Google's quest to build a robot fleet

CNET Update welcomes our new robot overlords:

In this episode of CNET Update:

- Learn about Google's robot project, and check out some of the humanoid robots created by the companies it acquired.

- Do a double-take on the dual-screens of the YotaPhone. It has an e-ink screen, designed to extend battery life.

- Play tic-tac-toe on the Chromecast (and hope for more exciting games to follow).

CNET Update delivers the tech news you need in under three minutes. Watch Bridget Carey every afternoon for a breakdown of the big stories, hot devices, new apps, and what's ahead. … Read more

Nintendo flask gives new meaning to 'drinking game'

If you were a kid back when the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) first ruled the gaming world, your drink of choice was probably soda or milk. Now that you're all grown up, you may like your gaming with a shot of something harder. You might as well keep that liquid substance in a stylish container that matches your retro gaming fandom.

The Ink Whiskey Concealable Entertainment Flask on Kickstarter is pretty self-explanatory. It's a flask that looks like an NES game cartridge, right down to the classic dull-gray color. Sure, the flask is in disguise, but people may wonder why you're carrying a game in your back pocket.… Read more

Dear NSA, there's now a Snapchat for e-mail

Self-destruction is the core value of our current times.

Just as we seek to destroy ourselves with our self-indulgence and our joie de vivre, we seek our private messages to be destroyed before the world's security services read them.

And so along comes a company called PowerInbox to assist us on our path to righteousness.

Seeing, perhaps, that Snapchat, the send-it-and-forget-it messaging app, was rather popular, PowerInbox is offering SecretInk. This delightful concoction claims to have all the properties of Snapchat, but for e-mail (and even SMS).… Read more

Android, e-ink YotaPhone mashup arrives December

Yota Devices, the company behind the Android and e-ink YotaPhone, will start selling its unusual smartphone creation "in time for Christmas 2013," the company said in an e-mail.

We've seen dual-screen handsets before, but this one is unique in pairing a high-resolution LCD screen in front with an e-ink display on the rear.

Why the e-ink? The idea is that when power runs low, switching to an electronic paper image for reading or referencing items can help keep a phone usable longer before needing a charge.

The Moscow-based Yota Devices first showed off the YotaPhone in January … Read more

Apple TV, TiVo to stream video in new ways

CNET Update wants to share the streams:

In this episode of Update:

- Learn what new streaming features might be in store for Apple TV next week.

- Share your show recordings with others with TiVo's new system.

- Get a hint of what the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablets may look like.

- See if a new Intel Atom chip could help lower the cost of Android tablets.

- Say farewell to the iOS Cards app, but you can still send postcards from a phone with Ink.


iTunes (HD)iTunes (SD)iTunes (HQ)

RSS (HD) |&… Read more

Add an e-ink screen to your Samsung Galaxy S4 with PocketBook (hands-on)

BERLIN -- What do you get for the phone that has everything? The Samsung Galaxy S4 is possibly the best smartphone ever made, but one thing it doesn't have is an e-ink screen for reading the latest page-turner.

That's where the PocketBook S4 case, unveiled at technology bunfest IFA 2013, comes in. It's a case for the Galaxy S4 that contains a 4.3-inch e-ink screen.

But my S4 already has a glorious 5-inch high-definition full-colour screen! Why do I need a spare screen that only does one colour hanging off the side of my fancy, high-class … Read more

Inkling inks new publisher deals, $16M funding

Interactive e-book publishing platform Inkling announced on Wednesday new, multiyear contracts with two major textbook and medical publishers, deals that will expand the number of titles it offers.

The San Francisco-based company, which makes tools for publishers to create and distribute books for tablets, smartphones, and the Web, is now working with publishers Pearson and Elsevier; The two plan to use Inkling's technology to produce digital versions of their books.

In Elsevier's case, it plans to bring more than half a million pages of content, or about 600 books, says Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis.

"This is making … Read more

Here's the flexible E Ink screen that could be in the 2014 Kindle

Not too many people are talking about the future of dedicated e-readers these days, which is why I decided to meet with the folks from E Ink, the company that produces the displays found in the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and plenty of other e-ink e-reader devices. I asked Giovanni Mancini, E Ink's director of product management, what Amazon would be releasing this holiday season because, well, Amazon wouldn't tell me.

"I can't tell you, either," he said. "We can't comment on customers plans."

I expected him to say that, but I figured … Read more

E-Ink unveils Mobius flexible display for smartwatches

E-Ink sees a big future in small displays.

Perhaps best known for making the display for Amazon's Kindle e-reader, E-Ink is hoping to capitalize on the growing hubbub around smartwatches with an addition Monday to its Mobius line of electronic paper displays that measures 1.73 inches. The Mobius flexible display is based on thin film transistor (TFT) technology developed by Sony.

The screen, which supports a resolution of 320x240 pixels with 16 gray-scale levels, is touted as lightweight and rugged, making it ideal for use in smartwatches. The new screen will make its debut in the Sonostar Smartwatch, … Read more

13.3-inch Sony tablet is like Etch A Sketch on steroids

If you love doodling with a pen but hate accumulating paper, Sony and E Ink are coming out with a tablet/digital notepad that's large and relatively light for its size compared to big e-readers.

The 13.3-inch Digital Paper touch-panel display was recently shown off at Educational IT Solutions Expo (EDIX) in Tokyo. Sony is planning to try it out at Japanese universities and bring it to the general market this year.

It incorporates the E Ink Mobius electronic paper display, announced earlier this month. Mobius is based on thin film transistor (TFT) technology developed by Sony and is being billed as the first large-format flexible display to enter mass production.

Built on a plastic substrate, they can be much lighter than glass-based TFTs, with 13.3-inch screens weighing only 2.1 ounces. … Read more