Samsung, Toshiba and HTC Accidentally Pull Same April Fools’ Prank

If the glove fits, check to see how many other people are wearing it
Not to be left out of April Fools’ Day tomfoolery, technology companies Samsung, HTC and Toshiba offered their own jests. Unfortunately, they all had the same idea: smart gloves.

Chrome Show: Run Android on a Chromebook thanks to Android-x86

Chrome and Android haven’t merged but you can actually run Android on a Chromebook if you know where to look. We share the details on that and discuss Samsung’s performance promises for the new Chromebook 2.

Chromecast streams web videos from your Android phone or tablet

Want to stream embedded web video from your Android device to a Chromecast? Tune in to this week’s podcast to hear how; you’ll need the Chrome beta browser and a hidden command to make it happen.

Chrome Show: New Samsung Chromebook 2 and a Toshiba Chromebook review

Competition is heating up in the larger Chromebook space. Toshiba’s Chromebook 13 gets reviewed and next month, Samsung’s Chromebook 2 arrives; both have large displays. And Chrome for Android gains a hidden new Chromecast trick: we tell you how to enable it.

Toshiba Chromebook 13 reviewed: Lots of screen, battery life and plastic

Looking for a 13.3 inch Chromebook? At the moment, you have one and only one option: Toshiba’s Chromebook 13. For $299 or less, you get a solid performer with decent battery life but I hope you like plastic.

First look at the Toshiba Chromebook 13 (video)

Introduced at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show, the Toshiba Chromebook 13 is now available with a $299 starting price. Here’s a first look at the device, which I’ll be using full-time for the next few days as a real world test.

Some Cheez-its, A Mountain Dew, A Snickers Bar… And A Kindle

It sounds like the set-up to a bad joke, but this is no laughing matter.

As Amazon continues to grow, expand and diversify itself as one of the largest retailers and technology service providers in the world, attention is always paid when the virtual store does something physical. Every so often, rumors crop-up that the online retailer (that has a market cap of over $157 billion) is about to open up physical retail locations or is providing delivery lockers (known as Amazon Locker) or some other unique way to change the retail experience. It’s the kind of news that, typically, sends shock waves through the retail and technology landscape. Some rumors are blatantly false, others are true and some of them don’t work out so well. What makes Amazon so fascinating (and dangerous to their competitors), is their desire to disrupt, try and change the shopper’s status quo. So, when last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) rolled into Las Vegas, many were surprised and intrigued by Amazon’s presence.

It’s not what you think.

They didn’t have a typical booth on the trade show floor. They didn’t engage with a celebrity tie-in for a major product launch. They didn’t even throw a wild party at one of the trendy casino nightclubs, in the hopes of getting some b-list reality television star to talk about them to TMZ. Instead, they set up a Kindle vending machine inside the Las Vegas airport (near the ATM and soda pop). You may be thinking to yourself that this is nothing new. Apple, Best Buy and others have all deployed vending machines that sell electronics over the past several years. For some consumers, it’s hard to imagine buying a $250 pair of headphones the same way that you buy a bag of chips on the way to catch a flight, but the technology of these machines has advanced to the stage when these more expensive and complex sales can be done without human intervention and on-the-go.

There could be something more going on here.

Amazon has a lot of muscle. Both in terms of brand affinity and a war chest to experiment with new ways of retailing. It’s easy to dismiss this Kindle vending machine as simply another parlor trick. It feels like Kindles are just the beginning of this story. Vending machines could well be the perfect way in which Amazon can be on (almost) every corner of the world. They are a very cost-effective way to grow a retail presence, without the traditional infrastructure that a retail chain must endure (long leaseholds, landlords, square footage negotiations, employees, overhead, etc…). In fact, vending machines are becoming as hip and as cool as pop-up stores (if you can imagine that!). They offer a nice surprise to potential consumers who are either sitting around or passing through a public space, and are used to nothing but Pop Tarts and stale peanuts.

Retail everywhere.

This isn’t about Kindle Fire tablets or Kindle Paperwhite readers. It’s not about the accessories, either. This is about Amazon engaging in a “retail everywhere” strategy that the traditional retailers need to think deeply about. Amazon has optimized the online shopping experience – from Web browser to smartphone. 1-click ordering and Amazon Prime have only pushed their success to a level of near-dominance. What seems like a simple PR play of plopping vending machines in areas that may garner them some media attention, may be something much more. What we’re really seeing is another step in Amazon’s desire to ensure that if a consumer needs to buy something… anything… they’re doing it from Amazon. What makes this even more interesting is thinking about what this can all lead to. At the SC Business Fair 2014, which took place last month in Japan, Toshiba previewed a digital signage system called, Smartphone-linked Signage, that uses Bluetooth low energy wireless technology to link digital signs with smartphones. This creates an ability to send unique offers that can be controlled and optimized by the consumer on their mobile device. What this means, is that if multiple people are staring at the same display, they may be receiving different offers or forms of content. Suddenly, you can start seeing how the convergence of digital and physical retailing can create an entirely new paradigm.

When Amazon knows all.

Right now, these vending machines will sell you an e-reader. It’s simple enough. Tomorrow they could easily be linked to your Amazon account. They could easily present you with recommendations based on your historical purchases that you could buy on the spot and easily decide if you would like to get it right there or have it shipped via Amazon Prime to your front door. These vending machines could interact with your smartphone and/or tablet to create a much richer shopping experience and, suddenly, everything we always thought we knew about what a vending machine is (and can do) gets completely upended. That may seem lofty or off too much into the future, but the technology exists. It’s a retail format that big brands are playing with. It’s an additional direct relationship that a brand can have with a consumer.

Who knew that the future of big retail may come be coming from these little vending machines?     

The above posting is my twice-monthly column for The Huffington Post. I cross-post it here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original version online here:


Chromebooks for education expands with new devices, Google Play textbooks

Google is making it easier to bring Chromebooks into the classroom. There are more devices for schools to choose from and Google Play will include thousands of digital textbooks.

Chrome Show: Fly with Chrome Canary, get Google Now for free

Google Now on the desktop brings helpful reminders and contextual information right to your attention. It won’t do so unless you’re running Chrome Canary though. Our extension of the week for the podcast is super for folks creating websites.

What mattered in cleantech in the fourth quarter 2013

The fourth quarter proved to be a time where incremental markers of disruption impacted utilities, EVs, and green data centers.

Why Chromebooks were hard to find at CES

Sure, I would have liked to see more Chrome OS devices at the Consumer Electronics Show. The two I found were unique but Google isn’t a typical company that presents its devices at such an event.

Chrome’s almost no-show at CES, and is 2GB too little?

There isn’t much from CES on the Chrome front we didn’t already know, but we still power through for a full discussion of this week’s Chrome news.

Toshiba Jumps Into Chromebooks in a Big (Screen) Way



LAS VEGAS — Toshiba has finally joined the ranks of laptop manufacturers with a Chromebook. Others have stood out with rock-bottom prices or high-res displays, but Toshiba opted for sheer size: Its Chromebook’s screen measures an impressive 13.3 inches.

Although that’s not the biggest Chromebook on record (the HP Chromebook 14 is one inch larger), it’s still pretty hefty for connectivity-dependent laptops, with the idea that the extra area will encourage using the machine to stream video. There’s even a full-size HDMI port for relaying videos to an external TV or monitor. It also has a pair of USB ports and SD card slot. Read more…

More about Ces, Laptops, Toshiba, Chromebook, and Tech

Chrome Show: Canary Chrome OS channel and decluttered pages in Chrome for Android

The new year rings in with a few new hardware developments with new machines rumored or leaked in advance of CES. There’s Chrome software news too though: You can run the bleeding edge Canary version of Chrome OS. Should you?

The U.K.’s smart meter plan kicks into high gear

By the end of the decade almost all of British homes are supposed to get smart, digital, connected utility meters installed. And the plan is seeing some large contracts handed out to vendors like Landis+Gyr and Telefonica.

Toshiba’s 8-Inch Encore Tablet Puts Windows in Your (Large) Pocket



The Toshiba Encore puts Windows in your pocket — but it needs to be a big pocket. The tablet’s screen measures 8 inches, but the idea is to put Windows into a form factor that’s much more portable than, say, the Surface.

The Encore is made to run Windows 8.1, the first big update to Windows 8 coming this fall. Windows 8.1 brings support for small-screen Windows tablets like the Encore and Acer’s Iconia W3, and with those smaller designs come lower prices: the Encore will be $329.99 when it’s on store shelves in November.

Toshiba is positioning the Encore as an ideal on-the-go machine for work and play, optimized for video chat with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and pre-loaded with home and student edition of Office 2013. The screen is 1,280 x 800 LCD, and it weighs just more than a pound at 16.9 ounces. Read more…

More about Windows, Windows 8, Toshiba, Tech, and Gadgets

Weekly Social Media Recap #34

Last week ViralBlog published the following social media marketing stories for you. Missed out? Catch up here.

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ViralBlog: Weekly Social Media Recap #33

Last week, ViralBlog published the following compelling social media stories for you. Check out the content of week 33.

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Weekly Social Media Recap #32

Last week, ViralBlog published the following compelling social media stories for you. Check out the content of week 32.

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Weekly Social Media Recap #31

Last week, ViralBlog published the following compelling stories for you. Check them here.

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Weekly Social Media Recap #30

In week 30, published the following social media stories for you.

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