After months of teasing, Samsung has just officially unveiled the new Galaxy Alpha smartphone. Samsung's latest handset is an ultra-thin Android-powered smartphone, featuring a 4.7-inch 1280x720 display.
On the back, we have a 12-megapixel camera, a smallish 1860mAh battery (depending on your region), and either a quad- or octa-core processor (again, depending on your region). The design of the Galaxy Alpha is what this is all about, with a new-look design, ditching the plastic we're all used to on Galaxy smartphones.
Samsung calls the Galaxy Alpha "the evolution of Galaxy Design," and that it shows off a "new design approach" for the South Korean-based giant. The shape of the Galaxy Alpha isn't much of a departure from the Galaxy S5, but we are seeing some more finness to the Galaxy Alpha. The company hasn't unveiled pricing or availability for the Galaxy Alpha, but it will launch in black, white, gold and blue colors.
As we get closer to IFA 2014, we're hearing more and more about Samsung devices, one of which is the upcoming Gear VR. The Verge has a nice exclusive, with some details on how Gear VR will connect to a Samsung smartphone.
Gear VR has a detachable lid that will hold your Samsung smartphone in place, living up with users' eyes with focus dial on top. There seems to be a micro-USB connection that will tether the VR headset to your smartphone, with the photo above showing off the Galaxy S5 alongside Gear VR. Samsung is poised to launch its Galaxy Note 4 soon, so we should expect it to be compatible with Gear VR - we hope.
Considering the Oculus Rift DK2 unit uses the display panel from Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, we should expect some good things from Gear VR. Remember that Samsung is working closely with Oculus VR, and obviously now Facebook, supplying them with early access to their display technology, while Oculus provides help with the VR side of things.
There's not much reason to be excited over DirectX 12 just yet, but Intel was showing off the performance and power benefits of DirectX 12 at SIGGRAPH 2014. Microsoft used its Surface Pro 2 with Intel HD4400 graphics, showing off some impressive performance improvements, with heavily refuced CPU power consumption.
Intel had a demo that was rendering an asteroid field with 50,000 unique asteroids, each equating to 50,000 draws per frame. Each asteroid then had a unique combination of vertices, textures, and constants. Intel's demo was able to switch between DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 with a single key press, but it could also lock the frame rate in order to keep the workload on the GPU at a constant level.
The company was showing people the benefits of DX12, with massive power gains being unlocked from Microsoft's new API. Intel locked the frame rate of the demo, rendering it for a period of time on DirectX 11, and then switching over to DirectX 12. As you see in the graph above, the CPU power consumption was reduced by over 50% when DX12 was enabled, highlighting the fact that DX12-enabled games could offer some serious reductions in power consumption on our devices.
Sony has announced that it will be launching its PlayStation TV for the PS4 on October 14, in the United States. The company announced the news at Gamescom, with the micro-console for PlayStation games including some nifty abilities.
PlayStation TV will allow gamers to use it as a secondary console for PS4 games through Remote Play, the ability to play a bunch of PlayStation Vita, PlayStation Portable and PSOne games through the console. PlayStation TV will also have PlayStation Now on offer, which is Sony's game-streaming service. Sony will be selling the PlayStation TV for $99, or in a $139 bundle that will include a DualShock 3 controller, an HDMI cable, an 8GB memory card, and a copy of Lego The Movie Videogame on the PS Vita.
The National Park Service banned drones from flying over national markets because of safety issues and noise problems, and it seems a banned drone was crashed into Yellowstone National Park's Grand Prismatic Spring on August 2.
The drone hasn't been recovered and specific damage to the natural spring remains unknown, but will try to determine where the drone crashed. The spring is 300 feet across and up to 160-feet deep, making it the largest in the United States.
"We don't know what damage may have been caused when it entered the hot spring, but we also don't know what kind of damage could be caused by leaving it there or by taking it out," said Amy Bartlett, a U.S. National Park Service official, in a statement to LiveScience.
During Microsoft's Gamescom 2014 press briefing, 343 Industries announced that it will be unleashing the beta of Halo 5: Guardians on December 29. The beta will run for three weeks, ending on January 18, 2015.
The beta will see gamers battling it out in four-on-four matches, with all players starting with identical loadouts. The beta will include seven maps, three modes, 11 weapons, as well as a few armor sets that you can customize. Halo 5: Guardians beta players will be able to unlock content in the beta, that will roll over to the full game when it is released.
Halo 5: Guardians will be running at 60FPS, but no details on which resolution it will be rendered at. Halo 5: Guardians' Executive Producer, Josh Holmes, said: "Having a beta this early this early in development is crucial because it gives us as developers the opportunity to react to the feedback we get from fans and take it into account as we complete the multiplayer experience for Halo 5: Guardians". How do you get access to the beta? Halo: The Master Chief Collection will include it, which will be arriving on November 11 for the Xbox One.
Launched by NASA in 2006 and tasked to study Pluto, the New Horizons spacecraft captured unique footage of Charon revolving around Pluto, filmed from 265 million miles. Pluto has five moons, but Charon, at 750-miles across and is just 11,200 miles from Pluto.
A total of 12 photos were captured and researchers are using images to help accurately identify where Pluto is and the path it takes around the sun. Only one-third of the dwarf planet's orbit around the sun has been accurately recorded, space researchers have noted.
The New Horizons is expected to arrive at Pluto around 2015, and is finalizing its pre-Pluto annual systems instrument calibration before arriving. The spacecraft will be placed into "hibernation" mode from late August until early December, which is when it will be used for two years to conduct flyby missions while relaying information back to researchers.
Microsoft seems to be having a big time at Gamescom, with some big titles being talked about for the Xbox One, including Quantum Break from Remedy Entertainment, the studio which made Alan Wake and Max Payne, and Rise of the Tomb Raider, which is an Xbox One exclusive.
The company has announced that they are adding many more options to the Xbox One in a future update, which will turn the Xbox One into a much more feature laden media player. Microsoft will be adding the ability to play media files from a USB drive from the Xbox One, as well as teasing that it will be providing support for the very popular MKV format, as well as DLNA network support. Major Nelson has promised that the Xbox One will receive support for new file types, including MPEG2 TS, animated GIF and of course, MKV. There should be a preview version of the app that will include USB support, but DLNA and MKV abilities will be baked into a later update.
Microsoft will also be making the Xbox One a better device for controlling your TV, with a new update to soon let you boot directly to your TV from standby mode, something that will make things easier for non-gamers who want to watch TV and not play games at that particular time. SmartGlass TV streaming is also coming, something that will allow you to be in another room and watch your shows over your home network with your SmartGlass-powered tablet or smartphone, on either Windows Phone, iOS or Android.
The first two quarters of 2014 again revealed cyberthreats, data breaches and high-risk cyber vulnerabilities that companies struggle to keep up with, according to a new report from security firm Trend Micro.
Consumers face issues such as data theft of customer names, passwords, email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers, and birth dates. Cybercriminals are finding ways to steal this type of information directly from consumers, or compromising companies.
"Organizations must treat information security as a primary component of a long-term business strategy rather than handling security issues as a tertiary, minor setbacks," said Raimund Genes, Trend Micro CTO, in a press statement. "Similar to having a business strategy to improve efficiency, a well-thought-out security strategy should also improve current protection practices that achieve long-term benefits. The incidents observed during this quarter further establish the need for a more comprehensive approach to security."
The "I am the Calvary" security group hopes to bridge the gap between automakers and security researchers, in an effort to keep connected vehicles more secure. The group wants to see the following: design security, development and testing phase, collaboration with researchers, and helping automakers provide assurance of connected security updates.
"We don't need to wait for bad things [to happen] before starting to take safety into our design [considerations]," said Joshua Corman, Sonatype CTO and I am the Calvary co-founder, in a statement. "It takes a very long time to develop technologies and get them in the market. What we start today may not manifest for several years."
As newer vehicles rely on connected features, such as GPS, radio, and other Internet-based solutions, there is growing concern cybercriminals will be able to exploit these new features.