TechnologyTell

Seth has been a technology journalist for the past five years, covering consumer electronics and gaming. You can find him on Twitter, @SethAFitzgerald.

SoftBank robot to reach US in less than a year

The humanoid robot from SoftBank will be reaching the United States within the coming year. The robot, which is named Pepper, will be available in US stores by the summer of 2015. SoftBank says Pepper can be used in households as a companion robot, but it is currently targeting Pepper at businesses as well. At this point, SoftBank says it has already received a few hundred inquires from companies interested in using Pepper.

Baidu Eye is a unique Glass competitor

The Baidu Eye was first mentioned near the beginning of 2013, and at that point, so little was known about the device that it was basically dismissed. Turns out that the Eye is a real wearable Baidu is moving forward with, though the product is still in its experimental stages. The Eye shares some things with Glass, namely that it goes on a user’s head, but it lacks a screen. Baidu thinks a screen so close to a person’s eye is bound to cause problems, so it has come up with an alternative design.

YouTube donation feature now available

YouTube is beginning to roll out a channel donation feature that was first mentioned by the company a few months ago. If a channel decides that it would like to receive donations from viewers, a tip jar feature can be enabled. Videos from channels that have enabled the tip jar will include a small icon that lets viewers know they can donate. The icon is located in the top left corner of a video, and it will open to the donation page when clicked.

Toshiba’s Chromebook 2 has a 1080p display

Toshiba has announced its latest Chromebook, and unlike some of the other Chromebooks on the market, it will not have a bad display. The Chromebook 2 has a 1080p resolution display and 4GB of RAM, though there will be another version of the laptop that is available with lower specs. The Chromebook 2 ships with 16GB of internal storage, but that can easily be upgraded since there is an included SD card slot.

Lenovo’s Y70 Touch is a slim and light gaming laptop

It is hard to find a gaming laptop that can also boast a slim design, but those laptops are beginning to hit the market in the 14-inch range. The same has not yet been true for 17-inch gaming laptops, at least until now. Lenovo has announced the Y70 Touch, a follow-up to its Y50, that weighs just 7.5 pounds but comes with more than enough power for gaming.

Cheap Windows tablets begin showing up

The first Windows 8.1 with Bing devices are now being introduced, and the first is the Toshiba Encore Mini. Toshiba’s tablet costs just $119.99, and it comes with a 7-inch 1024 x 600 display, Intel Atom processor, and an SD card slot. None of those specs are impressive, but Microsoft is marketing the Windows 8.1 with Bing devices as being good budget tablets, so the specs do not need to be on-par with more expensive tablets.

Tesla has plan for 400 Chinese charging stations

Tesla and China Unciom, a state-owned wireless carrier, will be working together to build 400 electric vehicle charging stations across China. There will be new stations built in 120 cities, and 20 supercharger stations will be created in 20 cities. The supercharger locations enable faster charging for Tesla vehicles when compared to regular electric vehicle charging stations.

Galaxy S4 on Sprint gets international WiFi calling

Frequent international travelers will be happy to hear that Sprint is pushing out an update for the Galaxy S4 that will enable international WiFi calling. The Galaxy S4 is now the first device on Sprint’s Spark 4G LTE network to get international WiFi calling, but there could be some extra fees involved.

Nokia Here maps launching on Samsung devices

Once the Samsung Gear S smartwatch is released in October, users will be seeing Here for Android on the device instead of Google Maps. A licensing agreement between Samsung and Nokia has brought Nokia’s services to other Tizen devices, so this is just an extension of that pre-existing agreement.

Google Authorship is no longer available

It felt like the end of Google Authorship was near when Google stopped showing author profile photos in search results in June, but now Authorship is actually gone. Authorship was added to Google Search in 2011, and the feature showed author information in applicable search results. As it attempts to unify the web and mobile search experiences, however, Google no longer sees a way for Authorship to be beneficial.

Simplicam is a new alternative to Dropcam

Arcsoft has released Simplicam, its own home security product that will compete against Google-owned Dropcam. Just like Dropcam, Simplicam lets users place cameras around their house and then monitor live feeds from the cameras from smartphones and tablets. The costs associated with Simplicam and Dropcam are nearly identical, but the former is meant to be easier to setup.

T-Mobile expanding family plan offer

T-Mobile is improving its Simple Choice family plan by increasing the number of lines that it can support. Ten lines can now be activated on a family plan, and those lines can receive twice as much data each month if a tablet is added to the plan. T-Mobile and Sprint are both trying to build their subscriber base, and while Sprint has been losing subscribers, T-Mobile has been gaining them on a quarterly basis.