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PayPal Beacon, a new USB dongle for hands-free payments

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 11, 2013 10:31 am

PayPal has just announced Beacon, a USB dongle that paves the way for a new generation of hands-free payments. The tiny USB dongle works with Point-of-Sale systems such as Booker, Erply, Leaf, Leapset, Micros, NCR, PayPal Here, Revel, ShopKeep, TouchBistro and Vend. All you need to do is plug into a power source and your brick-and-mortar store is ready for hands-free payments.

 

 

PayPal's Beacon uses Bluetooth LE to detect when a shopper enters the store and if they have the PayPal app installed on their device. The company ssays that Beacon won't be able to track customers' locations as they shop, but it will display an image of the shopper on the PoS system. When the customer is ready for the purchase, a verbal confirmation is all that is required to complete the transaction.

 

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I don't like the security on Beacon, as it requires just your voice for authorization but the company has said that it is using multiple levels of trust in the application. This gives the customer the control of which retail stores can acknowledge their presence in the store, and which stores are capable of using automatic payments. PayPal also gives the option of providing the consumer with a pending payment notification, where they have to confirm it on-screen before it is authorized.

RumorTT: Sony to release Xperia Z1 mini, a smaller high-end handset

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 11, 2013 9:28 am

Geez, IFA 2013 finished just a few days ago and we're already hearing rumors of a new smartphone coming from Sony. The news is coming from a forum post on Digi-wo, who has confirmed the specifications of an upcoming shrunken Xperia Z1 smartphone.

 

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The Xperia Z1 mini (the name we're going on for now) would feature a 4.3-inch 720p display, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of internal flash storage and that huge 20.7-megapixel rear-facing camera that is one of the hottest features on Sony's Xperia Z1 smartphone. These specs are similar to the Xperia Z1 specs, so it looks like it is just a shrunken Z1, and that ain't a bad thing.

 

The source says that the Xperia Z1 mini would be unveiled by the Japanese giant at CES in January next year.

Hong Kong's CSL tests out LTE Advanced, pushes 300Mbps

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Sep 11, 2013 8:31 am

This is all being done while I'm on a piddly 8Mbit ADSL connection in Australia, which costs me $149.95 per month. LTE Advanced is being tested in Hong Kong, with 300Mbps LTE Cat 6 radio network being tested throughout Hong Kong by Hong Kong's CSL.

 

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The network achieved 300Mbps by aggregating their 20MHz carriers at both its 1800MHz and 2600MHz LTE bands. At the moment, there are no smartphones that feature LTE Cat 6 radios, so CSL partnered up with ZTE to create an oversized device that was used for demonstration purposes. You can see in the shot above, they used four very, very thick antennas for the MIMO 2x2 implementation.

 

An FTP download speed of 172Mbps was achieved, which is a heck of download speed. If you're based in Hong Kong and wondering when you'd be able to jump on the 300Mbps service, you'll be waiting until early next year.

Google updates Google Play Music with genre radio stations

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: Sep 11, 2013 7:34 am

I've only just started playing with Google Play Music, finding myself not liking it all that much when compared to Spotify, but maybe I'm just used to Spotify? Well, the Mountain View-based giant has pushed out an update to its music-playing app, adding genre-based radio stations.

 

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There's also some improvements included to the download queue menu, but the new radio stations is the ticket here. They can be selected based on a bunch of pre-defined genres, where you can listen to them from a single tap from the Radio menu of the app. The update to Google Play Music brings it to version 5.2.1204L, and includes the option to pause, resume or cancel downloads that are ongoing.

 

This is a great option if you're running low on battery, or were about to leave the house and were connected to Wi-Fi and didn't want to eat into your download quota. You can grab the Google Play Music app here, if your smartphone or tablet hasn't already updated.

DisplayLink shows off 4K streaming over USB 3.0... and USB 2.0

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Sep 11, 2013 6:28 am

IDF 2013 - If there was a company who could make 4K streaming over USB 2.0, it would be DisplayLink. Back at Computex 2013 in June, we gave DisplayLink our Best of Technology award for its USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Dual Video Adapter by DisplayLink and Targus.

 

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At IDF this year, DisplayLink were showing off a new adapter that was capable of sending 4K video through a tiny USB adapter. In an ideal situation, the system would shoot video over USB 3.0, while giving users full connectivity options for any compatible DisplayLink device. This still works over USB 2.0, with the dynamically compensating data compression might skip a beat here and there.

 

DisplayLink's Director of Marketing, Andy Davis, said that the DisplayLink tech has no issue driving multiple displays, even at Ultra HD resolutions, the issue will come down to graphics drivers and video decoding capabilities of the PC it is connected to.

Square Enix thinks 3 of its latest games are 'commercial failures'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Sep 11, 2013 5:34 am

Some of the biggest hits of the year for gamers are Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs and Hitman: Absolution, but during its 2013 annual report, Square Enix said that these three games are considered "commercial failures."

 

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Square Enix has said before that these games failed to meet their sales targets, and have been labeled as failures. Considering Tomb Raider sold over 4 million units in the first 6 months of release, this should come as a surprise to most. Square Enix does have someone to blame for these issues, and that's the home console market. The report states:

 

In the HD games category, we delivered three major titles in the fiscal year under review, primarily in Europe and North America. These titles-Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution, and Tomb Raider-failed to reach their respective targets, and resulted in financially unsatisfactory consequences, whereas the HD business in Japan remained strong through sales of the Nintendo 3DS version of Dragon Quest VII: Eden no Senshitachi (Warriors of Eden) and others.

Continue reading 'Square Enix thinks 3 of its latest games are 'commercial failures'' (full post)

Intel CEO tells us to expect tablets 'at price points below $100'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 11, 2013 4:42 am

IDF 2013 - During a speech at IDF 2013, freshly suited Intel CEO Bryan Kraznich told the audience to expect Intel-powered tablets available "at price points below $100" this holiday season.

 

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The new CEO has previously said that touch-screen laptop prices should drop to below $200, and that tablets could reach $150 or less. At under $100, tablets would reach into that impulse buy region, but how good would the quality be? Would it make Intel seem like a cheap brand if it was to have its logo on tablets for under $100 on supermarket shelves?

 

The tablets should arrive with Android and not Windows, especially for that under $100 price point.

RumorTT: Intel working on overclockable SSD

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Storage | Posted: Sep 11, 2013 4:37 am

IDF 2013 - Intel showed off how to overclock an SSD today at IDF 2013 in San Francisco. While this certainly doesn't prove that they are working on releasing an overclockable SSD to the public, it certainly shows that they've been toying with the idea. The general idea is that there are several knobs inside the SSD that can be adjusted, resulting in gains of up to 25%.

 

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When pushed, Intel Product Manager James Slattery would only say that, "Intel is not announcing an overclockable SSD product at this time." As we all know, this phrase all but confirms that Intel is working on an overclockable SSD product to be released later. While not confirmed, we'd put more than a grain of salt towards this rumor.

 

Despite further pushing, I was unable to get any further information about a possible product, though I expect we might start seeing K-edition SSDs that will feature unlocked "knobs" for overclockers to play around with. It's important to note that you will not want to put important data on an overclocked SSD as reliability and validity of data is not guaranteed.

OC Main Event sponsored by ASUS, Intel and Corsair caught on film

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Tweaking & Overclocking | Posted: Sep 11, 2013 4:18 am

Trace Hagan, our COD dog loving man on the ground at the Intel Developer Forum has been running around like a mad man today capturing as much content as he could, with one of the bigger events not associated with, but close to IDF is the OC Main Event sponsored by Intel, ASUS and Corsair.

 

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The first video we have is of Charles Wirth, a blogger/overclocker from XtremeSystems. Worth overclocked his Core i7 4960X on ASUS' X79-based Rampage IV Black Edition. He has it running at 5.75GHz running Cinebench with a world-record overclock. Some nice work there, using LN2 as always.

 

 

This next video is a tease of the amount of liquid nitrogen (LN2) that the overclockers at the OC Main Event are going through. The tanks are just gigantic, and if you put them all together it would probably be enough to stop the T-1000 for a few minutes. Hasta La Vista, baby.

Continue reading 'OC Main Event sponsored by ASUS, Intel and Corsair caught on film' (full post)

ASUS unveils the X79 ROG Rampage IV Black Edition Motherboard

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Motherboards | Posted: Sep 11, 2013 4:07 am

While in town for IDF 2013, Intel, Corsair, and ASUS teamed up to put on the OC Main Event nearby. At this event, ASUS unveiled its latest X79 motherboard to complement the newly released Ivy Bridge-E line of processors. While the details are slim, ASUS did mention that they put in 5 times the amount of work on DRAM traces and various other aspects of the board, meaning this should be one heck of a performer.

 

 

ASUS has combined the Formula and Extreme versions of their ROG line of motherboards into this beautiful motherboard, which should provide some incredible performance. As soon as we get a full spec list from ASUS, we'll be sure to tell you about it.

Continue reading 'ASUS unveils the X79 ROG Rampage IV Black Edition Motherboard' (full post)

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