AP Technology NewsBrief at 5:20 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) 'Smart' potty or dumb idea Wacky gadgets at CESLAS VEGAS (AP) _ From the iPotty for toddlers to the 1,600-pound mechanical spider and the host of glitch-ridden "smart" TVs, the International CES show is a forum for gadget makers to take big _ and bizarre _ chances. Many of the prototypes introduced at the annual gadget show over the years have failed in the marketplace. But the innovators who shop their wares here are fearless when it comes to pitching new gizmos, many of which are designed to solve problems you didn't know you had.
Gadget Watch: Electronic fork nags you on eatingLAS VEGAS (AP) _ If you've always wanted a fork that spies on your eating habits, you're in luck: A company has developed a utensil that records when you lift it to the mouth. The electronic fork is one of the gadgets getting attention this week at the International CES in Las Vegas, an annual showcase of the latest TVs, computers and other consumer-electronic devices.
Report: Apple may build less expensive iPhoneSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Apple is trying to decide whether it makes sense to offer a cheaper iPhone as it tries to boost sales in less-affluent countries and reclaim some of the market share lost to cheaper phones running Google's Android software, according to a published report. Wednesday's report in The Wall Street Journal speculated that Apple could lower the iPhone's price by equipping the device with an exterior that costs less than the aluminum housing on current models.
Review: Aereo makes it tempting to cut cable TVNEW YORK (AP) _ Broadcast networks make many of their shows available on the Internet, but you usually have to wait at least a day after an episode airs on television. A subscription service called Aereo breaks those shackles and makes network programs available right away. That sounds too good to be true, and in a sense it is. First, it works only in New York City for now, though Aereo said Tuesday that it will expand to 22 more U.S. regions this spring. Its channel selection is limited to 29 over-the-air channels and Bloomberg TV. It doesn't include the other cable networks I frequently watch.
Smart TVs get smarter, by just a little bitLAS VEGAS (AP) _ In the not-so-distant future, couch potatoes will be waving, pointing, swiping and tapping to make their TVs react, kind of like what Tom Cruise did in the 2002 movie "Minority Report." That's the vision of TV manufacturers as they show off "smart TVs." The sets will recognize who's watching and will try to guess what viewers want to see. They'll respond to more natural speech and will connect with your smartphone in a single touch.
TV-over-Internet service expands despite lawsuitsNEW YORK (AP) _ The Barry Diller-backed Internet company that challenged cable and satellite TV services by offering inexpensive live television online plans to expand beyond New York City this spring. In the wake of a federal court ruling that tentatively endorsed its legality, Aereo will bring its $8-a-month service to Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and 18 other markets in the U.S., as well as to New York's suburbs. For the past year, the service had been limited to New York City residents as the company fine-tuned its technology and awaited guidance on whether its unlicensed use of free, over-the-air broadcasts amounted to a copyright violation.
Facebook to hold press event, stock passes $30NEW YORK (AP) _ Shares of Facebook are pushing above $30 for the first time since July after it sent out invitations to "come and see what we're building" Tuesday at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. The company will say nothing more about the event. Speculation Wednesday ranged from a Facebook phone, something the company has consistently denied exists, to new search capabilities that would put it into direct competition with Google Inc.
Chinese buyer says solar firm MiaSole will expandBEIJING (AP) _ The Chinese company that bought MiaSole, a California producer of thin-film solar panels, says it can make the emerging technology successful where others have suffered huge losses. Hanergy Group's strong finances will help MiaSole invest in research and ride out a downturn in the global solar market, while its links to customers in China and abroad will help build sales, chairman Li Hejun said Wednesday. Hanergy says it is China's biggest privately owned renewable energy company, with interests in hydro, wind and solar power.
Tech delegation pressing NKorea Internet opennessPYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) _ A private delegation including Google's Eric Schmidt is urging North Korea to allow more open Internet access and cellphones to benefit its citizens, the mission's leader said Wednesday in the country with some of the world's tightest controls on information. Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson also said his nine-member group called on North Korea to put a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests that have prompted U.N. sanctions, and the delegation asked for fair and humane treatment for an American citizen detained. He spoke in an exclusive interview in Pyongyang with The Associated Press.
Gadget Watch: Pen makes old monitors touch-readyLAS VEGAS (AP) _ Many people who have tried Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system without a touch screen have hated it because of the inability to use touch and swipe commands to get things going. Now, a company has made a digital pen to allow people to use Windows 8 on their old monitors for less than the cost of buying a new touch-enabled computer. The device was unveiled this week at the International CES, an annual showcase in Las Vegas for the latest smartphones, tablet computers and other consumer-electronic devices.
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