Thursday, May 23, 2013

Is It true? This message will self-destruct: OTR plugin brings Snapchat fuctionality to browsers

Like something out of an Inspector Gadget cartoon, a new plugin for browsers called OTR allows users to send messages to other users that will self-destruct a few seconds after they are read, (hopefully) disappearing forever. The plugin was launched today by Lamplighter Games, a company run by two brothers who wanted to bring Snapchat-like functionality to Web browsers. We’ve got a demo of it in action after the jump.


For those unfamiliar, Snapchat allows users to send each other images, which are supposed to disappear forever. It was this principle that inspired Andy and Kris Minkstein, two brothers who co-founded Lamplighter Games, which is operated out of New York. According to Kris, the two “love” Snapchat, and wanted to bring it to browsers. “We figured since you’re in front of your computer all day at work that you’re going to end up sending a lot of these photos to probably the guys sitting next to you at your cubicle.” You can check out OTR in action in the demo video above. Downloading and installing it is as simple as adding the relevant plugin to your browser, of which Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer are supported, as well as the Yammer App available from the Yammer App Store. Once installed, clicking on it the first time will pull up a registration window. You’ll need to create a sign-in account, or you can sign in with Yammer if you already have an account. Unlike some apps, the only information you have to provide is your email address. Once you’ve got your account, the interface has three buttons, one for inviting contacts, one for sending a picture, and one for sending a message. Contacts can be discovered by both username and email address. From there, you simply start sending messages. Anything you receive will be available until you click on it, at which point a timer counts down, then the message disappears into nothingness. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, and as has been demonstrated with Snapchat multiple times, even self-destructing messages can be kept. SOURCE: Business Week This message will self-destruct: OTR plugin brings Snapchat fuctionality to browsers is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Google reportedly considering bid against Facebook to buy Waze

Waze is a navigational app that offers crowdsourced information on things such as traffic conditions, with the information and map updates coming from users themselves. The app has long been the source of acquisition rumors, with word having surfaced back in January that Apple was looking into buying the company, something that was later denied by sources. This was followed up earlier this month by a new rumor, this time that Facebook is looking into buying the company for $1 billion, and now new sources are saying Google is considering tossing a bid into the mix.


This new information comes from sources who are likewise unnamed, said to be familiar with the matter and having access to the private talks. Says these individuals, Google hasn’t made a decision either way, but is considering making a bid on Waze. The navigational company is looking to get at least $1 billion in an acquisition situation, but is also looking into staying independent and instead going the venture capital route. According to Bloomberg, two sources have both stated that Facebook has, indeed, been in talks with Waze, considering a purchase of $1 billion. If such is the case, and Google is indeed also interested, the independent company could see itself in the middle of a grand-scale bidding war. That isn’t the case any time soon, however, if the sources are correct. None of the companies in talks with Waze, which are said to be more than just Facebook and Google, are close to forming a deal. Although there was speculation that Apple was in talks to buy the app, with very little information surfacing about the matter, sources have told Bloomberg that Apple is not “currently part of” the business talks. Whether that means the rumors earlier this year were true and Apple has since then backed out, or that the company was never considering the purchase in the first place, is still unknown. It is particularly interesting to contemplate a Facebook acquisition of Waze, considering the vast amount of data that Facebook already has on many Internet users across the globe. A Google acquisition could be similarly interesting, although for different reasons, and it isn’t too much a stretch to imagine the Internet giant nabbing the crowdsourced navigation app to keep it out of the hands of competitors. SOURCE: Bloomberg Google reportedly considering bid against Facebook to buy Waze is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Microsoft doesn’t infringe on Motorola patent, says Commission

As we reported on March 22, a judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission took Microsoft‘s side in a legal battle that has been going on since 2010, saying the company did not infringe on Motorola Mobility patents. While Microsoft was pleased with the ruling, Google obviously was less enthusiastic, and said it would have the finding reviewed by the Commission. As of today, things have once again been found in Microsoft’s favor.


Following the ruling on March 22, a final initial determination was made on April 23, both of these concerning the last remaining patent of what was several when the legal battle was initiated by Motorola before Google acquired it. Four patents that were part of the spat were dropped, those concerning video patents and the last remaining one concerning the wireless technology used by the Xbox for communication with controllers and other devices. Originally, a Commission judge had ruled in Google’s favor, having pegged Microsoft for infringement of four of those five original patents. As with the other rulings, that went to review, where it was overturned, and later became moot as most of the patents were dropped, two because they’re about to expire and weren’t worth battling over, and two following a settlement with the FTC. As we reported, Google sought to have the finding reviewed, but the US International Trade Commission wasn’t game with that plan, and has instead filed an official notice that it will not review the final initial determination from the previous months, instead upholding the finding by the initial judge back in March, and subsequently in April. As such, Google is out of legal maneuvers in this battle, and because this is the last patent remaining in the spat, the investigation has reached its close with Microsoft as the victor. Said the statement filed earlier today by the US ITC: “Having examined the record of this investigation, including the ALJ’s final ID and RID, the petitions for review, and the responses thereto, the Commission has determined not to review the RID … The investigation is terminated.” Such a ruling comes mere days after Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One. SOURCE: US International Trade Commission Microsoft doesn’t infringe on Motorola patent, says Commission is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Verizon HTC One tipped for “later” by HTC ROM creator

As this week’s hope for an HTC One from Verizon is dashed by none other than Jennifer Lopez, fans of the device turn to a developer of ROMs for the manufacturer. In a bit of a cryptic announcement by the developer known only as LLabTooFeR, confirmed HTC addict and insider here and there, it would appear that “it will be announced later” is all that we’ll be getting.


This developer has been accurate with leaks in the past and has provided the public access to RUU files galore – almost as if he (or she) works with HTC in some way or another. It’s important to take any anonymous source’s words with a grain of salt, but in this case, there’s little reason to doubt it. The only thing you, as a consumer, should be worried about at this moment is if the Verizon HTC One will be prepared in time for it to be marketable. There’s always the chance that a device is made – and even announced – then pulled from release. Case in point: the HTC First. This device was announced for release internationally, is currently available for sale with AT&T, but has been pulled from possible release for sale in the UK. At the moment, the idea is that developers with Facebook are improving the software before it gets a push, but it’s more likely that the device simply hasn’t been selling well enough to warrant another market chance. The HTC One for Verizon, on the other hand – that’s a good bet. With all the interest we, as a publication, have seen in the possibility of this phone being released, it’s gotten to the point where it seems like it would be foolish not to release this device on this carrier. And we want it, too – bring it! Story Timeline HTC One Verizon release in question as Tweets disappear Verizon HTC One comments make "big deal" of future release Verizon HTC One speculation returns as DROID DNA offer arrives Verizon HTC One tipped for today's press event [UPDATE: Nope] Verizon HTC One tipped for “later” by HTC ROM creator is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? Netflix to double original content next year

While we’re aware that Netflix is planning to up its game when it comes to original programming, we were never really given a solid number or when it would all occur. However, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos says that original content on Netflix will double in 2014 compared to this year, meaning we’ll get more House of Cards, as well as a few new shows tacked on.


Netflix is wanting to change the way Hollywood views internet content, and they’re even looking to take on HBO to become the supreme when it comes to original ad-free content. Sarandos says that director David Fincher’s roll in House of Cards is changing the way people view internet streaming content, where it’s no longer a bunch B-list web shows, but actual TV series featuring A-list celebs. House of Cards is a great example of how Netflix is changing the way people view streaming content. The series stars Kevin Spacey, who is best known for his numerous roles in tons of classic films, such as American Beauty, The Usual Suspects, Se7en, and Superman Returns. The first two episodes of the series were directed by David Fincher, who also directed movies like Fight Club, The Social Network, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This year already, Netflix has released two original series: House of Cards and Hemlock Grove, with several more original shows on the way: Arrested Development and a Hasbro-sponsored children’s show, as well as three more that we know of. That’s seven shows total that we know of, meaning that if Netflix kept their promise and doubled their original content in 2014, we’ll be getting at least 14 shows next year, but Sarandos says that’s merely a goal, not a promise. Netflix accounts for a third of all traffic that makes its way through the internet, which is something quite impressive, and the service streams more content than YouTube even. Netflix also keeps adding on new users, claiming three million more customers during Q1 2013 to make a total of 37 million users paying for Netflix. SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter Story Timeline Netflix: piracy rate goes down when we arrive BitTorrent downplays Netflix's claim of lower torrent traffic Netflix lands new Disney/ABC Television children's shows Netflix's Arrested Development season four trailer hits the Web Netflix to double original content next year is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? Yahoo getting into gaming with PlayerScale acquisition

Added to the list of many Yahoo acquisitions happening recently, PlayerScale is the latest one to get bought out by Marissa Mayer and company. PlayerScale was founded on 2009 and is a startup that creates software infrastructure for cross-platform gaming. What’s perhaps the the greatest news is that the startup won’t be shutting down.


PlayerScale CEO Jesper Jensen says that the company isn’t “going anywhere,” and that the company’s platform “will continue to support the same great games that you love playing today,” saying that PlayerScale “will only get better from here.” However, half of the company’s staff will be joining Yahoo, while the other half will stay at PlayerScale. PlayerScale says that its platform has over 150 million users, with their user base growing exponentially. The company announced back in January that they surpassed the 100 million-user mark. Overall, Jensen calls the acquisition the “the next big step toward our goal of building the best possible gaming infrastructure platform.” Today’s PlayerScale acquisition comes just days after Yahoo made its largest buyout ever, purchasing Tumblr for $1.1 billion. The financial details of the PlayerScale acquisition weren’t disclosed, but it probably wasn’t as much as what Tumblr got out of the deal. However, does this mean that Yahoo is getting into the gaming business? Essentially, PlayerScale’s Player.IO platform offers game developers a place to implement multiplayer and Facebook aspects into their game using PlayerScale’s servers. Many popular mobile and Facebook games are most likely using Player.IO to run certain aspects of the game. With the Yahoo acquisition, the company may be looking into mobile and social gaming, but it’s obviously too soon to tell right now. VIA: TechCrunch SOURCE: PlayerScale Story Timeline Yahoo strikes deal to exclusively offer Saturday Night Live content Yahoo acquires Astrid, plans to shut the service down Yahoo acquires GoPollGo and MileWise, shuts them both down Yahoo boosts Flickr storage to one terabyte, reboots Android app Yahoo getting into gaming with PlayerScale acquisition is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? EA CTO: Xbox One and PS4 “are a generation ahead of” PCs

The new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One come with some pretty impressive hardware on the inside. So good, in fact, that Electronic Arts CTO Rajat Teneja believes that the performance and hardware in the Xbox One and PS4 “are a generation ahead of the highest end PC on the market,” so not just gaming PCs in general, but the best gaming PC ever.


After that, he didn’t mention PCs again, only saying that “benchmarks on just the video and audio performance are 8-10 times superior to the current gen,” saying that “the compute capabilities of these platforms and the data transfer speeds we can now bank on, essentially removes any notion of rationing of systems resources for our game engines.” The Xbox One comes with an 8-core processor along with 8GB of RAM. We’re not told about specifics, but a good guess would that both the PS4 and the Xbox One are running AMD’s Jaguar chip. Compared to gaming PCs, most gamers have a quad-core processor in their gaming rigs, with a few 8-core chips floating around. However, Microsoft nor Sony have revealed what graphics their respective consoles are running, but if they’ve seen the just-announced NVIDIA GTX 780 Titan graphics chip, I’m pretty sure they’d run away whimpering. Imagine two of those cards in SLI — the gaming prowess would be practically infinite. However, it’s possible that Teneja doesn’t actually mean these new consoles are faster, but rather just have newer technology in them, meaning that the processor inside the Xbox One and PS4 are so new, that it isn’t available for PCs yet. Then again, from the way that Teneja worded his blog post, it seems to mean that PCs don’t stand a chance against the next-gen consoles, which is quite saddening to hear. VIA: Polygon Story Timeline NVIDIA announces PhysX and APEX support for PS4 NVIDIA passed on PS4 due to financial disagreement Xbox One hardware "revolutionary" with 8GB of RAM, 500GB HDD Xbox One: Everything you need to know EA CTO: Xbox One and PS4 “are a generation ahead of” PCs is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? Destiny live-action trailer teases Xbox One and PS4 graphics finesse

Bungies upcoming sci-fi shooter is getting teased yet again. A new live-action trailer for Destiny has been released, featuring Giancarlo Esposito, who starred in Breaking Bad and is currently starring in NBC’s Revolution. The trailer involves Esposito reading Rudyard Kipling’s The Second Jungle Book to his child, while Destiny CGI clips play in the background.


A passage from the book is read out loud and it describes the characters in the upcoming game, giving us a little tease at who gamers are going to control while playing the game. However, we’re still not given a taste of any gameplay, which has gamers frustrated and wanting more, but it seems Activision will be milking this one out for a while. The trailer was directed by Jon Favreau, who is best known for directing Iron Man and Iron Man 2, and his style certainly shows in this new Destiny trailer. Of course, though, we still don’t know many details about the game, other than that they’re calling it “shared-world shooter” that looks a lot like Halo, which isn’t too surprising, as the same developer is behind both games. A look at the trailer reveals that some of the action takes place on the Moon, as well as what looks like Mars, but as you can clearly see a close-up planet in the sky, it looks to be a fictional planet that the developers made up for the game. Overall, Destiny definitely won’t be coming to an Earth near you. The game is set to release on both current- and next-generation consoles sometime in 2014, so don’t expect it to launch alongside the Xbox One or PS4 in time for the Holiday season — you’ll want to put it on your birthday wish list instead. Story Timeline Activision says Destiny not releasing this year Bungie reveals Destiny: A shared-world shooter Activision and Bungie show off Destiny for PS4 Xbox 720 Destiny teaser images head to Earth's moon Destiny live-action trailer teases Xbox One and PS4 graphics finesse is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? Hisense Sero 7 tablets brings NVIDIA Tegra 3 to take on Nexus 7

Today the folks at Hisense and NVIDIA have formally introduced the world to the Hisense Sero 7 tablet family, machines that work with specifications ready to take on the likes of the ASUS-made Nexus 7 straight from Google. The Google Nexus 7 works with the same processor as the Pro version of the Sero 7, that being the NVIDIA Tegra 3, here coming in with a few different bits and pieces surrounding this SoC to differentiate the offering.


Hisense Sero 7 Pro This device works with a 7-inch IPS LCD display at 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB internal storage. One of the first big differences between this machine and the Nexus 7 is the inclusion of a microSD card slot – that’ll allow you to expand the tablet’s storage space by an additional 32GB. This machine works with a mini-HDMI out port so you can play videos or games straight to your high-definition television or computer display, and it works with two cameras. While the Nexus 7 works with a single front-facing camera, the Hisense Sero 7 works with a 2 megapixel front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel camera on its back. The back-facing camera also has a single LED flash for photos in the dark. Wireless connectivity features include Bluetooth, NFC, and wifi. This device measures in at 7.9″ x 5″ x 0.43″ and will be released with Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean. With a 4,000mAh battery to keep it running for what Hisense says will be 10 hours, this machine is certainly prepared to do battle with the Nexus 7. It’ll be out for $149 USD in stores this week – or if you’re at the right Walmart store, you might be able to find it today. Hisense Sero 7 LT (or Lite) The Lite version of the Hisense Sero 7 brings similar specifications, but the Pro is just a bit of a step up. This Lite version also comes in at a $99 rather than $149, so it’s a bit of a value/abilities trade. The Hisense Sero 7 LT brings Android 4.1 and a dual-core processor at 1.6Ghz with 1GB of RAM. Up front is a 1024 x 600 pixel display that’s also IPS LCD. This smaller tablet has a smaller internal storage at 4GB, but it also works with a microSD card slot for 32GB of storage expansion. This machine is also a bit smaller physically with a size of 7.9″ x 4.8″ x 0.41″ – and it’s got just one camera, too. This machine works with a 0.3 megapixel camera on its front, much like the Nexus 7. Hisense Sero 7 tablets brings NVIDIA Tegra 3 to take on Nexus 7 is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? Microsoft pounces iPad again with new comparison ad

Adding on to its previous new ad taking a knock at Siri and the iPad, Microsoft is back with another ad that outlines the iPad’s lack of multitasking, and the setbacks with printing and other hardware downsides. In this case, Microsoft uses an ASUS VivoTab RT and puts it up against the latest fourth-generation iPad.


The video compares both tablets as far as hardware specs are concerned, such as the weight and size of the tablets, as well as the selection of apps and the ability to multitask. Microsoft shows off the ASUS tablet running full Office, while the iPad only has the OneNote app. And while the iPad can quickly switch between apps, Microsoft gloats that the VivoTab can do split-screen multitasking. The ad also demonstrates that Windows 8 tablets have a microSD card slot built in, while the iPad requires an adapter in order to get the same functionality. Microsoft even brings up printing, noting that the iPad only works with AirPrint-compatible printers, while Windows 8 tablets work with nearly any printer. While Microsoft’s previous tablet commercials have been all about focusing only on the tablet itself, these new ads put some focus on the competition — in this case, it’s the iPad that’s giving Microsoft’s tablets a run for their money, so it seems the company wants to set the record straight and let people know the benefits of their tablets. It’s certainly a blatant call out to the iPad, which could result in some eye rolls by viewers, but we have to say these ads are a bit better than office workers break-dancing on top of tables and flinging around their Surface tablets. It’s certainly a better ad for those who don’t like flashy and fast-paced advertisements (*raises hand*). Story Timeline Microsoft posts $20.5 billion revenue in Q3 2013 earnings Microsoft working with OEMs on smaller Windows tablets Microsoft reportedly to produce 7.5 inch tablet Microsoft Surface to be used on NFL sidelines Microsoft pounces iPad again with new comparison ad is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? New Kinect for Windows borrows Xbox One’s updated sensor

The Xbox One introduced a new generation of Kinect motion-sensing earlier this week – now it’s time for Microsoft to show how the Kinect for Windows sensor will be evolving as well. This update brings on the Xbox One’s Kinect sensor in a package that’ll have Windows machines making full use of a sharper HD color camera, noise-isolating microphone array, and a wider field of view than in past Kinect units.


This newest Kinect for Windows works with “Active Infrared”, meaning the user will be able to work in nearly any lighting condition. This allows the user to work with four senses where before, Kinect worked with three: audio, depth, color, and active IR. The ability to sense the human body without needing high lighting conditions will allow the sensor to work in more “real-world” settings – hand position, facial features, and body movement all included. Kinect for Windows newest hardware will bring improved skeletal tracking. More points than on any previous model are being tracked – tip of the hand and thumb now included. This system also allows tracking of up to six skeletons at once. More users means more opportunity for multi-player games and, as Microsoft suggests, physical fitness solutions. The expanded field of view on the new Kinect for Windows will allow for both a wider place for people to be able to stand and be tracked and more fluid gesture recognition. This new unit works with a high definition color camera with advanced Time-of-Flight technology from Microsoft. This technology measures the time it takes for each little photon to leave and bounce back to bring on “unprecedented accuracy and precision.” This Kinect for Windows platform will be delivered “next year” according to Microsoft, with a new Kinect for Windows sensor and software development kit (SDK) to go along with it. It’s not yet known if the SDK will be delivered before the actual unit, but BUILD 2013 has been noted by the company as a place where “developers and designers can begin to prepare to adopt these new technologies so that their apps and experiences are ready for general availability next year.” That’s in June – stay tuned! SOURCE: MSDN Story Timeline Xbox One introduces Skype video chat with Kinect Xbox One requires Kinect to function Xbox One Kinect reportedly to be launched for PC Xbox One Kinect includes "no listening" modes for living room privacy New Kinect for Windows borrows Xbox One’s updated sensor is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? Xbox One lack of backward compatibility is a non-issue insists Microsoft

Don’t expect your shiny new Xbox One to care about your current stack of Xbox 360 games any time soon; Microsoft isn’t convinced that backward-compatibility with gamers’ existing titles is something the majority of people even care about. In fact, Microsoft interactive entertainment chief Don Mattrick told the WSJ, spending time looking at old games generally means you miss what’s coming up ahead. “If you’re backwards compatible, you’re really backwards,” he argued.


The issue of backward compatibility of next-gen consoles is something that has been hotly discussed over the past few months, as gamers try to decide whether to consider brand loyalty when they upgrade from their existing console, or indeed if they should jump ship to more casual gaming, such as on a tablet. That’s led to some interesting hoop-jumping, as companies attempt to deliver retro support while still push the envelope with new technology. Sony, for instance, opted to go with a cloud gaming system for the PlayStation 4 which runs PS3 titles on remote servers and then delivers the content via the gamer’s internet connection. The same technology will also funnel PS4 games to the PS Vita, as part of Sony’s attempt to more tightly integrate the ecosystem. That’s not apparently something Mattrick thinks is particularly necessary, at least based on Microsoft’s research into how many people play old games on new hardware. In fact, only around 5-percent of people do that, he claims, arguing that if Microsoft spent time and effort on building it into the Xbox One, it could potentially mean compromises in other areas which would in fact have more impact on a greater number of gamers. What Microsoft will, in fact, use the cloud for is offloading some of the Xbox One’s processing. Elements like background textures can be rendered remotely on the Xbox LIVE infrastructure and then delivered over the internet to the console, leaving its own 8-core processor and AMD graphics free to focus on more obvious visual glitz. Instead, there’ll be lingering support – and new titles, some at E3 2013 – for the Xbox 360, so it might be worth reconsidering trading in your old console for an Xbox One if there are some classics in your collection you can’t do without. Exactly how much of a turn-off having to build a game library from scratch will be to Xbox One buyers remains to be seen. Xbox One lack of backward compatibility is a non-issue insists Microsoft is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? Mailbox app finally arrives on the iPad

The popular new email app for the iPhone, called Mailbox, has made its way to the iPad in the latest version 1.3 update that arrived today. iPhone users who have used Mailbox before will be familiar with the iPad version’s layout, only this time around it sports a two-pane interface that makes it even easier to get down to inbox zero.


Essentially, the iPad app lets you scroll through your email while you have individual messages open in a larger pane on the right side. Of course, this type of layout isn’t new as we’ve seen similar layouts in other iPad email apps, but if you’re committed to Mailbox, you’ll no doubt be pleased to be able to churn through email on a larger display. Mailbox first made its debut back in February for the iPhone, and most users were immediately greeted with a wait list status, meaning that a lot of users couldn’t start using the new app right away, with hundreds of thousands of users waiting in line in front of them. However, the company recently removed the wait list and let anyone in, allowing full access to Mailbox. Back in March, popular cloud storage service Dropbox acquired Mailbox for an undisclosed amount. The two companies didn’t exactly detail what the future plans would be, but we’re guessing that Mailbox will end up coming with some sort of Dropbox integration at some point, although two months later, we haven’t heard from Dropbox about their plans for the email app. If you’re interested in using Mailbox, it’s available for free, but it only supports Gmail at this point, with no word on whether or not other email services will get integration. Granted, a lot of people use Gmail anyway, but for those using Yahoo or Outlook, you’ll have to hold up for a bit to see if Mailbox gets support for other service. SOURCE: Mailbox Story Timeline Mailbox email client for iOS opens reservation system due to high demand Mailbox Review: mobile email disconnects again Mailbox app finally arrives on the iPad is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? GTA V Collectors Editions continue legacy of completist addiction

If you’re a lover of the Grand Theft Auto series and absolutely need to own every little bit and piece from the creators of the series at Rockstar Games, you’re about to need to start saving up. Two unique editions of Grand Theft Auto V have been shown this week by he creators of the series – one of them a Special Edition, the other a Collectors Edition.


This means there will be a least three different editions of the game. While each version allows you the same access to the full retail version of Grand Theft Auto V, the “Standard Edition” brings just that. Each of the three editions offer a pre-order bonus of an “Atomic Blimp” in-game vehicle for “iconic and leisurely” travel through Los Santos. The Special Edition brings with it a SteelBook with artwork including custom and metallic treatments – strange printing techniques only used in presentations above and beyond the normal call of duty for an art book. A BluePrint map that shows a unique view of Los Santos and Blaine County is included in the package at 21.5 x 26.75 inches large. The Special Edition will also add special weapons added to the players inventory available for free – melee Hammer, Bullpup Shotgun, and Pistol .50. In-game bonuses also include a “Special Ability Boost” which makes your special ability bar jump 25% faster, Stunt Plane Trials, Bonus outfits, tattoos, and aesthetic differentiators of all kinds. The Collector’s Edition includes everything that’s in the Special Edition, adding a Security Deposit Bag with Logo Key, 9FIFTY Snapback Cap, and a set of “classic” Grand Theft Auto characters for customization and use in the Grand Theft Auto Character Creation System. The Collector’s Edition also adds a garage where users are able to store custom vehicles. Single-player mode has this garage stocked with a 1930′s style Hotknife hotrod as well as a CarbonRS sports bike. The online version will include a “high-end Khamelion electric car.” And of course the whole lot comes in a fancy collectable outer box with foil-embossed Grand Theft Auto V logo with matte, scuff-resistant film lamination. This Collector’s Edition will run you a cool $149.99 USD while the Special Edition will cost $79.99, and the normal edition will cost you right around $59.99 – choose your fate! SOURCE: Take-Two GTA V Collectors Editions continue legacy of completist addiction is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? Call of Duty: Ghosts PS4 version confirmed

We knew that Infinity Ward’s latest Call of Duty installment would be headed to the Xbox One, as revealed earlier this week during the unveiling of the new console. Naturally, then, it would make sense that the game would head to the PlayStation 4, and official confirmation was given by Infinity Ward that, indeed, Call of Duty: Ghosts is headed to the PS4.


The developer confirmed the news via Twitter yesterday, saying that the game will be heading to Sony’s newest console, joining the PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC. However, publisher Activision still says that DLC for the game will be exclusive with Xbox consoles, meaning that if you want all the CoD content you can get, going the Microsoft route seems like the best choice at this point. As for the Wii U, Activision hasn’t confirmed or denied that Call of Duty: Ghosts will come to Nintendo’s newest console, but it’s not looking good overall. If the publisher wanted the new game on the Wii U, we certainly would’ve heard confirmation by now, but judging by the poor sales of the new console, we’re guessing Activision won’t waste their breath. Call of Duty: Ghosts went up for pre-order earlier this month, and it became the highest-selling video game on Amazon in less than a day from becoming available for purchase before its launch. While some may think the Call of Duty series is getting stale, the turnout that the pre-order received shows that many gamers are still interested. The new installment is expected to be some sort of spin-off featuring Lt. Simon “Ghost” Riley, who was known for wearing that iconic skull-laden balaclava. However, we’ll have to wait and see in November when the game officially releases to the masses. VIA: Joystiq Story Timeline Call of Duty: Ghosts receives official Activision and Infinity Ward nod Call of Duty: Ghosts bound for Xbox 720 with first teaser trailer PSA: Call of Duty: Ghosts "beta invite" imposter websites on the prowl Call of Duty: Ghosts detailed for Xbox One, dog included Call of Duty: Ghosts PS4 version confirmed is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? HP Envy 14 TouchSmart Ultrabook packs a 3200×1800 display

HP has a lot of laptops these days, and they all have their own unique look, but the company never really has had a signature style these past few years. However, they refreshed their line of desktops and laptops today for 2013, and while school just let out for the summer, it’s never to late to begin shopping for a college laptop for the fall.


One of the most notable new products arriving for the summer is the Envy 14 TouchSmart Ultrabook, which comes with a 14-inch display at 1366×768 by default, but can be immediately upgraded to a more feasible 1600×900. Furthermore, though, you’ll be able to upgrade to a whopping 3200×1800 resolution sometime this summer, all of which is touchscreen-equipped. The laptop has a modest starting price of $699, but that won’t get you the high-resolution display sadly — you’ll most likely have to hand over more cash in order to enjoy the 3200×1800 resolution. There’s no word on what hardware the new laptop is running, but we’re guessing Intel’s new Haswell architecture is tucked neatly inside, waiting for an official unveil next month during Computex. The New Envy 14 TouchSmart looks to take on Google’s Chromebook Pixel and Apple’s MacBook Pro Retina-equipped laptops. However, Samsung is also in the running, as they recently announced a laptop of their own that packs a 3200×1800 display. What we once thought was insanely high-res, is now playing catch-up with HP and Samsung. Who would’ve thought? HP also showed off their other refreshed laptops, such as 15-inch and 17-inch variants of the Envy line, as well as new Pavilion 11-, 14-, 15-, and 17-inch laptops that include a mixture of Intel and AMD processors, as well as NVIDIA mobile graphics. Furthermore, the company added on five new desktops that pack Intel’s new Haswell chips. You can grab one for as low as $289 for the HP 110, although you’ll have to cough up more for a robust machine. VIA: Engadget Story Timeline HP Slate 7 overcomes delay rumors, is available now HP ProBook 400 and 200 Series aim for SMB market on the thin side HP Slatebook x2 Tablet with Tegra 4 hands-on HP ENVY Rove 20 is maker's first mobile all-in-one PC HP Envy 14 TouchSmart Ultrabook packs a 3200×1800 display is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? Google Glass OLED Samsung display tipped for consumer model

Google’s consumer version of Glass will use Samsung OLED displays, reports out of South Korea have claimed, with the possibility of flexible panels being used for the futuristic wearable. The deal follows Google CEO Larry Page recently visiting a Samsung Display OLED production line, The Korea Times reports, and heavy-handed hints by the screen division’s CEO that wearables would figure highly in flexible OLED’s future.


“OLED on silicon may be used for glasses-type, augmented-reality devices much like the Google Glass” CEO Kim Ki-nam said during a SID keynote this past week. “The wearable market will be a major beneficiary of the free-form factor advantage of flexible OLEDs. Smartphone-linked wearable accessory products such as watches and health bands will use ultra-thin flexible OLEDs embedded with various sensors.” Samsung has been talking up the potential of flexible OLED for some time, though is yet to commercially deploy the technology. That’s been promised for 2013 under the YOUM brand, however, slightly delayed after Samsung was apparently forced to dedicate the bulk of its production facility to making traditional AMOLED screens for devices like the Galaxy series of smartphones. Back at CES, the company brought a number of concepts along, some using flexible OLED technology. There, the panels didn’t actively flex, but were instead wrapped around the shell of a device mock-up, and intended for use as an always-on status panel. The current Glass Explorer Edition, which Google has sold to a limited number of developers for real-world testing and app development, uses a small plastic eyepiece into which the image is projected. Exact technical specifications for the display technology itself have not been shared, though it’s believed to be something along the lines of a transmissive color filter panel backlit with an LED in the headset section, near the camera module. Switching to OLED would mean Google could do away with the separate LED backlighting, since OLED pixels produce their own lighting. It seems likely that Google would still use the wave splitter eyepiece block, since that allows the “floating” display to be translucent, though it’s worth noting that Samsung has been showing off translucent OLED panels for several years, and has in fact commercialized them on a small scale. Either way, it would likely be a more compact setup than what is used in the Explorer Edition, as well as potentially more power-frugal. That could make for a lighter, longer-running Glass, something Google has said are key objectives for the consumer version. Exactly when the mass-market Glass will launch is unclear, though Google chairman Eric Schmidt did suggest that sometime in 2014 is likely. Similarly unknown is how much it will retail for, though Google has been clear that it aims to make the wearable far more affordable than the $1,500 developer version. VIA: AndroidBeat Story Timeline Google Glass creators talk of final consumer device release Google Glass Original Prototype eyes-on with Isabelle Olsson Google Glass creators talk "staring" and the social implications of wearables Google Glass team talks hardware principles: Lightness, Simplicity, Scalability Google Glass OLED Samsung display tipped for consumer model is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? NVIDIA ShadowPlay aims for always-on screen recording for gamers

In a move that most gamers will instantly see as a battle up against FRAPS, NVIDIA has this week shown off ShadowPlay, a screen capture feature for the future of the GeForce Experience. Before you get too excited, it’s important to note that ShadowPlay will not be implemented until later this summer with an update to the GeForce Experience – for now you’ll have to wait and wish for this optimized setup.


ShadowPlay will be a feature inside the NVIDIA GeForce Experience that’ll be working with all Kepler GPUs inside Summer 2013. NVIDIA has made this system out to be a system that more than takes on FRAPS, it out-does it: ShadowPlay takes a minimal performance hit so gamers can play with minimal draw on their system whilst playing. While we’ll have to wait for this system to roll out to actually test that claim, at the moment what we’re being told by the company seems to be as easy to use as the GeForce Experience game optimization system itself. ShadowPlay uses the H.264 video encoder built-in to every Kepler GPU to “seamlessly” record the users last 20 minutes of gameplay footage, 20 minutes at a time. With the driver you’ve got built-in to the Kepler graphics card already in your machine, this system will be able to run all the time, while you pick up the segments of video you want and the rest are dumped. This ShadowPlay system’s pre-set 20-minute segments are the current optimized pre-set lengths that each video will be recorded in. This amount of time is not set in stone – NVIDIA may change before the final release – but for now, the company says it’s the best amount of time based on their testing of the feature. NVIDIA ShadowPlay aims for always-on screen recording for gamers is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? Shazam adds auto-tagging: Always listening to your music and TV

Shazam has revamped its iOS app with the iPad getting the spoils, including an auto-tagging feature that constantly keeps a digital ear open to recognize any music playing nearby. The new app reworks the Shazam homescreen to put more emphasis on social music discovery, listing what tracks contacts are listening to, and can automatically pull in lyrics more quickly as well as – in the US, primarily – interact with TV shows.


For US users, and those watching select content in the UK, the new Shazam iPad app can listen out to what’s showing on-screen and pull out extra content. That could be special offers related to advertising, or information on specific shows and actors. The new homescreen will include what TV is being commonly watched in among the music listings, too. Elsewhere, there’s integrated Rdio streaming – for which you’ll need a subscription – to instantly play back tagged songs, and a world mapping system which can show what’s popular in different locations. Shazam says it’s accurate down to town-level data, in some cases. Meanwhile, the app can now apparently recognize music in as little as a second, and there’s tagging caching if you’re in an area with a poor data connection, so that you don’t have to re-tag them when you get coverage again. Social options now include email, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Shazam’s new app is available for iPhone and iPad, though some of the more impressive features only work on the tablet version. As for the Android app, that’s due to get a similar update “in the coming weeks.” Shazam adds auto-tagging: Always listening to your music and TV is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? 5m HTC One sales tips exec with demand still exceeding supply

HTC has sold approximately five million of its HTC One flagship smartphones, an executive at the company has confirmed, with demand for the phone still apparently outstripping supply. The sales statistics – which HTC is yet to officially endorse – come amid concerns that the company is losing key executives and struggling to raise the profile of the One against the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Despite the fears, an unnamed HTC executive tells the WSJ, sales have in fact been strong.


As HTC has complained about before, it’s getting sufficient stock that is primarily holding the One back, the executive continues. “Orders are pretty good so far and are still more than what we can supply” the source suggests. “This is partly due to the shortage of components. When the issue is resolved next month, we will have a better idea if it’s doing really well or not.” Production is set to double this month HTC has already claimed, and April sales figures showed a reassuring upward turn, believed to be primarily down to One performance. The phone was originally intended to release in eighty countries by the end of Q1 2013, but issues sourcing components for the “UltraPixel” camera, among other things, saw that limited to just a handful of locations. That hasn’t stopped HTC from making bold predictions for Q2. Revenue for the current quarter is expected to reach around NT$70bn ($2.4bn), the company has said, an increase of almost a billion US dollars. Still, the 5m figure pales somewhat compared to Samsung’s sales figures for its Galaxy S 4. Earlier today, Samsung confirmed that 10m of the latest Galaxy flagships had been sold – though it’s worth noting that Samsung’s numbers count sales to operators and retailers, not to end-users – in the first month of the device’s availability. Meanwhile, the other phone HTC had high hopes for, the HTC First, has not seen the success expected. Sales are said to have underwhelmed, and sources have even claimed that the First – which runs Facebook Home, a replacement Android launcher focused on information from the social network – was scuppered by Facebook itself, after a last-minute change in strategy that saw the launcher released free in the Google Play market in the same week that the smartphone arrived on AT&T. 5m HTC One sales tips exec with demand still exceeding supply is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? HTC Desire 600 official: Dual-SIM Android with BoomSound and BlinkFeed

HTC has revealed its latest Android smartphone, the HTC Desire 600, a midrange dual-SIM handset with a quadcore processor set to go on sale in June. Packing Qualcomm’s 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 quadcore with 1GB of RAM, the Desire 600 has a 4.5-inch Super LCD2 qHD display and runs BlinkFeed – launched on the HTC One – on top of Android and HTC Sense. That means custom news stories, interspersed with Facebook and Twitter updates, right on the homescreen.


Elsewhere, there’s an 8-megapixel cameraon the back, with an LED flash and HTC’s ImageChip for improved processing; HTC uses an f/2.0 aperture, 28mm lens. The Desire 600 tops out at 720p HD video recording, however, not the 1080p we’re used to seeing. A front 1.6-megapixel camera is there for video calls. The Desire 600 doesn’t get HTC Zoe, however, the combination stills and video burst system it made a headline feature on the One. Instead, it gets a pared-back Video Highlights system, which cuts together impromptu thirty second video compilations from your content, which can be edited, set to music and themes, and then shared online. Inside, there’s HTC BoomSound speakers, positioned facing the front for the same sort of impressive audio performance as on the One, and Beats Audio processing too. Connectivity includes dualband HSPA and triband GSM/EDGE – no LTE – along with WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX. There’s also NFC, GPS, and AGPS, while Russia and the EU will get GLONASS too. Internal storage is 8GB, with a microSD card slot for adding to that, and there are two SIM slots. HTC says both cards can be active at the same time, unlike some other dual-SIM handsets, so you can have calls come in on either account even when you’re using one of them. The 1,860 mAh battery is good for up to 11.1hrs of 3G talktime, HTC claims, or up to 577hrs of 3G standby. Unlike with the One, it can be removed and swapped out for another, too, something HTC customers have been vocal in requesting. The HTC Desire 600 will go on sale in Russia, the Ukreaine, and select markets in the Middle East and Asia from early in June. No word on pricing or the possibility of a European or North American version at this stage. HTC Desire 600 official: Dual-SIM Android with BoomSound and BlinkFeed is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? Microsoft borrows Siri for iPad smack commercial

Apple’s Siri is known for its occasional blasts of snark, but Microsoft has co-opted the virtual assistant for its latest Windows tablet commercial. Billed “Less talking, more doing” the advert – which you can see after the cut – pits Apple’s iPad against an ASUS VivoTab Smart running Windows 8, and which unsurprisingly enough is found lacking in Microsoft’s opinion.


The commercial kicks off with Windows’ Live Tiles, with Siri conceding that iOS doesn’t update its icons like that, and then launches into multi-tasking. The ASUS tablet is shown opening up a sidebar with a second app, again something which isn’t supported on the iPad. Then it’s time for PowerPoint, since Microsoft apparently can’t imagine a world where a tablet user might not want to throw together some slides. On the ASUS, the presentation can be edited and re-formatted, while the iPad is shown merely scrolling and zooming around in frustration. It’s worth noting that Apple does offer Keynote for iOS, its own PowerPoint alternative, which does allow presentations to be created. “Should we just play Chopsticks?” Siri concludes, playing out the advert as Microsoft reveals its kicker: how much 64GB versions of both tablets cost. The iPad – Apple’s full-sized version, complete with Retina display – is priced at $699, while ASUS’ Windows 8 tablet is $449. It’s certainly one of the better adverts Microsoft has put together – at least there’s no random dancing like the Surface tablet commercials the company aired last year – and the use of Siri’s voice (the actual audio files for which Apple licenses) is a sly touch that’s likely to get the fans arguing. Still, Microsoft’s decision to illustrate functionality with PowerPoint seems like a missed opportunity; the business-centric app has little relevance to home users. Thanks Craig! Microsoft borrows Siri for iPad smack commercial is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? Square mobile payments go live in Japan

Mobile payments provider Square has reached its third market, going live in Japan today. The launch – in partnership with Sumitomo Mitsui Card Corporation – marks Square’s first spread outside of North America, where it has been operating in the US and Canada from 2010. As there, the Japanese service will accept swiped payments via the Square Reader, a dongle that plugs into the headphone jack of an iOS or Android device.


With that in place, and the Square app installed, anybody can take a payment from a credit card. Square charges a 3.25-percent transaction fee in Japan, and is promising next-day deposits for “participating banks” and deposits within a week for other banks. Meanwhile, Square will soon offer Square Wallet functionality in Japan, which will allow for direct payments between accounts, rather than requiring a credit card or cash. Square will also offer businesses the option of using a traditional cash drawer and receipt printer, though the app can send an email receipt by default. Mobile payments are a growing business, and Japan has been ahead of the curve for some time with cashless options. Cellphones in the country have long been able to use mobile wallet systems, with subscribers able to charge travel, goods, and services to their monthly bill. Square does not currently offer a Chip & PIN option – where credit or debit cards have an embedded microchip, similar in appearance to a phone SIM card, and the customer must punch in their PIN code to authorize the payment – which is in use in Japan, with the old-fashioned “swipe and sign” process used instead. The company is also working on a system for small payments between friends and family, with Square Cash going into closed beta recently. Square mobile payments go live in Japan is written by Chris Davies .

Is It true? Lenovo reports annual and Q4 financial results, breaks multiple records

Early this morning, Lenovo reported its end of year (as of March 31) and fourth fiscal quarter earnings, boasting multiple records, including record PC shipments and global market share, annual sales, and annual pre-tax income. In addition, numbers are up across the board, with Q4 revenues hitting a record and increasing 4-percent year-over-year, and the quarter’s gross profit jumping 20-percent over last year.


As far as the full-year numbers go, Lenovo saw a pre-tax income of $801 million USD, with the earnings coming in at $635 million. Annual sales hit $34 billion, resulting in a full-year 6.16 cents basic EPS. As of the year-end, net cash reserves tallied in at $3.1 billion. Crunching the numbers, we see the full-year sales hitting a record, jumping 15-percent year-over-year. The fourth-quarter results were also excellent, seeing a record revenue of $7.8 billion and a pre-tax income of $166 million, a jump of 63-percent year-over-year. In the fiscal quarter, the company saw basic EPS (earnings per share) of 1.22 cents per share. Meanwhile, the operating profit in the quarter increased 67-percent year-over-year to $169 million, and earnings jumped most of all – a whopping 90-percent – to $127 million. Lenovo also saw good things in the market, gaining 14 points while the industry as a whole saw a drop in excess of 13-percent over the previous year. This pushed the company into its record market share at 15.5-percent, fueled in part by another record, this one in PC shipments totaling a tad over 52 million units. Such numbers represent a year-over-year shipments increase for the company of about 10-percent annually. Lenovo in Asia Pacific/Latin America saw the greatest growth in quarterly market share at 11.7-percent, followed by Lenovo in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at 11-percent. Lenovo’s CEO and Chairman Yang Yuanqing said: “Despite a challenging macro-economic environment and ongoing PC industry transformation, Lenovo delivered a strong performance in the 2012/13 fiscal year. Not only were we the fastest growing among all major PC players, with record market share, revenue and profitability, more importantly, our smartphone and tablet businesses saw dramatic growth.” SOURCE: Business Wire Lenovo reports annual and Q4 financial results, breaks multiple records is written by Brittany Hillen .

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Is It true? HP ENVY Rove 20 is maker’s first mobile all-in-one PC

HP has announced its first mobile all-in-one PC, the HP ENVY Rove 20. As the name suggests, this AiO unit measures in at 20-inches corner-to-corner, and features a battery, allowing users to unplug it and go cable-free. This differentiates the device from many other all-in-one units, which – like a regular desktop computer – turn off when unplugged. We’ve got a video of the massive slate after the break.


The display comes in the form of an IPS LED panel offering a resolution of 1600 x 900 with 10-point touch, and audio is courtesy of integrated Beats Audio. Under the hood, the HP ENVY Rove 20 runs 4th generation Intel Core processors and Intel HD graphics. The AiO PC has an adjustable kickstand on the back for propping the device up. As far as software goes, HP preloads the ginormous slate with some games, including Monopoly. HP’s Consumer PCs and Solutions Senior VP and General Counsel Ron Coughlin said: “Customers are looking for mobility and flexibility in their computing devices to give families new ways to bring generations together. HP is evolving to meet our customers’ needs by designing next-generation form factors, like the Rove mobile All-in-One PC, which will enable people to connect, share and create in ways they never imagined.” In addition to the ENVY Rove 20, HP also announced a couple other devices, including the HP Pavilion 20 TouchSmart and Pavilion 23 TouchSmart All-in-One PCs, the HP Pavilion 11 TouchSmart Notebook, and the HP Pavilion 14 TouchSmart Sleekbook. Obviously, all four PCs offer touch panel displays, allowing users to take advantage of Windows 8′s touch-based design. And finally, rounding out the announcement are two new compact printers, the HP ENVY 4500 All-in-One and the HP 5530 e-All-in-One. Both are color printers offering HP ePrint and HP wireless direct. With this functionality, consumers can print from a mobile device, such as an iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. All the PCs will be launched in June, with the exception of the HP ENVY Rove 20, which will be released in July for a yet-unspecified price. The Pavilion 20 TouchSmart AiO will be priced at $620, the Pavilion 23 TouchSmart AiO will be priced at $750, the Pavilion 11 TouchSmart Notebook at $400, and the Pavilion 14 TouchSmart Sleekbook at $480. All prices are the base rate, and will increase depending on user customizations. The ENVY 4500 (launch in June) printer will start at $99, and the ENVY 5530 eAiO (launch in July) at $130. #gallery-2 { margin: auto; } #gallery-2 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-2 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-2 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } SOURCE: HP

Is It true? Researchers use salamanders to fuel human limb regrowth project

In a project that is eerily similar to the plot of the latest Spiderman movie, researchers are studying axolotl salamanders and their limb-growing ability in an effort to generate limb regrowth in humans. Specifically, the researchers are trying to determine what triggers the limb to grow back after amputation, a process they were able to effectively halt with a simple chemical change.


Such a project could, if it ever reaches its end goal, end up being a medical miracle, allowing humans who suffer limb amputation, whether it is an appendage as small as a finger or as large as an entire arm or leg, to regrow their body part. The process could also be used to promote healing without scars, eliminating issues with scar tissue, as well as healing burns. When a human suffers a limb amputation, the wound heals over with scar tissue, resulting in a stump. The researchers recreated this healing phenomenon in the axolotl salamanders by eliminating a type of immune system cells called macrophanges, which the researchers suspected were responsible for the limb regrowth. Getting rid of the macrophanges resulted in the same type of healing humans experience. What is particularly interesting is that once the macrophanges were restored in the salamanders that had been depleted of them, the limb that was removed and healed over regenerated when it was re-amputated – that is, surgically reintroducing the wound in the area where it had previously healed. This seems to indicate that, should a solution ever be discovered for human limb regeneration, it could be effective for those who have lost limbs in the past, rather than just those with fresh wounds. Ideally, the research will lead to a kind of salve or similar topical that would be applied to an open wound, introducing the necessary chemicals to the area to enable limb regrowth. All of this, for now at least, is still a dream, with the project being in the research phase and the exact method that enables limb regrowth not being known. Such a prospect is certainly something to keep an eye on, however. SOURCE: ABC News

Is It true? Kim Dotcom claims companies infringe on his patent, asks them to fund his defense

Kim Dotcom, the Internet maverick behind the now-defunct Megaupload, went on to replace his government-squashed file hosting website with the newly launched service Mega. All of this followed the police raid on his home in 2012, prompting a legal battle and eventual lawsuit against New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau, also known as GCSB, for illegal spying. Now he has taken to Twitter, claiming that many big-name companies, including Google, Twitter, and Facebook , have infringed on his two-step verification patent, and in return he is asking for help funding his legal defense.


The issue concerns many companies’ use of two-step verification, something Dotcom alleges he created and holds the patent for, which was filed in 1997. He goes on to link to his patent, which details the kind of two-step verification process mostly any Internet user will be familiar with. The information comes from Dotcom himself, who said in one tweet: “Twitter introduces Two-Step-Authentication. Using my invention. But they won’t even verify my Twitter account?!” This tweet was followed by another two tweets that hour, the next saying that Google, Twitter, Citibank, Facebook, and more all utilize two-step verification that infringes on his patent. The following tweet then offers the “big reveal,” saying that in excess of 1 billion two-step authentications take place online every week. All was silent for an hour, then another tweet popped up, this one stating that Dotcom has been aware of the mass violations of his patent but “never sued them” due to a belief in the mutual sharing of ideas and knowledge that better society in some way. He then insinuates that a lawsuit against one – or all – companies could take place, however, over “what the U.S. did to me,” regarding the legal turmoil resulting from the Megaupload debacle. This is rounded out by a tweet telling Facebook, Google, and Twitter that they can continue to use his patent for free. He implores them to help fund his legal defense, saying they “are all in the same DMCA boat.” He goes on to explain that his defense case is looking to have a price tag of at least $50 million, linking to a whitepaper on the matter. At the end of it all came a tweet asking if anyone wants to buy a world-wide license to use his patent. SOURCE: The Verge

Is It true? Samsung GALAXY S 4 breaks records with 10 million sales in first month

Samsung saw quite a bit of success with its GALAXY S III handset, prompting a large launch party for its next-generation flagship, the GALAXY S 4, late last year. Earlier this evening, Samsung announced that the handset has broken records set by previous iterations of the phone, selling 10 million units in the one-month time span since its launch.


According to the announcement, the 10 million-units-sold milestone was reached a full 20 days earlier than with the previous unit, the Galaxy S 3, and quite a bit faster than the Galaxy S (seven months) and the Galaxy S 2 (five months). The smartphone is available for purchase in 60 countries. By the end of June, the total number of Galaxy S – S4 handsets available will span 327 operators in 155 countries. We reported on May 17 that GALAXY S 4 sales were expected to exceed 10 million units sold this week, information that was passed down by co-CEO JK Shin. The announcement was expected to be made on May 24, so Samsung hit the range a solid two days ahead of its anticipated schedule. On May 15, it was revealed during Google’s 2013 I/O event that a 16GB Google Edition of the GALAXY S 4 will go on sale later this year via the Google Play Store, receiving updates straight from Google and running a vanilla variety of Android. The handset will work on both AT&T and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE networks. Of course, with the greatness that will be an unlocked vanilla Android Google Edition GALAXY S 4 comes a comparable price tag, pegged at a hefty $649. The handset won’t feature the Nexus branding, and will run Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2, Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, and mostly all the regular hardware to be found on the regular variety. The Google Edition is slated for sale on June 26. SOURCE: Samsung Tomorrow

Is It true? Microsoft tweaks Windows Phone YouTube app to appease Google

On May 15, we reported that Google had ordered Microsoft to pull its YouTube app for Windows Phone, citing two reasons: a lack of advertisements, and the ability to download videos that have been blocked from mobile viewing. Rather than saying it would pull the app, Microsoft had responded with a remark that it would “be more than happy” to toss advertisements into the mix if Google would give it access to the APIs. Today is the deadline Google specified in its cease and desist letter, but rather than pull the app, Microsoft has elected to tweak it instead.


Per Google’s cease and desist letter, Microsoft was ordered to pull the app and disable it on customers’ handsets by today, May 22. The Internet giant said because of the lack of advertisements and the ability to download videos, the app threatened YouTube’s “content ecosystem,” and was depriving all relevant authorities and content creators of their just dues. Microsoft didn’t make it clear at the time whether it would pull the app, but its statement insinuated that would not be the case. All went silent for a few days, but now the deadline has rolled around and Microsoft has responded in the form of an app update. When updated, the YouTube app will lose its ability to download videos, something against YouTube’s terms of service, but still fails to display advertisements, something Microsoft says it will change immediately when Google decides to cooperate. A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement: “Microsoft updated the Windows Phone YouTube app to address the restricted video and offline video access concerns voiced by Google last week. We have been in contact with Google and continue to believe that our two companies can work together to hone an app that benefits our mutual customers, partners and content providers.” According to a blog post made on TechNet earlier this year, Microsoft contends that Google is purposely trying to harm its mobile platform by preventing it from offering a YouTube app comparable to those available for Android and iOS. Said VP Dave Heiner, “But just last month we [at Microsoft] learned from YouTube that senior executives at Google told them not to enable a first-class YouTube experience on Windows Phones.” SOURCE: ZDNet

Is It true? Why the Xbox One’s Used Game Handling Could Be Its Undoing

There is an awful lot of excitement to go around in the game industry today, as Microsoft has finally (finally!) shown off its next-generation console, the Xbox One. From images and videos of the device, it appears to be good-looking, should deliver high-quality gameplay, and will integrate a host of entertainment features I’ll be excited to try out.


But there is one huge, glaring, worrisome issue that might prove to be the biggest flaw in the system and the reason customers like me might be turned away: its handling of used games. Admittedly, we don’t know a whole lot about how the Xbox One will handle used games, so it’s possible that you’re reading this in the future and about to tell me how wrong I am. Sorry about that. But at this point, this is what we know: the Xbox One requires that game discs be downloaded to the console, to ensure better functionality when gamers want to quickly start playing. What we also know at this point is that there is going to be some sort of unlock fee that allows a used game to be played on a console. And that is where I, and many other gamers, start to get awfully upset. Based on what Microsoft has said so far – and this by no means the last we’ve heard of the policy – a person who buys a game disc new will install it on their console to play it. From there, they can bring it to a friend’s house to play it on his or her device. On that console, in order to play the game, the friend would need to buy the right to play the game. And in a recent interview with Kotaku, Xbox’s Phil Harrison said they’ll be paying full price. Annoyed yet? Good. But Microsoft has come out and said it has a solution: if you login to your own Xbox credentials on your friend’s console, you can play the game without your friend having to pay full price to buy the new title. "By the sound of things, Microsoft is all but trying to kill the way used games are currently handled." What that doesn’t address, however, is the current used games market, which relies on people selling physical discs to companies like GameStop to recoup some of their investment. By the sound of things, Microsoft is all but trying to kill the way used games are currently handled. If that’s the case, the Xbox One might be in trouble. The fact is, the used games market is a huge opportunity for today’s consumers, and having to pay full price on titles instead of a used fee just isn’t practical for some people. If the Xbox One makes it difficult to buy cheaper games and recoup some cash in titles, it could have trouble getting off the ground. Of course, Microsoft might just have a solution: it’s hinting that there will be a way to sell the rights to a game you bought through the console. Could that be enough to save the Xbox One and make it a more feasible purchase? Will it annoy customers? Will Microsoft take down the used game market? I have more questions than answers at this point, but I’m at least a little concerned about what the future holds.

Is It true? NASA 2013 International Space Apps contest winners unveiled

NASA has the announced the winners of its 2013 International Space Apps Challenge, which opened to submissions back in late April. A total of 770 entries were sent in, and out of them five winners have been selected, one in each of the five categories presented. The winners were selected by judges from the European Space Agency and NASA, as well as partnered organizations. The goal of the contest was to create apps that help with space exploration, among other things.


The entries were also judged via social media, where the voting public selected “ChicksBook” as the People’s Choice Award. This app is multi-device, available for Android, iOS, and Web, that provides information on raising chickens – as well as offering a way to track the data of the project – in a small backyard farm setting. It was developed in Sofia, Bulgaria. Meanwhile, the five “Best in Class” winners are comprised of a variety of different applications that solve different issues. The “Most Inspiring” selection was a prototype app called T-10, which was designed for use on the International Space Station. Those aboard the ISS can use the app to select areas to photograph. When the ISS is about to pass over that area, the app will provide an alert, as well as offering notifications about potentially interesting weather. The images are auto-uploaded to Twitter. The winner in the “Galactic Impact” category is the app Greener Cities, which aggregates crowdsourced microclimate information that is designed to work alongside satellite-gathered information. Alongside the software was also a sensor that is said to be inexpensive and used to monitor in gardens. While that is interesting, the winner of the “Best Mission Concept” is arguably the most creative in idea/name combination – Popeye on Mars. Unlike the others, this is a tangible item winner, offering a reusable spinach greenhouse designed for use on Mars. The greenhouse is complete with all the sensors and other items needed to grow spinach. Last but not least is Sol (Best Use of Data) and ISS Base Station (Best Use of Hardware). Sol is said to be the first interplanetary weather app, allowing users to choose a planet and view its weather. ISS Base Station, meanwhile, offers both a device that illuminates and points in the direction of the ISS when it is in the user’s vicinity, as well as offering software and an iOS app for pinpointing the space station’s location. SOURCE: NASA

Is It true? Google begins sending Glass invitations to #ifihadglass applicants

Those who bought a pair of Google Glass Explorer Edition frames last year began receiving them not too long ago, making them the first round of the buying public to get their hands on the wearables. On February 20, we reported that a second round will be receiving Glass, this time with individuals submitting an idea with the hashtag #ifihadglass. Those who submitted ideas Google liked will be getting invitations to buy the frames soon.


The next round of Explorer Edition frames won’t be going out to just anybody. In February when the next batch’s availability was announced, the interested public was told it needed to submit a 50 word or less idea with the hashtag #ifihadglass via either Twitter or Google+ outlining their plans for Glass should they score a pair. Every applicant could submit a maximum of three ideas, and could include up to five pictures and a 15 second video. The application process was only open until February 27, which gave those interested a single week to come up with an idea (or three) and submit it/them to the powers that be. The ideas, because of the way they were submitted, were open for anyone to browse through using the related hashtag. None of the ideas could be edited once they were submitted, making it all a more or less one-shot deal. Google then began the months-long process of shorting through all the ideas, which were being judged on a variety of criteria, including their creativity, originality, the “social and spectrum” aspect of it, as well as whether or not the idea is compelling. A total of 8,000 Glass frames are going to be shipped out to some lucky applicants this time around. On the Project Glass Google+ page today, Google announced that it will begin sending out notifications to the applicants who have been selected to receive a set. The company doesn’t say how long the entire notification process is going to take, only saying that it is informing applicants “slowly” sometime in the next few weeks. Anyone who submitted an idea needs to add “+Project Glass” to the Google+ Circles so they can receive the notification. SOURCE: Project Glass (G+)

Is It true? Solar Impulse: interviewing a man on an 18-hour solar-powered flight

This week CEO of Solar Impulse AndrĂ© Borschberg is piloting a solar-powered airplane from Phoenix Arizona to Dallas Texas in a record-breaking 18 hour flight. SlashGear got the rare opportunity to participate in this flight earlier today in an interview with Borschberg while he flew over Highway 85. This was an in-flight interview done from a Samsung Galaxy Note II to Solar Impulse’s base station and up with a satellite connection to the plane.


The flight took off Wednesday May 22nd at 04:47AM MST (UTC-7) from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and is scheduled to land at 01:00AM CDT (UTC-5) at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The total distance covered will be 868 miles (1396.8 km) – and as you might be aware, the speed at which this plane travels this distance isn’t exactly speedy – you can drive between these spots much quicker. But that’s not the point – instead it’s traveling this distance without fuel – without non-sustainable energy, rather. Have a peek at our in-flight interview here and read all about it below – and stick with SlashGear for more information on this flight as it continues across the USA. A Sustainable Energy Movement AB: It’s an unbelievable feeling to see how this technology works. You have to imagine that I am sitting in an airplane, I will be flying in it all day – I will be climbing to 27,000 feet, and at the same time I will be filling up the batteries. So the more I will be flying, the more energy I will be able to collect. This is for us a good demonstration of what this technology can do. To be able to fly this airplane, and to be able to fly this airplane day and night – we worked hard to reduce the energy consumption of this airplane, and developed technology that can be used on the ground. It can be used with solar sets in homes, batteries in cars, the insulation materials in refrigerators. Solar Impulse Products Used Today AB: We believe that these technologies have a great future – to develop new products, to develop new jobs, to develop new industries. The largest buyers of our parts – by far – do not come from the aviation world. These companies, like Solvay, like Bayer, like Schindler, like Omega – are in completely different industries. Their interest is to develop new products for their own applications, for their own customers. We have insulation materials that we developed here which insulate better than what we had up to now, that are lighter. These insulation materials are going into cars, some of them are going into refrigerators, so I think there are opportunities for the direct use of many of these products. The flight today is a step toward making flight around the world possible. It was important to test this airplane in different kinds of weather, different weather systems in the United States – I mean, you saw what happened in Texas [in the tornado on the 15th] and Oklahoma [in the tornado on the 20th] as it’s not easy to steer such an airplane in difficult conditions. So that is for us a first important goal. What’s Next? AB: This airplane is fully sustainable, but the big challenge is to make the pilot sustainable. That’s why we are constructing a second airplane – which is being constructed in Switzerland – and this second airplane will be designed for travel over long distances, over the ocean, and we plan to do the next trip 5 days and 5 nights, non-stop, with one pilot onboard only – with this second plane. With this one, we limit ourselves to 24 hours because the airplane has to be manually steered all the time. On Media Connections and the In-flight Interview AB: It’s a good opportunity to discuss with media, and also with partners – and with schools. I had many discussions with schools where children could ask questions and we could discuss what we are doing and why we are doing it. Of course it all depends on the flying conditions. Currently the weather is extremely good, so it’s not extremely difficult to talk to news. The arrival in Dallas will be challenging, because it’s windy. It’s windy on the ground and it’s windy around the airport, so getting to this approach phase, we will not be able to give interviews. You can continue to watch Borschberg make this flight live at Solar Impulse Live – tell him we say hello!

Is It true? Tesla becomes “only American car company to have fully repaid the government”

In an announcement let loose today by Tesla Motors, they’ve made it clear that they’re claiming to be “the only American car company to have fully repaid the government.” As over the past several years it’s been a big subject of controversy that the government gave “bailout” funds to companies in many different industries, it’s important to note that this particular loan was not part of the so-called “bailout” rounds given to GM and Chrysler.


Instead, Tesla was part of the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, a program signed into law by Bush in 2008. The loan funds were awarded under the Obama administration in 2010 as well as “in the years that followed”. Tesla has made clear that both GM and Chrysler were given bailouts because they were bankrupt, while the ATVM program was only available to Tesla Motors because they were in good financial health. According to Elon Musk: “I would like to thank the Department of Energy and the members of Congress and their staffs that worked hard to create the ATVM program, and particularly the American taxpayer from whom these funds originate. I hope we did you proud.” – Musk for Tesla This move to repay the loans given to Tesla by the Department of Energy has made Tesla once again a totally privately funded organization. This is the first time since 2003 that the company has been funded entirely with private funds, mind you, and and this final payment was made using “a portion” of the approximately $1 billion raised last week by the company. This $1 billion came from a concurrent set of offerings of common stock and convertible senior notes – and $100 million of common equity was purchased by Elon Musk himself. Today’s payment – the final one, at that – equaled nearly a half-billion at $451.8M in all. This repays Tesla’s loan cash in full, with interest. For those of you wondering – both GM and Chrysler have paid back their loans, too. But that’s not all the cash they got from the government, depending on how you look at it. Back about a year ago, President Obama mentioned that both company’s loans had been repaid in full. According to Politifact, while the companies that were formed when the bailouts were made did, indeed pay that money back, the “old” Chrysler and “old” GM have not necessarily made that move – it may be that, all things considered, there will be no complete payment by the auto industry back to the government. But again, it’s all about your point of view.

Is It true? Twitter two-factor authentication rolling out now

As tipped late last month, Twitter has begun rolling out two-factor authentication. This will allow users to require both a password and a verification code that gets sent to them via SMS on their mobile phone. The feature is disabled by default, so you’ll need to go into your account settings in order to enable it.


All you do once you’re in Account Settings on Twitter is checkmark “Require a verification code when I sign in,” and then click on “add a phone.” From there, you’ll enter in your mobile phone number. Once that’s done, you’ll always be sent a six-digit code that you’ll use to sign in each time to Twitter. This is to prevent other people from logging into your account, even if they know your password. Any existing applications that you have connected to Twitter will continue to work after you’ve enabled two-factor authentication, and you shouldn’t have to allow access to them again. If you want to sign into Twitter on multiple devices or sign into Twitter in third-party apps, you can generate a temporary password to log in and authorize such devices and apps. Twitter finally joins the ranks of other online services using two-factor authentication, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Dropbox. If you haven’t yet enabled two-factor authentication for these services, you should probably go ahead and do yourself a big favor by enabling it for that services that you use. You’ll most likely thank yourself later. SOURCE: Twitter Blog Story Timeline EFF praises Twitter, slams Verizon over user data protection Twitter bumps API v1 retirement date White House hires Twitter legal director as chief privacy officer Twitter granted pull-to-refresh patent for "defensive purposes" only

Is It true? GRID 2 coming with performance upgrades in online multiplayer

We’ve heard a lot about GRID 2 in the past couple of months, including some of the new features coming in the game, such as LiveRoutes and the ability to record gameplay and upload it to YouTube. However, it seems that’s just the tip of the iceberg as developer Codemasters has revealed that performance upgrades are heading to the new racing game.


Developers Clive Moody and Iain Smith were gracious enough to answer fan questions over on Jalopnik, and several questions revolved around the possibility of performance upgrades and modifications on cars. Both devs said that custom liveries would be making a reappearance in the game, as well as performance upgrades for the first time, but they’ll only be available in online multiplayer it seems. Smith says that Codemasters is “bringing in an upgrade system to improve your performance and modify things like ride height and wheel size.” Furthermore, “the genuine mechanical upgrades will affect performance as you’d expect and help you take on the competition.” Smith nor Moody offered anymore details on car upgrades, but from the details that they did provide, it seems like you won’t be able to modify anything drastic like the engine or change out body kits. However, it’ll at least be more than what was offered in the original GRID installment, where the only customization you could make to your car was slap a livery on it and change around the decals. That was fun, of course, but we ultimately missed the ability the fine tune various aspects of the car, as well upgrade the performance. GRID 2 hits stores on May 28, which is closely approaching, and it’ll be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and PC. We’ve talked about some of the new features before, including LiveRoutes, which is something that randomly changes the course of the race track to make sure drivers stay on their toes. We also talked about different aspects of multiplayer, including achievements, challenges, and improved leaderboards. SOURCE: Jalopnik

Is It true? EA to detail Star Wars future at E3

Electronic Arts says that they will be revealing their plans for the future of Star Wars games during E3 2013 next month. The game publisher was recently granted exclusive rights for the Star Wars franchise after Disney bought LucasArts, the developer responsible for past Star Wars installments.


EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said in a company blog post that their E3 press conference will include “a first look at [their] plans for the Star Wars partnership with Disney.” EA previously revealed that DICE and Visceral Games will produce new Star Wars titles in the future, as they join BioWare, who is continuing to develop games for the franchise. As for what to expect in upcoming Star Wars games, Gibeau previously mentioned that the new games will be “entirely original with all new stories and gameplay,” with some elements being borrowed from past films. That’s all the details that we know of so far, but we should hear a healthy amount at E3 during the company’s presser on June 10. EA will also be showing off some other next-generation titles, such as Battlefield 4, a new Need for Speed, as well as FIFA 14, NBA Live 14, Madden NFL 25, and EA Sports UFC, which we heard about yesterday during the Xbox One unveiling event. Those sports games in particular will be running on EA’s new Ignite engine on the Xbox One. However, PC versions of these games will not be built on the new engine. With EA’s recently-poor track record, as well as their “worst company in America” award for the second straight year, we’re wondering how these Star Wars games will turn out. Not every game based on the movie franchise has turned out great, but it’ll be interesting to see what the DRM situation will end up being. It’s possible that EA can turn things around by the time they release a new Star Wars title, but we’ll ultimately have to wait and see. VIA: Polygon SOURCE: Electronic Arts Story Timeline Electronic Arts Q3 2013 report sees revenue on the decline Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello resigns Electronic Arts shutting down three Facebook games Electronic Arts confirms more layoffs on the way

Is It true? Verizon HTC One tipped for today’s press event

This morning it’s been suggested to SlashGear by a trusted source (the anonymous kind) that the HTC One will be appearing at the Verizon press event taking place at 11AM PST in Las Vegas today during CTIA. This event has been teased as one with a “Special Announcement”, which could mean anything, but given the atmosphere and the suggestion, we have no reason to doubt that the HTC One will be part of the show.


The source we’ve spoken to has been correct in several Verizon-bound tips with devices from Nokia and Samsung as well as information about release dates – and release date changes. We’ve had our fair share of run-ins with the Verizon HTC One in the past, having heard that it both is and isn’t coming to the big red carrier from sources both anonymous and official. Back when the HTC One was first unveiled, groups like AT&T and T-Mobile were quick to spring onto the opportunity to carry it. Based on anonymous information we received back then, it was Verizon that was hesitant, but turned a cheek once the reviews for the device were in. As the HTC One popped up as a major favorite on several publications – including our own – we’re to understand that Verizon decided they liked the device so much that they’d be releasing it with the same name. This means that instead of changing the name to suit their DROID lineup family – like what was done with the HTC J Butterfly turned DROID DNA – they’d be bringing it to the surface as the HTC One, as it has been on each other carrier thus far. This sort of thing was done with the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Samsung GALAXY S 4, but even the Samsung Galaxy Note II was subject to a rather large Verizon logo on its home button. Here with the HTC One, no such logos will be appearing – at least last we heard. The most solid thing about the collection of anonymous tips SlashGear has received is the idea that today will be the day: the Verizon HTC One will be here before you know it! Story Timeline Verizon backtracks on HTC One refusal HTC One Verizon release in question as Tweets disappear HTC One variant appears in code: Verizon may be brewing Verizon HTC One comments make "big deal" of future release Verizon HTC One speculation returns as DROID DNA offer arrives

Is It true? Xbox One release date may appear at E3 in Microsoft’s second wave

Now that the Xbox One has been revealed, it’s time to begin speaking about when the device will actually be released to the market. This week the Xbox One (code-named Durango or otherwise Xbox 720) was shown with several details including those surrounding the device’s innards, but as far as official word of its real final market release goes, Microsoft has been essentially mum.


The company announced thus far that the device will be released “later this year”. If this release is meant to coincide with several games that have been announced for the system already, this timeframe suggests the holiday season – and if it’s prepared to be released at the same time as major titles like Call of Duty: Ghosts, it’ll be out in November. As Ghosts is set to be released on the 5th of November, and that timeframe is essentially perfect for a holiday gift-giving release, gamers can pretty much bank on the idea that they’ll be waiting at least a few more months before the final device is on the market. The fact that the console and peripherals shown yesterday were still being called “prototypes” by Microsoft handlers on-site also lends to the idea that the Xbox One wont be coming extremely soon. Microsoft has made it clear that the showing yesterday – a mere one hour long – was only the first installment of at least 2 showings the device and the games that’ll work with it will be getting. The second showing will be at the gaming convention E3 2013. At E3, not just Microsoft, but gaming developers galore will be showing their wares to the public. This convention traditionally plays host to the largest announcements of the year – but here in 2013, hardware and software companies have begun to get wise about their individual event power in the press. Microsoft and Sony (with their PlayStation 4) have decidedly split things up to have as much potential staying power as possible. Gamescom will also be taking place starting on the 21st of August until the 25th – this is a less likely place for Microsoft and Sony to show off any major announcements, but sits in second place nontheless. E3 will take place June 11th through the 13th, and you can count SlashGear in for the whole lot – stay tuned! Story Timeline Xbox One release date "later this year" Xbox One: Everything you need to know Xbox One vs Xbox 360: What's Changed?

Is It true? Google Top Trends maps our internet obsessions since 2004

Justin Bieber, the Corvette C7, and dogs: Google is distilling its trend results into top ten charts, with a colorful new real-time display of what people are searching for most. The popular queries are subdivided into forty categories – spanning sport, music stars, movies, and more – and will be updated month, Google said.


For a more immediate insight into what’s being searched for, however, there’s also the new visualization tool for hot searches. That flicks through the latest queries in Google’s typically luminous colors. There’s perhaps more to be gleaned from the top trends charts – though the hot searches display might look good as a screensaver – and you can break down the lists by location and date. Interestingly, Google’s results go back to January 2004, when searchers were most interested in Moby, Paris Hilton, and McDonald’s. In the intervening period, Kim Kardashian has knocked Paris from the top spot, and Pizza Hut has ousted its burger-vending rival. Moby has dropped to fourth place, with Skrillex taking pole position. Despite diversions like Glass, search still remains Google’s key focus online. Earlier today, the company activated the next generation of “conversational search” for Chrome users, using its Knowledge Graph technology to give inferential search results, among other things.

Is It true? Apple to build US Macs in Texas, Foxconn most likely to assemble

Apple announced back in December that they would be making some of their Mac computers in the US, but they didn’t specify where exactly the machines would be made. However, during an appearance before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that made-in-USA Macs will be manufactured in Texas.


During the hearing, Cook noted that the company would be “investing $100 million to build a Mac product line here in the US.” Furthermore, “the product will be assembled in Texas, include components made in Illinois and Florida, and rely on equipment produced in Kentucky and Michigan,” hinting that Apple will rely on various manufacturing partners to make the US-made Mac a reality. This means that Apple won’t be building their own manufacturing facilities, but will rely on other companies to do so. For example, Foxconn just recently set up shop in Texas as well, so Apple will most likely continue to use Foxconn to assemble the new Macs, rather than build their own plants to assemble them. Of course, this isn’t too surprising, and while it’s not confirmed that Apple will use Foxconn’s Texas facility, it seems like a viable option at this point. However, we’re curious about Cook’s mention of other partners located in Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois, and Florida. We’re guessing these unmentioned companies will provide various components, which means that Apple won’t be using foreign components from the looks of it. However, it’s still up in the air on what Macs will be made in the US exactly. It’s been rumored that the Mac mini or Mac Pro will be the ones to get the honor, since they’re the least in demand compared to the iMac, which means that Apple won’t need to push out a lot of units. Thus, the company won’t need to pay a lot of money to have them manufactured on domestic soil. VIA: AllThingsD Story Timeline State of the Union includes "making Macs in America" mention Apple to introduce refreshed Mac Pros this month according to source Dear Apple: Where Is My Mac Pro? American-made Mac will be part of an existing product line says Cook

Is It true? HTC Asia CEO latest high-level exec to leave

HTC has lost the CEO of its Asia division, with Lennard Hoornik confirmed to be leaving the firm. The further team-slimming comes after news broke earlier that several high-level members of HTC’s North American team, including Chief Product Officer Kouki Kodera, had left the company, amid its ongoing struggles to rise above Samsung’s vast marketing spend.


HTC Asia confirmed Hoornik’s leaving the company to CNET Asia today. It follows a period of two months when the CEO was described as “on leave”; Hoornik has been South Asia President for the company for just over two year, after a period at Sony Ericsson. According to the company, CFO Chang Chia Lin will be leading the HTC Asia team, until a replacement can be found. The division handles HTC’s smartphone business in Singapore, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Reasons behind Hoornik deciding to leave HTC have not been revealed, but nonetheless it’s another blow to the company. In the US, in addition to Kodera, HTC also lost its VP of global communications, Jason Gordon. Earlier in the year, Global retail marketing manager Rebecca Rowland, product manager Eric Lin, and Worldwide director of digital marketing John Starkweather all resigned. HTC is yet to comment about the losses – we’re waiting on a statement from the company – though they arguably couldn’t come at a worse time. The firm has staked its future on the HTC One, which has been receiving impressively positive reviews, but struggling to raise its profile above Samsung’s huge marketing budget for the Galaxy S 4. Meanwhile, HTC is also said to have been stung by Facebook and the Facebook Home launch. The smartphone company had been expecting a period of exclusivity with its HTC First handset, insiders claim, but Facebook hijacked the launch by releasing the free software launcher in the same week.

Is It true? Microsoft Surface to be used on NFL sidelines

Yesterday when Microsoft announced the Xbox One, they also announced a partnership with the NFL that would see an immersive NFL experience come to the new console, as well as some Microsoft technology coming to sidelines next season. However, during the keynote, the company didn’t specify what exactly would be coming to sidelines, but now we that Surface tablets will hitting the NFL in a big way.


The Surface tablets will replace Polaroid photos that are printed out to show quarterbacks and other players what went wrong during a previous play. Surprisingly, this is still the case in 2013 — players don’t have access to instant replay displays on the sidelines, so they’re given printed-out photos instead. It works, but it’s really inefficient. The tablets will not only be more convenient (as well as more interactive) but they’ll also cut down on costs for laminated paper and ink used for the hundreds of photos that are printed out each week. Coaches will also be able to use Surface tablets to replace their playbooks, although it might be a difficult transition for them, as printed-out playbooks have been the way for many years. However, some coaches already use iPads on the sidelines during practices, and the Microsoft partnership won’t stop them from doing so, although they’ll be required to cover-up the Apple logo whenever they use them in a game, while Surface tablets won’t need covering up. In fact, even the replay booths that officials use to make a call will now have Microsoft branding on them. Previously, the NFL had banned any kind of recording device or video player from being on sidelines, which is probably the reason behind all of those Polaroid photos being printed out, so using tablets during games was against the rules, since they can play back video and capture video as well. However, it seems the NFL is coming around to the idea of allowing such devices on the sidelines, and the NFL said that they’re all-in on changing the rules if it means bringing more innovation to the game. SOURCE: BusinessWeek Story Timeline NFL and CBS teaming up to stream Super Bowl XLVII online Madden NFL 13 predicts Baltimore Ravens as Super Bowl XLVII champions Google Maps goes inside NFL stadium for first time Madden NFL 25 cover vote kicks off Xbox One NFL partnership brings live games, fantasy football

Is It true? Scanadu Scout “Medical Tricorder” crowdsources testing for FDA

Real-life tricorder project, the Scanado Scout, has graduated to crowdfunding stage, with the DIY health monitoring tool looking to raise $100,000 and ship to backers by March 2014. The project, by startup Scanado, aims to turn a smartphone into a health tracking device – or “an Emergency Room in your pocket” – with a compact vital-sign reading puck that wirelessly communicates via low-power Bluetooth.


okay The Scout concept was first shown off late last year, the handiwork of a team at the NASA Ames labs. Held to the forehead, it beams information – including heart rate, skin/core body temperature, oxymetry, respiratory rate, blood pressure, ECG, and emotional stress – over to an app on your phone. That data, Scanado suggests, could be interesting to a wide range of people. By preempting health issues, it could mean avoiding periods of sickness (and cutting down on medical insurance bills) by treating conditions early; meanwhile, athletes could use Scout to monitor the effectiveness of their fitness regime. Meanwhile, life-loggers who might be drawn to wearables like Fitbit Flex or Jawbone UP are also a target group for the firm. They’re expected to find the wealth of data – and historical tracking – to be particularly interesting. As for hardware, full details aren’t specified yet, but there’s Bluetooth 4.0 and apps for Android and iOS. It recharges via microUSB, and Scanadu claims that it’ll last for around a week, if used “a few times a day.” Of course, any medical-grade device hoping to reach the market in the US needs to get FDA approval, and that’s the stage Scanadu is up to. The company has kicked off an Indigogo campaign to raise $100,000, but also needs early-adopters who will agree to share their data so that it can be used in clinical studies to demonstrate effectiveness. If it raises its goal amount – and that looks likely, given at time of writing it’s already over $40,000 in – the first units are expected to ship out to backers in March next year. Those in early can get one for $149; when it launches, it’s expected to retail at $199.