When I first came across Kogan at last year's CES, it was for the launch of the Aussie company's very first Agora smartphone. It was a modestly specced handset with some performance issues, but that was understandable: the going price was just $149, a sign that affordability was considered above all else. Then just nine months later, a follow-up smartphone, the Agora HD, was announced. A new 720p, 5-inch display and quad-core 1.2GHz processor were the headline features, but really there were improvements across the board. It was inevitable the price had to go up, too, but even then $189 felt like a small hop compared with the leap in hardware.
It's our 10th birthday, and to celebrate we'll be revisiting some of the key devices of the last decade. So please be kind, rewind.
Lego, the popular toy brick maker, graduated from simple plastic playthings in 1998 when it released its Mindstorms Robotics Invention System (RIS). Born of a collaboration between Lego and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), these "toys" let users build a variety of interactive humanoid, animal and vehicular robots. Although the product underwent iterative revisions over the years, it wasn't until 2006 that the company decided to introduce its true next generation of Mindstorms kits, appropriately dubbed NXT.
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.
When you think about transportation innovations, highways probably aren't the first things that come to mind. But Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde recently rolled out the first "smart" highway in the Netherlands -- and it utilizes glow-in-the-dark lane lines, interactive lights and smart road signs to make roadways safer and more sustainable. The skincare company Foreo has come up with a far less practical plan to lessen our need for streetlights: Increase the moon's reflectivity to make the night sky brighter. The bizarre idea calls for coating part of the moon in a reflective surface in order to increase the amount of light it reflects back to the Earth at night.
Seeing an error message on your Samsung phone, tablet or Smart TV today? You're not alone, as the Samsung.com website appears to be down and owners worldwide have reported anything from error messages to being unable to access apps on their smart TVs. Reports have spread on Twitter -- mostly from a community news site called Wikitree -- that a fire at a Samsung SDS building in Gwacheon, South Korea is the culprit. We've contacted Samsung but haven't heard anything back yet, and while some of its social media pages have noted the outage, there isn't an official explanation posted.
Update: Naturally now that we've mentioned it, the outage that lasted several hours appears to have ended around 6:15AM ET. Many of the same users who were having problems with their smart TVs and phones seem to have full access again, and Samsung.com is back up and running. A Samsung SDS blog post confirms the fire and subsequent outage, while apologizing for the inconvenience. Despite some scary photos and video of the blaze (after the break) Korean news reports indicate there were no fatalities. The big question left? Why a fire at one location seemed to have such a large affect on the company's devices and services.
[Thanks, Mark & Martin!]
Audi's latest prototype packing an E-Tron hybrid drivetrain is this TT Offroad Concept that takes the TT family beyond the coupes and convertibles we're familiar with. Going on display at the Beijing Motor Show, it combines two electric motors (one on each axle) with a 292HP turbocharged combustion engine to produce up to 408 horsepower total. The concept is even quipped with wireless charging tech, making the "plug-in" hybrid possible to charge simply by parking in the right spot. As a result, despite having all that power available, Audi claims it can average up to 123.8 MPG. As Autoblog points out, it shares a number of characteristics with the Allroad Shooting Brake concept Audi showed off at the Detroit Auto Show a few months ago. According to Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development, "it shows how we might imagine a new model in the future TT family." So tell us, are you lusting after yet another E-Tron concept, or hoping Audi goes back to the drawing board on this crossover?
Welcome to Feedback Loop, a weekly roundup of the most interesting discussions happening within the Engadget community. There's so much technology to talk about and so little time to enjoy it, but you have a lot of great ideas and opinions that need to be shared! Join us every Saturday as we highlight some of the most interesting discussions that happened during the past week.
This week, we speculate on what we want to see from E3, share our fond memories of our first MP3 players and talk about strategies for securing our passwords. Head past the break to join the conversation!
We told you to put on your disappointment pants for the Galaxy Gear 2, but for the Rufus Cuff we suggest rolling up your absurdity sleeves. Seriously, given its three-inch screen you might just have to. This wearable boasts a built-in mic, a camera, a speaker, web browser, voice control, GPS and full access to the Google Play store -- if the Cuff sounds like a smartphone that straps to your wrist, well, that's basically what it is. It connects to your Android or iPhone via Bluetooth for mobile data, making calls and sending texts, but it's running a full version of Google's mobile OS and can hook on to WiFi if you're in a cellular dead-zone or if your phone's battery runs out.
While the gizmo doesn't exactly look practical (we're pretty sure that it won't play nice with the cuffs of a slim-cut oxford), as of this writing it's has raised over $150,000 of its $200,000 IndieGoGo goal, with a handful of days to go. If you dig the idea of strapping one of these monstrosities on your wrist, all it takes is a $249 pledge.
You can always swing by Google Trends if you want to gauge the popularity of a given search, but visiting that website every time can be a hassle. Thankfully, there's now an easier way: Google has added a subscription option that sends email notifications when there are changes in the interest levels for most searches, including hot searches, specific topics and the top US charts. If you want to see how long an internet meme survives or find out when your favorite team is creating a lot of buzz, you just have to visit Trends' subscription area to get started.