When we reported on Google's mysterious Project Ara, we didn't quite know what to expect, but the more time I've had to sit down and think about it, the more excited I become. The latest tease is here, thanks to developers getting their hands-on the new Module Developers Kit.
The developers kit is a set of guidelines that will show how the modular bits will interact with the smartphone's skeleton, as well as the schematics and code samples for developers to toy around with. Google has said that Ara users will be able to power their modular smartphone with one or multiple batteries - which in itself, is incredibly exciting, and a game changer.
Not only that, but they'll be able to swap out their depleted battery with a fresh one, all without powering off their smartphone - as well as the ability to charge one or more batteries in their phone, from one or multiple charging devices. There will be modules on offer that will stick out from the modular smartphone, such as a pulse oximeter .
Developer Diego Araos has used a Parrot AR drone mixed with the virtual reality goodness of Oculus Rift, to use head movements to control his aerial drone. The video below shows it all.
Depending on Araos' tilting his sight and head, the drone moves to his movements. The project, according to the video's description, is "open source and a fork of another of my projects drone-swarm (to control several AR Drones within one network)". You can actually download Araos' creation on GitHub, if you so happen to own both products required.
Details on NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 880 have begun to leak, with a report from Tyden.cz claiming that the GeForce GTX 880 will be a Maxwell-based GPU that will dominate the single GPU market. The GeForce GTX 880 will move from the family name of GK110 (the 'K' is for Kepler) to the GM204 part. GM204 is the GK110 equivalent of the Kepler family, but based on the Maxwell architecture.
The leaked specs will see the DirectX 12-capable GPU feature a streaming multiprocessor Maxwell, or SMM, SIMD design that is found in the also Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 750 Ti. The GeForce GTX 880 will just feature more of those SMMs, spread across multiple graphics processing clusters (GPCs) and see some extra performance when compared against the GTX 780 Ti. We should expect something along the lines of these specs:
- 20 nm GM204 silicon
- 7.9 billion transistors
- 3,200 CUDA cores
- 200 TMUs
- 32 ROPs
- 5.7 TFLOP/s single-precision floating-point throughput
- 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface
- 4 GB standard memory amount
- 238 GB/s memory bandwidth
- Clock speeds of 900 MHz core, 950 MHz GPU Boost, 7.40 GHz memory
- 230W board power
Micron Technology has teased that it would offer up triple-level cell NAND flash made using the 16nm process, which could see consumers enjoying cheaper flash-based goods, including cheaper SSDs going into 2015.
Mark Adams, President of Micron, said during a conference call with investors and financial analysts: "Our 16nm NAND yields have been very positive and position us well from a cost perspective. We are currently planning to ship 16nm TLC [NAND flash] in calendar Q4 in order to better position our portfolio from a cost perspective in the retail and consumer segments".
The reason why this is important, is that with current NAND flash storage devices, such as SSDs and more, is that they based on MLC (multi-level cell) tech. Where TLC NAND on the other hand, has been used for memory cards, audio players, USB drives and more. MLC is much more durable than TLC, with typical MLC NAND cells lasting for 3000-10,000 erase/write cycles, where TLC-based NAND usually lasts for under 1000 of those same erase/write cycles. In order for TLC NAND to take off, durability and reliability need to be much higher than what we have now - something Micron is working on, hard.
Minecraft continues to make headlines, with the mobile version of the game, Pocket Edition, selling over 21 million copies. Mojang's Jens Bergensten announced the news over Twitter.
Bergensten said: "[Minecraft: Pocket Edition] has sold over 20 million copies (actually, over 21M)". With the game hitting this number so quick, it means that sales have doubled in the last twelve months, and that sales have actually increased over that time. Minecraft: Pocket Edition launched back in October 2011 on Android, followed by the iOS version a few months later.
In April 2013, Pocket Edition had reached 10 million sold. Chief Word Officer at Mojang, Owen Hill, said: "We're extremely grateful to all players for your dedication and creativity. Without that, Minecraft wouldn't be anywhere near as significant as it is today".
There was once a time when the iPad was invincible, selling millions upon millions of tablets for Apple, making the Cupertino-based company the leader in tablets. But, with Samsung shipping over 14 million tablets in Q1 2014 alone, Samsung is quickly ccatching up.
One Samsung official spoke with ZDNet, who said: "We have implemented a comprehensive sales plan for tablets, from emerging countries to developed ones. We have overcome last year's weak fourth quarter (for the first quarter this year)". Samsung's mobile boss has promised that the South Korean giant will be the leader in tablets before 2014 is wrapped up.
As it stands, Apple controls 30% of the global tablet shipments for the previous quarter, according to an internal Samsung estimation. In the previous quarter, Apple sold a record 26 million iPads. In 2013, Samsung shipped over 40 million tablets, double what it shipped the previous year. For 2014, Samsung has some big hopes, where it wants to ship as many as 100 million slates.
Navigating to images stored on your Dropbox on any mobile device has always been a pain in the but, and today Drobox took a big step forward in alleviating those pains. This afternoon, Dropbox announced the launch of a new image viewing and sharing app that will allow its users to more efficiently navigate and share their images.
Called Carousel, the new app allows friends to effortlessly share images between one-another all from within Dropbox. While users have always been able to share images via SMS, Email, and other apps from Drobox's native app, Carousel allows them to share images directly between each other's Dropbox accounts. Carousel also organizes all photos from within ones Dropbox account and unifies them all in a single camera-roll. Photos are sorted by date taken, and users can scroll through them in several different manners. Carousel is available on iOS and Android now.
Earlier today, Intel announced that it will be closing the doors on its assembly and testing facility located in Costa Rica. This unfortunate announcement will result in the loss of jobs for more than 1,500 employees, and will most certainly cause a ripple effect in the economy close to the facility.
Intel says that this closure is part of the company's on-going effort to cut five-percent of its global workforce by the end of the year. Intel is making these cuts to ensure that it remains out of the red as PC saled continue to dwindle in a market saturated by tablets and smartphones. "We have to be more efficient and effective," said Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman.
If Facebook's recent acquisition of WhatsApp is not enough of an indication that the company is focused on dominating the instant messaging space, a new report that it will be removing messaging from its native app should be. Today Facebook began notifying select users that messaging from within the Facebook app will no-longer be allowed, and that they must download the official Facebook Messenger app to continue messaging on mobile.
Facebook says that it is ending messaging within its native app in an effort to send more users to its stand-alone messaging app, Facebook Messenger. Not everyone will be forced to use the Messenger app though, and those excluded include Android-devices with exceptionally small amounts of RAM, and Windows Tablets. All other iOS, Android, and Windows Phone users will eventually be forced to either download the Messenger app, or stop sending, reading or replying to messages on Facebook from their mobile device.
While unemployment numbers continue to rise in America, one major company is reporting that it now has more employees than ever before. Amazon released it's earnings report today and amidst all of the financial numbers, the company also announced that it now employs almost 110,000 individuals world wide. That number puts it well ahead of Microsoft's barely 100,000, and far out of reach of Google's 37,000-ish employees.
The rise in employee numbers is attributed to the companies unprecedented growth over the last three years, with it tripling in size since 2011. Unfortunately, this massive growth and rising employee numbers has taken its toll on the Seattle, Washington-based company which today reported its second straight quarter operating in the red. This morning Amazon announced that it lost more than $41 million during the last quarter despite a net sales of $17.1 billion.
"It's been a busy few months-we launched a new Paperwhite and new Kindle Fires to positive reviews and surprised people with the revolutionary Mayday button-average Mayday response times are just 11 seconds!" Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a press release.