The Tiggly Educational App Lets Babies Learn Shapes On Your Expensive Tablet

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Tiggly is a toy for kids who might be past the “teethe on your iPad” and just below the “I want to play the birds game” stages of mental development. Designed by a parent, Steve Miller of Cambridge, MA, the system includes three little shapes and a set of apps that allow kids to interact with shapes, colors, and animals on the screen.

In my experience, kids are using iPhones and iPads younger and younger. Our eight month old stares intently at pictures of baby faces on the iPhone and my son and daughter knew how to slide to unlock before they could crawl. This gives them something fun to do on the iPad and, using capacitive touch points, allows them to put shapes right on the on-screen representations in order to win games and interact with characters.

The toy and three apps cost $ 29. The apps are quite simple and include:

Tiggly Safari is a fun, immersive app where toddlers are guided to place shapes on the screen to form animals that come to life Target age: 2 to 3 yearsTiggly Draw allows toddlers to use the Tiggly Shapes as stamps and as paint brushes. Target age: 18 months and up

Tiggly Match is a game that teaches kids how to identify shapes. Target age: 18 months to 2 years

Clearly we’re not working on advanced particle physics here, but it definitely looks like something I could get into with the kids. Miller built the toy for his children after realizing that the educational games for the very small on the iPad required a level of interaction that was quite difficult for the wee ones. Miller needs a minimum run of 5,000 pieces to make these fairly cheaply so he’s looking for a Kickstarter pledge of $ 50,000 to start shipping these things. He’s at about $ 10,000 so maybe we’ll have some happy shapes to help smear pureed pears all over our iPads this holiday.


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TechCrunch » Gadgets

Watch Nerdery: Up Close With The New Seiko “Orange Monster”

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If you know me, you know two things about me: I love watches and I smell, faintly, of ferret. That’s why I’d like to share my excitement at this review of the new Seiko SRP313K1 “Orange Monster,” one of the nicest and least expensive automatic diving watches you can buy.

I’m a huge fan of the Seiko Orange Monster. It’s a perfect “first watch” for a beginning collector and at about $ 300 it’s not very expensive. It has a solid case and bezel, a very legible face, excellent lume, and the band can last years. In fact, my Dad’s old Seiko diver from the 1970s had a rubber band that finally snapped in 2009. These new models are on par in terms of quality and durability.

The new divers in this series have an improved movement, the 4R36. This movement has a “hacking” seconds hand – that is you can stop it when you pull the crown all the way out, thereby allowing you and your crack commando unit that was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit to synchronize your watches. This model also allows you to hand-wind the movement, a valuable feature if you plan on setting this automatic down for a longer length of time.

The “New Monster” comes in multiple face styles including traditional orange with silver bezel, orange with black bezel, and a weird sunburst style that is a bit jarring to my purist’s sensibilities. I’ve found it for $ 289 online but expect it to be fairly hard to find in the U.S. until Seiko finally realizes that no one wants quartz dress watches that sell for $ 500 at Zales and instead wants these things. Seiko so rarely brings their truly great watches to the U.S. (I would kill to get a Golgo 13 watch, for example) so if you can spot one of these and it’s under $ 300 you should probably pick it up.

You can read the full review of the New “Orange Monster” here but I’ll try to pick one up to talk about for our upcoming gift guide. You know, for science.


TechCrunch » Gadgets

Google Refreshes The Nexus 7 With New Storage Options, Lower Prices, 3G Option

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The Nexus 7 is now a little more awesome. Google just released the details on a significant update that includes larger storage options for less money. Starting today, the Nexus 7 is available with 16GB for $ 199 and 32GB for $ 249. There is also a $ 299 32GB 3G model, providing Google plenty of ammo to fight off Apple and its new iPad mini.

Today’s news was supposed to be announced at a large NYC event. But Hurricane Sandy decided to come to town. Google instead announced the Nexus 7 updates along with Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Android 4.2 on its Android blog.

The Nexus 7 update does not bring any physical changes to the 7-inch tablet. It’s still the same Asus-made device as before — just a little cheaper. The new 3G model operates on HSPA+ GSM networks (AT&T and T-Mobile in the US).

Google also announced the latest version of Android today, which will hit the Nexus 7 shortly. Still designated Jelly Bean, Android 4.2 features multiple user accounts, a revamped camera interface, and quick settings. Android 4.2 also brings Photo Sphere panoramic camera, gesture typing, and wireless HDTV streaming, making up for the N7′s lack of HDMI port — but it’s unclear at this point if the N7 will get these features.

The new 3G 32GB model will be available on November 13. Look for it in the Google Play Store in the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Canada. The 16GB and 32GB WiFi-only model hits standard retail partners shortly.

So, for the trolls and fanboys, the 3G 32GB Nexus 7 is available for $ 30 less than the WiFi-only 16GB iPad mini and a whooping $ 260 less than the 4G 32GB iPad mini. Just saying.


TechCrunch » android

The iPad Mini’s Cannibalization Effects: Overpowering Or Overblown?

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The iPad mini seems downright hungry, and it has a taste not just for other small tablets on the market, but for its larger brethren, the iPad with Retina Display. Or at least, that’s what some analysts are saying, with expectations of the iPad mini’s cannibalization effect on existing iPad sales ranging from around 10 to 20 percent on average. But one suggests that it could be more like 50 percent, based on numbers Apple revealed at a recent court proceeding between itself and Samsung.

Tech-Thought’s Sameer Singh said that the 7.9-inch iPad mini will have a minimum of a 50 percent cannibalization rate of existing iPad sales, since the data from the trial showed that the iPad 2 was the most popular iPad sold over the course of the past summer, and ate into overall iPad sales about 58 to 61 percent. The reason and primary positive difference between the two? A $ 100 price drop compared to the 3rd generation iPad that went on sale the same time it got its retail value reduced.

Applying the logic that a $ 100 price cut caused that much cannibalization, it stands to reason that another $ 70 dip on top of that would have a compound effect and attract even more buyers away from Apple’s product, and that’s the linear thinking that Sing’s applying in this case. If he’s correct, Apple should still see increased sales overall, but a good chunk of those portions would be of lower value, owing to the smaller gross margins Apple has said itself it enjoys on iPad mini sales, and its lower overall cost.

Of course, not everyone is signing the same tune as Singh. In fact, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu told me in an email conversation today that the firm is modelling 25 million iPad sales for Apple’s December quarter, which would be around 10 million more than it sold during the year ago period. And while Sterne Agee doesn’t break out iPad mini sales, since it believes Apple won’t either given previous reporting practices (the company doesn’t break out individual Mac or iPhone model sales, either), he says that will there “will be some degree of cannibalization,” he’s expecting iPad mini sales to be “mostly incremental,” meaning the mini will largely be adding to sales of other iPad models rather than replacing them.

To some extent, we may never know exactly how much the iPad mini is eating up overall iPad sales; Apple breaking out iPad 2 sales was an exception to its standard reporting practices brought on by court order. But there are a few reasons why it won’t matter even if it does provoke as extreme a shift in buying patterns as Singh predicts.

For one, Apple will see its tablet sales grow as a whole, and at a faster rate than it would’ve without the iPad. That’s better long-term for the ecosystem and for generating loyal, repeat customers. And while it might not make as much off of each individual iPad sale given a different product mix, manufacturing processes will improve, and I doubt very much that CEO Tim Cook’s definition of “significantly” lower margins is the same as yours or mine.

Apple also enjoys a demonstrated halo effect with its products, so if one line is selling well, the others tend to sell well also, with customers being introduced via one device and then branching out to others. More iPad minis likely lifts Apple’s Mac and iPhone boats, if not the regular iPad, too.

Finally, as Cook noted during his company’s conference call last week, Apple isn’t worried about product cannibalization, so long as that prevents other companies from coming in and eating its lunch. 50 percent or higher is almost certainly an unrealistically high rate of cannibalization, but even if it weren’t, those are all sales that Apple is getting instead of its competitors, and the company has never been shy about making sure it, and not anyone else, is putting out so-called iDevice “killers.”


TechCrunch » Gadgets