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Dell enters beta testing of new thumb drive sized Android PC

By: Charles Gantt | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 3:03 pm

A recent report by PC World is suggesting that Dell has recently started beta testing thumb drive sized Android mini PCs that could give Google's recent Chromecast a run for its money. Dubbed project Ophelia, the device is said to be similarly sized to the Chromecast but would feature much more functionality as it will run a full version of Android instead of a slimmed down version of Chrome OS like the Chromecast does.




Project Ophelia features the same style direct HDMI connectivity that Chromecast does and is said to feature a full version of the Google Play Store that would allow users to download the full complement of apps, games, movies, and books that other Android devices use. It will feature both Bluetooth 4.0 and and Wi-Fi, so wireless keyboards, mice, and the various Android-to-Android Wi-Fi-based remote apps that are growing so popular should work well.


Sources say that project Ophelia should retail for around $100, but for now, only beta testers are getting there hands on Ophelia, and we don't expect a release until sometime during the next fiscal quarter which could be as late as October. While the $100 price tag is a bit on the high-end in my opinion, this little device could spell big trouble for companies like Pivos, producer of the Xios DS Android-based set-top box that is one of the leading sellers for Android HTPCs.

RumorTT: Nokia said to be prepping Bluetooth 4.0 "Treasure Tag"

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 2:05 pm

The rumor mill is fired up and already pushing out fresh rumors this Monday morning. Today, the Verge is reporting that Nokia is in the process of mass producing a new Bluetooth 4.0 device that will pair with its Lumia line of Windows Phones. Dubbed the Treasure Tag, the device uses a combination of Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) to help you find things when they are lost.




The "Treasure Tag" is basically a small little tile that would let you track items using a purpose-built application. When the item you have tagged is lost, you can use the app to locate the item via a map which makes use of Nokia's LiveSight augmented reality view. This means that if you have lost your keys and you had a Treasure Tag attached, you could open up the app and view the keys' exact location on a mini map.


The process works in reverse, too. If you lose your phone, you will be able to push a button on the Treasure Chest and the app on your phone will activate an audible alert that will help you pinpoint the exact location of your missing device. It appears that the Treasure Tag is designed to be "always on" and will last about 6 months on its internal battery, but no mention has been made about battery replacement or rechargeability. The Treasure Tag is said to launch in the coming weeks after Nokia rolls out its Amber Update that will give Lumia devices Bluetooth 4.0 support.

Chromecast rooted, full details on the operating system revealed

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 12:29 pm

While TV networks aren't happy with Google's new $35 wonder device, Chromecast, it looks like there's some special herbs and spices inside of the little, cheap, and very capable device.




Chromecast has been rooted by the GTV Hacker crew, who discovered the Chromecast runs a mix of both Android and Chrome. Google has said that Chromecast runs ChromeOS, but when the Chromecast is powered up it says "Chrome", but the GTV Hacker crew say otherwise.


Once the Chromecast is rooted, the GTV Hacker crew say what you see is closer to Android and Google TV than it is to Chrome. At the moment there's no way to run apps on Chromecast, but the crew didn't dismiss the idea of putting an Android port on Chromecast. You might want to get in quick, because Chromecast sold out online within 36 hours, and the Mountain View-based giant have already pulled their three-month Netflix promotion because of "overwhelming demand".

Cover-based shooter made with Oculus Rift and Razer Hydra

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 11:33 am

Oculus Rift developer forum user Teddy0K has made a first-person, cover-based shooter using Oculus' Rift VR headset in conjunction with Razer's Hydra motion controller.



Teddy0K shows us in the video (above) that the Hydra wand is attached to the gamer's chest, while the Hydra joystick is placed in your hands and used as your weapon, as well as controlling your forward and backwards movement within the game. The motion-controlled rig allows gamers to perform in-game actions such as ducking behind cover and blind firing over it.


What we see, is an updated version of Teddy0K's HydraDeck Demo. Teddy wrote on the developer forum: "The position tracking adds a tonne to the immersion of being in a virtual world. Please be careful when playing this demo, lots of people try to support themselves on the crates when they try to stand up or when leaning up against a column, but find there is nothing there!"

Continue reading 'Cover-based shooter made with Oculus Rift and Razer Hydra' (full post)

Senior Apple VP leaves his team, is now working on 'special projects'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 10:29 am

It looks like Apple's Senior Vice President, Bob Mansfield, has left his post and is now working on "special projects" where he reports directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.




Mansfield did semi-retire last year, but returned two months into his retirement. He eventually led a new division within Apple that worked on semiconductor and wireless hardware. What could Mansfield be working no now? The New York Times recently wrote that he was "engrossed" with wearable technologies, so we might see his products in the coming years.


I'm sure that with Google Glass and other wearable tech, Apple doesn't want to be left behind.

Amazon creates 5,000 new full-time jobs across the US

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 9:21 am

It wasn't long ago that we were reporting that US-based e-tailer Amazon reached record highs on their share prices, and not long after that we reported about Amazon tripling their employees to over 97,000 in the last three years.




Now the company has announced they've created 5,000 new full-time jobs in its US fulfillment network in order to meet increased customer demand. Amazon are quite generous, too, with their median pay in their fulfillment centers around 30% higher than employees in traditional retail stores. This isn't even counting the fact that Amazon offer stock grants to full-time staff, which add an average of 9% to base pay each year.


Dave Clark, Vice President of Worldwide Operations and Customer Service at Amazon said: "We're hiring more than 5,000 people to join our team and help us continue to innovate and serve our customers. We're focused on sustained innovation across Amazon and want to help our employees succeed-whether at Amazon or elsewhere-so we offer programs like Career Choice, where we'll pay for up to 95% of eligible employees' tuition regardless of whether the skills they learn are relevant to a career at Amazon."

Continue reading 'Amazon creates 5,000 new full-time jobs across the US' (full post)

LG unveil two new 21:9 'ultra-widescreen' displays

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Displays & Projectors | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 8:26 am

It looks like LG has some faith in the 21:9 "ultra-widescreen" display market, as the South Korean company have just unveiled two new displays. Both displays are 29-inch ultra-widescreen, with the model numbers of 29EA73-P, and 29EB73-P.






Both 29-inch screens feature a native 2560x1080 resolution, dual-link DVI, DisplayPort, two HDMI ports (one of which is MHL-capable). Both displays feature USB 3.0, 7W speakers and audio out. The difference between the displays is in design, and dimensions. Full details below:



  • Size: 699.7 x 387.0 x 197.2mm, 5.9kg (Including a stand)
  • Maximum resolution: 2560 x 1080 dot
  • Display colors: About 16.7 million colors
  • Input terminal: DVI-D(Dual-Link), HDMI x 2(MHL x 1), Display Port, USB hub (Up x 1/DownUSB3.0 x 2, USB2.0 x 1), Audio input



  • Size: 699.7 x 395.3 x 225.0mm, 6.9kg (Including a stand)
  • Maximum resolution: 2560 x 1080 dot
  • Display colors: About 16.7 million colors
  • Input terminal: DVI-D(Dual-Link), HDMI x 2(MHL x 1), Display Port, USB hub (Up x 1/DownUSB3.0 x 2, USB2.0 x 1), Audio input

Google exec: Android partners need to improve their tablets

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 7:28 am

Google's Vice President of Android Product Management, Hugo Barra, had some interesting things to talk about with The Verge in his latest interview. He said that he isn't happy with the state of manufacturers and their Android-based tablets.




He continued: "I really do think that the Android ecosystem hasn't yet put its best foot forward, when it comes to tablets." Because Android is open source, it has allowed manufacturers to sell sub-$100 tablets that don't really do Android justice. I think the issue is that manufacturers slap their own UI interfaces on top of Android, something I really dislike. Especially Samsung - who coincidentally are the most successful manufacturer of Android-based devices.


But considering Google's just-announced and barely available refreshed Nexus 7 is just $229, it's hard to buy anything else anywhere near that price from any competing Android maker. Even the iOS-based iPad mini is $100 more, and includes the ageing iOS 6 on-board.

TCL announce their new 50-inch 4K-capable TV, costs just $999

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Displays & Projectors | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 6:29 am

TCL have just come out swinging with their new 50-inch 4K-capable TV, which will be released in the United States for a price of just $999. Seriously, these companies need to start making these cheap 4K displays available in Australia.




TCL's Ultra HD TV features the GPU-crushing 3840x2160 resolution and boasts SRS TruSurroundHD on-board. We have 50,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and a 120Hz refresh rate. In order to get to the $999 price, TCL have decided to just ship it as a display, without any smart TV features built in.


But, most people have a PC, media player or gaming console they'll be hooking up to it, so they won't be missing their Hulu or Netflix. It's just a pity that no one serves 4K media yet. I'd love me some Breaking Bad, Mad Men or Homeland in 4K.

Valve: No Half-Life 3 for E3 2014... Me? Tears

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 5:25 am

Valve took some time on Friday to squash a rumor from gaming blog NSS that Half-Life 3 was going to be shown at E3 2014. The report said that they had an e-mail from Valve developer John Guthrie, who said that the first-ever Half-Life 3 trailer, as well as a playable demo would be available at next year's E3.




He supposedly wrote: "I can't confirm all too much since the development is still in early stages, but for now I can confirm that we are going to release on both current and next generation consoles, and we will also release the game on our own platform exclusively for PC and Mac. We hope to have the first trailer ready for E3 2014, which we (after several times not attending) will finally come back to."


The creator of Half-Life has come out and said the report is "bogus", with the only reason they decided to step out of the shadows is because of how quickly the story had spread. I think we'll see it toward E3 2014, but I think we're going to see it released closer to the time that Oculus Rift hits the market.