Gadgets

 An Emotional Keyboard, a Puzzling Phone, and Exquisite Headphones

Welcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that ventures forth into the land of new gadget announcements to seek out the best and brightest gizmos. On the horizon this week are a modular smartphone, a highly modern keyboard, and an update to a classic set of headphones. As always, these are not reviews, and the ratings reflect only how ... Read More »

Why Tablets Are Tanking

Then the iPad launched, and a whole bunch of new folks claimed that tablets were the future and laptops were dead. Now Apple is reporting a year-over-year decline at 20 percent — which, if it remained constant (it won’t), would mean the iPad would be dead in five years. What happened? I’ll explain and then close with my product of ... Read More »

Xbox Gamers Get to Replay 104 Older Titles on Xbox One

These games will be playable on the Xbox One beginning on Nov. 12, and Microsoft will announce additional titles on a regular basis beginning next month. Future backward-compatible titles will include fan favorites such as Bioshock, Bioshock 2, Bioshock Infinite, Halo Wars and Call of Duty: Black Ops. In addition to titles from Microsoft, the first wave includes games from ... Read More »

BlackBerry’s Priv Puzzles the Tech World

BlackBerry on Friday released its Priv smartphone, its first Android-based device. The Android 5.1.1 Lollipop slider is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and an Adreno 418 GPU. It’s stocked with 3 GB of low-power RAM and 32 GB of storage. There’s an 18-MP shooter on its back side and a 2-MP chat cam on its face. BlackBerry ... Read More »

Google Makes Maps Useful in the Boonies

Users can download a regional map — say, a city, county or country — either by tapping “download” on a search result or by going to “Offline Areas” in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button. The downloaded map will function in offline mode automatically when the user enters an area with poor or no connectivity, and ... Read More »

Valve’s Steam Gaming Hardware Hits Home

Valve this week rolled out the hardware phase of its road map from bedrooms and basements to living rooms and lounge areas with its long-awaited video game controller, PC link box and Steam boxes. Valve’s road map to the living room began with Big Picture mode in 2011, continued with in-home streaming in 2014, and now includes the new Steam ... Read More »

Ford to Test Autonomous Vehicles at Mcity

Ford on Friday announced that it will be the first automaker to test its autonomous vehicles at Mcity, a full-scale simulated urban environment that was developed as part of the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center. The site will allow Ford to test its autonomous vehicle fleet close to its Dearborn, Michigan, headquarters, taking advantage of the diverse roads and ... Read More »

Apple Faces Twitter Storm Over Mac App Security Glitch

The expiration appeared to impact a number of apps, including Acorn, Byword, Daisy Disk, Tweetbot and 1Password. It’s likely that the incident occurred due to problems with the security certificate management system. “The big firms, providers of applications and services, want to maintain control of the services and software they are selling,” noted Ian Trump, security lead at Logic Now. ... Read More »

Comfy Earbuds, Barking Bots, and USB Killers

Welcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that somehow stopped reading Internet rumors about the new Star Wars movie long enough to pore over the latest gadget announcements. In our rebel base this week are moldable earbuds, a robot dog, a permanent USB security lock, and a battery to turn a regular smoke alarm into a smart one. These ... Read More »

Microsoft Gives Gamers a New Xbox One Experience

Support for legacy Xbox games is the headliner for the NXOE, but the roughly 1.15-GB update also includes new social elements baked into a reworked interface. The refreshed Xbox One interface is faster and more social, the company said. Microsoft could have coordinated the recent launch of a more robust version of the Xbox One, including a new eSports controller ... Read More »