Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
MojoKid writes "At the iPad unveiling last week, Apple flashed up a slide claiming that the iPad 2 was 2x as fast as Nvidia's Tegra 3, while the new iPad would be 4x more powerful than Team Green's best tablet. NVIDIA's response boils down to: 'it's flattering to be compared to you, but how about a little data on which tests you ran and how you crunched the numbers?' NVIDIA is right to call Apple out on the meaningless nature of such a comparison, and the company is likely feeling a bit dogpiled given that TI was waving unverified webpage benchmarks around less than two weeks ago. That said, the Imagination Technologies (PowerVR) GPUs built into the iPad 2 and the new iPad both utilize tile-based rendering. In some ways, 2012 is a repeat of 2001 — memory bandwidth is at an absolute premium because adding more bandwidth has a direct impact on power consumption. The GPU inside NVIDIA's Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 is a traditional chip, which means it's subject to significant overdraw, especially at higher resolutions. Apple's comparisons may be bogus, but Tegra 3's bandwidth issue they indirectly point to aren't. It will be interesting to see NVIDIA's next move and what their rumored Tegra 3+ chip might bring."
Doofus writes "The Washington Post has a profile of Roger Fidler, who 'invented' the tablet computer in the 1990s, while working as a visionary for newspaper firm Knight-Ridder. He is now embroiled in the Apple/Samsung legal war, as an expert witness. Fidler admits that other prior art influenced him, such as the tablets being used as computing devices in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Prior prior art."
MojoKid writes "T-Mobile's Chief Marketing Officer Cole Brodman has an interesting idea for revamping the mobile industry, and it involves killing the subsidy plans that have driven smartphone adoption over the past five years. Asked what one thing he'd change if he had the power to do so, Brodman pointed to subsidy programs. 'It [device subsidies] actually distorts what devices actually cost and it causes OEMs, carriers — everybody to compete on different playing fields ...' Brodman isn't kidding about an irregular playing field. The HTC Titan is the most subsidized device in the chart seen here (unsubsidized at $549, $0.01 on contract). Microsoft is obviously desperate to gain market share in mobile but both the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy Note carry $400+ discounts too. The cheapest smartphone AT&T offers without a subsidy is the thoroughly mediocre HTC Status, for $349. To add insult to injury, it's only available in mauve. It's an interesting idea, but practically unworkable as far as the mass market is concerned. Carriers have built a market structure in which consumers gladly accept a new bauble every 18 months in exchange for paying for text messaging (which literally costs carriers nothing) and overage charges in which 300MB of data for $20 is a fair market value."
First time accepted submitter Sez Zero writes "Google and ASUS have been collaborating on a co-branded 7-inch Android tablet, with a launch as early as May, according to sources, challenging low-cost rivals and the iPad with a $199-249 price tag. The fruits of the partnership, whispered to the runes readers at DigiTimes by industry sources, will take on the NOOK Tablet and the Kindle Fire, with ASUS selected for its willingness to flex to Google's requirements."
bizwriter writes "A patent filing made public last week suggests that Google may be trying to implement a motion-detection interface, like Microsoft Kinect, for portable electronic gadgets. The patent application is for technology that turns a mobile device's camera into a motion-input system. In other words, it could be goodbye to fingerprints and streaks on the front of your tablet or smartphone. Google could incorporate such a feature into Android in general or keep it as a differentiating advantage for its acquisition of Motorola."
angry tapir writes "Microsoft will soon shut down the app store for Windows Mobile, the phone platform it is phasing out. Starting May 9, users of Windows Mobile phones won't be able to browse, buy or download apps to their phones from the Marketplace, Microsoft wrote in a letter to customers. The move doesn't affect users of Microsoft's new mobile OS, who will continue to be served by the Windows Phone Marketplace."
An anonymous reader writes "Speaking at a tech conference in Seattle this week, former Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie had some interesting things to say about the state of the computing industry. 'People argue about "are we in a post-PC world?" Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world. That doesn't mean the PC dies, that just means that the scenarios that we use them in, we stop referring to them as PCs, we refer to them as other things.' Ozzie also thinks Microsoft's future as a company is strongly tied to Windows 8's reception. 'If Windows 8 shifts in a form that people really want to buy the product, the company will have a great future. ... It's a world of phones and pads and devices of all kinds, and our interests in general purpose computing — or desktop computing — starts to wane and people start doing the same things and more in other scenarios.'"
angry tapir writes "While Android is open source, it won't work on a phone without software that generally isn't open source. The Replicant project is an attempt to build a version of Android that doesn't rely on binary blobs for which the source code isn't available to end users, and the software currently works on a handful of handsets. I caught up with the project's lead developer to talk about their efforts to make a completely open source version of Android."
nk497 writes "The first shipment of Raspberry Pi devices has been delayed, after the factory manufacturing the cheap educational computer used non-magnetic jacks instead of ones with integrated magnetics. The problem is already nearly fixed, but new jacks need to be sourced for subsequent shipments, so those could be delayed slightly. 'It's inevitable, isn't it — you're freewheeling along perfectly happily and then you get a puncture,' said spokeswoman Liz Upton, apologizing for the delay."
redletterdave writes "Apple won a major patent for its 'iWallet' technology, which is a digital system that uses near-field communication (NFC) technology to complete credit card transactions and manage subsidiary financial accounts directly on your iPhone. On the home screen for iWallet, users can see their entire credit card profiles, statements, messages from their banks, and even adjust preferences or add additional cards. Within preferences, users can schedule credit card payments and set parental controls on their children, which allows kids to use their iPhones as wallets but limits the extent to which they can use it. Users can track their payments and statements within the iTunes billing system, which keeps the credit card information safe and secure."
adeelarshad82 writes "As expected, Apple announced the new iPad complete with a Retina Display, quad-core processor, 4G LTE, and an improved camera. The new iPad will run the rumored A5X processor, which according to Apple will provide four times the performance of the Tegra 3. The revamped tablet will also include a 2048-by-1536 display, apparently the most in any mobile device. And finally with 4G LTE, the new iPad will provide up to 73 Mbps download speeds; partners for which include Verizon, Rogers, Bell, Telus, and AT&T."
rullywowr writes "A story run by local new NBC10 of Philadelphia last Friday illuminated the fact that this particular rider of the pubilc bus system is packing a cell phone jammer and is not afraid to use it. Going by the name of 'Eric,' whenever he sees someone being 'rude' on the bus and talking loudly on their cell phone, he screws the antenna on and flips the power switch. Regardless of the steep civil penalites levied by the FCC (up to $16,000 USD), many (such as 'Eric') are still interested by these devices which can be bought on the internet for $40 to over $1000. Opponents of these devices say that not only do they interfere with mobile phones, they often can interfere with 'behind the scenes' communication, Wi-Fi, etc. Despite being illegal, TFA points out that they are readily available on the internet (what else is new?). Do you have an instance where you experienced the positive (or negative) effects of a cell phone jammer?"
judgecorp writes "The Institute of Advanced Motorists in the UK has carried out live tests which prove that using smartphones impairs driving ability more than drug or alcohol use, making reaction times 37.6 percent slower (PDF). The result is a big concern since a quarter of drivers admit to sending texts from their phones while driving. 'Young people have grown up with smartphones and using them is part of everyday life. But more work needs to be done by the government and social network providers to show young people that they are risking their lives and the lives of others if they use their smartphones while driving.'"
MojoKid writes "Several months ago, AT&T notified customers that it would begin throttling network speeds for users who exceeded a certain threshold, with the definitive throttle point defined as an imprecise "the top 5% of mobile data users." The company has issued a statement clarifying this policy after irate customers with unlimited data plans demanded to know what the cap was and how the company determined who should and shouldn't be throttled. The magic number is 3GB, which conveniently happens to be the maximum amount of tiered bandwidth AT&T will sell you. So why would AT&T want unlimited users to move to tiered pricing when its maximum tier is also set at 3GB? Simple — the amount of money the company makes on customers who exceed that 3GB limit. The fine print reads: 'If 3GB is exceeded, an additional 1 GB is automatically provided at a rate of $10 for each additional 1 GB.' Anyone using above 3GB on an unlimited plan is a customer who isn't paying enough for the privilege (from AT&T's perspective)."
First time accepted submitter saiful76 writes "Nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone owners as of February 2012, an increase of 11 percentage points over the 35% of Americans who owned a smartphone last May. Two in five adults (41%) own a cell phone that is not a smartphone, meaning that smartphone owners are now more prevalent within the overall population than owners of more basic mobile phones."