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Jelly Bean is Android 4.1, will arrive in mid-July

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Jun 28, 2012 1:26 am

Google I/O 2012: Ice Cream Sandwich has been out for around six months now, and Google have taken the stage at Google I/O to announce Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean". It was previously rumored Jelly Bean would be Android 5.0, but then rumors were flying in that version 4.1 would be Jelly Bean, it looks like the latter rumors were right.

 

 

The shift to Jelly Bean from ICS isn't as grand as the Gingerbread to ICS shift was, but this time its more of an evolution, and not a revolution. One of the best features is something Google call "Project Butter", which is an effort to improve performance and response time, Jelly Bean cranks along at 60fps. This should ensure a very, very smooth experience.

 

Jelly Bean's home screen has been modified, with Google adding some nice features such as the ability to dynamically resize widgets, which means you no longer have to place it, resize it, then move it where you want if there wasn't enough room. If the room is there, but your app icons are sitting in the way, the widget will now automatically push the apps to the side. Apps and widgets can also be removed by simply flicking them off your screen.

Continue reading 'Jelly Bean is Android 4.1, will arrive in mid-July' (full post)

Google X Lab teaches computers to identify faces, oh, and cats, too

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Cloud Computing | Posted: Jun 27, 2012 11:19 am

We're seeing the beginnings of Skynet, with Intel working on launching technology that mimics the human brain and "learns" of its user, but the Google X Lab has built a one-billion-connection "neural network" that can identify... cats... on YouTube. Yes, cats.

 

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The project did have an aim, where it looked to simulate object recognition by humans, and was able to more than double the accuracy of item identification from a list of 20,000. Using 16,000 cores in 1000 connected machines (is that all?), the system was able to identify objects, all without human supervision.

 

The technology represents a big departure from current vision-learning methods. The system was fed 10 million images from YouTube thumbnails, at the low resolution of 200x200. After 72 hours of learning, the system was capable of recognizing not only the human face and body, but also cats, a subject seen frequently on video clips.

 

The improved 15.8-percent accuracy rate is said to be a jump of over 70-percent from the previous state-of-the-art system.

ZTE wants to hit 35 million smartphone sales in 2012

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jun 27, 2012 10:42 am

Chinese smartphone manufacturer, ZTE, has set some hefty goals for the coming years. First up, the company has reaffirmed its sales estimates for 2012, with executives believing ZTE could hit the number-three position among smartphone manufacturers within the next three years.

 

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ZTE's 2012 target is 35 million shipped units, with the company already shipping 19.8 million units in the first quarter of this year alone, though that estimate does include non-smartphone units. In 2011, ZTE shipping 15 million smartphones, thanks to their popularity in Asian markets.

 

Executives believe by the time 2015 arrives, ZTE should be shipping 100 million smartphones per year, which might be enough to propel the company to the number-three position behind second runner Samsung, and pack leader, Apple. In order to achieve this, ZTE plans to invest heavily into developing markets, with just half of their units going to the US, Europe and Japan.

Continue reading 'ZTE wants to hit 35 million smartphone sales in 2012' (full post)

Yahoo's deal with Spotify set to deliver music to nearly half of the Internet

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jun 27, 2012 10:10 am

Yahoo and Spotify have inked a new deal, where the combination of Spotify's popularity as a music streaming and discovery service, mixed with Yahoo's wide reach to deliver music to nearly half of the entire Internet.

 

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The two companies announced the deal yesterday, which has the potential to significantly shape the digital music landscape. The deal will see Spotify integrated throughout Yahoo's Media Network, and Yahoo's original content featured on Spotify's existing platform.

 

As it stands, Yahoo's Media Network currently reaches an insane 700 million unique users monthly, or, 47-percent of the total global Internet audience. At first, Spotify's on-demand music streaming will be available on Yahoo Music, after which it will be rolled out to the rest of Yahoo, including Yahoo Movies and omg.

 

One small step for Spotify, one giant leap for music lovers everywhere.

Nintendo promises "reasonable" price for the upcoming Wii U, after Amazon drops their pricing

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jun 27, 2012 9:31 am

Amazon's German price on the upcoming tablet-sporting Nintendo Wii U console has been dropped, while Nintendo have promised a "reasonable" cost for the Wii U. Amazon.de had the Wii U previously listed for €399.99, but it has since been lowered to €349.99. This works out to around $435.

 

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The current listed priced is reportedly an estimate, but it is weird for an online store to change their pricing so quick. In the meantime, Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata, has refused to give a price, but has promised that pricing will be "reasonable". He adds that the company won't make the same mistake they did with the Nintendo 3DS, where it failed to take off initially because of its high price, where the company was forced to make big price cuts just months after the launch.

 

Back at E3 just a few weeks ago, Nintendo's American president, Reggie Fils-Aime stated that gamers would be "pleasantly surprised" by the Wii U's pricing, suggesting that Nintendo already has an idea of the final pricing.

VIA shows off VE-900 Mini-ITX powered MakerBot 3D printer - we print the "TT" logo

By: Cameron Wilmot | More News: Printers & Scanners | Posted: Jun 27, 2012 8:57 am

Earlier on today we visited the VIA Technologies headquarters here in Taipei where we got our first up, close and personal look at 3D printing.

 

 

VIA had a demo of its 3D printing station earlier this month at Computex, but we didn't have enough time at this stage to stick around and see a full print. We were invited back to the VIA offices today where we got our first look at 3D printing. Although not a new technology, guys were first messing around with 3D printing back in the 1980's, it's our first time to see it in person, and for me personally, I'm impressed.

 

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VIA hooked up one of their VE-900 Mini-ITX motherboards to a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer along with a customised VIA user interface all displayed on a touch-screen panel. We are told the VIA user interface here is much more advanced than the standard 3D printing interfaces and it provides advanced ability such as providing Dropbox connectivity and more. It's a nice interface to use too with clear menus and information provided on screen such as the device temperatures and so forth...

Continue reading 'VIA shows off VE-900 Mini-ITX powered MakerBot 3D printer - we print the "TT" logo' (full post)

New reality show to be based on Mars, $6 billion cost to establish permanent colony by 2023, Snooki will be too old by then

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jun 27, 2012 8:27 am

Ever wished there were a reality show that wasn't based on this planet? Well, just wait another decade and your wish might just come true. A Dutch company is determined to establish a permanent colony on Mars, and is looking to spend $6 billion doing so.

 

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The plans for a reality show is grandiose, with the project dubbed 'Mars One', and will drop four astronauts on Mars in April 2023, with none of them ever returning to Earth. In order to pony up $6 billion for this venture, the project is set to stage a media spectacle like the world has never, ever seen previously. An interplanetary reality show, along the lines of Big Brother.

 

Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft, an ambassador for Mars One, has said in an introductory video posted on the company's website:

 

This project seems to be the only way to fulfill humanity's dream to explore outer space. It is going to be an exciting experiment. Let's get started.

Continue reading 'New reality show to be based on Mars, $6 billion cost to establish permanent colony by 2023, Snooki will be too old by then' (full post)

Apple releases dedicated Podcasts app for iOS

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: Jun 27, 2012 7:25 am

It was only last week that we talked about the rumor of a dedicated Podcast app from Apple, and now we have it. We thought we might have to wait for iOS 6, but Christmas has come early for Podcast and iOS users.

 

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The new app is called, quite simply, "Podcasts", and is available for all iOS devices running iOS 5.1 or later. Podcasts features a bunch of ways to browse and discover new podcasts through the thousands upon thousands of the things.

 

Podcasts also includes a new Top Stations feature that groups together select podcasts by category, as well as the ability to either stream, or download the episodes for offline use. Podcasts is optimized for both the iPad, and iPhone versions, and it's also able to sync podcasts with iTunes to your Mac, or PC. You will need to have iTunes 10.6.3 first.

 

Grab Podcasts for iOS here.

Apple wins injunction, Samsung's GALAXY Tab 10.1 now banned in the US

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jun 27, 2012 6:48 am

US Judge, Lucy Koh, has moved to enjoin sales of Samsung's GALAXY Tab 10.1, granting Apple's request for a preliminary injunction. This isn't the first time Samsung has faced bans of their devices around the world, the same tablet was banned from sale in Australia last year.

 

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In Europe, a German court banned the device, and forced the company to revise it and release the GALAXY Tab 10.1N. Judge Koh has taken a no-nonsense approach to the tactics of both Apple and Samsung, where at one point late last year, Koh held both the GALAXY Tab 10.1 and iPad over her head and asked both companies' lawyers to tell her which one was which.

 

The funny thing is that court correspondent Dan Levine said that it "took them a while to do so". More details of this ban as it hits.

Spotify becomes the second biggest revenue source for record labels

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Jun 27, 2012 6:24 am

Music discovery and streaming service, Spotify, has a source close to them claiming that they are the second largest revenue generator for major music labels. Last month saw 23 million people use the service, and the only one to topple Spotify right now is Apple's iTunes, according to the Business Insider.

 

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Business Insider estimates that iTunes paid around $3.2 billion to record labels last year, so with Spotify in second place we can only imagine the figure they're shelling out to record labels is much lower than the behemoth that is Apple, but being second place is nothing to scoff at, either. Considering that the service only launched in the US last year.

 

Sean Parker, founder of Napster and early investor in Spotify says that if the service continues to grow at the current rate, they should overtake iTunes with regards to contributions to artists in under two years. Spotify is currently in the process of raising $220 million based on a $4 billion valuation, which includes $100 million from Goldman Sachs.

Continue reading 'Spotify becomes the second biggest revenue source for record labels' (full post)

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