Thursday, October 25, 2012

Windows 8 Launches

The new and re-imagined next generation version of the windows operating system is finally here for all to see, touch and own. Microsoft Corp. today announced the global availability of its popular Windows operating system, Windows 8.

Beginning Friday, Oct. 26, consumers and businesses worldwide will be able to experience all that Windows 8 has to offer, including a beautiful new user interface and a wide range of applications with the grand opening of the Windows Store. As a result of close work with hardware partners, more than 1,000 certified PCs and tablets, including Microsoft Surface, will be available for the launch of Windows 8 — making it the best lineup of PCs ever across the Windows 8 and Windows RT ecosystem.

Source: Microsoft

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Windows Phone Prices Released At Best Buy

As the Windows Phone launch draws closer, retailers are now beginning to make the prices of the devices they will be carrying available.

Best Buy has started to accept pre-orders on Nokia's Lumia 920 and HTC's Windows Phone 8X on October 21. That US retailer has started accepting pre-orders today, but the company has also unveiled pricing for both handsets. Nokia's Lumia 920 is priced at $149.99, with what appears to be an 8GB version of HTC's Windows Phone 8X set at $99.99.

Both handsets are available to pre-order immediately for AT&T, with no sign of a Verizon offering. Best Buy doesn't reveal when each handset will be made available, simply saying "will ship when available." Microsoft is due to hold a special Windows Phone 8 press event on October 29th, where the software maker will unveil the final parts to its new operating system and expected launch dates.

Friday, October 12, 2012

iPad Mini On the Way?

Apple has not yet said a word about an iPad mini, but the rumor mill is churning vociferously and all arrows point to a smaller iPad being unveiled at an Apple event on October 23. Apple will hold a special invitation-only event this month, at which it will showcase a new, smaller iPad.

More importantly, Apple’s already held its big fall event — the unveiling of the iPhone 5 and the 2012 iPod line. The company pulled out all the stops for that one, holding it at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and recruiting Foo Fighters to close the show. It’s hard to imagine it mounting a second production of that caliber in such a short time. More likely that the iPad mini’s debut will be an intimate affair held close to home.

And beyond that? Well, details are slim. Sources say the iPad’s diminutive sibling will feature a 7.85-inch liquid-crystal display and a Lightning connector. It will also probably be thinner. And that’s about it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another Samsung Galaxy S III, Really!

Samsung has launched yet another smartphone under its flagship Galaxy S line. This time, the new model is being touted as the S III Mini. Now, don't be deceived by the "mini" in the name, because to be quite frank, there is really nothing mini about this phone. At a whopping 4 inches, can you seriously call that monstrosity of a phone 'mini'!? All jokes aside though, Samsung is really redefining what constitutes a reasonable phone size, because 4 inches is pushing it. Just look at Apple with their new IPhone 5, they hardly wanted to increase their phone size to 4 inches, and even then, its only the length that they increased, not the diagonal length.

According to the spec sheet just released, this Android 4.1 phone features a dual-core 1GHz chip (which is good news for the 1,500mAh battery), 1GB RAM, 8 or 16GB of internal storage plus an extra 32GB maximum via microSD. The 4-inch Super AMOLED screen comes with a WVGA resolution, while the main camera takes five-megapixel photos plus 720p video, and there's a VGA front-facing camera as well for fans of video chats. There's obviously the usual bundle of radios as well, including 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, GPS, GLONASS, FM radio, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE) and even NFC, but for now, this 111.5-gram TouchWiz device will only support HSPA 900/1900/2100 networks along with EDGE 850/900/1800/1900.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Power in the Palm of Your Hands
Newcastle University (10/08/12) 

Researchers at Newcastle University and Microsoft Research Cambridge (MSR) have developed Digits, a wristwatch-sized sensor that tracks users' hands to enable them to remotely control devices. "The Digits sensor doesn’t rely on any external infrastructure so it is completely mobile," says Newcastle's David Kim. The current prototype includes an infrared (IR) camera, IR laser-line generator, IR diffuse illuminator, and an inertial-measurement unit track. "We wanted users to be able to interact spontaneously with their electronic devices using simple gestures without even having to reach for them," Kim says. "Can you imagine how much easier it would be if you could answer your mobile phone while it’s still in your pocket or buried at the bottom of your bag?" The researchers say their biggest challenge was extrapolating natural-looking hand motions from a sparse sampling of the key points sensed by the camera. "We had to understand our own body parts first before we could formulate their workings mathematically," says Newcastle's Shahram Izadi. The Digits prototype, which features electronics that are self-contained on the user's wrist, optically image all of the user's hand, enabling freehand interactions in a mobile setting.


The Patent – An Armor or a Stamp of Innovation?

In the past, patents were seen as the epitome of innovation, a badge of honor that raised the holder above their peers in a given domain or field. These days, however, have seen a drastic pull away from the originally lofty connotations associated with being a patent holder. We have seen the term “patent troll” now being branded around too often for comfort in recent times. A Patent troll according to Wikipedia “is a pejorative term used for a person or company who enforces patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered aggressive or opportunistic with no intention to manufacture or market the patented invention.”

Federal judges, economists, corporate executives, and others say flaws in the U.S. software patent system are hampering innovation. They also note that software patents are being used as litigation weapons. An assessment by Stanford University found that as much as $20 billion was spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years in the smartphone industry alone. Public filings reveal that for the first time, spending by Apple and Google on patent lawsuits and large patent purchases exceeded spending on research and development in 2011. Critics say the patent office frequently grants patents that describe obscure algorithms or business methods without patent examiners demanding specific details on calculations occur or how the software operates. This enables some patents to be so broad that patent holders can claim extensive ownership of apparently unrelated products built by others. Companies are frequently sued for violating patents they never knew existed or never thought might apply to their creations. "The standards for granting patents are too loose," argues federal appellate judge Richard A. Posner. Large technology companies generally want to curb the financial damages juries can award for minor patent violations, whereas drug manufacturers want to ensure they can sue for billions of dollars if a single patent is infringed.

SOURCE nytimes

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Microsoft's Upbeat About New Strategy

Microsoft is getting ready to launch arguably its most ambitious Operating System (OS) in its history. Not only that, but the company is launching a radically different OS from the standard it has held over the years. The Windows 8 family user interface has significant deviations from those most people have been accustomed to with the likes of Windows XP and Windows 7. This new strategy it seems, is optimized for the "touch experience", a term fast becoming ubiquitous with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets.

Microsoft is even going into the hardware business (not talking about the XBox here) in that they are making their own Surface tablets. CEO Steve Ballmer has clearly spelled out in a shareholder letter that Microsoft now sees its own devices as crucial to the company as anything else. There's a "fundamental shift" in how the Redmond-based crew works, he says, and investors should expect that Microsoft will periodically make "specific devices for specific purposes" (like Surface or the Xbox) that show off services in the best light possible. Ballmer adds that plans in the long run focus on new device types and learning interfaces. No matter what the CEO says, shareholders will be quietly hoping microsoft has the midas gold touch with this move!

SOURCE Microsoft