Xbox 360 to receive Internet Explorer 9, oh and Kinect support

Anthony Garreffa | Software & Apps | May 11, 2012 10:00 PM CDT

Microsoft kinda wants to turn the Xbox 360 into a PC, but kinda doesn't. Today's "kinda does" includes news that the OS and gaming giant will release Internet Explorer 9 to the Xbox 360, which would include Kinect voice and gesture support.

The Xbox 360 already sports voice search functions with Bing, but the results are limited to just media only. Having Internet Explorer would give the Xbox 360 a full-on web browsing experience, in an unrestricted environment. The Verge is reporting this, so it gives the news some big credit.

If the Xbox 360 owner has the Kinect motion-sensing device, they could use it for voice and gesture control within Internet Explorer. This would be a pretty nifty thing to have on the couch, and would really give credit toward Kinect being a huge feature for the next-generation Xbox. Because text can't be easily entered in with a console controller, voice control makes perfect sense. E3 isn't too far away, and I have a feeling we should see and hear about it then.

Continue reading: Xbox 360 to receive Internet Explorer 9, oh and Kinect support (full post)

Upstart FreedomPop iPhone case offers free 4G data, mobile hotspot, extra battery life

Trace Hagan | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | May 11, 2012 5:31 PM CDT

Have an iPhone? Use less than 500MB of data a month? Live in a select few regions? Then do I have some good news for you! A new upstart company based out of LA announced the launch of a preorder process for a new iPhone case which comes with a few perks. FreedomPop's iPhone case comes with 500MB of free 4G data using Clearwire's WiMAX network.

Not only will the iPhone case provide 500MB of free data for your iPhone, it can also boost the battery life of your device or share the connection through Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. The case will retail for $99, so if you cancel your data plan, the case will be paid for in just a few months. Even if you exceed the 500MB, each additional MB is just $0.01, or $10 a Gigabyte.

At this price, it is pretty much in line with what the carriers charge, so it's really a no-risk proposition. Additionally, users can earn up to 500MB extra for free through referrals and other programs. According to FreedomPop VP of Product Mauricio Sastre, "The timing couldn't be better for our product. Carriers are throttling data and increasing prices and users are desperate for affordable alternatives. As the mobile industry flexes its joint oligopolistic power, we want to ensure that we are keeping them honest."

Continue reading: Upstart FreedomPop iPhone case offers free 4G data, mobile hotspot, extra battery life (full post)

Ivy Bridge's heat problem is indeed caused by Intel's TIM choice

Trace Hagan | CPU, APU & Chipsets | May 11, 2012 1:31 PM CDT

There has been a lot of debate back and forth about whether or not Ivy Bridge's "slight" heat problem is caused by Intel's choice to not use solder to attach the IHS to the core. Originally, people were blaming the higher density of the transistors, due to the 22nm process, for the heat issue. Then, someone decided to de-lid the chip and found TIM instead of solder.

First, let me recommend you not remove the IHS from your chip as it could damage your chip, not to mention it voids your warranty. Besides, someone else has already done it for you along with the testing needed to prove that the heat issue is due to the TIM used by Intel. Impress PC Watch wiped off Intel's TIM and replaced it with OCZ's Freeze Extreme and Coollaboratory's Liquid Pro to see the difference.

The results? As you can expect from the title of this news post, the TIM choice that Intel made did in fact yield higher temperatures. Load temperatures at stock settings results in an 8*C and 11*C drop in temperatures which is a pretty big change. Overclocking the chip to 4.6GHz resulted in even bigger differences: 15*C for the OCZ TIM and 20*C for the Coollaboratory TIM.

Continue reading: Ivy Bridge's heat problem is indeed caused by Intel's TIM choice (full post)

NVIDIA reports first quarter financial results, less profit than last quarter, still in the black

Trace Hagan | Business, Financial & Legal | May 11, 2012 11:31 AM CDT

NVIDIA's first quarter of fiscal year 2013 is now over and the results are slightly lackluster. Don't get me wrong, NVIDIA still made money, but they made quite a bit less than last quarter. Revenue fell a few percentage points and overall net profit fell by nearly 50% to settle in at only $60.4 million.

I would blame this lackluster performance on the fact that they didn't get a Kepler GPU out until the middle to end of the quarter. As such, their products couldn't really compete with AMD's, so it's unlikely that as many people were purchasing them. NVIDIA still sounds positive, however, as this is what Jen-Hsun Huang, , president and chief executive officer of NVIDIA, said:

Kepler GPUs are accelerating our business. Our newly launched desktop products are winning some of the best reviews we've ever had. Notebook GPUs had a record quarter. And Tegra is on a growth track again, driven by great mobile device wins and the upcoming Windows on ARM launch. Graphics is more important than ever. Look for exciting news next week at the GPU Technology Conference as we reveal new ways that the GPU will enhance mobile and cloud computing.

Continue reading: NVIDIA reports first quarter financial results, less profit than last quarter, still in the black (full post)

Flipboard to soon have more downloads in China than the US

Anthony Garreffa | Software & Apps | May 11, 2012 2:24 AM CDT

Flipboard CEO, Mick McCue has revealed that the apps number of downloads in China will "easily surpass" what they're seeing in the US in the near future. The company is also looking to create a Chinese base of operations, too.

The company launched a Chinese service last December, which even included a dedicated editorial team. March of this year saw an iPhone app, and just yesterday we saw the app hit the Samsung GALAXY S II. McCue has said that the number of downloads of Flipboard in China is already equal with those in the US.

Flipboard is looking at 5 million downloads in China by the end of 2012, and in order to help that growth, McCue has revealed that an official Android-based application will hit the country. This is a good move, as Android represents 68.4-percent of smartphone sales in China, according to Analysys research.

Continue reading: Flipboard to soon have more downloads in China than the US (full post)

Bing expands, will sport Facebook, Twitter integration

Anthony Garreffa | Internet & Websites | May 10, 2012 9:18 PM CDT

Microsoft is rolling out what they are calling "the most significant update to Bing since we launched three years ago". The new update will roll out over the next few weeks as Microsoft introduce a new way to search that is designed to help you take action and interact with friends and experts "without compromising the core search experience".

Microsoft point out that the search industry is built on keywords, links and labels - static nouns pointing to pages. Whilst this approach is great for finding sites, searching is not just about finding information or data, its about taking action. You might search flights, or accommodation, and usually when doing so, you'd like to take action in the form of placing a booking, etc. Microsoft note that 68-percent of people tell them they expect to get something done when they type into a search box.

Bing ups the ante on this, where you're you'll be able to share virtually everything you do, where you are, who you are, all in real-time. The new updated Bing will include a "brand new information architecture" with three columns: the left will feature familiar algorithmic results, the middle provides a "snapshot" of relevant information and services, such as maps and reviews, whilst the sidebar to the right will include social-orientated results.

Continue reading: Bing expands, will sport Facebook, Twitter integration (full post)

AMD accidentally posts PDF file with characteristics and performance of upcoming Trinity APUs

Trace Hagan | CPU, APU & Chipsets | May 10, 2012 6:28 PM CDT

With the Trinity APU launch coming soon, leaks will be coming more frequently and with more credibility. The leak today is from AMD's website itself (the file has since been removed) in the form of a PDF file which had some characteristics such as model numbers and graphics performance of the upcoming APUs.

The part of interest is the graph of the upcoming APUs' graphics performance relative to Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs. Why not Ivy Bridge? Well, the Trinity APUs shown in the graphic are embedded options and Intel hasn't launched any Ivy Bridge embedded options so this is a more apples-to-apples comparison.

What the graph shows is that the AMD R-464L has 206%, and the R-272F has 145% better performance than Intel i7-2710QE embedded chip in 3DMark 06 and Vantage v1.1.0 applications. However, that Intel chip is using the HD 3000 graphics which is noticeably slower than the HD 4000 graphics of Ivy Bridge.

Continue reading: AMD accidentally posts PDF file with characteristics and performance of upcoming Trinity APUs (full post)

Posting on social networking sites engage same parts of brain as sex, experts say

Trace Hagan | Internet & Websites | May 10, 2012 5:36 PM CDT

According to a new study done by the Harvard Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab shows that talking about oneself on a social networking site engages portions of the brain that are responsible for love, pleasure, and rewards. Curiously enough, these same sections of the brain are active when having sex.

This good feeling that is associated with posting about oneself explains why 80% of the average user's social networking posts consist of self-disclosure. These social networking posts account for 30-40% of the average user's speech output for each day. To verify this, Diana Tamir and co-author Jason Mitchell hooked participants up to an MRI to monitor brain activity while being asked questions.

The questions were about their own and others' attitudes on various subjects. The point of the two different questions was to discover if there was a difference between talking about oneself or someone else. The findings show that talking about oneself engages the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) which are both associated with rewards. As previously stated, these same regions are active during sex or eating good food.

Continue reading: Posting on social networking sites engage same parts of brain as sex, experts say (full post)

Samsung asserts PenTile AMOLED screens last longer, reason for use in Galaxy S3

Trace Hagan | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | May 10, 2012 4:31 PM CDT

During the announcement of the new Samsung Galaxy S III handset, most people were really excited about all of the features that it sported. Not everyone, however, was fully excited about all aspects of the new handset. The issue that most people had with the new device was the fact that Samsung chose one type of screen over another.

It seems as though most people were disappointed that Samsung went with a PenTile AMOLED screen rather than a traditional RGB AMOLED screen. The difference lies in the arrangement of the subpixels, or pieces that make up a pixel. In a PenTile display, the subpixels are aligned RGBG (red, green, blue, green) and the actual sizes of the subpixels varies.

A traditional screen is arranged RGB (red, green, blue) with each subpixel the same size. Due to the odd arrangement and size differences in a PenTile display, some users have complained of screens not being as crisp as a traditional RGB screen. However, when the resolution is increased, this effect is lessened as the pixels themselves become smaller.

Continue reading: Samsung asserts PenTile AMOLED screens last longer, reason for use in Galaxy S3 (full post)

Microsoft bans Firefox on upcoming ARM-based Windows 8, Mozilla claims

Trace Hagan | Software & Apps | May 10, 2012 2:33 PM CDT

Microsoft is banning alternative browser on the upcoming ARM-based Windows 8 platform, or so Mozilla is claiming. It seems as though this could be an anti-competitive practice in which Microsoft may end up getting sued. But, let's examine the reasons that Microsoft isn't allowing alternative browsers. Trust me, you'll get quite the laugh.

"They're trying to make a new version of their operating system which denies their users choice, competition, and innovation," said Harvey Anderson, Mozilla's general counsel. "Making IE the only browser on that platform is a complete return to the digital dark ages when there was only one browser on the Windows platform."

Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Heiner told Mozilla the reasons they wouldn't be able to write a browser for Windows 8 ARM, Anderson said:

Continue reading: Microsoft bans Firefox on upcoming ARM-based Windows 8, Mozilla claims (full post)