sciencehabit writes "The newest source of battery power for your cell phone is both cheap and abundant. Scientists report that microbial fuel cells using human urine can directly power a cell phone battery. However, the devices are not quite portable enough to come in handy during a marathon pub crawl. One consists of six, 4-inch-long ceramic cylinders; the other is a network of 25 smaller fuel cells borrowed from the team's waste-fueled EcoBot. And urine-powered conversations would have to be short and sweet. After 24 hours of charging, a Samsung phone stayed alive for 25 minutes—enough to send several texts and make a 6-minute, 20-second call."
Have you META-MODERATED today? Sign up for the Slashdot Daily Newsletter! DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25.×
GovTechGuy writes "The Department of Justice maintains it does not need a warrant to track an individual using location data captured from their cellphone. 'Cellphone location records are currently lumped under Title 1 and Title 2 of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (PL 99-508), which cover stored communications and call details. Accessing those types of information typically requires only a court order, rather than a warrant, as is required for the contents of a phone call or digital message under Title 3.' That has prompted Maine and Montana to pass laws banning warrantless cellphone tracking; unfortunately, Congress doesn't appear close to doing the same."
New submitter SkiTee94 writes "Many people, perhaps millions, in and around NYC were loudly awoken shortly before 4am this morning by an activation of the Wireless Emergency Alert system. As the New York Times is reporting, the alert was related to an ongoing search for a missing child. Given that the alert asked people to look out for a 'Tan Lexus ES300' with NY Plate 'GEX1377,' many New Yorkers are questioning the logic of waking up the whole city to ask them to look for a car. Normally such alerts are reserved for road-side signs. While emergency authorities have yet to give a precise reason for why the decision was made to wake up the city, many have taken the step of deactivating these alerts to avoid future jolting mid-slumber alarms (likely not the intended result of last night's exercise)."
New submitter Anita Hunt (lissnup) writes "This snooping hack-in-a-backpack could become a hot Summer accessory, since Reuters reported that 'researchers at iSec hacked into a Verizon network extender, which anyone can buy online, and turned it into a cell phone tower (video interview) small enough to fit inside a backpack capable of capturing and intercepting all calls, text messages and data sent by mobile devices within range.'"
New submitter jarold writes to note that Samsung has launched two extra-large cellphones: a 6.3 inch LTE ready version, and a 5.8 inch version. "Branded as Galaxy Mega, one would struggle to fit [either in a] pocket or use it with just one hand. The good thing, it is only 8mm thin and weighs under 200 grams. More portable than a tablet, it comes with a durable polycarbonate body. Unlike most of Samsung's latest smartphones, it does not have a super AMOLED panel. Instead, it has an HD super clear LCD display, which is bright enough to please most users. It features split screen and multitasking between video and other apps." For a phone that big, users might need to brush up on their side-talking skills.
First time accepted submitter faffod writes "Coming from a background of console development, where memory management is a daily concern, I found it interesting that there was any doubt that memory management on a constrained system, like a mobile device, would be a concern. Drew Crawford took the time to document his thoughts, and though there is room for some bikesheding, overall it is spot on. Plus it taught me what bikeshedding means."
McGruber writes "Thursday, The Verge broke the news that Microsoft was slashing the price of its tablets — the price of the 32-gig Surface RT plummeted by 42%! Staples, TigerDirect and many other retailers are already selling the tablets at the lowered prices. I wonder what Microsoft will do for customers who purchased a tablet right before the price drop?"
MojoKid writes with word that "A tech demo posted to YouTube shows off Motorola's upcoming Moto X smartphone, a seemingly high-end device that is sure to win over a few fans with its wealth of new tricks and features. The Moto X handset, which is launching exclusive to Rogers in Canada (no mention of U.S. market carriers) this August, will be available in black and white, but a key selling point of the device comes from its voice activated features. The tech demo heavily emphasizes Google Now, which Moto X users can engage without touching the device. In the demo, a woman is shown asking Google Now what the weather will be like in Toronto while she types away on a computer, never having to reach down to tap the handset. It was also previously leaked that the Moto X will ship with a 4.4-inch display (1280x720), 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8960 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 10MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, and of course Android 4.2 Jelly Bean." With a marketing budget said to include up to half a billion (!) dollars from Google, it's hard to imagine that any leaks are actually unintentional.
DeviceGuru writes with an excerpt that may be of interest especially for mobile users with cheap, always available wireless data: "An OpenWRT Linux-based hardware adapter called Plug designed for unifying USB-connected storage met its $69,000 Kickstarter pledge goal in 12 hours. The tiny Plug device eschews cloud storage for a localized approach whereby an app or driver installed on each participating computer or mobile device intercepts filesystem accesses, and redirects data reads and writes to storage drives attached to the user's Plug device. The Plug enjoyed one of the fastest fulfillments in Kickstarter history, meeting its goal in 12 hours, and has already soared to over $223,000 in funding."
SmartAboutThings writes "Microsoft filed a lawsuit on Friday accusing the United States Customs of secretly meeting with Google representatives to allow imports of Motorola devices that are infringing on Microsoft's ActiveSync technology and therefore should be banned." The article lists 18 (older) Android devices that are named in the complaint; Xoom owners just got some street cred.
crazyvas writes "From the New York Times: 'Experts say services that use smartphones to connect drivers and passengers could help end the reign of single-occupant cars (and unending traffic) in Los Angeles.' One would hope that combined with a recent article from Time stating that Generation Y doesn't think car ownership is cool this might pave the way for less car traffic, more efficient public transit, more pedestrians and bikers, even leading to a healthier population?"
MojoKid writes "A few weeks ago, the analyst company ABI Research published a report claiming that Intel's new CloverTrail+ platform (dual-core Medfield) for smartphones was significantly faster and more power efficient than anything ARM's various partners were shipping. If you follow the smartphone market, that was a very surprising claim. Medfield was a decent midrange platform when it launched in 2012, but Intel made it clear that its goal for Medfield was to compete with other platforms in its division — not seize the performance crown outright. Further investigation by other analysts has blown serious holes in the ABI Research report. Not only does it focus on a single, highly questionable benchmark (AnTuTu), the x86 version of that benchmark is running different code than the ARM flavors. Furthermore, the recently released Version 3.3 of the test is much faster on Intel hardware than on any of the other platforms. But even with those caveats in place, the ABI Research report is bad science. Single-source performance comparisons almost inevitably are."
jfruh writes "M-Pesa is a wildly popular mobile payment system in Kenya, which allows citizens of a country with a poor banking infrastructure to easily transfer money to each other using ubiquitous dumbphones. Currently the system only works in the local currency, but there are plans afoot to allow users to transfer Bitcoin — which would help Kenyans working abroad send money back home without paying high international bank transfer fees."
adeelarshad82 writes "Nokia's new phone, Lumia 1020, feels very similar in the hand to Nokia's Lumia 900 and 920, with one exception: it has a camera bump. The 41-megapixel uber-camera projects out very slightly as a black disc on the back. In terms of functionality, though, the camera provides for smooth zooming only a pinch away. However, it takes a noticeable amount of time to lock focus and save images. At one point during hands-on testing, the camera app crashed so hard that it required a phone reboot, which is hopefully just a pre-release firmware issue. The phone itself carries a brightly colored polycarbonate body that rolls around the edges to cradle a 4.5-inch, 1,280-by-768 screen. Lumia 1020 is powered by a dual-core, 1.5-GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 processor which plows through apps well. Speaking of apps, there's a ton of bloatware on here, as you'd expect from any AT&T device. AT&T adds four apps right at the top of the app list. Nokia Lumia is set to hit AT&T shelves on July 26th for $299."
An anonymous reader writes "As promised, Mozilla today announced the release of Firefox OS Simulator 4.0 with a focus on developers who want to make money in the Firefox Marketplace. You can download the new version now for Windows, Mac, and Linux from Mozilla Add-Ons. First and foremost, the new simulator supports test receipts for paid apps: each app's dashboard features a drop-down menu where you can select a receipt type. Choosing one of these will have the simulator add-on downloading a test receipt from a Marketplace receipt service and reinstalling the app using it. This lets developers test receipt verification with whatever receipts types they may require (valid, invalid, and refunded)."
alphadogg writes "Japan's most famous mountain now has 4G coverage. An LTE network on Mount Fuji went live Thursday, providing download speeds of up to 75Mbps on its peak, mountain trails, and rest huts. NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile operator, will provide access to its subscribers as part of its 'Xi' service. DoCoMo said it will provide the service from Thursday through the end of August, to correspond with the mountain's busy climbing season. Tourists are expected to turn out in record numbers this year because Mount Fuji has been named a World Heritage site by Unesco."
darthcamaro writes "Last week, Rain Forrest Puppy (aka Jeff Forristal) first disclosed the initial public report about an Android Master Key flaw. Code was released earlier this week for attackers to exploit the flaw — but what about users? Google has claimed that it has patched the issue but how do you know if your phone/carrier is safe? Forristal's company now has an app for that. But even if your phone is not patched, don't be too worried that risks are limited if you still to a 'safe' app store like Google Play. 'The only way an Android user can be attacked via this master key flaw is if they download a vulnerable application. "It all comes down to where you get your applications from," Forristal said.'"
GrueMaster writes "Did Florida ban computers and smartphones? They tried banning Internet Cafes, but the wording in the law is overly broad. '... it's the wording that's problematic, as it defines a slot machine as "any machine or device or system or network of devices" that can be used in games of chance. Turns out the Internet is full of gambling sites, which is where the definition runs into some problems. Consuelo Zapata, owner of the Miami-Dade county Internet cafe Incredible Investments, LLC, is suing the state (PDF) to overturn the ban, saying that definition is too broad and could be applied to any number of electronic devices. "
An anonymous reader writes "After months of back and forth legal filings, Amazon and Apple have finally ended their ongoing dispute centering on Amazon's use of the term 'App Store.' As part of the agreement, Apple agreed to drop the suit and Amazon promised not to counter-sue Apple in the future. Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said that 'we no longer see a need to pursue our case. With more than 900,000 apps and 50 billion downloads, customers know where they can purchase their favorite apps.' Apple initially sued Amazon back in March of 2011 alleging that the online retailer's use of the phrase 'App Store' in its mobile software developer program constituted trademark infringement. Apple expressed that allowing Amazon to continue to use the phrase 'App Store' would ultimately confuse consumers who associate the phrase with Apple's app store for iOS apps."
An anonymous reader writes "After almost two years of development, Mozilla today officially launched Firefox OS devices in stores. At the same time, the company has opened up payments for developers interested in charging for their apps or charging for content inside their apps. Last week, the first commercial Firefox OS devices arrived in Spain ready to be sold by Telefónica, starting on July 9 with the ZTE Open for €69 ($88.80) including VAT. Mozilla says Poland, Colombia, and Venezuela also have upcoming launches soon, and more countries will be joining the list as well, but today today marks the day official Firefox OS devices are available in store."
NF6X writes "UCSD Lecturer Brett Stallbaum has released an Android app called Gun Geo Marker to allow people to 'Geolocate Dangerous Guns and Owners.' The app description states: 'The Gun Geo Marker operates very simply, letting parents and community members mark, or geolocate, sites associated with potentially unsafe guns and gun owners. These locations are typically the homes or businesses of suspected unsafe gun owners, but might also be public lands or other locations where guns are not handled safely, or situations where proper rights to own or use any particular type of firearm may not exist.' I question how the motivation behind developing this app differs from, say, developing an app to allow others to publicly geotag homes of people believed to belong to a particular religion or political party."
MojoKid writes "It's not too often that upcoming glass technology is worth getting excited over, but leave it to Corning to pique our interest. During a recent talk at MIT's Mobile Technology Summit, Dr. Jeffrey Evenson took to the stage to reiterate what it is about Gorilla Glass that makes it such an attractive product (something well evidenced given the majority of smartphones out there today implement it), as well as to give us a preview of what's coming. Having pretty much mastered Gorilla Glass where strength, scratch-resistance and general durability are concerned, the company is now looking to improve-upon it (possibly for Gorilla Glass 4) by making it non-reflective and germ-resistant. Imagine your smartphone sporting this — you'd finally be able to see the screen regardless of how bright the sun behind you is. Unfortunately, it appears that it won't be hitting our phones or tablets that soon. The estimate is 'in the next two years.'"
hypnosec writes "Huawei, in collaboration with China Mobile, has successfully deployed 4G services on Mount Everest, about 5,200 meters above sea level. Announcing the development, Huawei revealed that work was completed last month and users can now access 4G services like streaming live HD videos from the base camp on the mountain."
An anonymous reader writes "Last October, we discussed Andrew 'bunnie' Huang's effort to build a complete open hardware laptop, called the Novena. bunnie has now posted a progress report on the laptop's design and construction, showing the latest revision of the board, the display, and a hack to use it as a secure router. bunnie says, 'At the end of the day, we're having fun building the laptop we always wanted — it's now somewhere between a python-scriptable oscilloscope, logic analyzer, and a laptop. I think it will be an indispensable tool for hacking, particularly for doing signal analysis which requires coordination across multiple protocol layers, complex trigger conditions and/or feedback stimulus loops. As for the inevitable question about if these will be sold, and for how muchonce we're done building the system (and, "done" is a moving target — really, the whole idea is this is continuously under development and improving) I'll make it available to qualified buyers. Because it's open-source and a bit quirky, I'm shy on the idea of just selling it to anyone who comes along wanting a laptop. I'm worried about buyers who don't understand that "open" also means a bit of DIY hacking to get things working, and that things are continuously under development."
msm1267 writes "A vulnerability exists in the Android code base that would allow a hacker to modify a legitimate, digitally signed Android application package file (APK) and not break the app's cryptographic signature — an action that would normally set off a red flag that something is amiss. Researchers at startup Bluebox Security will disclose details on the vulnerability at the upcoming Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas on Aug. 1. In the meantime, some handset vendors have patched the issue; Google will soon release a patch to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), Bluebox chief technology officer Jeff Forristal said. The vulnerability, Bluebox said, affects multiple generations of Android devices since 1.6, the Donut version, which is about four years old. Nearly 900 million devices are potentially affected."
itwbennett writes "Apple is planning to have its ARM processors manufactured by TSMC — a move that blogger Andy Patrizio thinks is a colossal mistake. Not only is TSMC already over-extended and having trouble making deadlines. But Intel was clearly the better choice: 'Intel may be struggling in mobility with the Atom processors, but Intel does yields and manufacturing process migration better than anyone,' says Patrizio. 'While TSMC wrestles with 28nm and looking to 20nm, Intel is at 22nm now and moving to 14nm for next year. This is important; the smaller the fabrication design, the less power used.'"
New submitter SomewhatRandom writes "Dailytech recently published an article titled 'Detroit Automakers Vie For App Devs Amid Infotainment Arms Race.' Unfortunately for auto manufacturers, they are in a poor position to complete with companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc... and they should give up the arms race and take a different direction. Mobile operating systems and their associated hardware have a rapid release cycle that significantly outpaces vehicle infotainment systems. Additionally, mobile OSs are developed by specialized companies that can spend dump trucks filled with money on their platform. I'm sorry Dodge, Toyota, Honda and all your friends; you simply can't compete."
New submitter JonLech writes "Ever since Apple launched AirTunes in 2004 (later renamed AirPlay) they have remained unchallenged in the Wi-Fi music streaming market. With various manufacturers releasing AirPlay-only Wi-Fi speakers, Android and other non-Apple device users have been left out in the cold. Today that changes with the release of MagicPlay, an open standard for music streaming (think 'HTTP for music') with a BSD-licensed open source reference implementation that any app developer or hardware manufacturer can integrate into their products. For the Linux fans out there, I've written up some instructions on how to turn your Raspberry Pi into a MagicPlay device."
New submitter pbritt writes "Ben Lincoln was hooking up to Microsoft ActiveSync at work when he 'made an interesting discovery about the Android phone (a Motorola Droid X2) which [he] was using at the time: it was silently sending a considerable amount of sensitive information to Motorola, and to compound the problem, a great deal of it was over an unencrypted HTTP channel.' He found that photos, passwords, and even data about his home screen config were being sent regularly to Motorola's servers. He has screenshots showing much of the data transmission."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Mozilla and its hardware partners have begun launching the first Firefox OS smartphones, starting with Spain's Telefonica releasing the ZTE Open later this week. A lightweight mobile OS based on HTML5, Firefox OS (once known as 'Boot to Gecko') offers a user interface instantly familiar to anyone who's used Google Android or Apple iOS: in addition to home-screens of individual apps arranged on a grid, features include messaging, email, built-in social-networking, maps, and the Firefox Web browser. There's also Firefox Marketplace, an online storefront of HTML5 apps; early apps include Twitter, Facebook, AccuWeather, and a handful of games. But can Firefox OS make any headway in a mobile-device crowded with options? At this February's Mobile World Congress, Mozilla claimed that some 17 operators around the world have committed to the Firefox OS initiative, including China Unicom, Sprint, MegaFon, and the Telecom Italia Group. But many of those operators released rather ambiguous statements about whether they would launch an actual Firefox OS smartphone. Tony Cripps, principal device analyst at Ovum, wrote in a research note earlier this year that 'the real acid test for Firefox OS and its long-term prospects is the quality of the software itself and the user and developer experiences that it fosters.' In other words, Mozilla and its partners need to produce some quality devices, paired with a variety of spectacular apps. Some early reviews of the ZTE Open weren't good, to put it mildly, with The Verge citing: 'unremarkable hardware' and a 'laggy' OS. But that doesn't mean future phones can't go toe-to-toe against anything else on the market, provided Mozilla and its partners provide solid support and marketing."
theodp writes "The "average" movie theater reportedly has a capacity of 200-300 people. Which, thanks to the wonder of mobile devices, means that it also has hundreds of screens. And — thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and texting — hundreds of potential annoyances. Which prompts NY film critic David Edelstein to ask: How Should We Treat Texters and Talkers at Movie Theaters? 'Has our culture become so private that no one knows how to behave anymore in public?' Edelstein wonders. 'Is selfishness the rule rather than exception? Are people who say, "Shut up and turn off your phone" today's version of "You kids get off my lawn"?' Jason Bailey argues that the only way to solve movie theaters' talking and texting problem is to give in to it, perhaps with anything-goes phone-friendly talk-amongst-yourselves screenings in the seven and eight o'clock hours coupled with no-tolerance shows later in the evening. Any other ideas?" You could always throw it.
itwbennett writes "MIT Professor Dina Katabi and graduate student Fadel Adib have developed a system they call Wi-Vi that uses Wi-Fi signals to visualize moving forms behind walls. How it works: 'Wi-Vi transmits two Wi-Fi signals, one of which is the inverse of the other. When one signal hits a stationary object, the other cancels it out. But because of the way the signals are encoded, they don't cancel each other out for moving objects. That makes the reflections from a moving person visible despite the wall between that person and the Wi-Vi device. Wi-Vi can translate those faint reflections into a real-time display of the person's movements.'"
lpress writes "The Los Angeles Unified School District will spend $30 million over the next two years on iPads for 30,000 students. Coverage of the announcement has focused on Apple winning over other tablets, but that is not the key point. The top three proposals each included an app to deliver Pearson's K-12 Common Core System of Courses along with other third-party educational apps. The Common Core curriculum is not yet established, but many states are committed to it, starting next year. The new tablets and the new commitment to the Common Core curriculum will arrive around the same time, and busy faculty (and those hired to train them) will adopt the Pearson material. The tablets will be obsolete in a few years and the hardware platform may change, but lock-in to Pearson's default curriculum may last for generations."
angry tapir writes "Researchers at Microsoft Research have produced a prototype software system that can be used on smartphones to infer a user's mood. The 'MoodScope' system produced by researchers uses smartphone usage patterns to determine whether someone is happy, calm, excited, bored or stressed and could potentially add a new dimension to to mobile apps (as well as, as the researchers note, open up a Pandora's Box of privacy issues). The researchers created a low-power background service for iPhones and Android handsets that (with training) can offer reasonable detection of mood and offers and API that app developers could hook into."
puddingebola writes "John Morris at CNET offers a brief review of PC Android devices, many of them hybrids running Windows 8 and Android. From the article, 'Microsoft has spent a lot of time and effort trying to get Windows onto smartphones and tablets — so far without a whole lot to show for it. Now several PC companies are trying the opposite approach, taking the Android operating system and porting it to PCs.' The article reviews the recent releases from HP, Acer, Asus, and Samsung. Does Android creeping onto desktop or 'traditional' PC devices have any kind of possible long term consequences? Could this be a way for Android and Google to develop a larger presence in corporate IT, or could Android ever really supplant the Windows foothold?"
colinneagle writes "If you use the Z-Wave wireless protocol for home automation then you might prepare to have your warm, fuzzy, happiness bubble burst; there will be several presentations about attacking the automated house at the upcoming Las Vegas hackers' conferences Black Hat USA 2013 and Def Con 21. For example, CEDIA IT Task force member Bjorn Jensen said, 'Today, I could scan for open ports on the Web used by a known control system, find them, get in and wreak havoc on somebody's home. I could turn off lights, mess with HVAC systems, blow speakers, unlock doors, disarm alarm systems and worse.' Among other things, the hacking Z-Wave synopsis adds, 'Zigbee and Z-wave wireless communication protocols are the most common used RF technology in home automation systems...An open source implementation of the Z-wave protocol stack, openzwave, is available but it does not support the encryption part as of yet. Our talk will show how the Z-Wave protocol can be subjected to attacks.'"
tripleevenfall sends in a story at Yahoo Finance forecasting the end of Barnes & Noble. Quoting: "The last nationwide book retailer may be writing its final chapter. Barnes & Noble's latest quarterly results show a 7.4% drop in revenues and a $122 million loss for the fourth-quarter of its fiscal year. B&N's disastrous focus on making Nook e-Readers is weighing heavily on the chain's operations. A 17% drop in Nook revenues and stunning $475 million loss for the device division in 2013 are hobbling the company's ability to keep its stores afloat. B&N appears to be cannibalizing itself with branded tablets and cross-platform e-reader applications, which render the stores increasingly irrelevant."
netbuzz writes "In a clever bit of self-promotion, the do-it-yourself repair evangelists at iFixit announced today that they will be giving away 1,776 free 'iPhone liberation kits' that will allow Apple customers access to the inner workings of their devices by replacing the difficult-to-remove pentalobe screws with standard Phillips screws. 'Get a free insurance policy,' iFixit says. 'In the unfortunate event that your iPhone needs repair, you will be set to make any necessary fix. For situations when you need to get the battery out of your iPhone as quickly as possible—such as after dropping the device into water—you will be ready.'"
MojoKid writes "Google (and many other tech manufacturers lately), have been evangelizing the mantra that technology is here to enhance and improve our lives, not get in the way; in the truest sense to 'serve humanity.' Recent events and breakthroughs in the healthcare industry, which make use of leading-edge technology, illustrate this vision better than any marketing or ad campaign could ever possibly hope to. Dr. Rafael Grossman strapped on his Google Glass eyewear to become the first 'Glass Explorer Surgeon.' The procedure involved is called Gastrostomy, a process by which a surgeon inserts a feeding tube into a patient's abdomen. In this case, the good doctor performed the procedure endoscopically, such that he was able to display the entire procedure and the view of it directly as it was being performed. The opportunities for remote medical consultation, mentoring and even real-time guidance are obvious with the sort of technology that products like Google Glass bring to the table. It's always nice to hear stories of how not only 'quality of life' is improved but how lives are actually saved as a result of these magnificent inventions we create."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple's developer Website offers a new, handy graph of iOS fragmentation — which, of course, highlights that the mobile operating system isn't fragmented much at all. A full 93 percent of iOS users are on iOS 6, the latest version; another 6 percent rely on iOS 5; and a mere 1 percent use an earlier iOS. Compare that to Google Android, which really is fragmented: some 33 percent of Android devices run some variant (either 4.1.x or 4.2.x) of the 'Jelly Bean' build, while 36.5 percent run a version of 'Gingerbread,' which was first released in December 2010 — ancient history, in mobile-software terms. (Other versions take up varying slices of the Android pie.) For years, Google's rivals have used the 'Android is fragmented' argument to hype their own platforms. But is Android's fragmentation really hurting the platform? Not as far as global shipments are concerned. According to recent data from research firm IDC, Android's market-share stood at 75 percent in the first quarter of 2013 — up from 59.1 percent in the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, iOS owned 17.3 percent of the market — compared to 23.1 percent in the year-ago quarter. Whatever the drawbacks of fragmentation (and people can name quite a few), it's clear that it's not really hurting Android device shipments or adoption."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Now that Microsoft and Sony have unveiled their respective next-generation gaming consoles, the two companies have cheerfully resorted to firing broadsides at each other. Whether the current brouhaha has any effect on sales of the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 (if hardcore gamers keep complaining, they may even convince Microsoft to knock $100 off the new Xbox and bring its pricing down to the PS4's level), it's also drowning out what many perceive as the real issue: gaming consoles face an existential threat from mobile devices, most notably those running iOS (with some threat from Android). First, there are signs that the hardcore gamer market is soft: console sales in the United States dropped 21 percent in 2012, and sales of new video-game cartridges haven't fared much better. Second, PC/console games such as X-Com have begun appearing on iOS; if that trend continues, the console companies will have more rivals to fight against. Third, Apple is developing a game controller for iOS which could make it an even more dedicated opponent — and convince other tech companies to follow in its footsteps. But don't tell any of that to Microsoft and Sony, which seem content to fire at each other."
jfruh writes "Foxconn is firmly identified in the public mind as the company that manufactures iPhones and iPads. But the company is looking to forge its own identity, and sees Firefox OS as the means to do so. To that end, Foxconn is hiring thousands of developers to help work on the open source phone OS and Foxconn's own suite of cloud services."
recoiledsnake writes "Following up on our previous discussion of Microsoft selling discounted SurfaceRT tablets to schools (which fueled speculation about the future of Surface RT), Bloomberg is now reporting that Microsoft is fast at work on the next Surface RT which will replace the current Tegra 3 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip which has stellar benchmarks against the likes of the upcoming Tegra 4, Apple A6X, and Exynos processors, especially in the GPU and graphics department. Since the SoC comes with 3g/LTE, this might be the first Surface to support integrated cellular data. There are also indications that there could be an 8" version, and that the new versions might be revealed alongside the Windows 8.1 preview bits at the upcoming BUILD conference, starting on June 26."
An anonymous reader writes "With the focus from Ubuntu on phones, seven carriers have signed onto their Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group including Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Telecom Italia, Korea Telecom, LG UPlus, Portugal Telecom, and SK Telecom. The group is designed for the carriers to let 'mobile operators shape Ubuntu's mobile strategy. Members receive advance confidential briefings and provide us with industry insight to ensure that Ubuntu meets their needs.'" Looks like Ubuntu Phone is getting serious. Mark Shuttleworth writes about their first meeting: "We mapped out our approach to the key question I’ve been asked by every carrier we’ve met so far: how can we accommodate differentiation, without fragmenting the platform for developers? We described the range of diversity we think we can support initially, received some initial feedback from carriers participating immediately, and I’m looking forward to the distilled feedback we’ll get on the topic in the next call. CAG members get a period of exclusivity in their markets."
onyxruby writes "In a move that will remind many of Apple in the '80s, Microsoft is going to start dumping Surface RT computers to educational institutions. In an effort to try to gain mindshare for their struggling Surface RT platform, Microsoft is giving away 10,000 Surface RTs to teachers through the International Society for Technology in Education. They're also preparing to offer $199 Surface RTs to K12 and higher education institutions. The strategy of flooding the educational market was quite successful for Apple. Unfortunately for Microsoft, today's computers require management and the Surface RT presents significant management challenges in terms of the inability to join the computer to a domain or available management tools."
Nerval's Lobster writes "When hurricane Sandy pummeled New York City last fall, it left a sizable percentage of the metropolis without electricity. Residents had trouble keeping their phones and tablets charged, and often walked across whole neighborhoods to reach zones with power. Come the next disaster, at least a few citizens could communicate a little easier thanks to 25 solar-powered charging stations going up around the city. The stations—known as 'Street Charge' — are the result of a partnership between AT&T, Brooklyn design studio Pensa, and portable solar-power maker Goal Zero (with approval by the city's Parks Department). The first unit will deploy in Brooklyn's Fort Green Park on June 18, followed in short order by others in Union Square, Central Park, the Rockaways, and other locations. Each station incorporates lithium-ion batteries in addition to solar panels; charging a phone to full capacity could take as long as two hours, but the time necessary for a partial charge is much shorter. But a couple of charging stations also won't help very much if half the city is without power: In order to help mitigate the effects of the next hurricane, New York City major Michael Bloomberg has put forward a $20 billion plan for seawalls, levees, and dozens of other improvements. 'Sandy exposed weaknesses in the city's telecommunications infrastructure — including the location of critical facilities in areas that are susceptible to flooding,' reads one section of the plan's accompanying report. The city will harden the system 'by increasing the accountability of telecommunications providers to invest in resiliency and by using new regulatory authority to enable rapid recovery after extreme weather events.'"
adeelarshad82 writes "For the fourth year running, PCMag sent drivers out on U.S. roads to test the nation's Fastest Mobile Networks. Using eight identical Samsung phones, the drivers tested out eight separate networks for four major carriers across 30 cities evenly spread across six regions. Using Sensorly's 2013 software, a broad suite of tests were conducted every three minutes: a 'ping' to test network latency, multi-threaded HTTP upload and download tests including separate 'time to first byte' measures, a 4MB single-threaded file download, a 2MB single-threaded file upload, the download of a 1MB Web page with 70 elements, and 100kbps and 500kbps UDP streams designed to simulate streaming media. Nearly 90,000 data cycles later, the data not only revealed the fastest networks (AT&T) and the most consistent (Verizon), but also other interesting points. The tests recorded the fastest download speed (66.11 Mbits/sec) in New Orleans and the best average in Austin (27.25 Mbits/sec), both for AT&T's LTE network. The tests also found T-Mobile's HSPA network to have the worst Average-Time-To-First-Byte, even when compared with AT&T HSPA network. Also according to the tests, Sprint's LTE network didn't even come close to competing with other LTE networks, to the point that in some cities its LTE network speed averaged less than T-Mobile's HSPA network speed."