No longer just an oddly flavored potato chip, the Limon is also a new sexy-time vibrator from a startup called Minna. The company is looking for backers for its “couples’ vibrator”, which just so happens to look like a pink lime-lemon hybrid.
However, the Limon is no lemon or lime. It’s an ultra-powerful bullet vibrator that is controlled by how hard you squeeze it. That is, the harder you squeeze the lime part of the Limon, the harder the lemon-style tip will vibrate.
Minna claims that it’s the strongest vibrator of its type in the world, thanks to the fact that they squeezed a motor made for larger toys into a lime-sized bullet vibrator. Of course, I’m sure the Jimmyjane Form 6 or the Hitachi Magic Wand beg to differ.
The Limon also has a customizable memory, meaning that you can record and playback the vibration levels exactly how you did before.
Consider the scenario: Two lovers are chilling with their Limon and one has to go away for a week on some business trip. They can use the Limon the night before, and the lonesome lady will then have a recording of her partner giving her the good stuff. Sexy.
Minna Life – Limon Couples Vibrator from BENT LENS Productions on Vimeo.
The Limon battery will last anywhere between 90 minutes and three hours, depending on how aggressive you are. It’s waterproof, charges by USB cable and comes in both teal and pink.
Of course, we’ll have to conduct a complete review, lest we shamefully leave these claims unverified. But for now, the Limon is looking for backers so that it can be made into a reality. It’s expected to go for $120, but donations start at $25.
- Ships with Windows 8 64-bit
- 13.3-inch display running at 2560 x 1440 (221ppi)
- 256GB SSD
- 2GHz Intel Core i7-3537U Processor
- 8GB of RAM
- MSRP: Starts at $1,599, model reviewed costs $1,999
- An incredibly high-res display for a Windows laptop
- 2 years of free premium support
- Respectable battery life
- No discrete graphics card
- Man, this thing is expensive
Eye Candy Meets Horsepower
Toshiba isn’t exactly known for churning out attractive, high-end notebooks, which is why the company’s new Kirabook is such an oddity. It’s a handsome little thing if you’re into very (and I mean very) understated designs, though I imagine at least a few people will think the Kirabook looks downright dull.
The Kirabook is wedge-shaped like many of its other ultrabook brethren but it’s thankfully very light on branding (save for a small, chrome-esque Toshiba logo slapped on a corner of the Kirabook’s lid), and a finish that comes as a result of the magnesium alloy chassis is nice enough. Sadly, that magnesium frame doesn’t mean the Kirabook is immune to scratches, something I quickly learned after stowing the thing in a checked bag while flying to Austin.
It’s got a respectable spate of ports for an ultraportable too: AC power aside, there are a total of three USB 3.0 ports plus an HDMI out, a headphone jack, and a full-size SD card reader.
If anything, the real eye-catcher here is that sumptuous screen. The Kirabook plays home to a 13.3-inch display running at 2,560 x 1,440 (that makes for a pixel density of 221ppi), and Toshiba likes to crow about it being the highest resolution display available on a Windows notebook. Credit where credit is due, that display is one of the Kirabook’s most notable high points: colors are generally vivid and bright, and the panel seems hardy enough to handle even the most frenzied touch inputs. That’s not to say it’s without its shortcomings though. There’s a bit of light leakage around the edge of the display panel and viewing angles aren’t the greatest — looking at the thing dead-on is pleasant enough, but there’s a bit of color distortion to be seen once you start moving around.
But there’s one big problem when it comes to the display, and it has nothing to do with the panel itself. I won’t belabor the point too much — by now you’ve probably already made up your mind about Microsoft’s divisive OS — but the biggest disappointment is that Windows 8 and the apps that run on it just aren’t completely tuned for these HiDPI screens yet. Cruising through the touch-friendly start screen is a visual pleasure, as is firing up apps like Internet Explorer, Maps, Vimeo, and Netflix since they all thrive on these sorts of displays. Jumping into the desktop is another world entirely, and it’s full of applications and menus that appear blurry and ill-suited for such a neat display. What a bummer.
When it comes to performance, the Kirabook manages to hold its own very nicely. We like running Geekbench around these parts, and on average the Kirabook scored between 7500 and 8000 when it came to running 64-bit benchmarks: very solid numbers, and there wasn’t anything that came up during my day-to-day use that managed to flummox the little guy. That is, except for gaming — the lack of a discrete GPU in a $2000 machine is concerning, and the integrated Intel HD 4000 plus the need to push a crazy number of pixels means that there will be very little Bioshock Infinite running on the Kirabook unless you dramatically crank down the quality.
Speaking of day-to-day use, the Kirabook has more than enough juice to get you through the day. I’ve been toting the 2.9 pound notebook around for the better part of a week, and I’ve consistently been able to camp out in coffee shops and keep the Kirabook going for just over six hours.
There’s little question that the Kirabook is actually a pretty speedy little bugger, but there is a caveat. The downside to all that power is that the tiny fan nestled on the Kirabook’s bum will fire up after even slight provocation, and it’s just loud enough to be grating if you decide to do anything processor-intensive for a while. If you work in environments with plenty of ambient noise it may not be much of a problem, but be warned — those of you who like to work in quiet, zen-like tranquility will probably get pretty miffed.
I haven’t fiddled with many of Toshiba’s older laptop keyboards, but the consensus seems to be that they were largely rubbish. Keyboard snobs may just turn up their noses after a few moments with the Kirabook’s 6 row affair, but despite the fact that the keys feel a bit small I found that using it to peck out posts and emails wasn’t too bad at all after a break-in period. Sad to say, the trackpad was a completely different story.
See, the trackpad occasionally seems to forget what it’s capable of — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to two-finger scroll in Chrome using the trackpad before the Kirabook suddenly stops accepting multi-finger inputs. This may not seem like a big deal to some of you (especially since the Kirabook sports a highly responsive, glass-covered touchscreen) but it’s tremendously frustrating to discover what worked 5 seconds ago doesn’t work any more for no apparent reason.
The elephant in the room here is the price tag that’s attached to this highly portable package — the configuration I’ve been spending time with will set you back a cool $1,999. Toshiba has tried to temper the sticker shock by loading the Kirabook up with full versions of Photoshop Elements and Norton Internet Security (ugh), not to mention two years worth of premium support from a dedicated team of Kirabook specialists all within the United States, but the price differential will probably be enough to make some would-be ultrabook purchasers balk.
Who is it for?
No. If you’re an artist looking to get some work done, I suspect the blurry, pixelated text and images that result from mixing a hi-res screen and applications that aren’t really ready for it may be enough to get you running for the hills.
On the plus side, Photoshop makes full use of what limited screen real estate the Kirabook affords you and it’s easy enough to get into the swing of things… if you’re willing to squint, that is. Hooking the Kirabook up to an external monitor helps quite a bit, but the sketchy trackpad means you’ll definitely need other peripherals to chip in too.
No. If you’re a founder looking for a smart way to spend your newly-raised seed funds, you’d probably do well to stay away from the Kirabook. That’s not to say it’s a bad computer, but the crucial bang-for-the-buck factor is notably absent here. The most basic touchscreen-laden Kirabook retails for $1,699, or $100 more than an a higher-end 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. That’s not an insignificant premium to pay when the Kirabook is marred by a few prominent issues. And sure, you can pick out a slightly less expensive version that eschews the touchscreen, but then there’s really no point in Kirabook in the first place.
Maybe? 13.3 inches may seem a little cramped for coding, but that multitude of pixels means that you’ve got plenty of real estate for crafting apps and tapping into APIs. Arguably the price tag is still too steep if all you’re looking for is a machine to run Visual Studio, Android Studio, or good ol’ Notepad++, but there’s nothing here that would immediately disqualify the Kirabook from being a coder’s companion.
You know, for all of the little things Toshiba either got wrong or didn’t execute that well, I still actually really like the Kirabook. The company took a shot on something different, and even though this first iteration isn’t exactly a home run, it has made me rethink the prospect of spending my own money on a Toshiba computer.
Once the Kirabook drops in price (which shouldn’t take long since Intel’s new Haswell chips are barreling down the pipeline), Toshiba’s nifty premium ultrabook may find the success it deserves. For now though, it’s just too pricey and too unpolished for anyone but the biggest Toshiba die-hards to splurge on — here’s hoping that Toshiba manages to firm up the formula when it comes time to whip up the Kirabook 2.
More signs today the HTC First might also be the last smartphone to ship with Facebook Home pre-installed: UK carrier EE confirmed today that the first Facebook Home phone won’t be launching in the UK soon as planned, as Facebook has decided to concentrate its efforts on making improvements to the Home software before looking to add international markets. EE says it will soon be contacting customers who already used its pre-order system to express interest in the First to let them know about the delay, which is indefinite in length.
Here’s the full statement direct from EE:
Following customer feedback, Facebook has decided to focus on adding new customisation features to Facebook Home over the coming months. While they are working to make a better Facebook Home experience, they have recommended holding off launching the HTC First in the UK, and so we will shortly be contacting those who registered their interest with us to let them know of this decision.
Rest assured, we remain committed to bringing our customers the latest mobile experiences, and we will continue to build on our strong relationship with Facebook so as to offer customers new opportunities in the future.
We’ve also received a near-identical statement from Orange in France, where customers were also able to register their interest, so this isn’t limited to just the UK.
This is not great news for either Facebook or HTC. We’ve seen reports that Facebook Home has been performing poorly as a download, and that the First isn’t selling well in the U.S. Home currently has a 2.5 cumulative average rating in the Google Play store, and AT&T is reportedly in the process of discontinuing the HTC First, though we’ve not heard definitely either way if that’s the final word as of yet.
A so-called “Facebook Phone” under-performing is nothing new; the HTC Status did almost just as poorly, lasting only 36 days before AT&T started considering a swing of the axe.
As of press time, there’s still a button on the Facebook Home splash page that directs you to a page where you can express interest in a pre-order, but presumably that will come down as the carriers move to reflect this change in their own pages and alert customers of the change in the First’s status.
Update: Facebook has povided the following official statement regarding its decision, which mirrors those issued by EE and Orange France:
We’ve listened to feedback from users on their experience using Home. While many people love it, we’ve heard a lot of great feedback about how to make Home substantially better. As a result we’re focusing the next few months on adding customization features that address the feedback we received. While we focus on making Home better, we are going to limit supporting new devices and think it makes a lot of sense for EE and Orange to hold off deploying the HTC First in Europe.
Being behind in a market sucks, and it’s understandable to want to lash out at the top dog, as Microsoft has shown it’s willing to do with Google in search and email, and now with Apple in tablet computers. A brand new Windows 8 ad pits the iPad against Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet, in an attempt to show how much more versatile the Asus VivoTab is vs. the iOS device.
Microsoft uses Siri’s voice (which isn’t difficult, given that it’s a fairly generic computer-generated female tone) to highlight what the Windows 8 tablet can do that the iPad can’t, including things like live tiles (it took me a couple views to figure out what “I don’t update like that” even meant), Windows Snap multitasking, and… PowerPoint. Then finally we get a price comparison, showing the much cheaper price tag for the Asus.
The problem is that not only is the Siri construct weak and her actual lines poorly written, but the abilities Microsoft chooses to highlight show exactly why it doesn’t “get” the tablet market. People aren’t looking for multitasking PowerPoint slide deck-creating machines; they have computers for that.
The closing bit here is maybe the worst part; showing that Apple’s iPad can easily provide a remarkably realistic experience for playing Chopsticks on the screen is not the way to trash your competition, especially if you noticeably can’t offer up an equivalent experience on your own hardware. Apple uses that in its own ads for a reason, and that’s to highlight the magical, delightful experiences users can have on its device. Countering that with a bunch of sober (though admittedly useful) features isn’t the way to turn the tide back in your favor.
An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified the Asus VivoTab in this ad as a Surface.
One interesting element of Google I/O this year were the sensors laid out everywhere around Moscone tracking environmental data throughout the event. Those types of sensors are now all around us, including in our phones and in various smart home devices, and now a new Kickstarter project from ManyLabs wants to help kids get familiar with them very early on.
The project is called Sensors for Students, and it wants to build a sensor collection kit that includes a plate for an open-source Arduino board and Grove shield combo, along with one of a variety of parts for a number of different types of sensors, including accelerometers, electromagnetic field detectors, a color sensor, a plant watering kit (similar to one component of the Bitponics automated hydroponic garden), and many more.
The team behind ManyLabs consists of Peter Sand and Elliot Dicus, who formed the nonprofit with the ultimate intent of spreading low-cost hands-on tools for teaching science and math to the classroom. Sand has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT, and has focused his work and research on computer vision, robotics and education.
Sand and Dicus wanted to make it possible to get kids learning data literacy and experimenting with open source hardware early on in life. Their goals sound similar to those of Adafruit, the NY-based hardware company that’s also trying to make people more comfortable with concepts around electrical engineering and DIY maker culture, beginning early on in life.
ManyLabs isn’t just supplying hardware, though, it’s also very clearly marketing a curriculum, with lessons and content being offered alongside each type of kit available to backers, along with online resources that will be made available on a yearly subscription basis. There’s no soldering required in the kits that are on offer, so these are suitable for a range of ages and skill levels, and ManyLabs hopes to put them in the hands of backers as soon as August this year, with kits beginning at $40. The most expensive individual kit is $75, and while ManyLabs requires you to supply your own Arduino, it’s still very affordable, a key value add for educational markets.