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samsung-galaxy-s5-tobias-hornof

The consumers were not pleased with the design Samsung brought with the launch of Galaxy S4. Most of the people were not able to easily differentiate between Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 because of the similar design profiles. Now Samsung has admitted that the S5 would likely pack a substantially different design.

 ‘A back to basics’ rethink for the Galaxy S5

Talking to Bloomberg, Exec Lee Young Hee told  that the new flagship will go “back to basics,” adding that “mostly, it’s about the display and the feel of the cover.” It’ll also accompanied with a brand new version of the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, which is promised to have “more advanced functions” and an improvement over bulky design. There is also a possibility of eye-scanner sensor in the handset for greater security, though that’s still being studied.

Farther down the road, Samsung said that it’s looking at significant changes for the Galaxy Note 3’s successor in order to target it at professionals who are “willing to pay more for handsets”, something they have started with the recently announced Pro series tablets. Finally, Lee revealed that the Galaxy S5 will arrive in March or April after Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. So what else you expect from Samsung in its upcoming flagship? Leave your opinion in comments.

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NotePRO

Samsung’s new Pro series tablets makes a significant step toward the company leaving behind the traditional Android interface in favor of something more graphical and immediate. The new tablets, which go up to sizes as big as 12.2-inches, are designed to, in Samsung’s words,

“Redefine what a tablet can do.”

The NotePro and TabPro tablets looks similar to Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition, with faux-leather backs and silver trim. Just 8mm thick, theses things are slim and relatively light weight. The main difference is that the NotePro supports the S-Pen and the TabPro does not. Otherwise, the devices share the same internals.

The 12.2-inch display feature a beautiful 2560×1600 resolution display. It also has 3GB of RAM, runs Android 4.4 and comes equipped with 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, 8-megapixel rear cameras and 2-megapixel front cameras.

The big visual innovation with the NotePro and TabPro tablets is the all new User Interface something Samsung calls Magazine UX. It’s Windows 8-like, with various tiles that let users organize their favorite content from apps and feeds. The devices also feature a multi window mode that allow the screen to be split into four different windows. The Galaxy NotePro and TabPro also come with a Remote PC app that allows users to connect with their home or office PC from the tablet. It also comes pre-installed with Cisco WebEx Meetings for web conferencing and Samsung’s e-Meeting collaboration app.

Samsung is also bringing in premium and subscription based content to the devices, from companies such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Dropbox, Evernote, the New York Times, Sketchbook Pro and Bitcasa.

Both the NotePro and TabPro are available in Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi and 3G or Wi-Fi and LTE configurations. Other than 12.2-inch model the TabPro will also be available in 10.1-inch and 8.4-inch sizes.

The Galaxy NotePro and TabPro will be available in first quarter 2014.

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nsa-nightstand

Image Credit : Engadget

Attendees at the Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg this weekend got surprised by the NSA’s surveillance capabilities, thanks to security researcher Jacob Appelbaum. Jacob went into further detail onstage, describing several individual devices in the NSA catalog and their intended purposes.

NSA used exploits that allowed control over iOS devices and any phone communicating through GSM. Appelbaum detailed a device named NIGHTSTAND, that targets computers through packet injection using a drone or in most cases, an unmarked van. The Linux-powered device can exploit Windows systems from up to eight miles away. Nightstand may not see significant use today given that it dates back to 2008, but its existence suggests that the NSA also has newer, more advanced WiFi surveillance gear at its disposal.

Update: Cisco is formally investigating the potential hack. “On Monday, December 30th, Der Spiegel magazine published additional information about the techniques allegedly used by NSA TAO to infiltrate the technologies of numerous IT companies,” wrote senior VP John Stewart. “As a result of this new information coming to light, the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) has opened an investigation.”

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chromebook

A few years ago, Chromebooks were a bit of a laughing stock. They were under performing single-purpose laptops that weren’t even good at the only thing they could do (that is, surf the web). Nobody really warmed up to them, despite their low price. Early sales were more than disappointing, and even Google’s few hardware partners looked like they were only doing this as a way to court Google’s favor. The whole project seemed doomed from the start.

But somehow, over the last two years, Chromebooks went from being irrelevant to actually making a sizable dent in the laptop market. And not just in the business market. Amazon this week reported that two out of its three best-selling laptops during the holiday season were Chromebooks.

According to the latest numbers from NPD, Chromebooks accounted for 21 percent of all laptop sales and almost 10 percent of all computer sales to businesses in 2013. That’s up from virtually nothing in the year before.

 Chromebooks accounts for 21 percent of all laptop sales and almost 10 percent of all computer sales in 2013

Two years ago, as per numbers shared by Google, it seemed Chromebooks were only doing somewhat well in schools. But over the last year, Google created a more diverse ecosystem of hardware partners. Chromebooks ecosystem now includes virtually all major laptop manufacturers, including the likes of Lenovo, HP, Toshiba and Acer and more to join soon.

With the $1,300 Chromebook Pixel, Google even designed its own high-end Chromebook. It was not very popular primarily because of its high price but it surely helped the ecosystem and potential business customers to warm up the idea, too. Over the last year, ChromeOS feels more like a regular PC and less than a laptop that can only run a browser. Chromebooks are usually criticized because of their limited offline capabilities and this is the one area Google’s engineers worked hard by adding more offline capabilities.

Today’s Chromebooks are nothing like the old Cr-48 prototype Google once sent out to bloggers in late 2010. And due to growing popularity of Chromebooks, Microsoft is concerned about losing market share in the business world.

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samsung-galaxy-s5-tobias-hornof

The speculations about upcoming Samsung flagship Galaxy S5 has been started, and the first rumors to come are pretty damn crazy. According to ZDNet Korea, which has reported accurate details surrounding unannounced Samsung devices in the past, Samsung is preparing to launch a killer smartphone this coming February. The Galaxy S5 is rumored to feature an eye scanning sensor for security taking facial recognition and fingerprint scanning just another step further.

The eye-scanning/iris-recognition feature has never been used as an unlocking method on any smartphone, and if the rumour is true, Samsung would become the first handset maker to debut the feature on a smartphone. However, there is no official word from Samsung on the alleged eye-scanning feature. Another rumors include a QHD+ display at a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels, a 16MP camera and a metal construction. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is expected to come with a 5.0- or 5.2-inch display, making the pixel density an incredible 560ppi at the said resolution.

Beyond the stunning new display and a possible integrated eye scanner, Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy S5 is expected to feature a new 64-bit eight-core Exynos processor or a quad-core Snapdragon processor.

These rumors are somewhat unbelievable but who knows, Samsung may surprise us all. What are your thoughts on these rumors?

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As a part of the crowd funded Super Awesome Micro Project, two talented guys from Australia, Steve Sammartino and Raul Oaida built a functional car out of Lego bricks that runs on air. They used around 500,000 Lego bricks and 256 pistons to design this masterpiece. The car, from engine to seats, is made completely from the tiny bricks, with the exception of a few structural parts including wheels, tires, and gauges. According to an estimate they’ve dropped $60,000 on Lego bricks alone.

Forty Australian patrons funded the project after seeing a single tweet that Sammartino sent.

“We are building something that has not been built before. It is high tech, eco friendly, quirky, strange and very, very cool. Those involved can come to the launch party. An official page of ‘patrons’ will be developed on a .com address so the world will know those who made it a reality. We will launch it to the world via a video – a mini doco. But it will be real. People can come, see and touch it.” said Steve Sammartino in the Super Awesome Micro Project Prospectus.

The car was built in Romania and then shipped to an undisclosed location in Melbourne, which was not an easy task.

The car was significantly damaged during shipping,” Sammartino told an Australian podcast. “We were like, ‘Well it’s just Lego, we’ll snap the pieces back together,’ But it wasn’t that easy. The pieces were warped because it had gone across the Equator, pieces were freezing and heating up — it was worse than you’d think.

But they were able to patch those damages up, and now they’re taking the car to the streets but admit that they currently “drive it slow as are scared of giant lego explosion.” It uses four radial engines for power and can currently reach speeds up to 20mph.

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sheerwind

SheerWind, a company based in Minnesota, claims to have a new technology for wind power generation that can alleviate most of the world’s concerns. The technology called Invelox system can operate in a wider variety of conditions and is claimed to have an efficiency up to 600% than traditional wind turbines.

Traditional wind turbines you’re used to see rely on fairly swift winds to function. However the Invelox system can generate power from winds as gentle as 1-2 MPH.

invelox

How it Works | Image Credit : Sheerwind

 

HOW IT WORKS

“It does this by capturing passing breezes in large scoops at the top of its 40-50 foot tower. The wind is funneled down toward the ground through an increasingly narrow space. When the air is compressed, it speeds up and is used to power a small turbine generator.”

Invelox efficiency

Image Credit : Sheerwind

 

SheerWind is trying to prove that the system is 6 times more efficient than the traditional wind turbines, but it’s currently doing so with internal testing. The company tested its turbine both with and without the Invelox cowling. When it compared the values over time, that works out to energy production improvements anywhere from 81-660%. The average was 314%.

The company says it has been able to produce wind power at a cost of $750 per kilowatt, including installation. This brings it in-line with the final cost of energy from natural gas and hydropower. The energy industry is all about cost effectiveness and efficiency, so if the Invelox technology is legit, it’s going to be huge. Invelox takes up much less space than traditional windmills, and it poses little to no risk to birds or curious children.

 

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Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed research robots for the Pentagon, has been acquired by Google. It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year.

Boston Dynamics and its range of robots bring significant cachet to Google’s robotic efforts, which are being led by Andy Rubin, the name behind the development of Android, the world’s most widely used smartphone software.

As per the New York Times

“This deal is the clearest indication yet that Google is intent on building a new class of autonomous systems that might do anything from warehouse work to package delivery and even elder care.”

Boston Dynamics was  founded in 1992 by Marc Raibert, also known as the father of walking robots in the United States. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is one of the most renowned clients of Boston Dynamics. Boston Dynamics’ walking robots have an amazing reputation for being extraordinarily. They are able to walk over rough terrain and surfaces that in some cases are challenging even for humans.

Google executives said the company would honor existing military contracts, but that it did not plan to move toward becoming a military contractor on its own.

Under a $10.8 million contract, Boston Dynamics is currently supplying Darpa with a set of humanoid robots named Atlas to participate in the Darpa Robotics Challenge, a two-year contest with a $2 million prize. The contest’s goal is creating a class of robots that can operate in natural disasters and catastrophes like the nuclear power plant meltdown in Fukushima, Japan.

“Competitions like the Darpa Robotics Challenge stretch participants to try to solve problems that matter and we hope to learn from the teams’ insights around disaster relief,” Mr. Rubin said in a statement released by Google.

“computers are starting to sprout legs and move around in the environment. – Andy Rubin”

Boston Dynamics has also designed robots that can climb walls and trees as well as other two- and four-legged walking robots. Mr. Rubin has called his robotics effort a “moonshot,” but has declined to describe specific products that might come from the project. However, he does not expect initial product development to go on for years.

“I am excited by Andy and Google’s ability to think very, very big, with the resources to make it happen.” said Dr. Raibert.

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nokia normandy

According to multiple sources Nokia has been building its own Android phone codenamed Normandy. According to reports the handset is designed as the next step in low-end phones from the Finnish smartphone maker. According to the source Nokia has been testing highly modified variant of Android for this phone like Amazon has done with Kindle Fire range of tablets.

An image of the handset was leaked by @evleaks on twitter in November, showing a Lumia-style device with no apparent capacitive buttons for navigation. According to reports from neowin Nokia has been developing the Android-powered phone despite Microsoft’s plans to acquire the company’s handset business. It’s still unclear whether this device will ever see day of light.

A Nokia Android device for low end

According to rumors  Normandy will be an alternative to Asha range of low cost devices. Nokia’s is trying similar strategy of Amazon customizing Android fully for its own use. According to reports the device is expected to release in 2014, and one insider described the Normandy effort as “full steam ahead.” But at the same time Windows Phone has been so dependent on Nokia that you can certainly envision Microsoft freaking out over any sign of the Finnish phone maker flirting with another operating system.

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DARPAMOIRE

Image Credit : DARPA

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the military’s futuristic research agency, is ready to “break the glass ceiling” of space telescopes by aiming for a new design into orbit that’s made of plastic instead of traditional glass and unfolds into a mammoth space telescope.

DARPA’s new program is called Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation (MOIRE). The new orbital telescope will be bigger and lighter than previous imaging satellites, making it easier to spy on larger areas and for longer periods of time.

DARPA’s MOIRE CONCEPT

This giant telescope could view approximately 40 percent of the earth’s surface at once.

It will be a tightly packed cluster of petals having diameter of 20 feet. MOIRE stretches to 68 feet across. After its launch it will be placed 22,000 miles above the earth. From orbit, this giant telescope could view approximately 40 percent of the earth’s surface at once. It will be able to record high resolution images and video, making it the ultimate spying satellite. However it could also be beneficial in weather forecasting and disaster response.

High resolution imagery was not possible with the traditional large diameter mirrors because of its thickness and weight. Also it was quite expensive to implement such technology in Space Telescopes. According to DARPA – “The glass mirrors are rapidly approaching the point where they will be too large, heavy and costly for even the largest of today’s rockets.”

“Membrane optics could enable us to fit much larger, higher-resolution telescopes in smaller and lighter packages,” said Lt. Col. Larry Gunn, Darpa program manager, in a statement. “In that respect, we’re ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ that traditional materials impose on optics design.”

DARPAMOIRESIZECOMPARISON

Size Comparison of Different Telescopes | Concept Image | Image Credit : DARPA

Instead of reflecting light with mirrors or refracting it with lenses as traditional space telescopes do, MOIRE’s membrane uses concept of optics diffraction. And because MOIRE is so much lighter and smaller at launch, budget wise it will be much more efficient.

“We’re hoping our research could also help greatly reduce overall costs and enable more timely deployment using smaller, less expensive launch vehicles,” said Gunn.

According to DARPA, the MOIRE program is in its second and final phase and recently demonstrated a ground-based prototype.

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