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Windows RT tablets continue to flop as Lenovo drops IdeaPad Yoga 11

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 18, 2013 10:03 pm

Windows seems not to be able to gain any traction with its RT-based tablets. Today, we learned that Lenovo has dropped the Windows RT-based IdeaPad Yoga 11 from its lineup. Despite Microsoft including Office apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and One Note for free on RT devices, the tablet's lack of legacy desktop application support as well as Outlook appear to have doomed the operating system from its inception.

 

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Unfortunately, this may be one of the final nails in the coffin for Surface RT as its rapidly aging NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and a booming Android tablet market appear to be working together to put the tablet in the grave. This move comes after Microsoft sliced the prices on its own Surface RT tablets by $150 across-the-board.

OUYA to match Kickstarter funds raised for games exclusive to its console

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 18, 2013 9:27 pm

OUYA has announced that it will match some of the funds raised on Kickstarter for games being developed on its Android-powered console beginning next month. Dubbed the "Free the Games Fund," OUYA will match donations up to $1 million total for eligible game projects that are posted on Kickstarter between August 9 and August 10.

 

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The project owners can set funding goals at any level they wish but to receive the extra funding that OUYA has promised, the game developers will need to meet their Kickstarter goals and raise at least $50,000. OUYA says that they will match every dollar raised beyond that amount up to $250,000. There is, however, a small little catch to receiving the funding: the game must be exclusive to the OUYA for at least six months after launch. Additionally, the company will give a $100,000 bonus to whichever eligible game raises the most funding.

 

I really hope that this incentive will create some really good games for the OUYA as my experience so far has been less than satisfying. I have played several games on the device and clocked in a few hours of total game play. To me, everything seems laggy with some games being virtually unplayable due to the near half second pause between pushing a button on the controller and it causing a reaction on the screen.

Scientists finally capture video of the pitch dropping in 69-year-old Pitch Drop Experiment

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jul 18, 2013 9:04 pm

86 years ago, the University of Queensland in Australia began conducting an experiment in which the flow rate of a piece of pitch was measured. For those of you who may not know what pitch is, it's a highly viscous liquid which, for all intents and purposes, appears to be solid. Bitumen is the most commonly used form and at room temperature, this tar pitch flows at a very slow rate sometimes taking up to a decade or more for a single drop to fall.

 

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The University of Queensland is not the only institution studying this phenomenon. Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland has also been conducting their own experiment since 1944. Finally after 69 long years, the first drop of pitch has finally fallen. The drop occurred on July 11, 2013 at 5 PM local time and webcams that were set up last April were on hand to catch this extremely rare occurrence.

 

While some of you may not understand the excitement, I find in things like this let me break down how many times human eyes have missed seeing this event take place. According to Prof. John Mainstone of the University of Queensland, he has missed several opportunities to witness the drop happening with his own eyes. First in 1979, Mainstone said that he skipped one of his usual Sunday campus visits and coincidentally the drop happened the same day. Then again in 1988, Mainstone left his lab to grab a snack and apparently missed the drop by just five minutes. Finally in 2000, fed up with missing the drop, Mainstone set up a camera but unfortunately a glitch at the moment of the drop prevented any video of the event occurring.

Continue reading 'Scientists finally capture video of the pitch dropping in 69-year-old Pitch Drop Experiment' (full post)

Microsoft offers 12 free months of Xbox Live Gold if you subscribe to Office 365

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jul 18, 2013 8:31 pm

Microsoft is really making a push to build subscription levels of its Office 365 Suite. Today, we learned that Microsoft will start bundling one year of Xbox Live Gold with any purchase of Office 365 Home Premium or Office 365 University that is made before September 28.

 

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Once signed in for the first time, the Xbox Live code will be provided during the initial setup process for Office. Sadly, those of us in the US are not eligible for this freebie, but our readers in Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada will be happy to know that the offer does apply to them. When you combine this with Microsoft's recent promise of giving away two free games per month to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, this deal virtually pays for itself three times over.

LeakedTT: Android 4.3 detailed in new video

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 18, 2013 8:03 pm

We will most likely see Android 4.3 unveiled at next week's mystery press event being held by Google, but today we get to learn all about the next iteration of Android thanks to a video that has surfaced on the web. The video below (courtesy of AndroidCentral) was taken of a Nexus 4 running Android 4.3 which was purchased from a Google employee.

 

 

While most of the updates are minor and the user experience will feel much like that of Android 4.2, one of the most notable new features is the ability for the phone to automatically suggest phone numbers from your contact list as you dial. Additionally, as I speculated yesterday, Android 4.3 will also feature the updated camera application that has been spotted on the Google Play editions of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

 

Other new features include the ability to let apps turn on Wi-Fi to get a lock on your location before turning Wi-Fi back off again. This feature will prevent apps from pestering you about turning on Wi-Fi. Also in line with speculation is Android 4.3's ability to utilize Bluetooth Low Energy technology as well as the inclusion of OpenGL for Embedded Systems 3.0.

Continue reading 'LeakedTT: Android 4.3 detailed in new video' (full post)

ICANN releases new generic Top Level Domains, rules on Amazon's bid for .amazon

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jul 18, 2013 7:03 pm

ICANN, the governing body behind all the domain names on the Internet, has released today the very first new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs). Those added to the list include: the Arabic word for web (.شبكة), the word for game in Chinese (.游戏), as well as the Russian word for online (.онлайн). More importantly, these are the first TLD's that do not use Latin-characters, a process that has been the standard since the Internet's inception.

 

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The announcement was made today at the 47th ICANN Meeting in which a committee meets to approve or deny top-level domain name requests. Unfortunately for Amazon, this meeting marked the end of their quest for the .Amazon domain. ICANN struck down this request as it is likely to cause confusion with the Amazon region and South America. This means that Amazon washed over $185,000 down the drain which accounted for their application fee.

LeakedTT: Images surface of the new Nexus 7, pricing confirmed

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 18, 2013 6:03 pm

Yesterday, I reported on leaked documents from OfficeMax that foretold of a new Nexus 7 being launched next week. Today, we get to see the new tablet via leaked images that have been posted on AndroidCentral. While we can not confirm these photos, they look very convincing, and someone would have to go through hundreds of hours to create a fake back plate as seen in the photos.

 

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The new Nexus 7 appears to feature the same rounded corners and sleek Nexus-branded plastic back with the iconic Nexus dimpling removed. Based on the specification stickers seen in the images, it appears the device will have upper and lower speakers, a 1.2 megapixel front camera and a five megapixel rear-facing camera.

 

And as I reported yesterday, it appears that the new Nexus 7 will come in both 16GB and 32GB flavors and will feature a quad-core processor. The 16GB model will be at a price point of $229 while the 32GB version will carry a premium of $30 more at $269. We are expecting to see an official launch next Wednesday during Google's mystery press breakfast.

NCAA cuts ties with EA Sports, no more NCAA Sports games for the foreseeable future

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 18, 2013 5:03 pm

Today, the NCAA said that they will not allow Electronic Arts Inc. to use their name or logo in any future video games. In a statement, the NCAA said that it has no plans to enter into a new contract with EA Sports after the current one expires in June 2014. While not official, industry analysts suggest that this is due to a number of pending lawsuits against the NCAA from former college athletes who state that EA profited off their likeness.

 

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EA Sports says that they will still produce college football video games which will still feature all of the powerhouse colleges such as Alabama, the University of Georgia, Ohio State, and many others as it is the schools who license their name and logos, not the NCAA. This is usually handled through the Collegiate Licensing Company who manages the trademarks of the majority of the colleges in the country.

 

"EA Sports will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks," said EA executive vice president Andrew Wilson. "Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Co. is strong and we are already working on a new game for next generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, conferences and all the innovation fans expect from EA Sports."

Continue reading 'NCAA cuts ties with EA Sports, no more NCAA Sports games for the foreseeable future' (full post)

HTC officially announces HTC One Mini, a smaller flagship with smaller features

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 18, 2013 4:13 pm

This morning, HTC officially announced a smaller version of its HTC One. Dubbed the One Mini, this new handset is a 4.3-inch version of the company's popular flagship device. Unfortunately, appearances and software are where the similarities end. HTC says that they will be offering the One Mini "at pricing points below that of the HTC One" and as a result, a few hardware downgrades have had to take place.

 

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Included in the trade-offs is a step down to QUALCOMM's Snapdragon 400 dual-core processor which is clocked at 1.4GHz. It also features 1GB of RAM, 16GB of non-expandable storage and there is no NFC present. Additionally, HTC has removed the optical image stabilization from the One Mini as well as the IR blaster that gave the phone the ability to control your home entertainment system.

 

HTC one also switched out the LCD from a 1080p panel to a 720p super LCD, which features a pixel density of 341 ppi. Battery capacity was also reduced and now features an 1800mAh which was expected due to the overall smaller form factor. It appears that BoomSound has stuck around as well as the aluminum unibody. HTC says that it will roll out the One Mini starting in August and two colors will be available: silver and black.

Verizon adds almost 1 million subscribers and 3.9 million iPhones during Q2 of 2013

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 18, 2013 3:02 pm

This morning, Verizon released its financial report for the second quarter of 2013 and appears that the company is continuing its unprecedented growth. The company is reporting that it added 941,000 subscribers between the months of March and June and activated more than 3.9 million iPhones. This brings the company up to a total of 94.3 million wireless subscribers.

 

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Verizon managed to rake in $5.2 billion in profit amidst $29.8 billion in total revenue. Compared to the same time period last year Verizon is up more than 4.3 percent in revenue and over 16 percent in profits. The company says that 64 percent of its users are now on smartphones which is up 3 percent from last year, and the company managed to activate 7.5 million smartphones of which 6.4 million were LTE devices.

 

The Verge is reporting that during the financial earnings call to investors, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo confirmed the company's plans to launch a new financing program called Edge. Unfortunately, that is where the details ended, but we can expect Edge to be a clone of T-Mobile's "Jump" program and AT&T's "Next" initiative.

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