ByÂ Darren MurphÂ Â postedÂ Sep 28th 2011 9:42AM
Okay, so it wasn’t much of a surprise, but Amazon finally has a tablet, and as expected its name picks up where the Kindle left off:Â Fire. Of course, rumors of an Amazon tablet date back to this timeÂ last yearÂ (if not before), but it seems that Jeff and co. have wisely chosen to get this thing out on the open market before having yet another wild and wacky holiday quarter.Â BloombergÂ has curiously reported on some of the details before the event itself kicks off, noting that the 7-inch device will run a version of Android while acting much like a “souped-up Kindle.” The real kicker, however, is the price — at just $199, it’s bound to turn heads, regardless of whether you were interested in a slate before. Naturally, that bargain-bin sticker explains the lack of an embedded camera and microphone, though consumers will find WiFi (no 3G, sadly) and a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. It’s also quite clear that Amazon’s hoping to make a bigger splash on the content side of things than has been made already by Apple, and with the deals flowing like wine, we wouldn’t be shocked if it does just that.
Keep up with the unveiling at ourÂ liveblog of the Amazon event.
ByÂ Darren MurphÂ Â postedÂ Sep 14th 2011 1:03PM
Guess what, Wintel loyalists? “Apple’s”Â ThunderboltÂ I/O port is coming your way. If you’ll recall, Thunderbolt was actually built with Intel’sÂ collaborationÂ (Light Peak, anyone?), and sensibly, the chip giant is now making it possible for the port to appear on non-Mac machines. The news was just broken here at IDF, where aÂ Haswell-based machine was briefly teased with a heretoforeÂ unpossible T-bolt port. Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group, was on-stage to showcase six pre-production Ultrabook designs (all based on 3rd generation Intel Core processors), but stopped short of telling us exactly when the Thunderbolt I/O port would make its debut on commercially available rigs. Naturally, we’re hoping it’s sooner (tomorrow) rather than later (the 2013 launch of Haswell).
ByÂ Tim Stevens postedÂ Jun 16th 2011 12:30PM
We’ve been waiting for confirmation onÂ yesterday’s rumor, about Microsoft’s motion-sensing Xbox 360 peripheral coming to PCs, and now we have it. MS has just now released a software development kit (SDK) for Windows that will allow .Net developers to write Kinecting apps in C++, C#, or VB. We spoke with some developer representatives from the company to get the full details, including just what you can and can’t do with this big bundle of libraries. Follow us after the break for all the info.
At this point the SDK is effectively a straight-port of the same libs that are currently available to Xbox 360 developers. Built on XNA, the Kinect library is standalone, so you won’t necessarily need to rely on DirectX being present. The SDK gives full access to everything the peripheral has to offer, including both cameras (VGA and depth-sensing) and the full microphone array. The former can identify up to six individuals or track the full skeletons for two, while the latter can handle advanced echo-cancellation and even sound triangulation.
To get the full skeleton tracking you’re going to need the same sort of setup as on the Xbox 360 — namely a largeish space in front of your computer for you to stand in and plenty of light. But, developers will be able to extract raw data from both cameras should they like, so in theory someone should be able to write an app that works with a Kinect sitting on your desk and looks for simple gestures from you, even if you’re seated in a chair. That’s our ideal scenario: hand-waving recognition in productivity apps to bridge the gap between mousing and multitouching.
To that end, Microsoft isn’t confirming any plans to integrate Kinect compatibility with any of its major apps (alas, no jazz-hand formula creation in Excel), but the company’s own coders are said to have their “juices flowing” thinking of ways to integrate the tech. Hopefully those creative fluids ooze their way right into the heart ofÂ Windows 8.
ByÂ Vlad Savov postedÂ May 26th 2011 8:11AM
There’s a pretty widespread outage ofÂ Skype going on right this minute, judging by the explosion of tweets relating to it. It’s not universal, as we’ve been able to log in and use the internet communicator for both text and video chat, but something’s definitely gone wrong. So far, we’ve noticed our OS X machines are ticking along just fine, but our Windows computers are not. Importantly, we had to upgrade one of our Windows desktops to “break” Skype, which indicates it could be a fault contained in the latest version, but then again, it could have simply been just a case of terrible timing. TheÂ iPhone andÂ Android apps look to be unaffected, but skype.com is down and out. Skype is on the case right now and will have more details for us “soon.”
Update: Skype hasÂ a solution for bringing tech savvy users back online. It requires deleting the shared.xml file, instructions for which are available for Windows 7, XP and Mac OS X (so yes, Apple computers have been bitten by the same bug too). A simpler fix is said to be in the works as well.
Update 2: Looks like Skype is back to normal now. Phew!
ByÂ Richard Lawler postedÂ May 2nd 2011 7:01AM
Dish Network, EchoStar and TiVo have come to a settlement on theirÂ long running patent dispute (since2006) that will see the satellite company pay $500 million to settle all ongoing litigation. We stopped covering the various court judgements in this caseÂ last year as each side continued to file one stay and injunction after another, but this time it’s finally over. The most recent court judgement came April 20th in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and found EchoStar in contempt of an earlier injunction despite modifications to its DVR software. The companies have licensed certain patents to each other, including the infamous Time Warp patent that was at the heart of the dispute. Details are in the press release after the break, but TiVo’s scored an upfront $300 million cash payment (Dish Network is also reporting today it added 58,000 subscribers and had a net income of $549 million last quarter, we guess there was some loose change rolling around after itsÂ Blockbuster andÂ DBSD purchases), with the remaining $200 million to be paid out between 2012 and 2017.
Now that the lawyers are out of the picture we wonder if we’ll see any TiVo technology on Dish boxes or if a few hundred million in cash is enough to speed up the pace ofÂ updates for theÂ Premiere. Interestingly, the press release noted Dish “work with TiVo to help develop our Blockbuster video service” so perhaps the ties between theÂ rental company and TiVo played a part in seeing this dispute come to an end. TiVo’s conference call mentioned the marketing agreement to promot Blockbuster’s digital service and also how this settlement demonstrates the strength of its patent to other companies it’s in litigation with — that means youÂ Microsoft,Â AT&T and Verizon.
ByÂ Vlad Savov postedÂ Apr 20th 2011 9:29AM
We love books. We just don’t love carrying more than one of them around. It’s great to hear, then, that Amazon has figured out a new Kindle Library Lending feature, which will allow US customers to check the ethereal form of books into their Kindle (all generations are supported) or Kindle app-equipped smartphone or computer. Annotations will be retained, in case you decide to take the book out a second time or purchase it through Amazon, in which case they’ll come flooding back in like fond memories of a good read. The service matches Sony’s similarÂ ebook library checkout offering, which is no coincidence as it’s powered by the same company, OverDrive. It’s set to launch later this year and you can read more about it in the press release after the break.