Surface or Sink?
The lavish Windows 8 tablet speculations circulating the globe were finally given some clarity during Microsoft’s private Hollywood event yesterday afternoon. It appears that CEO, Steve Ballmer, may very well have found a way to bring his company up for some fresh air. With the release of the Surface tablet computers, Microsoft has officially made the landscape interesting again. It may not be an “iPad killer”, but it will absolutely be an “ultrabook” competitor. A mobile work and play machine capable of fusing consumption and productivity, Microsoft can only hope that developers are willing to jump on this shiny-object’s Metro bandwagon. Without final pricing and the rest of the spec details, it’s hard to jump to any conclusions, but I won’t act like I’m not impressed.
Battery Life Science
A team of researchers based out of UC Berkeley’s AMP Lab have released Carat, an incredible useful iOS and Android app that provides you with personalized mobile battery life-saving recommendations. Simply install the app on your device and it will suggest ways to improve battery life such as updating your OS, killing the hogs, or reinstalling buggy apps. Carat clearly presents an estimation of the expected improvement time for each of its recommendations so you know exactly what sort of impact they will have on your phone or tablet. Describing itself as “Collaborative Energy Debugging”, the free app was built strictly with the intention of collecting more anonymous data for their research aimed at making your devices last longer on a single charge. The team at Carat also shares all of its bug data with the app developers themselves so they can fix these issues. It may certainly not be worthy of precious homescreen real-estate, but consider this a valuable gift for your Utilities folder.
Really Simple Twitter Polling
The most recent class of TechStars NYC graduates had an impressive showing during demo day last week, but PopTip caught my eye right away. The service offers an extremely simple way to create and deliver polls entirely within Twitter, providing the power to crowdsource at scale with minimal effort. By tweeting a question to your followers containing “cc/ #poptip” along with the hashtagged potential answers, PopTip takes care of the rest. Here’s an example tweet: “Who do you want to win the #England vs. #Ukraine match? cc/#poptip”. All of the responses will be nicely organized into a real-time metrics dashboard for the creator as well as a dedicated page of results available for the public to view and share. Even more impressive, respondents are free to misspell words or forget to hashtag their answers, ensuring that every tweet will be accounted for. Consider this a fine addition to your engagement arsenal and expect to see team PopTip take on Facebook in the next few weeks.