I have a friend who works in China, and he’s always buying all these weird gadgets that seem to steal from every other gadget in the world. They look somewhat legit, until you find that it’s impossible to navigate past the cumbersome user interface. Maybe he’s just not looking in the right places for the cool stuff — in Brazil, they’ve made this idea a bit cooler by selling at open air markets like Sao Paulo’s Santa Efigenia, phones that look like the iPhone 4 but run on Android 2.2. The irony of the situation is that these hail from China too. No one can run away from China.
Recently successfully backed on Kickstarter: the voice-activated computer Ubi which connects online via wifi once it’s plugged into a power socket and helps you do stuff like search the Internet, set the alarm and call your friend. Sounds familiar? Uh huh, we want to test-drive Ubi and Siri on the same commands to see which is faster. Then again, with its home connectivity, Ubi — the brainchild of a Toronto-based team — has the potential to wallop Siri with stuff it can do that Siri can’t, such as adjusting temperatures and lights.