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Tools of the Trade: November 2016

By Michael Castelluccio
November 1, 2016
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11_2016_tools

 

1. GOOGLE PIXEL

 

The just-launched Pixel is Google’s first phone not made by third-party builders. Both hardware and software are Google’s, and that makes for complete integration of both elements. Although the design resembles its main competitor, the iPhone, there are clear differences. The camera on the Pixel is flush, there’s a headphone jack, and the start button is on the back and serves as a fingerprint reader as well as a scroll pad. The Pixel comes in two sizes, the 5″ Pixel and 5.5″ Pixel XL, and three colors: Quite Black, Really Blue, and Very Silver. It’s also the first phone with Google Assistant built in. We’ll look at the specs for the Pixel XL: The resolution of the AMOLED screen is 1,440 × 2,560 pixels with 16.77 million colors at 534 pixels per inch. The processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.6Ghz quad-core running Android 7.1. It has 4GB RAM and 32GB of internal memory. The rear camera is 12.3 megapixels with an f/2.0 lens with flash, and the front camera is 8 megapixels. The 2,770mAh battery provides up to 26 hours talk time, 19 days standby, and up to 13 hours of internet use. Quick charging will get up to seven hours of battery life in 15 minutes. https://store.google.com/

 

2. GOOGLE HOME

 

Finally, Google’s answer to Amazon’s Echo will begin shipping at the beginning of this month. Google Home lets you play your music, answers your questions, and connects to other smarthome devices. Early reviews from the launch note that the sound quality is better and it costs less than Amazon’s assistant ($129 compared to $179 for Echo). About as tall as the new Pixel phones, Google Home has a design that looks less like an appliance, and it comes in a variety of colors. With a spoken request, you can direct your Nest thermostat to adjust the temperature or play selections from your music collection through its own speaker or as YouTube videos on your TV. And there’s Google’s powerful search engines only an “OK Google” away. https://store.google.com

 

3. ARLO PRO SECURITY CAMERA

 

NETGEAR’s new Arlo Pro Wire-free HD security camera system is weatherproof and features wire-free video, two-way audio, and quick-charge rechargeable batteries. The camera is for use within your home or outside, and it offers a wide 130-degree field of view. Two-way audio lets you hear and talk to whoever is in the vicinity of the camera. You don’t need a wired connection, but if you’d rather not remove the long-lasting lithium ion rechargeable battery, you can plug in the charger directly if you have an outlet nearby. The RGB-IR night vision technology provides clear high-resolution video even in total darkness, and a passive infrared motion sensor will detect movement at distances up to 23 feet, sending alerts immediately to your phone as it’s activated. The software for the system lets you schedule armed and disarmed periods. www.arlo.com

 

4. QUAD LOCK CAR MOUNT

 

The Quad Lock Car Mount offers a solid smartphone mount for the windshield or dashboard for iPhones, Galaxy S4, and others. The mount uses a patented cam-locking, industrial-strength suction cup and a positive click-lock receiver for the phone. The iPhone case protects the phone and attaches to the mount with a quick insert and twist motion. The vibration-free grip swivels 360 degrees for one-hand adjustment. Manufactured in Germany, the car kit includes the mount, a case for the smartphone, and an adhesive-based dashboard mount. Cases fit iPhones 4, 5, 6, and 7, and there’s a universal kit for others. www.quadlockcase.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 21 years. His SF TECHNOTES blog is in its 19th year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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