When I was a kid, every Saturday my parents would to have cookouts and invite the rest of the family (and some friends) over. Almost everyone showed up week after week – my aunts and uncles, cousins, people my parents had been friends with for years, and many of the kids I was friends with from the neighborhood. Everyone knew that during the summer, my house was the place to be on the weekends.
Perhaps you noticed that I was a little light on post activity last week – that's because I was on a road trip to visit my family in Virginia. Just before I left, Arkon contacted me about a new product in their car mount lineup: the IntelliGrip NFC Car Mount ($35). Considering the timing, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to give it a shot.
Basically, the NFC Mount is nothing more than Arkon's Slim-Grip Holder, but it has an embedded, re-writable NFC chip inside.
The amount of Bluetooth speakers on the market could easily boggle one's mind, with more manufacturers getting in the game every day. And while there are many worthy competitors in this somewhat-crowded market, one of our favorites in the "small and portable" category is easily the Braven 600 – a small speaker with a lot to offer.
Today, we're taking a look at the 600's big brothers, and Braven's competitors with Jawbone's Big Jambox: the 850 and 855s ($300 each).
I love the JBL Flip. The JBL Charge is the follow-up, of sorts, to that speaker, and addresses a few of the shortcomings its predecessor had. No more proprietary charging. Much longer battery life. A USB port for charging your various gadgets. It's also louder, and feels just as robust as the already-solid Flip.
The Flip's real selling point, though, is value. I simply don't believe there's a small, portable Bluetooth speaker on the market that makes a better value proposition than the Flip.
When it comes to audio on-the-go, the consumer market has come full circle over the last several decades: back in the 80s it wasn't uncommon to see kids running around with massive headphones attached to their skulls, rocking out to whatever crap their parents hated the most. Fast-forward twenty years, and it was all about earbuds – stuffing tiny speakers into your ear canals was the only [socially acceptable] way to listen to music.
When I first experienced the NVIDIA Shield's ability to stream games from a PC to the handheld unit wirelessly at CES back in January, I was floored. While it is remarkably similar to the Splashtop game streaming functionality NVIDIA demoed at CES 2012 (which never really came to fruition), Shield streaming feels like an even bigger step forward. This is basically NVIDIA's "look at what we can do" technology - it's what happens when they can have a high degree of control over the gaming experience.
Back in January, we told you about MODO, an incredibly versatile desktop organization system. At the time, it was just a Kickstarter project hoping to find its way into the world of retail; thankfully, enough "Kickstarters" saw the value in it and helped more than double its original $17,000 goal. It's been about four months since project was funded, and MODO is just about ready for prime time. Artem and I have been playing with a couple of production units for the last several weeks, and almost immediately it's difficult to deny the incredibly amount of utility packed into such a simple package.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And when it comes to copying, I have no doubt that the Parrot Ziks will be imitated, reimagined, and otherwise "inspire" a new generation of Bluetooth headphones in the coming years. Yes, they're that different. The Ziks are also, to be blunt, an experimental product. They don't sit on your head very well, and they don't sound fantastic. Even their game-changing features, like the touchpad controls on the right ear housing, aren't quite fully baked yet.
We've covered some of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market over the last few months – everything from small and affordable to large and pricey. But I can promise you that we've never covered anything like the Ultimate Ears (UE) BOOM ($199). It's simply the best Bluetooth speaker I've ever heard, price be damned.
For those who may not be familiar with the BOOM, here's the skinny: it's a cylindrical, 360 degree, plasma coated, waterproof, stain resistant, NFC-enabled speaker.
After a two week stint with the BlackBerry Z10 last month, I happened upon another chance to go across the platform border, this time into the Windows world - with the Nokia Lumia 928.
Microsoft and mobile have had a tumultuous, off-again on-again relationship. However, there is little doubt that MS's smartphone success peaked with Windows Mobile 6, and then very, very rapidly fell off as iOS and Android rolled onto the scene.