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TweakTown News Posts - Page 46

BlackBerry unveils Passport smartphone, squarish device with keyboard

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 24, 2014 5:57 pm

Smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry introduces its Passport device, a rather square-shaped, dual-control keyboard to compete against the Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone. The Passport has a 4.5-inch touchscreen with touch-sensitive keys that give users the ability to conduct gesture-based shortcuts.


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"I am not disclosing it right now, but we expect it to be successful," said John Chen, BlackBerry CEO, in an interview with Bloomberg. "But the market will tell me that. And we have various different ideas that we could kind of use this as a mother-daughter type approach. So we'll - we're going to have to gauge what the market does. So far it seems to be pretty good."


It seemed likely the company would continue to push forward with enterprise mobility technology, but the company proved it isn't ready to throw in the towel on smartphones. It will remain an uphill battle for BlackBerry, which once dominated the smartphone market - but has just 0.5 percent software market share, according to IDC.

Cybersecurity concerns lead Taiwan government to investigate Xiaomi

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Sep 24, 2014 12:26 pm

The Taiwanese government is investigating Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi over possible cybersecurity concerns, with a decision expected within three months. Xiaomi provides low-cost smartphones in Taiwan - but data being sent from Taiwanese customer devices to Xiaomi's Beijing headquarters has investigators worried.


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Xiaomi was recently harshly criticized due to unauthorized data access, so Xiaomi provided users the chance to reject data collection.


Political tensions between the United States and China over cybersecurity-related matters have intensified as of late - but many tend to forget about the political battles between China and Taiwan.

Fujifilm's prototype camera able of taking pictures of moving subjects

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Cameras | Posted: Sep 24, 2014 10:36 am

Camera manufacturer Fujifilm has developed the "Swing Cam," a prototype camera that can track a user and effectively take "selfie" type photographs. Instead of a stationary picture, this camera can help create photos from non-fixed locations. Fujifilm said the camera is still in its development prototype phase, and will enter production only if testers are impressed by its ability.


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"We aimed to make a personal photographer," a Fujifilm camera developer noted. "I wanted to make a camera that takes videos and pictures of me actively moving as if they were taken by a person."


The power of the selfie has led new smartphones to have front-facing cameras, giving owners the ability to more effectively take photos of themselves.

Microsoft will launch the Xbox One in China next week

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Sep 24, 2014 10:03 am

Over the weekend we reported, as many others did, that Microsoft had delayed the launch of its Xbox One console in China, but the company has just announced that this is wrong. Microsoft has said that it is launching the Xbox One in China on September 29, just six days from now.


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General Manager of Xbox China, Enwei Xie, said in an official release: "After receiving government approval for the first wave of games, we will launch with the first 10 games now and continue our work to bring more blockbuster games and a broad offering of entertainment and app experiences to the platform in the weeks and months to come. With extraordinary effort and seamless cooperation across parties, we are incredibly excited to deliver Xbox One to fans in China and we welcome them to the Xbox family".


Which ten games will be on offer for the Chinese launch of the Xbox One? We will see Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals, Powerstar Golf, Zoo Tycoon, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Dance Central Spotlight, Neverwinter Online, Rayman Legends Trials Fusion, and Naughty Kitties from Chinese developer Coconut Island released on September 29. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said: "This milestone is significant for both our partnership with China and our global expansion plan. Every new market launch is unique and we're grateful to our fans for their patience and enthusiasm throughout the process".

Skeletonics exoskeleton suit shows promise of future breakthroughs

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Sep 24, 2014 7:48 am

Japanese researchers from the Okinawa National College of Technology have developed a Skeletonics exoskeleton suit that measures more than eight feet in height. Wearers climb into the giant suit and use it operating their own arms and legs, with no power to assist in movement. It has mainly become popular for public entertainment, as it can be used at events, parades, and to grab attention.


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"We didn't think about creating anything useful," said Reyes Tatsuru Shiroku, Skeletonics researcher. "That's probably why we were able to develop a unique thing."


There has been an increase in exoskeleton research, with the military and private sector interested in using them to help reduce physical labor loads.

PlayStation original series 'Powers' gets first photos, details

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Sep 24, 2014 2:51 am

First announced at E3 2014, the PlayStation original series 'Powers' based on the comic book series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, looks to be shaping up nicely ahead of its December release.


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Sony have released the first batch of photos, which including key cast members Sharlto Copley (District 9) and Susan Heyward (The Following) before the release of the show's first trailer which is expected to drop at New York Comic Con in a fortnight.


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With more than a passing resemblance to 'Heroes', 'Powers' will be PlayStation Network's first original series, which the company hoped would rival the similarly ambitious plans from Xbox Entertainment Studios, before the studio was shuttered by incoming Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The company is still moving ahead with the 'Halo' series under director Steven Spielberg, which will be released towards the end of 2015.

Great Scott! Charge your phone with the Flux Capacitor USB car charger

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: Sep 24, 2014 2:33 am

Tech knickknack website ThinkGeek has reintroduced the Flux Capacitor USB Car Charger, a blast from the past for fans of the Back to the Future movies. The device plugs into a traditional 12V power adapter - i.e. cigarette lighter - and is able to charge a smartphone and tablet simultaneously.


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Originally an April Fool's product earlier in the year, the device was popular enough that ThinkGeek decided to bring it back. The Flux Capacitor USB car charger is available for $24.99.


"We wanted to create something that would not only work, but give people the chance to enjoy a Flux Capacitor in the real-world," said Ty Liotta, GeekLabs' Chief Mad Scientist, in a press statement.

Tech loving country of Japan still prefers CDs over online music

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Audio, Sound & Speakers | Posted: Sep 24, 2014 1:35 am

Japan might be one of the most tech-centric countries in the world, but music executives are perplexed as digital music sales continue to slide. The online music market reached close to $1 billion in 2009, but has dropped down to $400 million in 2013, according to statistics from the Recording Industry Association of Japan. In fact, 85 percent of music sales in Japan were on CDs and not digital music, which must frustrate music executives.


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It's unknown why Japanese music listeners prefer CDs over digital music, but some industry analysts believe it could be related to the country's "protectionist business climate." Also, online music services Spotify and Rdio don't have a presence in Japan, but could help turn the tide once they make it to Japan.


When the decision makers finally feel that the heat is intense enough that they have to do something different, they will," said Ken Parks, Spotify chief content officer. "I think we are approaching that moment in Japan."

Some iPhone 6 Plus housing cases bending after casual use by owners

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 24, 2014 12:35 am

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones have become an instant hit since their release earlier this month, but the long, thin metal phone casing is bending. It's unknown if this is a serious problem that all iPhone 6 owners will need to worry about, or if it is a small number of early adopters suffering from bent cases.


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The iPhone 6 pre-orders topped 4 million units sold during the first day, with 10 million units sold in just the first three days of availability. It's an impressive product launch for two devices that seemingly underwhelmed everyone but Apple customers - but it seems like there have been headaches every step of the way.

FTC shuts down Butterfly Labs, a supposed bitcoin mining company

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 23, 2014 11:35 pm

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shut down Butterfly Labs, a bitcoin-mining company that tricked users into purchasing machines that would produce bitcoins. The supposed "bitcoin-mining" devices cost from $149 to $29,899, along with a cloud-based service that tricked customers into paying for server farm computing time.


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"We often see that when a new and little-understood opportunity like bitcoin presents itself, scammers will find ways to capitalize on the public's excitement and interest," said Jessica Rich, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection director, in a press statement. "We're pleased the court granted our request to halt this operation, and we look forward to putting the company's ill-gotten gains back in the hands of consumers."


The opportunity to mine, own, and use bitcoins as a digital currency - with no federal or central bank support - has paved the way for cybercriminals to trick and steal from regular users. The current value of bitcoin is slightly under $500 per bitcoin, but peaked at more than $1,000 each last November, and continues to prove to be rather volatile.

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