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Friday, 15 March 2013

Floating touch and energy-saving display tipped for Samsung Galaxy S4 Hover your hand over the screen like magic

Fresh rumors about Samsung's Galaxy S4 hint at battery-saving screen technology and floating touch input for the upcoming flagship Android phone.

According to SamMobile, an inside source says that the Galaxy S4 will use a new kind of AMOLED display called "green PHOLED," which relies on phosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes, hence the acronym.

PHOLED uses phosphorescence instead of fluorescent light like traditional OLED displays, making it significantly more energy efficient. According to SamMobile, PHOLED displays are 25 percent better at consuming power, meaning less battery drain.

The technology has so far been implemented in displays that use PHOLED for one or two of the red, green or blue light spectrums. PHOLED would cover the green-yellow spectrum, lowering the display's power needs.

While we like the thought of a more energy efficient phone, there are also hints that users will touch the screen a whole lot less.

The same inside source indicated that Samsung will use floating touch technology in the S4, letting users hover their finger over the screen to perform actions like previewing emails and thumbnails without tapping to open them.

Samsung included similar technology in the Galaxy Note 2, which used the S Pen to hover over the screen for the Air View feature.

A little factoid: You may remember Sony's Xperia Sola featured floating touch.

Floating touch would join eye control through the Smart screen suite as a rumored new interface for the Galaxy S4.

SamMobile's source may be throwing us for a loop, so don't take the above rumors are hard and fast fact.

Samsung will reveal all during next week's Unpacked event, and TechRadar will be there to bring you all the details on Samsung's new flagship smartphone.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Google axes another 1,200 Motorola staff, total job losses top 5,000 Around a quarter of all Moto staff have been cut loose since last summer

Google confirmed plans to lay off another 1,200 Motorola staff as it desperately seeks a return to profitability for its multi-billion dollar acquisition.

The cutbacks, which will affect staff in the United States, China and India, are in addition to the 4,000 job losses the Silicon Valley giant announced last summer.

Google paid $12.5bn (UK£8.3bn, AUD$12.1bn) for the hardware manufacturer in a deal rubber-stamped last May, partly to boost its Android operating system, but also to acquire Moto's vast locker of 17,000 patents.

In an internal email leaked to the Wall Street Journal, Motorola told staff: "Our costs are too high, we're operating in markets where we're not competitive and we're losing money."

Google is currently working through the cycle of products Motorola already had in motion at the time of purchase and announced an operating loss of $152m for Q4 of 2012, back in January.

The company said it has "lots of positive hopes" for many of the new smartphones and tablets in the pipeline and assured that it "was not in the business of losing money" with Motorola.

That will be no consolation for the workers who won't be part of this transition. The number of job losses now surpasses 5,000, which is around a quarter of all employees on the books before the buyout.

"These cuts are a continuation of the reductions we announced last summer," confirmed Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick.

"It's obviously very hard for the employees concerned, and we are committed to helping them through this difficult transition."


Monday, 11 March 2013

Google Maps refreshes 'thousands of miles' of UK Street View images Street View continues to chart the globe

Google Maps has improved Street View imagery in several major UK cities, while adding areas previously unchartered by its cameras.

The globe's pre-eminent mapping service says its Street View cameras have retraced thousands of miles in London, Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow in a bid to improve the service.

Alongside the major metropolises, those distinct camera-wielding cars have also been documenting the ground-level landscape in parts of East Anglia, South Wales and the Scottish Coastline for the first time.

Beyond the UK improvements Google has also expanded its Street View presence across the continent, coming to Bulgaria for the first time, while 200 new towns and cities in Russia are also available.

In a post on the Google blog, the company wrote: "Today we're announcing a major expansion of Street View to make our maps of Europe more comprehensive and usable.

"For the first time, people all over the world can see Street View imagery of Bulgaria. They'll also have access to panoramas of almost 200 new towns and cities in Russia."

The upgrades, which are viewable on the web and the company's iOS and Android apps, follow the addition of 250,000 miles of new Street View imagery last October.

Great priceExcellent custom UIGood build qualityGreat new browserNo camerasErratic performanceNo Android MarketOnly 8GB storage without expansion

The $159 (£129) Amazon Kindle Fire was what the the tech fraternity likes to call a "game-changer." A gadget with the potential to irrevocably alter a sector of the market, by bringing something we've never seen before.

Kindle Fire review

But, a fully fledged Android tablet with a top-level ecosystem of multimedia content for less than half the price of its competitors didn't just change the game, it changed the sport.

The Google Nexus 7 arrived last year priced at $199 ($249 for 16GB) packed with a host of top-level specs and the latest version of Android in tow, while the price for Android tablets in general has fallen steeply with more bargains (like the Acer Iconia 300).

Compare that with a year ago when RIM was still trying to hoodwink us into paying $400-plus for the DOA BlackBerry PlayBook?

But the revolution Amazon started with its 7-inch Android 2.3 Gingerbread tablet, which Amazon diligently plotted for the last couple of years off the back of its Kindle e-reader successes, has been jumped upon by Google and Co., and now the Kindle Fire faces competition from models with improved specs and software, for the same price. How does it stand-up now against the evolving market it created?

Kindle Fire review

Amazon's idea is simple. It believes (and rightfully so) that it can replicate the success of its all-conquering Kindle reader devices by once again taking a hit on the hardware.

The built-in ecosystem of books, magazines, apps and movies Amazon offers allows it to do what RIM, LG, Samsung, Motorola can't and what Apple has no reason to - abandon the principle that profitable hardware is the key. A principal that Google has now adopted with the Nexus 7 rival.

The Kindle Fire is the first Kindle to boast a color screen, a holy grail to some users of the device. And with a 7-inch 1024x600 display it falls at the smaller end of the tablet sphere. With a skinned version of the now-dated Android 2.3 (rather than Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean) on board, it's also the first to run anything other than Amazon's non-native software.

When Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, and its price point, excitement was at a fever pitch. But it remained a gadget none of us had ever seen or played with. What would be the use of a $159 Android tablet that doesn't work, has a terrible touchscreen or buggy, unusable software? We picked up a device and put it through its paces.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

It turns out Windows 8 is no better than Microsoft's much-maligned Windows Vista, at least in the eyes of Jun Dong-soo, Samsung memory chip division president.

''The global PC industry is steadily shrinking despite the launch of Windows 8," said the senior Samsung executive today at the COEX InterContinental Hotel in Seoul.

"I think the Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform."

Jun laid the blame for stagnant PC sales at Microsoft's doorstep and said that the PC industry would gradually phase out, in a grim forecast picked up by The Korea Times today.

Samsung is heavily cutting production of PC memory chips, according to Jun, who sees the market as volatile and cyclical.

Those feelings are backed up by data from research firm IDC, which recently reestimated PC shipments for 2013 from 2.8 percent growth down to 1.3 percent growth.

With just 345.8 million PC shipments projected by this IDC data, the firm echoed Jun's comments, citing "underwhelming reception to Windows 8" as well as tablets undercutting PC sales.

Not even the vast marketing effort by Microsoft has been enough for its new operating system.

The company committed up to $1.8 billion (about £1.2 billion, AU$1.76 billion) to promote Windows 8, but has seen "little life" since the Oct. 26 launch.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has said that its Windows 8 sales are on "on par" with those of Windows 7 during its first three months of availability.

Taking all of this into account, Samsung will focus on mobile memory for tablets and smartphones.

''The market will see a supply-and demand balance in the second quarter and Samsung expects more demand in the latter half for mobile DRAMs, which are more profitable than conventional chips,'' Jun told The Korea Times.

However, the even-handed executive said that Samsung is waiting to check consumer demand even for smartphones and tablets before it finalizes its investment plans in more facilities.

''Sony, Taiwan's HTC, Nokia and LG Electronics are very aggressive in their smartphone businesses, increasing the demand for mobile DRAM chips," he said, calling out some of Samsung's biggest rivals.

"But we should check out whether the demand is real or false. That's why Samsung is hesitating to finalize this year's investment.''

One smartphone that may spur that "real" consumer demand for the industry is the Galaxy S4, a phone from none other than Samsung.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is expected to be the company's next big announcement scheduled for next week, Thursday, March 14.

View the original article here

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Another week goes by and another batch of products have been reviewed on TechRadar.

This week we have been particularly impressed with Samsung's new 32-inch TV which packs excellent picture quality at a price tag normally owned by Toshiba's budget offerings. It may not come with any internet features but most people just want a decent picture anyway, right?

Elsewhere, we've spent enough time with the Chromebook Pixel to deliver a final opinion, and there's been a whole raft of other tests too. So while you wait patiently for our HTC One review (it's coming soon!) check out everything from the past week…

Chromebook Pixel review

This is the best Chromebook in the world, but even within the context of rating Chromebooks, it's not perfect. When you put it in the wider context of Windows, OS X, iOS, Android and so on, it becomes even less compelling. However, while it's a little trite, Google is getting good at hardware faster than Apple is getting good at services, and the Chromebook Pixel is the best example of that we've ever seen. Apple, the world's biggest technology company, should be paying attention. But ultimately, unless you're a technology fetishist who wants some bragging rights, already love Chrome OS or think you might and are looking for better-made hardware for it than the previous, cheaper Chromebooks, or have enough money to dispose of, move on.

Samsung UE32EH5000 review

Samsung UE32EH5000 review

The Samsung 32EH5000's main attraction isn't a complicated one: it's all about the price, plain and simple. There will doubtless be gazillions of TV buyers who simply see the Samsung badge on a 32-inch TV selling for £270 (around US$406/AU$398) and know without further investigation that this must be the TV for them. The Samsung 32EH5000's price does come with feature strings attached, though. It's not 3D ready, it doesn't have any online streaming features, and it can't even 'chat' to a networked DLNA PC. It does, though, support multimedia playback from USB devices, and provides a startling amount of picture tweaks for a budget TV.

Nikon Coolpix A review

Hands on: Nikon Coolpix A review

In the Coolpix A, Nikon has produced a very interesting premium compact camera, with the added bonus of a sensor that has already proved its mettle in the Nikon D7000, an added incentive for anyone on the fence. It's interesting that the company has chosen to remove the optical low pass filter, something that is also true of the Nikon D800E and the recently announced Nikon D7100. That said, with an asking price of just shy of £1,000 (around US$1,506/ AU$1,484), this is a serious investment, and not one to be taken lightly. Though it's not quite up there with the asking price of the Sony RX1, it's also worth pointing out that it does have a smaller sensor.

ZTE Blade 3 review

ZTE Blade 3 review

The ZTE Blade 3 isn't a polished offering but we can almost forgive it when we are reminded of its price tag. This is a cheap and cheerful handset aimed at giving people an entry point to the smartphone market. While it could be tidied up around the edges, made to run a little smoother and upgraded to the latest Jelly Bean version of Android, we are suitably impressed with the Blade 3 as an entry-level device.

Office 2013 review

Office 365 review

Pentax MX-1 review

Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 review

Club3D HD 7870 XTjokerCard review

Antec SP1 review

KingSpec MultiCore 1TB review

Asus Zenbook U500 review

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 review

Pure Avalon 300R Connect review

Nikon 1 J3 review

Logitech UE Mobile Boombox review

Philips 42PFL6007T review

Samsung NX1000 review

View the original article here

'Tron' made real and a medical breakthrough - 3D thrills this week Actual implant not pictured

What a week for 3D.

Dita Von Teese slinked into the world's first 3D printed dress, one form fitted to burlesque dancer's curves and sure to be the envy of many a little black frock, and now we've learned that the tri-dimensional printing process came through in a big way for a man in medical need.

According to, a U.S. patient had 75 percent of his skull replaced with a custom-made 3D printed implant. A 3D scan of the unnamed man's head was taken to form a plastic prosthetic fit for his features, while Oxford Performance Materials (OPM), the company behind the implant, sought regulatory approval.

After getting the green light, a printed bone implant was inserted into the man's skull earlier this week. The replacement includes etched surface details to encourage cell and bone growth, News noted.

OPM said that following U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval granted on Feb. 18, it can now provide 3D printouts to replace bone damaged by disease or trauma. It estimates that about 500 U.S. citizens could make use of the tech each month.

3D printing is squaring up to be a 21st solution to many a problem, but what about the (computer) age-old issue of putting real-world objects into the digital realm?

MakerBot thinks it's got an answer, one it wants to get to consumers by year's end.

During his keynote today at South By Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas, MakerBot founder Bre Pettis announced the company's Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner, still in prototype form but an intriguing entrant into the 3D ecosystem nonetheless.

DigitizerThe gnome is scanned, a la 'Tron'

The Digitizer uses a pair of lasers to scan small 3D objects - Pettis used a gnome - and then will input them into a computer.

"If you've seen Tron, this is kind of like what happens when Flynn gets digitized into the game grid, and then it makes a 3D model," Pettis, as reported by the VentureBeat, said. "Then you can make as many copies as you need."

When used in tandem with MakerBot's Replicator 3D printers, it becomes the "washer-dryer combo of 3D printing."

While the idea isn't new, the Digitizer aims to make the process, typically reserved for complex computer-aided design, easy and accessible for everyone.

Orders should be ready this fall, though how much you'll have to cough up is still unknown. Digitzer dreamers can sign up to receive news on the product and find out when its available through the MakerBot website.