The new school year is around the corner, so it's time to start thinking about some of those back-to-school gadgets that may be useful to students.
Here are a few standout recommendations from Andrea Smith, executive producer of the website livingindigitaltimes.com.
Quirky's Power Pop is a colorful outlet that bends to fit any size plug or adapter. "That item now comes in five colors and has a 4-foot extension cord with a flat, 45-degree plug to put power in hard to reach places," Smith said.
At $20, the Power Pop costs a bit more than any standard power cord that can be purchased on Amazon for $11, but it has a more attractive look and bends around furniture so that it doesn't get in the way.
Apple has acquired book recommendation service BookLamp, and it's expected to close a deal to buy podcast app Swell, possible signs that Apple's smartphone and tablet sales are expected to level off.
Quarterly tablet sales have already fallen, according to NPD Research, forcing Apple to explore revenue streams from products other than hardware, according to Jon Swartz, USA Today's San Francisco bureau chief.
As more business operations shift to the cloud, physical office needs are shrinking. Here's how technology can offer greater mobility for business on the go.
Smartphone maker ZTE recently launched a new projector with Sprint that is less than 5 inches square and 1.1 inches thick, complete with a 4-inch Android touchscreen system and speakers. One charge gives the unit up to 10 hours of battery life, and the device can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot and a power pack. Sprint also offers an LTE data plan for the projector.
Winning a "Best of CES 2014" from PCMag, the LivePro is a fair match for larger projectors, with the ability to project quality images of 1,080 pixels up to 10 feet long on the diagonal, ZTE said. But its 100-lumen lamp, while trumping the 80 to 90 range of most pocket projectors, is far weaker than the 3,000 lumens of bigger devices.
For comfortable typing, CTX Virtual Technologies has made a pocket-sized laser keyboard fob that projects a pink or green QWERTY layout onto any flat surface. The keyboard links to computers and smartphones via Bluetooth or a USB cable. The company said it is planning to embed the keyboard into smartphones and tablets to eliminate the key fob.
Sony's PlayStation 4 has outsold the Xbox One, but Microsoft is making moves to gain ground and could still be a strong competitor in the game console market.
Even as Xbox One sales doubled in June, they still fell short of Sony's PlayStation 4 sales, according to NPD, but Microsoft has been taking strides to improve sales of its consoles and still has a chance to compete more fiercely with Sony, said said Jeremy Rosenberg, head of digital at Allison+Partners.
"I think the Xbox One was a little bit slow out of the gate. They had a lot of challenges coming into the marketplace," Rosenberg said.
But in May, Microsoft dropped the price to $399 by making its Kinect motion sensor an optional $100 add-on.
The future of mobile photography is underway and there are numerous ways to be able to capture and share your favorite memories.
Here are two standouts recommended by Andrea Smith, executive producer of Living in Digital Times.
Apple has partnered with IBM's enterprise arm to develop business apps for iOS devices, a move that could bring much-needed enterprise features to gadgets that are increasingly being used in the workplace.
Yahoo is scheduled to report its second-quarter fiscal earnings after the bell on Tuesday, but investors will likely be more interested in what the company has to say about the Alibaba IPO during its earnings call.
"Very little that Yahoo reports will matter. What will matter for the stock is if there is any commentary on the call about the tax plans for the proceeds from the Alibaba IPO," said Brian Wieser, a senior research analyst at Pivotal Research. "I'll be looking to see how they will prevent paying 35 percent in taxes. And then the next question is what are they going to do with the cash that is left after taxes."
In 2012, Yahoo got hit with a pretty hefty tax bill when it sold half of its 40 percent stake in Alibaba back to the company for $7.6 billion. The company ended up paying more than $2 billion in taxes in the deal.
The company is required to sell about 40 percent of its remaining Alibaba stake—or 208 million shares—when the Chinese business goes public later this year. That could leave Yahoo with a windfall of $10 billion or more, but it could also give Yahoo another major tax headache, Wieser said.
There's finally a way in to the trendy restaurant that's been booked for months, but it'll cost you.
Reservation Hop is an app that makes restaurant reservations under false names and then sells them for $10 to $12. It's also at the center of a huge debate, and one writer at Wired magazine has called the app "irresponsible and sleazy."
Reservation Hop is igniting outrage because the company is trying to make money off of something that's free: making a dinner reservation. If people don't show up for their Reservation Hop, then restaurants lose out on the money that they could make if they gave the table to another customer.
"The biggest challenge in the restaurant industry are no-shows because you hold the table and expect them to turn every 90 minutes," said Gwyneth Borden, executive director of Golden Gate Restaurant Association, a bay area group that represents restaurant owners.
"When you hold the table off for a reservation that doesn't show up, it's a huge economic impact," she said.
Apps that charge for items that are open domain, or don't actually belong to anyone, are being called illegal, immoral and sleazy.
"I think these apps are really taking advantage of the market place. They're giving incentives and advantages to the rich people," said Jill Duffy, analyst at PC Mag.com.
It may be worth turning away from old-fashion training wheels as learning to ride a bicycle comes with high-tech assistance these days.
The Jyrobike is aimed at preventing tumbles. The 12- or 16-inch auto-balance bike for kids ages 3 to 8, has a battery-powered control hub built into the front wheel to generate stabilization, said Robert Bodill, CEO and co-founder of Jyrobike. When the control hub is turned on, it acts like a gyroscope and provides a stabilizing force, he said.
If consumers don't want to purchase the Jyrobike, which is priced at $249 or $299 depending on the size, the control hub can be purchased separately for $129 for any 12-inch or for $149 for any 16-inch bicycle.
"The control hub wheel includes adjustable balance settings, a Micro USB and a volume button for the Mega Sound feature, a 105dB speaker that has a choice of three awesome sound effects," Bodill said.
Today marks six years since Apple opened its App Store. Since then, total global app sales have grown to $30 billion and show no signs of stopping. Analysts expect total sales to reach the $100 billion range by 2020.
Research measurement firm, Nielsen reports U.S. Android and iPhone users spent 65 percent more time with apps at the end of 2013 compared with 2011.