South Korea’s Communications Commission is wresting control of the domestic cellphone market away from operators. From May 1st, it is opening the handset business open to any vendor, who will sell phones unlocked so consumers can decide their choice of network. The plan is aimed at lowering prices by introducing competition between the retailers — although some voices in the industry have expressed concerns that the operators will withdraw discounted offers in retaliation. Naturally, the KCC is determined to ensure a better deal for consumers, and is already strong-arming wayward networks into ensuring that doesn’t happen.
Daily Archives: April 30, 2012
Transistors that make up Intel’s latest CPUs are hundreds of times thinner than a human hair, thanks to a new manufacturing process that “fuels Moore’s Law for years to come,” Intel said. Not so fast: Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku believes an end to Moore’s famous theory is (finally) in sight.
Companies already make billions because they know our online habits. What if we could take a cut?
Here’s a job title made for the information age: personal data broker.
For game developers who thought about applying for the $ 100,000 Build Fund from rewards network Kiip but didn’t get around to it yet — good news! The deadline has been extended from today until May 30. And for those of you who weren’t planning to apply, well, the company is adding some features to the fund that may entice you.
The goal is to encourage the creation of games that incorporate Kiip’s reward programs in their initial designs (rather than adding them later). Twenty developers are supposed to receive $ 5,000 in cash (adding up to $ 100,000 in all) — it’s not a huge amount of funding, but CEO Brian Wong says it could make a real difference to an independent developer.
This afternoon we’ve seen another set of updates coming from the Oracle vs Google case as the former continues to assert that the latter did indeed infringe on JAVA patents they’ve held for some time, with closing arguments being the final bits of info we’ll get today. We’ve had a look at what Google has
One of the most popular video chat applications on earth has been updated to version 4.0 for the iPhone and iPad, it here having several stability and user interface tweaks as it hits the airwaves. This application is a totally free download, as always, and works with your device’s front-facing camera to allow you to
ifeelgoods has a brilliant idea — letting you earn Facebook Credits for ecommerce purchases or following a brand on Twitter — but now it has to convince big companies and shopping sites to adopt its tech. That’s why it’s hired former Google Managing Director of Commerce Sales and leader of PayPal’s enterprise sales team Tyler Hoffman to be its new Senior Vice President of Sales.
ifeelgoods is starting to snowball, as CEO Michael Amar says 92% of customers returning to ifeelgoods and increasing their budget by 250%. Of my years in tech, this is one of the most promising startups I’ve seen. Because virtual currency is so cheap to distribute and is highly valued by some consumers, ifeelgoods could become a big disruptive force in how businesses acquire customers.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) finally got its will today. According to a ruling by Britain’s High Court, UK Internet providers must now block access to Swedish file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. The BBC reports that the BPI had asked British ISPs to voluntarily block access to the site in November 2011. At that time, though, the ISPs said they wouldn’t do so unless ordered by a court. That court order has now arrived. Five UK ISPs (Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media) have already announced that they will comply with this order. BT asked the court for more time to consider its position.
Everyone’s favorite VoIP service, Skype, has rolled out a fresh update to its iPhone / iPod Touch and iPad clients. First off, the Microsoft-owned outfit added a revamped login screen to both iOS applications, and now offers the ability to move your vid preview around the screen — much like FaceTime does. To go along with the new pair of features, Skype’s changelog also notes the app will now automatically restart after a sudden crash, while other undisclosed enhancements were made to improve the overall UI, stability and accessibility. Of note, Skype v4 requires folks to be running iOS 4.3 or later. So, those of you keeping that Cupertino OS current can hit either of the iTunes links below to get the goods, or grab it from the App Store on your device.
darthcamaro writes “On 9/11, terrorists took the lives of thousands of Americans — and removed a pair of icons from the New York City skyline. For the last 10+ years, The Empire State Building was the tallest building in NYC, but that changed today. ‘Poking into the sky, the first column of the 100th floor of 1 World Trade Center will bring the tower to a height of 1,271 feet, making it 21 feet higher than the Empire State Building.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
It’s not the QNX-based smartphone you’ve all been waiting for, but it should give crackberry devotees something to bop along to. Outed just one day before the company’s showcase officially kicks off in Orlando, Waterloo’s trotting out its BlackBerry Music Gateway: a car / home stereo accessory that pairs with your BB handset or PlayBook tablet to wirelessly stream audio over Bluetooth or NFC. The $ 50 peripheral, set for a June release, is meant to turn your RIM-built device into an easy-to-use remote at a distance of up to 30 feet. For that convenient near field communication control, however, you’ll need to be packing one of the company’s NFC-enabled phones, like the Bold 9790 or Curve 9360/ 9380. Splashiest news to come out of BlackBerry World 2012? We sure hope not. Consider this the trickle before the eventual PR deluge.
This week we’re dropping a selection of analyzations of the upcoming blockbuster science fiction of the summer Prometheus, and it all starts with the demon spawn that always comes first in an Alien film: the facehugger. This creature was the last being expected to pop up by fans of the original Alien as Ridley Scott
And just like that Verizon has revamped its prepaid pricing structure. Starting tomorrow, May 1st, the carrier will be offering unlimited talk and text packaged with 1GB of data for $ 80 a month. The new offering will be available first with the Samsung Illusion, a disappointingly 3G handset, though, one that wont demand a two year commitment to Big Red. Verizon is also adding the Jetpack MiFi 4510L LTE mobile hotspot to its contract-free offerings for $ 130. Prepaid plans for the 4G wireless hotspot start at $ 15 for 250 MB a week, but quickly climb to $ 60 and $ 90 for 3GB and 10GB, respectively. For more info check out the PR after the break.
We knew it was coming, but alas, the loss of Google Wave hits us anew now that the execution date has finally come. To say we fully grokked this platform would be untrue, but as we dug through its history to gather our thoughts, we realized what a misunderstood creature Wave really was. Released in 2009 with great fanfare and no shortage of Firefly references, the program meant well with its collaboration-friendly interface, emphasis on multimedia sharing and raft of third-party extensions such as real-time Swedish Chef translation. But while its heart was in the right place, the service sacrificed accessibility for intrigue, a distinct online identity for an early adopter sensibility. Thus, after the invite-only mystique wore off and talk of a Wave app store began to sound downright foolish, the program’s future looked anything but rosy. But even a product this short-lived can have a legacy: in Wave’s case, it could be making Google Plus seem downright approachable by comparison. And though this may be little consolation to those hardcore wavers — few and far between as they may be — the project’s spirit will live on in the equally perplexing Apache Wave. RIP, Google Wave, we really hardly knew you.
Rovio reports today that their new masterpiece of a bird-hurling mobile game Angry Birds Space has broken the record for fastest-selling mobile game of all time. With 50 million downloads inside 35 days after launch, this space-headed game broke both the highest selling Rovio games’ records as well as the rest of the mobile app
Getting a new laptop or buying a new license for an operating system is often cheaper in the U.S. than in most other countries. Europeans, for example, are used to paying a hefty premium for Apple products and the situation is similar in Australia, where the cheapest MacBook Air currently costs about 15% more than in the United States. Now, however, the Australian government is starting a parliamentary inquiry into these pricing schemes. According to Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, the politicians behind this inquiry hope that calling these companies out publicly will result in prices dropping.
Windows users appear half as interested in trying out the new Windows 8 as they did three years ago when they jumped at the chance to test drive Windows 7, data shows.
Another fine morning has arrived and gone with much to be excited about in the coming weeks, not least of all Alienware computers coming with Ivy Bridge! The most epic cartoon series of all time South Park has gone on-demand in the UK. Wind power turbines are in a bit of trouble over bad research
After more than a decade of planning, NASA’s Curiosity rover is only 97 days away from touching down on Mars where it will search for evidence that the red planet might once have been home to .
Visa Europe is muscling in on the European mobile payments game with V.me. The online service will allow you to store cards from different agencies (including American Express) for payments online and at NFC-enabled cash registers. It is expected to arrive in the UK, Spain and France in the Autumn, but it’ll sadly be too late for it to gain any traction, since we’ll have worked out how to glue PayTag stickers to our forehead by then.
In a significant step forward for all-optical computing, physicists build a silicon transistor that works with pure light
Electrons are pretty good at processing information but not so good at carrying it over long distances. Photons, on the other hand, do a grand job of shuttling data round the planet but are not so handy when it comes to processing it.
Microsoft will invest $ 300 million in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary, which will include the digital Nook and College businesses of Barnes & Noble, the companies said in joint statement on Monday.
So you’ve procured yourself HTC’s new super slim, 4.7-inch halo phone: the One X. By now, you probably have the device set up just the way you like it: applications configured, widgets in place and Adele ringtone set. But there’s just something else left to do, isn’t there? If (like some of us) you’re a smartphone user who just can’t leave well enough alone, you’ll be excited to learn that a build of Cyanogenmod 9 for the Uno Equis has been made available via the MoDaCo forums. The ROM will deliver that stock Android experience, and all those CM9 accoutrements, to those that don’t fancy the panache of Sense 4.0. The forum post does caution that the One’s camera, and hotspot functionality, aren’t currently working, so interested parties best proceed with caution. If all that doesn’t phase you, grab a cup of coffee, get the Android SDK all warmed up and take this ROM for a spin!
The self-driving car has been shown off by both Google and GM, and while Honda hasn’t quite made the full jump, the company is working on predictive technology. Honda’s new technology can analyze driving patterns, as well as surrounding traffic, in order to determine if the driver is going to add even more confusion to
Talk about extended family: A single-celled organism in Norway has been called "mankind's furthest relative." It is so far removed from the organisms we know that researchers claim it belongs to a new base group, called a kingdom, on the tree of life.
Fluffeh writes “The USPTO is considering a rather interesting request straight from lobbyists via congress. That certain ‘Economically Significant’ patents should be kept secret during the process (PDF Warning) of being evaluated and granted. While this does occur at the moment on a very select few patents ‘due to national security’ for things like nuclear energy and the like — this would allow it to go much, much further. ‘By statute, patent applications are published no earlier than 18 months after the filing date, but it takes an average of about three years for a patent application to be processed. This period of time between publication and patent award provides worldwide access to the information included in those applications. In some circumstances, this information allows competitors to design around U.S. technologies and seize markets before the U.S. inventor is able to raise financing and secure a market.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
nachiketas writes “A study led by Liming Zhou, Research Associate Professor at the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University of New York concludes that large wind farms could noticeably impact local weather patterns. According to Professor Zhou: ‘While converting wind’s kinetic energy into electricity, wind turbines modify surface-atmosphere exchanges and transfer of energy, momentum, mass and moisture within the atmosphere. These changes, if spatially large enough, might have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Facebook purchased in the last five months eight of ten patents it has cited in a counterclaim to a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Yahoo, and several were purchased after Yahoo filed the suit, the Internet portal claimed in a filing on Friday before a federal court.
Stylish charging stations are one small step toward getting consumers to accept EVs.
GE’s Wattstation electric-vehicle charging station went on sale this week. The most notable thing about it is its appearance. Unlike many other charging stations on the market now, this one isn’t ugly. It looks like the sort of thing you might want to plug a $ 40,000 electric car into.
Windows PCs infected with Conficker are more likely to be compromised by other malware because the worm masks those secondary infections and makes those machines easier to exploit, a security expert said.
Microsoft Makes $300M Investment In New Barnes & Noble Subsidiary To Battle With Amazon And Apple In E-books
Barnes & Noble has found a new, major partner in its fight to get an edge over Amazon and Apple in the heating up market for e-books and the devices being used to consume them: it is teaming up with Microsoft in what the two are calling a strategic partnership, name yet to be determined. It will come in the form of a new subsidiary of B&N that will include all of its Nook business as well as its educationally-focussed College business that will see Microsoft make a $ 300 million investment in the subsidiary, valuing the company at $ 1.7 billion in exchange for around 17.6 percent equity in the subsidiary.
The news leaves the door open for B&N to eventually spin these off into a separate business altogether — or sell them to Microsoft. And it leaves a big load of questions about what B&N will do next with the Nook, which is build on a forked version of Google’s Android platform.
redletterdave writes “While downloading and storing digital media with online service providers has become commonplace — more so than purchasing DVDs and CDs at physical retail stores — it’s not very easy to transfer digital files from individual to another, usually because of copyright laws. Some digital distributors have systems for limiting usage and distribution of its products from the original purchaser to others, but often times, transferring a copyright-protected file from one device to another can result in the file being unplayable or totally inaccessible. Apple believes it has a solution to this issue: A gift-giving platform where users have a standardized way for buying, sending and receiving media files from a provider (iTunes) between multiple electronic devices (iPhones, iPads). The process is simply called, ‘Gifting.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
An anonymous reader writes “Scientists have discovered a benign algae eating protozoan in a lake near Oslo, Norway whose gene sequence does not match any known organism living on earth today, and this beasty combines genetic characteristics across plant, animal, and fungal kingdoms. It is believed to be the closest living organism to the original organisms that spawned all animal life on earth.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Hot on the heels of a recent update for its Twitter app, BlackBerry users can now grab a refreshed version of everyone’s favorite check-in network. While there’s no news of the beleaguered phone manufacturer offering up free Butterfingers (yet), the geographical social app has cranked up the app’s load speeds and also transplants its notifications to your BlackBerry inbox. It’s all looking to be a pretty tasty NFC carrot to dangle in front of BlackBerry World attendees later this week in Orlando. If you’re Florida-bound (and even if you’re not), you can grab the update from from the source below.
For fans of HD and / or nature documentaries, the BBC Planet Earth series is the unquestioned champion, and to provide a proper followup the Brits are improving it the only way they know how: doing it live. What the broadcaster calls its “most ambitions global wildlife series ever” will air simultaneously in 140 countries (more on that bit later) starting Sunday May 6th, then every Thursday and Sunday for three weeks. The plan is to track animals in seven different locations around the world in real time as they struggle for survival and broadcast it all in HD. One segment features Top Gear’s Richard Hammond following a pride of lions across southern Kenya, while another will track black bears in Minnesota. The bad news? If you’re in the US or Canada you’re not on that 140 country list and won’t be seeing any of this live. We’re not sure if there’s time to make this a campaign issue in the 2012 presidential election but we figure that, or at least bugging BBC America (while we’re on the subject — where’s our global iPlayer?) is worth a try. Check after the break for a press release with all the details on where and when it is airing, as well as a trailer.
Greylock Deepens Enterprise Experience, Adds Former BladeLogic CEO And BMC President As Venture Partner
Greylock Partners has been long focused on two distinct areas when it comes to venture investments—consumer and enterprise. The last consumer partner hire the firm made was former CEO of Mozilla, John Lilly. And today, the firm is deepening its experience in its enterprise practice with the addition of Dev Ittycheria as Venture Partner in Greylock’s Silicon Valley office.
At Greylock, Ittycheria will be focusing on investing in enterprise software companies, with a focus on cloud-based services and enabling IT infrastructure. Ittycheria is a long-time enterprise veteran with a history of not only founding successful startups, but also helping lead established companies towards revenue growth. He co-founded BladeLogic, which he led through a successful IPO and eventually a sale to BMC Software in 2008 for $ 900 million.
As much as it’d be interesting to see Windows Phone running on a gold-plated cigar lighter, that’s probably never going to happen. According to the UK’s Financial Times, Nokia has been trying to hive off its luxury Vertu brand for months already, and has finally found a suitor with the right cash / sense ratio. Although still far from a done deal, we’re told that venture capitalist firm Permira is willing to contribute up to $ 265 million to Nokia’s needy coffers — which might sound like a lot, but is mere costume jewelry to a manufacturer that just lost $ 1.7 billion.
Hugh Pickens writes “Representing only 10 percent of the general human population, scientists have long wondered why left-handed people are a rarity. Now a new study suggests lefties are rare because of the balance between cooperation and competition in human evolution and a mathematical model was developed that predicts the percentage of left-handers by sport based on each sport’s degree of cooperation versus competition. ‘The more social the animal—where cooperation is highly valued—the more the general population will trend toward one side,’ says study author Daniel M. Abrams. ‘The most important factor for an efficient society is a high degree of cooperation. In humans, this has resulted in a right-handed majority.’ If societies were entirely cooperative everyone would be same-handed, but if competition were more important, one could expect the population to be 50-50 because cooperation favors same-handedness—for sharing the same tools, for example while physical competition favors the unusual. In a fight, for example, a left-hander would have the advantage in a right-handed world. The mathematical model accurately predicted the number of elite left-handed athletes in baseball, boxing, hockey, fencing, and table tennis (PDF)—more than 50 percent among top baseball players and well above 10 percent (the general population rate) for the other sports. For other sports like football or hockey where team cooperation is paramount, it is ideal for all individuals to possess the same handedness. For example, in football, blocking schemes are often designed to protect a quarterback’s blind side. As a result, it is beneficial for all quarterbacks on the roster to possess the same handedness to minimize variations of the offensive sets. ‘The accuracy of our model’s predictions when applied to sports data supports the idea that we are seeing the same effect in human society.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
If you ever watch broadcast TV, you may see a lot of super intelligent people on there, but when it comes to technology everyone seems to either be legitimately dumb or pretending to be dumb because they think the rest of the country is technologically deficient. So when we found out that CBS host Phil
conner_bw writes “A Boeing 727 passenger jet has been deliberately crash-landed. The pilot ejected just minutes before the collision. The plane was packed with scientific experiments, including crash test dummies. Dozens of cameras recorded the crash from inside the aircraft, on the ground, in chase planes and even on the ejecting pilot’s helmet. All of this was done for a feature length documentary to be shown on the Discovery Channel later this year.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
There are a lot of computer whiz kids out there. We’ve all seen the local news stories about the teenager who’s created an awesome app, or the high school student working on an ambitious robotics project. We’ve all met those guys. But how often do you see a six-year-old kid who’s been creating video game
Cheaper green semiconductor lasers could bring a novel display technology to market.
Head-up displays, which project visual data onto the windshield and the driver’s view of the road, are debuting in a growing number of car models. But more vibrant, compact, and efficient displays being developed by Microvision, a company based in Redmond, Washington, could help the technology become much more common. Japan’s Pioneer Corporation plans to release its first head-up display product based on Microvision’s novel display technology this year. Major carmakers in Detroit are also planning to integrate the technology into their vehicles by 2016, says Lance Evans, a director of business development at the company. Microvision’s image projector relies on semiconductor lasers and a microscopic mirror. The company’s head-up display is already in some concept cars but has so far been too costly for commercial models, says Evans. Now, falling prices of green lasers—a significant cost component of the display—should make the technology competitive with conventional displays, he says. Most existing head-up displays generate images using LCDs. Light-emitting diodes produce light and liquid crystal arrays act as shutters, controlling whether or not light reaches each pixel. This approach drains power, and the images often aren’t bright enough to be visible in daylight. Newer displays use either liquid crystal devices or hundreds of tiny mirrors to reflect light onto each pixel. While more energy efficient, these displays are still not very bright. Microvision’s system uses a set of three lasers—red, green and blue—and a single, millimeter-wide silicon mirror that tilts on two axes. The lasers put out light at different intensities, and the three colors are mixed to produce the final pixel color. As the lasers shine light on the mirror, it rapidly scans horizontally and vertically, painting the image onto the windshield one pixel at a time. This happens so fast that the image looks static. Evans says that the lasers’ pure, saturated colors result in more vivid images with a higher contrast ratio, so they are visible in daylight. Illuminating one pixel at a time also saves energy. And the use of a single mirror rather than an array makes the device smaller, simpler, and cheaper. The final cost of Microvision’s product will hinge on the price tag of advanced green lasers. Materials for true green lasers have traditionally been difficult to engineer, so most green lasers contain semiconductors that emit infrared light, which is converted to green using complicated optics. In the past few years, though, half a dozen key players, such as Nichia,Osram Opto Semiconductors, and Soraa, have developed cheaper pure-green lasers. They’re slowly scaling up production, which should lower costs. Evans expects that costs should fall to a tenth of current levels by the end of this year. “Green lasers alone are $ 200 each now,” he says. “Car companies are looking at the whole display to be that much.” Microvision’s laser-scanning display technology beats its competitors in terms of image quality, says Krishna Jayaraman, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While other companies are also developing laser-based head-up displays, Microvision was the first to propose the approach and has a technology lead. Chris Chinnock, president of the display market research firm Insight Media, points out that mobile connectivity is on the rise, and drivers need more and more information to be displayed in the least distracting way possible. That means the head-up display market for cars could be on the cusp of significant growth.
Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging for an update. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it’s easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don’t escape without notice, we’ve gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery we could find during the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!
AT&T’s LG Nitro HD is one of those rare devices your writer has actually used. We carried it as our daily driver during this year’s CES and were won over by that gorgeous screen, speedy LTE and its thin and light design. Unfortunately our experience matched those in the review: herky-jerky performance and battery life that meant we were always on the lookout for a power point. Of course, you can’t have amazing battery life without doubling its thickness, but would you have taken that compromise? We’re asking you: how would you change it?