Lilbits: Giving old gadgets new life

Elroy Mariano

Pebble was one of the first companies in the smartwatch space, and even though it’s been years since a new Pebble device was released, aging Pebble smartwatches have a loyal following. And that’s led to some interesting developments, including the formation of a Rebble Alliance that built a cloud service […]

Pebble was one of the first companies in the smartwatch space, and even though it’s been years since a new Pebble device was released, aging Pebble smartwatches have a loyal following. And that’s led to some interesting developments, including the formation of a Rebble Alliance that built a cloud service that would allow old Pebble watches to keep working after the Pebble servers went offline.

Now Rebble is taking some of the money it’s raised and launching a grant program to encourage development of new apps and features for Pebble devices, such as a new smartphone app, new firmware, or new watch faces or apps, among other things.

It’s just one of the latest examples of independent developers breathing new life into old gadgets. Another recent (and kind of weird) example? A team of developers have created a custom ROM that brings Android 7 to a kid’s tablet that shipped with Android 4.4 in 2015.

Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.

  • Announcing: Rebble Grants! [Rebble]
    Rebble kept Pebble smartwatches working by offering a third-party cloud service after Fitbit acquired Pebble and shut down its servers. Now Rebble is launching grants to fund development of new software for old smartwatches.
  • Custom ROM for the LeapFrog Epic kid’s tablet [xda-developers]
    Developers port LineageOS 14.1 (based on Android 7 Nougat) to run on the 2015 LeapFrog Epic tablet for children (which shipped with a heavily skinned version of Android 4.4 KitKat).
  • Amazon Kids and Kids+ replaces Fire for Kids and FreeTime [Pocket Lint]
    Amazon renames its FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited services as Amazon Kids and Amazon Kids+ respectively. The basic service includes parental controls, while Kids+ is a subscription that includes age-appropriate eBooks, games, and videos.
  • 11TH Gen Intel Core Processors New Architectural breakthroughs [Boyd Phelps]
    Intel confirms that an octa-core Tiger Lake processor with support for up to 24MB of cache is on the way. But it’s most likely a Tiger Lake-H part that will have a 35W or higher TDP, and it won’t likely ship until next year.
  • Realme C17 Full Specifications and Promo Images Leaked [MySmartPrice]
    It looks like high refresh rate displays are the next feature to trickle down from premium smartphones to lower cost devices. Realme’s upcoming C17 is expected to have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 chip, but a 90Hz display.
  • Google Launch Night In [@madebygoogle]
    Google’s next hardware launch event is scheduled for September 30th. Expect new Pixel phones, a new Chromecast with Android TV media streaming dongle, and new Nest products.
  • Verizon to acquire Tracfone [Verizon]
    The largest wireless carrier in the US is buying the largest MVNO. Verizon says it’s spending more than $6 billion in cash and stocks to acquire Tracfone, which also operates the Straight Talk and Net10 brands.
  • Xbox Cloud Gaming Launches with More Than 150 Games
    Xbox cloud gaming launches September 15th, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members will have access to 150 titles at launch. Here’s the list.
  • Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 leaks in full via official promo videos [The Verge]
    Looks like Facebook is set to unveil the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset tomorrow. A pair of leaked videos suggest it’ll have a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, higher resolution displays, 6GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage.

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