With Steam Boxes
With Steam Boxes
With Steam Boxes
Welcome to our coverage of all the best Black Friday deals. Deals are continuing to pour in, and this post will be constantly updated right up to the point when our Cyber Monday guide goes live. These deals are all subject to change and subject to price-matches (especially online price matches), and we can tell you that there are lots of deals still embargoed or not yet announced.
Sorry about the sheer verticality of this post, but we've got a ton of deals to remind you about from this week, along with a list of new ones that could have headlined our regular deal roundups. Please also take this opportunity to follow us on Twitter, as we really want to be able to ping you quickly with deals over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period, and in general.
Big things are coming for littleBits - the New York-based startup that makes lego-style electronics kits. The company, originally conceived by founder Ayah Bdeir in the MIT Media Lab (and backed in part by its head, Joi Ito), has already picked up traction for its first product: kits for children and hobbyists to create fun objects at home (see more in the video below). Today, it is announcing a Series B of $11.1 million to take that concept to the next level: building out a B2B platform for hardware innovation.
There are a number of science and tech partners already working with littleBits and its platform, although Bdeir says it will not be disclosing the names until next year, when the first products come out.
This latest round is being led by True Ventures and new investor Foundry Group, it it also includes new investors Two Sigma Ventures and Vegas Tech Fund (Zappos' Tony Hseih's fund); as well as Khosla Ventures, Mena Ventures, Neoteny Labs, O'Reilly AlphaTech, Lerer Ventures and angel investors. Brad Feld of Foundry is also joining littleBits' board. The company has now raised over $15 million. That includes a $3.65 million in a Series A, and $850,000 in Seed funding. During the Series A announcement in June 2012, littleBits also struck a manufacturing and supply chain management deal with PCH International.
Moving to a B2B model from one targeting consumers was always on the cards, says Bdeir. “It was a part of the strategy ever since I raised the seed round.” It was a two step strategy: step one was inventing kids for kids/education “to lower the barrier for entry to make it easier to start with electronics as possible, and the platform is step two. It's about raising the ceiling and putting the power in the hands of designers.
That is because at its heart, Bdeir says littleBits “is a tool and platform for others to invent.” Focusing on B2B will help littleBits position itself as “a leading hardware innovation platform in the world that others can use to invent and make their products and designs.”
Interestingly, this is actually a part of a bigger trend we're seeing in the hardware movement, to create products and platforms that help others realise their hardware visions. There is of course NYC neighbor Makerbot, and over in the UK, design agency Berg has launched Berg Cloud, a platform for those making connected devices - interestingly also a progression from a hardware product.
(In Berg's case, it was their Little Printer project that inspired CEO Matt Webb and others at Berg to pivot the company. It's also picked up a $1.3 million seed round from Connect Ventures, Initial Capital, and Index Ventures to realise their ambition of making it as easy to develop connected hardware as it is to develop for the web.)
LittleBits is not revealing any figures for how the electronics kids have sold (we have noted before that they are wonderful but are priced at a premium, with starter kits today costing just under $100). But Bdeir tells us that sales have quadrupled in the last year. In fact, part of the funding will be used to help make sure that the company can keep up with the demand its getting for the products - effectively that means more business development and sales people to close retail deals, and developers to continue making more things to add to the modular library to expand that offering. “The number of SKUs that we have is close to 80 and we have hundreds more on the way,” she says.
Back to the platform vision, the idea will be for new prototypes, and perhaps even products, to sit alongside those that are coming from littleBits itself. LittleBits will take a revenue share as part its business model. “We definitely want to support other businesses who want to start their own product lines,” she says. “A lot of game changers start in the hands of large companies these days, and then concepts get democratized and put in the hands of everyday people. But that is changing in areas like game development and manufacturing with the likes of Makerbot. We're doing the same with electronics. It remains a very top down industry, but now we are bringing it into the hands of everyone.”
A video of how littleBits' kit works:
MOGA have been making gamepad accessories for Android devices for a while. Today, they have announced on their website an adapted version compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. The company is the first to officially announce availability of an accessory that works with iOS 7′s GameController API (but not the last this week .
Logitech, ClamCase and others have hinted that they have competing accessories nearing release, but MOGA is the first company to openly announce available. The accessory will be available tomorrow — priced at $99 — from the Apple retail stores and the Apple Online Store in addition to MOGA’s site.
TouchArcade has published a hands-on review of the accessory. The gamepad doubles as a charging case, which helps to offset the power drain of heavy 3D games. In terms of hardware, the site complains that the device does not justify its price that well; the device is hollow and build quality is generally substandard.
More importantly, as this is an issue that will plague every iOS 7 controller that comes to market, TouchArcade note that the experience of using the controller will vary from game to game.
Additionally, I’ve found myself actually enjoying playing first person shooters on my iPhone for the first time I can ever remember. All the frustration of having your thumbs all over the screen desperately trying to look and move while avoiding and/or hitting a plethora of virtual buttons just totally fades away. If you’re a huge fan of iOS first person shooters, consider one of these controllers an absolute must-have accessory.
Even in the best games, rough edges are everywhere when using an iOS 7 controller. Virtual buttons still persist on screen regardless of whether or not you’re using a controller in most of the games I’ve tried. I’ve been the most excited for the potential of Bluetooth iOS 7 controllers, and having one that uses the Lightning port is vaguely disappointing because of the limitations it imposes.
It looks like it will take time for developers to properly adapt to this new input mechanism for iOS games.
Time is running out to apply to Hardware Battlefield. Have you submitted an application but didn't complete it? What the heck, man! Do it! Do it now! This is shaping up to be one of the coolest things we've ever done and it's all set on the amazing backdrop of CES in Vegas this January. We're going to have some amazing judges, some amazing entries, and some amazing times. We want you to apply.
If you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will review applications on a rolling basis, so it's to your advantage to submit as soon as you are ready. Due to strong demand, we are unable to review applications more than once, so please do not submit a draft application before you are ready for final consideration. Please note that video demos are required. We look forward to reviewing your application.
With the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro launch last month, many users have noticed and complained about issues relating to the computer’s keyboard and trackpad becoming unresponsive.
In line with Apple’s promise, a fix has been delivered:
This update is recommended for MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, late 2013) models. This update addresses an issue where the built-in keyboard and Multi-Touch trackpad may become unresponsive.
The solution comes in the form of the MacBook Pro Retina EFI Update 1.3, and this update is available via Software Update in the Mac App Store. Apple has also released an update for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro to fix issues relating to NVIDIA Graphics chips:
The most impressive thing about Josh Bader's website that documents the history of the Apple Mouse isn't how comprehensive it is. After all, you can count the number of major hardware revisions Apple's made to its mouse since 1983 on two hands. No, what makes Bader's site particularly wonderful is that all the illustrations have been painstaking created using nothing but HTML CSS.