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Google Briefcase and Google Gears


Every few weeks I dive into my site reports and check out how my hits are doing and what searches land visitors here.  Much to my surprise among the top search terms is "Google Briefcase."  My basic idea with Google Briefcase was for a desktop application that automatically saves your recent e-mails, documents, spreadsheets, and calendar events to your computer so you can access them when you're not online.  Originally I thought Google Briefcase could be a bit like Outlook or Palm Desktop, with different functions that correspond to the different Google services it interfaces with.  Or perhaps, it could manage synchronization and there would be full client side versions of Gmail, Calendar, and Docs & Spreadsheets.  But that all changed when I found out about Google Gears.  Google Gears is a browser extension (for Firefox and IE) that enables web apps to run offline in the browser.  Presumably this method would be a much more minimal development effort than creating full blown client-side versions of web applications.  Google Reader already works with Gears and they should totally develop Gmail, Docs & Spreadsheets, and Calendar to work with Google Gears next.  I can't wait to edit my Google Documents without a web connection, or look up an address or phone number I conveniently only have in my Gmail...

Big Price Reduction at Roku


Roku, one of my favorite companies (whose products I don't own) cut the prices of all their products.   The Roku SoundBridge (above) is a little device that allows you to navigate and play you entire iTunes library on your home speaker system wirelessly.  The SoundBridge wirelessly accesses your iTunes library, just like other computers running iTunes can play from each other's libraries.  Best of all the SoundBridge includes a display and remote for navigating all those tunes as well as basic playback functions; no running to your computer to skip a track like with AirTunes.  The SoundBridge can also play internet radio stations, and now the base model is only $79, I think about a year ago it was double that.  They also make the SoundBridge Radio which is basically table radio with all the SoundBridge functionality, so you don't need a separate speakers set.  The SoundBridge Radio is now $299 (down from $399).  I really hope this isn't a sign of desperation.  I always thought Bose and Roku would be great partners, maybe if Roku really is in trouble Bose will buy them out.

Asus EEE PC First Look


Notebook Review recently got a little hands on with the ASUS EEE PC.  Much to my surprise, it will sport an impressive 900MHz Intel processor.  The demo unit was running Linux which started up in about 10 second and shutdown in about 5 thanks to the flash based memory.  It seems the price has crept up to about $250 for the 8GM model (which is still damn impressive), and it should still be available in late August.  The Linux operating system includes basic office applications for editing and creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, as well as Firefox and a PDF viewer.  Also, much to my delight, theres an icon for Google documents!  Wow, this is honestly the first gadget that's come out in a long time that I'm not only really excited about, but is actually in my price range.

Asus Eee PC First Thoughts [Notebookreview.com]

Next Apple Multi-Touch Products Reprise

So after stepping back a bit, I think I may have to scale back my Apple multi-touch predictions.  I still believe that multi-touch will be the next big thing, but I think the transition may be a little more incremental than I originally thought.  After all, before Apple jumps into multi-touch with both feet they're going to need to be confident people really like it.  And that will probably mean a few baby steps along the way.  The news of a multi-touch mouse from Apple is a good example of such a step, even though I'm a little dubious that Apple will ever release it.

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