Tuesday, July 22, 2014

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Makes Official Debut

Following lots of rumors and speculation, NVIDIA has finally taken the wraps off the company's much anticipated gaming tablet dubbed NVIDIA SHIELD. The new 8-inch gaming tablet will be powered by Android and feature plenty of power and performance thanks to a solid set of specs!

At the heart of the beast is NVIDIA’s new mobile SoC, the NVIDIA Tegra K1, which features the same Kepler graphics cores NVIDIA builds into their GeForce GTX graphics cards and Tesla supercomputer accelerators. The quad-core ARM chip features 192 CUDA cores with a 2.3GHz max clock speed. K1 supports a variety of APIs and features which include OpenGL ES 3.1, AEP, OpenlGL 4.4, DX12, Tessellation, CUDA 6.0. Nvidia claims that the K1 can do all of this while consuming less than two watts of power.

For exceptional video and sound the SHIELD will feature an 8 inch 1900x1200 IPS display and front facing speakers with NVIDIA PureAudio technology and dual-bass reflex ports into the tablet to deliver great sound.

"If you're a gamer and you use a tablet, the NVIDIA SHIELD tablet was created specifically for you," said Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA's co-founder and chief executive officer. "It delivers exceptional tablet performance and unique gaming capabilities to keep even the most avid gamers deeply immersed, anywhere they play."

Since the shield offers a full Android experience users will have access to the thousands of Android games currently available on Google Play. However, the games don't stop there. NVIDIA says there are now more than 400 SHIELD-optimized games available through the SHIELD Hub, as well as 11 specially optimized games for Tegra K1.

Additional features of the SHIELD tablet include what NVIDIA says are a range of firsts for a tablet:
  • PC Streaming: First to stream games from a PC desktop or notebook using NVIDIA GameStream technology, which streams from NVIDIA GeForce GTX- powered GPUs.
  • NVIDIA GRID Cloud Streaming: First to stream PC games from NVIDIA GRID. Gamers can access the GRID cloud gaming beta, available exclusively to SHIELD owners in Northern California, to instantly stream a library of high-quality PC games, and then save them in the cloud.
  • Twitch and NVIDIA ShadowPlay: First to feature ShadowPlay, an advanced game-capture tool that lets users save and stream their greatest gaming moments to Twitch, the leading video platform and community for gamers. Gamers can stream titles from the SHIELD tablet to friends and foes worldwide. SHIELD tablet also includes a 5MP front camera to enhance the image of the gamer overlaid on the Twitch gamecast.
  • Console Mode: First to feature NVIDIA Console Mode, which takes tablet gameplay to big-screen TVs. Console Mode transforms the device into a full living-room gaming and entertainment experience. Gamers can connect their SHIELD wireless controller, sit back on the couch and play PC and Android games, browse the web, and watch their favorite movies -- all in native 1080p HD.

Pricing, Availability and AccessoriesThe SHIELD tablet comes with either Wi-Fi connectivity, or Wi-Fi and LTE. It's available in 16- and 32GB, with MicroSD support (up to 128GB), starting at $299. The SHIELD wireless controller retails for $59. The SHIELD tablet cover retails for $39.

The SHIELD tablet, wireless controller and tablet cover are now available for preorder in the United States, Canada and select European countries. Preorders in the United States are available at shield.nvidia.com, Amazon, Best Buy, Fry's Electronics, GameStop, Micro Center, Newegg and Tiger Direct, and in Canada at Canada Computers, Memory Express, NCIX and ThinkGeek. Preorders in Europe are available at many top e-tailers.
The full list of resellers and further information, including product specifications, are available at http://shield.nvidia.com/.

Source: NVIDIA

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dell Joins Growing List of Companies Accepting Bitcoins

Despite numerous highly publicized issues and a growing list of security concerns, Bitcoins are gaining more and more traction and are quickly becoming more widely accepted as forms of payment. In fact they are now so widely accepted and traded that states such as New York and California have enacted state level regulations for their use and trading.

It should then come as no surprise that major tech players and websites are amongst the first to join the Bitcoin craze.

Two of the country’s biggest names in e-commerce, Overstock.com and TigerDirect.com were at the fore front of the Bitcoin era, being amongst the first major online retailers to accept the digital currency as a purchase option. Earlier this week popular electronics e-retailer Newegg became one of the latest sites tech sites to join the fray.

Still we haven't seen many 'major' tech manufactures willing to take the leap, until now!

Dell on Friday announced consumer and small-business customers in the US can now use Bitcoin to make purchases on Dell.com. In addition to accepting Bitcoins, Dell has said they'll be running  a special Alienware promotion wherein customers can save 10 percent off a new Alienware system purchase (up to $150 limit) when checking out with bitcoin. Stay tuned to Dell.com/bitcoin for more information on this exciting offer.

Dell Bitcoin Checkout

Dell partnered with Coinbase, a trusted and secure third party payment processor, to make this possible. For users wanting to pay via Bitcoin the process was made fairly simple. When you’re ready to make a purchase, just add your items to your cart, fill out your shipping details and choose Bitcoin as your payment method. When you submit your order, you’ll be taken to Coinbase.com to complete your purchase.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Facebook Wants To Sell You Stuff With New 'Buy' Button

Facebook has just made it a bit easier for you to make those impulse buys with the launch of a new “Buy” call-to-action button that will be featured on ads and Page posts. The new feature will allow shoppers to purchase a product directly from businesses featured on the social media site without having to visit an outside page.

The new service, which Facebook described in a blog posting, is initially being tested with a "few small and medium-sized businesses" in the United States, and will soon be available on the mobile and desktop PC version of its website. Facebook users viewing sponsored ads from the select merchants will soon see the Buy Button as an option, allowing them to purchase whatever goods or services that are being offered.

For those concerned about privacy and/or security Facebook says they built the feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases.

Facebook isn't the only social media company testing out this type of feature. Twitter has been quietly testing a new "Buy now" button that apparently lets you purchase items featured in tweets without leaving the site. The Twitter Commerce service will appear inside users’ Twitter stream, similar to promoted tweet advertisements, according to the documents seen by ReCode.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Intel 2-in1 Devices The Ultimate Summertime Companion

Featuring all the power of a laptop with the added portability of a tablet, an Intel 2 in 1 can make for the perfect summertime traveling companion.

Whether sitting on the beach, enjoying a quiet afternoon by the pool or just traveling to some of your favorite lunch spots, for us tech geeks staying connected and keeping productive is always a must. Sure you can do almost anything from those amazing smartphones these days, but having a larger screen sometimes is a must. Tablet are always great, but we don't always want to sacrifice productivity. For those wanting the best of both worlds I'd suggest checking out some of the newest #Intel2in1 devices.

On our days out of the office this summer we've been working from our new Dell Venue 11 Pro equipped with the Dell Tablet Keyboard. Like many of the Intel 2in1 devices on the market today this combo allows us to maintain portability with the standalone tablet as well as the ability to switch to a more productive platform with the full keyboard and extra battery.

So far we've managed to pack our Dell Venue 11 Pro with us on several day hikes and beach trips. The 10.8" full HD screen is super bright and offers a crisp viewing experience even when the sun is beating down. So far the 8MP camera has been great for snapping photos and since it is a Windows 8.1 device and offers a 'true Windows experience' we can use our favorite Adobe Suites for editing those photos.

When all that fun is over for the day and we are relaxing on the patio at our favorite brew spot, we snap on the Dell Tablet Keyboard, add on a wireless mouse and jump into work mode. This in our opinion is where the #2in1 platform really shines, you get the option of that true laptop-like experience. Since we have the ultrapowerful Intel Core i5 processor we can get multiple tasks done at the same time. Making it quicker and easier to get back to enjoying the fun in the sun.

How about you guys, how would you put your Intel 2 in 1 to work this summertime? Share your ideas in a comment below!

#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel This could include Intel providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Google Teams With Udacity To Offer Free Android Development Course

Ever thought about developing the next big Android App? Well thanks to Google you'll have a new free tool that may help you on your way. Earlier this week Google announced announced latest resource for learning to develop Android apps: Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals.

Operating through educational website Udacity, the free course offers step-by-step training to help you build your first Android app from scratch. This isn't your basic beginner course however. Google explains that the course will be advanced and technical enough for experienced developers who are new to Android — maybe even new to mobile — but not new to programming. So you should have the basics down before taking the course. It is free though so you really have little to lose!

“The full course materials – all the videos, quizzes, and forums – are available for free for all students by selecting ‘View Courseware’,” Meier explained in a post on the Android Developers Blog. “Personalized ongoing feedback and guidance from Coaches is also available to anyone who chooses to enroll in Udacity’s guided program.”

So what do you need to do to get started? That is simple, all you’ll need to head over to Udacity and click “Start free trial” to access the full course for free.And for those looking for addition resources, Google points out that would-be Android developers should also check out Google’s existing Android developer documentation, samples and videos. I'd also strongly suggest checking out the Android Developers Blog as it has tons of info and news to help you get started and stay up to date on what Google is working on.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Warning: Keyloggers Found In Hotel PCs Used For Stealing Guests' Log-in Information

In a non-public advisory distributed to companies in the hospitality industry on July 10, the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) warned that a task force in Texas recently arrested suspects who have compromised computers within several major hotel business centers in the Dallas/Fort Worth areas.

The advisory that was first discovered and reported on by KrebsOnSecurity reporter Brian Krebs  on Monday, explains that several PCs in the hotel's business centers had been infected with malware that steals passwords and other sensitive data from guests using those PCs.

Image via KrebsOnSecurity

“The keylogger malware captured the keys struck by other hotel guests that used the business center computers, subsequently sending the information via email to the malicious actors’ email accounts,” the warning stated. “The suspects were able to obtain large amounts of information including other guests personally identifiable information (PII), log in credentials to bank, retirement and personal webmail accounts, as well as other sensitive data flowing through the business center’s computers.”

“In some cases, the suspects used stolen credit cards to register as guests of the hotels; the actors would then access publicly available computers in the hotel business center, log into their Gmail accounts and execute malicious key logging software,” the advisory reads.

The report should serve as a serious reminder that while in some cases it may be necessary to use public PCs it's rarely a good idea to use them for anything more than casual browsing of websites. Even the most protected PCs can be hacked and/or infected given direct access and even when PCs are within eyesight of a business center employee, librarian, or other supervisor, it can still be easily infected and should be used with the most extreme caution! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Analyst Believes Apple Fanboys Could Scoop Up 30 to 60 million iWatches In First Year

According to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, Apple merely needs to release an iWatch and then sit back and rely on the fact that Apple fans will buy whatever comes out of Cupertino in order for the company to sell as many as 60 million units in its first year.

Huberty believes Apple's ecosystem, combined with an unrelenting sense of brand loyalty generating a "halo effect" could mean big things for Apple once the company releases their rumored iWatch. If the wearable device's sales numbers follow the same trajectory as iPhone sales, Apple could conservatively see sales revenues boosted by $9 billion during the first year alone.

Huberty offered up three sales scenarios.
  • Base case: iWatch sales follow the same trajectory as iPhone sales, and Apple sells some 30 million units, which if sold at $300 each would boost revenue by $9 billion.
  • Bull case: iWatch sales follow the same trajectory as iPad sales, and Apple sells some 60 million units, and shares increase to $132 (equivalent to $924 at pre-split prices).
But what if things go wrong? There's where the bear case comes into play.
  • Bear case: iPhone sales flatline, there's no interest in iWatches, and Apple's share price falls to $74.
Huberty is not alone in predicting big things for Apple and the iWatch. Not long ago UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said that he believed that the iWatch could match initial sales of the iPad, with the Cupertino giant shipping 21 million units during the 2015 financial year, and 36 million units during 2016. Following this trajectory, the iWatch would become Apple's fastest-selling iOS product to date.

Not all is wine and roses for Apple and the iWatch though. A recent survey from Piper Jaffray showed that only 1% of those polled would buy an iWatch if it costs between $300 and $350, and 35% of respondents wouldn't buy a wearable from Apple regardless of the price. While most consumers said they wouldn't purchase one regardless of the price, more than 30% said they would buy the iWatch if it fell in the $100-$200 price range. Only 10% said they would buy the watch if it was priced at $100 or less, as shown in the chart from Statista posted below.

Infographic: Consumer Interest In iWatch Depends On Its Price | Statista

The low willingness to pay for the rumored device could become a problem for Apple. After all, it seems hardly imaginable that the company known for its premium pricing will market the iWatch with all of its alleged capabilities for less than $200. What makes pricing for the iWatch so difficult is that, as opposed to the iPhone, it won’t be subsidized by wireless carriers. For it to become a mainstream success, it will have to be priced like an iPod rather than like an iPhone.

Do you think Apple's entry into the wearables market will have the major impact analysts believe it will? Despite being first to the market, and already on their second generation, Samsung is still stumbling to make a major impact. Now with other companies like LG and Motorola entering the market we are quickly see a lot of saturation in the wearables sector.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

According To LG Bendable, Flexible TVs Could Be On The Market By 2017

Earlier this week LG Display showcased two new 18-inch displays, one that is a flexible OLED panel that is flexible and rollable like a newspaper as well as one that a transparent OLED panel. LG says the displays shows that the company has already acquired fundamental technologies that will lead to the availability of large-sized flexible and transparent display reaching the market, potentially as soon as 2017.

LG OLED Rollable Display
Image: LG Display

The flexible OLED panel has a high-definition class resolution of 1200 X 810 with almost 1 million mega-pixels. The panel’s curvature radius is 30R. The panel can be rolled up to a radius of 3cm without affecting the function of the display. This proves that LG Display can bring rollable TVs of more than 50 inches to the market in the future.

As for the transparent OLED panel, it boasts 30 percent transmittance, which was achieved by adopting the company’s transparent pixel design technology. LG Display has successfully lowered the haze of the panel which is generated by using circuit devices and film components to a level of 2 percent. With this breakthrough development, the company has been able to improve greatly the technology level of the transparent display. Considering that the transmittance of existing transparent LCD panels is around 10 percent, this new panel offers significantly improved transmittance.

“LG Display pioneered the OLED TV market and is now leading the next-generation applied OLED technology. We are confident that by 2017, we will successfully develop an Ultra HD flexible and transparent OLED panel of more than 60 inches, which will have transmittance of more than 40 percent and a curvature radius of 100R, thereby leading the future display market.” said In-Byung Kang, Senior Vice President and Head of the R&D Center at LG Display.

However, head of corporate PR, Jean Lee told me that more work needs to be done before the product can be commercialised: “We expect that it should take time to see the products in market because all related components should also be fully ready.”

Flexible displays certainly aren't new. Samsung and LG both originally revealed a flexible smartphone style screen at CES 2013. Since the both companies have been working on curved displays for not just their phones but TVs as well. Apple has even been rumored to be looking into adding a rolled or curved display to the latest iPhone. This however, is one of the first times we've seen any flexible displays of any real decent size or quality.

It should be interesting to see where the tech leads us and how far it will evolve over the next few years. Flexible transparent tablets would be ideal. A smartphone you could roll-up and stuff in a pocket would also be cool!