- ReCellular’s headquarters toured by iFixit, recycling and redistribution gets a closer look
ReCellular’s hardly a new name in the recycling universe, but as more and more individuals toss their dumbphone for a smarter alternative, the Ann Arbor-based outfit is seeing a new wave of interest. iFixit, a company that thrives on tearing down gadgetry both new and old in order to inform people of their repair and upgrade options, recently had the opportunity to tour ReCellular’s monolithic warehouse, where some 10,000 used phones are processed every 24 hours. The tour also included a bit of back-and-forth with the founder, who isn’t against the seemingly endless churn of devices. In fact, he quips that “we have the right to get a phone that’s smaller and a prettier color if we want,” insinuating that ReCellular simply exists to provide a better home to older gizmos than in some landfill. Perhaps surprisingly, Chuck Newman even confesses that the whole “environmental message” isn’t very effective, which is why it distributes prepaid envelopes to encourage recycling that would probably not happen otherwise. Eager to read more? Give those links below a tap.
ReCellular’s headquarters toured by iFixit, recycling and redistribution gets a closer look originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 11 Mar 2012 17:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- ITG xpPhone 2 hands-on: Windows 7 on a smartphone
We got a little worried when ITG missed its January unveiling for the xpPhone 2, but yesterday, this Windows 7-powered smartphone finally made its debut public appearance in Guangzhou, and we happened to be there to scoop up a demo unit. Since we last came across the second-gen xpPhone, its ambitious Chinese manufacturer has dished out more detailed specs: the 17.5mm-thick device comes with a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 LCD made by Sharp, multitouch input, an Intel Atom Z5xx series processor up to 2GHz, up to 2GB of RAM, up to 112GB of SSD made by Silicon Storage Technology, microSD expansion and a multipurpose HDMI Micro socket (not HDMI Mini as we mistakenly said in our video after the break) that takes care of video, audio, data (USB 2.0) and power. Read on to find out what we think of this weird creature.
Gallery: ITG xpPhone 2 hands-on
- Refresh Roundup: week of March 5th, 2012
Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging for an update. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it’s easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don’t escape without notice, we’ve gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery we could find during the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!
- Neato Robotics’ XV-21 vacuum sucks up pet hair and allergens, looks like a new-age SNESSure, iRobot may have a strong presence in the
impending robot apocolypseworld of autonomous vacuum cleaners, but lest we forget about the others like Neato Robotics. The company’s introducing the retro-futuristic XV-21 Pet and Allergy Vacuum for those of us wanting rid our domains of sniffle-inducing dust particles. Although the XV-21 looks similar to last year’s XV-12, it features a new filter for improved airflow and suction, which Neato claims will catch three-times as many tiny bits around your domain as its normal kit. If that wasn’t enough, the cleaner is also loaded with newly developed bristled brush to aid in sweeping up the likes of pet hair while keeping its noise levels to a minimum. If you’re ready to leave the cleaning to the bots, this little guy is set to hit shelves in late April for $429 alongside a $60 Pet and Allergy kit packed with the filter (30 bucks on its own) and brush. Current Neato owners shouldn’t fret either, as the add-ons are compatible with all of the company’s vacuums, requiring only an upgrade to the latest firmware via USB. You’ll find the full details in the press release after the break.
Gallery: Neato Robotics XV-21 (press images)
Neato Robotics’ XV-21 vacuum sucks up pet hair and allergens, looks like a new-age SNES originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 11 Mar 2012 14:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Chinese official: We’re not issuing 4G licenses for another two to three years
China isn’t in a huge hurry get its own 4G network up and running, instead wanting to ensure the infrastructure is primed and enough compatible handsets are available before it launches. According to the head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Miao Wei, the country needs plenty more base stations — beyond the existing 220,000 TD-SCDMA bases and closer to 400,000 — before the government starts offering 4G licenses. China Mobile, the country’s largest mobile network, already plans to have over 20,000 TD-LTE base stations in operation by the end of this year, stepping up to 200,000 by the end of next year. This particular type of LTE hasn’t quite set the world on fire just yet — only two operators have launched TD-LTE services and a genuine handset for the network remains absent. Upgrading existing 3G stations is likely to take around three years, according to the official. At least it gives ZTE more time to get the MT73 readied for ICS — or perhaps Android 5.0.
[Photo credit: China.com.cn]
Chinese official: We’re not issuing 4G licenses for another two to three years originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 11 Mar 2012 12:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- PlayBook controlled robo-buggy can see you smiling at it (video)
If iRobot tickled your fancy, but you don’t have the budget for military-grade technology, how about this fella? So, it’s not officially called PlayRobot, but if there was a naming convention, we guess that would be it. The buggy has a mounted camera, which relays video back to a PlayBook over a WiFi connection set up via a BlackBerry 9900. The six-wheeler is controlled by an on-screen joystick, much like many tablet versions of arcade games. It’s an entrant into this weekend’s Robot Challenge in Vienna, so thanks to that video link, at the very least, if it doesn’t win they can’t say they didn’t see it coming.
PlayBook controlled robo-buggy can see you smiling at it (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 11 Mar 2012 10:38:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- T-Mobile to debut unlimited mobile-to-mobile plan next month?
Here’s a juicy little rumor that’s sure to excite the T-Mobile faithful. Retail training materials, acquired by TmoNews, indicate that the nation’s fourth largest wireless provider may launch an “Unlimited Any Mobile” add-on early next month. The feature can be tacked on to existing T-Mo plans (with some exceptions) for a paltry $10 a month. Once added, you’re free to call any US mobile without having to think about minutes, and there’s no contractual commitments to the package. Sprint patrons have enjoyed this luxury for quite some time, and AT&T users can get the same, with the adoption of an unlimited text messaging plan. If this does materialize, maybe it’ll help woo some of those customers back.
T-Mobile to debut unlimited mobile-to-mobile plan next month? originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:52:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- German government proposes to charge search engines for excerpting news sites
A German government committee is proposing changes that could force search engines operating in the country to pay for using news excerpts. The plans involve setting up a department to charge royalties from sites that aggregate news feeds, and covers them for 12-months from date of publish. This isn’t the first country to attempt to protect publishers’ material, with the Newspaper Licensing Agency in the UK also performing a similar role. Before you hide your news blog from German eyes, the ruling will only affect commercial outfits.
Germany’s publishing executives have been pushing for such a move since a case in Belgium that saw Google News forced to stop excerpting articles. Unsurprisingly there is strong support from the industry, with 149 execs from the country already having petitioned the government with a “Hamburg Declaration on Intellectual Property Rights” proposal in 2009, and both the German Federation of Newspaper Publishers and Association of German Magazine Publishers also campaigning for change. Now that the committee has laid down clear plans, it remains to be seen if or how they will be implemented, but with the nation’s track record for pulling no punches where technology is concerned, search engines might have to prepare for a rapid change in policy.
German government proposes to charge search engines for excerpting news sites originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 11 Mar 2012 06:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Tel Aviv University develops biodegradable transistor, literally man made
Blood sweat and tears go into many projects, and in this case almost literally — although technically it’s blood, milk and mucus. Yep, researchers at Tel Aviv University have created biodegradable transistors from proteins found in the aforementioned organic substances. When the proteins are mixed with base materials in the right combinations, it seems they self-assemble into a semi-conducting film. Why blood, milk and mucus? Apparently, the different proteins each have unique properties. Blood’s oxygen storing ability, for example, helps mix chemicals with semi-conductors to give them specific properties, while milk and mucus (the only time we want to see them together) have fiber forming, and light-creating properties respectively. The hope is that this can lead to flexible and biodegradable technology. The team at Tel Aviv says it’s already working on a biodegradable display, with other electronic devices to follow — which should help stem the flow of waste.
Tel Aviv University develops biodegradable transistor, literally man made originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 11 Mar 2012 04:52:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.