Tag Archives | Logitech

Logitech’s Harmony Link Turns iPads into Universal Remotes

The most fully-baked thing about Logitech’s Revue Google TV box from last year wasn’t the Google TV part. It was Harmony Link, Logitech’s technology, drawn from its venerable Harmony line of universal remotes, for controlling an entertainment center full of gadgets from one remote.

Now Logitech is readying a stand-alone Harmony Link that lets you use an iPad, an iPhone, or an Android phone as a Harmony remote. The setup includes a flying saucer-shaped gizmo that talks to entertainment devices via infrared and iPads and phones via Wi-Fi, plus iOS and Android apps. And it uses the same online configuration and database of 225,000 devices as traditional Harmony remotes to let you configure it for your entertainment setup with a minimum of fuss.

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Logitech’s New Unfolding iPad Keyboard: Wider is Better

What do an iPad 2 and an IBM ThinkPad from 1995 have in common? Not a whole lot–unless the iPad is equipped with Logitech’s new Fold-Up Keyboard and the ThinkPad is the famous 701 “Butterfly” model. Like the Butterfly ThinkPad, Logitech’s new gadget, which snaps onto the bottom of the iPad, packs a keyboard that’s wider than the case. As you lift up the iPad, the keyboard swivels out in two pieces–as shown in the first image above–and then pieces together. It’s also reminiscent of the Stowaway folding keyboard, a gadget which would be a wonderful iPhone accessory but which appears to no longer be available.

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Some Slightly Better News on Google TV

Last week, there was much discussion on the Web of one specific tidbit from Logitech’s dismal first-quarter financial results: more of the company’s Revue Google TV boxes were returned to Logitech than got sold.

Logitech has issued a press alert with a few notes:

  • The Revue price reduction to $99–it was originally $249–goes into effect today.
  • “Google TV 2″ is “expected” to come out this Summer. (Google hasn’t said much at all about it so far–the platform was barely mentioned in the keynotes at May’s Google IO conference.)
  • Logitech wants to be sure that people understand that the Revue’s “negative sales” didn’t mean that more consumers were returning the boxes that buying them. Consumer returns, the company says, were comparable to those of other products. “Negative sales” means that more distributors and retailers were returning unsold units than buying additional ones. (In other words, it wasn’t that people have been trying and disliking Google TV–they haven’t been interested enough in the idea to buy it, period.)

I still think that the concept of Google TV has promise. But at this point, its future is entirely dependent on version 2 being more usable and less buggy than the original, with more big-name content that doesn’t get blocked by the big media companies that own it.  And if version 2 turns out to be a disappointment, I suspect that Google TV will end up not being one of the arrows that Google chooses to put wood behind.


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Bad Revue: Logitech’s Google TV Box Suffers From “Negative Sales”

How is Logitech’s Revue–the first stand-alone Google TV box–selling? Logitech says sales are “slightly negative.” As in, more Revue boxes are coming back to Logitech than are being bought and used by consumers. I feel the company’s pain, but I’m not surprised by the bad news. I like the idea of Google TV, but when I tried the Revue last October, I found its software horrifically rough around the edges, to the point that it was no fun at all. Logitech has knocked the price down from $249 to $99, but a shaky product is a shaky product no matter what the price is.

As Daring Fireball’s John Gruber points out, the Revue is an example of a trend I cover in my new TIME.com Technologizer column: products which ship even though they’re clearly not ready to ship. I don’t know the Revue’s backstory–and tend to think that Logitech may have been as surprised by anyone at how iffy the Google TV software is. But reviewers like me and early adopters who bought the Revue found it lacking, and told other people. Is there any way that Google TV’s chances at success wouldn’t have been a lot higher if Google had finished it six months or a year later and invested the extra time in creating something that pundits and real people would have loved?

 


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Google TV Will Get a Reboot

Harry’s hopes that Google TV may be salvageable might be realized: Mobilized’s Ina Fried reports that the search company has learned from its mistakes, and will make some changes. The second incarnation of the product will be targeted as an “add-on” to TV in its traditional form, not as a replacement as some thought it was intended to be.

Of course, this whole Internet-television convergence thing is still in its infancy, and there’s a lot of work to be done before somebody gets it right. New apps are on the way, as well as more powerful hardware — with a focus on what TV won’t or can’t provide.

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Is Google TV Salvageable? I Think So. I Hope So, Anyhow!

Logitech announced its financial results yesterday, and among the factoids it released was this: It sold $5 million’s worth of its Google TV-powered Logitech Revue box rather than the $18 million it expected to move.

I found Google TV so disappointing in its initial incarnation that I’m not the least bit surprised that consumers are staying away in droves. And I’m curious how a smart company liked Logitech, which usually makes very good products, misjudged it so badly—maybe the platform that Google described to it in the planning stages was better than the one that shipped.

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Fun with the New Squeezebox Remote Android App

What happens when you install the new Logitech Squeezebox Remote app from the Android Marketplace and proceed to play around with the interface from a remote location? You scare the pants off anybody who’s still at home and wondering why the little radio box is suddenly playing music all by itself*. That’s what happened this afternoon when I decided to test out the new Android app despite not being anywhere near my Squeezebox. The app loaded beautifully, and apparently it had no trouble communicating with my player. Here’s the text message I received from home shortly afterward: “Your squeezebox just came on by itself. #afraidtogodownstairs”

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Sign of the Times: Logitech Launching a Couch Mouse

While knee-deep in the time suck known as Minecraft, I’ve tried on occasion to play the PC game from the comfort of my couch, laptop resting on the coffee table. Without a mouse pad, it was impossible, and even then I had a hard time laying the pad flat on the fabric.

Enter Logitech’s M515, which in a world of better tech product names might simply be called the Couch Mouse. The M515 has a sealed bottom case that keeps lint out while helping the mouse glide across cushions, blankets and carpets with minimal fuss.

But I don’t think the couch mouse is meant for gamers like me. With Web video growing in popularity, it’s probably intended for folks who want to lean back on the sofa while watching Hulu or Netflix on their laptops and home theater PCs. To that end, the mouse also has a hand sensor, so the cursor won’t slide around as you shift your weight.

It sounds like a neat idea, but I haven’t tried the M515; it’s scheduled for a Europe-first launch in April for 50 pounds, and U.S. launch plans are unclear. Hopefully the mouse’s fabric-friendly features don’t negatively affect performance on other surfaces.

(Semi-related: I’m glad to see Logitech fitting another product with its Unifying receiver, a tiny USB dongle that can read multiple Logitech devices at a time. I use one for my keyboard and mouse at home, and there’s just no going back.)


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Logitech Revue: A Swiss-Army Approach to Internet TV

After I attended Cisco’s unveiling of its ūmi telepresence system this morning, I hopped in a cab and went to Logitech’s launch event for Revue, its Google TV box. It made for a fascinating comparison.

Cisco’s product, like Apple TV and Roku, is about doing one thing.  All there devices compete with Revue, because it does many things:

  • Like Roku and Apple TV, it’s a way to watch movies and listen to music;
  • It supports not only services Google has partnered with, such as Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand, but just about any video on the Web;
  • It attempts to meld Internet video, live broadcast video, and DVR video into one seamless entertainment extravaganza;
  • It integrates with Dish Network boxes at a deeper level–it can control them and search recorded videos;
  • It lets you browse Web sorts of all sorts using the built-in Chrome browser;
  • It uses Logitech’s Harmony technology to let you control all your living-room gizmos;
  • It offers iOS and Android apps that let you use your smartphone as a remote control;
  • If you spend $150 for an optional Webcam, it provides ūmi-like HD videoconferencing (although at 720p rather than Cisco’s 1080p);
  • It’ll let you download and install Android apps (but not until early 2011, when Google makes its TV Android Market available).

Whew. (I’m probably forgetting a capability or two.) Revue costs $299.99, which is 3X the price of Apple TV and 5X the cost of the cheapest Roku, but it does so many things that I think the price isn’t nutty–if it turns out that the many things it does are things people want to do on their TVs. (That’s not a given: In many ways, Revue is a modern take on the idea Microsoft tried to popularize as WebTV a decade and a half ago, and which has fizzled in one form or another ever since. I’m still unclear whether there’s a critical mass of real consumers who want to use the Web on their TVs.)

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Google TV: More Details Emerge

One of the key selling points of Google TV compared to other Internet-TV systems such as Roku and the new Apple TV is the fact that it’s designed to tap into all the video on the Web, not just the stuff that’s available via services designed to work on a Google TV box. But that doesn’t eliminate the need for Google to work with content companies to ensure that their services work really well with Google TV. And today Google is announcing a passel of partnerships with outfits involved in video, music, and other more: CNBC, HBO, Turner, the NBA, Pandora, Napster, Twitter, and more. It’s also revealing that it has deals in place with both Amazon and Netflix, replicating the two core services on Roku.

More details here:

We still don’t know exactly when Logitech plans to ship its Revue, the first stand-alone Google TV box, or how much it’ll charge for it. That information will presumably be announced at an event Logitech is holding on Wednesday of this week–I’ll be there, and will report back with that news and more thoughts on Google TV then.


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