Friday, October 16, 2015

Intel throws its tiny Curie module in an Arduino board


The low-power Curie from Intel helps developers quickly prototype a device with turn-key access to Bluetooth, a six-axis sensor with gyroscope and accelerometer and the 32-bit SOC Quark micro-controller. It's main focus has been the wearable market and since its introduction at CES 2015, it's has been used in sports bras, creepy robot spiders and to measure wicked-cool bike tricks. Now it's being included in a new Arduino board. The Arduino 101 (internationally it'll be called, Genuino 101) is the first widely available development board for the tiny chip. Priced at a reasonable $30 and using the same open-source platform as the rest of the Arduino line, the 101 is targeted at students and makers looking to add some connectivity to a project.

Source: Intel


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sony's RX1R II full-frame camera stuffs 42MP into a small body


As far as compact cameras go, Sony is undeniably the best at making them. But in case that RX100 IV point-and-shoot wasn't good enough for you, the company is now introducing the RX1R II, a full-frame pocket-sized shooter with a 42.4-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor. If you're keeping tabs at home, then you'd know that's similar to the one featured in the recently announced A7R II mirrorless camera. Another highlight of the second-gen RX1R is its retractable, 2.4-million-dot XGA OLED viewfinder, as well as what Sony's calling the "world's first" optical variable low-pass filter -- which you can turn on or off based on the sharpness strength you want on certain images. The fixed lens, meanwhile, is a 35mm (f2.0) ZEISS Sonnar T*. What you won't find here is 4K video recording. Instead, you have the option to shoot up to 1080p at 24, 30 and 60 fps, while the ISO is set at a maximum of 102,400 when expanded. Like what you see? Then be ready to have your jaw drop, as the RX1R II will cost a wallet-clinching $3,300 when it hits stores in November.

Source: Sony


Monday, October 12, 2015

Windows 10 didn't stop PC sales from dropping this summer


Microsoft Windows Q and A

Windows 10 may have breathed new life into your PC, but it didn't do anything to juice PC sales this summer. Both Gartner and IDC estimate that computer sales dropped several points year-over-year (between 7.7 and 10.8 percent) in the third quarter, right when the new Windows arrived. That's one of the steeper drops in recent memory, in fact. Not that it comes as a complete surprise. As the analyst firms explain, Microsoft's fast-tracked release left many PC makers shipping existing systems with Windows 10, which weren't going to drive demand as much as brand new models. You're not going to buy a months-old laptop just because it's running new software, are you? The big question is whether or not the wave of new Windows 10 PCs launching this fall will make a difference -- if there's still a sharp decline, the industry is really in trouble.

The new platform wasn't the only factor at work, of course. The researchers blame the downturn on a combination of a stronger US dollar (which hiked PC prices in many other countries) and a transition away from old Windows 8 PCs. Some vendors fared better than others, though. As a rule, big-name brands like Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo (the market leader) have emerged relatively unscathed -- it's the smaller, more vulnerable companies that are shedding legions of customers. Even Acer and ASUS saw sales plunge by over 10 percent. It's too soon to say if Windows 10 will stop the bleeding, but the days of booming computer businesses appear to be long gone.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu]

Gartner's PC market share estimate for Q3 2015

IDC's PC market share estimate for Q3 2015

Source: IDC, Gartner