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Students will soon be able to rent textbooks through Amazon

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 10:28 am

Amazon is currently beginning a new program that will see students having the option of renting a textbook through the company, versus having to purchase them outright. Amazon's new textbook rental program would allow students to save up to 70% from the normal cost of the textbook.




Amazon already provides t-textbook rentals, but this new program would fix the lack of a sizeable Amazon presence in the physical textbook sector. The service would see students use Amazon's site to find needed texts within their ISBNs. Students that have already registered with Amazon Student would be eligible for free two-day shipping, where other students would have their books shipped by Amazon's usual standard rates and delivery times.


The textbook rentals would be for 130 days, with an automatic 15-day extension period if the book isn't received on time. After this 15-day extension, Amazon will then charge the student for the purchase of the book outright, minus any rental and extension fees. Amazon goes as far as allowing students to write and highlight in their rented books, but Amazon asks that they keep these additions to a minimum in order to prolong the usability of the text.

Apple scoff down mobile industry revenue

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 9:29 am

Even though Samsung sold close to double the smartphones that Apple did last quarter, with 50 million sold, which is the largest number of units ever shipped by a single vendor in a single quarter, Apple are still absolutely kicking the asses of the competition when it comes to the industry's operating profits.




Apple have much higher gross margins on their iPhone and iPad's, which completely eclipses its rivals in both revenue, and operating profits. Apple only shipped around 6% of the industry's smartphones and tablets in Q2, but they took a surprising 43% of the industry's revenue, according to Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt. Apple also generated an absolutely huge 77% of the industry's operating profits, even in a seasonally weak period for iPhone sales.


So, now we find ourselves in a position of weirdness with competitor Samsung. The Korean-based company outsold Apple's ever-so-popular iPhone two-to-one, and still couldn't touch Apple's insane grab of industry operating profits. But, things can change quickly, and all it takes is a single release from a company (a new, surprising, 'magical' iPhone), or a constant stream of releases (Galaxy phones that continue to sell more and more) to turn things around.

Continue reading 'Apple scoff down mobile industry revenue' (full post)

Next-gen Xbox talked about briefly, then Microsoft issues statements denying the console

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 8:25 am

Brian Hall, Microsoft's Windows Live GM spoke with The Verge over the weekend, talking about the new, and was interviewed on the site's podcast, where he referred to "the new Xbox". Hall mentioned the next Xbox in a list of products that Microsoft have planned to unveil around the time of Windows 8's release:




We just decided it was time to do something new and bring the best from each of those and put them together and release it right in time for the new wave of products that we could have coming out with Windows 8, with the new version of Office, with the new Windows Phone and the new Xbox.


Microsoft were quick to release a statement denying that Hall was referring to the next-generation Xbox, but was actually referring to the "new Xbox" and meant their latest update for the current console, according to Forbes. According to me, it's a big "haha, yeah right, MS", but we know they don't want to talk about the new Xbox and cannabalize their sales so close to the holiday period. It's better to announce it closer to the launch itself.

ARM promises new GPU designs to provide better mobile graphics

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 7:34 am

ARM have announced a new GPU design that is set to be baked into devices later this year, with the company promising 50% more graphics performance, all within the same area, with less power draw compared to current offerings.




Second-generation Mali T600 GPUs, comprised of the Mali T624, the Mali T628 and the Mali T678, provide "optimal performance and energy efficiency for different end devices," says ARM. The new GPU designs are set to include up to 8 cores, which should provide better frame rates than current chips, as well as improved compute performance. ARM is also including a small area of silicon that is devoted to new graphics compression code, which the company have named Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC) and provided as an open standard.


At the moment, developers have to choose between codecs in order to get the right level of texture compression for different platforms, but ARM are hoping to wipe this issue away and make it easier for developers to create content that can be used across multiple platforms.

Microsoft unveils Windows 8 packaging

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 6:24 am

The Verge has been the first out of the gate with exclusive pictures of the retail packaging of Microsoft's upcoming, and already leaked OS, Windows 8. Packaging has been shown off for Windows 8, and Windows 8 Pro, which will be the only boxed versions of the OS to hit retail shelves.




Microsoft have opted to show off their Windows 8-style UI on the boxes, which looks quite delicious, if I may say so myself. Windows 8 sports a brighter styled package in white, with the Professional version shown off in black. Both are looking very nice indeed.


Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT will be available either on new PCs, and tablets from October 26. Upgrade versions will hit stores, or as a download on the same day. What do you think of the newly-styled Windows 8 boxes?

Windows 8 won't be allowing you to boot to desktop, you'll have to say hello to the 'I'm not Metro' homescreen first

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 5:31 am

If you were looking forward to booting directly to the desktop in Windows 8, you're going to be sorry, because Microsoft won't be allowing this. This means that users will be totally forced to look at that "Windows 8-style UI", aka Metro, before you can hit that usual desktop screen you're used to.




We don't know if this will effect all users, but right now it looks like it is a possibility. If the move is concrete, we can see just how serious Microsoft are at pushing their new Windows 8-style UI, or Metro, and how its going to effect Microsoft going forward. The Windows 8 Start Screen isn't just a feature that can be ignored, but will be a component of every single system that sports the OS. Maybe it sounds annoying now, but when we're used to it, we could have tiles for temperatures, e-mail, and the like, and we'll totally get over it.


But, Microsoft have also been talking about this type of move since BUILD, with it looking like it's going to be a staple feature of the OS now. The more I think about it, the more it doesn't directly effect me, as I don't fully turn off my PC all that often anyway.

Microsoft doesn't want to rely on plug-ins for realtime communication in browsers anymore

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 4:34 am

Microsoft have announced their proposal to bring realtime communication in browsers, all without plug-ins. The W3C WebRTC working group received "Customizable, Ubiquitous Real Time Communications over the Web" (CU-RTC-Web) proposal from Microsoft, which is the first step toward creating a standard that would be key in creating a browser-based version of Microsoft's expensive acquisition, Skype.




Other companies have already laid out their plans for HTML5-based communications, with Google and Mozilla already doing so. Microsoft, on the other hand, are waiting to make it publicly available until it's a fully formalized standard. Stopping the software giant right now is the choice of codecs being used, with Google and Mozilla wanting to use the open sources VP8 as default, with Microsoft wanting to be more flexible. is getting eyed at by Microsoft to get some Skype integration, which is something the company has been planning for quite a while now. This would require a plug-in and would not use WebRTC, but it could change somewhere down the line when the standard is complete. The WebRTC standard would allow cross-platform audio- and video-based communications, potentially allowing services such as Google Talk and Skype to work together.

Samsung's Galaxy Note II might only have Ice Cream Sandwich on release, not Jelly Bean

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 3:23 am

I have yet to of had the pleasure of using Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but I hope to soon when I get my paws on ASUS' Nexus 7. What disappoints me is the news of Samsung's Galaxy Note II might be shipping with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).




The news is unconfirmed, but its far from being a rumor, so for now it stays as a normal news post. The news came off the back of Sam Mobile's report that Samsung's Galaxy S III would receive Jelly Bean, and that the initial firmware on the Galaxy S III that had passed testing, this enabled developers to focus on the public release. But, the S III should receive Jelly Bean sometime in Q3, pending final approval and if it's all smooth sailing from here on out.


The Galaxy Note II, according to the report, might only ship with ICS. Current testing software is said to be ICS, which could allow Samsung to fast track the 5.5-inch 'phablet', instead of waiting for more testing with Jelly Bean. If the Note II ships without Jelly Bean, it'll be a saggy point of the phone, I think any flagship smart devices shipped from now on should be driven by Jelly Bean, with devices not pegged to be flagship with ICS, with updates the Jelly Bean in the near future.

RumorTT: HTC to release 5-inch, 1080p smartphone

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 2:29 am

It looks like Samsung won't be the only kid on the playground with a large 'phablet' smartphone, with DigiTimes reporting that HTC are set to launch a 5-inch smartphone somewhere in the September-October timeframe. The flagship phone from HTC would sport a resolution of 1794x1080.




Samsung were the first ones out of the gate with a 5-inch phone, already have plans for a 5.5-inch device, the Galaxy Note II, and we should see this in the next couple of weeks. The success of Samsung's original 5-inch Galaxy Note has sparked interest from more Korean phone makers, where we saw fellow phone maker LG release the 5-inch Optimus Vu just a couple of months ago.


HTC's entry into the 'phablet' market should see the market continue to expand, but I have a feeling it will cut down on tablet sales. Considering that HTC and LG aren't doing too well in tablets, and Samsung are the only real threat out of the three companies combined, a 'phablet' spike in sales would be good to combat the iPhone and iPad sales.

OMGTT: Evidence of Source 2, Half-Life 3 has been found in Source Filmmaker SDK

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Aug 7, 2012 2:17 am

When typing this news, I had to type the 'summary', where I fumbled and typed "Half-Life 2", because I'm not used to referencing Half-Life 3, and in my fanboy excitement, mistakes happen. I picked it up, and here we go: some very eagle-eyed developers at ValveTime have seen some discoveries worth posting some news about. It was also worthy of a new creation 'OMGTT', in the title of this news.




The discovery is that Valve are working on a next-gen Source engine, Source 2, the next version of their 10-year-old engine. Valve's Source engine has powered some of the biggest PC games of all time, such as Half-Life 2, Portal and its sequel, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead and its sequel, and more. Evidence of Source 2 comes from Valve's own Source Filmmaker, which is a free movie-making tool that allows users to create videos using the same assets from within the Source engine itself.


A comment was found on one of SFM's python files provides the best evidence of Source 2's existence to date:


Return an str with the current engine version.

If key doesn't doesn't exist, assume 'Source', otherwise invalid -- assume next-gen 'Source 2'.


Source: Line 1387,

Continue reading 'OMGTT: Evidence of Source 2, Half-Life 3 has been found in Source Filmmaker SDK' (full post)

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