Dragon Go iPhone app expands its search options

Nuance has beefed up its Dragon Go iPhone app to let you search for information across a wider array of Web sites and services.

Available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch since July, this free search-by-voice app is unique compared with the Google and Bing iOS apps. Dragon Go can find results and run commands across dozens of different Web sites, including Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, Craiglist, Amazon, eBay, CNN, Reuters, and even CNET.

The latest update adds even more sites to the mix, notably Netflix, Spotify, Wolfram Alpha, Ask.com, and Google+. And when you tap the app's … Read more

Friday Poll: Is Kindle Fire really an iPad slayer?

We've been keeping an eagle eye out for a tablet in shining armor that can truly take on Apple's fire-breathing iPad. It now looks like Amazon will fight fire with Kindle Fire.

The Kindle Fire couldn't be much more different than the iPad. It has a 7-inch screen, runs a version of Android, doesn't have a camera, and can't connect to a 3G network.

The Fire's biggest selling point is its selling point: $199. Golly, that's a cheap tablet. At that price, a lot of people might be willing to pass on the luxuries of 3G, lots of local storage, a microphone, and extra screen real estate.

Amazon's large store of available content in the form of books, videos, and music may well keep customers busy enough to forget about iTunes.

The term "iPad killer" is popping up everywhere, but the real truth is likely to be much more complex than one or the other winning out in a bloody sales war.

There are still plenty of unanswered questions about the Kindle Fire, but that's not going to stop us from asking the Big One. Is the Kindle Fire a true iPad competitor? We know you've got an opinion. Vote in our poll and tell us more in the comments.… Read more

Kindle Fire or...iPod Touch? (Ask Maggie)

Amazon's new Kindle Fire is so cheap that it's sure to appeal to people who would love a tablet like the Apple iPad, but aren't willing to pay $500 for it. So how does it stack up to other $200 devices?

In this installment of Ask Maggie, I try to answer that very question. One reader wants to know if he should get the Kindle Fire or the Apple iPod Touch for his young son. At $200 the Kindle Fire is hard to pass up. But before he preorders the new tablet, I offer some cautionary advice.… Read more

Foxconn iPad factory in Brazil may not open

Foxconn is again in the news, this time in Brazil, as its $12 billion factory deal reportedly may not go through due to demands of tax breaks and special treatment.

According to Reuters, Apple's plan to produce iPads in Brazil is in trouble. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced Foxconn's plans to build the plant in April, and, "Senior officials hailed the deal as a sign of growing economic ties with Asia, and proof that Brazil was moving up the value-added manufacturing chain as its economy grows," said Reuters' Brian Winter.

Problems have now arisen as Brazil … Read more

Why Amazon's Kindle Fire is like a razor

commentary While the Kindle Fire's dramatically low price may seem revolutionary, Amazon is actually taking its cues from a well-worn playbook.

Industry analysts, blogs, and even our own site cooed at the $199 price point of Amazon's freshly unveiled tablet. The company is using price as the hook, even if it loses money on each unit.

But before you sing Amazon's praises for breaking new ground, you should realize that undercutting the competition to drive adoption is far from a new strategy. In reality, Amazon and the Kindle Fire is only the latest example of a company … Read more

How to turn your iPad into Intellivision

After my best friend in Minneapolis, Alan Polk, got an Atari 2600 in 1979, my 7-year-old self spent most of his energy coming up with reasons why he needed to go over to Alan's house. Roles then reversed when I got Intellivision a year later and my basement became the place to be. We spent hours playing Intellivision hockey and skiing (we were in snowy Minnesota after all), Major League Baseball, BurgerTime, Night Stalker, and Tron Deadly Discs. These 16-bit games, along with Intellivision's cool controllers with their telephone-like keypad and each game's keypad overlay, were clearly superior to Atari's 8-bit offerings and clumsy joystick in our collective estimation.

When I hear people talk about old Atari games, I always think of Intellivision. While they were playing Breakout and Yars' Revenge, I was wearing out Intellivision controller overlays. So, when I saw Scott Stein's video about the Atari Arcade for iPad, I wondered if such a thing existed for Intellivision. My search didn't reveal any hardware peripherals, but it did turn up an app that gives you six Intellivision games. From MTV Networks, the app is titled VH1 Classic Presents: Intellivision for iPad. The iPad app costs $2.99 and features Astrosmash, Chip Shot Super Pro Golf, Night Stalker, Skiing, Thin Ice, and Thunder Castle. There is an iPhone app, too. It's free but only includes Astrosmash, with the other five games each available for 99 cents.… Read more

Cognitive psychologists are giddy over smartphones

Smartphones may offer a smarter way to gather data in cognitive research, according to a paper in this week's journal PLoS ONE.

Until recently, when studying human behavior cognitive psychologists--who examine such things as how people think, remember, and perceive the world around them--have relied on volunteers who come to research facilities.

Collecting data solely from this sort of cohort could highly skew resulting data; for one, the number of people who volunteer their time tends to be smaller in scale, and by studying only the types of people who volunteer for this kind of research, cognitive psychologists … Read more

New iTree sound system tree-hugs your iPhone

You have an iPhone--a wonder of sleek, compact, multifunction technology. You essentially have a powerful multimedia computer system that fits in the palm of your hand. You must be thinking, "All I'm lacking is a giant log I can stick it into to play loud music."

Scream "Jackpot!" because KMKG Studios has introduced the iTree, a $15,000 personalized sound system for the iPhone, the iPod and (with a little rigging) the iPad. According to KMKG's designers: "The iTree is a top-quality iPhone and iPod docking station made out of a simple tree trunk. This is hollowed out using a special technique and specialized tools, expertly proportioned to produce optimum sound quality."

Because no two trees are alike, every iTree is a personalized creation. Buyers select the size and kind of wood they'd like before their iTree is manufactured. KMKG reports spruce, cherry, or poplar are most popular. If home audio and potential splinter enthusiasts want to haul themselves to KMKG Studios HQ in Austria, they can go for a ride in nearby forests and pick their own tree. After iTree artisans kick the Keebler Elves out of their ancestral home, they'll make the in-house music system to specifications.

We have yet to give an iTree a listen, so we can't attest to the sound quality. But if the price is any indication, it should be impressive. The only potential drawback we see for the iTree is--unless you live in a ski lodge or a late 1800s cattle ranch--visitors might be prone to ask, "Why do you have a giant log in your living room, Grizzly Adams?" … Read more

Angry Birds make noise with iPhone, iPad speakers

A new series of Angry Birds iPhone/iPod/iPad speaker docks is winging its way over from accessories maker Gear4.

The units feature a red Angry Bird ($79.99), an explosive black Angry Bird ($99.99), or an evil helmet-wearing pig ($99.99). Each includes a 2.1 speaker, power adaptor, 3.5 mm line-in cable, and 3.5 mm port. Though Gear4 is hyping the products' release now, they're not available just yet as "coming soon..." is splashed across the Gear4 Web site.

We've already seen Angry Birds plush toys, T-shirts, bras, Halloween costumes, stickers, and amusement park attractions, to name just a handful of tie-ins to the Rovio game.

These new Gear4 speakers might be excellent products, but the onslaught of Angry Birds gear is starting to give the popular game that Disney/Star Wars/Mario Brothers uber-merchandised feel. Kind of makes you wonder how far away Mighty Eagle Condoms might be.… Read more

Wanted: A game controller as diverse as the iPad (the Atari Arcade, reviewed)

We said it before. We'll say it again. Louder, this time.

It's time for an iPad game controller.

Related stories • Hands-on with iCade: Does the iPad need a controller? • OnLive on the iPad: hands-on • Review of the Atari Arcade joystick for iPad • Review of the Ion Audio iCade

And not just a joystick novelty like the Ion iCade or the Atari Arcade, both of them intriguing but incredibly limited ways of going retro. The Atari Arcade Powered by Duo, a joystick accessory made by Discovery Bay Games, has a joystick, four buttons, and a 30-pin connector. However, it only works with the Atari Greatest Hits collection of 100 Atari 2600 and old, old-school arcade games. The iCade, a far larger assemble-yourself cabinet, is compatible with a handful of other motley games plus Atari's app, and that's it.

It's clear something else is needed.

EA and 2K Sports are already experimenting with iPhone-as-controller: both FIFA 12 and NBA 2K12 have downloadable apps that turn a local iPhone or iPod Touch into a multibutton controller. That's hardly a solution: the touch controls are no easier to find and use than the iPad's onscreen virtual buttons--in fact, they're even harder to locate when the iPhone in question is being held in your lap. The solution is simple. … Read more