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Companies embracing augmented reality and see worker efficiency rise

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Feb 24, 2014 6:19 pm

If nothing else, augmented reality should see critical growth among businesses trying to help employees become more efficient. Smartphones, tablets, and head-mounted displays are opening the door to augmented reality, though software and app development aren't immersive enough to get most business decision makers to pull the trigger.

 

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However, as head-mounted displays become more familiar - along with increased smartphone and tablet saturation - companies are able to test augmented reality apps. For example, decision makers hope employees in the field, at the office, or on production floors can use augmented reality to enhance work flows and day-to-day operations.

 

The mobile augmented reality industry is expected to top $1 billion annually by 2015, as more businesses embrace the emerging technology. Analysts have pegged the industry with an estimated growth of 30 percent per year over the next four years, though cost and functionality will also need to increase.

Netflix to pay off Verizon too, to prevent content being held hostage

By: Charles Gantt | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Feb 24, 2014 6:10 pm

Over the weekend, Comcast and Netflix entered into an agreement that will see Netflix getting priority bandwidth allocation when streamed across Comcast's network. While many of us see this as a violation of the now defunct net neutrality laws, Verizon seems to disagree. Today Verizon's CEO announced that Netflix has also agreed to pay his company for the same type of prioritization over its network.

 

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Verizon's CEO, Lowell McAdams, said that the two companies have been in talks for more than a year, and he fully expects that the two companies will come to terms quite soon. "If you see someone come in with a lot of load on the internet, with video, you've got to get that in an efficient place. So making the connection far out on the network is a good thing, and frankly, paying for it," said McAdams. "To me this shows you don't necessarily need a lot of regulation in a dynamic market here. By doing these commercial deals we'll get good investments and good returns for both parties."

 

Unfortunately, what this actually means for consumers is that Netflix will have to find a way to make up for the lost revenue that it is having to spend paying off the ISP's to ensure its content gets delivered in as high quality as possible. This means that Netflix will eventually have to raise subscription prices, or cut back on the number of movie and TV show licenses it purchases. This opens the door for the ISPs to do this sort of thing with other services such as Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.

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Ericsson and Philips unveil LED streetlights with broadband connectiv

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Feb 24, 2014 5:47 pm

Ericsson and Philips have announced that they are teaming up on a new project that brings green LED lighting to streetlights and helps mobile providers to expand mobile broadband within a city. Ericsson calls the system Zero Site and the idea is to help cities reduce clutter while offering expanded access to broadband around the city.

 

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Philips is providing the green LED streetlights for the plan and the poles used have space inside to support Ericsson cellular networking hardware. Philips says that the city can help offset the costs of installing green LED streetlights by selling or renting the space for networking gear to a wireless provider.

 

The streetlights will help the city reduce electricity usage significantly with a large rollout. Philips says that the lights can provide a power savings of 50 to 70%. Power savings of up to 80% is possible with smart controls according to Philips.

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Fujitsu haptic sensory tablet lets you feel images on the screen

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 24, 2014 5:16 pm

Fujitsu is showing off a cool prototype tablet at MWC 2014 that has haptic feedback tech inside. The tablet is able to allow the user to feel smooth and rough surfaces on the screen with their finger. That means if a picture has smooth and rough parts, you can actually feel them. Fujitsu is showing off a demo of this tech with an image of an alligator that lets you feel the bumps on its hide.

 

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Another of the demos Fujitsu has is of a harp that lets the user feel the strings as they pluck them. The way the tablet is able to create the haptic feedback is by using ultrasonic vibrations. The vibrations produce a high-pressure layer of air above the screen that acts as a cushion for the finger.

 

When that cushion of air is there, the screen feels very smooth. By alternating the air cushion quickly, Fujitsu is able to produce the feel of a rough surface. The technology has been miniaturized to the point where it can fit inside a tablet and run off the amount of power available to mobile devices.

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Dell launches the PowerEdge R920 server and takes benchmark record

By: Kalen Kimm | More News: IT/Datacenter | Posted: Feb 24, 2014 5:08 pm

Dell recently announced availability of the PowerEdge R920 server that utilizes Intel's new XEON processor E7-4800 v2 and it is already making a name for itself. Dell claims it is their highest performing server and that it is built for the most intense enterprise workloads - ERP, large databases, HPC, etc.

 

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Backing those claims up, Dell just released some pretty impressive benchmarks, taking the lead in a few categories seen here.

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BMW to make carbon fiber wheels using waste from i3 and i8

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: Feb 24, 2014 4:33 pm

BMW is hard at work producing wheels that may eventually replace alloy wheels in performance and fuel-efficient automobiles. The more weight you can remove from a car, the better its performance will be and the better the fuel economy will be. Weight reduction is particularly important in the EV and hybrid realm where less weight means longer driving distance.

 

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BMW working on building a new generation of carbon fiber wheels for its cars. Typically working in carbon fiber is very expensive. BMW is getting around much of the expense by using production cast off material from the i3 and i8 projects, which use carbon fiber in their builds.

 

Carbon fiber is a good material for making wheels. Carbon fiber wheels are about 30% lighter than aluminum and 50% lighter than steel. BMW is actively looking for more places to use the patents it has in carbon fiber processes. It is also looking at making a full carbon fiber steering wheel, a carbon fiber drive shaft for the X5, and a carbon fiber and plastic compound that is strong and light.

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Nokia XL dual SIM smartphone debuts at MWC 2014

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 24, 2014 3:54 pm

Nokia is one of the many companies at Mobile World Congress 2014 that are showing off new smartphones and tablets. One of the new smartphones that Nokia is showing off is the XL dual SIM device. That smartphone is part of the Nokia X series.

 

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The smartphone runs Nokia X platform for the OS and has a 5-inch display. That screen is large, but its specs show that it is a device designed for budget shoppers. The screen has a resolution of 800 x 480, many screens of that size on smartphones are full HD. The Nokia XL does support 24-bit color, and the screen has 187ppi.

 

The smartphone measures 141.4mm tall x 77.7mm wide x 10.9mm thick with a weight of 190g. The Nokia XL has integrated Bluetooth 3.0 + HS. The smartphone has integrated Wi-Fi and charges via a USB port. The device operates on 2G and 3G networks.

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Hands-on with the Sony Xperia Z2 smartphone at MWC 2014

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 24, 2014 3:52 pm

MWC 2014 - TweakTown's reporter on the go, Johannes Knapp, is in Barcelona and getting the lowdown on all the new devices being unveiled at the 2014 Mobile World Congress. Johannes just spent some time with the new Sony Xperia Z2 smartphone, the successor to Sony's flagship Xperia Z1 that was a huge hit at MWC 2013.

 

 

The new Sony Xperia Z2 is almost identical to the Xperia Z1 ascetically, but do not let looks deceive you. The device features a new 5.2-inch full HD "True-Luminous" display, and is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor which has been clocked to 2.3GHz. 3GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage is available which can be augmented by a microSD card.

 

The phone features the same 20.7MP seen on the Z1, but now with 4K video at 120fps this time around. The Z2 is water, dust, and shock proof as well. Wrapping things up, the Xperia Z2 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box. Johannes is in Barcelona for the duration of the 2014 Mobile World Congress, so stay tuned for more hands-on videos of the latest devices from the show.

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Sony will launch its new SmartBand fitness tracker next month

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Feb 24, 2014 3:24 pm

MWC 2014 - Sony unveiled two great looking devices today at MWC 2014, the Xperia Z2 smartphone and Xperia Z2 Tablet, but the fitness tracking market just saw an entry from the Japanese giant. Introducing the Sony SmartBand.

 

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Sony's SmartBand is powered by the company's new Core fitness tracker, which will come with a Lifelog app. Sony's new wearable will track your physical activity and movements throughout the day, but the Lifelog app is where things change. Sony's Lifelog app will save the places you visit, songs you've listened to, games you've played, books you've read, and much more.

 

This is referred to by Sony as the SmartWear Experience, with the SmartBand being the start of this new wearable journey for the company. The SmartBand is waterproof, is capable of measuring your sleep cycle, waking you up at the ideal time each morning, and will notify you of incoming calls, and activity coming in from social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

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Netflix inks deal with Comcast for 'faster and more reliable' access

By: Roshan Ashraf Shaikh | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Feb 24, 2014 2:59 pm

Netflix made a deal with Comcast in which the TV series and movie streaming service will pay Comcast in exchange for faster and more reliable access to the broadband provider's subscribers.

 

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The details of this agreement was not disclosed, but the companies said,"Netflix receives no preferential network treatment under the multiyear agreement." This deal however comes with a criticism that this agreement may violate the principles of net neutrality. It was being discussed that all content providers should have equal and free access to its consumers.

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