Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Samsung starts production of 20nm 4Gb LPDDR3 mobile DRAM

Samsung starts production of 20nm 4Gb LPDDR3 RAM, promises speed and performance boosts
What is it that you want to know about the RAM in your mobile device? Usually, how much of it there is, and if you're a little more demanding of your hardware, maybe what type it is, too. Well, folk in the latter category might interested to know that Samsung has started production of 20nm 4Gb LPDDR3 mobile DRAM. As is the nature of smaller, more efficient components, the new chips promise to be faster (2,133 Mbps per pin, over LPDDR2's 800 Mbps), and -- so claims Samsung -- a 20 percent drop in power consumption. With just four of these new chips, OEMs can have a 2GB offering that's still just a slick 0.8mm in height.

Microsoft says Illumiroom isn't yet ready for next Xbox, but will get public demo in July (video)

Since we saw Illumiroom at CES in January, the technology has come quite a ways. But while it's still a spectacular technology display, don't look for it to pop up in any Xbox announcements in the near future. In fact, Microsoft Research's Hrvoje Benko and Brett Jones told us during a interview that while they have Illumiroom technology working well at this point, they're not likely to even demo it to the public until July at Siggraph.

CERN celebrates 20 years of a free, open web by restoring world's first website

The web as we know it was famously invented by Tim Berners-Lee while working at CERN, but it wasn't until a few years later -- 1993 to be precise -- that it'd truly be set free. On April 30 of that year, Berners-Lee's then employer would make the technology behind the WWW available license free, bundling a basic browser and some key chunks of code into the deal.

Softbank founder goes on the attack, sees 'no need' to improve offer for Sprint network

Despite bidding competition from Dish, Softbank's founder, Masayoshi Son, has toldReuters that he sees no need to adjust his company's offer for Sprint. In fact, he's even seen support from Intel CEO Paul Otellini, who stated in a letter to the FCC last week that a third competitive national carrier is "very compelling."

Friday, April 26, 2013

Samsung extends ATIV branding to all Windows PCs, adds Book 5, Book 6 and SideSync software to the roster

Samsung extends ATIV branding to all Windows PCs, adds Book 5, Book 6 laptops and SideSync software to the roster
Samsung's ATIV branding might not yet be a household name, but that could very well change, as the company has just announced a new naming scheme that places all of its Windows PCs under the ATIV umbrella. As you may recall, the ATIV scheme was previously reserved for convertibles, but under the new structure, even Samsung's existing PC lineup -- we're looking at you, Series laptops -- will retroactively take on the new scheme. The news doesn't stop there, however, as Samsung has also announced two new ATIV Book models and a nifty bit of software known as SideSync to the mix. Read on for the details.

Twitter reportedly working on location-based discovery tool

The next big Twitter feature? Finding out what your neighbor's talking about, 140 characters at a time, of course. According to All Things D, the service is working on exactly that, a location-based feature that was reportedly developed at a hack week held by the company earlier this month. Twitter, predictably, isn't commenting on the reportedly upcoming feature, but D has says that this information is coming from "multiple sources." No word on how close they all are to one another.

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Google Transparency Report shows censorship spike, details takedown requests

Governments are getting nosier than ever, at least if you ask Google. The search firm has already noticed rapidly mounting censorship in recent months, but its latest half-year Transparency Report has revealed a 26 percent surge in takedown requests toward the end of 2012 -- at 2,285 total, more than twice as many as in 2009. Much of the jump can be attributed to Brazil, whose municipal election triggered a rush of anti-defamation requests from candidates, as well as a Russian blacklisting law that allows for trial-free website takedowns.

Amazon first quarter profits fall to $82 million as sales jump 22%

Amazon's Q1 for 2013 was a bit of a mixed bag. The company saw net income drop 37 percent year-over-year to $82 million, though its net sales were up 22 percent to $16.1 billion. The sequential drop in profits was small (from $97 million) considering Q4's holiday inflation. Product sales accounted for the vast majority of that income, with its various branded services only pulling in $2.8 billion. The United States is still the company's biggest market, with $9.4 billion of that sales revenue coming from here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Facebook to acquire Parse, promises easier cloud-based app development

Hot on the heels of its Mobile Developer Conference, Facebook today announced its intentions to buy cloud-based app development service Parse, a company with which the site has collaborated in the past. According to a post on Facebook's Developers blog, the purchase will go a ways toward helping devs, "rapidly build apps that span mobile platforms and devices."

Kindle app for Android gains carousel browsing, expanded side panel

Amazon is rectifying the long wait for a Kindle for Android update today with a version 4.0 refresh that carries with it a major UI redesign. The library view looks very different: instead of a basic grid, recently read items are presented in a rotating carousel at the top of the home screen, while the navigation panel has been expanded to provide quicker access to books, documents and periodicals. The actual reading pane remains untouched, so whether you're using a smartphone or a tablet, your e-copy of War and Peace should still look the same

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sony unveils Handycam HDR-GW66VE waterproof camcorder

Although many modern smartphones have the ability to record video in 720p or 1080p HD, in many ways they are still inferior to their dedicated camcorder counterparts, one of which is the newly announcedSony Handycam HDR-GW66VE. This device offers a lot in terms of features, but perhaps its biggest draw is its ruggedness, offering a variety of features that, when combined with its size, take into near action-camcorder territory.

One Week Without A Smartphone? Impossible

We live in a funny world, don’t we? There was a time when homes had a single phone. And when it rang, the kids in the house had to hope that mom or dad would let them talk for a while. If the phone rang too late, it meant one of two things: something was wrong, or one of the kids had a friend calling at an inappropriate time.

HTC: Nokia did not obtain an injunction against the HTC One

The microphone in question is the TD V1.4 high amplitude microphone that was supposed to be an exclusive to Nokia, but somehow found its way into HTC’s inventory in the Netherlands. While the mic is exclusive to Nokia, the Dutch court ruled, however, that HTC can continue to use the microphones it purchased for its products because “they were purchased in good-faith”. The court also ruled that STMicroelectronics is restricted from providing certain microphones to other companies other than Nokia for a 10-month period.

WindsorNot: the 4-inch WebOS smartphone that never saw the light of day

The downfall of WebOS left more than a few canceled devices in its wake, but the most illusive of the bunch tends to be the WindsorNot: a touch-only smartphone. We've seen hints of it here and there, but the shy little device has largely been kept under wraps -- until now. The dedicated folks at WebOS Nation have managed to get their hands on a functional prototype. The 4-inch devices seems to lie somewhere between a Pre3 and HP Touchpad, aping the hardware specifications of the former while adopting the latter's software version: WebOS 3.0.

WhatsApp comes to BlackBerry Q10, expands its BB10 footprint

After becoming available on the Z10 just last month, it was only natural for WhatsApp to eventually expand its horizons within BlackBerry 10. And with the Q10 finally nearing its time to take off around the globe, what better time to make the renowned messaging app also compatible with the latest in physical QWERTY keys from the Waterloo-based company.

Unity stops offering Flash game engine licenses, cites a lack of Adobe love

The Unity 4 engine has given Flash gaming a lot of TLC by simplifying web ports of complex projects. If you ask Unity Technologies, however, that love isn't being requited -- and the company feels jilted enough to stop offering new Flash licenses, effective immediately. Adobe supposedly isn't committed enough to the plugin, having halted work on both a re-engineered Flash Player Next as well as an attractive revenue sharing model.

Apple marks a Decade of iTunes through an in-app timeline

The tenth anniversary of the iTunes Store is looming on April 28th, and Apple wants to do more for the occasion than treat itself to a nice dinner. It just launched an interactive Decade of iTunes timeline (within iTunes itself, naturally) to remind us how far its music service has come since 2003.

Microsoft announces Xbox event for May 21st

What many suspected was coming has indeed happened: Microsoft just confirmed an upcoming Xbox event on May 21st, which we expect to be focused on the company's next-gen Xbox console (informally codenamed Durango).

Monday, April 22, 2013

ITC tosses Motorola's sensor-based complaint against Apple

If you thought the patent war between Motorola (Google) and Apple was already over, you were mistaken. Though, today's decision by the ITC to toss Moto's complaint against Cupertino regarding the use of sensors to control the interface of a phone, might be one of the final blows struck. The claim over patent No. 6,246,862, was the last patent-in-suit standing from its 2010 complaint against Apple. Now it's been completely invalidated.

Official teasers rarely provide much in the way of detail, but this one from Nokia at least comes with a pretty picture. It reveals the rounded design language we have come to associate with the company's latest feature phones, but with Z and Shift keys that imply we're looking at a physical QWERTY handset rather than a candy bar -- potentially something along the lines of the Asha 205.

Nest Labs Teams Up With Regional Power Providers For New Energy-Saving Services And Rebates

The Nest thermostat has already gone through a hardware revision or two and found its way onto plenty of physical and virtual store shelves, but parent company Nest Labs is eager to get it into even more households in short order. The Palo Alto company has just announced that it has teamed up with energy providers from across the country that will see new climate-control services (not to mention some rebates) go live for customers in a handful of markets.

Psy’s “Gentleman” Hits New YouTube Record With 38M Views In One Day

“Gangnam Style” was the first video to hit 1 billion views on YouTube, a milestone it reached last December. Though arguably less catchy, Psy’s followup video “Gentleman,” a unique blend of pounding beats and fart jokes rumored to be an elaborate commercial for Candy Crush Saga, is now also breaking records on YouTube.

Twitter #Music Catches Emerging Artist Frances Cone By Surprise, Calls It A “Meet And Greet” For Bands And Fans

When Twitter #Music launched last week, it wasn’t a surprise at all to those following tech stories, since rumors had been kicking up about its existence for months. However, it was a surprise to the Frances Cone Band, which is popping up in the “emerging artists” section of the app.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Encouraging Female Engineers Is Key To Facebook’s Recruitment Strategy

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer and Director of Engineering Jocelyn Goldfein spoke at the she++ conference today, making Facebook by far the most represented company at the Stanford conference.

Yahoo axing seven more apps and services as part of streamlining effort

Get ready to say goodbye to another another batch of Yahoo products at the end of this month. As the company continues to streamline and focus its services, March 31st will be the last day of stand-alone existence for Upcoming, Yahoo Deals, Yahoo Kids, Yahoo SMS Alerts, Yahoo Mail and Messages for feature phones.

Marc Andreessen: The World Would Be Much Better If We Had 50 More Silicon Valleys

Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, delivered a keynote speech at the she++ conference today, sharing what technology is exciting him right now, what he thinks about current startup culture, and how Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, affected his view of Silicon Valley.

Andreessen, Schroepfer, Others Rally For More Women In CS At She++ Conference

Marc Andreessen and Mike Schroepfer delivered keynote addresses today at the she++ conference, sharing their thoughts on women in technology and growing the pool of talented engineers.

Ayna Agarwal and Ellora Israni, two Stanford juniors who study Symbolic Systems and CS, respectively, founded she++in January 2012 as a Stanford community for women in tech; Agarwal and Israni hope to spur girls in middle and high school to study CS, as well as their fellow Stanford students. Around 250 people attended the conference, half of which were Stanford students and about a quarter of which were high school students, according to Israni.

“There’s something to be said about this community that everyone’s going through the same things, has some sort of story to share, irrespective of their age gap or career background,” Agarwal tells me. “That’s what’s made the conference such a success.”

Newly Discovered Android Malware Was Downloaded Millions Of Times

Security firm Lookout has detailed a clever new bit of Android Malware lurking in the Google Play store. The good news: unless you’re downloading questionable Russian clone apps, you’re probably not affected. The bad news: that hasn’t kept it from being downloaded a few million times.

Share your Flight/Airline experiences on Twitter with @Flyt_Ex

Launching just recently, FlightExperience aims to crowd source airline experiences, flight experiences, and whatever you might have witnessed on your recent flights within or outside the country.

"The Rude hostess", "The wonderful Menu", "Flight Delays", "Good Customer Relationship", The good, the bad, the ugly, whatever your experiences might be, you can share them on the go by mentioning @flyt_exYour tweets are automatically retweeted, and other followers can plan their future flights based on your recommendations or comments.

Put Away The Eulogy, The PC Is Alive And Well

Editor’s note: Chester Ng is co-founder and CMO of SweetLabs, makers of Pokki, a modern app platform for the PC. Follow him on Twitter @chest.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been blessed by the prescient researchers at Gartner and IDC with fresh data and predictions about the shipment trends for smart devices, especially the PC. This has sparked the typical “PC is dead,” “PC is really dead,” and “PC is really, really dead” mass burial blog posts around the world.

Logitech G products updated to support Mac OS

It may not be the most popular hardware configuration in PC gaming circles, but Macs actually make pretty capable gaming rigs. It's hardly a surprise, then, that Mac users are clamoring for serious gaming peripherals. Logitech is happy to oblige, of course, announcing recently that its updated its gaming software to support more devices on Mac OS. Gamers in Apple's ecosystem can now make the most of the company's full line of G series mouse and keyboard products, including the eight it released to herald the rebranding of its gaming lineup. The update is free, of course, and promises to offer Mac users the same level of customization that traditional PC gamers enjoy. 

Sony announces Jak and Daxter Trilogy coming to PS Vita this June

Despite what the sales figures might imply, the general consensus is that, for the most part, the PlayStation Vita's a neat portable console -- although some still argue Sony could do a little more to give its precious handheld a boost when it comes to available content. And just as it did with the PS3, the Japanese electronics maker has now announced that a remastered collection of Jak and Daxter is headed to the PS Vita as well, which includes Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Jak II andJak 3. The trilogy's said to be debuting on the PlayStation Vita at some point in June of this year for $29.99 in North America, or a corresponding €29.99 for those located across the pond in Europe. Not too bad a price to pay for some nostalgia-filled gaming sessions, eh?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Nokia Lumia 720 review
With the shared unveiling of Nokia's Lumia 720 and Lumia 520, the company's running flush of Windows Phone 8 models was complete. All WP8 handsets we've reviewed essentially fit into two distinct tiers based on shared core specs. That begs the question: why come out with two new models now when both share the same SoC, amount of RAM and screen resolution as the established Lumia 620 and HTC 8S? Obviously, there are differences in design, cameras, display tech and all the other bobs and bits that create the 720, but is it worth the significant markup over the 620, and more than double the price of a 520 or Huawei Ascend W1? Enough with all the rhetorical questions -- join us after the break as we find out exactly what the Lumia 720 has to offer.

Samsung releases kernel source for a trio of Galaxy S 4s

As Samsung prepares to release its new flagship to the masses, the company is already making moves to accommodate its open source following. Today, the Korean electronics maker served up the kernel source for three versions of the Galaxy S 4. On tap are two unlocked variants of Samsung's next big thing (GT-I9500 and GT-I9505) along with Virgin Mobile Canada's rendition of the handset. Seeing how you've already seen the device stripped down to its unmentionables, why not go the extra mile and take a whack at its software? That is if you know what you're doing.

A Hyped Startup Called Fab Is Pivoting To Become The 'World's Alternative To Amazon And Wal-Mart'

E-commerce design site Fab is gearing up to make its second big pivot, and further "reinvent and reimagine shopping." Fab co-founders Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shellhammer made a risky decision back in 2011. They decided to kill off their social network for gay men, Fabulis, and relaunch it as Fab.

IBM In Talks To Sell x86 Server Business To Lenovo

IBM (NYSE:IBM) is in active negotiations to sell its x86 server hardware business, and Lenovo has emerged as the top candidate to buy it, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told CRN this week. Lenovo is currently the only company in negotiations to purchase IBM's x86 server business, according to one high-ranking industry executive tracking the deal, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Dish Asks FCC to Defer Action on Softbank Bid for Sprint

Dish Network Corp., which made a counter-bid for Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) this week, asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to defer action on Softbank Corp. (9984)’s offer while the mobile provider decides which to accept.

Volkswagen iBeetle integrates the iPhone through a dock, an app... and that's it

Volkswagen iBeetle integrates iOS through an iPhone dock, an app and that's it
Many see Apple and Volkswagen as two peas in a pod given their similar marketing, even if previous talk of collaborations amounted to little more than speculation. That purported dream team will soon become real through the iBeetle, an adaptation of the modern VW Bug designed with a little help from Apple. Don't get your hopes up for a tie-in on the level of VW's iPad-friendly Bulli concept, however.

FAA approves Boeing 787 battery fix, gives the green light for repairs

It's been a few weeks since the Boeing 787 successfully completed testing, but the FAA has finally weighed in on the proposed tweaks to the plane's faulty lithium-ion batteries. Today the organization approved Boeing's battery fix, which means the aircraft maker could soon end the three-month grounding of all Dreamliners.

Apple confirms it keeps Siri data for up to two years (update: Google too)

It's no secret that Apple hangs onto your Siri data for some length of time (as other companies so with search data and the like), but it hasn't been clear exactly how long it keeps that data sitting on its servers. Wired has now cleared that up somewhat, though, hearing from Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller that the company "may keep anonymized Siri data for up to two years."

Amazon reportedly launching in Russia, goes on Kindle-related hiring spree

Amazon is fleshing out its international empire. The company has already conquered the US, Japan, UK and Canada, and has even launched an ebook assault on the Chinese mainland. Now it looks like the online giant has settled on its next target: Russia

Man who sold up to $40 million worth of counterfeit headphones gets two years in jail

A man accused of being one of the "most prolific sellers" of counterfeit electronics in the UK has just been sent down for two and a half years. Over 4,000 fakes, mainly consisting of knock-off Sennheiser and Monster headphones, were found at Michael Reeder's address, with a value of around £250,000 ($400,000).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ford builds the one millionth Mustang

Of all the automobiles that Ford builds, one of the most iconic is the Mustang. This week the Ford Mustang celebrated its 49th birthday and on Wednesday the one millionth Mustang rolled off the assembly line. If you’re curious, that millionth Mustang appears to be a convertible ruby red GT with the Track Pack designed for high-performance driving.

Apple Kills AppGratis’ Push Notifications In Second Hammer Blow To Its iOS App Discovery/Promotion Business

After booting out app discovery and promotion platform, AppGratis, from the App Store earlier this month for violating two clauses of its developer T&Cs, Apple has now followed up with a second blow to the business — by killing its ability to send push notifications to existing users of its app. AppGratis has claimed it has some 12 million users of its app.

Rdio brings new sharing options to iOS app, no longer confined to Facebook and Twitter

It hasn't been all that long since the last update to Rdio's iOS app, but the music streaming service is back with yet another revision today that offers some new features and minor tweaks. The big addition is a change to the way you can share music: instead of simply sharing to Facebook or Twitter (something still available through a refreshed UI), you can now share songs or albums directly with other Rdio users. That feature's already available in Rdio's web interface and desktop apps, but hasn't yet made its way to the company's Android or Windows Phone apps. Apart from that, you can only expect some promised UI improvements elsewhere and the usual bug fixes.

Outlook.com lets you sign in with an alias, adds 32 international email domains

Aside from the two-step verification feature revealed yesterday, Microsoft also rolled out a pair of updates for Outlook.com that are decidedly less important but welcome nonetheless. Namely, users are now able to sign in via a new alias instead of their initial username, and they can add a bit of international flair to their Outlook address with any of 32 new country-specific domains as well. It still might not have the support of trendy email apps, but at least Outlook seems to be trying to improve itself.

LinkedIn launches redesigned iOS, Android apps with a focus on the news stream

Recent moves by LinkedIn -- including its acquisition of Pulse -- suggested its eye was towards becoming a center of its users universe for much more than simple networking or job hunting, and its latest mobile updates continue on that path. Updates arriving today on the iOS and Android platforms are redesigned for more "delightful interactions" throughout the app.

BlackBerry 10.1 OS preview uncovers HDR camera mode, PIN-to-PIN messaging inside Hub

If you're already starting to feel that shiny 'wow' factor fade from BlackBerry 10, then you'll be glad to know about some new features that are primed to appear with the next update. Reports are now flowing in from developers that suggest an HDR camera mode, PIN-to-PIN messaging within the BlackBerry Hub and an improved text selector are all likely candidates for inclusion in BlackBerry 10.1 OS.

The FT: Nokia planning 'phablet' for 2013, 41-megapixel Lumia too

Between the Lumia Tablet and a Windows Phone device with proper PureView technology, the list of mythical Nokia devices is pretty short. The Financial Times, however, thinks that the company might be wading into the middle ground with a 5- or 6-inch device that'll rival the Galaxy Note. The paper's coterie of sources also reiterated the rumor that we'd see a Lumia flagship with the 41-megapixel sensor we'd seen on the 808, as well as a skinnier Lumia 920 arriving through the year. We'd love to believe it, but the story's appearance just before the company's first-quarter financial results makes us wonder if this isn't a distraction.'

Pantech Vega Iron brings a 5-inch 'zero bezel' display, where zero equals 2.4mm (update)

We've got to admit that we saw some rumors about a "zero bezel" Pantech a few days ago, but ignored them because we had no idea what that meant. Now we do, however, as Pantech has made the 5-inch 1080p 720p phone official, under the solid-sounding name of the Vega Iron. The bezels aren't quite zero, but they are small: just 2.4mm across on each side, which -- for reference -- is roughly half the width on an iPhone 5.

Source: Mashery Is Selling To Intel For More Than $180M

We’re hearing from a source familiar with deliberations that Intel is buying Mashery for more than $180 million, in a move that shows how the chipmaker is slowly becoming both a hardware and a software company. ReadWrite had ballparked the acquisition price at 2-3x the company’s last reported valuation of $60 million.

Nokia hits $7.7 billion in revenue for Q1 2013 with 5.6 million Lumias sold

Nokia may have seen an operating loss in Q1 2013, but the news isn't all bad. The company saw revenue of $7.7 billion and managed to sell 5.6 million Lumias, which equates to a 30 percent increase in handset sales over last quarter. As for earnings, Nokia put a shiny buff on them by trumpeting a net profit of $236 million using the non-IFRS accounting method. By stricter IFRS rules, it actually lost $150 million, but that still compares favorably to the vast billion dollar losses it made in the same quarter of 2012.

Twitter launching #Music app for iPhone alongside new service today

We had a strong suspicion that Twitter's new music service would figure into the company's "big announcement" promised for today, and that is indeed the case. The company confirmed on Good Morning America this morning that its #Music service will be launching on the web later today with a separate iPhone app in tow.
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