At CNET Car Tech, we spent September 2006 to April 2007 traveling the world to see the latest concept cars at the major auto shows. We've gathered photos of the most significant concepts in one place so you can see the design directions of major carmakers. See Chevy trying out environmentally friendly cars. See Hyundai desperately working on a crossover. See Honda and Acura struggle to figure out what its future cars will look like. Mazda shows off a clear design direction, while Toyota takes a stab at a Prius successor.
Update, 5/30/07: I knew this wasn't the first concept of its kind, and sure enough, our own Candace Lombardi had covered one in a previous life. Cedric Tay's 360 Degree Digital Camera even won a European design award.
While it lacks the visceral impact of the film version shown to the left, designer Ye Chen's hypothetical digital camera optimized for shooting 360-degree panoramas has the advantage of being a lot smaller and cooler looking. The camera concept, posted today on the Yanko Design site, incorporates a rotating camera lens, essentially turning the entire camera body … Read more
Microsoft held a design contest for new PC concepts, and Bill Gates himself showed off some of the top contestants during his keynote speech at the Windows Hardware and Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Los Angeles. The prize winners certainly broke traditional molds, ranging from the "Bulb PC" (pictured here) to one dubbed "Made in China," sort of futuristic tablet using a chopstick-like stylus. See more photos from the show at this gallery.
Review Basics is a collaborative workspace for small teams and businesses. It runs right in your browser, and offers a fairly simple and straightforward way for others to share and leave feedback on photos, video files, and office documents. The interface runs entirely in Flash, so there are no special extensions to download, or programs that need to be installed on your computer. Just start up a workspace and go.
Review Basics works with a variety of common office document standards like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and PDF. It also can handle uploading an entire zipped folder, so if you get a zipped attachment in an e-mail, you can upload it straight to the service without having to unpack it and send files one at a time. Review Basics also handles videos, although they have to be in the .FLV Flash format, which despite its popularity on the Internet, isn't a consumer-friendly standard compared to .MOV and .AVI. Files are capped off at 25MB apiece, so if you're working with any video clip over a minute or two, it's likely to be too large.
Annotating media is fairly simple. Users get five different tools to mark what's on the screen: boxes, arrows, a highlighter, call-outs, and emoticons. There is no drawing tool, which is one thing I enjoy and make use of on other collaborative workspace services like ConceptShare [hands-on] and Octopz [hands-on]. I think at a basic level it makes things feel familiar, like using a pen. There are still boxes which can be resized and color coded, but for irregularly shaped elements, you're out of luck.
To separate which feedback is being displayed, you can toggle each person's edits on and off. It's a lot like PhotoShop when you show or hide layers, and useful when you have more than two or three people working on a piece of media at a time, as things tend to get crowded.
Review Basics is very versatile for a free app, but it's missing a few things I think would make it far more competitive in this space. I'd like a way to leave audio or video notes. Some people (like me) find it easier to hit a record button, say something and move on, instead of writing it out. I'd also like to see live chat or live video conferencing, something that can take telephones out of the equation for both businesses and customers. The service is planning on moving to a paid model in the future, adding these things would certainly put it in the realm of some of the other services charging monthly fees.
The team has put together a series of hands-on demos you can play with to get a feel for the service. [More screens after the break.]
Crave generally tries to stay away from concept products and designs, as we have enough trouble as it is staying grounded in reality without them. But every once in awhile an idea comes along that we just can't pass up--and the "Radia Cell Phone" is one of them.
This handset, if it can be called that, has an outer rim of brushed aluminum encircling a large touch display but is still small enough to fit in your pocket, according to Yanko Design. Granted, it may not be the most practical design (we can't imagine using it … Read more
Thirty-two start-ups and 11 established companies pitched their Web-based business products at the Under the Radar: Why Office 2.0 Matters event last Friday. That's a lot of productivity right there. Webware bloggers Josh Lowensohn and Erica Ogg covered all the start-up pitches--click the "UTR" tag beneath this blog to read about them.
From the 31 start-ups, we picked five favorites (see video). They are:
Calgoo has a neat solution for working with schedules from your work and home lives. It's a problem we all have. See previous Webware coverage.
Sandy is the new e-mail assistant … Read more
Fax machines, couriers, and e-mail are old news. Today's reviewing and meeting apps use the Web to share desktops, photos, and live video.
ConceptShare is a neat reviewing tool. We have reviewed ConceptShare before. VH1 used the professional version of this tool to redesign its Web site. ConceptShare's demo was really slick, showing the crowd a step-by-step brainstorming session on a design for a business card. ConceptShare focuses on asynchronous communication, meaning users note suggestions and changes without the need to have people in the room. It's almost like passing around a story among copy editors. It'… Read more
OK, so, this is the "Wave Chaise," designed by Roberta Ramme and recently showcased on Born Rich. It's a gorgeous oversize comfy-chair with a flat-screen TV, storage space for CDs and DVDs, and a computer desk built into the back. The designer is touting it as a piece of furniture for tech-savvy, well-moneyed teenagers. I only fall into category #1 (and even still, I only like to think I'm tech-savvy), but I still totally want this thing. Why? This will be the centerpiece of my dream office.
The only problem is that because it's (ostensibly) … Read more
I love the Geneva auto show for its blend of fashion and engineering; concept cars to showroom rides. The 2007 event did not disappoint. As with every major car show I cover, the first thing people ask me is "what did you like?" So here's my personal Top 5 from Geneva (excluding the Hotel des Bergues, which is always my favorite thing about Geneva.)
5. New Ford Mondeo - Because I dream of Ford bringing its cool Euro cars here one day.
4. New Mercedes C Class - Because it's a C Class you won't … Read more
Car designer Bertone has been around for a long, long time. To celebrate its 95th anniversary, the company did what it does best: it designed a car. Shown at the 2007 Geneva auto show, the Bertone roadster takes a retro design and adds modern components. The doors swing up on hinges integrated into the rear wheel fenders. Transparent inserts in the doors show off the use of modern plastics in body components.
The Bertone roadster shape hearkens back to the 1947 Fiat 500, an example of which is also on display in the Bertone booth. The Bertone roadster is built … Read more