Feeling a little bored up there in first-class? Major Australian airline Qantas will now be utilizing the help of the Samsung Gear VR with an accompanied Galaxy Note 4 to see their first-class customers further enjoy their experience.
It will be first tested through LA to Sydney and Melbourne to LA flights, said to be completed through the use of Airbus A380s and Boeing 747s. 12 Gear VR headsets will be used in the beginning test period, set as four for the outbound flight, four for the inbound flight and two for each of the first-class passenger lounges located in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Gear VR device will be connected to a Qantas app on the Note 4, allowing passengers to get a 360-degree look into the Qantas first-class lounge in LAX, runway-side videos of the aircraft taking off and setting down and a virtual reality boat ride on a Northern Territory river - set as a cross promotion with Tourism NT.
With the gaming organization known as Team Solo Mid (TSM) picking up a North American CS:GO squad, they have publicly claimed to now be supporting the highest paid CS:GO players on the planet - later being bested by Team Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP), with their CEO Per Lilliefelth claiming an even better salary for his squad.
I'm sure you're wondering exactly what the figure is here - it's $3,000 US per month, per player. Nothing celebrity status that's sure - but pretty amazing given they are playing video games for employment. But wait, there's more. This $3,000 doesn't cover any of the in-game sticker sales alongside any prize money that the players may win at international tournaments, which can include total prize pools of up to $250,000.
Different from other gaming organizations, TSM have promised to take no cut of prize money or sticker sales, meaning that if these players see themselves added into a 'legends sticker pack' they could see up to $400,000 spread between the five-man squad.
Apple has taken the top spot in the Chinese smartphone market. China has the largest population in the world, and dwarfs most of the nearest countries, with the exception of India. India isn't nearly as developed, or experiencing the massive growth rate China is, so the China market holds tremendous strategic potential for Apple.
Xiaomi and Huawei are entrenched competitors that are slowly eating away market share, particularly from Samsung. Apple seems to have deflected their rising market share with popular new smartphones. Apple also has the notable accomplishment of unseating their bitter rival Samsung from the top spot. The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been big contributors to Apple's rise in the market with a 70% sales increase in Q4'14.
Apple's rise in China comes in spite of the fact their phones cost nearly double that of the competition. Apple devices are coveted in China, even resulting in large smuggling rings that bring them in to avoid taxes.
Small drones being flown by recreational hobbyists can be hijacked using malware, as a security expert found a backdoor in the Parrot AR drone. The AR quadcopter helicopter drone can be controlled by a smartphone, tablet, NVIDIA Shield and similar devices, but can be hijacked with the Maldrone malware.
Security specialist Rahul Sasi was able to infect the drone and could interfere with its navigation features. Once compromised, he could issue a kill command, or fly the drone under his command - opening the odor to potential invasion of privacy cases, or stealing an onboard camera/video recorder.
"In this we would show infecting a drone with Maldrone and expecting a reverse tcp connection from drone," according to researchers. "Once connection is established we can interact with the software as well as drivers/sensors of the drone directly. There is an existing AR drone piloting program. Our backdoors kills the autopilot and takes control. The backdoor is persistent across resets."
The FTC has ordered mobile phone provider TracFone to pay a hefty $40 million fine for throttling data for users with 'unlimited' data plans. This fine has wide-ranging implications for the mobile industry overall, as several carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon, still have users with unlimited data plans. Neither company currently offers new unlimited subscriptions, but they still have to honor their plans that are grandfathered in from past agreements.
In addition to the fine, the FTC has ordered TracFone to provide refunds to customers who experienced data throttling. TracFone not only throttled speeds when customers reached two to three gigabytes of used data, but they were also shutting off customers who reached between four and five gigabytes.
The FTC issued a blunt assessment of the situation. "The issue here is simple: When you promise consumers 'unlimited,' that means unlimited," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Mobile gamers are spending a lot of time playing their favorite games, with more than two hours played per day in 2014, according to The NPD Group. The latest figures note a dramatic 57 percent increase, as consumers are even more comfortable using their smartphones and tablets.
Not surprisingly, kids are helping drive revenue, with kids from 2 up to 12 years of age spending the most amount of time gaming over other activities, according to the report.
"Continued mobile growth will stem from existing customers paying more to play, especially in the free-to-play portion of the market," said Liam Callahan, industry analyst at The NPD Group, in a statement. "A positive sign of consumer behavior trending this way is the fact that more than twice the number of app gamers reported making an in-game purchase than they did when we conducted this study two years ago."
Intel is refreshing their datacenter SSD line with new models that deliver faster write performance than their predecessors. The Intel DC S3710 Series provides 25% more write performance, topping out at 45,000 random write IOPS for the 1.2TB model. The DC S3710 SSDs come in capacities of 200, 400, 800, and 1.2TB. Random read performance weighs in at 85,000 IOPS, and sequential read weighs in at 550MB/s. Sequential writes vary by capacity points, reaching a top speed of 520MB/s. The DC S3710 is geared for high-performance computing, high data rate analytics, operational databases, and large-scale virtualization.
The Intel DC S3610 Series addresses the exploding mid-level performance tier, while offering faster random write speed with an economical price point. The DC S3610 comes in wide range of capacities, with 200, 400, 480, 800GB, and 1.2TB models in the 2.5" form factor. Random read tops out at 84,000 IOPS, and varying write performance (based upon capacity) reaches up to 28,000 IOPS. Sequential read comes in at 550MB/s, and sequential write performance reaches 520MB/s (depending upon capacity). The DC S3610 series also offers capacities of 200, 400, and 800GB in the incredibly small 1.8" form factor, but performance specifications for the 1.8" haven't been released as of yet.
In a order to easily organize and store photos in your account, Microsoft has added an Albums feature for their OneDrive service - claimed by some as a move to compete with popular competitors including Dropbox and Google's storage options.
Released this Wednesday through a company blog post, this addition will feature capabilities mirroring Dropbox's Carousel photo gallery app and Google Drive's built-in albums feature. Available through the iOS app now, the company has stated they will add Android and Windows phone support "soon".
It's also claimed that next month will see an addition of automatic photo import features for Windows 7 and 8 users, as already seen with Android, iOS and Windows Phone versions as of last July. This new feature will see a camera imports folder added, becoming the location for all automatic imports from both PC's and mobile devices - changing it from the current "All photo's" folder.
Complete with a 13-inch screen squeezed into a bezel that generally houses 11-inch offerings, Dell's new XPS 13 2015 is packed full of tech goodies including the new Broadwell U CPU, 4GB of RAM, a tiny 2.99lb weight rating and a 1366 x 768 resolution touch-screen.
Being initially released to the market at a tiny price of $800, some are claiming this model to be a MacBook Air killer. Touted by many at CES to be part of their 'best of' categories, with the vibrant screen, strong audio and configuration options helping describe why it's such a winner. Bear in mind that the touchscreen isn't part of the $800 base-model, however it's a great inclusion if you're that way inclined.
Comparing this to Apple's MacBook Air, you're looking at a starting price of $999 for 128GB of PCI-e based flash storage, an Intel i5 dual-core and 4GB of RAM. With the specifications sitting fairly close, you can't argue with a $199 saving on Dell's product.
In a bid to win back over the Chinese market, Motorola has returned with their new smartphone offering - the Moto X.
Said to set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd by providing advanced customization, Motorola are hoping that giving users the ability to change the back panels on their devices will win over a large amount of consumers. Marking two years out of the Chinese scene, Motorola's new Moto X smartphone comes packed with a 4.7" AMOLED screen displaying at 720p, a Dual-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running at 1.7GHz, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 2200 mAh battery and Android 4.4.2 Kitkat as standard.
Although not the highest-rated smartphone component wise, we've seen that high-end expensive phones don't really fare too well in the Chinese market - which is constantly being dominated by domestic brand offerings.
Listed for a start-price of 3,000 Yuan ($480 US), we'll be very interested to see how it performs.