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Archive for February, 2013

Android calendar idea

3.02.2013 Leave a comment

I have an idea for an Android device which I want to share with you.

At some point in my life I started using calendars on portable devices, first on Palm Z22, then on iPod touch. Whenever I am I can always turn on the device and check if I have anything to do this day or the next day, so I can plan ahead. There is so much going on that it’s hard to remember all the things I have to do, let alone things planned months ahead, such as dentist appointments for example.

But when I am home, the problem is I have to walk to the place where I put my device, unlock it, then open the calendar app. This costs time.

This is easily solvable by having a calendar hanging on the wall in the central place of the house such as the kitchen. Another good place is the door of the fridge. But a static, paper calendar can only be looked up where it is placed. I cannot check it when I am away from home.

Android to the rescue! I’ve seen people using their Android tablets as picture frames. Why not use an Android tablet as a calendar? There could even be a device especially suited for this task. The nice thing about Google calendar is that you can share it with other people, so you could have a common family account and all members of the family would share their calendars with it (you can have multiple calendars with your Google account).

The device I am looking for could be described as follows:

  • It is an Android tablet.
  • It is very thin and very light.
  • It has an e-ink screen so it does not consume much energy. The screen will display the last image even if the battery is discharged.
  • It has a low power CPU. The CPU can be slow, it does not matter for this purpose.
  • It does not need to have any connectors.
  • It has WiFi.
  • It has a solar cell with which it charges its battery. No charger necessary.
  • It has a touch screen as an input device.
  • No other gimmicks necessary, no Bluetooth, no camera.
  • It can be hung on the wall, it can stand on the shelf or it can be attached to the fridge door using magnets on its back.
  • It has no unlock screen. In the default mode it displays the calendar app.
  • It is cheap. The upper limit would be $50, but $25 price tag would be perfect. There are e-ink readers which cost less than this (although they are subsidized). Some printed calendars cost this much.

I would certainly purchase such device if it was available. So far I failed to find one. If you find a similar device, let me know.

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Categories: Computing

Game consoles

2.02.2013 Leave a comment

High-end game consoles are past their best days. The top consoles from Microsoft and Sony haven’t been refreshed in 6-7 years. Meanwhile the PC platform kept improvements coming and Nintendo has shown with Wii that a console doesn’t need top hardware to be popular. In the recent years console manufacturers faced a new challenge – iOS and Android platforms introduced casual gaming and started eroding the console market.

The nice thing about iOS and Android is that the games for these platforms are super cheap. Spending a few bucks a month for a few games is not a big deal, home budged will certainly not notice that. More sophisticated games cost $5+ which is still not a big deal. For a small portion of a cost of one console game one can purchase several good quality games and play them anywhere, not attached to a TV.

Nintendo has already released a new version of their console – Wii U. However it seems that their new console doesn’t sell as good as they anticipated. Sony and Microsoft are expected to release new versions of their consoles later this year. Will they enjoy better sales, or will they face similar problems to Nintendo’s?

Well, the Android ecosystem isn’t sleeping either. Ouya is one example of an Android-based console, which was an overwhelming success on Kickstarter last year, confirming that this is what the users want. Ouya will certainly steal more market share from the big guns.

I anticipate that Sony’s, Microsoft’s and Nintendo’s consoles will face a really touch competition. My advice for them is to jump on the Android bandwagon, otherwise they will share the same fate as Nokia.

Do you think the high-end consoles will survive?

Categories: Computing