December 11, 2010
There’s the flash Apple supports and the Flash Apple doesn’t. But regardless of where you stand on the dispute between the once famously-friendly companies,you may well enjoy Scrabble Flash if you are enjoy word composition games. Even though the game is branded Scrabble Flash, the game mechanics are more akin to Boggle minus the 16-letter grid. Indeed, it is branded Boggle Flash in the UK.
Indeed, in contrast to Scrabble, Scrabble Flash isn’t played on a board at all. Rather, it consists of five chubby battery-powered tiles with monochrome displays. There are three main modes of play but all involve arranging the tiles to form words within a short amount of allotted time. It’s fun, at least for a while, and even includes a neat plastic travel box.
Perhaps more significantly for technologists, however, is that Scrabble Flash looks like an early implementation of technology in development by MIT Media Lab spinout Sifteo. It is dubbed Siftables, which the company calls the future of play. Unlike the Scrabble Flash tiles, the Sifteo prototypes have color screens and USB ports and are capable of working together in far more sophisticated ways, but there’s a big gap between what goes on in the halls of academia versus the aisles of Toys R Us. Until that time, Scrabble Flash can provide a fun taste of the future of physical interfaces.
For more on Siftables, check out this page on developer David Merrill. It includes a video of his presentation at TED.
Tags: Boggle Flash, fun, Jeevan Kalanithi word games, MIT Media lab, NFC, physical interfaces UIs, Scrabble Flash
December 7, 2010
As it did with Eclair (Android 2.1), Google has taken the occasion of a new version of Android dubbed Gingerbread (Android 2.3) to bring out a new handset offering a “pure Android experience.” This time around, that purity is brought to you by Samsung rather than HTC, which produced the original Nexus One, a handset that stole some thunder (but few sales) from the Motorola Droid juggernaut.
Google has used the Nexus handsets for experimenting with distribution outside the carrier channel, even if it made the original Nexus somewhat of a sacrificial lamb. The superior distribution of Best Buy should certainly help with the push of the device.
However, the improvements in Android 2.3 may not do much to drive consumers to the Google-branded handset, at least for a while. Unlike recent Android enhancements that brought improvements such as more home screens, dramatically faster operation, and mobile hotspot capability, .most of Gingerbread’s improvements are under the hood. The marquee feature, NFC, could yield some compelling new applications, but the one most popularly considered – enabling payments – is hardly a magnet.
The “S” serving as the device’s surname refers to the Samsung Galaxy S family that is the foundation for not only the Nexus S design, but defines many of the key hardware characteristics for the Samsung Focus, which many consider “the Windows Phone to get.” With the Galaxy S, Samsung has pursued a strategy of ubiquity versus exclusivity, and so the Nexus S will compete with similarly priced and specced siblings at all four major carriers, including the Vibrant (as well as the faster G2 and MyTouch 4G) on T-Mobile’s own portfolio. Even though the Nexus S is an unlocked device, its (partial) optimization for T-Mobile’s network all but assures that it will be most appealing to customers using the smallest of the national facilities-based carriers.
The Nexus S may be less “a Nexus to perplex us,” but Google’s vanity handsets still seem like a bug in its diversification strategy, one that must be generating considerable head-scratching among Android licensees, particularly those that are not anointed to build a Nexus in a given cycle.. Google is still staying clear of going head to head with OEMs at major carriers, but while it is providing more serious competition this time around, the carriers are better armed as well.
Tags: Android, Google, HTC, licensing, motorola, Nexus One, Nexus S, NFC, OEMs, Samsung
September 25, 2008
It says something about the promise of Tikitag that its champions were able to convince telecom equipment behemoth Alcatel-Lucent to spin out the initiative into a separate venture. Aiming to create an Internet of things that have little to no intrinsic intelligence (and clearly oblivious that many a commenter has beaten it to the punch), Tikitag’s first product is a kit that includes an RFID reader and a number of tag stickers that can be encoded with, say, a URL. Move the tagged object to the encoded reader and the PC takes some action such as displaying a Web site that provides more information about the object.
NFC in general obviously has huge potential, but I’m less sure about the launch product. Perhaps it will become one of those products that geeks buy for less technical friends and relatives, joining the ranks of MSNTV, Presto and Ceiva. At the Showstoppers tech media event last night, Tikitag PR representative Ann Revell-Pechar said that she had put a tag on a picture of her daughter so that when her mother held it against the reader, she could call her granddaughter via Skype.
It would surely be helpful if the reader didn’t need to be tethered to the PC, but over time I’m sure that most phones will include RFID reading capabilities. In any case, Tikitag insists it’s trying to launch a platform here, and welcomes others to expand on the technology.
Tags: Alcatel-Lucent, NFC, RFID, tikitag