The week in gadgets: Toshiba’s Excite line, Apple I at auction and a throwable 360-degree camera

15 Jul 2013

Toshiba Excite Write

A look at gadget happenings, as Toshiba gets excited about Android tablets, rumours of resolution boosting surrounds Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablets, Sony’s new Walkman devices offer more power, an Apple I computer hits the auction block, LG brings us the world’s slimmest smartphone display and a Boston-based inventor impresses us with his throwable camera.

Toshiba’s exciting new Android tablets

The new Excite line-up from Toshiba comprises three 10.1-inch tablets operating on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

The basic Excite Pure provides an affordable option powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 mobile processor, while the Excite Pro comes with the Tegra 4 mobile processor and quad-core CPU. The Pro also features integrated Harman Kardon stereo speakers and a high-resolution 2,560 x 1,600 PixelPure display.

The new range also includes the Excite Write, which features similar specs to the Pro but with a Digitiser Pen and the brand’s new TruNote handwriting recognition application and TruCapture, which can digitise content from a whiteboard or flip chart using the built-in webcam.

Sales of the new Excite range start in Europe in the third quarter of this year.

Will Amazon’s next tablets rival Retina displays?

BGR claims to have uncovered details of Amazon’s next range of Kindle tablets. As well as a design update that will make the tablets lighter and the controls easier to use, the next-generation Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD are said to feature boosted screen resolution to rival Apple’s Retina displays.

BGR’s “trusted sources” say the original dimensions of the devices will remain, but the pixel count will be amped up. For the 7-inch Kindle Fire, this means a resolution of 1,280 x 800, which puts it on par with the current Kindle Fire HD. The next 7-inch HD iteration will feature a 1,920 x 1,200 display, sources say, while the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD will jump to 2,560 x 1,600, which is more pixels than are packed into Apple’s 9.7-inch Retina display iPad.

More power for Sony’s new Walkman

Sony’s new NWZ-E580 Walkman video and MP3 player offers up to 77 hours of battery life, which is more than twice what its sister device, the NWZ-E380, can muster, offering 30 hours of music playback from a single charge.  

Users of the new E series can easily drag and drop songs, photos, videos, podcasts and playlists from Windows Explorer or iTunes for playback on the device, and the devices now accept FLAC files.

Sony Walkman NWZ-E580

The E580’s accompanying earphones also feature digital noise cancelling, which Sony claims cuts out up to 98pc of background noise.

The new E series will be available this month across Europe.

The rising cost of an Apple I computer

Last week, an Apple I computer from 1976 that was signed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak fetched US$387,000 at an online auction by Christie’s.

Apple I computer (via Ed Uthman/Wikimedia Commons)

An Apple I computer on display at the Smithsonian. Photo via Ed Uthman/Wikimedia Commons

The figure is actually less than was expected for the rare device – one of the first 25 ever assembled – as bidding began at US$300,000 and was expected to come closer to the figure reached by a working Apple I auctioned in Germany earlier this year for US$671,400. All the same, it’s not bad for a machine hand-built by Wozniak and originally sold for US$666.66.

LG’s super-slim smartphone display

LG Display has developed the world’s slimmest full-HD LCD panel for use in smartphones. The 5.2-inch display will allow for slimmer and lighter full-HD smartphones since this component is just 2.2mm thin with a 2.3mm bezel.

LG Display slimmest smartphone LCD

The display is also said to remain clear even in strong sunlight – a feature that has been independently tested and verified by Intertek – and it utilises LG Display’s Advanced One-Glass Solution touch technology for the first time.

A throwable camera for 360-degree image capture

Steve Hollinger, a Boston-based inventor, caught our eye with this video for a throwable spherical panoramic camera he’s working on, which he uploaded to YouTube last week.

The Squito (pronounced like the latter half of ‘mosquito’) can capture high-resolution 360-degree images while airborne and seamlessly stabilise and stitch together these images for extensive panoramic photos and videos.


With some patents secured and some pending, Hollinger created this video to get the attention of investors and potential collaborators. The video demonstrates some of the potential uses of Squito – from recreation to reconnaissance and rescue – and also highlights Darkball, a sister device equipped with infrared and thermal video for use in night-time situations.

Stay informed – get daily updates on the latest happenings in technology directly to your inbox.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.