Plantronics just announced the Explorer 395, an entry-level headset that promises to be easy to use. Even though it doesn't have the noise-canceling performance of its more expensive brethren, the Explorer 395 still boasts good audio quality (with noise and echo reduction) and dedicated buttons for volume, power, and calls. It also features a QuickPair technology that lets you easily pair your headset with your phone. The headset also promises an ergonomic and comfortable fit. The Plantronics Explorer 395 is available for $49.95.
As you already know, there are lots of cheap, DIY ways to create a stand for your iPad. (Personally, I'm partial to the one made out of Tinkertoys, but you gotta like the stand built by David Carnoy's 10-year-old nephew, too.)
But what about a case? Surely the MacGyver wanna-bes out there have figured out how to turn ordinary household objects into cool, practical, rugged, inexpensive iPad carriers?
Yes, yes they have. A guy over at Carrypad just posted illustrated, step-by-step instructions on how to turn a hollowed-out hardcover book into an iPad case. He calls it the &… Read more
The first time I saw the Novophone, I laughed. Then I mocked. Then I got a little thirsty. Finally, after thinking about it for a while, I started to develop some genuine interest in the thing. Desire, even. Is it crazy, or am I?
As you can tell from the photo, the Novophone is a handset--a full-size, old-fashioned, haven't-seen-one-since-the-'80s corded handset.
Just plug it into your cell phone, then enjoy a trip down Nostalgia Lane as you cradle it comfortably on your shoulder, stretch and twirl the coiled cord, roll around on the couch, and tell your BFF … Read more
Take note all you DIYers and parents with creative kids. If you don't want to shell out $40 for a high-tech iPad stand, you can make your own--or have your kid make one.
With the help of his father, my 10-year-old nephew Brett went to Home Depot, got a piece of wood, a hinge, and a couple of knobs, and presto, instant iPad stand. I'm not sure Brett's going to win any design awards, but the thing does look pretty sturdy and only cost $12.40 plus tax. That may not be as cheap as Case-mate's … Read more
It's been a busy week, thanks to Apple and Microsoft. First, we raced down to Cupertino, Calif., to watch Apple CEO Steve Jobs preview iPhone OS 4, and then we zipped back up to San Francisco to catch Microsoft as it took the wraps off Project Pink and unveiled the Kin One and Kin Two. Of course, after all that, we had more questions than answers, so we try to tackle some of those issues in this week's episode of Dialed In. Plus, we take a look at the latest rumors and reviews and give Kent a warm … Read more
Making a device that's somewhere between a laptop and an iPhone comes with challenges beyond app design. As I've been wondering since I've owned an iPad, what exactly makes a good iPad case?
I know one thing: it's not the same thing that makes a good iPhone case.
First of all, I'm terrified to drop my iPad. I've heard the stories, and I'm not about to test mine the same way. I don't trust myself to even hold it in bed--I'm afraid it'll slip out of my hands and shatter somewhere while I'm sleeping.
An iPhone gets held to your ear. A hard shell seems best, one that prevents scratches. The iPhone can tolerate a drop or two (or five), at least from my experience. I'm not worried about that. I just want a hard shell for it.
As for the iPad, I'm never likely to use it in motion, and at a subway station or bus stop I'd prefer it to be protected even when reading. The screen on an iPad is tremendous. Though the glass is scratch-resistant, I prefer a cover if at all possible
Many case makers, however, are treating the iPad like a giant iPhone in terms of their case design. I've seen some sleeve/hard-shell concepts that seem a little ridiculous.
Others are treating it like a laptop, offering soft-skinned neoprene sleeves and slipcases. Booq has an iPad sleeve for $29 that is a nice little slipcover, reinforced on the back. Its top is exposed, but the iPad's glass screen nestles against the hard back, fully covered. It's best for sliding the iPad in a backpack or bag.
But, though it's easy to remove the iPad at a moment's notice, the iPad is then exposed when in use. I'm back where I started without a case.… Read more
To all you iPad owners out there (or potential owners), I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the iPad is a fun, elegant, do-everything gadget that's easy to love. The bad news: you're going to baby this thing like nothing before.
Whether its a protective case, a Bluetooth keyboard, or an in-car charger for that summer road trip, there are dozens of accessories for the iPad that warrant consideration. Fortunately, we've thought of everything, and created a handy slideshow that runs through every conceivable iPad accessory on the market--from the … Read more
Before the launch of the iPad, Apple removed all the plastic and film screen protectors from its online and brick and mortar stores, even though they are among the most popular accessories for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Apple didn't seem to give any particular reason for this move, but as iLounge noted in an article, "One vendor speculated that the ban is an Apple marketing attempt to suggest screen durability, despite scratches that have damaged both plastic and glass displays of its products for years." Others have mentioned that because it's hard to adhere the … Read more
Apple wants how much for the portrait-orientation-only iPad Dock? $29? Sorry, but I'm tapped out after spending $500 on the iPad itself. What do you have in the $5-$10 range?
Nothing, of course. (Does Apple sell anything in the $5-$10 range?) Fortunately, if all you want to do is prop up your iPad for movie viewing, recipe reading, photo slideshow-ing, or whatever, you can buy or build a perfectly good stand for cheap. These five candidates cost anywhere from nothing to around $7. Take a look:
1. Think the kids will miss a handful of Tinkertoys? If … Read more
Largely overlooked amid the overwhelming iPad hype is its biggest potential achievement. Apple's touch-screen quasi-PC may have finally struck a fatal blow to the long-standing king of input devices, the computer mouse.
Make no mistake about it, the era of the familiar PC mouse is coming to an end. It may not be a 2012-style apocalypse (and the mouse will surely hang on in some form for many years to come), but the door is slowly shutting on the universal acceptance of this single iconic piece of hardware that we have equated with personal computing for decades (for argument's sake, let's agree to date its lifespan from the 1972 invention of the ball mouse, and its use as a consumer device from the 1981 Xerox Star). Replacing it is an array of touch input devices and icon-focused operating systems that are built (not always for the better) around expediency over flexibility.
Long before the iPad, touch-screen tablet PCs had been around for years, occasionally enjoying a brief surge in consumer interest, and then fading away again, as users discovered that touch navigation was not really ready for prime time. Apple's iPhone, and later the iPod Touch, changed all that, bringing actual one-to-one touch to the masses for the first time.
But on the PC side, this only made the sluggish, temperamental touch screens found on most tablets even more glaringly obvious; we frequently described these devices as having a rubber-band effect. You'd drag a finger across the screen to move an icon, and it would follow behind by half a beat, as if on the end of a rubber band. The takeway was that touch was workable on tiny handhelds, but not well-suited to larger laptop screens.
The iPad's disruptive success in building a larger touch environment that has received almost universal praise puts the lie to that theory. It may not be as productivity friendly as your ThinkPad, but add a Bluetooth keyboard and Apple's iWork apps, and you've got a reasonable approximation of a laptop experience in many cases.
But even before the iPad, PCs that traded the mouse for a fingertip have been making significant strides. HP has led the way with its TouchSmart line of all-in-one desktops and convertible tablet laptops. Again, the experience wasn't entirely seamless, but each successive generation of these systems has seen further refinement of their specialized touch interfaces, which sit on top of Windows, hiding the mouse-driven desktop from view. Asus also did an decent job with the custom interface on the Eee PC T91, a touch-screen version of the popular Eee PC Netbook (despite that system's other flaws).… Read more