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BlackBerry market share in the U.S. drops to just 0.5 percent

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 3, 2014 7:07 pm

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry ended 2013 with a whimper, as the company captured just 0.5 percent of U.S. Q4 smartphone sales, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners indicated. Prior to the success of the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy line of smartphones, BlackBerry had the most identifiable - and well supported - line of handset manufacturers, though struggled to convert regular users.

 

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The U.S. government recently ordered 80,000 BlackBerry smartphones, seemingly giving the Canadian company a temporary lifeline. However, the company will continue to work on its enterprise-grade software and won't focus as much on developing new smartphones, as the company has struggled to keep up with Apple, Samsung, and other smartphone makers.

 

During Q4, BlackBerry sold 1.9 million smartphones throughout the world, obviously trailing Apple with its 51 million units sold.

Sony executive all but confirms VR headset coming to PS4

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Feb 3, 2014 6:53 pm

During an AMA (Ask Me Anything) post on Reddit, President of Sony Online Entertainment, John Smedley, all but confirmed the existence of a Sony-made virtual reality headset. During the AMA, Smedley was asked about possible future support for the Oculus Rift pertaining to the upcoming Everquest Next game, and his reply more than hinted at the existence of a Sony-branded VR Headset competitor to the Rift.

 

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"Hearing good things about 2 competitors... one of which actually comes from Sony. So I'm thinking this is real and we may have our Snowcrash (a book about a VR based internet by Neal Stephenson) after all." was Smedley's reply. While rumors of a Sony VR Headset have been circling for months now, this is the first word on the matter from someone high up in Sony's management. Since Smedley runs SOE, he would be the person to know if such a headset exist, and exactly how much he could divulge on the matter.

 

With Oculus making huge leaps forward with its Rift headset, Sony has some tough shoes to fill in making a VR headset that people will actually use. Lets hope they listen to the wealth of feedback available online about the Oculus Rift Developers Kit, and include at minimum; 1440P resolution, and wireless operation. If Sony is going to enter this market, then they need to step out of the dugout with their best foot forward and swing for the fences on the first pitch, otherwise, a VR Headset from Sony will not survive the game Oculus is already dominating.

ReportTT: Dell set to lay off 15,000 employees this week

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 3, 2014 5:40 pm

Dell appears to be kicking its restructuring plan into high-gear if a new report from The Register is correct. The report states that as many as 1500 employees from the PC manufacturing and sales giant could be laid of before the week's end. The layoffs come as Dell settles down into private ownership again, and looks to return larger profits in a failing PC marketplace.

 

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The report goes on to say that the staff reductions will take place company wide in all global markets, and that this lay-off round will affect 15-percent of the company's workforce. Those laid off in US-based facilities of the company will receive a severance package that consist of two months salary as well as an extra week's pay per year of service to the company. Additionally, those laid off will receive a 75-percent bonus, COBRA health insurance for 18-months, and outplacement services. No word was given on what those from countries outside of the us may receive.

New Sony PS4 update brings in official support for wireless headset

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Feb 3, 2014 4:25 pm

This morning, Sony announced that the next system software update for the PlayStation 4 will be available late tonight. The update will bring the PS4's system software up to version 1.60 and will bring in support for the PULSE and PULSE-Elite Edition, Sonys official wireless headsets for the PS4.

 

 

Alongside the update announcement, Sony unveiled the latest member in its wireless headset lineup. The Gold Wireless Headset is a 7.1 virtual surround headset that features dynamic profiles that can be tuned by game developers to get the most out of their games audio. The Gold Wireless Headset will retail for $99 when it goes on sale early this month. Sony says the Gold Wireless Headset is compatible with its PS3 and PS4 consoles, and it will even work with your Mac or PC.

Continue reading 'New Sony PS4 update brings in official support for wireless headset' (full post)

14 year old girl burned by iPhone 5C that caught fire in her pocket

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 3, 2014 3:12 pm

Word has came in this morning about yet another incident where someone was severely burned due to a faulty battery in a mobile device. The smartphone in question this time is one of Apple's new iPhone 5C models, and the victim of the fire is a 14 year old girl from Kennebunk, Maine. The girl is said to have suffered second degree burns to her hands after the phone burst into flames in her pocket.

 

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The 14-year-old girl had sat down just before her first-period French class Friday morning when she and her friends sitting nearby heard a pop from the Apple iPhone 5C she had been given by her mother two months earlier.

 

"Immediately, smoke starts billowing from around the student," said Jeff Rodman, principal of the Middle School of the Kennebunks. "She knew right away something was wrong and, in a panic, knew her pants were on fire caused by the cellphone," reports the Morning Sentinel.

Continue reading '14 year old girl burned by iPhone 5C that caught fire in her pocket' (full post)

Lenovo rumored to take over Sony VAIO PC business

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 3, 2014 9:29 am

Lenovo only just whipped out its card to buy Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.91 billion last week, but now the Chinese giant is reportedly in talks with Sony about a possible joint venture to take over Sony's struggling VAIO PC business.

 

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Japanese broadcaster NHK is behind the juicy news, with Sony saying in a statement: "Sony continues to address various options for the PC business, but the press report on a possible PC business alliance between Sony and Lenovo is inaccurate". Sony says it has plans to revamp its VAIO line of devices, which has been slammed by the smartphone and tablet business.

 

But with Lenovo earning around 80% of its revenue from PCs, this rumor could turn out to be a very interesting one going into 2014.

Windows 8.1 passes Windows Vista in OS market share

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Feb 3, 2014 8:29 am

Net Applications' data for January 2014 shows that both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 didn't make much progress for the first month of the year. Both operating systems gained 0.09% combined, with Windows 8 even falling 0.26%, but Windows 8.1 grew by 0.35%.

 

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Windows 7 dropped 0.03% from 47.52% to 47.49%. Windows Vista is slowly dropping, 0.31% for the month down from 3.61% to 3.30%. Windows XP on the other hand, regained some market share, increasing 0.25% for the month. Net Applications data comes thanks to 160 million unique visitors' data being captured, by over 40,000 websites for its clients.

AMD releases Mantle with the Catalyst 14.1 Beta drivers

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Feb 3, 2014 6:27 am

AMD has just unleashed its new Catalyst 14.1 Beta drivers, which include the first proper look at Mantle in the public space. There is a download that you'll need for Battlefield 4 to enable Mantle, too.

 

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Another Mantle-capable game is Star Swarm, which is available on Steam, and includes some bigger performance improvements when using a CPU-limited system. AMD is claiming a gigantic 319% performance improvement when running Star Swarm on its Extreme setting at 1080p, using their A10-7700K processor.

 

This is the very first release of Mantle, so we should only expect things to get better from here on out. You can grab the new drivers here.

Lenovo intros two new education-focused Thinkpad Chromebooks

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Laptops | Posted: Feb 3, 2014 4:35 am

Lenovo has just announced two new Chromebooks which are aimed at the education market, starting with the 11e. The Thinkpad 11e also arrives in a model with Windows 8.1 included, but its built for durability. It can take drops, something most laptops cannot.

 

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The normal 11e features an 11.6-inch HD LED display, while the 11e Yoga features an IPS touchscreen panel. 8 hours of battery life should be the norm, with pricing starting from $349 with ChromeOS. The Yoga 11e and Thinkpad 11e models with Windows 8.1 will start from $449.

Microsoft rumored to be working on a cheaper Xbox One

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Feb 3, 2014 3:25 am

Multiple rumors and reports are suggesting that we should expect another Xbox One from Microsoft, but a more affordable version. We might see a slimmer, smaller Xbox One, or a console that arrives without the Kinect sensor to save on costs.

 

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There's no exact word on what Microsoft will do to lower the price, as the APU inside of it is still powered by AMD, and prices haven't shifted on those yet as the console is still in its first few months on the market. Microsoft did state that the Kinect sensor is part of the Xbox One experience, so it's also hard to see the company yanking that out of the package, too.

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