Personal technology

Chris Nuttall

Things are looking up for Nokia in the US, a territory where it was unloved and unrepresented by operators not so long ago.

Now it has not one but two carriers touting its latest Windows smartphones, with Verizon launching the Lumia 928 this week and T-Mobile having its own exclusive with the 925, unveiled in London on Tuesday and available at a date to be announced in the US. Both represent advances on its signature Lumia 920 launched last year. Read more

Robert Cookson

What does Bitcoin have in common with 3D printing, besides both being technologies loved by geeks? On the face of it, not much: one is a digital currency and the other allows you to reproduce almost any small, solid object in the world.

But as lawmakers are starting to realise, there is a key similarity: both Bitcoin and 3D printing have the potential to reduce the power of the state and put it into the hands of individuals. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The Fitbit is no longer fiddly.

Its San Francisco-based maker has removed my chief problem with this useful health tracker – launching a Fitbit Flex version today that straps to my wrist rather than the USB-stick shaped predecessor that was always getting lost in one of my pockets. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The hearts of two health-tracking leaders are to beat as one, with Jawbone announcing this morning it has acquired BodyMedia, in a deal reportedly worth $110m.

Taking the best elements from both’s products would represent a combination only seen thus far in the sleep-monitored dreams of fitness fanatics. Jawbone’s Up bracelet and its app’s interface are beautifully designed but relatively light on meaningful information, while BodyMedia’s armband is ugly, but packing data-rich sensors. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Dysonics, makers of an immersive audio app that puts a virtual room inside your head in which to hear music better, has come up with an attachment for headphones that makes the experience of spacing and placing sounds even more realistic.

Rondo Motion is a thin, square device, about the size of a watch face, that can be easily strapped to the band on a headphone to give it motion-sensing capabilities. This means if you turn your head, the music doesn’t move with you, it stays in the same place in the “room”. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Leap Motion has announced a two-month delay to shipments of its long-anticipated gesture-based controller as it spends more time working on the software.

The San Francisco-based start-up said shipments for customers who had pre-ordered the device would now begin on July 22, rather than the May 13 date it announced in February. Prior to that, it had spoken of an “early 2013” ship date. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The Nest thermostat, designed by iPod creator Tony Fadell, is a fun way to turn your air conditioning system on and off, but it could soon be saving users serious money with its latest deals.

The Silicon Valley company says it is now working with leading US energy providers to reduce energy usage and consumers’ bills through its auto-adjustment of their home’s heating and cooling needs. Read more

Chris Nuttall

At a time when laptop makers are looking for ways to cut the price of ultrabooks to appeal to mass-market consumers, Toshiba has announced a new luxury line where no expense is being spared.

The Japanese company’s Kira brand makes its debut with the 13.3-in KIRAbook, available next month in versions costing from $1,600 to $2,000 in the US. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Logitech announced plans in January to sell its Harmony universal remote-control products division, as part of a strategic review that will see it focus more on PC, tablet and smartphone-related products.

But the Swiss company, which reported a disappointing $180m loss in its last quarter as PC-related sales slumped, is still coming out with new products, with two Harmony universal remotes announced today for the US and Europe. Read more

“Die, my dear doctor? That is the last thing I shall do.” — the last words of former British prime minister Lord Palmerston.

Of course, he never had to worry about leaving behind a Facebook profile, an email account, or other abandoned online haunts.

The question of what happens to our online real estate after we die is a sensitive subject, as people grow concerned that what gets left behind could be used illegally or, even worse, become a source of post-mortem embarrassment.

In an effort to address these issues, Google has rolled out “Inactive Account Manager”, which can be set up to delete an account, send messages, and even share data in the event of an untimely demise.

 Read more