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Minecraft developer inks deal with the United Nations for urban development

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 10, 2012 7:34 am

Minecraft developer Mojang has just inked a deal with the United Nations, which will see the indie dev help upgrade urban spaces around the world through the use of Minecraft.




Mojang will work with UN-Habitat where they'll support its Sustainable Development Network with the developers 'Block by Black' programme helping the redevelopment of around 300 spaces around the world by 2016. Block by Block will get young people involved in the planning processes in urban areas, as well as letting them share with planners and decision makers how they would like to see their cities developed.


The United Nations first approached the indie developer after its Mina Kvarter project in Sweden, which encouraged people to take part in the reconstruction process of neighborhoods through Minecraft. The programme has actually been recognized internationally as an alternate way of development planning.

FBI to spend $1 billion on next-generation facial recognition system

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Sep 10, 2012 6:29 am

If all the existing cameras on our streets, front-facing cameras on our smart devices, and even the ones that are now being baked into our TVs aren't enough, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are spending $1 billion on a next-generation facial recognition system.




This new next-gen system would be capable of identifying someone under various conditions with as much as 92% accuracy. The Next Generation Identification (NGI) pilot program was launched two years ago, and if the results are anything to go by, the best algorithms were capable of narrowing down someone's identity 92% of the time, from 1.6 million mugshots, impressive.


The person doesn't even need to be looking directly at the camera, as the technology is able to match the person to the available mugshot in the database using various biometric analyses. Said algorithms can analyze features on front and side views of mugshots, create a 3D model of the face, and even rotate the model as much as 70 degrees in order to match the angle of the face in the photo.

Continue reading 'FBI to spend $1 billion on next-generation facial recognition system' (full post)

Sony isn't too sure on Windows Phone 8 yet

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 10, 2012 5:29 am

Windows Phone 8 is right around the corner, and industry giant Sony aren't ready to commit to the mobile OS just yet. Competitors will launch a slew of Windows Phone 8-powered devices in November.




Nokia and Samsung will pave the way for WP8-based devices, but Sony aren't talking about whether they should begin R&D on their own WP8-based devices, or just wait and see what happens first. Sony Mobile's Pierre Perron says:


Sony's strategy is one of openness. Microsoft is a Sony partner with the likes of our VAIO laptops and it's integrated onto our tablets. As far as Xperia smartphones go, Android remains the preferred partner, although Sony is not a single partner company.

Apple has, for the eight consecutive time, taken the #1 position on J.D. Power smartphone satisfaction survey

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 10, 2012 4:39 am

J.D. Power and Associates' latest rankings for consumer satisfaction with smartphones has the same winner it has for eight years now, Apple. Apple have continue to pushed back increasing competition from Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Google.




Out of a possible 1,000, Apple scored 849. HTC were behind Apple with 790 in second place, and Samsung and Motorola sat in third and fourth spots with 783, and 783, respectively. Motorola took in 777 points for fifth position, with six and seventh position going to Nokia with 763, and RIM with 742, respectively. Sitting in second to last is RIM with 740, and HP/Palm sit with 707.


The survey takes into consideration of overall satisfaction with features with performance (29%), ease of operation (26 percent), physical design (24 percent), and features (21 percent). For smartphones, the key factors were performance (33 percent), design (23 percent), features (22 percent), and ease of operation (22 percent).

Chinese company could sue Apple over patents of their new iPhone design

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 10, 2012 3:28 am

The patent war between Apple, and what seems like every other company on Earth doesn't look to stop any time soon. A Chinese company, GooPhone, has already patented the design of the new iPhone, in China.




The new GooPhone i5, yes that's its name, was patented and released before the new iPhone was even announced (and it hasn't even really been announced yet, not until September 12). This gives the Chinese company a legal advantage over the real iPhone maker.


GooPhone i5 runs Google's Android 4.1 OS, and of course its internal goodies would be far different to that of the new iPhone's. The GooPhone i5 sports a 4-inch screen, smaller dock connector, and relocated headphone jack - all rumored to be changes included with the unreleased iPhone.

Continue reading 'Chinese company could sue Apple over patents of their new iPhone design' (full post)

RumorTT: HTC's first Windows Phone 8-powered smartphone to be the '8X'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 10, 2012 2:35 am

If rumors are to be believed, HTC's first Windows Phone 8 device would simply be called '8X'. HTC's 8X would sport a 4.3-inch display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and 1GB of RAM.




Filling out the specs, it would include 16GB of internal storage, NFC capabilities, an 8-megapixel rear camera for 1080p recording, and hopefully the One series' durable polycarbonate build quality.


But, at face value the 8X rumors don't seem to be exciting enough for a struggling HTC, or Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform. With the strong Samsung devices, the just-announced in-cell-based LG Optimus G, Motorola's recently announced devices, and Apple's upcoming next-gen iPhone, is this enough to swing people to HTC, or Windows Phone 8?

Google shares reach $700 again, the first time since 2007

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 10, 2012 1:19 am

Since September of 2007, Google haven't seen their shares bust past $700, until last week. Google saw a 52-week high of $712.25 on Friday, where it floated back down to $706.15 at the end of trading on Friday.




Google's record high was in November 2007, where they hit $747.24. Google have had a great run recently, where they've seen their shares bounce up by around 19% since their last reported earnings, where they showed some strong earnings thanks to their core advertising business.


In the last couple of months, we've seen the stellar Nexus 7 making waves, which is helping Google. We should see some great things from Google in the coming months.

Samsung set to post record Q3 profits of $6.2 billion, thanks to the Galaxy S III

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 10, 2012 12:31 am

Riding on the wave of success of their super successful Galaxy S III, Samsung are poised to record a record Q3 profit of $6.2 billion. The Yonhap reports that according to analysts, Samsung could see an operating profit of $6.2 billion, up from $5.9 billion in Q2.




It wasn't too long ago that Samsung had announced they sold 20 million Galaxy S III handsets in just 100 days, as well as announcing and releasing the Galaxy Note II and the Galaxy Note 10.1.


Quarterly sales are estimated to have expanded by 24.5% to reach $45.5 billion or so, which sports a 78% year-over-year increase.

Galaxy Note II looks like its headed to AT&T

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 9, 2012 3:27 am

When Samsung's 5.5-inch 'phablet' of a smartphone launches in the US later this year, it should be hitting the AT&T network. Samsung has been very quiet about their US launch plans, which is surprising.




BriefMobile, however, have spotted some screenshots of the Note II running on AT&T's network. The Note II would run on AT&T's 4G LTE network, with the screenshots showing some juicy information.




We're looking at the US version of the Note II running the latest Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, with a screen res of 1280x720. Will you be grabbing of the 5.5-inch Note II's when it hits US shelves?

Microsoft's Bing to power the search capabilities of Amazon's new Kindle Fires

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 9, 2012 2:47 am

Whilst Google's Android OS will power the new Kindle Fire tablets from Amazon, there will be one, slight, but big change to its default search app. Instead of Google, it looks like Microsoft's Bing will power the Fires' search.




Amazon have confirmed to AllThingsD that Bing will indeed power the Fires as the new default search engine, pushing Google out of the Fires' spotlight that it sat pretty with on the first-gen Fire.


This is a pretty big win for Microsoft, as Amazon are really pushing the new Kindle Fire's as a start of something new for the retail giant. Bing will see a huge rise in use, and popularity, as the new Fire's go out on sale and people start running around saying "hold on, I'll just Bing that for you".

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