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TweakTown News Posts - Page 63

iPhone SE secures 3.4 million pre-orders in China alone

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 29, 2016 5:38 am

Most people thought Apple were kind of crazy launching a new 4-inch smartphone, but the iPhone SE has been super popular in China where they've seen 3.4 million pre-orders in the country alone.




Splitting these numbers up, has 882,000 pre-orders, Suning has 1.7 million, and Gome has 889,000 pre-orders for the new iPhone SE. Gold is the most popular with 1.3 million pre-orders, Rose Gold comes in second with 1.2 million pre-orders, and Silver with only 450,000. The 4-inch iPhone SE features the same A9 processor found in the larger, and much more expensive iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus smartphones.


Around the back, we have a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera that shoots 4K without a problem. 802.11ac Wi-Fi is included, making it 3x faster than the iPhone 5S. There's Wi-Fi calling and NFC, Touch ID, and Bluetooth 4.2 on the iPhone SE - all for $399.

Join the quest for 'The Shannara Chronicles' in our Blu-ray giveaway

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Contests & Giveaways | Posted: Mar 29, 2016 4:56 am

To celebrate this week's release of 'The Shannara Chronicles' on Blu-ray HD and DVD, we have ten Blu-ray prize packs to give away thanks to our friends at Roadshow Entertainment.




Thousands of years after the destruction of our civilization. Earth is divided into what is known as the Four Lands, whose inhabitants are a mix of races including elves, dwarves, trolls, gnomes and humans. At the centre is the Shannara family, whose descendants are empowered with ancient magic and whose adventures continuously reshape the future of the world. As the story begins, dark and terrible forces thought to be confined for years, begin to escape. When Amberle, a young elven princess; Wil, the last descendant of the Shannara family; and Eretria, a human rover learn that only they have the power to stop the advancing evil, they form an uneasy alliance. Their seemingly impossible quest to save the world becomes a voyage of self-discovery as they find the inner strength to overcome self-doubt and fear; and embrace their destinies.


To go into the running to win a prize, simply answer the following question in 50 words or less:

Continue reading 'Join the quest for 'The Shannara Chronicles' in our Blu-ray giveaway' (full post)

Star Wars Battlefront on PlayStation VR is going to be awesome

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Mar 29, 2016 3:26 am

The future of gaming and technology is here, thanks to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive shipping months before Sony can get its own PlayStation VR in the hand of its consumers. But what game will be big enough to sway the naysayers from their flat screens, into the 360-degree, all-encompassing world of VR? Star Wars, that's what.




According to Vice President of Marketing for Sony Interactive Entertainment, John Koller, Star Wars Battlefront VR will be a "very special game" that will show gamers "what it means to be in the world of VR". During an interview with Fortune, he continued: "We are working with EA, DICE, Lucasfilm, and Disney to try and make that experience something so special and so intrinsic to what's in many people's DNA, which is, 'How can I be in that world of Star Wars?' Battlefront is going to be one of those games that will really show gamers what it means to be in the world of VR. It's very special. And just by the nature of it being designed as a VR experience, it's going to be very different than the PlayStation 4 game".


He continued: "Star Wars is a great example of something that we will really own during that launch period. But over time there will be games that launch, where we've been helping with the development process, that will be most special on PlayStation VR, whether it's exclusive or not. It's going to be best played on PlayStation VR".


Star Wars Battlefront VR will be an exclusive to Sony's PlayStation VR system, with VR being a personal technology, Koller continued: "The role of exclusive VR games is a little different than what we see in the general console space. For example, I don't believe that there needs to be one particular killer app. There can be a range of killer apps. VR is so personal. It really depends on what experience that person wants and what they think is really great. That's different than our (console) platform launches, where you generally can say, 'That's the game' (that will help drive hardware sales)".

Sony teases PlayStation VR for the PC, could be a reality very soon

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Mar 29, 2016 1:37 am

Just as the Oculus Rift begins shipping to its first batch of consumers (where's my email, Oculus?!) and the HTC Vive begins preparing for its shipments in the coming weeks, news has emerged that Sony might release the PlayStation VR to the PC.




Sony Computer Entertainment Executive VP Masayasu Ito has teased that Sony is considering making the PlayStation VR available for the PC, thanks to the PS4's internals being similar to what the PC is powered by. But for now, Sony is completely focused on making the PlayStation VR a great experience for the PS4, and not the PC - but the tease, is something interesting to see from Sony in its continued dominance against Microsoft and the Xbox One.

Oculus Rift launches, called 'clunky' and 'not ready for mainstream'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Mar 29, 2016 12:25 am

Can you believe that after all of these years, the Oculus Rift is now shipping to consumers? Those who backed the Rift on Kickstarter back in 2012 (has it been that long?!) are receiving theirs first, with a signed Thank You note from the Oculus team.




The Facebook-owned VR company has been a pillar of strength for the technology and PC gaming community, stirring up mixed feelings from consumers and gamers - and total commitment from companies like AMD, as they see a huge future in VR. Well, the first reviews are here -with the New York Times saying the Oculus Rift is a "clunky portal to a promising virtual reality". The Wall Street Journal says "VR's rising star isn't ready for the mainstream" - but both the NYT and WSJ aren't gaming outlets, so those opinions are just very harsh headlines.


We have a list of reviews below, with our unit not being processed or sent yet. I pre-ordered within 2-3 minutes of it opening up in January, so I'm disappointed to say the least. Here's the list of reviews of the Rift so far, but expect our VR coverage to expand expontentially this year.


Tech Radar


The Verge

The New York Times

The Wall Street Journal



AMD's new VR Ready Crimson 16.3.2 drivers tuned for VR, Radeon Pro Duo

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Mar 29, 2016 12:09 am

AMD has just released their new VR Ready Crimson 16.3.2 drivers, which are recommended for GCN cards - as well as the new dual-Fiji video card, the Radeon Pro Duo.




The new Crimson 16.3.2 drivers also provide support for VR headsets in the form of the just-released Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with Radeon video card owners enjoying AMD VR features like LiquidVR SDK include Asynchronous Shaders, Affinity Multi-GPU and Quick Response Queue.


AMD is committed to VR, as they've stated they have "83% of all tethered VR experiences" powered by Radeon technology. The new Crimson 16.3.2 drivers support for the Oculus Rift SDK v1.3, the Radeon Pro Duo, and are completely optimized for the Rift.


You can grab the new Crimson 16.3.2 drivers right here.

GeForce 364.72 driver optimized for top titles, VR

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Mar 28, 2016 11:26 pm

NVIDIA's new 364.72 drivers are here, and represent a major release. Among the inclusions: support for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, optimizations for VR titles (Eve Valkyrie, Elite Dangerous, Chronos, Project Cars, and more), and optimizations for non-VR titles (Dark Souls 3, Killer Instinct, Paragon, and Quantum Break).




As you may know, many reports of stability issues have surfaced with NVIDIA's last couple of driver releases, so hopefully, that's overwith with this release; it's encouraging to see many significant stability improvements in the release notes, and to see mostly positive experience reports across the web.


Grab the drivers here or through GeForce Experience now.

IBM is making better, smarter AI through new processor technology

By: Jeff Williams | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: Mar 28, 2016 10:12 pm

IBM's Watson and other AI systems like it are very impressive showcases of the kind of learning that a well developed deep neural network is capable of. Even Tay, the rogue Microsoft millennial AI that favors the PS4 over the Xbox One and seems to dismiss the Holocaust, is a feat of software engineering and learning that's pretty fantastic. But compared to the human mind, it still takes these machines, which rely on GPU's CPU's and at times even specialized ASICS to process such enormous amounts of data in parallel, far longer to learn even simple tasks. And it can be energy intensive, far more so than the human brain. But IBM thinks, and knows, that there's a better way.




IBM and the crew at the T.J. Watson Research Center want to use a specialized processor called the resistive processing unit, which is a marriage of CPU with non-volatile memory, that could exponentially speed up machine learning. It does this, essentially, by allowing the different parts to communicate at rate that's at least 27x faster than a traditional DNN setup. Learning involves moving forward and backward, analyzing data that's stored in memory, making that a bottleneck in this application. It could then massively increase the ability of these networks to learn, making speech recognition and similar AI functions in what could almost be near-realtime.


This type of processor is only theoretical at the moment though solving this obstacle in even an incremental fashion could bring about a sizable speed increase. The researchers even mention the ability to see an advantage of up to 30,000 times should they design and implement a device made specifically for their own DNN software. "We propose and analyze a concept of Resistive Processing Unit (RPU) devices that can simultaneously store and process weights and are potentially scalable to billions of nodes with foundry CMOS technologies. Our estimates indicate that acceleration factors close to 30,000 are achievable on a single chip with realistic power and area constraints,"

Continue reading 'IBM is making better, smarter AI through new processor technology' (full post)

Microsoft rumored to be in talks for Yahoo acquisition financing

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 28, 2016 9:19 pm

We know that Yahoo is in trouble and has decided to sell off its core business (seach, mail, and news sites); what we didn't know was Microsoft is allegedly in talks to be a contributor in the acquisition. Someone familiar with the matter relayed as much to Reuters, and added Microsoft wants to preserve the relationship between the two parties, which have long-running search and advertising agreements. It's also said Yahoo approached Microsoft.




Microsoft declined to comment on the reports.


As it stands, Verizon and Time Inc. (which published People and Time) are the other two companies known to be interested in acquiring Yahoo's core business.


Microsoft's CEO at the time Steve Ballmer attempted to acquire Yahoo in 2008 for $45 billion (the same as its total asset worth now).

Linux is coming to tablets, and you can pre-order the first one now

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 28, 2016 8:04 pm

The first Linux tablets are coming soon with Ubuntu driving the show under the hood with quad-core MediaTek processors. The devices, from BQ are available in a full HD and HD (720P) screens with the ability to run full-fledged (ARM compatible) Linux applications and turn into a traditional PC when hooked up to an external monitor and keyboard/mouse.




The BQ Aquaris M10 comes in two flavors, the 1280x800 10" model with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage and a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT8163A processor. The Full HD version will actually have a 10" 1920x1200 resolution screen with the same storage and RAM but a 1.5GHz quad-core processor. Both will have an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front camera and a microSD slot that can hold up to 64GB of additional storage.


The HD version is $289 while the FullHD version is $335. This is part of Canonicals bid to bring Linux into every facet of our lives, letting you enjoy it in nearly any format, akin to Microsoft's strategy with Windows 10. It's supposed to provide a seemless experience, even if it's not particularly quick with the specs these two 10" tablets have.


It's interesting and while the open-source operating system doesn't quite have the number of mobile-focused apps as Android or even Windows does, Canonical is adamant about pushing their OS into an already enriched market. The lack of apps has been enough to forestall the development of some OS's already.