Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Is It true? Google reveals kiosk-centric Chrome OS update

Google has updated Chrome OS with a new feature called Managed Public Sessions, which – as its name suggests – allows customers to use Chromebooks as a public kiosk of sorts, whether for business or browsing purposes. Google boasts that the feature is “highly customizable,” and that it operates without requiring a login. In combination with the management console, the machine can be set up to meet a variety of requirements.

Google lists a variety of situations in which it says the Chromebook in combination with the new feature will be beneficial, including for placing orders within a retail store, searching an inventory or catalog, updating inventory, updating business information within a company, and more. Like other kiosk setups, Chrome OS can be configured to display custom items, such as certain Web pages, as well as blocking other items, such as non-relevant websites and applications. Device functionality with the Chromebook can also be controlled, and limits can be put on how much time a user can spend on the kiosk. Likewise, when the user is logged out or manually logs out, the information from the session is wiped, helping to keep things tidy and secure. All are fairly standard among kiosk software, and gives users another option on top of what has largely been relegated to iOS and Android-based setups. Google says it has tested the new feature out in public settings to gather feedback and see how it holds up, with locations including Dillards, the Hyatt San Francisco, and the Multnomah County Library. Dillards used the system as a shared hub for employees to access its internal system, while the Multnomah library is using the setup to provide its patrons with time-limited access to the machines. The Hyatt used it the Chromebooks in its break rooms. [via Google Enterprise] Google reveals kiosk-centric Chrome OS update is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Samsung Galaxy Note III tipped in triple prototype phase

Yesterday we saw what was believed to be Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 in a leaked image showing a larger display than its Note 2 predecessor, as well as a host of specs. While the image was alluring, the folks over at SamMobile have stated that the featured phone is not, in fact, the Galaxy Note 3, but instead a ZOPO ZP950 Android handset with a 5.7-inch display and no Samsung branding to be seen. That’s not all, however, with a source saying that Samsung does have three Galaxy Note 3 prototypes floating around.

Of the three alleged prototypes, the source says there is one with a design inspired by the GALAXY S 4 flagship handset, another with a completely new design (breath of fresh air and all that), and a third that features a flexible display, which is the one that sounds most intriguing. The prototype that draws its design from the S 4 is featured in the concept above. Different rumors have been popping up lately regarding the Galaxy Note 3, such as one that hit the Web a few weeks ago claiming the device will sport a new design, which is what one of the three prototypes at Samsung are rumored to have. Specifically, word has it the design will utilize metal in the place of plastic. Such a claim automatically brings one around to thoughts of the HTC One. The rumored new design and GALAXY S 4-inspired design aside, the third concerning a flexible display design is the most interesting of the three. This seems to match up with a rumor we heard earlier this month that the Note 3 will feature a super-durable plastic display that is harder to crack than current offerings. For now, all remain the stuff of rumors, but if one of them proves to be true, we’ll know in September when it is believed Samsung will launch the device. [via Gotta Be Mobile] Samsung Galaxy Note III tipped in triple prototype phase is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Bank of Canada reveals polymer note decked out with robot arms

Leave it to Canada to roll out an awesome design you can carry on every ($5) bill in your pocket. Earlier today, the Bank of Canada announced its new $5 and $10 polymer bank notes, which are not only among the most secure bills Canada has ever issued, but the lesser denomination also features Canada’s awesome robot arms and was unveiled in part by Commander Chris Hadfield of the ISS.

The $5 note features a picture of Canadarm2 and Dextre, robotic arms that were used in part to construct and further maintain the International Space Station. Given the nature of the bill, it only makes sense, then, that it was unveiled by Commander Hadfield, who said that the image represented on the bill should serve as a reminder of Canada’s space achievements and that the sky, in fact, is not the limit. Canadians will see the bill – as well as the $10 note – in the wild when they are both released in November, finishing up a series that already contains $20, $50, and $100 notes out in circulation. The polymer notes are boasted as being very secure due to the use of both holography and transparency, as well as being more durable than their cotton counterparts, thus making them more economical and green as well. Canada’s Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty said: “Canadians can be very proud of their new polymer bank notes. With today’s unveiling of the final two notes in the series, one can see not only the unique story that each of the five denominations tells, but the unifying theme that underlies them all – the profound courage, determination, and ingenuity of our nation and its people.” [via Bank of Canada] Bank of Canada reveals polymer note decked out with robot arms is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Twitter for Glass app confirmed by LeWeb founder

Yesterday, we reported that tweets were being spotted on Twitter containing pictures sent from an app called Twitter for Glass, with the evidence later being deleted and remaining only in the form of screenshots. While there was speculation that the images could, perhaps, be Photoshopped, there was more than a few things indicating the tweets – and app – were real. Fortunately, we didn’t have too wait long for confirmation.

A very similar tweet was fired off today by Loic Le Meur, founder of LeWeb, containing an image and the hashtag #throughglass. The image in the picture was taken from behind the wheel while on the road, showing some cars and road, as well as an arm gripping the steering wheel. The position certainly looks correct for Google Glass. There is one notable difference between his tweet and those that surfaced yesterday – the absence of a flag showing that it was sent by an app called Twitter for Glass, as well as the stock text that was included in yesterday’s tweets, with Le Meur’s featuring the hashtag and nothing else. Regardless, when asked by the folks over at CNET if it was sent via a Twitter Glass app, he said yes. And so there you have it – although the company hasn’t confirmed or denied its existence, confirmation has been given alongside anecdotal evidence that a Twitter for Glass app is real and running in the wild on several pairs of Google Glass. When Twitter will give the app its official public debut is unknown, but we’ll certainly keep you updated when it happens. [via CNET] Twitter for Glass app confirmed by LeWeb founder is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? OneNote updated with finger painting in Windows Store

Who doesn’t enjoy drawing with their fingers? And such an ability becomes essential in the absence of a stylus, whether because you need to dash out something very quickly and don’t have one on you or misplace it when you need it most. Such an ability was requested by many users for OneNote on their touch-enabled Windows 8 and RT devices, which is now possible thanks to an update Microsoft pushed out.

With this update, OneNote users will see an addition to the radial menu called “Draw,” which opens up a new round of options, including multiple pens of different colors (black, blue, green, and red), as well as an eraser and an Undo tool. The pens can be customized with, for example, different thicknesses. And a welcomed feature is that you can save a customized pen as a favorite. In addition, those using it on a device that does not have a touch screen can still use the feature via a mouse or USB drawing tablet, although Microsoft advises that users will best experience the feature when using a pen. Those who want to update can do so by heading into the Windows Store and then tapping “Updates” located on the right. For those unfamiliar, OneNote allows users to take notes and have them synced with the cloud for extra security. Microsoft says that it has “reimagined” OneNote for Windows 8 and RT devices, making it easier to use in conjunction with touch controls, such as swiping. Users can toggle between different paper types for various notes, snap them to the side of the screen for use alongside a browser for research or other activities, and more. [via OneNote] OneNote updated with finger painting in Windows Store is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? NASA’s Opportunity rover found in standby mode as communications moratorium ends

At the beginning of this month, NASA enacted a communications moratorium with its spacecraft on Mars, an event that had been planned as a safety precaution against possible corrupted commands caused by the sun during particular planetary alignment. The moratorium has come to an end, revealing the rover Opportunity put itself into standby at some point during a routine camera check.

The discovery was made on April 27, and NASA prepared a new set of commands yesterday that will pull the rover back into a regular functioning mode, something it has been waiting for since going into the specific type of standby mode. It wasn’t down long, however, having reverted to that mode last week on April 22. Unlike Curiosity, Opportunity has called Mars its home for nearly a decade. NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas said: “Our current suspicion is that Opportunity rebooted its flight software, possibly while the cameras on the mast were imaging the sun. We found the rover in a standby state called automode, in which it maintains power balance and communication schedules, but waits for instructions from the ground. We crafted our solar conjunction plan to be resilient to this kind of rover reset, if it were to occur.” Although the communications moratorium came to its end for Opportunity, it is still in effect for the Curiosity rover, which is set to resume its communications with the ground tomorrow. NASA says that thus far information received from the rover shows that it has made it through its mini vacation without incident, and as such is slated to receive its first set of commands on May 1. [via NASA] NASA’s Opportunity rover found in standby mode as communications moratorium ends is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Path’s unwanted messaging tactics have users yelling spam

You may recall back in February when Path ran afoul of the FTC for its much-criticized habit of collecting users’ contact information sans permission. The FTC smacked them with a $800,000 fine for what it said was violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act due to the app pulling some information from those under the age of 13. A day shy of 3 months later and the app is in hot water again, this time with its users who say one of Path’s features amounts to spam.

Path, which has seen monumental growth, uses a tactic similar those annoying Facebook apps that post things to your Facebook wall and, worse yet, your friends’ walls without your permission, hocking answers or stickers or secrets that are only visible if that friend downloads the app. Such is the way Path has decided to work, selecting all of the user’s contacts by default for a stock message. If the user isn’t paying too much attention during the sign-up process or misunderstands that part, the app will take it upon itself to send a mass message out to the user’s contacts. Such was the case with Stephen Kenwright, who The Verge reports had his contacts mass spammed with a message reading, “Stephen Kenwright has photos to show you on Path. Download the free app:”, followed by a link. Other users have complained about the same problem in recent time. Utilizing these tactics, it’s not hard to see how Path is raking in a million new users every week, as well as more than a few disgruntled one who uninstall the app after finding out that coworkers and friends were spammed with text messages. Path has a different take on the issue, saying that it isn’t spam, but is instead a feature that helps users get the most from the service by having friends and family sign up. If a user doesn’t want the text messages to be sent out, they must remember to unselect their auto-selected contacts on the sign-up page. [via The Verge] Path’s unwanted messaging tactics have users yelling spam is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Former AOL VP becomes new head of CIA tech and science division

The CIA has appointed Dawn Meyerriecks, former AOL Senior Vice President for Product Technology, as its new Chief of Science and Technology. While it seems like a strange move on the CIA’s part, after reading through Meyerricks’s resume, we now understand why she is one of the best candidates. According to Wired, Meyerrick’s is the first internet executive to ever take a top-tiered position in the CIA.

Some of the things Meyerriecks has done in the past include working as a Jet Propulsion Lab engineer for NASA, working as a Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Acquisitions and Technology, working as a Chief Technology Officer and Technical Director for the Joint Interoperabillity and Engineering Organization (JIEO), establishing an in-house app market for both spies and analysts, encouraging the U.S. government to use open source software, and much more. At AOL, Meyerriecks oversaw the relaunch of AOL.com, and also the revamping of AOL Instant Messenger. Meyerriecks stated that the experience that she gained from AOL helped her become a better government tech executive. She said that because of AOL, she learned that it is possible to be innovative without needing to ask for additional funding. Aside from Meyerriecks’s resume, another reason why the CIA hired her is because it has been trying to improve its position in Silicon Valley. According to Wired, by hiring Meyerrieck, the CIA will be able to boost its position in Silicon Valley and increases its ties to the technology community there. Meanwhile, while the CIA is gaining a new asset, Meyerriecks’s old company AOL is firing a few dozen people. [via Wired] Former AOL VP becomes new head of CIA tech and science division is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Hacker shows how Google Glass could watch its user’s every move

Jay Freeman, an iOS and Android developer known for his popular Cydia app store accessible by jailbroken iPhones, has discovered a scary security flaw in Google Glass. While toying around with the Explorer edition of Google Glass, Freeman discovered that the device’s lack of a PIN code or any other form of authentication could make it easy for hackers to install surveillance malware onto the device.

Unlike a smartphone, which stays in your pocket most of the time, a hacked Google Glass can give hackers access to everything you see and everything you hear. According to Freeman, “The only thing it doesn’t know are your thoughts.” All a hacker needs to do is grab an unattended Google Glass, hook it up to their computer via USB, and enable root access on the device. Freeman says, “Once the attacker has root on your Glass, they have much more power than if they had access to your phone or even your computer: They have control over a camera and microphone that are attached to your head.” Not only will hackers be able to see and hear everything around you, they will be able to upload your files and recordings to remote servers. Freeman says that a hacked Google Glass “knows all your passwords” because it sees you typing them in. With a compromised Google Glass, “Nothing is safe.” However, chances are that Google will take note of these security flaws and issue fixes to them before the devices become available to consumers early next year. On the bright side, the only way hackers can install surveillance malware onto your Google Glass device is if they have physical access to it, meaning it won’t be too common. But nonetheless, Google needs to step up the security on the device. The user’s privacy and security should always be the top priority for any company. Freeman issued a statement to Forbes regarding the entire situation. He says, “It’s just kind of sloppy and negligent for Google to release a device to a bunch of early adopters that is missing a basic security function and even has a known bug on it that was disclosed eight months ago. Like someone could be inside of [tech pundit and blogger] Robert Scoble’s glass right now.” [via Forbes] Story Timeline Glass gets strict: Sharing, paid apps and ads risk remote kill Google to Glass owners: don't sell them, and don't share them Google Glass root is "easy," according to developers Glass hack runs native Android code on wearable Google Glass how-to video shows users how to get started Hacker shows how Google Glass could watch its user’s every move is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Google Glass how-to video shows users how to get started

Google released an official how-to video for its upcoming, game-changing product, Google Glass. The video shows users how to get started with Google Glass, and how navigate around their new gadget. The interface is similar to Google Now, with all of the important information you need being available to you within just one swipe. Google Glass won’t be available to consumers until sometime early next year, but that won’t stop Google from increasing the hype of its product.

In the video, the main emphasis is on Google Glass’s touch pad. There you can swipe left to see future events, such as lunch dates, flights, weather, and more. Swiping right will let you see past events, like your friend’s status updates and picture uploads. By tapping on the touch pad, you can view more information on a card. You can swipe down to return to your timeline. To share photos, just scroll to a photo and tap your touch pad. Your friends list will then pop up, where you can navigate and choose which friend to share your photo with. Recently, the specs for Google Glass were revealed. It appears to be running a dual-core OMAP 4430 CPU, contain 1GB of RAM (with only around 682MB available to users), and run Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Other leaked specs suggest that the device will also have 16GB of built-in storage and a 5MP camera capable of recording 720p HD videos. The specs resemble that of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. More news regarding Google Glass will be released in the coming weeks before the Google I/O event being held from May 15th to May 17th. There Google will talk up developers and show off even more features for Glass. Consumers will have to wait a little less than a year before they can purchase Google Glass, but on the bright side, by then there should be a huge list of apps available for the device thanks to developers. Be sure to check in with SlashGear May 15th – May 17th, where we’ll be covering Google I/O live. Story Timeline Google Glass specs: 16GB of storage, 5MP camera, and more Google Glass Explorer edition video and photos hit the web Google Glass consumer units arriving as soon as next year Google Glass specifications reveal smartphone-level details Google Glass how-to video shows users how to get started is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Wiikey hacks Wii U to play games from USB drives

Wiikey, the hackers who invented mod chips and soft mods for the Nintendo Wii and many other consoles, have developed a new hack for the Wii U that lets them play content and games from a custom USB drive. With the new hacking method, it looks like you won’t need to do any hardware modifications to your system to hack it. All you need to do is connect the custom USB device, WiikeÜ, too your Wii U and you’re good to go.

The WiikeÜ isn’t available to consumers just yet, but Wiikey will be releasing updates regarding the product soon. In a statement on their website, Wiikey stated that they were able to completely reverse “the WiiU drive authentication, disk encryption, file system, and everything else.” When the WiikeÜ becomes available, gamers will be able to install homebrew software on their Wii U, and unfortunately for Nintendo, play pirated games. The WiikeÜ spells trouble for game developers, however it may do wonders for the Wii U. The sales for the Wii U failed to even meet Nintendo’s lowered expectations, selling only a measly 3.45 million units since its launch. People who purchase the WiikeÜ will inevitably use it to pirate games (with a few using it solely for homebrew purposes), and while it may be damaging to game sales, it may offer enough incentive for people to purchase a Wii U. It’ll be a bittersweet situation for Nintendo, who just replaced its North American CEO with Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata. Nintendo planned on improving sales of the Wii U by bringing more “key” titles to the platform, enticing more consumers to purchase the device, but that plan may be thwarted by Wiikey. We’ll see. But at this rate, anything would help the struggling platform. [via Wiikey] Story Timeline Nintendo Wii U continues with lackluster sales Xbox 360 best-selling console in US for 26th straight month, Wii U struggles Ubisoft foresees a rise in Wii U sales Wii U slump misses even Nintendo's lowered expectations Wiikey hacks Wii U to play games from USB drives is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? HTC One “hero” efforts continue with hardware video reinforcement

This week the folks at HTC have made public a video which shows a few insights on the hardware build of their hero phone, the HTC One. With the launch of the HTC One already set or coming up soon for several of the top carriers in the United States (Verizon not included – yet), it appears that HTC is taking the opportunity to assure prospective users of the quality of the metal cuts they’ve made in their high-end handset.

What you’ll be seeing here is not just a few words from some of the designers and developers of the phone, but some up-close-and-personal looks at the creation of this device as well. It’s important to note the efforts HTC is making to promote this device as HTC jobs do, indeed, depend on its success. The CEO of HTC has – infamously, at this point – promised he’ll quit if the HTC One doesn’t succeed. The HTC One is shown here to have been cut of single pieces of metal and fit with plastic rims and a glass front precise enough to be considered a seamless construction. The HTC One is heading to the market in an atmosphere where the Apple iPhone 5 continues to be praised for its fine watch-quality detail and the Samsung GALAXY S 4 (recently) found its way into some not-so-great breakability reviews. With those top-selling (or about to be top-selling) devices up as head contenders, HTC has decided to play up its hardware credibility. In the grand scheme of things, you’ll find HTC’s efforts to not be dependent solely on the success of the HTC One. Instead products like the HTC 608t and the HTC First (aka the Facebook Phone) keep the hardware company’s efforts light. And of course there’s always legacy models like the HTC One S and HTC One X, both of which continue to be available from all manner of retailers – watch for additional oddities appearing through the rest of 2013 as well. HTC One “hero” efforts continue with hardware video reinforcement is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? Twitter makes ads program available to all users

Twitter’s advertisement program was only available for several businesses in the past, but in order to generate more ad revenue this year, Twitter has decided to make its advertisement program available to anyone and everyone. The ads program allows users and small businesses to promote their brand and their products through promoted tweets and accounts. The tweets can be adjusted to appeal to the general public, or only to a targeted audience.

In the past, the ad program was only accessible to businesses who received a personal invite from Twitter. Now all anyone needs to do is sign-up to be considered. All you need to do is answer a few questions and you’ll be on your way. You can choose to promote your tweets, or you entire account. The pricing system is similar to Google AdWords, where you can set a budget to control how much you spend, and you can place bids to decide how much you want to spend per follower/click. This new move from Twitter is one of its first steps its taking to achieve its goal of generating $1 billion in ad revenue alone by 2014. Currently, its ad revenue for this year is expected to be a little over half that amount, but with the expansion of its ads program, and its more aggressive move towards mobile, its goal seems more and more realistic. It also helps that there are over 200 million people who are currently using its service and over 400 million tweets being sent out everyday. Twitter has focused a lot of its efforts into expanding and developing its advertisement platform. Back in February, it released an advertisement API that lets businesses create more targeted ad campaigns. The program saw impressive results, with some businesses seeing a huge increase of new followers on a daily basis. Twitter also improved its keyword-targeted ads so that when a user tweets about a product, like soda, they would see an advertisement for soda quickly after. While increased advertisements may be deterring, Twitter’s ad program becoming available to users and small businesses should do wonders in helping them grow their exposure and their businesses. [via Twitter] Story Timeline Twitter launches Advertisement API Twitter may generate $1b in ad revenue in 2014 Twitter gets creepier with keyword-targeted ads Twitter makes ads program available to all users is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Scientists devise Plasma Launcher: the “Holy Grail” of Physics

This week a group of scientists from the University of Missouri have decided it’s time to make public their work on creating and controlling plasma. The system that they’re making public has, they say, the potential to transform the way America – and the rest of the world, for that matter – store and create energy. The team has developed a way to make plasma create its own self-containing self-magnetic field, effectively allowing it to launch into open air.

Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering Randy Curry spoke up about the system this week. He and his team made clear their successful creation of a device able to launch a ring of plasma distances of up to two feet. Their creation, it seems, has them excited enough to make some rather bold claims. “Launching plasma in open air is the ‘Holy Grail’ in the field of physics. Creating plasma in a vacuum tube surrounded by powerful electromagnets is no big deal; dozens of labs can do that. Our innovation allows the plasma to hold itself together while it travels through regular air without any need for containment.” – Curry The fourth state of matter – not liquid, gas, or solid – is plasma. Lightening and fire are plasma, and as you might recall, the ability to summon fire was a rather important turning point in the history of humanity. The device that University of Missouri scientists have created can launch self-contained plasma. In the first iteration of this reportedly completely functional plasma-launching device, Curry and his team have used parts and technology that’s by no means optimized for size. Part of their continued work will be to create a reasonably sized device – this being possible in three to five years, Curry suggests. Curry has also been vocal about the fact that without continued funding, the University of Missouri’s Center for Physical & Power Electronics will be unable to continue development. So all you large cash sum-holding lovers of science: make with the push! [via University of Missouri] Scientists devise Plasma Launcher: the “Holy Grail” of Physics is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? CERN tests anti-gravity potential in antimatter

Antimatter is been one of those long mysteries that have puzzled scientists for a long time, and still we don’t really know what it’s all about. However, the folks at CERN in Switzerland think they have a couple of methods to test antimatter as a source of anti-gravity. After all, if matter falls down, then wouldn’t antimatter fall up?

Researchers have asked themselves this question for years with no real definitive answer. However, physicists are taking a closer look at the possibility of the existence of anti-gravity, and the discoveries that were made are fairly impressive. CERN’s ongoing international ALPHA experiment aims to build and trap antimatter atoms, and if gravity’s interaction with anti-atoms is strong, then the oddity would be noticed in ALPHA’s data on anti-atoms. The ALPHA experiment creates antihydrogen atoms by putting together single antiprotons with single positrons and holding them together with a magnet. When the magnets are deactivated, the anti-atoms touch the matter of the magnetic walls and are eventually annihilated (a process in which matter and antimatter collide). However, this specifically doesn’t answer any of the burning questions researchers have about antimatter and anti-gravity, but it does show that measuring antimatter gravity is actually possible. This could lead to another experimental method in the future that would result in much more precise measurements and would settle the long mystery of antimatter and anti-gravity. [via BBC News] CERN tests anti-gravity potential in antimatter is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? NASA extends contract with Russia as US-based launches get delayed

While NASA shut down the Space Shuttle program in 2011, they have still been sending astronauts to the International Space Station and back. However, they’ve been sending them to Russia in order to hop on a Soyuz rocket, but that doesn’t seem to be the exact solution that NASA wants. The organizations plans to launch manned space flights in the US again, but the timing as been delayed into 2017.

NASA has a developed a plan to replace the space shuttle by paying private space companies like SpaceX to send astronauts to the ISS. However, due to government budget cuts, the original 2015 date when we would see this happen has been delayed two years into 2017. As a result, NASA has had to pay the Roscosmos Space Agency $424 million to extend their contract into 2017. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that “it is unacceptable that we don’t currently have an American capability to launch our own astronauts.” Bolden and company is calling upon Congress to approve President Obama’s budget request of $821 million for NASA, or else there will be further delays past 2017 to launch astronauts from the US. At least we have an American company sending and bringing back cargo off the ISS. SpaceX, which was founded by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, has completed several resupply missions to the ISS so far, and NASA hopes soon that SpaceX rockets will be carrying astronauts up into space within the next few years. Story Timeline NASA: Slashed space budget leaves asteroid spotting in the dark NASA chooses TESS and NICER projects for 2017 missions NASA's orbiter possibly spots lost 1970's Soviet lander NASA IRIS spacecraft arrived in California this week NASA live-streaming six-hour ISS spacewalk right now NASA extends contract with Russia as US-based launches get delayed is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? Sonics ARM patent agreement may bring Dark Silicon to your smartphone

ARM has teamed up with Sonics Inc. in order to make their future SoCs much more battery friendly. By licensing Sonics’s patent portfolio of over 138 properties, including the property to use Sonics’s Dark Silicon techniques, ARM will be able to develop chips that will be able to offer a big improvement in power savings without sacrificing either performance or efficiency.

With Sonics’s Dark Silicon technology, ARM will be able to develop new SoCs that are efficient in power savings. The new SoCs wil be able to switch off cores for longer periods of time, power on and off your devices more quickly, and also be able to better scale performance and functionality in proportion to battery life in order to increase power efficiency. Power management has become increasingly important to consumers, who want devices that are powerful, but can also last more than a few hours on a single charge. ARM’s implementation of Sonics’s patents in its future Cortex chips will put it ahead of Intel/AMD x86, that is until Intel’s Haswell chips hit the market. The Haswell chips promise up to 24 hours of battery life on a single charge, so unless ARM can match that, it may be overshadowed before it has the chance to appeal to the market. Sonics is a leader of system IP for cloud-scale SoCs. Its patent portfolio contains properties that are “fundamental to the development and implementation of on-chip interconnect products” that are used in the SoCs. Under the rule of ARM’s new CEO, Simon Segars, ARM plans on using Sonics’s patents in its future SoCs in order to invade Intel’s territory of x86 processors, and eventually the territory of Intel’s 64-bit processors as well. Story Timeline ARM announces energy-efficient 64-bit Cortex-A50 processors ARM Holdings announces CEO succession plan New ARM CEO: We'll resist buyout offers, Apple or otherwise Sonics ARM patent agreement may bring Dark Silicon to your smartphone is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? iGO Power Trip line kicks mobile device charging down to the basics

If you’ve been searching for a mobile device battery that’ll power your smartphone or tablet up from your pocket recently, you know there’s essentially no end to your choices. The difference between one battery and the next can be as simple as the color choices you’ve got available. With the company iGO you’ve got a few unique features in their Power Trip line that may very well sway your pocketbook one way or the other.

With the Power Trip you’ve got a set of color options – six of them, to be exact, each of them ready to be your pocketable solution for on-the-go charging of your mobile device. The unit you’re seeing above and below is the Power Trip 4700, so named for its 4,700mAh power capacity. That amount, for your reference, is more than twice the amount of power of a standard Samsung Galaxy S III and more than three times the capacity of the iPhone 5. This battery pack lineup works with a single full-sized USB port that’ll allow you to connect to your standard charging cord. In the box you get a miniature cord that can charge with microUSB and includes a converter tip so you can charge miniUSB devices as well. Unfortunately the package does not include a Lightning connector, so you’ll need to use the cord you got with your iPhone 5, iPad 4, or iPad mini, but rest assured: it does work. Once you’ve used up all the power the iGO Power Trip is packing, you’ll have to recharge using the same microUSB cord you got in the box – only backwards. In this case you’ll need to plug the larger end in to your notebook or some other full-sized USB port you’d use at home to charge your devices. This charger line comes in three different sizes, ranging from 3,000 to a massive 6,100mAh and works to charge your device with a single button click. Lights surrounding the single button on this charger show in simple terms how much of a charge you’ve got left, and the pack itself is perfectly pocketable. The largest size Power Trip will cost you $79.99, the 4700 will cost you $59.99, and the 3000 runs $49.99 – and they’re all available right this minute. Let us know how you roll! iGO Power Trip line kicks mobile device charging down to the basics is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? Facebook for Windows Phone enters beta, brings high-res photos and Timeline

The connection between Microsoft and Facebook is becoming tighter as Microsoft has announced what they’re calling the Facebook for Windows Phone Beta app program. This marks the first time that the Facebook app for Windows Phone will enter into an extensive beta program, but it will allow users to submit bugs and feedback to improve on the app.

Microsoft says this new beta program is targeted to those who like to mess around with experimental software, so folks that hate when apps crash or don’t perform smoothly most likely don’t need to apply. However, anyone can join in, as it’s not just limited to developers, and Microsoft is encouraging anyone to try it out. The beta app for Facebook underwent major redesign, and it comes a lot of new features, including support for high-resolution photos, improved post sharing, and Facebook’s Timeline. If you spot a bug or just want to give your overall feedback about the app, you can head to Settings > About in the app to report information. If you didn’t know Microsoft actually develops the Facebook app for Windows Phone, and it’s the same way with BlackBerry, so essentially, Facebook only actively develops mobile apps for iOS and Android. However, with the social network’s permission, Microsoft can develop their own Facebook app for Windows Phone users. Story Timeline Facebook wants advertisers to pay $1m a day to display their video ads Facebook announces new SDK for iOS with Open Graph and improved login Facebook Home installations eclipse 500,000 mark Parse Facebook deal sees developer boost in face of naysayers Facebook losing millions of users, according to study Facebook for Windows Phone enters beta, brings high-res photos and Timeline is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? Vine upgraded with mentions and front-facing camera support

An update for Vine is rolling out today that brings a few new features to the social app as well as various bug fixes. One of the major updates included is the added support for front-facing cameras. By pressing the button located on the bottom left corner of your phone, you can switch over to your front-facing camera and send 6 second messages that way. We’re expecting many users to abuse this new feature with selfies and whatnot.

The second new feature being added is a Twitter classic. You are now able to mention users in your Vine messages by using the @ symbol. By typing @ and a person’s username or real name, you will be offered suggestions of people you would like to mention in your message. This new feature will promote social interaction in Vine and encourage more conversations and usage of the app. For those of you who don’t know, Vine is a social app released by Twitter that allows people to send each other short video messages. Each message can be up to 6 seconds long, and is easily shared to the internet. You can choose to upload your content to only Vine, or you can choose to upload your content simultaneously to Twitter and Facebook as well. Once your content is uploaded, it will be in public view for anyone to see. Currently, Vine is only available for the iPhone and the iPad, but it should be making its way to Android devices sometime in the future. It’s unsurprising for these apps to head to iOS before they’re ported over to Android. The same thing happened with Instagram, which came to Android 2 years after its debut on iOS. Now 50% of Instagram users come from Android, which shows developers the importance of bringing their apps to both operating systems. If you want to take advantage of the new Vine update, you can download it from the App Store right now. For those of you patiently waiting for Vine to head over to Android, it shouldn’t be too long now before that’ll happen. Story Timeline Vine app Review: video Tweets unleashed! SlashGear 101: What is Vine, and what does it do? Vine introduces web embeds, still not available for Android Vine becomes top free app in iTunes App Store Vine for Android set to capitalize on iPhone envy Vine upgraded with mentions and front-facing camera support is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Driving Miss dAIsy: What Google’s self-driving cars see on the road

We’ve been hearing a lot about Google‘s self-driving car lately, and we’re all probably wanting to know how exactly the search giant is able to construct such a thing and drive itself without hitting anything or anyone. A new photo has surfaced that demonstrates what Google’s self-driving vehicles see while they’re out on the town, and it looks rather frightening.

The image was tweeted by Idealab founder Bill Gross, along with a claim that the self-driving car collects almost 1GB of data every second (yes, every second). This data includes imagery of the cars surroundings in order to effectively and safely navigate roads. The image shows that the car sees its surroundings through an infrared-like camera sensor, and it even can pick out people walking on the sidewalk. Of course, 1GB of data every second isn’t too surprising when you consider that the car has to get a 360-degree image of its surroundings at all times. The image we see above even distinguishes different objects by color and shape. For instance, pedestrians are in bright green, cars are shaped like boxes, and the road is in dark blue. However, we’re not sure where this photo came from, so it could simply be a rendering of someone’s idea of what Google’s self-driving car sees. Either way, Google says that we could see self-driving cars make their way to public roads in the next five years or so, which actually isn’t that far off, and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is even interested in developing self-driving cars as well. However, they certainly don’t come without their problems, and we’re guessing that the first batch of self-driving cars probably won’t be in 100% tip-top shape. [via BuzzFeed] Driving Miss dAIsy: What Google’s self-driving cars see on the road is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? iPhone interruptus: Apple patents considerate calling

The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent that would allow a phone to automatically and intelligently select the best method to contact someone given the current situation. In order to determine what the best communication method would be, the phone would use its GPS, microphone, accelerometer, etc. to determine the best course of action.

For example, the phone’s GPS would notice that you’re driving since it detects that you’re moving at 60 mph, so the phone would automatically notify anyone trying to contact you that you’re busy driving and can’t take a phone call or a text message. Users can also manually choose their best form of communication that they would like — similar to the Do Not Disturb feature in some cases. The patent also discusses different tiers that you can set for your contacts. You can place your most important contacts in the highest tier, and put your acquaintances in lower tiers. Then you can automatically or manually set parameters based on each tier. There’s also an option to simply meet up if your phone’s GPS discovers that you and your contact are nearby. Apple first filed for the patent in 2008, so the idea for the technology has been around for a few years. However, like any patent, this may never see the light of day. Although, if implemented correctly, it could come in handy for many users, especially those who are prone to receive annoying phone calls during meetings. [via AppleInsider] Story Timeline Apple patents wrap-around AMOLED display iPhone 5S event tipped for June 20 while Apple patent suggests ceramics USPTO invalidates Apple's "Bounce-Back" patent once again Apple patent suggests convertible MacBooks on the way Patents reveal Apple's car-friendly iPhone intentions iPhone interruptus: Apple patents considerate calling is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? Microsoft offering free Xbox Live Gold this weekend in the UK

Microsoft is giving UK gamers another chance to take advantage of some free Xbox Live Gold this weekend. The company just recently offered the same deal to those in the US and other regions in the world, except for the UK and Europe. They had a free weekend last month, and are now getting the opportunity to go at it once again.

If you have an Xbox 360, but have never taken advantage of Xbox Live Gold, this would be a great time to check it out for yourself and see what all the fuss is about. You’ll save yourself $60/year for the membership, but if you decide after this weekend that you want to hop in full time, you can actually pick up Gold memberships for as low as $35 in some cases. Xbox Live Gold allows you to play against your friends, as well as access different services like Netflix, Spotify, MLB.TV, and a handful of other apps in the dashboard. Granted, you’ll still have to pay for each service individually, but it’s a small price to pay if you want to use your gaming console as a home theater solution as well. The free weekend promotion starts at noon UK time on Friday, May 3, and ends at midnight on that Sunday night/Monday morning. Typically, Microsoft has ended their free weekends well into the day on Monday, so having the free weekend end at Midnight on Sunday night seems a little odd. Nonetheless, that should give you plenty of time to clear your calendar and get to gaming. Story Timeline Xbox Live account migration tool nutshells the process NHL GameCenter launches on Xbox Live Call of Duty unsurprising tops Xbox Live activity list for 2012 Microsoft announces Play To Earn rewards on Xbox Live Xbox LIVE is currently down, Microsoft is working hard to fix it Microsoft offering free Xbox Live Gold this weekend in the UK is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? ZR1-spec Corvette C7 could revive LT5 name for 700HP monster

Chevrolet could be planning a painfully potent version of the 2014 Corvette C7, it’s claimed, packing a supercharged version of the new car’s 6.2-liter engine and splashing out a heady 700 HP. The worked-over musclecar, tipped to be branded as the Corvette ZR1, though may not hit showrooms until at least early 2014 so as to avoid cutting into “base” C7 sales.

It’s under the hood that things could be expected to get exciting, of course, and that’s where a clutch of new trademarks – believed to be connected to engine variants – come in. Most interesting is the LT5, spotted by GM Authority, which is rumored to be a supercharged LT1 V8. That would hark back to the original LT5 engine, which GM used to good effect in the Corvette ZR1 C4 of the early 1990s. At the time, GM looked to Lotus for help tuning the original LT5, though the company is expected to take the reins itself for coaxing extra power out of the new variant. Reports from mid-February were already claiming that the Corvette Stingray C7 shown off in January for the first time would not be the most potent iteration of the car. Work is already afoot, Motor Trend claimed, on the Z06 and ZR1 engines, even if the cars they’d power were at least a year out. Before then, of course, the Corvette C7 – which itself musters almost 450 HP from its small-block V8 – will arrive on forecourts, with Chevrolet only just announcing pricing for the car. Deliveries should begin in Q3 2013. [via Autoblog] ZR1-spec Corvette C7 could revive LT5 name for 700HP monster is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? BlackBerry PlayBook sequel unlikely as Heins slams tablets

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has dismissed the long-term potential for tablets, arguing that time is running out on slates and – perhaps still stinging from the PlayBook failure – suggesting they’re a bad business model. Heins, who had been suitably ebullient about the likely success of the recently-released BlackBerry Q10, predicting sales in the tens of millions, was equally critical of tablet options. “In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore” he predicted.

Speaking at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles this week, Bloomberg reports, Heins vaguely outlined his reasoning behind the dark prediction. “Maybe [you'll have] a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such” the CEO suggested. “Tablets themselves are not a good business model.” You certainly can’t blame Heins for being pessimistic about slates, given the failure of the BlackBerry PlayBook. RIM – as it was known back when the PlayBook was released – launched its 7-inch iPad rival back in 2011 as a companion device to BlackBerry 7 handsets, but the tablet’s limited standalone functionality left consumers non-plussed, and by the time the OS – a precursor of the BlackBerry 10 platform on the Q10 and Z10 – was reworked, the company had already resorted to slashing prices in order to clear shelves. Heins has since suggested that, while a tablet isn’t necessarily off the table, BlackBerry will need to see the opportunity to do something uniquely special before it’s tempted back into that particular market. “I want to gain as much market share as I can,” he said in an interview back in January 2013, “but not by being a copycat.” The negativity around slates has led to suggestions that BlackBerry is in no hurry to – and may in fact never – replace the PlayBook, despite originally arguing that one of the strengths of the QNX-based BlackBerry 10 OS is its cross-platform flexibility across phone and tablet-scale devices. One possibility, meanwhile, is that increasingly powerful phones could be used to drive the “big screen in your workplace” Heins mentioned; the Z10 and Q10 already support HDMI output to a separate display. BlackBerry PlayBook sequel unlikely as Heins slams tablets is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? Xbox 720 will do without IllumiRoom at launch, Microsoft confirms

Microsoft’s IllumiRoom technology, which turns your living room into an augmented reality gaming arena by expanding graphics from the confines of your TV, won’t be baked in time for the next-gen Xbox, the company has confirmed. The projection technology, which uses Kinect to digitally map a room and then digitally overlay dynamically changing graphics linked to the on-screen entertainment, will be shown off in concept form this year, Microsoft Research’s Hrvoje Benko and Brett Jones confirmed to Engadget, but is nowhere near ready for commercial release.

In fact, IllumiRoom won’t get shown to the public until Siggraph in July, missing out E3 2013 in the process. The tech is “working well” according to the researchers, but it’s still in the early stages of development. Microsoft has been dripping details around IllumiRoom for some months now, after surprising attendees at Samsung’s CES press conference back in January with a demo of the augmented reality system. Currently pairing a Kinect for Windows with a basic projector and a PC, IllumiRoom first automatically maps the user’s living room and then creates a 3D wireframe which can be used to extend play off of the screen and into the surrounding area. So, explosions on-screen can cause ripples that spread out around your TV cabinet and beyond, while fireballs can spread outside the limits of your screen. Alternatively, IllumiRoom can be used to heighten the mood of the game, creating virtual snow, for instance, that can not only fall within the room but accumulate on shelves and tables. Microsoft Research’s attentions aren’t just on gaming, however, despite the obvious applications for Xbox. The IllumiRoom system could also be used to make TV and movies more immersive; in a newly released paper for the CHI 2013 conference this week, the team shows a DIY dual-field-of-view camcorder prototype which simultaneously captures the core video and its extended surroundings, the latter to be projected around the TV. Nonetheless, while it won’t be ready any time soon, IllumiRoom’s primary purpose looks to be extending the immersive gameplay of the next-gen “Xbox 720″, an obvious way to build value into the console in the face of low-cost casual gaming on smartphones and tablets. Considering Kinect followed on after the Xbox 360 had already been in the market for some time, there’s nothing to say that IllumiRoom couldn’t arrive after Xbox 720 has bedded down into living rooms, providing a mid-life refresh of sorts. Story Timeline Microsoft IllumiRoom releases virtual gaming from your TV to fill your lounge Microsoft IllumiRoom fleshed out: Gaming and movie AR for your living room Xbox 720 IllumiRoom integration demo suggests "Infinity" experience Xbox 720 will do without IllumiRoom at launch, Microsoft confirms is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? AMD hUMA wants to speed your APU memory use, no joke

Heterogeneous Uniform Memory Access may sound like the orderly queue you make outside the RAM store, but for AMD, hUMA is an essential part of squeezing the best from its upcoming Kaveri APUs. Detailed for the first time today, hUMA builds on AMD’s existing Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) – integrating CPUs and GPUs into single, multipurpose chips – by allowing both the core processor and the graphics side to simultaneously access the same memory at the same time.

That’s important, since currently the CPU and GPU on an APU have to wait for time-consuming memory block management to take place in order for both parts to access it. If the GPU wants to see the same data that the CPU is seeing, that data has to be replicated in two places. hUMA, however, would do away with that copying process, since it would make the memory visible to both CPU and GPU simultaneously. Called bi-directional coherent memory, it will mean less time involved for both halves of the APU to track data changes, as well as introduce efficiencies in memory management, since they’ll have a better understanding and control over what free memory there is, and what they can use at any one time. The upshot is systems that take less time for processing, as well as software that’s easier to code since developers won’t need to consider memory block management when they’re trying to integrate GPU acceleration. Instead, that will all be handled dynamically by the hUMA system. The first evidence of hUMA in the wild will be AMD’s upcoming APU refresh, codenamed Kaveri. Revealed back at CES, full details on Kaveri are unknown, but the APU will be a 28nm chip and is tipped to include up to four of AMD’s Steamroller cores, Radeon HD 7000 graphics, and a 128-bit memory controller with support for both DDR3 and GDDR5 memory. AMD expects to have its Kaveri APUs on the market in the second half of 2013. [via Notebook Review; via HotHardware] AMD hUMA wants to speed your APU memory use, no joke is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? Square CEO questions value of Google Glass

Square‘s Jack Dorsey is keen on wearables but cautious on Glass, arguing smart glasses aren’t likely to offer legitimate value to wearers for another decade or so. “Glasses are very compelling and I think it’s an amazing technology” Dorsey told the NYTimes, “but I just can’t imagine my mom wearing them right now. What is the value of Glass?”

While augmented reality wearables like Google’s headset are technically impressive, Dorsey expects more mundane examples of body-worn gadgetry to do better in the mass market. Part of that, the mobile payments service founder suggests, is due to the fact that tech you wear on your wrist can be associated more readily with geek-jewelry. “I think the movement you see around Fitbit, Up and FuelBand, that seems to be the next step in wearable” he argued. “So something on the wrist that feels natural, almost feels a bit like jewelry.” Some have taken Dorsey’s apparent affection for smartwatch-style tech as an indicator that Square will explore an app for such gadgets, potentially allowing for payments to be made without having to pull your phone out of your pocket. Square is best known for the credit card swipe dongles that plug into iPhones and iPads; however, the company has also been exploring other, less traditional methods of customer recognition, including geofenced apps that flash up the user’s face on the cashier’s terminal, allowing them to be recognized in a more passive manner. For Glass to fit into daily use, Dorsey suggests, the technology will need to assimilate more readily, as well as potentially give the market time to come to terms with a computer on your face. “I think it might be a 10-year answer, but not in the next five years” he concludes. “Maybe if they’re in sunglasses or what not.” Square CEO questions value of Google Glass is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? Wacom Cintiq 22HD Touch adds finger-friendliness to graphics display

Wacom has revealed its latest pen-enabled graphics display, the Cintiq 22HD Touch, adding finger control to the stylus-equipped Full HD LCD monitor. The new version pairs a 16.7m color, 1920 x 1080 panel on an adjustable easel stand with the ability to use both Wacom’s special active-digitizer stylus or your fingertips for art apps, multitouch in Windows 7/8 and OS X, and more.

As with the non-touch variant of the Cintiq 22HD, this new screen recognizes up to 2048 different levels of pressure from the digital pen, as well as +/-60 levels of tilt on the pen’s nib. The included stylus also has an eraser head on the other end. Spread around the bezel there are multiple shortcut buttons, with a total of sixteen customizable ExpressKeys – that can change function depending on which application has focus – on either side of the display. Touch-strips, meanwhile, are on the back of the panel, and can be programmed to control zooming, scrolling, bruss size, or rotation of the canvas. The panel itself supports between 10- and 65-degree incline, and can be rotated by 180-degrees in either direction. It’s priced at $2,499 in the US and £1,899.99 in the UK. Wacom Cintiq 22HD Touch adds finger-friendliness to graphics display is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? Nokia invests in Pelican array camera tech for PureView push

Nokia is set to further expand its camera expertise portfolio with a strategic investment in Pelican Imaging, a photography software specialist cooking up Lytro-style refocusable photos using array lenses. Pelican’s system, which first broke cover back in 2011, uses an array of 25 densely-packed individual lenses, the data from which is combined – using Pelican’s proprietary software – into a single, higher resolution still which can be post-tweaked for focus and even have 3D effects introduced.

Array cameras demand complex processing in order to actually achieve all that, however, which has meant news from Pelican has been quiet since the initial reveal. However, Nokia Growth Partners’ Bo Ilsoe told Bloomberg, such camera modules “are on the cusp of being commercialized and Pelican does software for that,” describing the firm as “one of the companies that has mastered this technology.” In fact, Ilsoe confirmed, Nokia Growth Partners – the Finnish phone company’s venture-capital division – has had its metaphorical eye on Pelican Imaging since shortly after the company was founded, back in 2008. It’s unclear exactly how much has been invested in Pelican in this round. Nonetheless, the move to broaden camera expertise dovetails well with Nokia’s push to highlight its Lumia Windows Phones’ photography abilities, particularly under the PureView brand. Last year, the company acquired camera processing tech from Scalado which allows components from multiple frames to be combined into a single photo. Meanwhile, Nokia Growth Partners also holds investments in micro-optics specialist Heptagon, and sensor firm InVisage Technologies. The latter made headlines several years ago with its quantum-dot sensors that promise a roughly 4x increase in sharpness thanks to massively increased sensitivity to light compared to traditional CMOS. Increasing light capture has been a central theme in Nokia’s photography push, beginning with the 808 PureView with its massive 41-megapixel sensor. That combined data from clusters of pixels to iron out visual glitches and boost accuracy in the final still, without producing massively unwieldy files. However, actually accommodating the sizable sensor in a more mainstream phone chassis is troublesome, and so Nokia has used other approaches – such as optical image stabilization using a suspended-lens system in the Lumia 920 – to try to broaden PureView’s impact. The benefit of Pelican’s array technology, however, is that it offers increased 808 PureView-style light capture but without the comparative bulk. By combining data from multiple lenses, the company says users will be able to change focus after they take a photo, as well as capturing linear measurements, and scale and segment images. [via My Nokia Blog] Nokia invests in Pelican array camera tech for PureView push is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? Best Buy to sell EU stake to Carphone Warehouse

Best Buy has revealed a definitive agreement to sell its 50-percent share of Best Buy Europe to Carphone Warehouse, which it entered into a joint venture with back in 2008. The sale will take place for the equivalent of $775 million, with the majority of it coming in the form of cash and the rest of it being offered in Carphone Warehouse Group stock with a one-year restriction, during which time the group can sell the shares on Best Buy’s behalf at issued prices and higher.

If such happens, the agreement has Carphone Warehouse pegged to pay whatever difference may result under an approximate $99 million agreement based on the sum total of the aforementioned proceeds Best Buy receives in addition to the market value of whatever shares may remain. In addition, says the announcement, Best Buy has to pay nearly $45 million to Carphone Warehouse to settle some current obligations it has with the group. Although it is a definitive agreement, it isn’t yet completely settled, something that is currently slated to take place this upcoming June. Carphpne Warehouse shareholders need to approve the deal, but its board of directions have agreed and signed letters of commitment to the transaction. Likewise, Best Buy’s board also agrees with the deal. There are currently Best Buy stores being run in eight countries as part of the joint venture between the two companies. Best Buy’s President and CEO Hubert Joly said about the announcement: “After reviewing the business and spending time with our partners, we concluded that the timing and economics were right to enter into this agreement with CPW. This transaction allows us to 1) simplify our business; 2) substantially improve our Return on Invested Capital, one of the five pillars of our Renew Blue transformation; and 3) strengthen our balance sheet.” [via Best Buy] Best Buy to sell EU stake to Carphone Warehouse is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? OUYA reveals exclusive game Soul Fjord

The OUYA team has made a chipper announcement, unveiling an exclusive game called Soul Fjord, which isn’t yet available but will be in the near future. In case the game’s name and logo aren’t suggestive enough, the game has a distinct musical-aspect to it wrapped up in a fantasy-land shell that forms a mashup of styles not often seen together. We’ve got a trailer available to watch after the jump.

The game stars afro-and-hatchet-wielding viking Magnus Jones, who is sent by Oden to kick butt and bring about some “righteous” judgment, if you get the joke. The game has just about every type of opponent you can imagine such a protagonist would face: dragons with slicked-back hair and earrings sipping martinis and belching flames, disco wizards, giants, and more. If you didn’t check out the trailer, stop where you’re at and watch it – it’s worth 60-seconds of your time and has a funky beat. Back? The game was created by Airtight Games specifically for the OUYA as a free-to-play offering. Although the game isn’t done yet, it’s getting there and as a result OUYA has also published a video showing some behind-the-scenes action into what goes into making the game. In case you missed it, OUYA began shipping out to the Kickstarter backers and top tier partners earlier this month, and has been moving ahead full steam since then, with the console hitting the FCC back on April 19th and boasting more than 10,000 global developers on the same day. Stay tuned, and we’ll update you as more info is dropped! [via Ouya] OUYA reveals exclusive game Soul Fjord is written by Brittany Hillen .

Monday, April 29, 2013

Is It true? Microsoft launches Skype preview in Outlook.com

Microsoft has launched a preview of Skype in Outlook.com for users located in the United Kingdom, with those located in the United States and Germany being slated to get the preview “in the coming weeks.” Following the full preview roll out will be the switch from preview mode, with video and audio calling being offered across the entire expanse of Outlook.com via Skype sometimes in the coming months. Hard dates weren’t provided for any of the planned roll outs.

The preview mode of Skype enables video and voice calls from within an Outlook.com inbox, reducing the number of words you have to type in communication, says Microsoft, by making it easy to make a phone call instead. If a phone call isn’t the right solution, a video call is also possible, and if neither of those work for you, instant messaging video Skype is also possible from within a user’s inbox. If a video is worth a thousand words, the brief video above should give you a pretty good idea of how the service works, which shows a video call being placed from within an email by selecting the contact’s image and then the relevant Skype button. Needless to say, the user must have a Skype account to use the service, with the account and Outlook.com accounts being merged. The new feature is available via a browser plugin, which is available for Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. Contacts can be merged from Skype with Outlook contacts once the plugin is downloaded and the accounts tied together. If you’re a frequent user of both Skype and Outlook.com, you’ll be guaranteed to have the preview by this summer, possibly sooner if you’re located in either the US or Germany. [via Skype] Microsoft launches Skype preview in Outlook.com is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Yahoo reveals content additions and partnerships at 2013 NewFront event

Tonight, Yahoo has kicked off its 2013 NewFront event in New York City, replete with a full roster of celebrities and a performance by The Lumineers accompanied by a half-hour live stream on Yahoo Music for those who wish to enjoy it from the comfort of their homes. All of this is to kick off some new shows that Yahoo has added to it content offerings, as well as the announcement of new partnerships and advertisement opportunities.

Yahoo has been actively growing its video content offerings, having recently announced that it will soon exclusively offer the entire 38-year archive of Saturday Night Live, among other things. Now the company has announced six new comedy and lifestyle shows that are slated to be available later this year, with the comedy offerings being labeled specifically as coming in Fall 2013. In addition to the new shows, Yahoo has also announced some new partnerships, including that it will soon be the WWE’s global video distribution partner and will have a dedicated video library for WWE content, which will go live this summer. The company’s partnership with ABC News, meanwhile, has expanded, with World News with Diane Sawyer, Nightline, and Good Morning America content coming to Yahoo. Also announced were CNBC and Conde Nast partnerships and expansions. Yahoo’s COO Henrique deCastro said: “Yahoo!’s unique mix of content and technology leads not only to powerful and personalized experiences for our users, but also to greater distribution for our partners and higher return for our advertisers. What we’re showing tonight signals where Yahoo! is headed: beautiful product experiences, exciting new content, big partnerships with the largest media brands, and extraordinary new ad experiences.” [via Yahoo] Yahoo reveals content additions and partnerships at 2013 NewFront event is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Verizon Cloud storage now available for Android

Verizon has rolled out the Android app version of its online storage solution called Verizon Cloud, which isn’t a terribly original name but gets the main point of the service across. With Verizon Cloud, customers can do the same thing they’ve likely been doing with Dropbox and similar services already – upload and store content in the cloud, ensuring that it is always there even if the smartphone ends up lost or needs to be wiped.

Verizon says the service will be rolled out to its customers in the coming weeks, but those running Android can head over to the Google Play Store and grab the app now. Those with an iPhone will have to wait for the iOS app, which is said to be “following soon,” although a specific date wasn’t provided. Once the Apple-centric app rolls out, those who own devices running both mobile operating systems will be able to upload and access their content using the service from both devices. The carrier says it plans to have other mobile operating systems supported later this year. A total of 125GB of data can be stored using the service, with customers getting the first paltry 500MB of that data for free. That changes after the limit is hit, with users needing to switch to a for-pay subscription that is charged monthly for the duration in which the data is stored. For $2.99 a month, users can upload up to 25GB of data, with the price increasing a tad from there to $5.99 monthly for 75GB and $9.99 per month for 125GB. Once the 125GB of data is hit, users will have to look elsewhere for their cloud storage needs. The Verizon Cloud app is available for smartphones running Android 2.2 and higher, and is currently sitting at version 13.2.5. [via Verizon Wireless] Verizon Cloud storage now available for Android is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Apple retail tipped to set original iPhone status to “obsolete”

It has been a long time coming, but Apple is finally going to nudge the first-generation iPhone into obsolete status in its retail stores, according to a leaked internal Apple memo that specifies the phone alongside several other devices. The change is set to take place this summer, and will see original iPhone users left with less official options for having their aging handset, which entered the world back in 2007, serviced.

According to the leaked document, on June 11 of this year the first generation iPhone will enter vintage status in the United States and will be classified as obsolete in Asia-Pacific, Canada, Europe, Japan, Latin America and Apple’s retail stores. Vintage is a slightly different designation from obsolete, per Apple’s own lingo, which it lists on its website. Says Apple, a vintage device was discontinued more than five years but less than seven years ago. If something is classified as vintage, it has a couple perks over being flat-out obsoleted, and will be serviceable in the state of California “as required by statute.” Those with a Mac that has entered vintage mode can get parts and service in the state from service providers, while vintage iPod owners can get both in California via Apple’s retail stores or AppleCare. Once a product shifts from vintage to obsolete, all servicing options will come to an end. According to the leaked document, the 17-inch and 20-inch iMac G5 (iSight), late 2005 Mac mini, and 15-inch and 17-inch PowerBook G4 (Double-Layer SD) are slated to become obsolete. Meanwhile, the mid-2007 20-inch and 24-inch iMac, Mac Pro, late-2007 13-inch MacBook, late-2006 Xserve, late-2004 Xserve RAID SFP, 2.2/2.4GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro, and 2.4GHz 17-inch MacBook Pro will become vintage in the US and obsolete in Apple stores. [via 9to5Mac] Apple retail tipped to set original iPhone status to “obsolete” is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Twitter for Glass app hinted at in tweet

Twitter user Jonathan Gottfried spotted a tweet using the #throughglass hashtag that has since been deleted, but that suggested Twitter has created a Glass app and that it is up and functioning on at least one pair of Google‘s frames. The tweet was sent out by Twitter user Shivster Muddler accompanied by a picture of some trees with the caption: “Just shared a photo #throughglass.”

The discovery was first reported by the folks over at TechCrunch, which pointed out that hints have been dropped in recent times by John Doerr that Twitter would be announcing a Glass app at some point. Twitter hasn’t said anything about the image, and it is possible it was a Photoshop job. There are some things that point at it being a legit screencap, however, including what appears to be default placeholder text in the absence of a user-created tweet. Likewise, although both the tweet itself and the account that was used to send it – @mogroothmuddler – are now gone, the URLs for them remain, meaning if it is a con job, it would have been a tad involved to pull off. Regardless, if it is true, it indicates we could be hearing an announcement from Twitter regarding a Glass app in the near future. As we reported yesterday, some of Glass’s earliest adopters have already jumped into hacking the device, having successfully got Android software to run on the device. And this followed an earlier statement from developers that it is not only possible to root Google Glass, but that it is easier than expected. [via CNET] Twitter for Glass app hinted at in tweet is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? NASA gets first ever look at hurricane on Saturn

A hurricane is an impressive display of the power of nature, an unfortunate reality that sometimes causes more than its fair share of damage and grief. While we’re all familiar with what a hurricane on our own planet looks like, hurricanes on other planets have been something of a mystery. That changed this month when NASA got the first-ever detailed look at a hurricane that took place on Saturn.

As it turns out, a hurricane on Saturn looks remarkably similar. Said California Institute of Technology’s Andrew Ingersoll, who was on the team responsible for imaging the storm: “We did a double take when we saw this vortex because it looks so much like a hurricane on Earth. But there it is at Saturn, on a much larger scale, and it is somehow getting by on the small amounts of water vapor in Saturn’s hydrogen atmosphere.” Both images and a video were captured of the hurricane, which NASA reports as having an eye 20x bigger than a typical Earth hurricane at 1,250 miles across. The storm took place in what is known as a hexagon weather pattern, six-sided and with thin outer clouds swirling around at 330mph. And unlike hurricanes that take place on our planet, the hurricane on Saturn is stuck to its north pole region rather than traveling. One of the scientists’ goals is to figure out how the hurricane is created and sustained in the relative absence of water. Learning how the hurricane utilizes water vapors to form – especially given its overall larger and more powerful nature than our own – will help researchers understand the function of hurricanes on our own planet. The content was captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. [via NASA] NASA gets first ever look at hurricane on Saturn is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Sony Xperia SP smartphone rolls out in UK

We talked about Sony‘s Xperia SP smartphone back on March 18, which we reported was supposed to hit shelves in the second quarter of this year. It looks like that timeline was spot-on, with the Xperia SP going on sale in the UK via T-Mobile and Orange for a moderate £249.99 sans-contract. Such adds on to the other places it is already available, including India and Singapore.

While the Sony Xperia SP’s display isn’t standing out among the best available, the rest of the specs place it fully in the mid-to-high range. Inside, users will find a 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor alongside 1GB of RAM. There’s a rear Exmor RS for mobile 8-megapixel camera and flash. There’s also a light strip that displays different color lights depending on which notifications the user receives. The display is a sizable 4.6-inches with a 720p resolution, which is less than some of its competitors, but certainly not a bad resolution. Sony says that the display’s colors and contrast are improved via the inclusion of a Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 system, which been used in some of the maker’s other handsets as well. This is accompanied by Battery STAMINIA, which is a feature said to improve battery life. Connectivity includes the typical 3G/4G, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The handset runs Android 4.2.2, and weighs in at 155 grams with an aluminum frame. The Xperia SP is being offered in three colors: red, black, and white, the latter of which you can see in the image above. T-Mobile UK says customers should allow 30 days for delivery. [via Xperia Blog] Sony Xperia SP smartphone rolls out in UK is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? UK law allows anyone to use your digital images

Whether you’re an amateur photographer who makes liberal use of Instagram and similar apps or you’re a professional who uploads a lot of off-hours snapshots online, a bill just passed in the UK should give you pause. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 has a clause in it that allows for anyone to use a photograph whose owner can’t be located, something that is a two-edged sword.

The clause in question is called the Orphan Works and Extended Collective Licensing Clause 79, which says that an orphaned work can be licensed under the law for use by organizations, something that is beneficial under certain conditions for some companies. The sticking point is what qualifies as an orphaned work – content who’s copyright holder cannot be located or identified “after a diligent search made in accordance with the regulations.” The obvious issue to this is the glut of images posted online that have nothing on them announcing the copyright holder. For example, the images you post on Facebook are under your account, and so your Facebook friends may understand that they are your images. If one of them is saved and later posted elsewhere, say on a forum, and it spreads across the Internet, its original association with your account is lost. Thus, your image can now qualify as an orphan – a piece of content that cannot be traced back to its copyright holder. If a company in the UK finds the image and likes it, it can easily gain a license to use it because of its orphaned nature. Although this is a UK bill, it will affect images taken by anyone located anywhere in the world – after all, if they can’t find the image’s copyright holder, they have no way of knowing if the image is from the UK or elsewhere, just that it is an orphan, thusly requiring neither credit nor compensation. [via Digital Trends] UK law allows anyone to use your digital images is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Blackberry CEO claims the Q10 will sell “tens of millions of units”

Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins believes that the Blackberry Q10 will be the company’s saving grace, moreso than the Blackberry Z10. First day Blackberry Q10 sales in the UK has surpassed the company’s expectations with Carphone Warehouse’s outlet, Selfridges, saying that the device sold thousands of units per hour. Within 6 hours, the retailer sold out its entire stock of Blackberry Q10 devices in every one of its stores.

Heins states that he believes that the Q10 will be much more successful than the Z10, mainly because it offers both the new Blackberry 10 experience along with Blackberry’s classic, and loved, physical QWERTY keyboard. In an interview with Bloomberg, Heins says that Blackberry as a whole currently has a user base of 70 million, and that many die-hard Blackberry fans are expected to pick up the phone once it heads to their respective countries. Because of Heins optimism, Blackberry’s shares rose 3.9% to $15.61, which is the highest price its had since March 21st. Thanks to the launch of Blackberry 10, Blackberry’s shares have increased a total of 32% this year. Many of the Q10′s major buyers were exporters, who SeekingAlpha reports were buying 20+ devices at a time. It got to the point where Carphone Warehouse had to make two lines; one for single-unit buyers, and one for multi-unit buyers. Heins has high hopes for the Blackberry Q10, but some believe that his optimism may be delusional. Heins also had high expectations for the Blackberry Z10, which is currently experiencing shrinking demand in various markets. On the bright side, the Blackberry Z10 sold around 1 million units within its first quarter. The Blackberry Q10 is expected to head to major U.S. carriers by the end of May. You can check out our hands-on review of the Blackberry Q10 to see if Heins’s optimism is all hype. [via Bloomberg] Story Timeline BlackBerry Q10 hands-on BlackBerry Q10 may not launch in US until May or June BlackBerry Q10 reportedly arriving April 30 in Canada BlackBerry Q10 release set for April 26th in UK BlackBerry Q10 appears in USA with T-Mobile, business first Blackberry CEO claims the Q10 will sell “tens of millions of units” is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Jony Ive set to flatten out Apple’s iOS 7 software

Jony Ive, Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, will be redesigning Apple’s iOS software and the new design is said to be more metro-like. According to several of 9 to 5 Mac’s sources, Ive is set to flatten out the user-interface in iOS, getting rid of all of the glossiness and skeuomorphic designs and going for a more flat look slightly resembling the flatness of Windows Phone’s interface.

Alongside the new, flat look, Ive will also be replacing all of Apple’s native app icons with new, fresh icons. He will also be implementing polarizing filters that will make it more difficult for onlookers to spy on what you’re doing. He wants to implement a “glance-able” interface that will let you view more information within one screen. The interface would be like a notification center. According to 9 to 5 Mac, Jony Ive has always been against Apple’s skeuomorphic interface, but Apple iOS’s former Senior Vice President Scott Forstall was all for it. Now that Forstall is gone from his position, Ive has creative freedom to do as he wishes, and Tim Cook is all for it. In an interview with Bloomberg, Cook stated, “Jony, who I think has the best taste of anyone in the world and the best design skills, now has responsibility for the human interface. I mean, look at our products. The face of this [iPhone] is the software, right? And the face of this iPad is the software. So it’s saying, Jony has done a remarkable job leading our hardware design, so let’s also have Jony responsible for the software and the look and feel of the software, not the underlying architecture and so forth, but the look and feel.” Ive’s past work includes designing the hardware for Apple’s iPad, iPhone, iPod and Macs, so Cook has faith that Ive’s software changes would be a hit among consumers. Despite the revamped user interface coming in iOS 7, the sources tell 9 to 5 Mac that the learning curve isn’t any more difficult than previous versions of iOS. The core apps and system fundamentals will perform similarly to the way they do now. Jony Ive and Tim Cook are looking to revamp iOS altogether, and to stray away from the skeuomorphic design that was not only loved by Scott Forstall, but also by Steve Jobs as well. A former Senior User Interface Designer at Apple stated in an interview, “Before Forstall, it was Steve Jobs who encouraged the skeuomorphic approach some say. iCal’s leather-stitching was literally based on a texture in his Gulfstream jet. There was lots of internal email among UI designers at Apple saying this was just embarrassing, just terrible.” It seems like its not just Ive and Cook who are on board with a new UI revamp, but other designers as well. The two are taking a big risk by overhauling iOS’s interface, because many iPhone users are comfortable and enjoy the skeuomorphic designs offered by the current iOS. Some say its one of the major aspects iOS holds over Android. But who knows, perhaps a new, flattened interface will be welcomed by the masses. We’ll see for sure when WWDC 2013 rolls around June 10th-14th. Stay tuned with SlashGear where we’ll be providing live coverage of the event. [via 9 to 5 Mac] Story Timeline Apple's Jony Ive blasts misguided design rivals iPhone 5 video with Jony Ive describes next-level precision Jony Ive, Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg among Time's 100 most influential people Jony Ive set to flatten out Apple’s iOS 7 software is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Samsung Galaxy Note 3 appears with logo-less facade

This week a new Samsung handset has appeared in a leaked photo aside a set of specifications that suggest a display larger than the device’s predecessors. With the device taking on a 5.9-inch display, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (or Galaxy Note III if you prefer) will work with the same amount of pixels given to the Samsung GALAXY S 4. This means that the device will have a lower pixel density and will be bringing with it a similar processor under the hood, that being the Samsung-made Exynos 5410 “Octa” SoC.

This tip comes from Chinese device blog MyDrivers where they’ve also gotten word that the device will come with its four A15 cores clockd in at 2.0GHz while its four A7 cores are clocked at 1.2GHz. This makes for a rather interesting system-on-chip combination of eight cores – though you’ll want to read our SlashGear 101: Eynos 5 Octa Processor guide before you decide it’s a whole lot better than the competition. This processor works with big.LITTLE technology to move tasks to one core or the other based on need. This device is said to be coming to the market with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and 3GB of RAM. That’s the highest amount of RAM to come with a smartphone thus far, competitors having stuck with 2GB for over a year. This device will also be coming with with a microSD card slot the way its predecessors did, this time offering up 64GB of additional space if you have the card to boost it, this along with the 32GB built-in space on the one model being tipped today. At the head of this article you’ll see this newest generation sitting aside the Samsung Galaxy Note II. Both of these devices are still significantly smaller than the Galaxy Note 8.0 and the Galaxy Note 10.1, both considered tablet-sized. Users will once again be finding a display size covered by Samsung, the company’s display coverage hitting the vast majority of standard sized from small to large over the past several years in smart devices. With the Samsung Galaxy Note III, users will also, of course, be working with the company’s S-Pen built-in to the device along the back, much as the newest generation offers. Story Timeline Samsung Galaxy Note III said to use Exynos 5 Octa CPU Samsung Galaxy Note III specifications tip another big boost Galaxy Note III screen size inadvertently outed by Samsung accessory Samsung Galaxy Note III tip claims plastic replacing glass display Samsung Galaxy Note 3 appears with logo-less facade is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? T-Mobile Samsung GALAXY S 4 now available online

Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 doesn’t make its way to AT&T until April 30, but those wanting to get on T-Mobile’s new “uncarrier” plans with the new device can do so right now through T-Mobiles online store. The GALAXY S 4 is available now on the carrier, leaving only AT&T and Verizon as the only wireless carrier to not yet have the phone available.

T-Mobile is selling the phone for a down payment of $149, but you’ll eventually be paying full price for it, as you’ll be paying 24 payments of $20 per month. This is for the 16GB model in either black or white, and there’s no word on a 32GB model just yet, although it may just be a matter of time before we see it appear. If you’re looking to get the new phone in-store, you’ll have to wait just a few more days, as T-Mobile won’t have the GALAXY S 4 in physical stores until May 1. Then again you probably won’t see your newly-ordered GALAXY S 4 unit arrive on your doorstep until that time, so either method won’t have you owning the device sooner. The GALAXY S 4 is Samsung’s successor to the Galaxy S III, and it boasts a 5-inch 1080p display and rocks a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor clocked at 1.9GHz in the US version. It also sports 2GB of RAM and has a 13MP camera. It’s arguably the company’s best phone yet, and you can learn more about it in our full review. Story Timeline Samsung GALAXY S 4 official SlashGear 101: The Samsung GALAXY S 4 Samsung GALAXY S 4 vs GALAXY S III T-Mobile Samsung GALAXY S 4 available early May Samsung launches GALAXY S 4 TV ads showcasing features T-Mobile Samsung GALAXY S 4 now available online is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? GALAXY S 4 fragility causes concern amongst droptesters

This week the Samsung GALAXY S 4 has appeared in two separate drop test examinations in which its ability to withstand day-to-day accidents has been called into question. While the Samsung lineup of Galaxy-branded smartphones and tablets has never really been known for its ruggedness specifically, this particular release appears to finding a special place in the books of groups like SquareTrade and TechSmartt, both of them known for their fragility tests of smart devices.

While the Samsung GALAXY S 4 brings a reinforced glass face with rounded corners and a flat face, its back casing and rim are made of hard plastic. In the feature video you’re about to see coming from TechSmartt, the GALAXY S 4 is compared to the iPhone 5 for it’s ability to withstand basic drops. You’ll see the GALAXY S 4′s corner suffering some damage through both plastic and glass from a drop a bit higher than 7 feet. Meanwhile a much more involved set of tests was run by SquareTrade, a company that considers a variety of factors in their breakability tests. Front and back panel design, materials, size, weight, friction quotient, edge construction, and more are considered in SquareTrade’s rankings for device breakability. SquareTrade did series of tests and comparisons between the GALAXY S 4, the Galaxy S III, and the iPhone 5, noting the iPhone to have the least breakable hardware of the bunch. “Our research and experience shows that even the smallest device characteristics can dramatically affect its breakability: the weight balance of a device can affect the way it spins in free-fall, making it more likely to land on its screen; devices with rubber backs are less likely to slide, and device dimensions can effect how snugly smartphones fit in pant and jeans pockets. The likelihood of damage due to these common scenarios has never been higher.” – Ty Shay, SquareTrade CMO According to SquareTrade, the iPhone 5 ranked a 5 (halfway between least breakable at 1 and most breakable at 10) due mostly to its palm-sized body, able to be gripped easier than either Samsung device. The GALAXY S 4 ranked a 7, SquareTrade mentioning its larger body and slippery back panel reducing grip-ability significantly. One must remember also that the Samsung Galaxy Note is larger than the GALAXY S 4, and the Galaxy Note II is larger yet. GALAXY S 4 fragility causes concern amongst droptesters is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? Undercover cops sell iPhones in black market scheme

Undercover cops in San Francisco are looking to cut down the amount of iPhone thefts there are in their city. However, these cops are taking a different approach than just running after iPhone robbers and cuffing them. Instead, they are going after the buyers of the stolen products, in a scheme that they call “cutting the head off the snake”. San Francisco Police Captain Joe Garrity says that if the iPhone thieves aren’t able to sell their goods, there’s no market for them.

In the scheme, an undercover cop, Tom Lee, dresses up as a normal civilian and speaks like the buyers that he is targeting. He has worked at an Apple retail store before, so he knows all of the lingo of persuading people to purchase his goods. When approaching a buyer, he confirms that the iPhone he is selling is stolen, and instead of offering a price for the phone, he asks the potential buyer to make an offer. Once the buyer offers to purchase the phone, and begins the transaction process, Lee signals nearby undercover officers to come in and arrest the buyer. With this scheme, the police officers are poisoning the market for stolen electronic goods and making would-be buyers think twice before making an illegal transaction. However, this scheme has stirred up some controversy in the city. Chesa Boudin, a San Francisco Public Defender, says, “You’re basically creating crime or luring people to commit crimes. It’s an outrageous waste of resources.” George Gascon, a San Francisco District Attorney, states that these operations “yield little deterrence” and don’t really lower iPhone thefts in the city. Instead, he believes that these sting operations fuel the fire for more iPhone thefts. He says, “The numbers don’t appear to be abating at all. This is like a drug war — the more arrests you make for drug use, the more drug use seems to go on.” Many have voiced their outrage over these schemes, saying that it’s entrapment and that the police should allocate their resources to more pressing matters. These schemes have been used in other cities as well, including New York, where crime rate has increased up to 5 times due to iPhone thefts. Police believe that by going after the buyers, they will be able to create fear in the market that will hopefully kill the demand for stolen iPhones and in turn reduce iPhone thefts in their cities. [via Huffington Post] Story Timeline Probation for iPhone 4 theft suspects plus $500 Apple damages New York City experiencing rapid growth in Apple thefts UPS iPad theft caught on camera- Brown is the new green down in Whoville NYC crime rate up for first time in 20 years thanks to Apple thefts Undercover cops sell iPhones in black market scheme is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Space rock rips through ISS solar panel, gives hull a miss

Space is a dangerous world. Debris is flying around everywhere, including small space rocks (read: bits of asteroid or meteoroid), which means that the International Space Station is constantly prone to getting hit by these small objects, and when you’re traveling at 4.8 miles per second, even small objects can have a big impact. ISS Commander Chris Hadfield tweeted a photo of a hole in the one of the solar panels where a space rock ripped through.

Few details are known at this point, but Hadfield referred to the damage on the solar panel as a “bullet hole,” and said that he was “glad it missed the hull.” We’re not sure exactly what would happen if a small rock like that collided with the ISS hull, but judging from Hadfield’s sigh of relief, nothing good would come out of it. We’re guessing that the hole didn’t cause too much severe damage to the solar panel, or else the ISS would be in deep trouble. We’re not sure how large the small hole is, but it doesn’t look big at all — merely a small speck compared to the sheer size of the solar panels on the station. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Hadfield has talked about small meteoroids hitting the ISS. He hosted a Reddit AmA back in February where he discussed “micro-meteorites would sometimes hit the hull and make a loud “ping” noise, which leaves dents on the outside of the station. However, Hadfield notes that a larger piece of rock could come along and cause greater damage. Space rock rips through ISS solar panel, gives hull a miss is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? Dead Island project dubbed “Hellraid” for slasher game officiality

Techland, the developer of the popular PC titles Dead Island and Call of Juarez, has officially confirmed that the next title they’re working on will be called Hellraid. The game will be a first-person perspective slasher that you can choose play solo or play with your friends. Techland began work on the game last year under the codename “Project Hell”, but they decided that they needed to give their child a real name.

Hellraid is described as more than just a normal hack-and-slash game, but hey those can be fun too. Techland describes the game as having an “entirely new level of hack & slash action”, where players will have to be precise with their actions, and time out their parries, blocks and attacks. As you advance in the game, you will be able to develop new skills, craft new weapons, and more to help with your journey. While you can choose to play Hellraid entirely in single-player mode, Techland encourages players to play through the game in multiplayer mode. You can team up with 3 other people to make the game more fun. To ensure this, Techland added “an element of coopetition”, where even though players are helping each other, they are also competing with each other to earn the most points and special rewards offered in multiplayer mode. Techland hasn’t announced an official release date for Hellraid, but it did say that the game will be available for the PC, PlayStation 3, and the Xbox 360 sometime this year. The developer also promises that in the coming weeks, it will be releasing tidbits of information regarding Hellraid and what its all about. There’s no word yet whether or not the game will be heading to the Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 4, or the next-gen Xbox. [via Hellraid] Dead Island project dubbed “Hellraid” for slasher game officiality is written by Brian Sin .

Is It true? Xbox 720 integration tipped by Ubisoft in Watch Dogs push

While Ubisoft already made it clear that it would be releasing its next open world action-adventure game for the PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii U, and the Xbox 360, it still didn’t confirm whether or not Watch Dogs would be released for the next-gen Xbox (although then again, why would it leave it out?). In the official Watch Dogs world premiere gameplay trailer released today, Ubisoft tips that Watch Dogs will most likely head to the Xbox 720.

Whether or not the game will launch on the Xbox 720 the same day as the other consoles is still up in the air. It all depends if Microsoft plans on launching its next-gen console before Watch Dogs’s November 19th debut. We should be getting the full details of the Xbox 720′s official launch date come May 21st, when Microsoft will be holding its next-gen Xbox event at its campus. But if the various rumors of the Xbox 720 needing an “always-on” internet connection is true, consumers may choose to purchase Watch Dogs on a different system, perhaps Xbox 720′s direct rival, the PlayStation 4. The Always-on requirement has been said to be the “worse thing in the gaming industry”, yet for some reason companies like EA and Microsoft don’t seem to understand why. Being unable to play Watch Dogs because your internet decides to act up, or because Comcast decides that 7:00 P.M. on a weekday is a great time to do service maintenance, is a deterrent to gamers. The Always-On requirement seems more of a punishment to gamers rather than a safeguard against piracy. Many developers have also chimed in saying that the Always-on DRM is more hurtful than helpful. Another deterrent from players purchasing Watch Dogs on the Xbox 720, or even purchasing the Xbox 720 altogether, is a leak discovered that suggests gamers won’t be able to play games directly from their game discs, but instead will have to install their games onto their Xbox, similar to how the PC system works. We’ll see what happens on May 21st. If Microsoft confirms all of these speculations, then gamers may opt to purchase Watch Dogs, and other games, on another gaming platform instead. Story Timeline Xbox 720 demands installed games and always-on activation leak suggests New Xbox 720 tipped for November with LIVE Gold subsidy option Xbox 720 details tipped as Microsoft event draws near Xbox 720 detail leaks suggest "Xbox Infinity" as new name Xbox 720 integration tipped by Ubisoft in Watch Dogs push is written by Brian Sin .