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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Microsoft

Microsoft Patents Tech That Would Silence Your Phone For You 251

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-quiet dept.
tsamsoniw writes "Microsoft has filed a patent for a mobile technology called Inconspicuous Mode, aimed at helping you not be 'that guy' who disrupts movies, meals, or meetings with noisy, bright-screened phone alerts. It's a setting that would effectively put your phone in stealth mode when the device sensed it was in a movie theater (thanks to location information) and that the lights had gone down. The idea is, you could still receive alerts if a call or text came in, but no one around you would be disturbed by phone sounds or screen flashes."
Handhelds

CES: X PRIZE Could Make Star Trek-Style Tricorder a Reality (Video) 40

Posted by Roblimo
from the it-needs-to-diagnose-a-fever-better-than-a-mom-does dept.
In January, 2012, Slashdot carried a story about the launch of a $10 million X-Prize for Tricorder design. This year, at CES, Timothy Lord met Alan Zack, who works for the X PRIZE Foundation, and learned a little more about the Tricorder prize and what it's going to take to win it. "Ultimately," says the www.qualcommtricorderxprize.org page, "this tool will collect large volumes of data from ongoing measurement of health states through a combination of wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements." If the success of the Ansari X PRIZE is any indication, it's a rational goal -- and the competition will be exciting to follow as it cranks up.
IOS

The Strange Math of Apple's Alleged Massive iPhone 5 Order Cuts 298

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-at-the-numbers dept.
zacharye writes "The Sunday evening Wall Street Journal article claiming that Apple had cut its iPhone 5 display orders drastically for the March quarter made quite a splash. The way WSJ wrote its piece seemed to support the original Nikkei claim about Apple cutting its iPhone 5 display orders in half from the originally planned order of 65 million units. This would be a massive adjustment. But Apple uses the same new display type for both iPhone 5 and the latest iPod touch. Neither WSJ nor Nikkei addressed this, however — both seemed to be referring to just iPhone 5 displays. The math just doesn't add up."
Displays

Touchscreen Laptops, Whether You Like Them Or Not 398

Posted by Soulskill
from the give-the-people-what-they-may-or-may-not-want dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With CES all wrapped up, an article at CNET discusses a definite trend in the laptops on display from various manufacturers this year: touchscreens. Intel and Microsoft are leading the way, and attempting to grab the industry's reins as well: '... just to make sure the touch message was crystal clear, Intel issued an edict to PC partners during its CES keynote: all next-generation ultrabooks based on its "Haswell" chip must be touch.' With tablets and detachable/convertible computers coming into the mainstream, it seems the manufacturers have something to gain by condensing their production options. The article says, 'What does that mean to consumers? Your next laptop will likely be touch, whether you like it or not.'"
Cellphones

Smartphones: Life's Remote Control 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-only-there-were-a-mute-button-for-other-people dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This year's Consumer Electronics Show has shown off more interconnected devices than I would know what to do with. Not only are existing devices I use getting modern, Internet-connected interfaces (cars, ovens, and security systems, for example), but companies are now putting out addons for smartphones that replace existing ones (blood pressure and glucose monitors, for instance. An article at the NY Times points out that the smartphone is quickly becoming life's remote control — a portal through with you'll soon be able to control far more of your electric devices than you might expect (or care to). 'For several years, technology companies have promised the dream of the connected home, the connected body and the connected car. Those connections have proved illusory. But in the last year app-powered accessories have provided the mechanism to actually make the connections. That is partly because smartphones have become the device people never put down. But it is also because wireless sensors have become smaller, cheaper and ubiquitous.'"
The Military

DARPA Wants To Seed the Ocean With Delayed-Action Robot Pods 67

Posted by timothy
from the mostly-for-spying dept.
coondoggie writes "This plan sounds a bit like a science fiction scenario where alien devices were planted in the ground thousands of years ago only to be awoken at some predetermined date to destroy the world. Only in this case it's the scientists at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency who want to develop a system of submersible pods that could reside in the world's oceans (presumably not in anyone's territorial waters) and be activated for any number of applications days, months or even years later."
Cellphones

Chinese Smartphone Invasion Begins 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-we-call-swayze-or-hemsworth dept.
snydeq writes "Tech giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft were no-shows at CES this week in Las Vegas, which worked out just fine for Chinese vendors looking to establish a name for themselves with U.S. consumers. 'Telecom suppliers Huawei and ZTE, in particular, have set their sights on breaking into the U.S. market for smartphones and tablets. ... Whether these Chinese imports can take on the likes of Apple and Samsung remains to be seen, but as Wired quotes Jeff Lotman, the CEO of Global Icons, an agency that helps companies build and license their brands: "The thing that's amazing is these are huge companies, and they have a lot of power, but in the United States nobody has heard of them and they're having trouble gaining traction, but it's not impossible. Samsung was once known for making crappy, low-end phones and cheap TVs. Now they're seen as a top TV and smartphone brand."'"
Microsoft

Windows RT Jailbreak Tool Released 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the right-tool-for-the-job dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this week, reports surfaced that the Windows RT operating system had been jailbroken to allow for the execution of unsigned ARM desktop applications. Microsoft quickly issued a statement saying it does not consider the findings to be part of a security vulnerability, and applauded the hacker for his ingenuity. Now, a Windows RT jailbreak tool has been released."
GUI

Plasma Active, Sailfish, and Ubuntu Phone Developers Discussing Common APIs 63

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the by-your-powers-combined dept.
Jolla's Sailfish, Canonical's recently announced Ubuntu Phone, and KDE's Plasma Active environments are all using Qt5's QML for interface design. Unfortunately, the set of UI components provided by each, although similar, are incompatible with the others. After a chat on IRC between developers of all three platforms, they've decided to discuss the reasons behind each implementation, in the hopes that they can work toward a common architecture. "There are also discussions underway regarding other aspects of the bigger puzzle such as common package formats and delivery strategies. We are poised, should we keep our heads straight and our feet moving, to evolve that holiest of grails in the mobile space: an open and vendor neutral application development strategy built around the commonality of QtQuick and Linux. This is our Rome, which will not be built in a day, but which can become something significant in the world if we keep our heads and follow through."
Privacy

Nokia Admits Decrypting User Data Claiming It Isn't Looking 264

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the we-won't-peek dept.
judgecorp writes "Nokia has admitted that it routinely decrypts user's HTTPS traffic, but says it is only doing it so it can compress it to improve speed. That doesn't convince security researcher Gaurang Pandya, who accuses the company of spying on customers." From the article, Nokia says: "'Importantly, the proxy servers do not store the content of web pages visited by our users or any information they enter into them. When temporary decryption of HTTPS connections is required on our proxy servers, to transform and deliver users' content, it is done in a secure manner. ... Nokia has implemented appropriate organisational and technical measures to prevent access to private information. Claims that we would access complete unencrypted information are inaccurate.'"
Canada

Canadian Researchers Debut PaperTab, the Paper-Thin Tablet 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the expensive-origami dept.
redletterdave writes "The PaperTab, which looks and feels just like a sheet of paper, may one day overtake today's tablet. Developed by researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, the PaperTab features a flexible, high-resolution 10.7-inch plastic touchscreen display built by Plastic Logic, the company borne from Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory, and relies on a second-generation Intel Core i5 processor to turn what looks like a sheet of white paper into a living, interactive display. Unlike typical tablets akin to Apple's iPad, the idea of PaperTab is to use one app at a time, per PaperTab. To make tasks easier, users would own 10 or more PaperTabs at once and lay them out to their liking; with multiple tablets to separate your applications, PaperTab relies on an interface that allows you to combine and merge elements from disparate applications with intuitive dragging, dropping, pointing, and folding."
Security

Nokia Redirecting Traffic On Some of Its Phones, Including HTTPS 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On Wednesday, security professional Gaurang Pandya outlined how Nokia is hijacking Internet browsing traffic on some of its phones. As a result, the company technically has access to all your Internet content, including sensitive data that is sent over secure connections (HTTPS), such as banking credentials and pretty much any other usernames and passwords you use to login to services on the Internet. Last month, Pandya noted his Nokia phone (an Asha 302) was forcing traffic through a proxy, instead of directly hitting the requested server. The connections are either redirected to Nokia/Ovi proxy servers if the Nokia browser is used, and to Opera proxy servers if the Opera Mini browser is used (both apps use the same User-Agent)."
Input Devices

Gabe Newell Reveals More About Steam Boxes, New Input Devices 218

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the serious-business dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Valve's presence at CES this year isn't to show off some new games, it's all about meeting with hardware manufacturers behind closed doors to talk about Steam Box. In an interview at CES which highlights Valve's plans for the console, Gabe Newell describes Steam Box as two projects. The first, codenamed Bigfoot, focuses on the hardware for use in the home with a TV. The second, codenamed Littlefoot, is investigating mobile gaming. Gabe goes on to discuss Valve plans on having three levels of Steam Box described as 'Good, Better, or Best' and expectations for the controller where the company wants something that's more high precision than anything else out there at the moment." The interview at the Verge is pretty extensive.
Android

OLPC To Sell 7-Inch XO Tablet In Wal-Mart 99

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-consider-a-rename dept.
angry tapir writes "One Laptop Per Child is back in the tablet race, announcing a new 7-inch tablet with the Android OS that will be sold commercially and include its learning software. The XO Tablet was announced at the International CES show in Las Vegas. OLPC will license the design to Sakar International, which will sell the tablet in the U.S. through Wal-Mart."
Handhelds

Tablet Shipments Will Finally Overtake Notebooks In 2013 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-off-my-lawn dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Nowadays, it's not really a question of whether tablet shipments will surpass notebook shipments, but when. Back in July 2012, NPD forecasted 2016 as the year, but today it's saying this year will be it. More specifically, NPD estimated tablet shipments will reach more than 240 million units worldwide in 2013, compared to the company's projection of 207 million notebook shipments this year. This gap is significant enough that, even if NPD's estimates are out by some margin, tablet numbers will still overtake those of notebooks."

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