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HTC pulling out of Brazil, stopping sales of all phones

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jun 22, 2012 9:30 pm

HTC is pulling out of Brazil completely and stopping all sales of phones in the country. This is bad news if you are an Android fan and live in Brazil. The spokesperson for HTC said that the company is "completely shutting down their operations in Brazil." They have promised to continue supporting current customers.




"After analyzing the sales numbers, we have decided to pull out of the Brazillian market," said an HTC public representative in Brazil to AndroidPIT. It's not exactly clear why the decision was made as Brazil is the sixth largest economy in the world and has recently passed Germany and France in the number of smartphone owners.


It's possible that the country's high tariffs on technology imports are the cause of this. After all, Apple managed to convince Foxconn to build a factory in Brazil so that they could continue to sell iPhones and iPads at a reasonable price in Brazil. It could also be a result of the competition with Samsung and Apple.

Alan Turing's breakthrough machine gets a loving Lego tribute

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Jun 22, 2012 8:24 pm

Alan Turing, a man you've probably never heard of and you probably couldn't live without his work, would have celebrated his 100th birthday tomorrow. Mr. Turing was the man who basically invented modern computing. He was also significantly important during World War Two due to his work in cryptography and code breaking.




Now, one of his inventions has been rendered in Lego form as a cerebration of his brithday, which, for inventors, is like an actor being parodied on The Simpsons. It's a sign that you have really made it. The machine is really simple and the heart of the machine is a Lego Mindstorms NXT set, but the soul is Alan Turing's genius.


The use of Legos demonstrates just how simple his machine was:


It's very simplr, but describes the fundamental capabilities of practically all computers in use today. This means that if something can be done on a computer, it can also be done on a Turing machine. This makes it a great model for scientists to use to discover the limits of computers (e.g. complexity theory) and also to show to a broad audience how a computer fundamentally operates.


The Lego model is on display at Asterdam's Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica's Turings Erfenis exhibit. The only difference in the Lego version is the lack of an infinite tape. The Lego Turing Machine only has 32 positions. If you aren't in Amsterdam and are unable to see it, you can check out the video in the source link.

Google employee proposes error code '451' to signal internet censorship

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jun 22, 2012 7:32 pm

As if we don't already have enough internet codes, it appears there will soon need to be one more. A Google employee has offered up one option for the code that will surely soon be necessary. Tim Bray has proposed that the new code be '451' in order to honor the late author Ray Bradbury, whose science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451 warned of a dystopian world defined by government-imposed censorship.




"We can never do away entirely with legal restrictions on freedom of speech. On the other hand, I feel that when such restrictions are imposed, they should be done so transparently; for example, most civilized people find Britain's system of superinjunctions loathsome and terrifying," said Bray in an interview with the Guardian.


"While we may agree on the existence of certain restrictions, we should be nervous whenever we do it; thus the reference to the dystopian vision of Fahrenheit 451 may be helpful. Also, since the Internet exists in several of the many futures imagined by Bradbury, it would be nice for a tip of the hat in his direction from the Net, in the year of his death."


The idea was inspired by someone else's blog post about how they received a '403: Forbidden' error when trying to access The Pirate Bay. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is set to consider it when they meet late next month. But of course, in life, there are no guarantees so they may decide not to adopt it for several reasons.

Continue reading 'Google employee proposes error code '451' to signal internet censorship' (full post)

Droid RAZR and RAZR Maxx Android 4.0 update coming, starts rolling out today

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jun 22, 2012 6:32 pm

Owners of the Droid RAZR and RAZR Maxx on the big red Verizon network could possibly be waking up to a treat tomorrow, if they didn't today. The reason? There phone will have downloaded an update to Android 4.0. As with all roll-outs, it will gradually work its way to more and more phones bringing the same kind of happiness someone gets when eating actual ice cream.




The update brings with it a lot more than just Android 4.0. Verizon details what some of those features are:


Ice Cream Sandwich features upgraded functionality and new features, such as Face Unlock. By looking directly at the screen, the smartphone recognizes its owner and automatically unlocks the device. It also includes Direct Access Lock Screen, which allows you to easily open camera, text messages, and dialer from the lock screen.


Furthermore, the update will allow the Droid to get international data and voice services, when subscribed to an international plan. Verizon has also updated some of its apps and is providing those with the update. These apps include Backup Assistant Plus, SMARTACTIONS, Newer versions of Google Mobile Services Applications with Enhanced Features, Video Calling Portal, and Verizon Apps Store.

Leaked slides gives us details about upcoming Haswell-EP

By: Trace Hagan | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: Jun 22, 2012 5:30 pm

There's still a fair bit of time before Intel releases server chips based upon the Ivy Bridge architecture, but that isn't stopping avid readers and power users from questioning what comes next. Next, by the way, is Haswell, which is the successor to the current Ivy Bridge architecture and is a completely new design.




The leaked slides would appear to be real and detail some of the chip's features that we should expect when it releases. As far out as it still is, some of these details could be subject to change. The slide claims that there will be minimum of 10 cores per CPU and will sport up to 35MB of total LLC, about 2.5MB a core.


It is said to have 40 PCI-e lanes and will sport Hyperthreading and Turbo Boost. It appears that the new CPU will be getting a new socket (of course) called R3 or Socket R3. This is most likely so that it can handle the 4 channels of DDR4 operating from 1333MTS all the way up to 2133MTS. Additionally, it sports two QPI paths so there will be a max of two CPUs per system.


Intel DDR4 servers are supposed to debut in 2014, so don't be expecting Haswell-EP before then. That puts 2014 as the most probable time for when Haswell-EP will shed its NDA and more information will come available.

High-DPI Acer Iconia tablet now available for $449.99

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jun 22, 2012 4:34 pm

Looking for a new tablet to compete with the iPad's Retina display? Well, this may be just the thing for you. Finally, Android tablets with higher DPI are starting to show up from companies around the world. Today, we see that the new Acer Iconia Tab A700 is now available and on sale for only $449.99.




The new (updated?) tablet spreads a resolution of 1920x1080 across a 10.1" panel. While that's not quite as good as the iPad at 2048x1536 across a 9.7" panel, it certainly is much closer than the previous competition. At this higher DPI, text should be sharper and graphics should be better looking and free from jagged edges.


The Iconia tablet is almost identical to the cheaper A500 tablet, save for the screen. The tablet features a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 32GB of SSD, Bluetooth, dual cameras (with 1- and 5-megapixel resolutions, front, rear), and several ports, including Micro-USB 2.0, Micro HDMI, and 3.5-mm audio jacks. The tablet weighs in at 1.47 lbs and measures 0.43" thick, making it a bit thicker than the iPad, but essentially the same weight.


It is listed for sale in Acer's own online store.

There's reason to believe Surface tablets may not match iPad in battery life

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jun 22, 2012 3:25 pm

Looking through the specifications sheet for the upcoming Microsoft Surface tablet that runs the ARM processor reveals some interesting information. One, Microsoft has no quoted battery life specification and also never gave one during the presentation. And two, the specs say how many watt-hours the battery holds.




"They didn't talk about battery life, which is very important to decisions about [which] tablet to buy," said Michael Cherry of Directions on Microsoft. Gregg Keizer at ComputerWorld points out that Surface RT battery is rated at 31.4Wh which is not tiny, but is about 25% smaller than that of Apple's 42.5Wh rated battery.


At the same time however, if one looks at the iPad 2, they will find a 25Wh battery which provides 12.5 hours of battery life. The longer battery life is due to a lower resolution screen. Currently there are too many variables to produce an accurate prediction, but an early guess places the battery life at the same or worse.


Even the Surface Pro has a smaller battery than the iPad 3 and it will be running a full Intel i5 mobile chip. This means it will likely find less battery life than Ultrabooks, who often have batteries bigger than the iPad 3. True, however, is that they are bigger and heavier, but a tablet needs great battery life to be successful. We will wait until a consumer product arrives to find the actual numbers.

'Steam for Schools' is a free student version of Steam, allows for Portal 2-based lessons

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jun 22, 2012 2:04 pm

It looks as though Valve believes there is some value to using games in education. It's been occasionally supported by studies that doing something fun helps kids learn and keeps them engaged, so the reasoning behind 'Steam for Schools' is solid. This summer, educators can apply to be included in the beta which provides a copy of Portal 2, its level editor and its workshop for hosting those levels.




"We have a limited version of Steam, which is called 'Steam for Schools.' And what we're doing is asking for teachers, after school programs, organizations - anywhere where there's a student relationship, which includes homeschooling - for them to submit a form to be part of it. It's still in beta," Valve's Leslie Redd told attendees of the Games for Change festival in New York City.


Valve has received no outside funding or grants to help pay for this program. They are a pretty successful commercial venture, so they do have a bit of extra cash laying around. Besides, doing things for children is probably the best PR a company can get, and it can't be costing that much to give away a copy or two of Portal 2.


Valve has talked about changing the level of openness later on down the line but insists that "children need that walled garden." That comment aside, Valve does intend for more openness in the future. Currently, no other publisher has signed on, but there have been some initial talks. I just want to see exactly what they plan to teach with Portal 2.

SwiftKey Keyboard for Android hits version 3, learns some new tricks

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: Jun 22, 2012 10:46 am

SwiftKey 3 for Android is now here, and the customizable and helpful keyboard has been updated with some new features. The updated version of SwiftKey sports a more intelligent correction capability, and an improved user interface.




One of the new features is something the developer, TouchType, call "Smart Space". Smart Space detects when you've inserted a space in the middle of a word, or forgotten to insert spaces when typing too quickly into a string of words and automatically corrects it for you.


The keyboards also sports a bigger space bar, and a smart punctuation key that gives you access to common punctuation. As a long-term user of SwiftKey, the new smart punctuation key will take a little getting used to. There's also two new themes to choose from, the first "Cobalt" and the second "Holo", which looks similar to the default color theme of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Microsoft issue takedown notices for Xbox 720 documents

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jun 22, 2012 10:00 am

A bunch of websites who hosted the reported Xbox 720 design documents have received takedown notices from Microsoft. Polygon reported than a Czech website received a letter requesting that the content be removed. The letter came from Alan Radford, on behalf of Microsoft, which said:




Microsoft has received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorised activities relating to copyrighted works published by Microsoft.


The letter has been sent to other websites, and states that the "IEB Roadmap" was an infringement of Microsoft's copyright. It seems that they just didn't want the information out there, but once it's on the Internet, it's pretty much permanent.

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