Futuremark recently opened up its PCMark for Android software to members of the press, and found that the NVIDIA Shield, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Samsung Galaxy Note III lead Android smartphones and tablets based on performance. PCMark for Android tests everyday activities on Android-based devices, including Web browsing, watching videos, working with texts, and photo editing.
Based on battery life, the ASUS Fonepad 7 FE170CG (8 hours, 09 minutes), Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet (7 hours, 48 minutes), and OnePlus One (7 hours, 40 minutes) lead the way, based on PCMark for Android.
PCMark for Android is a realistic approach to benchmarking Android smartphones and tablets, using native APIs instead of abstract algorithms. A free version should be released on Google Play before the end of the month.
The Gigi robot is using its high-powered ultraviolet lights to help combat the spread of Ebola, able to blast UV light 25,000 times more powerful than natural sunlight, researchers say. Priced at $104,000 per robot, there are only a few units currently available, but has great potential in killing DNA in the virus. The robot uses xenon light rather than mercury bulbs, providing a healthier, more environmentally friendly solution.
"We can clean and disinfect a room (by hand) to an 85% level, but when we use the ultraviolet light we can clean that room to 99.9%," said Dr. Ray Casciari, St. Joseph Hospital pulmonary disease specialist. "This is the future of hospitals because 85% is not enough."
Due to Ebola cases in the United States, along with thousands of patients dying in West Africa, medical researchers hope technology can help prevent widespread infection. Created by Xenex Disinfection Services, a Texas-based company, Gigi was used in a Texas patient's treatment area to help prevent Ebola from spreading to other locations of the hospital.
Police authorities in Australia seized a Bit2Bit bitcoin ATM during a multi-million-dollar drug trafficking network bust, according to reports. The raid was targeting the Bandidos motorcycle gang, accused of high-level drug trafficking, and was the culmination of a two-year investigation. The ATM was located in the South Brisbane Roastery Café, and was the first ATM in Queensland, with investigators conducting a forensics search of the seized machine.
It's unknown if the ATM was used by gang members to help conduct drug-related business, including potential money laundering.
"The arrested individual has no relationship to Bit2Bit Holdings Pty Ltd.," according to a statement released by Bit2Bit. "he is not a shareholder, either directly, or indirectly. Rouge Coffee, and The Roastery Cafe do not own, or operate the ATM. The ATM is the sole property of Bit2Bit and is operated by us. The ATM does not allow large volume transactions. Bit2Bit's staff have been instructed to cooperate fully with any legal requests they get from the police."
Microsoft is just a few weeks away from launching a smartwatch, in an effort to join in on a booming consumer business sector, according to a report published by Forbes. The device will be able to track the wearer's heart rate and can be used on multiple mobile platforms, with a battery life of over two days.
It appears Microsoft wants to launch the device in time for the 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season, as the wearable market is expected to dramatically grow. In the past, Microsoft had its Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) technology, but the market has significantly evolved since then. The company wants to promote Windows and other Microsoft products across a wider variety of products, and this could be a good step forward.
The smartwatch market has a number of different appealing models for consumers, including the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Gear, and products from other companies.
Even with FBI Director James Comey speaking out against Google and Apple providing encryption security on smartphone devices, Apple shipped its Yosemite OS with FileVault by default. The FBI - and other government agencies - are worried that encryption will prevent law enforcement from cracking down on criminals... or so they say.
"With Apple's new operating system, the information stored on many iPhones and other Apple devices will be encrypted by default," Comey recently said. "Shortly after Apple's announcement, Google announced plans to follow suit with its Android operating system. This means the companies themselves won't be able to unlock phones, laptops, and tablets to reveal photos, documents, email, and recordings stored within."
It's impressive to see Google, Apple and other tech companies trying to put customers first - as many users become more concerned about security - and not listening to the FBI's rather questionable concerns.
In an effort to protect its still fragile automotive industry, the state of Michigan is considering a ban on Tesla sales in the state - trying to prevent direct-to-consumer vehicle sales by approving anti-competitive legislation - and Tesla is taking the fight directly to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. The anti-consumer bill has made it through the Michigan legislature, and now requires the governor's signature.
"Using a procedure that prevented legislators and the public at large from knowing what was happening or allowing debate, Senator Joe Hune added new language in an attempt to lock Tesla out of the state," according to a Tesla blog post.
This is a continued effort that Tesla will fight against whenever the issue arises, as demand for the popular electric vehicles mounts. Elsewhere in the United State, the Massachusetts Supreme Judician Court didn't allow legislation that would have prevented the sale of Tesla vehicles in the New England state.
Consumers and retailers are interested in testing bitcoins as a payment option, but that doesn't mean everyone else is onboard with the idea. However, bitcoins are still not a major concern for Fed researchers and lawmakers, but the New York Fed - and a growing number of researchers in the Fed system - are discussing bitcoins on a more consistent basis.
"My best guess is that bitcoin will find a niche market," said Dr. David Andolfatto, VP of St. Louis Federal Reserve, in a recent interview with Bitcoin Magazine. "It's cool to use bitcoin to pay for your Starbucks latte on university campuses. It may very well find a place on the high street, at least among some shops catering to the 'cool' crowd. But for advanced economies, at least, it is hard to see how consumers will benefit directly by using bitcoins instead of dollars or pounds."
Recently, the value of individual bitcoins dropped to just $290, with investors frustrated with its volatility - and that is going to be an uphill battle.
It appears HBO GO will hit the Microsoft Xbox One in the near future, as pictures recently surfaced of the app being used on the Xbox One game console. It's an important step forward to HBO, which is moving away from just partnerships with cable and satellite providers, including plans to launch a standalone online streaming service in 2015.
Microsoft and Sony both are relying on apps and connected entertainment to keep console owners engaged - as content providers want to give consumers access to streaming TV episodes and movies on numerous devices. Earlier in the year, Microsoft announced 45 different entertainment apps will be introduced for the Xbox One, which will bring the total to more than 225 apps once they are all introduced.
Fitbit will soon launch three new fitness trackers, with the top-of-the-line model being the new Fitbit Surge. Surge will be more than the average wearable, with the company referring to it as a "superwatch".
The new Fitbit Surge should be priced at $249, with the superwatch featuring built-in GPS tracking, PurePulse heart rate monitoring, and the ability of real-time workout data for various activities. The superwatch will provide users with stats on distance, pace, elevation climbed, heart rate intensity, and more. The new Surge will also carry over Fitbit's 24/7 activity tracking, where it'll make sure that you're getting enough sweat generated on your body each day.
Sleep tracking continues over, with the Surge having its, and your stats wirelessly synced over to the Fitbit app. Surge will also have "smart" notifications for phone calls and texts, and you can also control your music playback from Surge, which is a nice touch - pun not intended, but hey it works. Surge will launch in three colors: black, slate, and a colorful tangerine option.
Two US ad agency interns are creating quite the stir with their idea of throwing up a new crowdfunding campaign for Half-Life 3. The duo is looking for a total of $150,000 which they think will help push Valve over the edge and "get Valve to finish the game we've dreamed about for all these years".
The $150,000 won't be used to help Valve in any way, but it will instead be used for a massive marketing campaign targeted against Valve, and its employees, shouting from the rooftops: "WE WANT HALF-LIFE 3". At the time of writing, the campaign was a little short of its $150,000 target, with just $942 raised. The theory behind the campaign is that "we think that the fans aren't doing enough, we think that we've never truly been united in getting our voice heard". As for the tiered goal system, we have:
- $3,000: All 300 employees of Valve will be targeted by a Google Adwords campaign with the message "WE WANT HALF-LIFE 3".
- $9,000: A mobile billboard truck will "besiege Valve HQ in Bellevue, Washington" to urge Valve to out HL3.
- $45,000: Another Valve HQ siege will take place, this time with "a bunch of Gabe Newells" (lookalikes) trying to sneak into Valve HQ and push of the HL3 development/release.
- $150,000: the "Most Epic Concert EVER" will be organised where Half Life fans will listen to "some of the biggest names in video game music".