That Galaxy S 4 isn't going to compute tasks through sheer force of will, you know. Just a day after Samsung unveiled the smartphone as its inaugural Exynos 5 Octa device, the company has confirmed that the not-really-eight-core ARM processor should be in mass production during the second quarter of the year, or between April and June. There aren't many more details to share beyond what the company mentioned at CES, but that doesn't diminish what could be a best-of-all-worlds processor: the automatic switching between four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 cores should give it a performance edge over many of its peers while reducing power consumption by up to 70 percent. We also know that the Octa's graphics performance has largely caught up to peers versus earlier Exynos 4 designs, as Imagination Technologies has confirmed that its PowerVR SGX544MP is providing enough muscle to double 3D performance over the creaky Mali-400 in the Exynos 4 Quad. About the only mystery left is whether or not many companies beyond Samsung will get a chance at some Exynos 5 Octa silicon, although there's one or two
Friday, March 15, 2013
Catching up to its iOS rival, IK Multimedia's iRig recorder app is now available on Google Play. Compatible with all your existing iRig mics and peripherals, the app is tailored to ensuring all your audio is suitably organized by date or location -- it even saves a backup version for those all-important recording sessions. There's also a waveform editor available as an in-app purchase ($4.99), adding the ability to select, crop and loop on your phone. You can also reduce background noise as well as speed up (or slow down) your files without affecting the timbre. Recording time is dependent on how much storage space available on your Android, so those phones with expandable memory are at a slight advantage here. If your audio needs a bit of work, you can pick up the app at the source starting today.
Source: iRig recorder (Google Play)
Posted by Augustine at 12:46 PM
Samsung has finally unveiled its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4.
From a hardware perspective, there's a lot of impressive specs here.
But if you compare it to other top-tier phones, it's pretty much in line as far as processor speed, memory, screen resolution, etc.
That just proves the GS4's (or any smartphone's) most important and differentiating features are in the software.
Here's the complete breakdown. Click the chart for a larger view.
Posted by Augustine at 12:41 PM
Coming this April, BLU Products will have three new smartphones vying for your hard-earned dollar. The trio of dual-SIM handsets, known as the Life View, Life One and Life Play, will be sold unlocked on Amazon and will range in price between $229 and $299. As a nice touch, Android 4.2 will be common among the bunch, as will backside-illuminated sensors on the cameras and the quad-core, 1.2GHz MediaTek MT6589 (Cortex A7) SoC. Likewise, each smartphone will also feature an HD IPS display.
The Life View ($299), the largest of the bunch, includes a massive 5.7-inch display, a 12-megapixel rear / 5-megapixel front camera, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage and a 2,600mAh battery. Meanwhile, the more reasonably sized Life One ($299) includes a 5-inch display, a 13-megapixel rear / 5-megapixel front camera, similar storage specs and a 2,000mAh battery. Lastly, the sleekest of the three, the Life Play ($229), includes a 4.7-inch display and measures 7.9mm thick. Here, you can expect to find an 8-megapixel rear / 2-megapixel front camera, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of expandable storage and an 1,800mAh battery. You'll find the band support for each of the three phones in the PR after the break, but needless to say, you'll be safe on AT&T (and in many areas, T-Mobile).
Posted by Augustine at 10:23 AM
Yesterday's self-congratulatory pat on the back to anyone reciting Pi to ten digits might feel a bit inadequate compared to Santa Clara University's Ed Karrels. The researcher has broken the record for calculating Darren Aronofsky's favorite number, taking the ratio to eight quadrillion places right of the decimal. Given the location of the University, you'll be unsurprised to learn which hardware maker's gear was used to break the record. Karrels will be showing off the new digits at the GPU technology conference in San Jose, demonstrating the CUDA-voodoo necessary to harness all of that Kepler-based computing power.
[Image Credit: Ed Karrels]
Source: Ed Karrels
Posted by Augustine at 10:22 AM
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Forget mounting your huge television on the wall. That's so common. Philips' new DesignLine TVs just lean casually, like the Fonz waiting for a date. Ayyyyyy.
The new 46- and 55-inch televisions look totally stunning. The LCD display is mounted to a massive sheet of glass using a super strong adhesive tape. You then prop the whole thing up wherever you have room. No installation required, although, these things are heavy so you'll probably need a hand moving it around. It's an innovative new way to think about the TV—not as a consumer electronic product, but as a piece of furniture that beautifies your living room. Just don't, you know, try to sit on it. [Philips via The Verge]
Posted by Augustine at 1:28 PM
Yearning for a contract-free option for cellular service? Ting's certainly a compelling one, but to date, the limited device options have kept it from becoming a standout alternative. That, however, is about to change. The MVNO -- which leans on Sprint's network here in the US -- has just announced plans to sell contract-free Galaxy S IV "for around the full unlocked price" as soon as it can. Specifically, you'll see it hit the Ting device page as a pre-order in around six to eight weeks.
If that's a little large for your blood, HTC's drop-dead gorgeous One will also be making its way over, with pre-orders to start in around 30 days. Inching ever smaller, the Galaxy S III Mini will join the carrier's lineup about the time the GS IV does, though there's no mention of pricing there. As for other nuggets? Ting's expecting to offer up its first LTE device "within six weeks," and yes, it's still working on a way to support Apple's iPhone as well as the entire range of Windows Phone 8 products.
Posted by Augustine at 1:25 PM
A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, has created the first ever pair of graphene-based earphones. It might not surprise you to find out that they're utterly incredible.
In fact, in its raw state, a single sheet of graphene—with no special tweaks or tuning of its properties—provided a frequency response comparable to a pair of commercial Sennheiser earphones. That's pretty good going.
The graphene diaphragm, made by the researchers, is 7 millimeters across but just 30 nanometers thick: insanely thin and light. (Trivia time: a single gram of graphene could cover an entire football field.) That thin sheet was sandwiched between two silicon dioxide electrodes, which allowed it to be driven and to produce sound.
So how come it can keep up with expensive headphones, even on its first iteration? Simple: despite being incredibly light, it's also incredibly strong. A hundred times stronger than steel, in fact. So while regular diaphragms have to be damped so they don't tear themselves to shreds—in turn affecting their audio fidelity—graphene version can pump out beats without any tweaks.
It's worth remembering that these headphone are completely unoptimized, yet still match up to expensive commercial headphones. Tweak the size of the diaphragm, its thickness, and other physical parameters, and the guys at Berkeley could be creating sounds with untold clarity. Just don't ask for the price tag—yet. [arXiv via Extreme Tech]
Posted by Augustine at 10:43 AM
For all the credit the Xolo X900 earned as the first Intel-based smartphone, it grew long in the tooth very quickly between that 4-inch screen and 1.6GHz Atom chip. The solution, naturally, is a straight-up modernization like the X1000. The new smartphone jumps to a more contemporary 4.7-inch, 720p LCD and the same 2GHz Atom Z2480 that we saw in the RAZR i. Most other components won't rock the boat for those who bought in last year, though. There's still the familiar high-speed 8-megapixel rear camera as well as a 1.3-megapixel camera at the front, 1GB of RAM, 21Mbps HSPA+ 3G and 8GB of expandable storage. The X1000 is even using Ice Cream Sandwich instead of some flavor of Jelly Bean. Still, the price is right -- a contract-free 19,999 rupees ($369) for the Indian debut could have at least a few customers willing to bring some Intel Inside.
Posted by Augustine at 10:42 AM
Sure, there's been a lot of buzz about possible eye-based scrolling in Samsung's Galaxy S IV, but LG's in the eye-recognition spotlight -- for today, at least. The electronics giant has revealed that a "Value Pack" update for the Optimus G Pro will be served up in Korea next month, and will pack a feature called Smart Video that responds to a user's peepers. With its front-facing camera, the handset will pause a video if the user looks away, and start playing it when their gaze falls back on the display. In addition, the upgrade will pack what's said to be a world's first Dual Camera feature (taking a page from the phone's Dual Recording feature, of course), which creates picture-in-picture shots by using the hardware's two cameras.
Devices will also receive the ability to change the home button's LED to correlate with contacts, pause and resume video recording, color emoticons and refreshed QRemote functionality. According to LG, the update's features will find their way to their other premium smartphones in the future, but there's no word on when the revamped software will arrive on phones in other territories. Hit the break for more details in the press release.
Posted by Augustine at 7:00 AM
Lomography's Smartphone Film Scanner has reached that moment that every crowdfunding project strives for, but often seems elusive: everyday sales. The peripheral is now sitting in stock at an ordinary, post-Kickstarter $59 price. As you'd expect, the functionality remains what we were promised earlier in the year. Slot in an iPhone, or certain Android smartphones, and scanning 35mm film or a slide is just a matter of lining things up and snapping a photo with the phone's camera. Anyone who's sitting on a treasure trove of old photos -- or is just holding on to that film SLR for dear life -- can shop for the scanner at the source link.
Via: Gizmodo Australia
Posted by Augustine at 7:00 AM
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
The Museum Hotel, in Cappadocia a historic region in Turkey, was created out of thousand-year-old cave dwellings.
It took four years of excavating and renovating before the hotel was operational.
The visually stunning hotel is now filled with antiques and artifacts, many of which are registered with museums.
It has outstanding accommodations, unique rooms, and views fit for a king.
Click through to see how ancient cave dwellings became a five-star hotel.
The Museum Hotel is a luxury hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey that opened in 2002.
However, the hotel isn't exactly new. It is built into ancient cave and stone dwellings, some that date back thousands of years.
Before the hotel was ready for guests, the site had to be excavated and renovated.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Posted by Augustine at 8:11 PM
Facebook just announced a rehaul of its Timeline design rolling out to select users today, and you can expect a much bigger emphasis on apps. The new Timeline will let users add apps as standalone sections of their profiles, and activity such as posted photos and recent music tracks will show up in a dedicated left column.
Apart from the reorganized layout, the biggest change is increased app integration on the About page. Your favorite movies, music, books -- along with other interests -- will now appear as separate sections, and you'll have the option to pull in your activity from third-party apps like Goodreads. Users will be able to control which apps appear on their Timelines by clicking an "Add to Profile" button, and each will appear as a standalone section on the page. This means you can show off your Instagram photo feed or share recently watched titles on Netflix -- a brand-new amenity for US users -- while hiding your latest tracks on Spotify, if you're so inclined. The new design will make its way to all users "in the coming weeks." For now, click through to the Facebook blog for a sneak peek.
Posted by Augustine at 2:46 PM
Twitter quietly acquired music-discovery startup We Are Hunted last year, according to CNET.
Since the acquisition, Twitter has been using its technology to develop an app called Twitter Music, a person familiar with the situation told CNET.
The app will suggest artists and songs to listen to based on the music-related accounts users follow on Twitter. Twitter Music will stream songs using SoundCloud. That means users likely won't be limited to only mainstream tracks, as SoundCloud features music from lesser-known artists. If the suggested song isn't available on SoundCloud, the app will direct you to a song preview from iTunes.
Twitter Music will have four main tabs: "Suggested" to discover songs based on the accounts you follow, "#NowPlaying" to recommend songs from the people who tweet with that hashtag, "Popular" for songs trending on We Are Hunted, and "Emerging" to discover songs from up-and-coming artists.
A version of Twitter Music could launch on Apple's iPhones and iPads by the end of the month, according to CNET.
Posted by Augustine at 2:42 PM
Those who need assisted transport have few options for getting around city sidewalks beyond a wheelchair. Hitachi thinks its ROPITS (Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System) could provide a slicker approach -- and make those of us on foot rather jealous, quite frankly. Steering the single-seater is just a matter of picking a destination on a smartphone or a tablet and letting the pathfinding system figure out the rest. The robot can even come to the owner, if that's too much of a trek. ROPITS won't be much of a risk to pedestrians at a 3.7MPH traveling speed, but it should be a good citizen with both a stereo camera and laser rangefinders to avoid collisions and gauge its position better than GPS alone. If Hitachi's ongoing testing proves the viability of the concept, we may never have to worry about how we'll get around the neighborhood.
[Image credit: Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, YouTube]
Via: Asahi Shimbun
Source: Hitachi (PDF, translated)
Posted by Augustine at 12:17 PM
Between 1994–2000, Yahoo! dominated the consumer Internet industry and much of the world’s attention.
The company’s exclamation mark cast a long, purple-hued shadow across the globe, as users flocked to its ever-expanding array of services, and online and offline companies of all sizes threw money at it (almost literally) to gain prominent visibility among its massive, segmentable audience.
Yahoo!’s page views rocketed; revenue rocketed; profits rocketed; stock price rocketed; market capitalization rocketed. Yahoo!, it seemed, could do no wrong.
Then, the world changed. Radically.
Consumer behavior shifted, with individuals the world over flirting with, and then devoting themselves, to myriad other online services. The business cycle changed and companies chose/were forced to reduce or eliminate their online advertising budgets. Then, when Internet advertising budgets returned a few years later, business behavior adjusted again, with marketers broadly diversifying their spend across the Web (following those same migrating users).
And, perhaps most significantly and most representative of both of the previous issues, Google emerged, presenting consumers with a slate of invaluable (and competitive) services a! nd compa nies with a nearly perfect mechanism/venue through which to market their offerings.
Needless-to-say, the 2000–2013 period has not been nearly so kind to the purple giant-of-yesterday — not to its metrics; nor its business; nor its stock; nor its market capitalization.
Throughout its rollercoaster-of-a-life, however, Yahoo! has remained shockingly static at its core, with a (still) massive, segmentable audience consuming an enormous volume of free content and services, surrounded by advertisements of all shapes and sizes.
That those content/service offerings now include Fantasy Football and photos from Flickr, rather than, say, news and NASDAQ quotes, is nice, but irrelevant, as is the fact that the company now offers rich media and video ads, as opposed to just sponsorships and banners.
Those are incremental changes to the story — variations on the theme; because, the fact of the matter is that — apart from its early days of minimal competition and “easy money” — Yahoo! has struggled mightily to engage its users in fundamentally new ways; unlock the true value of its global user base for its advertising clients; and, bring to market any lasting innovation that even hints at shaking the status quo all over again.
In not so subtle ways, this reminds me of Facebook. A. Lot.
Like Yahoo! in its early phase, Facebook hit the ball out of the park from the outset, and, it seems, hasn't yet stopped running the bases. From the ivy covered confines of Harvard University, Zuckerberg & Co. now attra! cts more than one billion users to its site globally; has enabled hundreds of billions of friend connections; sees hundreds of millions of photos uploaded daily; and, generates several billion dollars of revenue annually. Not bad for its first nine years, right?
And yet, since its astounding opening act, Facebook has bestowed upon us: Gifting - blah. News Feed algorithm changes - yawn. Suggested Posts - meh. Messaging - join the club. Sponsored Stories - ummm. Graph Search - niche. Poking (again) - ha. Timeline - zzzzz. News Feed design changes - argh. What's next, a new color scheme? A new font?
Suffice to say, the company is not exactly setting the world on fire with these efforts; more importantly, these are not (individually or collectively) doing much (if anything) to materially enhance Facebook's relationship with its users; substantively increase the level of dependency felt by its advertising clients; and/or fundamentally alter the trajectory of its franchise or business.
Said differently, where is Facebook’s second act, like Android or iPad? Where is its money-printing AdWords product? Where is its PayPal (acquired by eBay, but I’ll take it at this point)? Where its its quantum leap forward? Where is its disruptive force?
None of this is to suggest that Facebook has, in any way, “failed;” nor is it meant to take anything away from the extraordinary space that Facebook has carved out for itself in our collective universe. Similarly, I do not mean to imply that Facebook is necessarily destined to follow in the path of Yahoo! (after all, it would be damned near impossible to repeat al! l of those mistakes).
That said, it is, hopefully, a wake-up call, because — at least to this observer — the company and its business seem far too focused on tweaking the edges of its past creation(s), rather than on changing the world all over again for both its users and advertisers. And that, as history might suggest, is a very risky path to enduring success on the Web.
Posted by Augustine at 11:21 AM
Google is not the only company working on Internet-connected glasses.
At South by South West Interactive, former Tonchidot CEO—probably best known for inventing augmented reality camera app Sekai—unveiled a prototype for his new wearable computing device, Telepathy One.
We found out about Telepathy One on Startup Dating, a Japan-based site and organization focused on startups.
Telepathy One connects wirelessly with both smartphones and tablets. Equipped with a micro projection unit and camera, Telepathy One can project relevant information, like email and social network updates, right in front of you on a virtual 5-inch display.
There are also earbuds and microphone so you can listen to music, and communicate with other people. Google Glass, on the other hand, uses bone vibrations to generate sound.
Telepathy has yet to announce its release date and price, but Iguchi says it will be more affordable than Glass. We reached out to Iguchi and will update this story if we hear back.
In addition to Telepathy, Google has a slew of other competitors that have already launched, or are gearing up to launch.
New York-based Vuzix, for example, recently started shipping prototypes of its M100 device to developers.
For now, the M100 only works with Android to let you do things like send messages, receive directions, and record video. It's also a bit clunkier than Glass, but will only cost $500 compared to the $1,500 Google is currently charging developers for Glass. Though, we expect Google will lower the price of Glass when it's ready to sell to the general public.
You can operate Golden-i through voice commands and head movements. It runs a modified version Android and supports Verizon's 3G/4G/LTE network so that you can use it anywhere. Golden-i, which won't be out for another year or so, will be available for consumers, but the company envisions use cases for law enforcement agencies, construction workers, and more.
Packed with a high-definition camera and infrared technology, police officers could use Golden-i to see through walls to help locate and identify suspects.
Still, wearable computing is in its early days, so it remains to be seen which, or if any of these techonologies the mainstream will adopt.
Posted by Augustine at 10:49 AM
Who knew that smartphone owners were suddenly such temperate drinkers? Just days after Alcohoot unveiled its take on a phone-friendly breathalyzer, Breathometer is here with its own way to watch our tipsiness. The namesake, FDA-approved gadget will plug into the headphone jack of an Android or iOS device and warn if our blood is too alcohol-rich, all while staying small enough to fit on a keychain. Plans are underway to eventually let soused users hail a taxi from the native app. The Breathometer won't be available until we're at the height of summer party season, but it should be cheap enough to eliminate any excuses: its Indiegogo campaign is asking for just $20 to secure a Breathometer alongside a pledge, or less than a good night out.
Posted by Augustine at 10:32 AM
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Intel's in the tricky position of playing Android iteration catch-up -- but it's getting better at it. Releases are now appearing every six months, with the latest release of Android (4.2.2) now Intel-optimized -- at least at a pre-alpha stage. The company's Open Source Technology Center devs have been working on the Android Open-Source Project to ensure it works well on Intel-powered devices, whether that's PCs for debugging and testing or those still-rare Intel smartphones. Now powered by the Linux 3.8 kernel, there's a new interactive installer, plus the new ability to dual-boot on a Windows 8 system. So it's all good news for developers, but it should drip down to more immediate updates on the likes of Motorola's RAZR i and any future Android hardware Intel's planning to power.
Posted by Augustine at 4:28 PM
Last November, BitTorrent put out a call to all "qualified broadcasters," seeking to build out a solid based for Live, its new P2P streaming protocol. Now, just four months later, the company's opening the beta service up to all users, giving a real-time platform to anyone with a webcam, a pulse and a broadcasting dream. The live streaming service works mainly the same way traditional BitTorrent does, utilizing BitTorrent clients throughout its user base to deliver a more solid and "resilient... stream." Effectively, the more people sign up for BitTorrent's virtual soapbox, the better quality your broadcast will be. So, if you've got a decent internet connection and a burning urge to express yourself, hit up the source and start sharing live.
Via: The Next Web
Posted by Augustine at 4:28 PM
When we got our hands on Acer's initial C7 Chromebook, our chief gripe was its frankly disappointing 4-hour battery life. We now know that Acer had its ear to the ground after launch. It's rolling out a new trim level, the C710-2055, that mends the short runtime and beyond. The new edition carries a 6-cell battery that should give it six hours of battery life -- still not as good as the 6.5 hours of Samsung's ARM-based Chromebook, but it's at least in the ballpark. Performance should also get a useful kick in the pants now that Acer has doubled the RAM to 4GB. While the upgrades take the newly available C7's price slightly out of impulse purchase range, to $280, it's now a more viable option for those who need more grunt than ARM can currently deliver without venturing into Chromebook Pixel territory.
Posted by Augustine at 4:27 PM
One. In literal terms, it's a number. To HTC, however, it's a branding strategy -- the foundation upon which the entire company is now based. Just take one look at the One lineup and you'll easily understand this is the manufacturer's pride and joy. There's a very good reason for that: in a crowded smartphone market, HTC is the underdog to titans like Samsung and Apple. The company needs to stand out if it even wants the chance to prove itself to consumers.
Last year's One X marked a solid start, and while it didn't pick up the momentum CEO Peter Chou would've liked, the follow-up model -- simply called the One -- takes HTC's design and imaging chops to the next level, bringing a new UltraPixel camera sensor, among other top-shelf specs. But will it catch the eye of potential smartphone buyers, in light of another key product announcement? We'd say it's got more than a fighting chance. Gallery: HTC One review (2013)
Gallery: HTC One review (2013)
Posted by Augustine at 4:27 PM
Hundreds of startup booths were crammed into a single auditorium at South by Southwest, a technology, film and music conference is Austin, Texas that draws more than 120,000 people.
One had a particularly large gathering with customers grabbing for their wallets as we walked by.
The Olloclip booth displayed rows of sleek red, black and white gadgets, each the size of a thimble. The Olloclip began as a Kickstarter product in May 2011; it was invented by Patrick O'Neill and designed by Chong Pak. Its goal was to raise $15,000 and create a multi-functional camera lens that could be clipped on to the iPhone. Olloclip can take fisheye, wide angle, macro and panorama photos depending which way you clip it onto the device, and it works on the iPod Touch, iPhone 4, 4S and 5.
Olloclip ended up raising nearly three times its goal: $68,201 from 1,300 backers. And unlike many Kickstarter products which fail to deliver orders on time (or at all), Olloclip is now shipping its lenses all over the world. They retail for $70 and can be purchased in Apple Stores, Best Buy, Target and the Sprint Store.
Here's what the product looks like:
Here's what it looks like on the iPhone:
We tried it out. Here's what the fishbowl lens looks like:
Posted by Augustine at 10:45 AM