Remember Sphero? You will after you watch this awesome video showing it being used with the Sphero Golf app. Sphero is a robotic, smartphone-controlled orb. We first saw Sphero back in December, and then got to see it in action at CES 2011. Measuring in at 2.9 inches in diameter, this omni-directional spherical roller-bot is Bluetooth-controlled, induction-charged, and compatible with both iOS and Android devices. Also cool: there’s an open API so developers can write their own apps that work with the nifty gadget. It’s a little difficult to actually see Sphero Golf in action in the video since it’s shot at night, but the plethora of glow bracelets, glow glasses, and glow hats, paired with some seriously dance upbeat tunes, make it exciting nonetheless. Sphero is set to be priced at $130, and a purchase will include the Sphero orb, Sphero Golf, and two other apps. A handful of other Sphero-based games will also be available at launch on the Apple App Store and Android Market. Although it won’t be available for purchase until late 2011, if you already know you definitely want one of these Bluetooth-controlled balls, you can reserve one today.
Google’s launch of Google Instant last year was somewhat limited in its scope. At today’s Inside Search event Google Fellow Amit Singhal revealed some recent developments in Instant Search, which currently saves users between 2-5 seconds in each search. Google Instant will now be available in 32 languages and over 69 domains on desktop and mobile. Today it will be launching in all of Latin America, which means in 16 new domains. The Instant Search feature is also now available on Google’s “Image Search,” working by changing the images as you enter search queries. Singhal also announced “Instant Pages,” or what Singhal calls “the next big leap in Google Instant.” Instant Pages prerenders search results, allowing you to click on a search result and have it load instantly, as opposed to having to wait for four seconds. “Instant Pages” will be available on Chrome Beta in the next week and for adventurous Chrome Canary users today, with a Firefox version also in the works . Singhal estimates that Pages and Instant combined will save people between 4-10 seconds of search work per search. “At the end of the day our job is to get you the information you search for in the blink of an eye,” said Singhal. Or as Google Product Manager Johanna Wright more succinctly put it. “In Google’s DNA is speed.” Here’s video of Instant Pages in the wild, below.
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There’s one very neat new feature that will come to every iPhone and iPad 2 with iOS 5: a free remote cable release. According to Brian Sweet of the Cult of Mac blog, the volume button on the iPhone’s headphone cord works just as well as the volume button on the iPhone when it comes to triggering the camera app. This means you can stick the iPhone on one of many, many tripods or stands and snap a blur-free shot. It’s a shame that you can’t control the shutter speed manually for proper long, low light shots as you can with a real camera, but we’ll settle for what we can get — bear in mind that any camera made in the last 10-15 years requires an expensive, proprietary remote to do this, whether by cable or IR. And remember, this volume-button trick works for shooting video, too.
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