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BlackBerry fires chief of US Sales, plans another round of massive layoffs

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 11, 2013 12:27 pm

The days for BlackBerry just keep getting darker and darker as sales and revenue continue to slump for the once king of smartphones. Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that BlackBerry had fired its vice president of US sales, Richard Piasentin, late last month and said that more layoffs are coming across middle management in the sales and support divisions.




This news comes shortly after CEO Thorsten Heins wooed shareholders at a meeting on Thursday which resulted in BlackBerry shares rising 3 percent just hours after the meeting was over. This new report of layoffs will stack on top of the 5000 BlackBerry workers let go during the previous fiscal year of 2012.

Pirate Bay co-founder shows off his upcoming spy-proof messaging app called Hemlis

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 11, 2013 11:02 am

Peter Sunde, creator and co-founder of the infamous torrent sharing service The Pirate Bay, showed off his latest project today, a truly secure messaging app for mobile devices called Hemlis. The new app is currently in its early stages and is being developed alongside team members Leif Högberg and Linus Olsson.




At the moment, they are raising money through PayPal and BitCoin via the website to fund further development. Those who donate will receive a certain amount of unlock codes that will unlock the full app which will run on iOS and Android.


Sunde plans on offering the secure messaging app for free with a section for in-app purchases which will unlock additional features. The app aims to be the first truly secure messaging app with an encryption that will keep your conversation from prying eyes such as the NSA.

Continue reading 'Pirate Bay co-founder shows off his upcoming spy-proof messaging app called Hemlis' (full post)

Google to shut down Latitude on August 9 in wake of new Maps mobile app

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jul 11, 2013 9:26 am

Google's Latitude service is about to enter the way of its now-defunct brother Google Reader. Today, Google announced that it would be canceling its Latitude service effective August 9 as a result of a Google Maps for mobile update.




Google Latitude is a location-aware application that allows users to share where they are with others. This has long been a major feature of Android and allows the friends to share their locations with each other. Google says that any third-party application that made use of the Latitude API will cease to function on August 9 as well.

Path updates its app for Android and iOS devices to version 3.1

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Apps | Posted: Jul 11, 2013 8:03 am

If the new stickers for Facebook chat have annoyed you, then you're really going to begin to hate your Path account. Today, the company updated its mobile app for iOS and Android and has moved the cartoony stickers out of private messaging and now allows users to post them in the comments section of your feed.




Additionally, Path now generates a QR code that will let you easily find and add new friends. Path has recognized that this addition of QR codes could possibly generate a flood of new contacts and has improved the friends list in the update as well.


The company says it has also taken the opportunity to update Path for iPad by improving navigation in both landscape and profile views so you never miss a moment or message. The landscape view now has a fully functional composer button and feed so you can share in the moments however you prefer.

Google updates Maps for Android, will hit iOS devices soon

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Apps | Posted: Jul 11, 2013 6:30 am

Today, Google released a complete refresh of its Google Maps for Android app. The company says that the new app brings forth an entirely new mapping experience that makes exploring the world and getting to the places that matter to you a lot faster and easier.




Google says that the new Google maps for mobile builds on the design that was released last year for iPhone and improves on it with new search and navigation features. Additionally, this is the very first dedicated Google Maps for Android tablets and iPads.


The new app brings forth an explore feature that the company says is a fast and easy way to visually browse and discover new places without even typing. Users must simply tap the search box and you'll see cards that show great places to eat, drink, sleep, and shop.

Continue reading 'Google updates Maps for Android, will hit iOS devices soon' (full post)

One Laptop Per Child XO tablet to arrive exclusively at Walmart next week

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 11, 2013 4:55 am

Next week on July 16, One Laptop Per Child's OLPC XO tablet will launch exclusively at Walmart. This hybrid notebook/tablet will then make its way to other top retailers in the US, Europe, and North and South America in the weeks following.




This kid-friendly tablet first debuted last August and was described as a major leap forward in getting a smart device in the hands of every child. Back then, we were told that the XO would feature a 7.5-inch optical touch display and would be powered by Marvell's ARMADA 2128 40nm SOC. No word yet on what the tablet will cost, but we are expecting a number somewhere around the $199 point.


In a recent blog posting the company said:


OLPC is very excited about its current projects in the USA and abroad. OLPC is delivering the first batch of XO-4 Touch machines to Uruguay, in addition to a large order of XOTablets.OLPC has also begun the production of a large order for the government of Rwanda. The feedback from focus groups and educational institutions with respect to OLPC's new devices, the XO-4 Touch and the XO Tablet, has been extremely positive.

ARM will boost mobile processor clock speeds to the 3GHz range by 2014

By: Charles Gantt | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: Jul 11, 2013 4:11 am

It was just two years ago that a 1 GHz processor in your smartphone was considered a big deal, but by today's standards 1 GHz is pretty slow. Today, ARM announced that it will be ramping up clock speeds in its mobile processors to the 3 GHz range in 2014.




A statement from the company reveals that it has plans to move away from the 28nm process and begin manufacturing chips on a 20nm process which will set the stage for the 3GHz core speed. TSMC, the fabrication house which has signed a deal to manufacture Apple's new line of chipsets, has said that the new process is expected to deliver a 30 percent increase in clock speed while at the same time a 25 percent reduction in heat. These gains can be attributed to efficiency gains from the next-gen manufacturing process.


ARM says that most of the new transistors added will be dedicated to graphics processing performance. The 25 percent reduction in power function will translate into a 25 percent boost in battery life. Since battery life is still the top complaint when it comes to smartphones ARM says that consumers should look forward to the new 20nm process.

HTC to continue metal unibody chassis for its future smartphone products

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 11, 2013 3:02 am

During a recent interview, HTC's senior manager of design and innovation, Justin Huang confirmed that HTC is committed to utilizing the all-metal construction that has helped boost the HTC One to the top rankings of the Android smartphone market. He said that the company has learned lessons in fabrication from the production of the One which will be applied to upcoming products.




He said that the first of its next-gen smartphones to feature a metal unibody will be the HTC One Mini which will be formally unveiled at some point next month. The HTC One Mini looks very much like its larger counterpart but features a lower resolution screen that comes in at 4.3 inches and 720p resolution.

North Carolina State University researchers develop liquid metal 3D printer

By: Charles Gantt | More News: | Posted: Jul 11, 2013 2:05 am

Anyone who knows me or follows my DIY/maker posts here on TweakTown knows that I am one of the biggest fans of 3-D printing that has ever lived. Since the original RepRap project began back in 2005, I have lived 3-D printing. This next tidbit of news is probably some of the most exciting I have ever reported here TweakTown.



Researchers at North Carolina State University have managed to produce an alloy of liquid metals--gallium and indium--that allows droplets to retain their shape when placed upon each other. This led to the development of a liquid metal 3-D printer. Normally liquid metal reacts the same way any other metal does when more is added, by this I mean it all congregates into a single mass.


The researchers discovered that when combining gallium and indium, the metals combined to make an alloy that forms a skin around the material. This allowed researchers to create structures by piling drops on top of each other using a very tiny syringe. Naturally, this process was automated and through the use of CNC robots, a liquid metal 3-D printer was born.

Continue reading 'North Carolina State University researchers develop liquid metal 3D printer' (full post)

LeakedTT: More iPhone plastic shells appear, 5 new colors shown

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 11, 2013 1:02 am

Twitter user Sonny Dickson has just posted an image of what appears to be five new colored backs for the upcoming low-cost iPhone. We've seen others in the past and these look very similar but with a more pastel color palette.




The colors shown appear to be fuchsia, blue, lime green, pastel yellow, and white. One thing worth noting is that the corners are a little more squared off than previous leaked images, which leads us to believe that these could be replacement skins or protective covers designed by a third party manufacturer.


With news earlier today concerning Foxconn ramping up its workforce in a push to bolster new iPhone production numbers and with yesterday's news of Apple cutting current iPhone production by 20 percent, we can bet that sometime in the coming weeks we will see more information on the so-called low-cost iPhone.