Samsung Galaxy S4 keeps calm, carries on with big screen, 8-core chip and, yes, eye tracking – a product review by CNET
Google just released its latest Chromebook, the Pixel. The launch was held at a San Francisco press release event. Users can expect a glass and high-resolution screen with touchscreen display; they can also expect a monstrous $1,300 price tag.
The Pixel comes with an Intel Core i5 processor. Also, users will not have access to Microsoft Office or Outlook and instead will rely on Google Docs and Gmail. However, this is no cause for worry for Office users as Google plans to release a new version of Quickoffice that is compatible with Microsoft Office.
The Pixelâ€™s greatest feature â€“ as well as the reason for its high price tag â€“ is mainly due to its 4.3 million pixels, which is double the amount of a 1080 HD TV. It has a 12.85 inch screen and is also touchscreen. In addition, it also comes with three microphones and an aluminum casing. Each Pixel user will also be given 1TB of free space for the first three years.
Despite all the neat amenities it comes with, the Pixel is not without its share of critics. Some have blasted Google for releasing an overpriced product that actually contains fewer features than a standard laptop that is half the price. Others have complained that the Pixel is geared more towards professional developers and that there is no reason for an average user to shell out over a grand for it.
Others have pointed out that while the ultra-high-resolution display is beautiful, it is almost irrelevant since most of the Web is not optimized for high-definition at that level. Its battery life is another issue. While other tablets can operate up to 10 hours on a full charge, the Pixel can only last up to five.
The Pixel is currently available online at Best Buy and costs 1,300 dollars. Google is expected to release a LTE version in April for around 1,450 dollars.
Microsoft and Google have long been bitter rivals. Microsoft is now taking its attack to the next level by releasing its latest campaign. The ad is called â€œScroogledâ€ and points out the flaws and drawbacks of using Google Docs, such as its dependence on an Internet connection.
The ad is made by Microsoft in an attempt to promote its own email service, called Outlook.com, and to dissuade users from signing up with the much more popular Gmail service offered by Google.
Scroogled even has its own website, which can be accessed at scroogled.com. The site points out that Google spies the content on each email message and uses the information to target gmail accounts with targeted ads. There is no option for users to opt out. The site goes on to say that Outlook.com respects the privacy of its users and will never resort to such unethical tactics for the sake of selling a few ads.
To further its assault, Microsoft has released another website called thepetitionsite.com, which urges the public to demand that Google halts the practice of spying on the gmail accounts of its users. So far, the petition has garnered over 1,000 signatures; its goal is to collect 25,000. Microsoft also points out that 88 percent of Americans believe that companies should not have the right to scan personal email messages to sell ads.
In defense, Google says that email messages are scanned by an automated system and are not read by a human staff. It also adds that the ads are what allows users to have a gmail account free of charge and that it does everything it can to ensure that the ads are unobtrusive.
While ads are also displayed on the inbox page of Outlook users, Microsoft claims that those ads are derived from broad demographic information, such as age, gender and zip code.
Films based on real life events are not always factually accurate. Movies inspired by true events typically have a bit of Hollywood added in for increased dramatic effect. jOBS, the movie depicting the life of the late Apple chairman Steve Jobs is no exception.
A snippet of the film has been released, and Apple Co-chairman Steve Wozniak is already criticizing the film as highly inaccurate. Wozniak made his assessment based on a brief trailer that depicts Jobs, played by Ashton Kuthcer, and Wozniak, played by Josh Gad, discussing the social impact of computers. In the clip, which is set in 1976, Gad is telling Kutcher that no one would ever be interested in purchasing a computer and there is no profit in such a market.
According to Wozniak, he and Jobs never discussed such a thing. Jobsâ€™ initial vision was to merely make a small profit by building $20 computer boards and selling them for double the price. Wozniak also added that it was actually he himself that came up with the idea of inventing a personal computer as he was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club, a group for computer enthusiasts.
Wozniak also criticized the way their characters were portrayed and even slammed the choice of attire as wrong. The film depicted the two as having a grandiose vision and wearing a suit and tie. Wozniak emphasized that he and Jobs were just kids at the time and were always casually dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and had very little manners of professionalism.
Despite Wozniakâ€™s negative initial impression, he admitted that his position is based off of a small clip and that the movie still has the potential to be successful as long as the message of the film is correct. jOBS is currently slated for an April release.
The death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz is garnering a lot of publicity. The attention is now being directed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which refused to back Swartz by supporting a petition that could of kept him out of prison.
According to Swartzâ€™s attorney, MIT refused to take a formal stance on the position despite a growing number of support from students and faculty in the MIT community. The attorney also slammed MIT for agreeing to hand over files regarding Swartzâ€™s Internet activities without a court order, which was used by prosecutors to build a case against him.
Swartz was an Internet activist who was arrested after hacking into JSTOR, a digital archive, and stole several millions of academic journal articles and essays using MITâ€™s network. On January 11th, he was found dead in his apartment from an apparent suicide.
Swartz has long suffered from depression, and his supporters claim his upcoming federal trial was a major factor that pushed him to take his own life. His family and friends are now placing the blame on the prosecutors for pursuing exceptionally and unreasonably harsh charges.
The sum of the charges carried with it a potential 30 year prison sentence, which is deemed excessive for a crime that had no victims. The prosecutor, Stephen Heymann, had threatened Swartz with a lengthier prison sentence if he refused a plea deal. Supporters also say that Heymann targeted Swartz specifically in order to build on his own credibility and reputation as a prosecutor who specialized in cybercrimes.
According to Swartzâ€™s lawyer, Heymann also used intimidation tactics to get some of Swartzâ€™s friends and supporters to testify before a grand jury.
While the blame is centered on the prosecutor, there is also much finger pointing directed at MIT for not standing up for one of their own.
Not long ago, there was the iPad Mini. Now, there is gossip of a possible iPhone mini. However, it is the price tag that really has tech lovers excited. According to some sources, the gadget can sell for as low as $200.
The mini would simply be a more compact and budget-friendly version of the iPhone 5. According to sources, the reason for a more affordable and cheaper iPhone is to cater to new audiences who may otherwise be unable to afford a standard iPhone. It is also a chance for Apple to even the playing field with long-time rival Samsung. According to sales estimates in 2012, Samsung accounts for about a third of all smartphone sales, while Apple accounts for about a fifth.
According to some analysts, the iPhone mini is likely to sell anywhere from $200 to $250. However, with the current iPhone 5 selling rather well, there will be little incentive for Apple to rush the mini to the market. Some predict that it could be at least another three years before the mini makes its way into the electronic aisle.
In other Apple-related news, there is also rumors of an iPhone 5S that is slated for a June release. There is even news of an iPhone 6 expected to be released by late 2013 or early 2014 and is expected to have features that includes a virtual keyboard, a full-screen desktop display and a pico projector.
Other Apple projects in the works include an iWatch, which communicates with the iPhone and iPad and allows users to quickly check messages on their mobile device without actually having to pull it out.
While Apple has released no official statements yet regarding an iPhone mini, if the rumors are true, it could be a huge step forward for the mobile tech giant.
2012 has seen a boom in new apps and mobile devices. As the year comes to a close, Windows users can delight in the fact that they now have a wider range of apps that they can experiment with through Microsoftâ€™s online phone store.
According to Microsoftâ€™s official blog post, over 75,000 new apps as well as games were added. This also included the addition of 300,000 app updates. The additions this year alone more than double the total number of apps available.
Surveys show that the typical Windows mobile user has downloaded an average of 54 apps. The apps that garner a lot of attention and downloads are the live ones. In fact, a poll revealed that 85 percent of users of Windows Phone 8 said they prefer a live app over those that lack such a feature. With live apps, users can catch up on the latest headlines and current weather forecast as well as check their emails and make appointments.
Microsoft has really taken extra measures this year to ensure that it ends 2012 on a high note. The company has also recently included Alipay and PayPal as part of its payment options. In addition, it has also expanded the number of consumer markets for the Windows phone store, jumping from 35 at the end of 2011 to 191 today. Windows Phone users can also feel safe knowing that the company has beefed up security to guard against viruses and other malware.
While Microsoft has reached a new milestone this year, it still lags behind competitors like Google Play and Appleâ€™s App Store, both of which carry around 700,000 apps each.
While Microsoft is still an underdog in the mobile industry, if the company sees similar success for 2013, then it might not be long before the company becomes a legitimate competitor for mobile giants Apple and Google.
In the not-so-distant future, we may soon see an iPhone that sports a bendable screen. If that sounds farfetched or something out of science fiction, then it is worth noting that a new and patented method has been discovered that allows glass to bend and mold using the latest in heat activation technology.
Apple is now contemplating how this discovery can be used to enable bendable screens on its iPhones and iPads. Samsung and Nokia also have plans to do the same. The former, in fact, already has a prototype in the making and intends on showing it off at a CES tradeshow in January.
Apple has already acquired a patent for the method. The application is a delicate one and involves a special process that allows the glass to create a bend or curve without cracking or getting overstretched, which is often caused by air vacuums. The method is already advanced enough for it to be applied to mobile devices and other smaller gadgets.
â€œPatentâ€ is the keyword here, and Apple will need to file a bunch of them in order to make the method their own and prevent rivals from adopting similar methods for their own devices. The company has already acquired a patent earlier this year that allows the flipping of pages from a digital screen.
Of course, even with a patent, there is no guarantee that such a thing as an iPhone with a bendable screen will ever come to fruition. Multiple factors, such as the efficiency, ease of use, customer response and cost of production will determine whether such a creation ever makes it to the market. In fact, Apple has filed hundreds of patents in the past that never makes it past the prototype phase when implemented into a device, and the idea soon dies off before news of it ever reaches the public ear.
It seems that no matter what Yahoo does, it is always a step or two behind its rivals, most notably Google and Facebook. However, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is looking to ignite some sizzle within the company by making their services friendlier to mobile users.
News is circulating that the Silicon Valley-based company is looking to acquire Summly. Summly is an app for the iPhone that summarizes the latest news stories into short snippets of text consisting of no more than 400 characters. It allows users to conveniently browse the categories of current headlines where they can click on the title for the full story. Since its creation, the app has been downloaded half a million times and has also caught the attention of high profile investors, which includes Yoko Ono, Ashton Kutcher and Stephen Fry.
Whatâ€™s even more amazing is the fact that Summly was created by a 17-year old tech wizard by the name of Nick Dâ€™Aloisio. The kid resides in London and is a regular visitor to Silicon Valley. It is rumored that Dâ€™Aloisio is engaged in negotiations with Mayer over a possible acquisition. This will certainly be of benefit to Yahoo as it tries to make it on the radar within the mobile industry and tries to revamp its image.
In its early days, Summly was known as Trimmit and was funded by Hong Kong billionaire Li-Ka Shing. The app soon caught on with the public and received further support and funding from other notables like Airbnbâ€™s Brian Chesky and Zyngaâ€™s Mark Pincus.
While nothing is confirmed yet and just based off of rumors, if Yahoo does make a deal with Dâ€™aloisio and end up purchasing Summly, it could really bring the companyâ€™s mobile activity up on the same speed with the likes of Google and Facebook.