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Cellphones

LG Launches Its Firefox OS Phone Fireweb for $200 91

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mozilla-prepares-to-eat-google dept.
SmartAboutThings writes "LG has launched the Fireweb Firefox OS smartphone in a joint event with the Telefonica Vivo carrier. The Fireweb Firefox OS smartphone will be available for around $200 and will join the Alcatel One Touch Fire which Telfonia is launching in Brazil, starting today. Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay are the next countries to get it. The Fireweb smartphone is LG's very first Firefox OS device and it increases the small number of OEMs that have released Firefox OS devices on the market. The smartphone has a 4-inch screen with a 480 x 320 display, a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and 4GB internal storage that can be expanded with the microSD card slot by up to 32GB. It has a 5-megapixel cameras that comes with both autofocusing and an LED flash, which is a first for Firefox OS phones." Hopefully an OEM releases a Firefox OS phone with beefier hardware, but you can't argue with the price.
Transportation

Automakers Struggle With Pairing Smartphones To Car Infotainment Systems 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-make-it-a-terminal-for-pete's-sake dept.
Lucas123 writes "As Toyota owners have often found out the hard way, they cannot use Bluetooth to pair an iPhone to their car's Entune infotainment system in order to use mobile apps. Drivers can set up their iPhones as a WiFi hotspots, but there's a fee for that. Part of the problem is that Toyota bundles all of the available Internet apps — such as Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora and other data services such as local fuel prices, traffic and weather information — on the infotainment system so it can track how they're being used. The company suggests drivers simply plug their phones into the car's USB port. Toyota's not alone in its wireless dilemma. Part of the problem is automakers can't keep up with mobile app software upgrades, so they use proprietary interfaces. But that may soon be changing. Toyota said its next model year will include Bluetooth pairing, but it still doesn't solve the longer term problem of how to upgrade infotainment systems without waiting the two to four years that new car models typically take to roll off the lines. Some automakers, like Audi, are moving to modular infotainment systems that allow chipsets to be replaced on the fly."
Handhelds

Nokia Introduces Windows Tablet 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the also-ran dept.
jones_supa sends this news from The Verge: "Rumored for a long time, Nokia's Windows tablet has finally been released. Microsoft might be buying Nokia's device business, but for the next few months they're going to be battling it out as competitors for Windows-based tablet market share. The new Lumia 2520 tablet is everything you'd expect from Nokia; it comes with a very bright and colorful full HD 10.1" display and it looks just like a supersized version of a Lumia series Windows Phone. Other Nokia signatures are a high-quality camera and maps which work reliably offline too. Inside there's a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, and the word is that Windows RT 8.1 runs great. It's responsive and multitasking apps seems just as good as the Surface 2. Because this is Windows RT you also get access to the desktop Office apps as part of this device. At that point the real Surface-like keyboard and trackpad become useful, alongside two USB ports. Estimated battery life is of 11 hours, which is increased when the cover is attached."
Handhelds

Apple Announces iPad Air 471

Posted by Soulskill
from the listening-to-this-press-conference-is-like-mainlining-the-essence-of-marketing dept.
Today Apple held a press conference to unveil its updated software and hardware products. The biggest news was the announcement of the 'iPad Air,' which has a 9.7" Retina display. It's 7.5 mm thick, which is 20% thinner than the older iPad. The weight has dropped from 1.4 lbs to 1.0 lbs, and it runs on a 64-bit A7 chip with an M7 motion coprocessor. Apple claims performance has doubled over the previous-gen iPad. The iPad Air will be available on November 1st. The iPad Mini is getting a new revision as well. The display has been upgraded to 7.9" at 2048x1536, which is the same resolution as the iPad Air. The new Mini has an A7 chip as well.

Apple also announced that the new version of Mac OS X (10.9 Mavericks) is available now and is free to all Mac OS X users. It includes better multi-monitor support, tabs in Finder, and a number of performance optimizations. The Macbook Pro is getting updates to the 13" and 15" models, which are now running on Intel Haswell processors. They both have PCIe SSDs, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Thunderbolt 2 support. Apple also talked about the redesigned Mac Pro line. As you may recall from WWDC, the new model takes up about about 1/8th of the volume as the old one. It's cooled by a single fan, uses 70% less power than the earlier model, and puts out 12 dB of noise when idling. It'll be available in December. On the software side, Apple has been updating a lot of their software to add 64-bit support and mesh with the new iOS 7 style of design. This includes iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband, as well as the iLife and iWork software suites. iWork is also getting collaborative work features, and it's now free with new Macs and iOS devices.
Handhelds

Ubuntu Touch On a Nexus 7: "Almost Awesome" 116

Posted by timothy
from the battery-life-is-a-killer-feature dept.
colinneagle writes "I installed Ubuntu Touch "1.0" on my first-generation Nexus 7 tablet and have been using it as my main tablet system for the last four days. Here's how it went. First off, the installation was surprisingly painless. I followed the official instructions and didn't encounter a single problem. That being said, the installation is really geared toward software developers, power users or people already comfortable on a Linux command line. If you're not in one of those categories, I recommend holding off for the time being. Once installed, Ubuntu Touch booted up rather quickly — in only just a few seconds (a fair bit faster than Android 4.x on the same tablet). And, immediately, I was presented with a short tutorial that appears the first time the system is booted, which, I might add, has got to be one of the slickest, least annoying tutorials I've seen. But... there were problems. The battery life was, to put it mildly, terrible. Performance has been mixed, and the OS was prone to what I call 'The Pulsating Seizure Feature' a few dozen times over the weekend. In a nutshell: launching apps (and, occasionally, moving between apps) can cause the device to freeze and begin flashing the screen rapidly."
Windows

Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life? 558

Posted by Soulskill
from the optimized-for-profit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror is trying to figure out why the battery life for devices running Windows is so much worse than similar (or identical) devices running other operating systems. For example, the Surface Pro 2 made great strides over the original Surface Pro, increasing web-browsing battery life by 42%, but it still lags far behind Android and iOS tablets. The deficit doesn't get any better when Windows is run on Apple hardware. Atwood says, 'Microsoft positions Windows 8 as an operating system that's great for tablets, which are designed for casual web browsing and light app use – but how can that possibly be true when Windows idle power management is so much worse than the competition's desktop operating system in OS X – much less their tablet and phone operating system, iOS?' Anand Lal Shimpi is perplexed, too. Atwood is now reaching out to the community for answers: 'None of the PC vendors he spoke to could justify it, or produce a Windows box that managed similar battery life to OS X. And that battery life gap is worse today – even when using Microsoft's own hardware, designed in Microsoft's labs, running Microsoft's latest operating system released this week. Microsoft can no longer hand wave this vast difference away based on vague references to "poorly optimized third party drivers." ... I just wish somebody could explain to me and Anand why Windows is so awful at managing idle power.'"
Transportation

New York City To Get Manhole Covers That Wirelessly Charge Electric Vehicles 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the sending-power-through-the-ether dept.
Lucas123 writes "A new project between NYU and start-up HEVO Power will disguise wireless charging stations in manhole covers. The wireless charging stations are aimed at providing fleets of delivery vehicles with power in parking spaces around the city. Next year, Toyota plans to test a wireless charging Prius in Japan, Europe. And, U.S. Auto electronics giant Delphi is developing technology for electric vehicles that could be used industrywide. The charging stations could be embedded in asphalt or pads that lay on garage floors. Wireless charging, however, still has many obstacles to overcome, including the time it takes to recharge a vehicle, cost to deploy the technology and power loss during electrical transfer."
Stats

Connecting To Unsecured Bluetooth Car Systems To Monitor Traffic Flow 161

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the drive-slowly-for-maximum-confusion dept.
New submitter TheTerseOne writes "The Columbian, the local newspaper of Vancouver (not BC), Washington (not DC) is reporting that local county traffic officials plan on spending $540k of government money to monitor traffic by connecting to vehicles' Bluetooth systems (whose owners/drivers have left them discoverable). The county claims that, although this sounds 'creepy' and 'like Big Brother,' there is no cause for concern. The specific brand of the system is not mentioned, but similar systems have already been the subject of security alerts." County officials note that they are stripping out part of the MAC, and the system is intentionally designed not to be useful for law enforcement to locate specific devices.
It's funny.  Laugh.

NSA App Ideas To Popularize Spying and Big Data 78

Posted by timothy
from the please-don't dept.
reifman writes "Perhaps the reason the NSA's surveillance programs are so unpopular with Americans is that we haven't seen any of the potential consumer benefits that spying and big data can provide. Here are ten ideas for the productization and monetization of the NSA's spying infrastructure to inspire Americans to consider the bright side of the dark arts." In case anyone doesn't notice, these suggestions (at least most of them) are presented tongue-in-cheek; a truly secure email system, though, is another story.
Cellphones

Sleeper: LG G2 One of the Fastest Android Smartphones On the Market 108

Posted by timothy
from the prefers-to-go-by-lucky-goldstar dept.
MojoKid writes "The LG G2 is the follow-up to LG's Optimus G Pro. It's also one of the few smartphones on the market right now powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core SoC. The G2 sports a 5.2-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of on board storage. However, the 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip on board also has Qualcomm's Adreno 330 GPU that even gives NVIDIA's Tegra 4 a run for its money in gaming and graphics performance. Though the G2 has a rather unorthodox volume rocker and power button assembly on the back of the phone, once you get used to the location, it's actually a pretty comfortable control system. What's pretty impressive though is the G2's performance combined with its 3000mAh battery that offers a solid balance of horsepower and battery life and rivals flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple's iPhone 5S."
Android

Is Choice a Problem For Android? 361

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-wasn't-for-Jif dept.
New submitter mjone13 writes "Dave Feldman, in a blog posts, says that the problem Android faces is giving consumers too much choice. He cites several studies which state that consumers generally are unhappier when they have too much choice. 'Catering to all individual preferences creates a bloated, bland product. Not to mention a UI that’s impossible to navigate. Furthermore, people are notoriously bad at identifying what we want. And what we do want is influenced heavily by what we know — our expectations are constrained by our experience.' He then goes on to talk about Android fragmentation, app developer problems and bug issues. Finally he says the people who general prefer the choice Android provides are tinkers similar to gear heads who love tinkering with their car. 'I think many who extol Android’s flexibility fall into the tinkerer category, including some tech bloggers. They love all the ways they can customize their phones, not because they’re seeking some perfect setup, but because they can swap in a new launcher every week. That’s fun for them; but they’ve made the mistake of not understanding how their motivation differs from the rest of us.' Is choice really a problem for Android?" Whether it's a problem depends on what the goals are. Providing a satisfying experience to a bunch of tinkerers is a very different thing from providing a satisfying experience to the multitude of non-tinkerers who buy smartphones.
Networking

German Scientists Achieve Record 100Gbps Via Wireless Data Link 67

Posted by timothy
from the telefunken-junction dept.
Mark.JUK writes "A joint team of German scientists working at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have successfully achieved a new world record for wireless data transfers. The team were able to transmit information at speeds of 100 Gigabits per second by using a radio network operating at the frequency of 237.5GHz and over a distance of 20 metres (note: a prior experiment hit 40Gbps over 1km between two skyscrapers). The radio signals were generated by a photon mixer device that uses two optical laser signals of different frequencies, which were then superimposed on a photodiode to create an electrical signal (237.5 GHz) that could be radiated via an antenna. But the team aren't happy with breaking one record and their future attempts will seek to break the 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) barrier."
Wireless Networking

Unifying Undersea Wireless Communication Using TCP/IP 68

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the whales-need-internet-too dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Wireless and cellular networks cover beaches and extend over the ocean to ships at sea but not, so far, under the ocean. A team of researchers at the University of Buffalo believe they've solved at least the technical problem of how to push wireless networking signals for long distances through the deep ocean to connect offshore oil and gas platforms, floating and underwater tsunami sensors and other remote facilities without having to bounce signals off a satellite first. Radio waves tend to be smothered or distorted by travel through water; most ocean-based sensors use acoustic waves instead, which link sensors into underwater acoustic sensor networks (UWASN). The team designed a low-power IPv4/IPv6-compatible networking protocol that uses very low power, compresses headers, is tolerant of fragmented data and connection delays, allows bi-directional communication with (and reconfiguration of) existing underwater sensors and is compatible with standard TCP/IP networks and IP router proxies. The approach is more than a simple translation from one networking medium to another. It leaves the higher-level TCP/IP networking protocols intact, but adds an adaptation layer between the data-link layer and network layer that compresses headers, changes packet size, transmission time-out settings and other requirements to be compatible with slower underwater transmissions. The team tested the implementation using a Linux-based driver, both PC and ARM-based computers and a Teledyne Benthos SM-75 Modem. They sealed two network nodes in 40-pound waterproof cases, dumped them into Lake Erie near Buffalo and transmitted instant-messaging signals from the application IPTUX from one to the other. They were also able to transfer files using FTP from an underwater client to server."
Facebook

Facebook Buys Israeli Mobile Analytics Startup Onavo 38

Posted by samzenpus
from the like-this dept.
rtoz writes "Israeli Mobile Data Management Startup "Onavo" has announced that it has been acquired by Social Media Giant Facebook. Facebook will get its first office at Israel by acquiring Onavo. Techcrunch has mentioned that Onavo will give facebook a much deeper tech bench to measure how its mobile services are working. 'Onavo will be an exciting addition to Facebook,' a Facebook spokesperson told AllThingsD. 'We expect Onavo's data compression technology to play a central role in our mission to connect more people to the internet, and their analytic tools will help us provide better, more efficient mobile products.'"
Security

D-Link Router Backdoor Vulnerability Allows Full Access To Settings 228

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
StealthHunter writes "It turned out that just by setting a browsers user-agent to 'xmlset_roodkcableoj28840ybtide' anyone can remotely bypass all authentication on D-Link routers. It seems that thttpd was modified by Alphanetworks who inserted the backdoor. Unfortunately, vulnerable routers can be easily identified by services like shodanHQ. At least these models may have vulnerable firmware: DIR-100, DI-524, DI-524UP, DI-604S, DI-604UP, DI-604+, TM-G5240."
Hardware

Vivante Mobile GPU Architecture Gains Traction 29

Posted by timothy
from the moment-in-the-sun dept.
MojoKid writes "Over the past few years, a handful of mobile graphics companies have emerged but the top dog, by far, has been Imagination Technologies, with Qualcomm, Nvidia and ARM all picking up significant businesses of their own as well. But now, there's a new kid on the block — a company with a tiny, highly customized GPU, a number of recent design wins, and a strong product portfolio. Vivante got started in 2004 and started licensing its GPU designs in 2007. The company's early wins have been in Eastern markets, but this past year, it's begun to show up in devices intended for the West, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 and Google's Chromecast. Vivante has taken a different approach to core design from most of the other companies that play in this space. All modern GPUs are explicitly designed to be modular and scalable. Typically what that means is that a company like Nvidia or AMD defines a single compute unit that can be duplicated throughout the GPU design. Vivante's GPUs are modular as well, but with a much finer level of granularity. Each of the three shaded blocks (3-D Pipeline, Vector Graphics Pipeline, 2-D Pipeline) can be segmented or stacked into various configurations. A GPU core, in other words, could contain more ultra-threaded shaders, or additional vector graphics engines, up to 32 cores in total. One of the advantages of this tiny, modular architecture is that you can clock the cores like gangbusters. According to Vivante, the 28nm high performance silicon variant of the Vivante architecture can clock up to 1GHz at full speed, but fall back to 1/64th of this in power saving mode, or roughly 16MHz."
Spam

NY Comic Con Takes Over Attendees' Twitter Accounts To Praise Itself 150

Posted by timothy
from the you're-loving-it dept.
Okian Warrior writes "Attendees to this year's New York Comic Con convention were allowed to pre-register their RFID-enabled badges online and connect their social media profiles to their badges — something, the NYCC registration site explained, that would make the 'NYCC experience 100x cooler! For realz.' Most attendees didn't expect "100x cooler" to translate into 'we'll post spam in your feed as soon as the RFID badge senses that you've entered the show,' but that seems to be what happened."
Bug

Irony: iPhone 5S Users Reporting Blue Screen of Death 192

Posted by timothy
from the ok-this-feels-intuitive dept.
MojoKid writes "It's been a long time since many have seen a dreaded 'blue screen of death' (BSoD), but it's back and in the most unlikeliest of places. Oddly enough, some Apple iPhone 5S owners are reporting BSoD errors, though they're a little different from the ones you may remember seeing on Windows desktops. Rather than spit out an obscure error code with a generic description, some iPhone 5S devices are suddenly turning blue before automatically restarting. The Numbers app in Apple's iWork suite, a free program with new iPhones, seems to be the primary cause, though BSoD behavior has also been observed in other applications, according to complaints in Apple's support forum."
Cellphones

Who's Getting Pay-By-Phone Right? The Fast Food Industry 153

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-thought-it-was-going-to-be-more-interesting,-didn't-you dept.
jfruh writes "Techno-enthusiasts have been predicting for years that cell phones will become one of the main means that we use to pay for items — but most Americans stubbornly cling to cash and credit cards, mostly because cash and credit cards are infinitely more convenient. In order to woo people into buying things electronically, merchants need to make phone purchases better than traditional payment systems, not just another option. The fast food industry is leading the way with a plethora of apps that make ordering remotely a snap."
Desktops (Apple)

Shuttleworth: Apple Will Merge Mac and iPhone 414

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-wish-my-laptop-had-just-one-button dept.
Barence writes "Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth claims Apple will follow Ubuntu's lead and converge the iPhone and MacBook product lines. Speaking to PC Pro to mark the upcoming launch of Ubuntu 13.10, Shuttleworth said that the failed Ubuntu Edge smartphone — an attempt to bridge mobile and desktop computing devices — had set an example that others will follow. 'We've seen a very interested ripple go through the industry, and an uptick in interest in convergence,' Shuttleworth added. 'People are saying yes, mobile processors are catching up with the desktop. When Apple announced the iPhone 5s, it called the processor "desktop-class," and I don't think that was an accident – it was sending what we think is a very clear signal that it will converge the iPhone and the MacBook Air.'"
Cellphones

Sensor Characteristics Uniquely Identify Individual Phones 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-accelerometer-has-betrayed-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "SFGate reports that Stanford researchers have figured out a way to generate a unique fingerprint from a cell phone's suite of built-in sensors. The tiny accelerometers, gyroscopes, microphones, and speakers in cell phones have characteristics that vary slightly from handset to handset, and these variations may contain enough information to uniquely identify a given handset. How that information might get from the phone to a third party varies (the article describes a JavaScript snippet reading the Z-axis accelerometer, though it says little about how the user might block such information from being read), but the possibility for abuse is certainly troubling."
Blackberry

BlackBerry Founders May Try To Take Over the Company 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-want-to-add-a-second-physical-keyboard dept.
New submitter Adamsobert sends this excerpt from the NY Times: "In a regulatory filing on Thursday, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin said that they were considering a bid for the 92 percent of the company that they do not own. ... Their potential bid joins a growing list of expressions of interest in the company, which recently reported a $1 billion quarterly loss caused by the market's rejection of new smartphones that were supposed to revive BlackBerry's prominence. Fairfax Financial Holdings of Toronto has made a conditional, nonbinding offer to buy the 90 percent of BlackBerry shares it does not own for $9 each. That would value the company at about $4.7 billion."
Android

PengPod Crowdfunding a Tablet Made With OS-Switching In Mind 93

Posted by timothy
from the machine-that-goes-peng dept.
PengPod is running a crowdfunder to create a GNU Linux/Android tablet, the PengPod 1040. This is their second such product; the first was mentioned on Slashdot last year. PengPod has pledged to make all source and tools used to build the images available, so users can build their own OS top to bottom to guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking. The PengPod has previously found some success as a low-cost touch platform for industrial/commercial control systems and is partnered with ViewTouch, the original inventors of the graphical POS to offer PengPod1040s as restaurant register systems. The feature that the developers seem keenest to emphasize is that the PengPod is built to run conventional desktop Linux distros without special hacking required; Android is the default OS, but it's been tested with several others (including Ubuntu Touch) listed on their Indiegogo page.
Google

Acer Officially Announces C720 Chromebook 115

Posted by timothy
from the don't-stray-outside-the-wireless-zone dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Acer officially announced its new Chromebook, C720. The C720 is 30% thinner (at 0.75 inches thick) and lighter (at 2.76 pounds) than Acer's previous Chromebook, C7. The C720 Chromebook has an 11.6-inch anti-glare widescreen, with a 1,366-by-768 resolution. Acer claims seven second boot times and up to 8.5 hours of battery life. The C720 comes with 4GB of DDR3L memory and uses an Intel Celeron 2955U processor based on Haswell technology. The system also has 16GB of local SSD storage along with 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi to get to Google's cloud-based storage. Like previous Chromebooks, the C720 Chromebook is constantly updated with the latest version of the Chrome OS and built around the Chrome browser." One thing this machine lacks is the most intriguing feature of the new ARM-based (and lower-power) Chromebook 11 from HP: charging via Micro-USB.
Android

Lenovo Shows Android Laptop In Leaked User Manuals 106

Posted by timothy
from the cross-pollination dept.
itwbennett writes "PC maker Lenovo accidentally posted manuals on its website showing an Android laptop called the IdeaPad A10. Lenovo spokesman Chris Millward said the company had planned on making an official announcement for the device, and that 'the product has not been canceled. It will be going out to the market.' Launch dates and pricing to come, but specs show that it could be a budget product."
Businesses

In Room With No Cell Service, Verizon Works On Future of Mobile 85

Posted by samzenpus
from the app-of-tomorrow dept.
alphadogg writes "If you think your house has bad cellular coverage, Verizon Wireless has you beat: A small, windowless room high up in a San Francisco office building gets no service at all. That's not because carriers are neglecting the bustling South of Market business district where the room is located. Instead, it's because Verizon is paying so much attention to what's going on there. The room with zero bars is in the heart of the Verizon Innovation Center, where Verizon network and business experts help developers of new wireless devices and apps to turn their ideas into products."
Cellphones

Samsung Creates Phone With Curved Display 219

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-there's-a-right-way-and-a-wrong-way-to-pocket-your-phone dept.
iONiUM writes "Samsung today unveiled the Galaxy Round phone with a curved 5.7" display. It comes with a hefty $1,000 USD price tag. This is a follow-up to the 55" curved TVs it began selling in June, and is most likely an intermediate form in the development of fold-able phones. Considering the recent LG announcement of mass OLED flexible screen production, it seems we are getting close to flexible phones. One question I wonder: will Apple follow suit? So far there has been no indication they are even attempting flexible/bendable screens."
Wireless Networking

Mountain View To Partially Replace Google Wi-Fi 69

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the blame-smartphones dept.
itwbennett writes "Google launched the citywide Wi-Fi network with much fanfare in 2006 as a way for Mountain View residents and businesses to connect to the Internet at no cost. It covers most of the Silicon Valley city and worked well until last year, as Slashdot readers may recall, when connectivity got rapidly worse. As a result, Mountain View is installing new Wi-Fi hotspots in parts of the city to supplement the poorly performing network operated by Google. Both the city and Google have blamed the problems on the design of the network. Google, which is involved in several projects to provide Internet access in various parts of the world, said in a statement that it is 'actively in discussions with the Mountain View city staff to review several options for the future of the network.'"
Wireless Networking

802.11ac 'Gigabit Wi-Fi' Starts To Show Potential, Limits 101

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-for-streaming-that-4k-video-nobody-makes dept.
alphadogg writes "Vendor tests and very early 802.11ac customers provide a reality check on 'gigabit Wi-Fi' but also confirm much of its promise. Vendors have been testing their 11ac products for months, yielding data that show how 11ac performs and what variables can affect performance. Some of the tests are under ideal laboratory-style conditions; others involve actual or simulated production networks. Among the results: consistent 400M to 800Mbps throughput for 11ac clients in best-case situations, higher throughput as range increases compared to 11n, more clients serviced by each access point, and a boost in performance for existing 11n clients."
Education

NC School District Recalls Its Amplify Tablets After 10% Break In Under a Month 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the kids-break-things-film-at-11 dept.
Nate the greatest writes "Guilford County Schools' headline grabbing tablet program is back in the news again. The program came to an abrupt end last Friday when the school district announced that they were recalling all of the Amplify tablets. GCS had leased over 15 thousand of the tablets (at a cost of $200 a year) for its middle school students, but decided to recall the tablets just one month into the school year after some 1500 students reported a broken screen. Around two thousand complained of improperly fitting cases, and there were also 175 reports of malfunctioning power supplies. There's currently no explanation for the cases or power supplies, but GCS has stated that the tablets broke because they lacked a layer of Gorilla Glass. This was listed in the contract, but the school district did not confirm the condition of the tablets before accepting them. This program was the poster child for News Corp.'s entry into the educational market. It was the single largest program to use the Amplify tablet, and its failure represents a serious setback. The Amplify tablet now has a record for poor construction quality and a breakage rate that is 12 times higher than what Squaretrade reported in early 2012 for the iPad 2."
Patents

Obama Administration Refuses To Overturn Import Ban On Samsung Products 298

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-sure-this-won't-be-construed-as-favoritism-by-anybody-anywhere dept.
Chris453 writes "In August 2013, President Obama issued a veto to an import ban of the iPhone 4S after Samsung won several court battles against Apple claiming that the iPhone 4S violated several of Samsung's patents. A few months ago, Samsung was on the receiving end of a very similar case filed by Apple. The International Trade Commission decided that several of Samsung's phones (Transform, Acclaim, Indulge, and Intercept models) violated Apple's patents, and should face import bans. Despite the similarities between the two cases, the Obama administration today announced that it would not veto the International Trade Commission import ban against Samsung products. The move that could spark a trade dispute between the U.S. and South Korea."
Cellphones

LG Announces Mass Production of Flexible OLED Phone Displays 123

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-and-break-it dept.
Zothecula writes "LG today announced that it is to start mass producing flexible OLED display panels for smartphones. The company says that its technology uses plastic substrates rather than glass, and claims that a protective film on the back of the display makes it 'unbreakable' as well as bendable."
Cellphones

Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5 177

Posted by timothy
from the leaked-with-big-old-air-quotes dept.
Features of Google's next Nexus phone have finally been outed, along with confirmation that the phone will be built by LG, as a result of a leaked service manual draft; here are some of the details as described at TechCrunch: "The new Nexus will likely be available in 16 or 32GB variants, and will feature an LTE radio and an 8-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization (there’s no mention of that crazy Nikon tech, though). NFC, wireless charging, and that lovely little notification light are back, too, but don’t expect a huge boost in longevity — it’s going to pack a sealed 2,300mAh battery, up slightly from the 2100mAh cell that powered last year’s Nexus 4. That spec sheet should sound familiar to people who took notice of what happened with the Nexus 4. Just as that device was built from the foundation laid by the LG Optimus G, the Nexus 5 (or whatever it’s going to be called) seems like a mildly revamped version of LG’s G2."
Cellphones

No Love From Ars For Samsung's New Smart Watch 236

Posted by timothy
from the too-little-too-early dept.
Despite the number of companies shipping or promising them, smart watches aren't the easiest sell, and Ars Technica's review of Samsung's entry illustrates why. Despite all the processing power inside, the watch is "sluggish" even for the kind of at-a-glance convenience features that are touted as the reason to have a phone tethered to an (even smarter) phone, and for the most part seems to weakly imitate features already found on that phone. There are a few features called out as cool, like a media control app, but for the most part reviewer Rob Amadeo finds little compelling in the Galaxy Gear.
Businesses

Microsoft Makes Another "Nearly Sold Out" Claim For the Surface Line 262

Posted by timothy
from the superficial-seems-about-right dept.
Microsoft made some confident sounding claims about sales of its first-generation Surface tablets before it became clear that the tablets weren't actually selling very well. So make what you will of the company's claim that the second version is "close to selling out." As the linked article points out, the company has "fallen short of offering any real explanation as to just how “close” to selling out the Surface 2 and Pro 2 really are – nor have they indicated how many were on hand to order in the first place."
Cellphones

Microsoft Reportedly Seeks To Put Windows Phone On Android Devices 182

Posted by timothy
from the one-way-or-another dept.
quantr draws your attention to a Bloomberg report that Microsoft has reached out to HTC to see if the company would be interested in adding Windows as a second OS to its Android handsets. From the Bloomberg story: "Its willingness to add Windows as a second operating system underscores the lengths to which Microsoft will go to get manufacturers to carry its software. HTC, the first company to make both Windows and Android phones, hasn’t unveiled a new Windows-based handset since June and has no current plans to release any more, said one person. Microsoft, with 3.7 percent of the market, is finding it necessary to make concessions after agreeing to acquire Nokia Oyj’s handset unit, which competes with other smartphone makers. [Microsoft operating systems head Terry] Myerson was planning to visit Asia this month and meet with senior executives at Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC to discuss his proposal, one of the people said."
Wireless Networking

Ask Slashdot: Best Open Source Project For a Router/Wi-Fi Access Point? 193

Posted by timothy
from the what's-the-nsa's-least-favorite dept.
An anonymous reader writes "My wireless router just died. I have an old netbook lying around that has a wired network interface and a wireless one. The wireless card is supported in master mode by Linux, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD. What does Slashdot recommend I use to turn it into a router/wireless access point? DD-WRT? pfSense? Smoothwall? Fedora/Ubuntu/OpenBSD with a manual configuration? I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty and I know what I'm doing, but I want as close to zero maintenance as possible."
Iphone

The Story of the Original iPhone's Development 221

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody-wants-to-see-how-the-iSausage-is-made dept.
jds91md writes "Today's NY Times delivers a great story of the development of the iPhone by Apple. It focuses on the events during the leadup to Steve Jobs taking the stage with shockingly buggy prototypes and pulling off the show that is now history. 'Only about a hundred iPhones even existed, all of them of varying quality. Some had noticeable gaps between the screen and the plastic edge; others had scuff marks on the screen. And the software that ran the phone was full of bugs. The iPhone could play a section of a song or a video, but it couldn’t play an entire clip reliably without crashing. It worked fine if you sent an e-mail and then surfed the Web. If you did those things in reverse, however, it might not. Hours of trial and error had helped the iPhone team develop what engineers called “the golden path,” a specific set of tasks, performed in a specific way and order, that made the phone look as if it worked.' One of the big problems was the phone's connectivity. The man in charge of the iPhone's radios, Andy Grignon, had to deal with Jobs's anger when rehearsals didn't go well. Grignon said, 'Very rarely did I see him become completely unglued — it happened, but mostly he just looked at you and very directly said in a very loud and stern voice, "You are [expletive] up my company," or, "If we fail, it will be because of you." He was just very intense. And you would always feel an inch tall.'"
Android

How Many Android OEMs Cheat Benchmark Scores? Pretty Much All of Them 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-they're-consistent dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After Samsung got caught out cheating on benchmarks (Note 3, Galaxy S4) AnandTech has done a detailed analysis of the state of benchmark cheating amongst Android OEMs. With the exception of Motorola, literally every single OEM they've looked at ships (or has shipped) at least one device that does benchmark-specific CPU optimizations. AnandTech also thinks it will get worse before it gets better. 'The hilarious part of all of this is we’re still talking about small gains in performance. The impact on our CPU tests is 0 - 5%, and somewhere south of 10% on our GPU benchmarks as far as we can tell. I can't stress enough that it would be far less painful for the OEMs to just stop this nonsense and instead demand better performance/power efficiency from their silicon vendors.' The article notes that Apple doesn't do any of the frequency gaming stuff."
Networking

Facebook and Cisco Offer Check-In Service For Free Wifi 67

Posted by timothy
from the if-the-trade-makes-sense dept.
cagraham writes "According to TechCrunch, Facebook and Cisco are now expanding their joint "Facebook Wifi" program nationwide. The service directs customers who connect to a store's wifi to a landing page where they are encouraged to "check-in" to the business in order to be connected. While users can currently opt out of this and still be connected, the "skip this" button is noticeably difficult to find. The free software integrates with businesses existing routers and providers. Facebook provides reports to participating businesses as well, complete with anonymized aggregate data on the demographics of the customers who checked-in."
Cellphones

NSA Abandoned Project To Track Cell Phone Locations 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the turns-out-we're-all-really-boring dept.
barlevg writes "The Washington Post reports that NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander testified before the Senate about an experimental NSA program to track location data from cell phones in 2011, but abandoned it because it lacked 'the operational value' it needed. It was not made clear what 'operation value' they were seeking. Alexander said, 'the data collected were never available for intelligence analysis purposes.' He added, 'This may be something that is a future requirement for the country, but it is not right now because when we identify a number we can give that to the FBI, [who can a warrant for the data it needs]. That’s the reason we stopped in 2011.''"
Android

Samsung Fudging Benchmarks Again On Galaxy Note 3 258

Posted by timothy
from the selective-activation-sounds-nicer dept.
tlhIngan writes "A few months ago, Samsung was caught gaming benchmarks on the Galaxy S4 (International version). They would lock the GPU at a higher-than-normal frequency when certain applications were run, including many popular Android benchmarking programs. These had the expected result of boosting the performance numbers. This time, the Galaxy Note 3 was caught doing the same thing, boosting CPU scores by 20% over the otherwise identical LG G2 (which uses the same SoC at the same clock). Samsung defends these claims by saying the other apps make use of such functionality, but Ars reversed-engineered the relevant code and discovered it applied only to benchmark applications. Even more damning was that the Note 3 was still faster than the G2 when run using 'stealth' (basically renamed) versions of the benchmarking apps which did not get the boost."
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old? 682

Posted by samzenpus
from the tin-can-and-string dept.
blogologue writes "I have a kid that's turning 4-years old soon, and I'm not able to be with him as often as I want to. To remedy this, I'm looking into whether or not getting him a phone could be a good idea to keep in touch. Being able to have a video chat is important, and as it is rare that a 4-year old has a mobile phone, and because he's got other things to do, it would be good to be able to turn off for example games and so on during time in the kindergarten. So other kids don't go around asking their parents for a smartphone. The main reason for getting the phone is keeping in touch, and as a bonus it can function as a device for games and so on during allowed times. Are there any phones that are suitable for such use? I don't mind if it's Android, iOS or something else, as long as it can be used to make video calls to other Android/iOS phones, and if it features other applications such as games, have limited, pre-defined functionality during certain periods of the day."
Security

How Your Smartphone Can Spy On What You Type 77

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-do-you-feel? dept.
mikejuk writes "We all do it — place our phones down on the desk next to the keyboard. This might not be such a good idea if you want to keep your work to yourself. A team of researchers from MIT and the Georgia Institute of Technology have provided proof of concept for logging keystrokes using nothing but the sensors inside a smartphone — an iPhone 4 to be precise, as the iPhone 3GS wasn't up to it. A pair of neural networks were trained to recognize which keys were being pressed just based on the vibration — and it was remarkably good at it for such a small device. There have been systems that read the keys by listening but this is the first system that can hide in mobile phone malware."
Cellphones

EU Committee Votes To Make All Smartphone Vendors Utilize a Standard Charger 415

Posted by Soulskill
from the which-will-surely-go-into-effect-in-a-timely-manner dept.
Deathspawner writes "The EU has been known to make a lot of odd decisions when it comes to tech, but one committee's latest vote is one that most people will likely agree with: Standardized smartphone chargers. If passed, this decision would cut down on never having the right charger handy, but as far as the EU is concerned, this is all about a reduction of waste. The initial vote went down on Thursday, and given its market saturation, it seems likely that micro USB would be the target standard. Now, it's a matter of waiting on the EU Parliament to make its vote."
IOS

Why iOS 7 Is Making Some Users Feel 'Sick' 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the you're-not-supposed-to-eat-the-phone dept.
dryriver sends this story from The Guardian: "The introduction of fake zooms, parallax, sliding and other changes in Apple's new iPhone and iPad software has a very real effect on people with vestibular disorders. ... It makes frequent use of zoom and slide animations; the home screen boasts parallax, with icons apparently floating above subtly animating wallpaper. And it's making people sick. Triggers and symptoms vary, but TidePool mobile app developer Jenni Leder's experience is not uncommon. A self-professed power-user, she frequently switches apps; but on iOS 7, this has caused headaches and feelings associated with motion sickness. 'I now have to close my eyes or cover the screen during transitions, which is ridiculous,' she told The Guardian, adding that there's nowhere to hide: 'It's not apps that affect me, but accessing them. Tap a folder and the view zooms in. Tap an app and it's like flying through the icon and landing in that app's micro world — and I'm getting dizzy on the journey there.' Reactions to screen-based systems — especially those utilizing 3D effects — aren't new. Cynthia Ryan, executive director of the Vestibular Disorders Association, says 3D effects can cause 'intense nausea, dizziness and vertigo,' sometimes from general vision problems, but also from visual-vestibular conflict. She added symptoms 'manifest more severely if a viewer already has a disorder of the vestibular system.'"
Cellphones

Protesters Are Dodging Sudan's Internet Shutdown With a Phone-Powered Crowdmap 7

Posted by Soulskill
from the routing-around-damage dept.
Lasrick writes "Motherboard's Africa correspondent, Amanda Sperber, has a great piece on how protesters in Sudan are getting around the government's shutdown of the internet. Quoting: 'Since Wednesday afternoon, Sudan's internet has been sporadically shut off amid a fifth day of protests against President Omar al Bashir's regime. Despite the attempt to cut off communications and limit organization and reporting on the ground, a group of tech-savvy people based in Khartoum have developed a map for recording key data about the protests that's powered by cell networks. '"
Wireless Networking

New Zealand Converting Old Phone Booths Into National WiFi Network 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the superman-approved dept.
An anonymous reader writes "What do you do with old public phone boxes hardly anyone uses? Convert them into a national network of WiFi hotspots is the answer in New Zealand. While others have converted their old phone booths into libraries, toilets, showers and even smoking booths, in New Zealand 700 hotspots will be live by 7 October with a target of 2000 by the middle of 2014. 1Gb of data will be free to customers of the incumbent operator, others have to pay for monthly access."
Patents

Steve Jobs Video Kills Apple Patent In Germany 100

Posted by timothy
from the bit-of-an-oopsie dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today the Federal Patent Court of Germany shot down an Apple photo gallery bounce-back patent over which Cupertino was/is suing Samsung and Motorola. A panel of five judges found the patent invalid because the relevant patent application was filed only in June 2007 but Steve Jobs already demoed the feature in January 2007 (video). While this wouldn't matter in the U.S., it's a reason for a patent to be invalidated in Europe. For different reasons someone thought the iPhone presentation was a mistake. It now turns out that when Steve Jobs said "Boy have we patented it!" his company forgot that public disclosure, even by an inventor, must not take place before a European patent application is filed. But Apple can still sue companies over the Android photo gallery: in addition to this patent it owns a utility model, a special German intellectual property right that has a shorter term (10 years) and a six-month grace period, which is just enough to make sure that history-making Steve Jobs video won't count as prior art."
Cellphones

Wealth In Africa Mapped Using Mobile Phone Data 34

Posted by timothy
from the tricorders-can't-even-send-money dept.
KentuckyFC writes "The remarkable growth of mobile phone use is transforming many parts of Africa. In Sudan and Gabon, more than half of all adults use their phones to transfer money, the activist website Ushahidi used text messages to map post-election violence in Kenya in 2008 and in Nigeria, mobile music services are a multi-million dollar industry. Now demographers have used the way people purchase airtime to map wealth in Cote d'Ivoire on Africa's west coast. They analysed a dataset from one of the country's largest mobile operators containing caller IDs, the cell towers used for each call and the time and amount of all airtime purchases. The researchers say an individual's airtime buying habits are a good proxy for his or her income. As a result, they were able to to map wealth across the entire country. Their map clearly shows the wealthy cities such as Abidjan, the largest seaport in West Africa. But it also shows an unexpectedly wealthy region in the conflict-ridden area that borders Liberia. This wealth probably arises from illegal activities on the border, such as drug, arms and human trafficking, they conclude."

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