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TweakTown News Posts - Page 33

BMW partners with Baidu to test autonomous driving in China

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 10:30 pm

German automaker BMW wants to test its autonomous driving abilities in China, and has partnered with Baidu to begin tests in both Beijing and Shanghai. Both companies hope the project will expand to other large cities in China, but didn't name which metropolitan areas could be next in line.


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Despite thousands of kilometers logged on the German autobahn highway, trying to carefully navigate the chaotic streets and highways in China should prove to be a difficult test. Using Baidu's high-resolution maps and familiarity with the local area should help give BMW a more precise method to avoid missing turns and keeping vehicles safely on the road.


"BMW is embarking on a further research project which will pave the way for highly automated driving in China as well," BMW noted in a press statement. "China's fast-expanding urban centers present the engineers with challenges such as multi-level highways."

Growing concern of emotional toll facing U.S. drone operators

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 9:31 pm

Over a decade of conflict has left thousands of U.S. personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why President Barack Obama is relying heavily on drone and fighter jet airstrikes to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria. However, drone operators responsible for monitoring targets and launching strikes also can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - and the PTSD, depression and anxiety levels of drone operators can match traditional pilots.


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"I would go to sleep and dream about work, the mission, and continuously see the people I'd watch on the screen earlier now in my own head repeatedly being killed," said Brandon Bryant, who spent five years operating drone cameras in New Mexico and Nevada. Bryant witnessed at least 13 direct killings, while his squad tallied more than 1,626 combatants.


As medical researchers struggle to address PTSD among ground troops returning home, there is growing concern that drone operators - which continue to be relied upon for reconnaissance and precision strikes - could also face the same type of mental health problems. A frightening thought as drones have also been used in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, with strikes expected to continue against suspected terrorists.

Apple set to release iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus in China on Oct. 10

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 8:30 pm

Apple is reportedly going to begin selling its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones in China on Friday, October 10, with the Chinese government claiming approval is in final stages. Retailers will begin receiving product on October 7, giving them three days to prepare for the public sale to begin prior to the weekend.


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Samsung beat Apple to the punch after announcing the Galaxy Note 4 will be available in China before the end of the month. Even though Apple has faced pressure from Samsung and Chinese-made manufacturers, the large consumer base is too appealing for the company to simply ignore.


It continues to be a curious journey in China - the Chinese media previously said the iPhone is a "national security threat," an accusation Apple has rejected. The Chinese government has also clamped down on smuggled iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models that are being illegally brought into the country.

Using Google Glass while driving is no safer than using a smartphone

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 7:45 pm

It doesn't matter what type of technology is developed, when it comes to driving behind the wheel, your attention should be focused on the road. Recent research found that drivers in a simulator using both Google Glass and a smartphone to text were equally slow to respond to their environment, posing significant safety hazards.


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"While Glass-delivered messaging has benefits, it does not in any way make driving-while-messaging safe," said Ben Sawyer, lead researcher, in a University of Central Florida peer-reviewed study done alongside the Air Force Research Laboratory.


Google Glass wearers reportedly recovered slightly faster than those using a traditional smartphone, but there was less distance between their vehicle and other vehicles ahead - dropping risk perception of a changing environment. There were hopes that the head-mounted display would allow drivers to keep their attention on the road in front of them, but interacting with Glass still proves to be too distracting for drivers.

Microsoft Xbox One officially launches in China, nixing console ban

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 6:30 pm

The Microsoft Xbox One has finally launched in China, following a 14-year ban that prevented consumers from legally purchasing gaming consoles in the country. The Xbox One is now available in 37 different Chinese cities and in 4,000 retail locations, with continued rollout expected in the coming months.


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The console was originally expected to launch in China on September 23, but a short delay pushed the console's release a few days. The Chinese government enacted a game console ban in 2000, just one year before the launch of the original Xbox in 2001.


"I think the Xbox One launch in Chia is a milestone event," said Brian Blau, Gartner market research analyst. "It represents the opening of a new type of market for the Chinese consumer, and if others followed suit this could be the start of a new gaming revolution in China."

Microsoft confirms plans to open Fifth Avenue store, close to Apple

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 5:21 pm

Microsoft plans to open a new retail store at 677 Fifth Avenue in New York City, a few blocks away from Rockefeller Center - and not too far away from a rival Apple store. The company currently has more than 100 retail stores throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, with at least 10 more expected to open before the end of the year.


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Learning from the success of the Apple store, where die-hard customers and curious onlookers wander in, Microsoft hopes its retail experience will help draw in potential customers. Even if a Microsoft store cannot draw the same attention as a rival Apple store, it's an important opportunity to allow consumers the chance to test new technologies they might be unfamiliar with.


"As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience," the company said in a blog post. "This is a goal we've had since day one - we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it."

LG reportedly developing new smartwatch that can also make phonecalls

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 2:30 pm

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has passed the LG-VC100 smartwatch that is expected to be the Korean company's CDMA smartwatch. The smartwatch reportedly supports a SIM card and will be available in late 2014 or early 2015.


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It remains to be seen if the smartwatch with CDMA will be added to LG's G Watch family or if it will become the feature of a new smartwatch product line. It's unknown which U.S. carriers would support the device, but it seems Verizon Wireless, at the very least, could be onboard.


The smartwatch market is currently booming, with multiple models launched by LG, Samsung, and other rivals - and the Apple Watch also will help draw major attention to the market.

Apple iPhone 6 delay in China leads to smuggling, as seizures occur

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 1:30 pm

Apple is still battling regulatory issues and didn't release its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models in China, but models purchased in the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore are now being smuggled into China. Due to the high price of the devices, smugglers have already slashed prices - from $1,960 to $,2450 down to $1,060 to $1,436 - but the high price tag surely scares away most consumers.


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To make matters worse, the Chinese government is stepping up enforcement on shutting down iPhone 6 smuggling into the country. A recent bust in Shanghai led to 453 units being confiscated, as hundreds more were also captured in Hong Kong. Passengers entering the country with smaller numbers of iPhones are being stopped at customs, according to Chinese government officials.


For Chinese consumers looking for a shiny new mobile device, Samsung recently released its Galaxy Note 4 to the market.

BlackBerry CEO says 200,000 Passport units ordered since launch

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 12:30 pm

The BlackBerry Passport smartphone has sold 200,000 units since launching publicly last Wednesday, according to BlackBerry CEO John Chen. The phone sold out on the BlackBerry website in just six hours, and took only 10 hours to sell out on Amazon. If true, it's a surprisingly strong start for the smartphone device, as BlackBerry shows it still wants to throw down in the smartphone market.


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BlackBerry has struggled to compete against the Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S, and other Google Android-powered smartphones - but has continually leaned on its experience to try to fight back. The company is hiring 350 new engineers over the next few months, which is a strong turnaround from numerous layoffs and restructuring.


Chen hopes to push BlackBerry back to profitability during its fiscal 2016, which would help build investor trust.

GoPro unveils the Hero4, 4K recording at 30FPS and much more

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Cameras | Posted: Sep 29, 2014 12:13 pm

We thought GoPro would wait a week or so to unveil its new Hero4 cameras, but nope, we were wrong: here they are! GoPro has officially unveiled the new Hero4 cameras, once again arriving in two editions: Black, and Silver.


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The GoPro Hero4 Black is the star of the show, capable of shooting 4K video at 30FPS, and is touted by GoPro as "the most advanced GoPro ever". It can shoot 4K at 30FPS, 2.7K at 50FPS, 1440p at 80FPS, and 1080p, 960p, and 720p all at 120FPS. Previously, the Hero3 Black could shoot at 4K at 15FPS, but could shoot at 240FPS at 720p, something the newer GoPro can't do. For still images, you can snap 12-megapixel photos with the new GoPro Hero 4.


GoPro has improved the audio capture on the new Hero4, which captures twice the dynamic range. The front of the new GoPro features its expected ultra-wide angle glass lens, with three different field of view settings available: Ultra-Wide, Medium and Narrow. New manual settings make the cut, with color, ISO limit, exposure and much more to tinker with. It's waterproof at up to 131 feet, or 40m, has built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, exposure settings for nighttime shooting, a "HiLight Tag" feature for marking key moments in footage, a QuikCapture feature which powers up and starts recording with a single press, and auto low-light features.

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