Sure, you may own the highest res Android tablet on the block, but is your Nexus 10 really all that special when it's as naked as everyone else's? Problem, meet solution: the Nexus 10 cover from Google. The $29.99 add-on hit the Play Store this fine day, which stands as the first official accessory for the larger of Google's two tablets. The matte finish cover is available in dark grey and scarlet, which clips onto the slate without adding much bulk. As another nice touch, you can also wake and sleep the Nexus 10 simply by opening and closing its cover, which seems quite smart, if you ask us. Naturally, the Gorilla Glass 2 display of the Nexus 10 is plenty beefy already, but if you want that added layer of protection, you'll now find it for purchase in Google Play.
Via: Droid Life
Source: Google Play
Miami U.S. District Judge Robert Scola had choice words for Apple and Samsung during one of the pair's many patent disputes, accusing the two of of having "no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this dispute" and instead using such proceedings "as a business strategy." The Florida case began in 2010 and has since swelled to over 180 claims, causing the pair to ask the court to reduce the scope of the case. That caused Judge Scola to rail against the combatants, saying "without a hint of irony, the parties now ask the court to mop up a mess that they made," adding that he would "decline this invitation." Instead, he gave them four months to streamline the case themselves, less it be placed on hold until all the nearly 100 terms in dispute are defined to everyone's satisfaction -- and we know how that's gone so far.
Panasonic's NYC press event had more than pricing for its media streamers and Blu-ray players, as the company also put tags on its 2013 HDTVs. While it wasn't ready to announces MSRPs for its top of the line ZT60 plasmas that impressed us greatly at CES, it did put prices and shipping windows on its other models (check after the break for a complete list). The former flagship VT60 series will be available in 55-, 60- and 65-inch versions later this month for $2,600, $3,000 and $3,600, respectively. Cheaper plasma models include the ST60 and S60 series, available in sizes up to 60-inches. Its top of the line WT60 LCD LED-lit models will also ship later this month, topped by the 55-inch version with a sticker price of $2,999.
The bad news? While Panasonic's plasma manufacturing will continue, The Verge reports VP Kiyoshi Okamoto confirmed at the event that development has ceased on its plasma models, although some engineers have been shifted to work on OLED displays. We'll see if its recovery efforts and technological developments lead to new large-size OLEDs anytime soon, but for now it appears we're seeing the last of its efforts to push plasma technology forward.
At IDF 2013 in Beijing, Intel is again making a big push for perceptual computing by way of voice recognition, gesture control, face recognition and more, and to complement its free SDK for these functions, Intel's been offering developers a Creative Interactive Gesture Camera for $149 on its website since November. For those who missed it last time, this time-of-flight depth camera is very much just a smaller cousin of Microsoft's Kinect sensor, but with the main difference being this one is designed for a closer proximity and can therefore also pick up the movement of each finger.
We had a go on Creative's camera with some fun demos -- including a quick level of gesture-based Portal 2 made with Intel's SDK -- and found it to be surprisingly sensitive, but we have a feeling that it would've been more fun if the camera was paired up with a larger display. Intel said Creative will be commercially launching this kit at some point in the second half of this year, and eventually the same technology may even be embedded in monitors or laptops (remember Toshiba's laptops with Cell-based gesture control?). Until then, you can entertain yourselves with our new hands-on video after the break.
Hugo Teso, a security consultant who also happens to be a trained commercial pilot, says he's developed an Android app that can make an airliner "dance to his tune" by attacking its flight management systems. The hack was demoed at this year's Hack In The Box conference in Amsterdam, where Teso showed how the app -- called PlaneSploit -- can seek out targets from the ground by infiltrating radio broadcasts between aircraft and air traffic control, and then use a second communication system to send malicious messages to that could "take full control of the plane" or indirectly affect the pilot's behavior. PlaneSploit is proof-of-concept software, designed to work in a closed virtual environment, so it's not like we're going to see it pop up on Google Play any time soon, but just the fact it exists will hopefully help to keep the puppet masters out of real-world planes. And no, there's no Windows Phone version.
Korg's love of the mini-analog synth clearly remains strong as it's added three more new ones to the fold -- the Volca Beat, Volca Bass and Volca Keys (the clue to what they do is in the names). While some firms take a pro product and work down, making cheaper versions, Korg seems to take a different approach. It did the stripping-back thing when it launched its popular Monotron synth. Since then, it's incrementally developed it back up into a whole category of its own, the latest iteration of which we apparently see before us here. The trio of mini-synths clearly take inspiration from the Monotribe groovebox that came before them, but are a step up in terms of design. Brushed metal finishes give them a vintage, almost Stylophone feel. The Volca Bass, in particular, looks almost too much like the legendary Roland TB-303 to be coincidence, and if we didn't know better, we'd say the color scheme of the Beat echoes the TR-808. As we happened to be in Frankfurt, we couldn't resist getting out hands on them, or as you'll see past the break, at least trying to.
Gallery: Korg Volca series eyes-on
Filed under: Misc
We knew Samsung was planning more devices, but we didn't expect the arrival of two Galaxy Mega smartphones at the same time. Both are apparently headed to Europe some time next month, continuing to prove that Samsung are willing to test out any screen-size. The 6.3-inch model has an 'HD display' (we're chasing the precise resolution, though it's likely 720p) alongside a dual-core 1.7GHz processor, Android 4.2 and an 8-megapixel camera. Software features like Air View, Multi Windows, Pop-up Play will make sure you have plenty to do on that giant screen. The Galaxy Mega arrives somewhere between Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy Note II, although we're hoping it'll be priced slightly more humbly than either neighbor. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 houses LTE and HSPA radios, while you'll get GPS and GLONASS to aid any location-based antics. There's a 3,200mAh battery and internal storage that can be expanded by microSD up to 64GB, with 8 or 16 gigs (there's two models) built-in to begin with.
The HSPA-only Galaxy Mega 5.8 reduces the size -- and pretty much all the other specs. The resolution drops down to qHD (960 x 540), while it packs a lesser 1.4GHz dual-core processor. It has the same 8-megapixel camera, while the smaller, er, Mega, only comes as an 8GB model. No word on pricing for either yet, but the Ubergizmo team has already got the chance to handle the Korean manufacturer's 6.3-inch goliath. Take a look at their first impressions at the More Coverage link.
The iOS legion has been able to play around with Cinemagram since February of last year, but now it's finally time for Android users to also experience what the app's all about. And while there are certainly other animated applications on the platform that are somewhat similar, Cinemagram stands out from the majority due to its built-in social features -- think of it as an Instagram of sorts, where other users can easily comment on and keep up with your recent four-second creations. What's more, the app allows other tidbits like special effects to be added to videos, while the ability to share these "GIFs on steroids" to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are also options within Cinemagram. It's even already had one update, adding the ability to delete creations within the app. Hey, perhaps this could be the solution to all your Vine-induced sorrows.
Via: The Verge
Source: Google Play
Dropbox's gone a little bit more global, adding Russian, Polish, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Traditional and Simplified Chinese language support to its file sharing service. The translated versions are available across Mac, PC, Linux and Dropbox's web interface, with an iOS version apparently in the works and "coming soon." Alongside those language credits, the Android app has also improved how it shows off the entirety of your photo collection, which should make the most of all those instant uploads.
In the past, "going Google" was something only cities or state and federal governments did -- transitioning entire systems to the tech giant's cloud. But now, entire countries are making the leap and to do it, they're getting a giant Mountain View-assist. Following in the footsteps of the Philippines, Malaysia's Ministry of Education is embracing Google's Apps for Education nationwide, while also doling out Chromebooks to its entire school system. The initiative, part of the government's Education Blueprint, should go a long way towards reducing the barrier to the web in developing countries, while simultaneously reinforcing its use as a crucial learning tool. It's a smart move for a cash-strapped country like Malaysia, since Chromebooks are simple to use (there's no real OS), boot instantly and are relatively low-cost -- not to mention, GApps are free. And for Google, it's a really great way to bolster adoption.
Source: Official Google Blog
Those red pins look almost like little hearts, revealing which countries have been showered with the affection of Google's crowdsourced map improvement tool and those -- like the UK -- that have so far been left out. We can now safely ignore the chart, however, as the UK has just received its dose of Map Maker love, taking its rightful place among nations like the US, France, India and even North Korea. Instead of just reporting problems, which has long been possible, Brits can use the browser-based service to contribute additional local knowledge about everything from bus stations to cycle routes, as well as natural features like parks and even bits of shrubbery. (Hopefully, only really amazing bits of shrubbery.) You can watch folks adding these sorts of things, almost in real-time, at the Google link below -- and it's weirdly addictive.
Filed under: Internet
Via: BBC News
Source: Google Map Maker
Flash memory advancements usually sing the same tune: faster, smaller and high-density. Improve one of these attributes, and you've go the makings of a better chip on your hands. Samsung is focusing on the latter, announcing the mass production of its 10 nanometer 128-gigabit three-bit multi-level-cell NAND flash. That mouthful translates into flash chips with more memory per cell in a small form factor. Sammy says the new chip is capable of 400Mbps, and claims the highest density in the industry. The new silicon will be used to expand the company's supply of 128GB memory cards and high-volume solid state drives. It's also well positioned to be a better part for devices with embedded NAND storage, which Samsung hopes will keep it competitive. You'll find Samsung's announcement and all the granular details after the break.
Source: Samsung Tomorrow
Microsoft's SmartGlass for Android app has just hit version 1.5 thanks to a fresh update on Google Play. The app, which lets users control their XBox via a smartphone or tablet, will now be optimized to work on 7-inch and larger Android tablets. Other new features include an (unfortunately-worded) "always-on" Smartglass Experiences state, which actually just prevents your handset or slate from sleeping while they're running, along with bug fixes and "numerous design and usability improvements." We'll have to give it a further play to see if there's anything juicy buried in the latter, but meanwhile, you can grab it at the break.
Source: Google Play
While executives at T-Mobile and MetroPCS may be ready to close their merger, some shareholders aren't -- major advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services has been recommending that MetroPCS investors vote against the deal unless T-Mobile can sweeten the pot. Consider it sweetened. T-Mobile's parent Deutsche Telekom has made a "final offer" that would slash the debt owed by the post-merger company by $3.8 billion (to $11.2 billion), reduce the interest rate on that debt by half a point and prevent Deutsche Telekom from selling its shares in the merged firm for 18 months, rather than the original six. The reshuffled finances may not sound very exciting on the surface, but they're enough to put MetroPCS in a tizzy: the carrier is delaying a shareholder vote on the deal from April 12th to the 24th to allow for some reevaluations. There's no guarantees that the new offer is enough to please the naysayers. Still, we'd venture that T-Mobile will get a warmer reaction than the last time it tried a corporate alliance.
Source: Deutsche Telekom IR (Twitter)
At IDF's second-day keynote in Beijing today, Intel announced its collaboration with bank card giant China UnionPay for secure mobile payment, with the latter utilizing Intel's Identity Protection Technology and also its distribution of the Hadoop software framework for datacenters. With UnionPay being China's top bank card organization boasting a total of 3.5 billion cards to date, this is obviously a big deal for Intel both locally and around the world -- at least in the 141 countries and regions where UnionPay is accepted, according to Executive Vice President Chai Hongfeng.
Chai also used his stage time to show off UnionPay Quick Pass, China's very own NFC payment service with over 1.1 million local POS terminals as of December 2012. The exec used none other than Intel's developer device to buy its Corporate Vice President Doug Fisher a can of "Mountain Doug" (we would've preferred "Chai Tea" instead), but of course, HTC beat Intel to it with the joint launch of mobile Quick Pass back in August 2011. Anyhow, there's a press release after the break.
Wonder what a Nexus 7 / Kindle Fire / iPad Mini fighter from Microsoft would look like? You may find out soon, as the Wall Street Journal has just posted a "breaking news" alert that it's heard Microsoft is developing a new lineup of Surface tablets (which it's confirmed before) including a 7-inch version, which it expects to take into mass production later this year. We've seen hints of smaller tablets already, with recent Windows 8 policy changes allowing devices featuring lower-res screens. It's filled out a few other details now, crediting the info to unnamed sources familiar with its product plans who claim Microsoft realized it needed something to compete with the smaller competition (shocker). The report ends with a footnote on the rumored Microsoft-branded phone, which is said to still be in testing but component suppliers are not sure if it will actually come to market. While we wait for further updates, consider this your opportunity to make suggestions on what should change in Redmond's second assault on slates.
While the biggest question concerning LG's 5.5-inch Optimus G Pro -- when will it ship in the US -- remains officially TBA, the company has posted a video preview (embedded after the break) of the software update it's sending Korean early adopters this month. There's also no launch date for the "Value Pack" upgrade listed, but the video does give a clear demonstration of things like Smart Video that recognizes when the viewer looks away using eye tracking technology, Dual Camera using the front and back cameras at the same time for stills (it previously did this for video), and Pause & Resume recording that brings Vine-style seamless video cuts. Check out the video to experience it for yourself, we'll see if LG's phablet can beat the Galaxy S4 -- and, presumably, the next Galaxy Note -- to market in the US with these features.
Update: We've got the English press release now, which details all the new features mentioned above plus a few more that are getting upgraded, and reveals the update will start going out to users on April 12th. Check out the full text after the break.
Beamz has been firing lasers in the name of limb-flailing performance for a few years. Today, it's announced it's working with popular music-mixing software Virtual DJ to provide the aural filling in its laser sandwich. The controller is the same four-beamed multi-button affair we've seen before, but now with a custom version of the aforementioned DJ application to call its own, and make the set-up a cinch. On screen you'll see two representations of the Beamz controller (instead of decks) with instant visual feedback to let you know which beam is mapped to what. You can configure four different triggers at one time, controlling cue points, looping and so on. To add functionality, you can then use the large buttons at the base of the device to rotate through different mappings. The emphasis, of course, is on performance here with nary a rotary nor fader in sight (we imagine you'd be using your other controller for that, right?). The software and hardware combo are being bundled together as a deal, and if you want in, you can do so right away for $200. Not sure if it'll fit in your workflow? Perhaps head past the break, and see if that video doesn't change your mind.
Many have lamented the seeming decline of the US space program. While we're not expecting an immediate return to the halcyon days, the President's proposed federal budget for fiscal 2014 could see some renewed ambition. NASA's slice of the pie includes a plan that would improve detection of near-Earth asteroids, send a solar-powered robot ship (like the NASA concept above) to capture one of the space rocks and tow it back to a stable orbit near Earth, where researchers could study it up close. The agency would have humans setting foot on the asteroid by 2025, or even as soon as 2021. It's a grand goal to say the least, but we'd potentially learn more about solar propulsion and defenses against asteroid collisions.
If NASA's plans mostly involve the future, the US Air Force budget is looking into the past. It's setting aside $35 million for a long-discussed resurrection of the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite, also known as DSCOVR -- a vehicle that was scuppered in 2001 due to cost overruns, among other factors. Run by NOAA once aloft, the modernized satellite would focus on warning the Earth about incoming solar winds. That's just one of the satellite's original missions, but the November 2014 launch target is relatively realistic -- and we'll need it when the satellite currently fulfilling the role is overdue for a replacement.
Honeywell has had WiFi-capable thermostats on the market for some time, but few of them would be a great match for home interiors that have escaped 1980s beige chic. The company's new Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is going a long way toward bringing that design fully into the present century. Owners can color match the touchscreen interface with the paint on their walls, down to very exact shades. Of course, the thermostat wouldn't be much of a competitor in the Nest era if it didn't have some of that namesake intelligence underneath. As with its main rival, the Honeywell system has (already existing) Android and iOS apps, and can tell how long it takes to change the temperature; it's also aware of when filters need a change based on furnace behavior. If you're on the cusp of a home renovation and don't want anything so gauche as a differently-colored screen, home improvement shops should have the Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat this May for $249.
Filed under: Household