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Report: Microsoft preparing to launch smartwatch in few weeks time

Michael Hatamoto | Wearable Computing | Oct 20, 2014 at 9:30 am CDT

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.

Report: Microsoft preparing to launch smartwatch in few weeks time | TweakTown.com

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.

Apple not too worried about FBI's interest in stopping encryption

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking & Security | Oct 20, 2014 at 8:30 am CDT

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.

Apple not too worried about FBI's interest in stopping encryption | TweakTown.com

"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.

Continue reading 'Apple not too worried about FBI's interest in stopping encryption' (full post)

Michigan thinking about banning sale of Tesla vehicles

Michael Hatamoto | Business, Financial & Legal | Oct 20, 2014 at 7:30 am CDT

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.

Michigan thinking about banning sale of Tesla vehicles | TweakTown.com

"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.

St. Louis Fed VP says bitcoin 'will find a niche market' in the future

Michael Hatamoto | Business, Financial & Legal | Oct 20, 2014 at 6:30 am CDT

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.

St. Louis Fed VP says bitcoin 'will find a niche market' in the future | TweakTown.com

"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.

Images leak of HBO Go on the Microsoft Xbox One game console

Michael Hatamoto | Gaming Consoles | Oct 20, 2014 at 5:30 am CDT

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.

Images leak of HBO Go on the Microsoft Xbox One game console | TweakTown.com

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 announces new Fitbit Surge, a $250 'superwatch' with GPS

Anthony Garreffa | Wearable Computing | Oct 19, 2014 at 10:23 pm CDT

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".

Fitbit announces new Fitbit Surge, a $250 'superwatch' with GPS | TweakTown.com

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.

Half-Life 3 pressure campaign could get crazy, gamers want HL3 bad

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Oct 19, 2014 at 9:05 pm CDT

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".

Half-Life 3 pressure campaign could get crazy, gamers want HL3 bad | TweakTown.com

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".

Continue reading 'Half-Life 3 pressure campaign could get crazy, gamers want HL3 bad' (full post)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z price drops considerably at Overclockers UK

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Oct 19, 2014 at 7:35 pm CDT

When NVIDIA announced the GeForce GTX Titan Z back at GTC 2014 in March, it was an expensive beast at $3999, but now Overclockers UK has dropped the price on some of its Titan Z's, radically.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z price drops considerably at Overclockers UK | TweakTown.com

Just last week, the site dropped it from its launch price of $3863, to $3219, which is a decent drop. But, the company has just taken a massive $900 off its price, dropping it down to 'just' $2415. For $2415, you're getting a triple-slot, dual GPU card with 12GB of RAM, two full GK110 GPUs with 2880 stream processors, 240 texture units, an 48 raster operations pipelines.

You'd still be better off with two GeForce GTX 980s in SLI, but for some people a single card is what they want, and no single card can compete with the Titan Z right now.

Continue reading 'NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z price drops considerably at Overclockers UK' (full post)

ASUS prepares massive motherboard marketing campaign

Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards | Oct 19, 2014 at 6:19 pm CDT

The competition between GIGABYTE and ASUS is as fierce as ever, but ASUS is set to lower the prices of its motherboards, and spend considerable amounts of money on furthering its marketing reach according to DigiTimes' industry sources.

ASUS prepares massive motherboard marketing campaign | TweakTown.com

ASUS has reportedly planned multiple promotions, where it will sell bundles with its GPUs and motherboards, hoping to gain thousands more consumers with its impressive line up of GPUs. DigiTimes' sources noted "GIGABYTE's motherboard and video card businesses are separate units and the two departments hardly cooperate over sales and marketing. Although GIGABYTE's motherboard business has been performing strongly recently, Asustek's new strategy is expected to impact GIGABYTE's motherboard business group".

Just how much is ASUS planning to spend on marketing? According to DigiTimes' sources, the Taiwanese manufacturer has already prepared between $32 million and $65 million to boost its marketing. The company is expecting to see its profits for 2014 drop because of this, but the marketing should gain more sales going into 2015. The sources continued "GIGABYTE had profits of NT$3-3.3 billion from the motherboard business in 2013. Although the company's shipments in 2014 are unlikely to achieve the targeted growth of one million units, profits in the year are expected to stay at around NT$3 billion because of the rising proportion of high-end models".

Apple is 'not all that interested' in making a touchscreen Mac

Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems | Oct 19, 2014 at 3:10 am CDT

Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, talked with CNET after Apple's unveiling event for the new iPad, and the new 5K-capable iMac. Federighi had some interesting things to talk about when it came to the Mac, especially when the idea of touchscreen Macs was bought up.

Apple is 'not all that interested' in making a touchscreen Mac | TweakTown.com

Federighi said: "We don't think it's the right interface, honestly. Mac is sort of a sit-down experience. We've really focused on building the best track pads we can, something where it feels [like] your posture's relaxed, it's a comfortable machine to use. And, of course, over the years we've experimented with all the technology, but we found it just wasn't good. ... We're not all that interested in building one".

He also added that the iPhone and iPad can be used in a "very relaxed position" compared with the fact that a touchscreen Mac would have a user sitting at a desk, reaching forward to touch their display. It was only earlier in the year where the idea of merging iOS and OS X was considered a "waste of energy".

Continue reading 'Apple is 'not all that interested' in making a touchscreen Mac' (full post)