We've known for a while that NVIDIA is working withLenovo (and ASUS) on a Windows RT Tablet, but ABC News believes that we might already have seen the mystery device in action. Its sources have let slip that alongside the Intel-powered IdeaPad Yoga laptop / tablet hybrid (LapLet? TabTop?), the company will release a Tegra-powered version running Windows RT, combining the same sexy hardware with ARM's power-sipping technology. If true, then we might have a very tough purchasing decision on our hands when the gear arrives -- with the launch date still expected to be on October 26th.
Not all mobile news is destined for the front page, but if you're like us and really want to know what's going on, then you've come to the right place. This past week, Sprint began testing its LTE network in Boston and we've come across a QWERTY slider from LG that'll be hitting a convenience store near you. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore the "best of the rest" for this week of August 6th, 2012.
We know you've got questions, and if you're brave enough to ask the world for answers, here's the outlet to do so. This week's Ask Engadget inquiry is coming to us from Jacob, who needs to ensure he can find his Android phone if it's lost. If you're looking to send in an inquiry of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.
"Hi good folks at Engadget! I just upgraded to a Galaxy S III and I need a new "find my phone" tool. I used to use SeekDroid on my DROID 2, but the web interface won't work on the new phone. I know Samsung's got an app called DIVE that can do this, but it doesn't seem to be supported on Verizon phones. If you've got any suggestions, that'd be fantastic. Thanks!"
Actually, we had a look and we don't think it's available on any US Samsung handset without flashing your firmware. But let's imagine he doesn't want that level of hassle. What app should he be picking up? Where's my Droid? Plan B? Something else? What's worked for you -- share your wisdom.
We'd originally been tipped that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7 2.0 Student Edition, a $250 bundle which comes with a keyboard dock and USB connector for peripherals, would officially hit Best Buy's shelves around August 19th, but asking nicely might score you one now. According to an email from tipster, Jason (who's also posted details over at Phandroid's forums), the unit was locked inside one of the store's cages and simply asking for a price check let him proceed to checkout with nary an issue (see the photo). Despite only having 8GB of storage, a dual-core 1GHz processor and the same 1024 x 600 screen resolution of its predecessors, the slate is a solid performer -- but unless you're hell-bent on having extras like a rear camera, we'd be remiss not to mention that the Jelly Bean- and Tegra 3-loaded 8GB Nexus 7 clocks in at $200 by its lonesome. That said, it may be worth trying your luck at your local Best Buy if you're not so concerned with top-tier specs and okay with Samsung's variety of ICS. You'll find the video unboxing after the break.
Think it's nifty when your carrier deigns to provide your smartphone with that long awaited OTA update? That's nothing. Over the weekend, NASA's Curiosity rover will be receiving its first long-distance OTA update -- all the way out there on Mars. The goal is to transition both redundant main computers from software suited for landing the vehicle to software optimized for surface exploration -- such as driving, obstacle avoidance and using the robotic arm. NASA calls it a "brain transplant" and points out that the software was actually uploaded during the flight from Earth. Now can someone please enable OTA downloads for the human brain? We'd really like to know kung fu. PR after the break.
If you're flying a robot indoors, chances are it's a quadrocopter. The ability hover and maneuver on a dime is essential to whipping around the confined spaces of a lab. Researchers have figured out a way to overcome such obstacles with a fixed-wing aircraft, using laser range finders, sensors and an Intel Atom processor to churn through all the data. To demonstrate just how accurate the on-board navigation systems are, the team of scientists took the autonomous plane to a parking garage with ceilings just 2.5 meters high. Why is that important? The vehicle has a wingspan of two meters -- leaving little room for error. To see the plane in action, check out the video after the break.
Alt-week peels back the covers on some of the more curious sci-tech stories from the last seven days.
It's not like we're trying to out-weird ourselves, it just, somehow, keeps happening. At least one of this week's offerings (we'll leave it to you to figure out which) will possibly be the creepiest thing we post all year. As for the rest, well it's slightly more palatable. We'll get uncharacteristically pumped about cycling, meet some extra-terrestrial quasicrystals and enjoy some art with X-men credentials. This is alt-week.
A couple of months back, DARPA announced it'd been working on developing technologies to help during natural or "man-made" disasters, and this TEMP plan (Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform) included the addition of four key modular systems -- one of which was sea-delivery vehicles such as that monstrous one pictured above. Dubbed Captive Air Amphibious Transporters, or CAAT for short, the rugged wheeler gets its drive-on-agua powers from air-filled pontoons, with its main purpose being to carry "containers over water and directly onto shore." However, according to DARPA's program manager, Scott Littlefield, it is more about the big picture, saying, "To allow military ships and aircraft to focus on unique military missions they alone can fulfill, it makes sense to develop technologies to leverage standard commercial container ships." Thanks to a vid uploaded by DARPA itself, you can now get a feel for what CAAT's all about, so head over past the break -- where you'll find a quick preview of the ATV carrier in action.
Harnessing the power of the sun is a tricky business, but even the past few weeks have seen some interestingdevelopments in the field. In this latest installment, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California have figured out a way of making solar cells from any semiconductor, potentially reducing the cost of their production. You see, efficient solar cells require semiconductors to be chemically modified for the current they produce to flow in one direction. The process uses expensive materials and only works with a few types of semiconductors, but the team's looking at using ones which aren't normally suitable -- the magic is to apply an electrical field to them. This field requires energy, but what's consumed is said to be a tiny fraction of what the cell's capable of producing when active, and it means chemical modification isn't needed.
The concept of using a field to standardize the flow of juice isn't a new one, but the team's work on the geometrical structure of the cells has made it a reality, with a couple of working prototypes to satisfy the skeptics. More of these are on the way, as their focus has shifted to which semiconductors can offer the best efficiency at the lowest cost. And when the researchers have answered that question, there's nothing left to do but get cracking on commercial production. For the full scientific explanation, hit up the links below.
Pretty much from day one, the mobileSpotify Radio feature outclassed its desktop counterpart, thanks to the presence of one feature -- thumbs up and thumbs down buttons. The ability to more finely tailor the music selection to your tastes is a pretty essential feature for any automatically generated playlist. Finally, Spotify is bringing the buttons to the Mac and Windows clients in an update rolling out today. Your likes and dislikes are synced across platforms and, best of all, the update finally lets you view radio stations you've created through the mobile app on your desktop.
A quintet of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation have envisioned a new internet architecture, one where features could be purchased à la carte. The proposed framework would allow users to fine tune their experience by choosing from a variety of connection services. Let's say, for example, that a customer's connection is fine for browsing the web, but it doesn't pass muster for streaming content -- a service dedicated to video delivery could be added to close the gap. "Ultimately, this should make the internet more flexible and efficient, and will drive innovation among service providers to cater to user needs," report co-author Rudra Dutta told The Abstract. A piecemeal next-gen web is no easy feat, however, as it would require revamping the web's infrastructure with new protocols for choosing particular features, completing payments and monitoring network performance. The group's rough blueprint will be presented at a conference next week, but you can thumb through their short paper at the source.
It's already considered a grind to produce stop-motion video -- imagine creating a clip using the spreadsheet app that many dread seeing at work every morning. Joe Penna, better known to the internet as Mystery Guitar Man, isn't afraid. He and his team recorded a performance against a greenscreen, gave the video a mosaic look in After Effects and proceeded to recreate 730 of the frames in OpenOffice (and occasionally Excel)... by hand. We don't want to know how long it took Penna and crew to wrap up their work, but the result is probably the liveliest you'll ever get out of an app meant for invoices and corporate expenses. The fully produced video is above; click past the story break if you want to smash illusions and see how the pixelated rumba came to be.
Audi's R18 racing car's been sporting this digital rear-view mirror for some time, and was most recently spotted with it at the renowned LeMans racing competition -- but now the German outfit's bringing the tech to a more consumer-friendly vehicle, the R8 e-tron. The luxurious automobile company announced that gorgeous 7.7-inch reflector is making its way from its speedy R18 to the stunning R8 e-tron, marking the first time any ride outside of the former will come loaded with such feature. In case you weren't aware, the AMOLED rear-view mirror helps automatically reduce headlights glare "during the hours of darkness," while also allowing drivers to dim or turn it off altogether if, you know, they're just not feeling the vibe.
As the battle between Samsung and Apple closed out another week in US District Court, lawyers for the latter focused its argument on evidence and testimony covering a presentation Apple made to Samsung in 2010, and its offer to license the patents. AllThingsD has the deck of slides from the meeting (embedded after the break), specifying areas and specific patents Apple believes Android as an OS infringes or things Samsung specifically copied elements from, plus a report on testimony from Apple executive Boris Teksler. He testified today about the meeting with Samsung, calling it a "trusted partner" (should be, since Apple paid it paid $5.7 billion for parts that year) that both Tim Cook and Steve Jobs spoke to directly about the issue.
While more information is expected from Teksler next week, he did have time to put a dollar amount on the licensing deal Apple subsequently offered, at about $30 per smartphone and $40 per tablet, as well as royalties also collected from phones running Symbian and Bada, with the possibility of a 20 percent discount if Samsung would cross license its own technology back to Apple. The companies are restricted by Judge Koh to 25 hours each to argue their points (Apple is at 11 and a half hours while Samsung has crossed over 12 with its own arguments yet to come) but we're sure there's enough time left for a few more revelations before any resolution is reached.
Eurocom has carved out a strange but soft spot in our hearts for its desktop replacement-level laptops -- the insistence on overkill hardware leaves even the vaguely ultraportable Monster packing the kind of power reserved for larger-screened (if also much thinner) counterparts. Nowhere is that too-much-is-never-enough attitude truer than in the just-launched, 17.3-inch Scorpius. While supporting up to 32GB of RAM isn't unique anymore, the Scorpius can optionally carry two of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 680M graphics chips with the full 4GB of video RAM per piece. That's more graphics memory than the total system memory of some entire PCs, folks. Eurocom can optionally slot in two of AMD's Radeon HD 7970M or step down to a single graphics core, and the usual bevy of processor and storage choices culminates in as much as a quad 2.9GHz Core i7 and four drives. The lowest price that will net a fully functioning Scorpius is $1,793, although we'll admit that it's very tempting to pick that dual 680M option and come out with a $2,857 bill -- not to mention some serious bragging rights with the gamer crowd.
We here at Engadget tend to spend a lot of way too much time poring over the latest FCC filings, be it on the net or directly on the ol' Federal Communications Commission's site. Since we couldn't possibly (want to) cover all the stuff that goes down there individually, we've gathered up an exhaustive listing of every phone and / or tablet getting the stamp of approval over the last week. Enjoy!
Add another future Sony Xperia model to a rapidly growingpool. The LT25i Tsubasa (not to be confused with the ST25i/Xperia U) has been caught by Tencent in AnTuTu and NenaMark2 tests, seemingly running the same mix of a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4, a 720p screen and Android 4.0 that we've seen in the upcoming Xperia T (LT30p). So what's different? There's rumors of in-cell touch to keep the display thin and vivid, but even the unverified source isn't certain that it will become a reality. The crew at Xperia Blog also claims that there will be international LTE and HSPA+ models along with China- and Japan-specific editions. Assuming the details are at all consistent with the truth, having the Tsubasa arrive on the scene mostly hints that Sony might be readying a broader speed-up of its roster than we first thought.
The US Census Bureau just released its first public API last month, giving web and mobile app makers access to its vast stores of statistics, and it's now also gone the extra mile by releasing its first mobile app. Dubbed America's Economy, the app draws on data from the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor to provide a real-time picture of the US economy, offering details on everything from the country's gross domestic product to housing sales to the unemployment rate (all presented with the requisite charts and graphs). That's available for Android smartphones and tablets right now, while an iOS app promised in the "coming weeks." It's also the first of three planned apps from the Bureau -- the others are said to be coming over the next several months (both of which will also be available for both Android and iOS).
Motorola may have pushed some of its earliest Android 4.0 updates to the Verizon-centric Droid RAZR, but it hasn't forgotten those who call the international, HSPA-based RAZR (the XT910) their own: the phone's first wave of over-the-air upgrades to the new OS should be rolling out now, going by GSMArena's tips. Who exactly is getting the upgrade isn't obvious, although at least one owner on Tesco's network has the visual evidence to suggest the UK is part of the first batch. We can vouch that at least a few Canadian RAZRs are still making do with Android 2.3. Never mind the unconfirmed claims of carrier-related delays for the update, though -- we're just glad that both Americans and the rest of the world will likely be on the same page before too long.
Where there's smoke, there's fire and by the looks of this latest FCC filing, LG's LS970 is all but a lock for Sprint's LTE lineup. Rumored to bow on that carrier as the Eclipse, the heavyweight handset, allegedly outfitted with a quad-core Krait processor, companion Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB RAM, has already been the subject of several leaks, leaving little of its spec load to the imagination. And now with the outing of these Commission docs, we can confirm that this uberphone does indeed pack 3G/4G radios tailored for the Hesse-led operator (CDMA 820 / 850 / 1900; LTE Band 25), as well as support for NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi a/b/g/n, GPS and SVLTE (simultaneous voice and data). While we can't be exactly sure as to its actual screen size, that reported 4.67-inch figure does appear likely given its 5.2 x 2.8 inch (130.9 x 71.6mm) dimensions. That's about all we were able to glean from the spate of included tests, but if you call Big Yellow your wireless home and are itching for a GS III alternative, this could be your next.
Microsoft must sometimes feel like its lead in the game market is a Pyrrhic victory. The Xbox 360 once again topped the NPD Group's hardware charts in July, claiming a near-majority 49 percent market share of consoles -- but the 203,000 units sold were a steep drop from the 257,000 units that traded hands in June, and a far cry from the glory days that would have given a victory more meaning. Nintendo and Sony haven't shared their own figures, although the analyst group notes that only Nintendo's 3DS and DSi had any kind of increase in the month. The industry as a whole was unmistakably feeling the combined effects of the pre-holiday doldrums and a console generation that's long in the tooth: hardware revenue was down 32 percent in the month to $150.7 million, while the games in question saw revenue dip 23 percent to $260.7 million. If you need a culprit, earlier reports for the second quarter had credited similar shifts to sales of physical game copies declining faster than digital sales could replace them. Hope remains in the usual fall spike; even so, the July figures suggest the big three platforms might be living on borrowed time.
Nine months ago, Vizio didn't make laptops. Now, it's seemingly all our readers are writing in about. The company, best known for its value-priced TVs, is expanding into the PC market, with a collection of all-in-ones and thin-and-light notebooks. So why have we been getting so many emails asking when the heck we're going to publish a review? After all, it's not like shoppers have any shortage of choice when it comes to Windows computers.
The answer: Vizio is taking the same approach with PCs that it does with televisions, which is to say it's offering impressive specs while undercutting its competitors. Case in point: all of Vizio's laptops have a full-metal design, solid-state drive, zero bloatware and a minimum screen resolution of 1,600 x 900. And yes, that even applies to the lowest-end notebook, which goes for $900. Can you see now where this would be a tempting deal for folks who'd like to avoid spending $1,100-plus on an Ultrabook? Well, for those of you who've been curious, we've been testing Vizio's 14-inch Thin + Light, and are now ready to unleash that review you've been waiting for. Meet us past the break to see if this rookie computer is as good as it looks on paper.
Adidas is known for making connected shoes -- but never quite as linked-up as a Nash Money concept making its appearance late into the London Olympics. The Social Media Barricade weaves the guts of a phone and a basic two-line LCD into a running shoe, letting the footwear take Twitter updates very literally on the run through a public account. Even the signature Adidas stripes change their hue through remote control. Before anyone gets visions of athletes checking congratulatory tweets after the 100-meter sprint, just remember that it's an idea rather than a production blueprint: although Adidas is quick to call the Social Media Barriacade the "future of athlete connectivity," the only athletes putting eyes on a pair right now are those swinging by the Olympics' media lounge for interviews. Knowing this, we can still imagine some future shoes padding runners' egos at the finish line during the 2016 Rio games.
DirecTV has quietly updated both its iPad app and HR34 DVR with a variety of new features for Satellite-loving customers. The application will now resume from where you left off, comes with a much improved search function and best of all, a direct line into the company's support forums. Meanwhile, the HR34 swallowed a software package that included Pandora, a YouTube landing page and more readable closed captions amongst a raft of other nips and tucks. The former will be available through the app store, while the latter should have arrived on your box overnight, well before you start on that CSI marathon.
We saw CyanogenMod 9 reach the perfect poise of a stable release on the Galaxy Nexus just this past Thursday. It's now time for everyone else to join the club: all devices that can run CM9 now get the firmware in the same polished state, giving more conservative fans a path to CyanogenMod's custom Android 4.0 build. The code brings an audio equalizer, OS gesture commands and themes, among other tweaks that you won't find sitting in that vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich. If you're not so adventurous as to live on the bleeding edge that is CyanogenMod 10, hit the source link for the (considerably safer) next best thing.
We've seen the rumored next iPhone's minuscule docking port more than once. Any of the cabling that plugs into that port, however, has been non-existent until today. If photos slipped to Nowhereelse.fr are more than just flights of fancy, they show a much narrower and possibly slimmer connector that matches up with the hole we've seen. It's so small that a full-size USB connector dwarfs it by comparison, and there's only eight contact pins per side (or possibly total) versus the 30 overall that we know today. We're not told if there are any special tricks besides the size reduction, though: while the new cable end looks dual-sided, there's no guarantee Apple will have eliminated the right-side-up requirement that afflicts just about every mobile-sized port format we've seen to date. If real, the redesign could lead to one less hassle for charging and syncing. It just wouldn't be much consolation to those who'd been hoping for a switch to a standard like micro-USB -- or, for that matter, to long-time iPhone owners who may have to give up or convert legions of accessories.
Update: since we first posted, the rumor has fleshed out a bit. It's claimed that there are eight pins on both sides, but that they perform different functions and might not let us plug the connector in any which way. Supposedly, the connectors also aren't the final models and reflect the problems the unnamed contractor has had meeting Apple's standards. Don't worry about claims of future iPads leaping to the new connector: if there's really a format switch underway, it's only natural that other devices will follow suit.
Google has been dogged by claims that it facilitates the piracy of content through its search results pretty much since day one. Starting next week, the web giant will be taking a much more aggressive approach to sites hosting pirated material by downranking frequent offenders. The new results algorithm will take into account the number of valid copyright notices received against a site and penalize them appropriately in the rankings. Google says that this will allow consumers to more readily find legitimate sources of content such as Hulu and Spotify, but it's hard not to see the move as one intended to appease studios, content producers and government officials that routinely threaten to hammer companies like Google with lawsuits and restrictivelegislation. Mountain View was also quick to highlight how responsive it's been to industry concerns -- citing the fact that it receives and processes more copyright complaints in a day than it did in all of 2009 combined. For more details, hit up the source link.
Update: The MPAA has issued the following statement from Michael O'Leary, Senior Executive Vice President for Global Policy and External Affairs, in response to Google's move:
We are optimistic that Google's actions will help steer consumers to the myriad legitimate ways for them to access movies and TV shows online, and away from the rogue cyberlockers, peer-to-peer sites, and other outlaw enterprises that steal the hard work of creators across the globe. We will be watching this development closely - the devil is always in the details - and look forward to Google taking further steps to ensure that its services favor legitimate businesses and creators, not thieves.
So far, Digiboo's movie kiosks have been severely limited by a couple of factors, before you even get to the fact that their content is SD only. Firstly, they've required users to carry a USB stick on their person, and secondly they've only been able to transfer rentals to a Windows device. Today, however, the company has cleared a major hurdle on its passage to relevance, by allowing wireless transfers to any "Windows-enabled PC, laptop or tablet." This should make Digiboo's next step -- Android support, which is promised to come this month -- a whole lot easier.
Considering that SIGGRAPH focuses on visual content creation and display, there was no shortage of interesting elements to gawk at on the show floor. From motion capture demos to 3D objects printed for Hollywood productions, there was plenty of entertainment at the Los Angeles Convention Center this year. Major product introductions included ARM's Mali-T604 GPU and a handful of high-end graphics cards from AMD, but the highlight of the show was the Emerging Technologies wing, which played host to a variety of concept demonstrations, gathering top researchers from institutions like the University of Electro-Communications in Toyko and MIT. The exhibition has come to a close for the year, but you can catch up with the show floor action in the gallery below, then click on past the break for links to all of our hands-on coverage, direct from LA.
Well, Mark Zuckerberg is finally trying to make things right after admitting to a "bunch of mistakes" when dealing with user privacy on his juggernaut of a social network. The FTC and Facebook had agreed to settle the dispute in November, and now the final details of the deal have been ironed out. Noticeably missing from the list of concessions is cash. The government isn't asking Facebook to cough up any dough as part of the settlement -- avoiding the sort of hefty fine that Google recently found itself on the wrong end of. The company will, however, have drastically revamp how it handles user data and subject itself to privacy audits every two years for 20 years. Customers will now be provided with "clear and prominent" warnings any time information is shared. And, before anything can be shared, users must give express consent to for that information to be distributed. Ideally, these measures would have been in place on day one, but we'll take what we can get at this point. For more details, check out the FTC's press release after the break.
If you've ever been to an amusement park, you may have noticed ride designers using some non-traditional platforms as projection screens -- the most common example being a steady stream of artificial fog. Projecting onto transparent substances is a different story, however, which made this latest technique a bit baffling to say the least. Colloidal Display, developed by Yoichi Ochiai, Alexis Oyama and Keisuke Toyoshima, uses bubbles as an incredibly thin projection "screen," regulating the substance's properties, such as reflectance, using ultrasonic sound waves from a nearby speaker. The bubble liquid is made from a mixture of sugar, glycerin, soap, surfactant, water and milk, which the designers say is not easily popped. Still, during their SIGGRAPH demo, a motor dunked the wands in the solution and replaced the bubble every few seconds.
A standard projector directed at the bubble creates an image, which appears to be floating in the air. And, because the bubbles are transparent, they can be stacked to simulate a 3D image. You can also use the same display to project completely different images that fade in and out of view depending on your angle relative to the bubble. There is a tremendous amount of distortion, however, because the screen used is a liquid that remains in a fluid state. Because of the requirement to constantly refresh the bubbles, and the unstable nature of the screen itself, the project, which is merely a proof of concept, wouldn't be implemented without significant modification. Ultimately, the designers hope to create a film that offers similar transparent properties but with a more solid, permanent composition. For now, you can sneak a peek of the first iteration in our hands-on video after the break.
Welcome to Engadget's back to school guide! The end of summer vacation isn't nearly as much fun as the weeks that come before, but a chance to update your tech tools likely helps to ease the pain.Today we're getting down to the very important business of helping you sift through laptops, and you can always head to the back to school hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the month. Be sure to keep checking back -- at the end of the month we'll be giving away a ton of the gear featured in our guides -- and hit up the hub page right here!
Freshman year of college may no longer be the gateway to the magical world of laptop ownership, but even if you already have a notebook, who can resist a new machine in the spirit of starting fresh when September rolls around? Whether you're looking for a Core i5 companion to get you through semesters of paper-writing, Facebooking and WoWing, or a super-sleek centerpiece to your bare-bones dorm, there's a vast playing field of machines to choose from. While sifting through the countless options would surely get you back in the academic research frame of mind, it's a daunting task. We're here to take some of the work off your plate with nine solid mainstream laptops that should satisfy every budget.
It worked just fine for Pinocchio, so why not animatronic stuffed bears? A group of researchers from the Tokyo University of Technology are on hand at SIGGRAPH's Emerging Technologies section this week to demonstrate "Stuffed Toys Alive!," a new type of interactive toy that replaces the rigid plastic infrastructure used today with a seemingly simple string pulley-based solution. Several strings are installed at different points within each of the cuddly gadget's limbs, then attached to a motor that pulls the strings to move the fuzzy guy's arms while also registering feedback, letting it respond to touch as well. There's not much more to it than that -- the project is ingenious but also quite simple, and it's certain to be a hit amongst youngsters. The obligatory creepy hands-on video is waiting just past the break.
Best Buy founder Richard Schulze is proposing a plan to turn around the ailing electronics store as part of a $10 billion buyout. He's proposing the retailer slashes prices to compete with online rivals like Amazon, while offering Apple Store-levels of customer service. He's concerned that the current closure and size-reductionpolicy will spell the end of the business, which is rumored to announce another round of closures shortly. It's yet to be seen if his plan, which would mean running Best Buy at a loss for several years, would be accepted by the company's management, who are meeting to discuss the proposals at the end of the month.
A new generation of cheaper, passively powered smart tags could accelerate NFC adoption very soon. Developed at Sunchon National University and Paru Printed Electronics Research Institute in Korea, the circuits could be printed in a similar method to newspapers, but it's the inclusion of the rectenna that makes the new chip technology so appealing. The combination antenna and rectifier can pick up residual radio waves from your phone to power itself. This new technology could apparently drop the cost of installing NFC to as little as one penny per unit, while offering up additional two-way functionality over its RFID rival. And if there's a speed boost in the process, well, all the better.
There isn't much we don't already know about Huawei's 10-inchMediaPad FHD, revealing most of its secrets well before its launch later this month. Now that it's swung through Washington to be poked and prodded by the screwdriver-clutching mavens at the FCC, we know that the US Government thinks it's safe for human consumption. The slate's impressed even the surliest of our staffers when we played with it, making us deeply excited for its arrival in stores. Those interested in seeing what lies beneath that glass-and-aluminum surface should check out the autopsy gallery we've got for you below.
The stargazers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have released a huge three-dimensional map of outer space, a core part of its six-year survey of the skies. Encompassing four billion light-years cubed, the researchers hope to use the map to retrace the movements of the universe through the last six billion years. Using the latest Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), the center says the data will help improve their estimates for the quantity of dark matter in space and the effect that dark energy has on the universe's expansion, "two of the greatest mysteries of our time" -- if you're an astrophysicist. Even if you're not, you'll still want to board the animated flight through over 400,000 charted galaxies -- it's embedded after the break.
Almost every day it seems like folks are finding a way to add to the number of practical uses for 3D printers. What was once a hobbyist's dream gadget is now being used to produce faux arteries for lab-grown tissue and Magic Arms. As the pricey peripherals work their way into the mainstream, are they soon to be found in most homes? That's the quandary we tackle in this edition of our weekly tablet mag as Brian Heater spends some quality time with the MakerBot Replicator at Engadget's NYC Headquarters. Not really into $2,000 output devices? No sweat. The Meizu MX 4-core, Toshiba U845W and Parrot Zik headphones all get the proper review treatment. "Hands-on" visits SIGGRAPH, "Weekly Stat" examines the shortcomings of our handsets, "Reaction Time" discusses THQ, "IRL" packs in three more of our gadget confessions and GameStop CEO Paul Raines admits his affinity for Jelly Bean in this week's Q&A. Go on and usher in the weekend by hitting up your download link of choice down below.
If you thought the One X's capacitive button layout jarred with the Ice Cream Sandwich experience you saw on the Galaxy Nexus, you'll like what HTC's just told us. An update to version 4.0.4, launching today, will allow users to map menu functionality to the lower right 'recent app' key, while it will also treat its owners to white balance and continuous autofocus improvements within its well-received camera app. Expect a handful of stability improvements as well as a dedicated tab switcher for the built-in browser -- if you haven't already made the leap to Chrome. According to HTC, the update for the international iteration rolls out today, with the AT&T version already doing the rounds. The full statement's included below. Let us know how you get on.
As recent history would kindly tell us, Zotac really, really loves its tiny computing boxes. Now the outfit's introduced yet another one to its mini PC mix: enter the ZBOX ID84. The standalone unit -- which lacks an HDD and memory sticks -- is set to be priced at a not-too-shabby $229, while the "Plus" model will carry a more expensive $319 price tag, but does come sporting a decent 320GB (5,400RPM) hard drive, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA's GeForce GT 520M GPU alongside the dual-core Intel Atom D2550 CPU. Ports-wise the ZBOX ID84 Plus is pretty well-stacked, sporting two USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, a notorious 6-in-1 card reader, gigabit Ethernet, plus DVI and HDMI. All in all, it looks like Zotac's latest miniature could get most anyone through the days, though we wouldn't blame you if you're interested in something with a little more power under the hood.
We're not in the habit of entering the dry world of corporate debt notes, but Sprint's latest financial release might disguise a juicy bit of news. There's a rumor in the business press that Dish Network might have bought around $400 million of Clearwire's debt -- helping relieve the pressure on Sprint, which has been keeping its subsidiary alive on handouts. Unsurprisingly, no-one's commenting on the rumors, although Dish CEO Joseph Clayton did say he was open to a partnership (or acquisition) with Sprint / Clearwire late last year. If true, it could signal that it's getting ready for a fight against AT&T -- or maybe it just wanted to throw Dan Hesse a bone.