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Wednesday
28 June 2017

EMTEC soon to sell Linux-based Gdium netbook in United States for $400

gdium netbook EMTEC soon to sell Linux based Gdium netbook in United States for $400

EMTEC will be launching a 10-inch netbook at CES next month.  Dubbed the Gdium, the netbook weighs in at an airy 1.2 kilograms, features 1024 x 600 pixels, is Linux-based and will come with a bunch of preloaded open source software.  The Gdium will also feature a G-Key, described as “a bootable USB key on which the Linux operating system, applications, and personal data are stored”.  The CES debut will be the first American look at the Gdium before its US release.  It’s expected to be shipped in white, black, and pink, priced around $400.

via engadget

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Ford brings Active Parking Assist to a pair of 2010 Lincoln’s

fordactiveparkingassist Ford brings Active Parking Assist to a pair of 2010 Lincolns

While most good GPS navigators these days guide you both audibly and visually to your destination, they still don’t help you park.  Ford’s Active Parking Assist, on the other hand, does.  The system, which will be available optionally with the Lincoln MKT crossover and Lincoln MKS sedan–both coming in 2009–uses an ultrasonic-bsaed sensing system and electric power steering.  Sensors placed on the front and back of the vehicle detects other cars and objects when parking and cues the driver of their presence either audibly or visually.  Each sensor also serves other functions as well.  From The New York Times, for example:

“a sensor on the outboard rear quarter panel also monitors a blind spot area (part of the Blind Spot Information System) while helping detect cross traffic when backing out of a parking spot (Cross Traffic Alert).”

Ford says the system can be interrupted by the driver at any time and also works on hills.  Check out the full Ford press release after the cut.

Ford’s New ‘Active Park Assist’ Makes Parallel Parking a Breeze for Lincoln MKT and MKS Owners

– New Active Park Assist helps drivers parallel park with the touch of a button and without ever touching the steering wheel

– Available in mid-2009 on Lincoln MKS sedan and all-new Lincoln MKT crossover

– Active Park Assist uses ultrasonic-based sensing system and Electric Power Assisted Steering to steer the vehicle into a parking spot

– Electric Power Assisted Steering also improves fuel economy up to 5 percent, while reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing performance, compared with traditional steering

The often stressful and frustrating task of parallel parking soon will be as easy as pressing a button for owners of the Lincoln MKS flagship sedan and all-new Lincoln MKT seven-passenger luxury crossover, thanks to an exclusive new technology from Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F – News) called Active Park Assist.

Available in mid-2009 as an option on the 2010 Lincoln MKS sedan and new Lincoln MKT crossover, Active Park Assist uses an ultrasonic-based sensing system and Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) to position the vehicle for parallel parking, calculate the optimal steering angle and quickly steer the vehicle into a parking spot.

“With the touch of a button, Lincoln MKS and MKT drivers can parallel park quickly, easily and safely without ever touching the steering wheel,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “This is another example of exclusive Ford smart technology, such as Ford SYNC, that makes the driving experience easier and more enjoyable for our customers.”

Active Park Assist system uses sensors on the front and rear of the vehicle to guide the vehicle into a parking space. The technology is a major leap forward in speed and ease of use compared with the camera-reliant systems offered by competitors, including a video camera-based system offered by Lexus. Ford’s system requires less driver interface and reduces the risk of selecting a parking spot that is too tight. Ford’s Active Park Assist also works in downhill parking situations, unlike competing systems.

Here’s how Active Park Assist works:

– The driver activates the system by pressing an instrument panel button, which activates the ultrasonic sensors to measure and identify a feasible parallel parking space.

– The system then prompts the driver to accept the system assistance to park.

– The steering system then takes over and steers the car into the parking space hands-free. The driver still shifts the transmission and operates the gas and brake pedals.

– A visual and/or audible driver interface advises the driver about the proximity of other cars, objects and people and provides instructions.

– While the steering is all done automatically, the driver remains responsible for safe parking and can interrupt the system by grasping the steering wheel.

Active Park Assist is enabled by Ford’s advanced EPAS technology. In addition to helping with parallel parking, EPAS improves fuel economy up to 5 percent, while reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing steering performance compared with traditional hydraulic powered-assisted steering systems. EPAS saves fuel primarily because the steering system is powered by an electric motor connected to vehicle’s battery, as opposed to engine-mounted hydraulic pump steering systems.

By 2012, Ford plans to fit nearly 90 percent of the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup with EPAS.

“As we use advanced technology like Electric Power Assisted Steering to improve the fuel efficiency across our vehicle lineup, we have the opportunity to introduce new comfort and convenience innovations like Active Parking Assist,” said Ali Jammoul, Ford’s chief engineer for chassis engineering and steering systems. “This is technology not for the sake of technology, but technology designed to meet the needs and wants of customers.”

As Ford introduces EPAS in more vehicles, it will be able to offer Active Parking Assist in more models. In addition, Ford is working on using EPAS and other sensors for other smart technologies, including one that could prevent a vehicle from drifting out of lane on the highway.

Active Park Assist works in tandem with other new technologies that will be offered on the 2010 MKS and MKT and other Ford Motor Company vehicles, including Blind Spot Information System (BLIS(TM)) and Cross Traffic Alert. BLIS employs a sensor on the outboard rear quarter panel that monitors the traditional blind spot area, and can notify the driver with a warning indicator light in the corresponding side view mirror if the sensors in this optional system detect a vehicle in the blind spot. Cross Traffic Alert uses BLIS sensors to help detect cross traffic when backing out of a parking space.

More details about the new Lincoln MKT seven-passenger luxury crossover will be available when it debuts at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

The Lincoln MKS sedan — which went on sale this summer with strong initial sales that have helped Lincoln gain share in the luxury segment in the second half of this year — raises the bar on exclusive technologies offered in a luxury car. The Lincoln MKS features:

– Adaptive Cruise Control, which allows the driver to set and maintain the vehicle’s speed, while a radar monitors traffic ahead. This optional system automatically adjusts speed and slows the vehicle to maintain the set distance behind traffic ahead.

– Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, which allows the driver to enter the Lincoln MKS and start the engine without using the key. Drivers simply carry the special fob as they approach the vehicle, touch the keyless entry keypad on the B-pillar, open the door and, with the brake pedal engaged, start the engine by pushing a button.

– SecuriCode(TM) Keyless Entry Keypad, which is the next generation of a feature familiar to many Lincoln owners. It allows access to Lincoln MKS by unlocking the driver’s door by entering a pre-set five-digit code. The newest version is now flush-mounted to the B-pillar with backlit numerals that illuminate to the touch.

– Adaptive Headlamps with Standard High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps, which enhance nighttime visibility by illuminating more of the road ahead. Sensors monitor the vehicle’s speed and steering wheel input to engage headlamp movement and increase the driver’s field of vision.

– Rain-Sensing Wipers, which use an optical sensing system to gauge precipitation and automatically activate and adjust the wipers. The Lincoln MKS driver can choose among five sensitivity settings.

– EasyFuel(TM) Capless Fuel-Filler System, which provides a hassle-free and more consistent seal than a manual fuel cap. EasyFuel self seals when refueling is complete.

– SYNC, which is standard on the Lincoln MKS. This award-winning voice activated communications and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft fully integrates Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phones and digital media players into the vehicle. SYNC incorporates 911 Assist, which can notify a local 911 emergency operator in the event of an air bag-deploying incident. SYNC Vehicle Health Report feature can keep the driver notified of scheduled maintenance, service intervals and vehicle system health information.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 224,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit http://www.ford.com.

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Oregon government wants to GPS-equip your vehicle, tax your mileage


The Oregon Department of Transportation is planning to transition away from gas tax and into a GPS-enabled mileage taxation model.  $20 million will be required just to see if the new taxation model is commercially viable and of course taxpayers will pay for this.  The program would use hardware attached to gas pumps to track the amount of gas consumed and some sort of GPS device attached to each vehicle to track mileage.  During a 2007 test run with 300 drivers, the tax ended up costing drivers 1.2 cents per mile but also included a refund of the state’s 24 cents per gallon gas tax.

Of course a program like this has all kinds of potential issues.  Privacy is number one.  Oregon citizens are concerned that GPS devices could be used by government to monitor where a vehicle travels and then potentially store that information.  The Oregon government states that GPS would only be used to track mileage.  There is also the potential for rural Oregon citizens to pay more than their fair share of taxes due to more travel than urban residents.  Then there is the issue of public versus private property.  Will citizens have to pay mileage tax for driving on private property that’s already taxed?  What about public roads that aren’t maintained?  Will citizens have to pay taxes for travel on roads that the government spends no money on?

This is a tough issue.  I understand that governments have to find new ways to raise money in order to function, especially as vehicles become more fuel efficient.  But this is a program that has all kinds of roadblocks and would probably cost $100’s of millions to implement–all contributed from Oregon taxpayers.  What do you think?  Should the mileage tax fly?

Earlier in December, the European Commission, in a similar move, said it was considering an import tax on GPS-equipped mobile phones.

via techdirt

(Image Credit: Infinite Wilderness)

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ASUS Eee PC 900SD launches

asus900sd ASUS Eee PC 900SD launches

Netbooks will probably see a large presence on GPSObsessed over the coming year as they rapidly gain popularity.  I’m covering them because I believe the format will becoming a presence in the portable GPS market, especially as chipmakers start building GPS and Wi-Fi geolocation capabilities into their Systems on Chip (SoC).

ASUS has released the Eee PC 900SD with an 8 GB SSD, 512 MB of RAM, and a 0.3 megapixel webcam.  It’ll also feature a battery life of 3.5 hours and boast 10 GB of online storage space which ASUS calls the “Super Hybrid Engine”.

Although no pricing or availability dates have been made public for North America, when the ASUS Eee PC 900SD shows up it will come in blue, gold, purple, black and white color options.

via obsessable

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Nextar NXBT-001, NXBT-002 Bluetooth units a perfect companion to Nextar GPS

Nextar GPS fans may want to take a look at a couple of Nextar Bluetooth units debuting at CES 2009 and slated to hit US shelves in the spring.  The solar-powered units recharge when they are in standby mode, eliminating the need to be plugged in to a DC power unit.

nextar nxbt 002 Nextar NXBT 001, NXBT 002 Bluetooth units a perfect companion to Nextar GPS

The NXBT-001 has an LED signal display, supports A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) and AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) Bluetooth, and sport 10 hours of talk time and 250 hours standby time when fully charged.

The NXBT-002 is smaller, has an LED backlit display and caller ID, but only gets 6 hours of talk time and 150 hours standby time when fully charged.

When the Nextar NXBT-001 and Nextar NXBT-002 hit shelves in the spring, MSRP has been set at $59.99 and $69.99 respectively.

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ASUS S121 netbook pictures leaked

asuss121 ASUS S121 netbook pictures leaked

ASUS’ S121 netbook has leaked onto the web in picture form.  The photos look to be official but specifications haven’t been included unfortunately.  However, the S121 is based on the ASUS S101 which has a 10.2-inch display and uses a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU.  According to Electronista, the ASUS S121 will likely use the same CPU but the screen size is supposed to be upped 2-inches and possibly by a larger keyboard.  Other S101 specs that will likely be found on the S121 include 1 GB of RAM, a draft-N Wi-Fi module, Bluetooth 2.0, and a VGA webcam.

The S101 has hybrid storage–16GB solid state drive or 30GB of hard disk space–but it’s unclear whether the S121 will have the same.  Since there are no specs available it would just be silly to wish for a price and/or release date.  That said we have neither.  But should these photos be official it’s likely that the ASUS S121 will hit shelves soon.

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Clarion Mind gets reviewed: Capable GPS navigator, not quite a mobile internet device

clarionmindreview2 Clarion Mind gets reviewed: Capable GPS navigator, not quite a mobile internet device

I was excited when the Clarion Mind GPS navigator/mobile internet device hit the United States earlier in 2008, and even though Clarion pissed me off earlier in December, I’m excited to see Boing Boing Gadgets take the device to the review slate.  While it did GPS navigation justice, it isn’t quite what Boing Boing would call a capable mobile internet device.  Says the reviewer:

“Like a smartphone without the phone or a netbook without a keyboard, it doesn’t quite nail the sweet spot assumed to lie between the two forms.”

But from a GPS perspective, turn-by-turn directions were fast, accurate, and smooth and with a powerful 800 MHz Intel Atom CPU Google Earth is impressive on the Mind as well.  And the processing power does media playback justice too.

If the device is missing anything it’s 3G connectivity relegating internet access to Wi-Fi hotspot use, better battery life, and downloadable applications or add-ons.  A 3G model is expected to come in 2009 however.

Currently you can find the Clarion Mind GPS navigator at Amazon for $649.99.

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Australia’s Telstra: Invest in wireless infrastructure now, or die

soltrujillo Australias Telstra: Invest in wireless infrastructure now, or dieChief executive Sol Trujillo of Australia’s Telstra telecommunications company says:

“We are leading the world, not Korea, not Japan, and that’s exciting.  But if you don’t have a high-speed wireless platform you’re not going to be as competitive” in terms of productivity gains.

This from a Fortune profile this morning of Trujillo’s turnaround of Telstra over the past couple of years with the launch of the telco’s Next G wireless network.  Basically a 3.5G network, Next G currently has download speeds of 14 megabits per second.  It initially cost Telstra US$765 million to build the network infrastructure with hundreds of millions more invested.  For a quick comparison, Baltimore’s early 4G WiMAX has download speeds of 2 to 5 megabits per second, but has the potential to hit 50.

The real story here however is that Telstra’s ultrafast wireless broadband network is providing a platform for entrepreneurs to contribute to Australia’s economy in ways they couldn’t otherwise.  Especially in the areas of multimedia messaging and video.  Emergency first responders and mining companies often use video to enhance their respective services, not only in some cases by reducing travel costs and improving efficiency, but also by saving lives.

As an aside, Telstra has had a two-fold increase in data revenues per user over the past two years and 5 percent increase in fiscal revenues in 2008.

This has me thinking.  What would the potential cash infusion into the global economy equal just from innovative entrepreneurs piggybacking on 4G wireless broadband networks?

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Clear Network business pricing for Portland emerges

Business pricing for the WiMAX-powered Clear Network for metropolitan Portland have emerged.

From Sidecut Reports:

While the in-office broadband prices seem competitive — unlimited usage with 6 Mbps/1 Mbps download/upload speeds for $75 a month — the more-compelling offer may be the “mobile shared” services which, allow for both in-office and local-roaming use. The mobile plans (which are advertised under a “coming soon” banner) will let small offices support teams of users on the same billing plan, starting at $75 a month for a shared 15 Gbytes of mobile data. According to the plan page, each additional device is $25, which theoretically makes such a service much cheaper than cellular data plans, which average about $60 a month per user for much slower speed links.

While the Clearwire/Xohm rollout so far has been targeted mainly at consumer use, the success of standalone WiMax services for business from providers like Towerstream suggests that setup speed, low pricing and flexibility could make WiMax an good choice for budget-minded small businesses. The Clearwire page also advertises a Business Voice service (”coming soon”) for $25 a month, but no details whether that is per office or per user. If it’s $25 for the whole office, that’s a real enticement, almost as good as the free VoIP we suggested as a pot-sweetener.

We’ll likely find out more details at the January 6 Clear launch in Portland. The Clear Network is the result of a recent merger between Clearwire and Sprint’s Xohm WiMAX networks.

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Provigent gets $10 million for 4G base station chips, wireless applications

Provigent, a semiconductor company that produces “Systems on Chip” (Soc) for the wireless industry, has raised $10 million in fifth-round funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners according to VentureBeat.  The California and Isreal-based firm will use the money to develop chips for wireless applications and 4G base stations.  In addition, the new round will help Provigent expand internationally although it’s already active in Europe and Asia.

Previous investors include Sequoia Capital, Pitango Venture Capital, Globespan Capital Partners, Magma Venture Partners, Ascend Technology Ventures, Delta Ventures, Stata Venture Partners and Viterbi Group.  Its Advisory Board includes Dr. Andrew Viterbi, co-founder of Qualcomm, and Ray Stata, co-founder of Analog Devices.

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