Lenovo was first out of the gate with a form-shifting Windows 8 machine when it unveiled the IdeaPad Yoga at CES. Now the company’s back with a convertible for its business customers, the ThinkPad Edge Twist. In many ways, it’s a convertible in the most conventional sense of the word: unlike the Yoga, whose screen folds all the way back, the Twist has a 12.5-inch display that can swivel all the way around and fold down into tablet mode. As a member of the Edge family, in particular, it blends design elements from Lenovo’s business and consumer
lines, with metal accents, rounded edges, an island-style keyboard, a magnesium frame and, of course, that signature soft-touch finish.
Stealing the show is that 12.5-inch, 350-nit, Gorilla Glass-coated display, which uses IPS technology for wider angles. On the inside, the Twist runs your choice of a Core i5 or i7 processor, with up to 8GB of RAM and either a 128GB SSD or a 7,200RPM hard drive (320GB or 500GB). Battery life, meanwhile, is rated at up to seven hours. At 3.48 pounds, it’s heavier than some larger-screened Ultrabooks, but at least that 0.79-inch frame makes room for a full-sized Ethernet jack. (It also has a memory card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, mini-HDMI output and a mini-DisplayPort.) As for business-friendly features, the laptop offers TPM and can be configured with an optional 3G radio. Look for it on October 26th, starting at $849.
The boards of Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS have approved a deal that wouldcombine MetroPCS with T-Mobile USA,The Wall Street Journal reports. According to sources, the new company will run under the T-Mobile banner, headed by T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere. However, though Deutsche Telekom reportedly has a substantial stake in the new company, it could reduce it over time, effectively letting MetroPCS take over the T-Mobile label in the US.
No-contract carrier MetroPCS had about 9.3 million subscribers in mid-2012, while T-Mobile USA had closer to 27 million under its contract and prepaid labels and more under MVNOs. Both trail larger carriers like Sprint or Verizon. T-Mobile USA previously attempted to merge with AT&T, but the move was blocked by American antitrust regulators. While those regulators will still need to approve this deal, the relatively small size of both companies makes it potentially less controversial. So far, neither MetroPCS nor Deutsche Telekom has officially confirmed the agreement.
Update: We’ve now received confirmation that the companies have “signed a definitive agreement” to combine MetroPCS with T-Mobile USA. As reported, the new company will operate as T-Mobile, combining the subscribers and network coverage of both carriers. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2013.
In five years, weâ€™ll simply be able to think something, and a computer will respond. Thatâ€™s the vision fromÂ IBM, which just published itsÂ â€œ5 in 5â€³ forecast, which attempts to predict five technologies that have the potential to significantly change our lives in the next five years. One of the more surprising candidates:Â machines that will read our thoughts.
Well, not exactly, IBM Senior Inventor Kevin Brown toldÂ Mashable. The idea is a little more down-to-earth â€” and less scary â€” than the science-fiction scenarios of mind-reading robots that the description evokes. IBMâ€™s vision is this: a person wears a headset (shown above, worn by Brown) that can detect general electrical signals from the brain, and sends them to a computer. Sophisticated software interprets those signals and, in turn, tells a machine what to do.
â€œOne of the common misconceptions is that this headset is reading your thoughts,â€ says Brown. â€œItâ€™s not. Itâ€™s just reading a level of excitement. Itâ€™s not understanding.â€
The technology behind the idea has existed for a while. The headset, which costs just $299 and is made by a company calledÂ Emotiv, is able to detect electrical signals in the brain (via electroencephalography, or EEG) as well as muscular movements (electromyography, or EMG), both well known in the medical community.
Once you have those signals, Brown says the real magic begins, which is the ability to map signals to different actions. By doing so, the user is effectively teaching the machine how to read a specific mind. In much the same way speech-recognition software gets tailored to an individualâ€™s accent, inflections, and pronunciation, the mind-reading software can adapt to a personâ€™s unique â€œthoughts.â€
The next step is mapping specific thoughts to specific actions, analogous to programming a universal remote control. The key here is that the thought and action donâ€™t necessarily have to be the same. For example, if you want to use the headset to, say, turn on a TV, you might program the headset to perform that action when you think about kittens.
â€œAny device can take that [headset] data and do something with it,â€ says Brown, â€œSo you might have a fan come on or you might have a room light change color based on certain excitement level.â€
The idea of walking around your house wearing an elaborate headset (you can see itÂ here) has unfortunate echoes of another technology that was supposed to change our lives but flopped: 3D. However, the tech has already come a long way from the hospital-level EEG devices, which needed gels applied to the skin and hard-wire connections. An Emotiv competitor,Â NeuroSky, has a sleeker (though less capable) headset. Brown is confident progress could make it even more compact.
â€œAt the moment thereâ€™s a little bit of trade-off between technology looks,â€ Brown admits. â€œBut one of the key things is finding a really use that actually makes people want to wear it.â€
Brownâ€™s alluding to the mind-reading tech finding a â€œkiller app.â€ As far as what that could be, he says itâ€™s only limited by what you could connect the headset to, and â€” if the tech is cultivated into a full-fledged platform with developers, apps and iterative updates â€” that could be a lot. Thinking big, Brown suggests large-scale data about how people are feeling could become a tool for marketers and sociologists.
â€œIf you also think about smarter cities,â€ Brown writes in aÂ blog post. â€œIf everyone is wearing the device and open to sharing their thoughts, city heat maps could be created to see how people are feeling to create a picture of the mental health of a city. Or musicians could create elaborate pieces based on what they are thinking about.â€
What are your thoughts on reading thoughts? Would you wear a headset to control things with your mind? And what about sharing your real-time feelings in some kind of public network? Let us know in the comments.
If you’ve freshly fallen off the Android bandwagon to fill your cup withÂ Mango’s nectar, chances are you’re still coming to terms with aÂ lack of customization. No longer, asÂ Windows Phone HackerÂ has just released its Themes for Windows Phone 7 application that puts the power of theÂ live tileÂ into your very willing hands. The program, PC-only for now, applies user-selected images, icons, colors and transparencies to a preferred list of apps, nullifying the need for those pre-set accents. But before you rush to download the file, bear in mind this requires an unlocked handset. So, unless you’ve cozied up toChevronWP7 with that $9, you’ll just have to watch from the sidelines. Check out the tutorial after the break.
Just two days after the European Commission announced that it was investigating Apple and major international publishers for possibleÂ e-book price fixing, the US Justice Department has made it clear that it’s also launching a probe into the possibility of “anticompetitive practices involving e-book sales.” Although Justice Department officials didn’t name which companies they’re looking into, it’s very likely that they’re focusing on the same agreements between publishers and the major e-book platform owners — either Apple or Amazon or both.
We can’t say we’re entirely shocked by the move but, according toÂ Reuters,Â VerizonÂ is getting ready to enter the streaming media market. Reports are that the company is in talks with programming partners to provide content for a Netflix-like video service that it could offer to customers not currently covered by its high-speed FiOS network. Obviously, details are scant, and there’s no telling when it might actually launch, but you can bet its competitors will be watching closely… and we don’t just meanÂ Netflix. Cable and satellite TV providers are already wary of the public embracingÂ cord-cuttingÂ — when one of their own seems to beÂ encouragingÂ the behavior it sets off a lot of alarms.
Many companies have tried their hand atÂ Android-powered TVs and set-top boxesÂ outside of the Google TV ecosystem before, but HCI’s Roommate III is apparently the first line destined for the sterile environment ofÂ hospitals. These 22- to 42-inch wall mounted LCD HDTVs run an unspecified flavor of Android that supports apps, web browsing, and a built-in whiteboard. Things like accreditation status, outcomes studies, and incidence of medical errors will probably still be our main concerns in picking a hospital, but if these displays catch on then our doctors can describe our next elective surgery with the help ofÂ Google Body.
Google has already made quite a fewÂ significant cutsÂ to services it’s deemed outside of its focus in the past few months, and it’s now made another that surely won’t please a particular subset of its users. It’s announced that it will end support of the Gmail app for BlackBerry phones on November 22nd. Those that have the app installed will be able to continue using it indefinitely, but it will no longer be supported by Google or available for download after the cut-off date (so you might want to grab it now if you don’t already have it). In its place, Google is directing BlackBerry users to the mobile web app accessible through the browser, and it notes that it will “continue investing in this area.”