Normally we see lesser-name brands releasing iPhone clones, but Lenovo isn't some second-grade manufacturer now, is it? The Chinese company has teased its "Sisley" S90 smartphone, which looks identical to the iPhone6.
Inside, it is different as we should expect, with a 5-inch 720p display, super-thin 6.9mm body, quad-core Snapdragon processor, and 1GB of RAM. Camera wise, we have a 13-megapixel on the back, with an 8-megapixel up front. Lenovo will be selling the Android 4.4.4 KitKat-powered S90 for around $327 in China.
One of the most challenging aspects of data storage is long-term archival. All forms of data storage have a finite lifespan, and complex storage mechanisms, such as HDDs, have delicate moving mechanical parts that will eventually fail. One of the benefits of optical storage, such as CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray's, is their lack of moving parts and relatively long life time of up to 100 years. The problem has always been capacity, optical storage has reached a diminishing point of returns in terms of data stored due to the limitations of light itself.
A team of engineers at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia have conquered that challenge by enabling storage up to 1,000 Terabytes of data, or 40,000 HD movies, onto a single DVD. The process they developed uses a secondary laser to refine the refraction limit of light, which is around 500 nanometers. Since light cannot shrink below that limit, the current technology cannot write information smaller than 500 nanometers. The Australian researchers employed two 500nm lasers. One actually writes data, and the other blocks the light beam, except for a sliver that is only 9 nanometers in length.
It looks like we should expect Just Cause 3 to be announced soon, if the leaked screenshots are anything to go by. Four leaked screenshots from the alleged title are coming in from the Xbox One version of the game, which popped up on the Xbox-Underground forums now too long ago.
The four shots show the main character, Rico, and an overview of a massive, massive island. Eurogamer is reporting that it has a source close to the game itself, confirming that we are looking at images from Just Cause 3, going on to say that it is showing off the game's "Black Market". The anonymous source added that the PC version was meant to be entirely free-to-play, while the console version of Just Cause 3 would be financed through microtransactions.
Eurogamer has added though, that "the plan changed and this may no longer be the case". When it comes to the microtransactions argument, Avalanche Studios' boss, Christofer Sundberg, said last year on Twitter: "Microtransactions, subscriptions, and other biz models will be the next generation of games. It is that simple. We'll never compromise on quality or sell our souls for a quick buck. Things are changing and we need to adapt".
We already know that there should be a new Xbox One next year, based on AMD's shrunken 20nm system-on-chip, but thanks to Sony using the same APU from AMD, the PlayStation 4 should receive a similar upgrade.
Rumors are now floating around that Sony will adopt the 20nm SoC sometime next year, which should see Sony release a refreshed PS4 sometime in 2015. We're already seeing 16nm technology on the other side of the fence, so a shrink down to 20nm for the consoles would usher in more performance, slimmer consoles, and reduced power consumption. Right now, both consoles are using AMD APU's based on the 28nm process.
Microsoft and Sony haven't had any competition in the console space this year, but 2015 is going to be a very different year for the two tech giants. Oculus VR is positioning itself to release their first consumer version of the Rift VR headset, and Valve should usher in the Steam Box, Steam OS, Steam Controller and much more - competing in the living room directly against the likes of the Xbox One and PS4.
Samsung is only just rolling out the Galaxy Note 4 across the world, and while the Galaxy S5 has been here for close to 6 months now, the rumors of the Galaxy S6 are now rolling out.
SamMobile is reporting that Samsung is using a start-from-scratch mentality when it comes to their upcoming handsets, with the Galaxy S6 having an internal codename of "Project Zero". Project Zero, or the Galaxy S6 should arrive with Android 5.0 Lollipop, a QHD 2560x1440 panel which should have a screen size of around 5.2 inches, and much more.
As for the cameras, we should expect a rear-snapper that should beat out the Galaxy Note 4, with a 16- or 20-megapixel rear-facing camera. The front-facing camera should be upgraded to 5-megapixel, or so. 16GB of on-board storage will disappear, with the starting line moving up to 32GB, with an offering of 64GB and 128GB. When it comes to the processor, we should expect a 64-bit capable chip, and either Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 processor, or Samsung's own Exynos 7420.
While Spotify and Pandora continue to scoop up millions of users, SoundCloud is preparing its own paid subscription service that has seen the company team up with Warner Music Group. Warner being one of the biggest music distributors in the world doesn't hurt now, does it?
SoundCloud's paid subscription service will use its ad program On SoundCloud, and will begin sometime early next year. The program will allow artists granular control over how their content is made available to fans, and how they can make money from it. We don't know much else about the subscription plan, but when we do, you can be sure we'll be here reporting on it.
Oculus VR gets all the headlines when it comes to VR, but Avegant has just secured itself $9.37 million in series A funding, which was lead by Intel Capital, NHN Investment and... Snoop Dogg. Yes, the rapper. Avegant says that the injection of funds will "help carry Avegant through its manufacturing milestones".
Avegant has an interesting HMD in the Glyph, as it is a head-mounted display that has built-in over-ear headphones, something where the headphone band can be tweaked down to position something the company refers to as a "virtual retinal display" in front of users' eyes. It is let down by its 45-degree viewing angle, but the company is pushing it as a unique display tech device, with a portable form-factor.
At the Intel Capital Global Summit, it was announced that Avegant had raised an additional $9.37 million in series A funding, an investing roun that included Kaiwu Capital, Crunch Fund, 500 Startups, DN Capital, Calvin Broadus Jr., and the Michigan Angel Fund. Avegant's final design of the Glyph will be shown at CES 2015, where we will hopefully get some hands-on time with it.
A few months ago we heard that some of the developers from Infinity Ward had formed Reload Studios, a VR-based first-person shooter studio. Reload Studios is now teasing its upcoming multiplayer VR shooter, which will arrive as a VR first-person, arena-based multiplayer shooter which currently has no name.
Founder and CEO of Reload Studios, James Chung, has said that the studio is aiming at VR as the primary platform for their unnamed shooter, acknowledging the challenges that building an FPS for VR gives them. Chung said: "Our focus is on virtual reality because you can't just port or make a non-virtual reality game and expect it to work. The games on VR have to be made from the ground up. So we are making a game from the ground up to make sure it will work on VR".
Although an FPS from the ex developers of Infinity Ward, who focused on FPS titles like Call of Duty, is something that isn't breaking the mould, making a VR-focused FPS is. Chung continued: "Trying a shooter in VR is actually difficult because nobody has a solution on how to make the experience compelling, especially on the controls issue. A lot of people have a lot of points on what not to do, but not a lot of people are coming up with what to do. And that's the side that we're trying to resolve".
Qualcomm has unveiled its fourth quarter and fiscal 2014 results, with some huge numbers to show off to the world. GAAP Revenues for the quarter are at $6.69 billion, which is up 3% year-over-year. Income, hit $1.99 billion, up 25% year-over-year, with its net income being $1.89 billion, up 26% year-over-year.
When it comes to GAAP fiscal 2014 results, the 12-month period saw Qualcomm enjoy revenues of $26.49 billion, up 7%. When it came to operating income, Qualcomm made $7.55 billion, up 4% year-over-year, while net income was $7.97 billion, up 16% year-over-year. Operating cash flow for the year was $8.89 billion.
Now let's talk chip shipments for the three- and 12-month periods: in Qualcomm's Q4 fiscal 2014, the company shipped 236 million MSM chips, a number that is up 24% year-over-year. Fiscal 2014 numbers are equally as impressive, with 861 million MSM chips shipped in the year, up 20% year-over-year. Total reported device sales for the September quarter through June quarter are quite large: approximately $243.6 billion, a number that is up 5% year-over-year.
According to ComingSoon, an Elvis Presley and Nixon biopic is on the way, which tells the bizarre true story of when the rocker literally rocked up to the White House and demanded to be made a Federal Agent.
To star Michael Shannon (Man of Steel) as Elvis Presley and legendary character actor Kevin Spacey as former president Richard Nixon, the biopic is set in December 1970, when Presley showed up on the White House lawn to request a meeting with President Richard Nixon, a relatively unknown story that was extensively profiled in an fascinating article for the Smithsonian magazine in 2010. The two convened in the oval office to discuss drug use and hippies, with Presley asking to be made an undercover federal agent. Whilst he was denied, he proceed to gift the President with a Colt .45.
'Elvis & Nixon' is slated to begin filming early in the new year, directed by Liza Johnson and produced by Cassian Elwes.