Friday, December 30, 2011

Windows Phone 7 will get three LTE phones in 2012

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Yesterday we saw an alleged leak of Microsoft’s 2012 Windows Phone roadmap. It offers an eyebrow-raising view of a company that is trying to invade the smartphone market from the bottom up (starting with low-end phones). Today we have a new report that further materializes Microsoft’s near-term plans for Windows Phone 7.
The big news, which will apparently be officially announced at CES, is that there will be several LTEWindows Phone devices in 2012 — and they will all be on AT&T. The three phones — the Nokia ACE, HTC Radiant, and Samsung Mendel — will ship by the middle of the year. The ACE, specifically, is set to launch on March 18.
The LTE phones will probably all run Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, as the previous roadmap leak points to the Tango update, which is aimed towards low-end phones, coming earlier in the year. The Apollo update, which will support high-end handsets, won’t show until the fourth quarter of 2012.
A final detail of the new leak has Nokia’s Lumia 710 launching on T-Mobile on January 11, and on Verizon in April. The Lumia 710 will launch in the US before the Lumia 800, making Americans’ first impressions of the Nokia/Microsoft alliance that of a mid-range phone that doesn’t dazzle like the Lumia 800.
While the Microsoft/Nokia bottom-up strategy seems illogical, it could have something to do with the release of Windows 8. Though Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7 are two different operating systems, the Metro UI will bring them together on a cosmetic level. In the eyes of most customers, that may be enough to create a positive association and let Windows Phone ride Windows 8′s(expected) buzz. The strategy could fizzle, but it also may be a smart gamble.
* Note that the above image is a visualization: no Windows Phone marketing materials were part of the leak.
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HP TouchPad Go video review surfaces, its DOA status lamented

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The HP TouchPad Go has been spotted online before and mused about, but PreCentral recently got their hands on one and have now posted a full review of the diminutive WebOS slate. The verdict: the 7-inch TouchPad Go is a worthy remix of the original, smartly designed as a grab-and-go tablet.
Like the BlackBerry PlayBook, the TouchPad Go’s size and gently rounded corners make it easy to slip quickly into a bag, purse, or even a capacious coat pocket. Despite being about 30% smaller, the WebOS 3.0 experience remains solid on the TouchPad Go — but a tad unstable at times. That’s due to the review unit being a prototype, according to PreCentral. The software on their Go wasn’t the final version consumers would’ve seen had the tablet ever hit retail shelves.
Just as the original HP TouchPad did, the Go sported a 1024×768 display. It also packed a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, and would have offered 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. On the back sat a 5MP camera, paired with a 1.3MP unit on the front. The usual wireless connectivity options were on board, too: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, along with support for EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, and HSPA+ cellular networks.
Some speculation has been thrown about that HP might have a cache of TouchPad Go tablets laying around — and that they might offer them up at the same $99 price tag as they did with the firesale TouchPad. The smart money, however, is on the TouchPad Go never seeing the light of day in any appreciable quantity.
You might see another pre-production model, prototype, or display model up for sale on eBay, of course, and if you’re willing to shell out several hundred dollars you might be able to add a TouchPad Go to your gadget collection
More at PreCentral
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DoD gives Android stamp of approval, but only on a Dell Venue

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If you’re bummed by how long it takes for updates to make their way to your Android device, be thankful that you’re not playing by Department of Defense rules. The DoD has been big on BlackBerry devices in the past, but now they’ve sanctioned Android…to a certain extent, anyway.
The extent: a Dell Venue running Android 2.2.
That’s somewhat convenient, since the Venue still ships with 2.2 and not one of the more up-to-date Android versions that you’d find on most other current phones. Nevertheless, if you’re forced to adhere to DoD standards and you’ve been hankering for an Android device you can actually use, the Venue’s not a terrible option.
It’s at least got a 1GHz processor, a 4-inch display, and an 8MP rear shooter — which puts it in the same ballpark as the original (and long-outmoded) HTC Incredible. It doesn’t hold a candle to today’s top-of-the-line Androids, but when security is a top concern you can’t always expect to be using hot new hardware.
And that outdated OS isn’t quite ready to rock out of the box — there’s actually a complete Android hardening guide which needs to be followed. Some tinkering needs to be done, such as shutting down access to the Android Market and other third-party app stores. Users also won’t be loading any classified information onto their Venues, which presumably means no email access either.
Ultimately, it seems like it’d be a whole lot easier for the DoD to roll a modified, pre-approved ROM for Android devices that it could flash before deploying them. Maybe once the CyanogenMod crew is done working on their ICS ROM they could lend a hand.
More at Security Week
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Samsung chooses TouchWiz over Ice Cream Sandwich

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You may have heard the stink was recently raised about the Galaxy S. Samsung announced that neither it or the original Galaxy Tab would be getting the update to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. The company blamed it on the devices’ hardware, saying that they can’t handle the new version of Android with the TouchWiz UI pasted on top. After getting some bad press, Samsung’s PR and software teams huddled together and came up with a solution that misses the point entirely: in place of Ice Cream Sandwich, the Galaxy S will be receiving a “value pack” full of ICS-like features.
Think of it this way: you’re a big electronics manufacturer, and some of your customers are up in arms about an update that they won’t be getting. The only thing preventing the update is your custom user interface that you insist on slapping on top of every version of Android. So you look at a laundry list of new Ice Cream Sandwich features, tell your software developers to come up with their own versions of them, and throw it all into your skinned version of Gingerbread.
What exactly will this “value pack” entail? Samsung will release an official statement soon, but we can look at Ice Cream Sandwich features and speculate. It could have features like Face Unlock, a panoramic photo tool, lockscreen actions, and homescreen folders.
What Samsung doesn’t get is that those generic features aren’t why people want Ice Cream Sandwich. They want it because it’s the most refined, attractive, and advanced version of Android. They want it because of its guts, not because of its skin. A “Value Pack” just takes Samsung’s face-lifted Gingerbread, and shoots a little more Botox into it.
Samsung is free to insist on using its TouchWiz UI on every phone and tablet that it releases. It’s part of their branding, and is the solution their focus meetings have come up with to differentiate their mobile devices. Fortunately, Samsung’s customers are also free. They are free to avoid the temptation to buy Samsung TouchWiz devices, and turn to another manufacturer that puts software quality above software branding.
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Zephyr jailbreak tweak adds multitasking gestures to iPhone

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If you’re an iOS user, you probably give your home button (and your thumb) a grueling workout on a daily basis. Every time you want to use multitasking to switch apps, you have to double-tap the lone physical button on the device’s front face. Apple has implemented multitasking gestures for the iPad, but has done no such thing for the iPhone or iPod touch. You can rack another one up for the jailbreak community, as it has released a new app that allows you to multitask on the iPhone with single-finger gestures.
Zephyr is the creation of Cydia developer chpwn, and the premise is simple: swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the app-switcher (normally activated with a double tap of the home button), and swipe left to right to switch back and forth between recent apps.
Apple has likely opted out of iPhone and iPod touch multitasking gestures due to the small size of the screen. How many gestures can you implement on a 3.5-inch display? Zephyr, however, makes a strong case against that argument. The left to right swipe lets you start the gesture from the bezel, which frees up a bit extra room. As you can see in the video below, both gestures are simple, intuitive, and exactly the kind of function that Apple will wish it released first:
In fact the tweak fits so naturally into iOS that this could be another jailbreak feature that Apple steals and uses for itself. We’ve seen this previously with iOS functions like multitasking (it closely resembles an old Cydia app called Circuitious), notification banners (a spitting image for Peter Hajas’s MobileNotifier), and Wi-Fi Sync (Apple didn’t even bother changing the name of that one). Of course, as the Zephyr gesture tweak borrows heavily from the iPad’s multitasking gestures, it wouldn’t be as blatant a move for Apple to “borrow” it.
Zephyr is a free tweak, and can be found by searching for it in Cydia on a jailbroken iPhone or iPod touch. You can refer to our guide to jailbreak your device on iOS 5.0.1.
via Chpwn
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Apple may be selling 3 iPad models in January

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Thankfully we’ve seen a drop off in the number of rumors surrounding new Apple devices ever since the iPhone 4S launched. But with the iPad 3 slated for a release early next year, speculation as to what Apple has planned for its tablet hardware is starting to grow.
The latest rumor coming from “supply chain partners” is that Apple won’t be replacing the iPad 2. Instead we’ll have three iPad-branded tablets on the market by the end of January.
The move is thought to be in response to the popularity of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which has already sold millions of units in the short time it has been on sale. Apple is expected to position the iPad 2 as a competitor to the Kindle Fire by giving it a budget price, while still offering a larger screen than Amazon’s device. If true, that’s a very clever move on Apple’s part, especially if they can get near a $199 price point.
As for the iPad 3, apparently there will be two models available. While the iPad 2 becomes the entry-level model, there will be an iPad 3 for mid-range, and then a better specced high-end model. Both are expected to sport a display capable of a 2,048 x 1,536 resolution and be lit by dual-LED light bars. Inside will be a quad-core A6 processor.
The iPad 3 is also meant to include a much larger battery–14,000mAh instead of the iPad 2′s 6,500mAh. Just how Apple intend to fit such a massive battery inside an iPad has me scratching my head. Does that mean the iPad 3 is set to be thicker? If nothing else, it will certainly be noticeably heavier.
As ever, these are just rumors, and the battery one in particular sounds too far fetched. I think it’s safer to assume there will only be one iPad 3, but repositioning the iPad 2 as a budget tablet could help keep sales high while seeing off competition from the Kindle Fire.
More at DigiTimes
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Is this iOS controller the future of gaming?

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Gaming on iOS has come a long way. Yet despite the advances that the A5 processor has brought, there is one potentially huge obstacle to enjoying a console-like experience on the iPhone or iPad: touchscreen controls. Developers have done the best that they can with the medium, crafting virtual analog sticks and swipe gestures for camera panning. Yet it still doesn’t compare to the tried-and-true experience of using a physical controller. A company called 60beat is trying to change that with a new controller that is compatible with iOS devices.
If you thought that this controller would be of the Bluetooth wireless variety, you’d be wrong. The 60Beat GamePad connects through, of all places, the headphone jack (a 4-foot headphone cable, to be exact). The controller is nearly a spitting image of current generation console and PC controllers, with two analog sticks, D-pad, and ten action buttons (including the two analog joysticks).
An accessory like the GamePad will live and die by its software support (or lack thereof). Right now, the picture isn’t pretty: it’s only supported by two games. Making matters worse, they probably aren’t games you’ll want. It’s supported by children’s game Bugdom 2 and top-down zombie shooterAftermath (iPhone only).
60Beat promises on its website that more titles will be coming in February. For its sake, let’s hope it’s lining up some top-notch developers, because nobody is going to buy a $50 accessory that only supports a couple of second-tier games.
With that said, the potential for the GamePad — or something similar — is huge. This is particularly the case when you consider AirPlay. Using a controller to play on your phone or tablet might be a bit awkward, but when you’re streaming it via AirPlay to a 56-inch HDTV, you have a new gaming console.
Gaming is an area where Apple has loads of untapped potential. Sure, Angry Birds and Cut the Ropekeep legions of casual gamers happy, but with the A6 processor (that will probably arrive within a few months with the iPad 3), iOS gaming will take another leap forward. The gap between mobile and console gaming will shrink even more. If Apple wants to, it could recruit major developers, release its own controller, and turn the console gaming industry upside down.
If OnLive’s iPad app ever gets approved, it will beat Apple to the punch. The cloud gaming service lets gamers play PC games like Batman: Arkham City,L.A. Noire, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution on mobile devices. It also offers a controller, though it connects via Bluetooth. The app’s release has been delayed, so perhaps Apple does have some gaming plans — and sees OnLive as a threat.
In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye on the 60Beat GamePad and see if it gets enough software support to make it worth its $50 price tag.

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Japan’s vending machines to start offering free Wi-Fi access

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Depending on where you are in the world, your access to free Wi-Fi while on your travels will vary greatly. Larger cities filled with coffee houses probably offer the best connectivity, where as more remote or rural locations will rely much more heavily on owning a 3G dongle and signing up for a data contract.
Japan is usually near the top of the charts when it comes to speed of access to the Internet, and now one company has figured out a very simple way to create a healthy grid of wireless access points consumers can connect to with their mobile devices.
The Asahi Soft Drinks company installs and stocks thousands of vending machines across Japan. It has decided that in future new vending machines will come pre-installed with the kit necessary to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot. In so doing, anyone within 50 meters of a machine will be able to connect for free and surf the web. The only limit seems to be an auto cut-off after 30 minutes, but you can just re-connect if you need to.
By offering free Wi-Fi, Asahi should attract more consumers to its machines. As well as offering up drinks and Internet access, the hotspots will include information about the local area and services–potentially offering the company some advertising revenue too.
As vending machines are always turned on, and located in busy pedestrian areas, the move to offer free Wi-Fi access makes sense. Vending machine technology is also receiving a major overhaul in the coming years, some of which requires an Internet connection anyway. Examples include Pepsi’s social vending machine and Sanden’s 65-inch transparent touchscreen solution with facial recognition.
If this works in Japan, I see no reason for it not to make the trip West. Vending machines can be found in most public areas, and I think we’d all appreciate switching over to Wi-Fi whenever we can to help keep within our contracted data allowances.
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Watch Apple cheese it up with this 1984 IBM-bashing Ghostbusters parody

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While many of Apple’s fundamental tenets — simplicity, focus on experience over specs, and elegant design — have been there from the get-go, the company has changed through the years. For evidence, look no further than this cheesed-up 1984 spoof of the film Ghostbusters.
As you can see, numerous Apple employees use their Mac-powered proton packs to send IBM computers into the trash (Mac trash can icons to be exact). The video is called “Blue Busters,” in reference to IBM’s nickname “Big Blue.” It uses stop-motion animation to communicate just how badly Apple thought that IBM’s desktop PCs needed to be discarded. The video has an audio track that was recorded by the Ghostbusters theme’s singer, Ray Parker Jr., and even has a brief cameo by a 34-year-old Steve Wozniak.
The in-house video was never aired as a marketing campaign; rather, it was supposedly aired at Apple’s 1984 International Sales Meeting. A man who says he was at the event says that it was staged as a multimedia extravaganda, including on-stage dancers. Apple was known to use a popular movie as its theme for these events, and it used Back to the Futurein the following year’s sales event.
While it adds a level of 80′s cheesiness that we don’t typically associate with Apple, there is an underlying attitude that should look familiar. Apple always liked to frame other (market-leading) PC makers as stodgy fools who needed to be displaced by the fun and cool Apple. We saw this with the original Big Brother Macintosh ad, and much later with the lengthy Microsoft-bashing Get a Mac (“I’m a Mac,” “I’m a PC”) campaign.
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1.6 inch MOTOACTV gets root, Android Market

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During the last year, we’ve seen the entire gamut of tablet sizes covered. Samsung, in particular, likes to release tablets that are barely an inch smaller or larger than its last tablet. The company may want to look into hiring hacker Chris Wade. He has managed to turn the MOTOACTV, a wrist-watch fitness tracker device, into a 1.6 inch Honeycomb tablet.
The MOTOACTV is an exercise device that has Android 2.3 Gingerbread running under the hood. It looks like an iPod nano, and, like the nano, can be turned into a wristwatch with the right accessory. It’s limited to workout functions like mileage tracking, heartrate monitor, and music playing, so it hasn’t exactly been a darling of the tech blogs.
That, however, didn’t stop Chris Wade (known for the Dingleberry Blackberry Playbook hack) from digging into its guts. The device has a 600MHz OMAP3 processor, 256MB of RAM, and 8GB of flash storage (there is also a 16GB model available). Despite the teeny-weeny display, those are specs of a high-end smartphone from two years ago.
Wade got to work on rooting the device. While he didn’t exactly flash a Honeycomb ROM (“not worth the effort” comes to mind), he did install the stock Honeycomb launcher. Why Honeycomb? Why, because of its on-screen buttons, of course. He then managed to hack the Android Market onto the MOTOACTV.
So you have a wrist-watch sized tablet that is now rooted and running the Android Market. What do you do next? Can you say Angry Birds? Yes, Wade installed Rovio’s definitive casual game onto his MOTOACTV. If you can handle microscopic birds and pigs, the game is actually playable.
While the prospect of a 1.6 inch multitouch Android device sounds ludicrous, when you see it in action it’s another story. You can watch miniature YouTube videos, dictate emails or Google Voice texts with your voice (with a mic-enabled headset), or smash those pissed-off birds into pig-built castles. As you can see in this video, it has potential:
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U-Book dual-screen laptop wants to be the Nintendo DS of notebooks

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After the iPad introduced most of the world to tablets in 2010, we’ve seen several hybrid devices pop up. The Asus Eee Pad Transformer (and Transformer Prime) can be docked to an optional keyboard accessory to become an Android-powered netbook. Dell tried to hit that middle ground from the other side, with the touchscreen Insprion Duo laptops. Now a company called Najmtek is releasing a device that might actually bring the worst of tablets to the laptop world: the U-Book is a dual-screen laptop that forgoes a physical keyboard for a multitouch one.
There are some potential perks in having such a device. The keyboard can be customizable, implementing different layouts, colors, and languages. A virtual trackpad can be added or subtracted at will. The keyboard can disappear altogether and allow for other types of multitouch input. Some customers may be waiting for something like this to come along.
The cons, however, can’t be ignored. Typing on a virtual keyboard is probably one of the most inconvenient parts of the tablet experience. When you buy a laptop, you’re investing in a device that lets you type speedily without a second thought. The U-Book takes that away and opens up a whole can of frustrating typos, missed keys, and overall discomfort of rapidly tapping on glass.
Perhaps this is slightly unfair. We have yet to see the U-Book in person, much less actually use it. But we have spent hours typing on virtual tablet keyboards. How improved can the experience be on the U-Book? If you want a laptop, then why not get one with a physical keyboard? If you’re masochistic enough to do elaborate typing on a multitouch display, then why not forgo a novelty device like the U-Book and just get a tablet? It’s a hybrid that a) nobody is asking for, and b) makes no practical sense.
Najmtek has yet to release specs for the device, but as it runs Windows 7, it isn’t likely to be too big of a slouch in that department. Pricing info also isn’t known, but it will probably be considered a high-end device that carries a premium.
You can see more of the U-Book in the video below, which includes a deceptive Mac OS Xscreensaver (are they suggesting that the U-Book would make a great Hackintosh?):
We love innovation, and we love thinking outside of the box. Sometimes, however, innovation-for-innovation’s-sake can lead to nothing but a pointless product that will only be appreciated by niche groups.
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WindowBreak aims for full Windows Phone 7 jailbreak

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Jailbreaking Windows Phone 7 isn’t a new concept. The ChevronWP7 crew released the first versionof its tool just over a year ago, but quickly pulled it at Microsoft’s request. Almost half a year later, they released a new effort developed in coopoeration with the folks in Redmond. Rather than a full jailbreak, the new tool was designed to allow small-time developers and enthusiasts to sideload and test WP7 apps without having to pay for a full account and access to the Marketplace.
Now, however, WindowBreak has arrived on the scene to bring a more complete jailbreak experience to Windows Phone users. Developer @jaxbot has so far managed to get WindowBreak working on first and second generation Samsung devices, and he’s now put out a call to other members of the Windows Phone developer community to extend the tool to devices made by other manufacturers.
WindowBreak isn’t quite on a par with the iOS jailbreak tools you’ve read so much about in recent years, but it’s well on its way. Right now, it’s an interop unlocker that allows sideloaded apps to dig deeper into the Windows Phone registry.
It’s hoped that tools like these will help stimulate developer interest in the Windows Phone platform. Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system has been slow to attract both consumers and coders — both of whom continue to be drawn towards Android and iOS. Still, you never know where the next killer app might come from and independent developers have certainly created plenty of gems for other platforms.
A handful of amazing apps created by WindowBreak users could give Windows Phone a much-needed boost.
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Oops: Droid 4 makes an early appearance in Best Buy promo

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With its backlit keys and shaved corners, it could only be the Droid 4 leading the pack of phones in this Best Buy promo shot. The slider hasn't yet reached the shop floor, but that hasn't stopped it from promoting the big box retailer's Rewards Zone offers. While Verizon has already let a festively-colored Droid RAZR and a pair of Xoom 2 Xyboard tablets out of the gates this winter, keyboard hunters have been left out in the cold. Hopefully, this snafu will translate into a release very soon.
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British training 'Xbox generation' soldiers with tweaked games

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Austerity means the military can't afford the big-budget training exercises to battle-harden new recruits, so it's relying more on computer simulations. Sadly, Virtual Battlespace 2 can't compete with the Hollywood-style excitement of Modern Warfare. That's why it's buying in game engines from the studios (VB2 was based on tech licensed from the makers of Operation Flashpoint) and cutting out the unrealistic physics -- such as rifle bullets flying three miles and vehicles that don't obey gravity. It's hoped the project will keep the attention of death-match hardened trainees and encourage them to play it in their own time: the team were told that two soldiers learned enough skills to stay alive during combat thanks to marathon sessions in the game. If you've just unwrapped an FPS for the holidays, you can now tell disapproving family members that it's educational.
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Apple applies for facial recognition patent, wants to let iDevices get to know you better

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Your momma always said your handsome mug would take you places. Now it might allow you to access your iPad. An Apple patent application released today describes a facial recognition system that requires minimal computing power, and works whether you're indoors or out -- we don't use our tablets and phones in a photo booth, after all. The technology works by comparing a current image of your mug to a reference model user profile made using "high information" portions of the human face, like eyes and mouths. Translation: it'll take a picture, compare it against the pictures associated with various user accounts on the device and decide if the two images are similar enough to grant you access. Because this is just an application, it's safe to say we won't be seeing this kind of facial recognition in iOS anytime soon, but let's hope it works better than the ICS version if it does.

Update: An important thing to note is that Apple applied for this patent long before Android's Face Unlock debuted a few months back. The paperwork was first submitted on June 29th, 2010 -- it's just now being disclosed to the public.
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Facebook Messenger client for Windows slips out for download

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We've already had an early peek at Facebook's yet-to-be-released Messenger client for Windows, and now you can give it a shot yourself courtesy of a leaked copy that's turned up on the TechIT website. Not much in the way of surprises here, but if you're the sort that prefers desktop applications to websites or mobile apps, you'll be glad to know that it provides access to not just Facebook chat, but status updates and notifications from your friends as well. You can find the download at the source link below (Windows 7 is required).
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How I Met Your Robot Mother: a Qbo 'First' (video)

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Is consciousness programmable? Do robots feel? Would Kubrick have approved of Spielberg'shandling of AI? While you wrap your mind around those conundrums, set aside a bit of free grey matter to soak in another Qbo milestone. When last we left the little bot, it was just coming to terms with its place in the grand scheme of things and recognizing its reflection. Since, robotic hangers-on and the geeks that love'em have been pelting The Corpora (the brains behind the operation) with questions pertaining to the self-awareness of this artificially intelligent machine. The outfit's reply? A Qbo meet-cute with a "female" member of the automated species that highlights the droid's understanding of individuality. It's a far cry from a Lady and the Tramp-style nose nuzzle, but these bots don't have to touch -- a random series of nasal flashes serve to indicate their distinctiveness and, once that's done, polite flirtation ensues. Don't believe us? You can see the sparks of android love for yourself in the video after the break.

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Iconia Tab A200 and A700 slates head to CES, make a pitstop in Russia

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Acer already spilled the beans on its Iconia Tab A200, a 10.1-inch slab powered by NVIDIA's 1GHz Tegra 2 processor, but whatever happened to that Tegra 3 touting A700? It went to Russia, of course. According to NoMobile.ru, the A200's slimmer, but more powerful brother will debut at CES 2012 next month. The Ruskie site pegs the tablet's 1920 x 1200 resolution screen at 10.1-inches, which is bordered by SIM and micro-USB slots, a dedicated rotation lock switch, the standard volume rockers, an audio jack and a micro-HDMI port. On its rear they found a textured back garnished with a five megapixel camera sporting a built-in flash -- the whole unit weights 650 grams (1.43 pounds) and boasts a ten hour battery life. When can we see it? At CES, says NoMobile.ru, or in stores if you're willing to wait until March. We'll poke around Acer's offerings next month and let you know what we find. Can't wait? Follow the source link below for a few more pictures.
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

MIT scholar builds a self-balancing unicycle to roll fast and furious around campus (video)

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Sure, we've shown you the goofy SBU v2.0 unicycle, but what's better than a glorious DIY project? MIT student Stephan Boyer has built his own electrical uni-ride, which he's dubbing the "Bullet." The single-wheel transporter packs a custom MIG-welded steel body, two 7Ah 12-volt batteries, an ATmega328 chip and a 450-watt electric motor. While the Bullet isn't the speediest of solowheel demons (15mph max), it's on par with its $25,000 Ryno Motorscounterpart. As far as power efficiency, the Bullet can go up to five miles on a single charge -- more than enough juice to hit a few classroom round-trips. There's some "Learning to Ride" tips from the creator himself at the source link, but in the meantime you can watch this unified purple rider in action after the break.
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Intel starts shipping Atom N2600, N2800 processors for netbooks, ten hours of battery life promised

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We've already seen a few benchmarks and other hints that they'd soon be shipping, and Intel has now officially announced that its new Cedar Trail Atom processors arefinally available, with the first systems using them set to roll out early next year. The two chips you'll likely be seeing the most of are the Atom N2600 and N2800 -- both dual-core, and both designed for use in netbooks, where they promise to allow for up to ten hours of battery life and "weeks of standby," and offer support for 1080p video playback. Also rolling out today are the D2500 and D2700, which are designed for use in entry-level desktops and all-in-one computers, as well as more commercial systems. As for all those systems themselves, details remain a bit light, but Intel says you can expect to see some from Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba.
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Amazon marks 'best holiday' for Kindle devices, fills stockings full of cash

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It was yet another solid year for Amazon's Kindle family of products. The mega online retailer sent out its yearly post-Christmas card, bragging about moving "well over one million Kindle devices per week" for December, making it the best holiday yet for the e-reader / tablet line, according to the company. Three Kindles held the top spots on the site's list of best sellers, led by the Fire, the Touch and the plain old fourth generation Kindle. No exact numbers from Amazon, as per usual, but it looks to have been a pretty green Christmas for Bezos and co. Jingle all the way to the celebratory press release after the jump.
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N-Control dismisses marketing consultant, discounts PS3 Avenger pre-orders

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Keeping up with your gamer gossip? Then you're probably up to snuff on the recent Ocean Marketing / Penny-Arcade spat. We held our tongues as the drama unfolded -- no easy task, considering Engadget's name was dragged into the affair -- but now it seems like the internet soap-opera is reaching its conclusion.

Not the gossiping type? Here's a quick recap: When N-Control's latest Avenger add-on missed its November 8th street date, customers with pre-orders were left wanting. Some reached out for answers, hoping they could still get their PS3 Avenger before Christmas. All they got in reply, though, were some *ahem* choice words from N-Control's third party marketing contractor, Paul Christoforo -- a man who gained instant notoriety when his emails caught the attention of Penny-Arcade's Mike Krahulik. Krahulik took exception to Christoforo's insults, threatening tone and name-drop posturing (that's where we came in) and responded by publishing the marketing mishap on his comic's website.

Suffice to say, it hasn't ended well for Paul Christoforo -- N-Control has released a statement saying that he and his marketing operation have been "categorically dismissed," stressing that Christoforo owns no stake whatsoever N-Control. After ejecting the elephant from the room, N-Control went on to announce that all PS3 Avenger pre-orders would be given a $10 discount, and penned in a new ship date for January 15th. "I created the Avenger to make people happy," said inventor and company founder Dave Kotkin, who originally designed the controller for a student who had a physical disability, "I deeply regret that so many people have any negative feelings toward it as a result of what has happened." N-Control seems bent on moving on -- which is fine by us, so long as they keep their customers better informed. After all, it's not everyday that such an awkward-looking gadget blows us out of the water. Read on for N-Control's full and apologetic press release.
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