Holocube Projects 3D Video

 

We’re not really sure what practical uses can be gleaned from this desktop hologram projector, unless you count impressing guests and feeling like you warped into the next century. Indeed, there’s no denying the Holocube’s “wow” factor. A built-in 40 GB hard drive can store up to 18 hours of compressed video at 4 MB/sec. The projector comes in 10-inch, 15-inch and 17-inch models, and can produce HD holograms in 1080i. An optional floor stand makes for easy transportation, because hey, when you’ve got a hologram machine, you might as well show it around. More info at the product’s Web site. [TechEBlog]

Watch Your Ass, Angelina: the Robots are Acting

wakamaru robot momoko osaka japan acting Watch Your Ass, Angelina: the Robots are Acting

The Wakamaru is a robot originally intended for housework– which in Japan means providing weather reports and greeting guests.  We consider housework to be more mundane tasks like doing the dishes, vacuuming, fixing the garage door… but Wakamaru has his fancy little hands set on something else: acting.  For the first time in our knowledge, a robot has an active part in theater.  At the Osaka University in Japan, Wakamaru is officially an out-of-the-cooking-closet thespian.  We knew there was something funny about Wakamaru when we caught it lip syncing to Madonna records.  In the play Hataraku Watashi, this $15k Can of Fabulous has become the world’s first acting robot.  Take that, Johnny 5… [cnet]

The Sony PRS-700 Reader with Touchscreen

While its not quite yet a Kindle-killer, Sony’s new reader is a step closer to giving Amazon’s reader a run for its money.  The Sony PRS-700 is a touchscreen reader that allows page turning with the quick flip of a stylus.  The PRS-700 also includes a pull-up keyboard on the screen, ideal for taking notes and searching through text.  Beyond that, the 700 model is pretty close to Sony’s last version, the 550.  The PRS-700 provides storage for up to 350 ebooks via SD, and enough battery life for about 7500 turns of the page. The Sony PRS-700 will be available for sale in early November.  [$400 at sony]

iPhone Icon Coasters: Mac Up Your Coffee Table

Where the PC-minded have their CTRL-ALT-DEL cups, Mac addicts can pimp their coffee tables with these sweet iPhone Icon Coasters.  Designed to look just like your iPhone’s icons, this set of 16 coasters turns your coffee table into a large scale iPhone look-alike.  16 coasters might be a bit excessive (unless you’ve got a kicking dinner party), and they might look a little weird outside of the pattern shown above.  Nonetheless, this is a cool little gimmick from the good people at Meninos Design…  Check ‘em out! [meninos via gizmodo]

Lifestyles of the Digger Famous: 3 Top Diggers on Social Fame

Whether you are new to Digg, a seasoned pro or Kevin Rose himself (Hi Kevin!), these three men have a powerful influence on what you read. MsaleemMrBabyMan and Zaibatsu have established themselves as a “Digg Trinity”, three unlikely friends whose names are synonymous with social media, their submissions appearing on the front page of digg on a daily basis, driving millions of readers to sites they discover.

GearCrave joined the trio to discuss Digg, social media and their latest project, the Drill Down Podcast

GearCrave: What is your name, digg username, location and job title?

Msaleem: My name is Muhammad Saleem and I go by the user name msaleem on almost all social media sites (except for StumbleUpon where my user name is msaleem-stumbl. I live in Chicago and I work as a strategy and product/business development consultant to startups.

MrBabyMan: My name is Andrew Sorcini, I go by MrBabyMan on Digg (and other social networks), and I’m a film editor.

Zaibatsu: I’m Reg Saddler, I go by Zaibatsu on Digg, mixx, and everywhere else. I’m a retired tech consultant.

GC: How did the three of you originally come together? When was the idea for the Drill Down Podcast created?

MBM: We’re all submitters on Digg. It’s a natural occurrence amongst Digg submitters (and I really can’t explain why) that as they become more and more successful, they begin to connect with each other outside of Digg. For the most part, all the top submitters know each other and chat with each other fairly regularly. This is how Mu, Reg and I first connected.

Mu and I would occasionally chat about the tech stories we saw on Digg, and our conversations were so free and insightful, I began to wonder if anyone else would be interested in eavesdropping in on them. Mu suggested we make it a threesome with Reg, and we started to record our chats.

GC: What is The Drill Down Podcast? What does it mean for the world of social media?

MS: The Drill Down podcast covers technology-related and web-related news and often reviews new social web apps. As for social media, the podcast is a place for people to come together and discuss all the latest social media happenings. We don’t ‘run’ the show, in fact we take recommendations from the audience and often invite them to co-host the show with us.

GC: What doors has Digg opened for you and your respective careers?

MS: I don’t think it’s Digg specifically that has opened doors for any of us, but via Digg, it’s our respective understanding of some of the most important properties in the social web sphere that has opened doors for us. In fact it is this same understanding that allows us to utilize Digg to its maximum potential.

MBM: My entertainment industry career is independent from my involvement on Digg, and outside of the realm of social networking, my co-workers, friends and family are unimpressed, uninterested or just don’t get it. That’s fine by me.

Z: Digg has definitely introduced me to a lot of wonderful people in social media I otherwise wouldn’t have met. Since being on Digg, I’ve developed great relationships with them.

GC: What do you believe is the key to your success on Digg?

MS: There is no big secret to success on Digg. Submit good quality content and participate actively on the site and anyone can be just as successful on the site. The new crop of power-Diggers prove just that.

MBM: I think my success is due for the most part to the Digg community finding an affinity with many (roughly about 27%) of the stories I submit. And for that, I’m grateful to be able to choose and submit content they connect with.

Z: I think people really like me and my posts. Also I have a, shall we say, distinctive title/description style that I think people dig (pun intended)

GC: For each of you, what are a few of your all-time favorite personal submissions to Digg?

MS: My favorite submission so far was the announcement of Al-Gore being awarded the Nobel Prize.

MBM: That’s tough to say, but I’d have to say my favorites are the ones that really moved people, engaged them in heated debate, or inspired them to consider a viewpoint they hadn’t previously.

ZSo neighbors steal your wi-fi net access, kill the connection or have fun or anything with treefrogs.

GC: If you could change any one thing about Digg, what would it be?

MS: I would make it much more transparent.

MBM: I would call for more transparency in the

GearCrave Girl of the Week: Luisana Lopilato

America has its Britney– a tired, saggy mother of two who buries her post-success pain in Starbucks and Cheetos.  Our friends down in Argentina, however, have their own Britney.  This one hasn’t fallen on hard times, her career has grown from early teen pop fame into a blossoming career in entertainment.  Actress, model and singer Luisana Lopilato could teach Britney a thing or two about keeping her head on straight… although she’d have to do so with a translator.  If you haven’t heard of this one, be sure to continue after the break…  Her photos speak for themselves.

Skyla Memoir Scanning Digital Photo Frame

Most Digital photo frames are to nice to have, but this one is quite a bit more useful. The Skyla Memoir Scanning Digital Photo Frame converts your photos using a 600 dpi scanner (as long as they are 4×6 or smaller) into digital files and displays them on the screen instantly. It contains 1 gig of internal memory which equals to about 200 4×6-inch photos or 400 3×5-inch photos. The Memoir can also play back MP3, Motion JPEG, MPEG1, and MPEG4 files. With additional features such as a clock, calendar and alarm clock, the frame can also play picture slideshows. If you have someone on your holiday shopping list who needs a gift which is practical and useful, then this is a good fit for your short list. [via gearlog]

The Top 10 Alternatives to the Apple iPhone

Nearly two years ago, the mobile phone market changed forever.  The iPhone became the King of communication while every other phone played second fiddle.  Today, mobile developers have caught up– and in some cases surpassed the Apple icon.  Here are the top 10 iPhone alternatives, the best non-Apple phones on the market today.

Number Ten: the HTC Touch Pro

Featuring a sturdy build factor, the HTC Touch Pro offers expandable memory up to 32GB via the devices MicroSDHC card slot. The Touch Pro also comes equipped with a sliding qwerty keyboard, built-in GPS capabilities and Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP (Stereo Bluetooth).  This Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro device also offers “HTC TouchFLO technology” which allows for single handed navigation like the iPhone. The Touch Pro also offers 3G high speed data internationally along with WiFi capabiliites.  The best part?  The Touch Pro is also unlocked out of the box, meaning you don’t have to hack the device to use it on networks outside of AT&T.

Number Nine: the Nokia E71

The front side of the Nokia E71 features a full size qwerty keypad which can’t be beat by a touchscreen when it comes to texting.  Nokia has raised the keys on the E71 to give easier access to typing.  The device also features the very capable Symbian OS 9.2, which allows for access to Microsoft Exchange servers, meaning your email is only a few clicks away.  The E71, just like the Touch Pro, offers a MicroSDHC card slot for expandable/swappable memory, while its crisp TFT screen offers some of the best output we’ve seen on a 16 million color display.

Number Eight: the Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte

This device isn’t as feature-heavy as the units above, but the design on the Nokie Carbon Arte is by far one of the best we’ve seen.  The OLED display’s 16 million colors doesn’t hurt the device’s standing either, especially considering the screen includes scratch resistant glass. The Nokia 8800 also ships with a 3.15MP camera with autofocus and 15FPS video capture. But the real design factor that holds the Carbon Arte above other devices is the carbon fiber and titanium build– no cheap plastic here.

Number Seven: the Blackberry Bold 9000

Research In Motion really known how to handle email, so it’s not suprising that the capabilities of the Bold give the iPhone a run for its money. In comparison to prior Blackberry’s, the trackball on the Bold is arguably the best yet.  What’s best about the Blackberry Bold?  We dig(g) the 3.5mm audio connection and the international high speed 3G data access, plus the support for Edge/GPRS connections. Toss in a 624mhz processor (One of the fastest on this list), and a MicroSDHC card slot that holds up to 8GB of additional memory– and its easy to see how the Blackberry Bold can holds its own against the iPhone.

Number Six: the HTC Touch HD

While the HTC Touch HD has only been out or a few short weeks, the feature-set alone is enough to make even a Mac addict switch.  The Touch HD includes a huge 3.8 inch screen with a WVGA output of 480 x 800 pixels using TouchFlo 3D, plus an accelerometer-driven auto rotate function. If display output isn’t enough to convince you, the unit also ships with Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro with plenty of memory options. The units 528Mhz processor also takes advantage of WiFi and 3G data capabilities, while users will appreciate the unit’s excellent 5MP camera with auto-focus. Basically everything on this device is massive, yet the price tag is rather manageable.

Number Five: the Palm Treo Pro

We never thought we’d see the day where a Palm device would make a list of this kind, yet the Palm Treo Pro isn’t your typical Palm. On the one hand the device offers the far superior Palm build factor, but on the other hand it features Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro instead of the clunky Palm OS.  The device is fast, even with a rather modest 400mhz processor. With International 3G abilities and WiFi connectivity the device also connects easily in any situation, while the Treo Pro’s built-in GPS receiver makes navigation easier than ever.

Number Four: the HTC Touch Diamond

We could almost add the HTC Touch Diamond to this list solely based on its design. The back of the device practically looks like diamond patchwork, yet it feels really great in the hand.  Of course design wasn’t the only consideration, while this device is missing the MicroSDHC card slot, it does feature 4GB of onboard memory, along with a Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro and TouchFlo 3D touchscreen capabilities.  Throw in WiFi and 3G connecitivity, plus Edge/GPRS use and your connectivity standards should all be met.  We’re mostly salivating about the unique design, as it will definitely have people talking as you walk on by…

Number Three: the Nokia N96

The style of the Nokia N96 is slick with smooth rounded corners, which makes the device feel really nice in the hand.  More important than the design, however, is its very capable specs. For instance, the device offers Quad-Band GSM capabilities which means worldwide use is guaranteed, while the 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss Optics, AutoFocus, Flash and 30FPS video capture is by far one of the best options currently available on the market.  Add in a built-in GPS receiver with Nokia Maps software and an included 16GB hard drive and its hard to ignore the Nokia N96. I also don’t mind the included International 3G data connection and the ability to use WiFi 802.11b/g, both of which are complemented by Edge/GPRS abilities. Overall a very sturdy device that’s great to look at and even better to use.

Number Two: the Blackberry Storm 9500

We just got our hands on the Blackberry Storm this weekend and after a day and a half its already made our list of solid iPhone contenders. As the first Blackberry device to handle Touchscreen capabilities we have to admit we were impressed. The virtual keyboard on the Blackberry Storm is far superior to the iPhone’s offering. We found that the haptic feedback made screen taps feel “more real” than other touchscreen devices, while the virtual keyboards keys were big enough that we didn’t mistype as much as we do on the iPhone’s virtual offering. The Blackberry Storm also offers extremely quick device navigation, we’re assuming this is because of the devices 624Mhz processor. The device also comes equipped with 1GB of on device memory, while the units MicroSDHC card slot allows for up to 8GB of additional memory in swappable form.  Throw in a built-in GPS receiver for navigation purposes and its easy to see how the Blackberry Storm is ready to take on the iPhone right out of the box.

Number One: the HTC S740

Featuring a similar build factor to the HTC Touch Diamond, the HTC S740 offers several big improvements. First, the device doesn’t feature a touchscreen but it does provide a sliding qwerty keypad for easier text and email messaging. The S740 also adds a MicroSDHC card slot for swappable memory purposes. Throw in WiFi 802.11b/g data access, international 3G and Edge/GPRS capabilities and a GPS receiver and you have a well rounded device in terms of connection abilities.  With a rugged build and ever-better specs, the HTC S740 is a great option for text addicted users who want the full capabilities of Windows Mobile 6.1.  All these make for a powerful mobile device that can rival the iPhone for anyone who remains on the fence.

Updated Editor’s Note:  this article’s writer, James Johnson, quite specifically excluded the T-Mobile G1 from this list.  Why?  Here’s his notes from the comments:  I didn’t include the T-Mobile G1 because there are still too many bugs with Google Android (Hence all the worldwide Rom updates recently) plus no support for Microsoft Exchange Server (Due Q1 2008), and too few applications. I’m actually a big fan of Android and i’m sure in the near future it will easily be at or near the top of my Top 10 lists. At this time it simply doesn’t offer enough universal appeal.

Thanks for reading, GearCravers, Diggers, Stumblers and otherwise…  Did we miss a mobile that you’d include on a list of your own?  Leave us a comment or email us.  In the mean time, share this one with your friends and vote it up on your favorite social site.  We appreciate your support as always!

(nokia e37 image courtesykikuyumoja)

Top Floor Ethereal Rug

This is a first for our eyes, GearCravers.  We’ve never seen a rug design that involves two dimensions of negative space– the blank mid-section of this rug and the floor below it.  The Top Floor Ethereal Rug is an instant favorite.  An organic floral pattern reaches into the whitespace on this rug, yet this pattern is more than grooves and layers.  Designer Esti Barnes has cut these layers right through the rug itself, exposing the bare wood below.  This is one concept that certainly needs to be explored further…

Buy: $TBD

GX-1 Bluetooth Ski Gloves

Winter apparel and portable electronics have never played nicely; gloves were always a pain when it came to using a cellphone, and you were left with either a bunch of missed calls or freezing hands. The GX-1 Bluetooth Gloves from G. Cell aim to change that by integrating a speaker and microphone which sync with any BT enabled phone and are operated via two call/end buttons. There are no details on battery life, speaker/mic placement, or whether there is a vibrate function. Other tech gloves are made with a conductive fabric which allows for the use of touch sensitive controls, I think for the $495 asking price they could have thrown that in. [via Swanyamerica]