We weren't kidding about that influx of FCC filings: the Verizon edition of Samsung's Galaxy S 4, the SCH-i545, has passed through the US regulator's approval right on cue. The device on display ticks all the checkboxes we'd expect, including LTE on both Verizon's main 700MHz band and the carrier's recently acquired AWS frequencies. We also notice HSPA-based 3G, which suggests Big Red's GS4 won't be a paperweight when abroad. The filing just leaves AT&T and T-Mobile as the major stragglers in the US; at the current rate, though, they'll have little trouble getting clearance before they have to fulfill any future orders.
Things got a tad hairy for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Blue Waters supercomputer when IBM halted work on it in 2011, but with funding from the National Science Foundation, the one-petaflop system is now crunching numbers 24/7. The behemoth resides within the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and is composed of 237 Cray XE6 cabinets and 32 of the XK7 variety. NVIDIA GK110 Kepler GPU accelerators line the inside of the machine and are flanked by 22,640 compute nodes, which each pack two AMD 6276 Interlagos processors clocked at 2.3 GHz or higher. At its peak performance, the rig can churn out 11.61 quadrillion calculations per second. According to the NCSA, all that horsepower earns Blue Waters the title of the most powerful supercomputer on a university campus. Now that it's cranking away around-the-clock, it'll be used in projects investigating everything from how viruses infect cells to weather predictions.
At this year's New York International Auto Show BMW is expanding its portfolio of connected apps -- by four. The company announced iOS integration for Audible, Glympse, Rhapsody and TuneIn Radio and we couldn't help but swing by to check them all out. This integration (which also will work on Connected Minis) entails an update to those existing iOS apps. In other words, you won't need a dedicated BMW app nor second versions of these individual apps. You can use the ones you already know and love.
Join us below for a little more information on how that works, and a look at the company's in-car LTE router that's also on display.
Gallery: BMW Connected apps hands-on
Back when the Razer Edge pre-orders kicked off, on March 1st, the company wasn't quite clear as to when exactly the device would commence shipping to early adopters, only going as far as saying it would be later that very month. Well, the good news is today Razer took to its own Facebook page to announce that its new-era gaming PC is now on its way to folks who put in a pre-order "from the March batch." Meanwhile, Razer's hoping other gamers will also shell out the hefty amount of $999-plus for its novel piece of hardware, urging potential buyers on the social network to snag a unit (or two) before they go out of stock -- just don't expect to get a keyboard dock with your order, as the previously reported Q3 availability for this add-on remains intact. Above all, however, it's a great thing to see that what was once just a project, is now getting ready to arrive at consumers' doorsteps.
Source: Razer (Facebook)
At a rather vitriolic (and frequently profane) presentation given to a small group of frequently bemused journalists (myself included), T-Mobile CEO John Legere laid out the company's reinvention. In the interest of keeping things PG I won't repeat the colorful language, but Legere accused the other major carriers of being not only confusing, but also misleading -- ignoring the fact that his own company has, for years, enacted the very same policies. No more. It's time for the UnCarrier to step up.
But, it's important to note that you'll be paying full price, or near to it, for your smartphone.
First is a series of contract-free Simple Choice plans, which are similar to those the company offered before. It's $50 for "unlimited talk + text + web" -- though the data use is indeed limited to 500MB. Stepping up to truly unlimited everything is $20 more, which is a fair bit cheaper than the biggest plans from competing carriers. But, it's important to note that you'll be paying full price, or near to it, for your smartphone.
Welcome to The After Math, where we attempt to summarize this week's tech news through numbers, decimal places and percentages
This week, there's been a mixed bag of interesting news numbers, from T-Mobile's New York event and the company's new perspective on the phone network business, to San Francisco (again) for the Games Developers Conference. We also got to take a look at BlackBerry's first financial results since the name change and its BB10 launch.
With the 2013 season looming just around the corner, it's only natural for Major League Baseball to make sure its various applications on different platforms are all ready to go come this weekend. And as it did with MLB.tv on Xbox Live a couple days ago, MLB's now also updated the At Bat Android and iOS apps, leaving behind the spring training features from last month and making room for ones that are tailored for this year's Opening Day and forward. For subscribers, this means things such as multi-platform live audio, more video highlights, a virtual archive of classic games and a revamped news section within the apps. What's more, MLB has kept its promise of bringing At Bat 13 to the BB10 crowd, giving BlackBerry Z10 owners the ability to download the app starting today. Clearly, it's that time of the year again, that time where your Yankees-cheering friends tell you all about how A-Rod, when fit, is the best player in the game. Or, if they're Giants fans, how they really, really, hope the tale of Samson's hair won't apply to Tim Lincecum.
Oculus Rift is in the mail! Development kits began shipping to customers on Wednesday, and even if you have yet to receive a tracking number of your own, a kit may very well be on its way. The Oculus team has been "tied up at GDC" this week, which explains the delay in sending out tracking info, but folks taking care of logistics have apparently been hard at work, prepping some 10,000 development kits for shipment. Of course, not every set will be on its way to a developer right away -- it does take time to get that many kits out the door -- but if you're expecting one at your front porch, it's likely to arrive very soon. In the meantime, the Developer Center has opened up to devs, with access to the SDK, Unity and Unreal Engine integrations, forums, wiki and other documentation. The team also published a video of its SXSW panel in full for your enjoyment -- you can catch it just past the break.
Source: Oculus VR
Gamers were down-right spoiled at this year's GDC with a full 17 minutes of beautiful Battlefield 4 in-game footage. Minds blown, AMD took responsibility for the part it played in the mess, admitting the demo was running on its Radeon HD 7990 graphics card. It's the first time the company's confirmed the existence of the long-fabled card, and went as far as calling the case-busting monster "the world's fastest." All we know is the card combines two of the HD 7970's Tahiti GPUs -- AMD's not sharing the full specs -- but the eagle-eyed folks at AnandTech have plucked a few extra details from the limited pictures available. They note the open-air cooling, which would require a drafty case but mean the fans should run fairly quiet, and that power consumption is likely to be no more than 375 watts. Not much to go on, we know, but we'll be waiting eagerly for AMD's full reveal. Now, your BF4 video awaits. (Warning: the game dialogue contains a few naughty words).
[Image Credit: AnandTech]
Source: AMD Gaming (Facebook)
Vine video posts have had an ephemeral quality when there's been few ways to show them off outside of catching a web link the moment it appears. There's a better way to make those six seconds last an eternity now that the Twitter-run service offers support for embedding its loops on the web. As long as you have access to an existing web link or share a clip through an updated iOS app, you can get HTML code to embed a video in two styles and three different sizes. While it's not quite the expanded platform support that some are hoping for, embedded viewing does make it easier to see what Vine is about -- and potentially delight (or annoy) blog readers who'd have otherwise missed your ultra-short movie projects.
Every week, a new and interesting human being tackles our decidedly geeky take on the Proustian Q&A. This is the Engadget Questionnaire.
In the return edition of our regular session of inquiry, Moog Music product manager Amos Gaynes discusses sound synthesis, tolerance for poor battery life and shares his love for BB10. For the entire collection of answers, take a quick leap to the other side of the break.
Filed under: Misc
The eponymous "Smart car" has been buzzing around city streets in the US for over five years now. It's actually called the Fortwo, thanks to its limited seating capacity, and while it didn't prove to be an immediate hit, sales have been steadily increasing. An electric version of the car has been available in limited numbers overseas for years now, but finally this year it's coming to the US. And this is it. We got a chance to drive a green vinyl-wrapped Smart Electric Drive around some city streets ahead of the opening of the New York International Auto Show and came away reasonably impressed by this $25,000 EV -- the cheapest on the market. Join us after the break for our impressions.
Gallery: Smart Electric Drive test drive
Filed under: Transportation
HTC's Status may not have been a tremendous hit, but it looks like Facebook hasn't severed its ties with the smartphone maker just yet. According to TechCrunch and New York Times sources, April 4th's "Come See Our New Home on Android" event is set to feature an HTC smartphone with a custom, Facebook-centric OS. It's perhaps the next best thing to a phone designed and manufactured by Facebook, but instead, HTC will be tasked with creating the hardware. The integration is expected to run deep, however -- when you power on the device, a Facebook home screen is what you'll see first. Additionally, the device's camera and messaging apps will default to Facebook, according to the New York Times report. Hardware specifications have yet to be revealed, but software will clearly be the focus here. Tune in at 1PM EST next Thursday for our liveblog, direct from Facebook HQ.
Normally, a trip from Earth to the ISS takes about two days. Thursday, a Soyuz capsule docked with the orbiting laboratory after less than six hours of flight time, setting a record. Accelerating the trip wasn't an issue of newer technology or more powerful engines, necessarily, but of better math and planning. The Russian vehicle essentially took a shortcut that required precisely timed steering over the course of four orbits, putting three crew members (including one American astronaut) on the space station at 10:28pm ET -- just five hours and 45 minutes after takeoff from Kazakhstan. Russian engineers are already looking at ways to trim more time off the trip, by cutting two more orbits from the route. Obviously the human cargo appreciates spending less time in the cramped quarters of the Soyuz. But getting equipment and materials for experiments to the ISS quicker should also yield better and more reliable scientific results. For a few clips of liftoff and the docking itself check out the NASA link in the source.
Back at Expand, the folks at Lenovo unveiled the ThinkPad T431s, a unit that embodies an overhaul of the outfit's iconic laptop. The latest issue of our weekly magazine goes inside the process of balancing customer preference, perception and tradition with forward-facing design in order to construct the final model. As far as reviews go, Ableton Push, Sonos Playbar and Dell Latitude 10 all get put through their respective paces to tally up some final grades on each. Moog occupies both Eyes-On and the Q&A, Hands-On speed tests T-Mobile's LTE network and IRL has three more items that we've used on the daily. All of that and much more is a download away on your go-to e-reading gadget.
For those opting to "replace" instead of "clean" this spring, Vizio's got a bit of news for you -- the outfit's latest line of touch-friendly laptops and desktops now have firm pricing details to pore over. Starting with the portables, the 14-inch Touch Thin + Light (CT14T-B0) will ship soon with an AMD A10 APU and a base price of $1,089.99; the Core i7-equipped CT14T-B1, however, will start at $1,419.99. For those needing a bit more screen to stare at, the 15.6-inch versions of these guys will go for $1,189.99 (AMD A10) / $1,469.99 (Intel Core i7). Sliding over to desktops, the 24-inch Touch All-in-One (CA24T-B0) will ship momentarily for $1,279.99 with an AMD A10 APU, while the Core i7-infused CA24T-B1 will start at $1,439.99 and the 27-inch CA27T-B1 will get going at $1,549.99. As you'd expect, Windows 8 will find itself on home across the entire range, and those looking to buy in immediately can do so at the source links below.
As if there weren't enough real jellyfish around to trigger our thalassophobia, researchers at Virginia Tech have created Cryo -- an eight-armed autonomous robot that mimics jelly movement with the help of a flexible silicone hat. The man-sized jellybot altogether dwarfs previous efforts, hence the upgrade from small tank to swimming pool for mock field tests. And unlike the passively propelled bots we've seen recently, Cryo runs on batteries, with the researchers hoping to better replicate the energy-efficient nature of jelly movement to eventually increase Cryo's charge cycle to months instead of hours. That's also the reason these robotic jellyfish are getting bigger -- because the larger they are, the further they can go. Potential uses include ocean monitoring and perhaps clearing oil spills, but the US Navy, which is funding the work, sees an opportunity to recruit jellies for underwater surveillance -- a job the researchers say is suited to their natural-looking disguise. But, before the tables are turned, you can spy on Cryo for yourself in the video below.
Source: Virginia Tech (Vimeo)
Until now, Windows 8's official hardware requirements have been understandably ruthless: devices with anything less than 1,366 x 768 pixels need not apply. That policy was changed in a recent newsletter, however, to permit the creation of Windows 8 devices with a resolution of 1,024 x 768 -- likely representing a very different size and shape. Microsoft says the policy switch isn't meant to "encourage partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution", and it warns that such dimensions will be incompatible with Windows 8's split-screen feature, known as "snap". Which raises the question -- why mess with the rules?
Ed Bott over at ZDNet has an interesting theory. 1,024 x 768 matches the size and aspect ratio of many popular reader-sized tablets, like the iPad Mini, which are meant to be used in both portrait and landscape orientations. There's no official confirmation either way, of course, but Bott believes Microsoft's move could be deliberately aimed at allowing the development of 7- or 8-inch Windows 8 (or RT) tablets, possibly with the close help of Nook-maker Barnes & Noble. Indeed, Mary Jo Foley spotted that Redmond and B&N have registered a new joint venture, "NewCo", that explicitly mentions the creation of a "Microsoft reader". Considering all these clues, can a Wook (WiNook?) really be that far off?
Independent creators keen on motion capture have had affordable solutions like cheaper sensors and Kinect-based implementations for awhile now, but a large space for moving around has usually been required. OptiTrack has come up with an answer to that problem, however, in the form of the PRIME 17W mocap camera that it introduced at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The 1.7-megapixel lens has a 70-degree by 51-degree field of view that promises to capture motion in a relatively small space, which also means you need fewer cameras to get a full 360-degree shot. Other features include a global shutter, high-speed 360 FPS capture and low distortion, enabling UAV and sports tracking. At $3,700, it's still not exactly cheap, but it's certainly affordable enough for indie engineers and animators with space constraints to get started in the mocap biz.
Though we don't get to see its smartphone wares too often stateside or in Europe, NEC has always said its mobile division was a big part of its business. Now it looks to be trying to fob that arm off to PC venture partner Lenovo, according to unnamed Bloomberg sources. The Japanese company is also said to be eying potential domestic buyers if that doesn't pan out, and Reuters recently reported that it's selling retail subsidiary NEC Mobiling to the tune of $850 million. The move is said to be in the works to bolster profitability after two straight years of smartphone operation losses and 10,000 layoffs, but as always, such unattributed material needs to be digested with beaucoup salt.