SAN FRANCISCO--It's about time people got excited over here.
It's not that the smattering of fresh new companies presenting at the annual TechCrunch50 start-up launch conference was boring, per se. Most of them, in fact, had an extremely practical slant to them, like the array of job- and car-hunting sites that take something Craigslist does and make it way less sketchy. And therein lies the problem: Sometimes, those sorts of productivity and next-gen enterprise start-ups simply aren't that cool and shiny when you stick them into a PowerPoint demo.
But it was on the morning of the … Read more
TomTom unveiled the successor to its GO 740 Live connected PND, and it's called the GO 750 Live. Like any good sequel, this one adds more characters to the mix in the form of two additional Live models, the GO 950 Live and the GO 550 Live.
All three Live models will feature a wireless data connection for receiving traffic data, fuel prices, and performing Google Local Searches. Additionally, the three models will also all feature TomTom's IQ Routes technology and the free MapShare service for user-generated map updates. An Eco Route option has been added to the … Read more
Limagito Lite occupies an odd position in the world of automated move/copy/delete utilities. Its many features and customization opportunities, including the ability to execute external commands, make it ideal for power users with complex file management needs. But this Lite version is limited in many ways--it supports only a single rule, for example, and does not support encryption or external scripts--making it an unlikely option for such users.
Still, as a complex advertisement for its single ($59.95) and corporate licenses (starting at $300), Limagito Lite does tantalize with visions of automating complex file-naming and management tasks across … Read more
EarthTime is a basic program that allows users to view the time in multiple locations around the world. It's nothing fancy, but it does allow users to track multiple cities and view their location on a world map.
The program's interface is simple, with a map of the world that shows daylight and darkness. The time in various locations is shown above the map, and users can put them in whatever order they prefer. A red pointer moves across the clocks, pointing to the appropriate location on the map for each one. We found it especially helpful to … Read more
The Via line of HDTVs from Vizio, due this January, promises the most comprehensive suite of interactive features yet seen on any HDTV, including a Bluetooth remote control with a keyboard. The two largest models will also pack LED backlighting with local dimming, the holy grail of LCD picture quality. These highly desirable features, combined with Vizio's customarily aggressive pricing, propel the flagship Vizio TVs past their counterparts from major brands like Samsung, Panasonic, and Sony--at least on paper.
Designed foremost to compete against current Internet-enabled HDTVs, the three "Via" (Vizio Interactive Apps) models are available in 42-inch, 47-inch, and 55-inch varieties. Here's a quick rundown:
Key features of the Vizio Via 2XVT series:LED backlight with local dimming (47- and 55-inch models only) 240Hz processing Bluetooth remote with full QWERTY keyboard Integrated 802.11(n) Wi-Fi Support for Adobe Flash for the Digital Home Yahoo widgets engine 42-inch SV422XVT: $1,199 MSRP | 47-inch SV472XVT: $1,699 | 55-inch XV552XVT: $2,199 Available in January
As CNET noted earlier, the Bluetooth keyboard remote and built-in Wi-fi will be firsts among interactive TVs, which typically require cumbersome virtual keyboards for text entry and expensive extra dongles or third-party solutions for wireless connectivity. Since few people have an Ethernet cable next to their televisions, Wi-fi makes setup much more convenient, while the keyboard on the remote should make accessing and using the TV's "Apps" as easy as sending an e-mail on a BlackBerry.
Vizio promises to have more such applications on the Via platform than any other current maker, and the list is impressive indeed.… Read more
At the high end of the LCD TV cost spectrum sit models equipped with LED backlighting. Whether edge-lit or local dimming, these sets command a price premium and deliver somewhat better energy efficiency and markedly better black level performance than standard LCD TVs.
But with black levels on par with plasma comes a price in the form of blooming, subpar off-angle performance and, in the case of the Toshiba flagship SV670U series, an overactive backlight. On the flip side, it still delivers those inky blacks, along with accurate color and solid video processing.
The Toshiba SV670U can get you into … Read more
We've reviewed a few edge-lit LED-backlit LCDs from Samsung this year, but what home theater fans have really been waiting for is an update to last year's Samsung LN46A950, which uses local-dimming LED technology. The wait is over: Samsung announced on Thursday its flagship line of LED-backlit LCDs, the UNB8500 series, which uses local-dimming like last year's 950 series. Considering that we wrote last year's 950 series was "the peak of flat-panel LCD TV performance and picture quality," these will be highly anticipated TVs--but you'll pay a pretty penny for their state of the art, with prices starting at $3,600 for the 46-inch model. Let's check out the specs.… Read more
Google is giving local merchants the ability to access data about how Web surfers arrive at a local listing in Google Maps, in hopes of figuring out why so many people in a particular neighborhood are searching for pizza.
Google lets small businesses create a small Web listing that appears next to queries such as "pizza San Francisco," which pop up in Google Maps with a link to a business' Web site and address information through a service called Local Business Center. Inside the center, they've been able to do things like verify their address and phone … Read more
New reviews site NextStop made its public debut on Monday after a successful private beta. The site lets anyone write a quick 160-character take on local attractions from around the world. In comparison with other mainstream reviews services like CitySearch and Yelp, this size limitation forces users to keep their rants and raves short and to the point.
In fact, the site is encouraging users to only leave positive reviews, meaning you're not going to run into long, and often entertaining, rants about bad service or a botched entree. There's not even a star-based rating system to be … Read more