 eye candy? If you just recently bought a Droid 2, the answer is probably "no, please, no" -- but nonetheless, we've got some for you. A couple more shots of the rumored refresh have popped up on HowardForums once again, showing off a QWERTY keyboard that looks largely similar to the one it's replacing with one very, very notable exception: it's a 5-row deal this time around with what appear to be half-height keys for the numeric row. People love 5-row keyboards, so if this is legit -- and we really have no reason to doubt that it is -- that feature alone could move a lot of phones. More on this soon, we hope.

INQ Cloud Touch gets priced in the UK

We've had an affinity for INQ's Cloud Touch since we Poked and prodded the little device back in February, and now thanks to Carphone Warehouse we've got the all important pricetag to accompany the specs. Starting April 6, you'll be able to pick up the Facebook-ified device in the UK completely SIM-free for £300, or about $486. Not a bad deal for a 3.5-inch Android 2.2 handset with a 5-megapixel shooter and a custom Facebook homescreen. Of course, it lacks the Facebook Buttons of HTC's offerings, but if you simply can't wait to be the first person on the block with a Facebook phone you should definitely give the Cloud Touch a peek.

Dell offers unlocked Streak for $99 with purchase of a new PC

Dell's Streak 5 tabletphone hasn't held our interest much lately, even with Android 2.2 on board, but Dell's got a new deal that may be too good to pass up. If you already had your heart set on nabbing a Dell notebook or desktop PC priced at over $699 -- say, one of those shiny new Sandy Bridge rigs -- you can add an unlocked Streak 5 to your cart for an additional Benjamin. Now that's what we call an impulse buy.

Video - Google Nexus S 4G for Sprint

The Samsung Nexus S 4G for Sprint is pretty much what you'd expect: a Nexus S with its GSM / HSPA radio swapped for a set of Sprint-compatible CDMA / EV-DO and WiMAX radios. While the Nexus S 4G lacks a SIM slot, it's actually 0.3mm thicker than the Nexus S -- that's the thickness of a business card, and is meaningless for all practical purposes. The phone also features a 4G signal indicator in the status bar, along with a 4G sub-menu in the wireless settings. Our demo unit was running Android 2.3.4 (!) -- a version we have not yet come across -- but we were told that neither the hardware nor the software are final at this point. So don't be surprised if the production model receives a few tweaks before launch. Perhaps a Sprint logo? Hop past the break for our hands-on video.

China's leading search engine Baidu planning mobile OS?

Baidu's CEO Robin Li hinted that China's largest search engine may be planning a lightweight mobile OS for smartphones and tablets. Hot on the heels of retreating Google, Baidu currently enjoys 75 percent of China's web search revenue to Google's 16 and may well be pressing in the OS domain as well. The OS concept will center on the search box -- or Baidu Box -- with the end goal seeing it become the sole interface on a mobile device. Mr. Li further stated his hope would be to see that interface up and running on the device within a second of boot up. While this OS will apparently be search-centric, its other features will focus on social media and other online content. Of course, this is a three to five year plan, so we can definitely expect hardware advances and system advances to help make this lofty dream into a reality.

Aircell announces world's first 'airborne smartphone'

No, you won't be able to use it on your next flight, but if you're lucky enough to have your own business jet, you will soon be able to get Aircell's new Android-based smartphone designed for aircraft use. While the company's staying fairly mum on specifics at the moment, the phone is said to pack a 3.8-inch capacitive display, and it's designed to be backwards-compatible with all Aircell Axxess communications systems currently in production, as well as its forthcoming Gogo Biz Voice service. No word on pricing just yet, but Aircell is promising to reveal that sometime before the phone launches in "late 2011."

Android in-app billing coming next week, starts developer testing today

Google promised us the ability to buy stuff while inside Android apps, and sure enough, it's now just about ready to deliver it. Eric Chu, responsible for the company's Android Developer Ecosystem, has announced app submissions are now being accepted from those wanting to offer up purchasable items within their software. He also points out there'll be about a week's worth of internal testing before the whole system opens up to the public, likely before the end of the month so that Google may stick to its word of rolling out the service in the first quarter of this year. Once that's done, you'll finally be able to buy your way to in-game glory instead of having to grind away at it like some unenlightened schmo.


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