Survey Finds Americans Don’t Trust Government and Companies to Protect Privacy
Most Americans say it is important to control who has access to their personal information, but they have little faith that the government or companies will protect their private data, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.
Daily Report: In Singapore, the Post Office Evolves for E-Commerce
Of makeovers at postal services, SingPost's is among the most ambitious. Besides regular postal duties, it offers a basket of services for companies, including website development, online marketing, customer service and, of course, package delivery.
Funding Daily: Today’s tech funding news, in one place
Here’s a list of today’s tech funding stories, updated as the day unfolds. Tip us here if you have a deal to share. Uber seeking $1B credit line, possibly inching closer to an IPO We may be getting a bit closer to the Uber IPO that is destined to make the world’s head explode. According to […]
Uber seeking $1B credit line, possibly inching closer to an IPO
We may be getting a bit closer to the Uber IPO that is destined to make the world’s head explode. According to the Wall Street Journal, Uber is in talks with banks to set up a $1 billion line of credit. WSJ cited “sources” who said Uber had been contacting a number of banks to discuss […]
Funding Daily: Today’s tech funding news, in one place
Here’s a list of today’s tech funding stories, updated as the day unfolds. Tip us here if you have a deal to share. Ignition Partners raises $200M fund to back more enterprise software startups Ignition Partners, a enterprise-focused venture capital firm with several Microsoft veterans on staff, announced today a $200 million fund earmarked for enterprise […]
Did Apple just accidentally unveil the iPhone 6C? Here’s the latest rumor
Well, this is interesting. Today the Internet is gathering around a photo added to Apple’s new iPhone Lightening dock page. This photo [above], according to a handful of speculative Apple fans, reveals the next iteration of Apple’s “unapologetically plastic” iPhone 5C with Touch ID. This rumor first hit Reddit around 5:00 a.m. PT, and then YouTube a little while later. The Next Web […]
Shopify pops 65% on the NYSE, starts trading above $28 per share
E-commerce platform Shopify began trading above $28 a share, up from the $17 per share price the company originally set last night. The company put up 7.7 million shares of stock for sale this morning, allowing it to generate well over the $100 million it originally planned to raise, according to its S-1 SEC filing. Shopify is a plug-and-play e-commerce […]
Samsung’s Iron Man Galaxy S6 is set for release next week
Samsung‘s got a special edition of the Galaxy S6 coming that’s going to appeal to a lot of people. Marvel’s movies are the talk of the town and Samsung is lucky enough to have a strong partnership with the company. One result of that partnership is a
LG G4 for Sprint launching June 5, pre-orders begin today
LG recently confirmed that the global rollout for its latest flagship, the G4, would begin this week. Unfortunately for those in the U.S., there’s just a bit more waiting to be done before they get their hands on the high-end handset. Those under Sprint’s network umbrella at least have a date to circle [...]
Android M will introduce native fingerprint authentication
Fingerprint authentication has become a most wanted feature for some, adding just another layer of protection for mobile devices. Now, according to a new report, Google will be bringing native support for the security feature in the next version of Android.
According to a report issued by BuzzFeed, Google will be bringing native fingerprint [...]
Blu Products has announced its newest smartphone, the Studio C, that certainly fits Blu’s goal of creating high-quality devices at extremely low prices. The Studio C comes outfitted with specs such as a 5-inch 720p display, 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB of storage plus microSD card slot, 8-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel [...]
Limited edition Android Live Cases are here, starting with a special Skrillex edition
Google has announced today a new series of accessories for Android devices being sold directly in the Google Store that take phone cases to an entirely new level. Limited edition Live Cases are here, and Skrillex is helping to launch them.
Priced at $40, Google’s Live Cases are phone cases made in collaboration [...]
NSA's reported Huawei hack gives glimpse of agency's role in 'cyber Cold War'
The latest report based on leaks by Edward Snowden has it that the NSA hacked into the servers of a Chinese router company that had itself been accused by the US of potentially aiding government espionage.
Twitter battle in Turkey heats up, spreads to YouTube -- reports
The fight over a Twitter ban in the country intensifies, as the government reportedly blocks a workaround, the White House weighs in, and Google refuses to yank YouTube vids critical of the prime minister.
Buyers and practitioners in the data market have faced a gut-wrenching choice: work with big data and tolerate the latency of batch-mode processing, or work interactively with relatively small data sets…
All-Flash Arrays for Primary Storage: The time is now
Many times faster than legacy spinning disk arrays, All Flash Arrays (AFA) have been widely adopted for demanding use cases where consistent ultra-high performance storage is needed to service the most…
Crazy Rumor: Kanye Might Dump Jay Z's Tidal to Launch Swish on Beats
Here’s a ludicrous rumor we’re going to explore because the thought of Kanye West and Apple and Dr. Dre doing something together makes me want to throw a cartoonishly large old-time cash register off a building just to watch millions float away in the wind.
Watch the furthest flight ever flown on a real life hoverboard
The Guinness World Records says that Catalina Alexandru Duru just pulled off the farthest flight ever traveled on a real life hoverboard: 905 feet and 2 inches. You can see him rise up 16 feet in the air on the hoverboard and then start cruising through the air over a lake with nothing but invisible underneath him in the video below.
We are apparently so desperate as a civilization for news of the next iPhone that there are Apple diviners who specialize in predicting when it will come. Now the best of these diviners, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, says he’s convinced the new iPhone is coming in August.
Since the State Department’s taking its time making public information public, The New York Timesjust released about a third of Hillary Clinton’s private, Benghazi-related emails. Read up because it’s transparency America’s been denied—plus it’s just fun to read politicians’ private correspondence.
Find Out Which Android Apps You're Really Addicted To
You know you spend a lot of time on your smartphone, but what are you doing with it? It’s a question QualityTime (Android 4.0+) attempts to answer, monitoring activity on your handset and revealing the apps that you just can’t pull yourself away from. Here’s how to get the app up and running on your device.
You Might Not Even Notice This Wallpaper Is Made From Images of Space
One of the wonderful things about our nation’s Copyright Act is found under Section 105, which stipulates that the stuff government agencies—like NASA—create is free for anyone to use. Which makes projects like this space-plastered wallpaper possible.
Electric motorcycle and scooter sales expected to total 55 million from 2015-2024, says firm
Taken together, increasing interest from large manufacturers and decreasing battery costs offer an opportunity to drastically change the current market landscape for electric motorcycles and electric scooters. With well-known players such as Yamaha and Harley Davidson poised to expand offerings into this space, and low battery costs making products more affordable, sales of these vehicles are expected to experience stable and continuous growth in the coming decade. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, sales of electric motorcycles and scooters are expected to total 55 million from 2015-2024.
China-based white-box tablet vendors, in view of stagnant demand for tablets in general and falling demand for white-box models, have offered Windows/Android dual-OS models in an attempt to stimulate demand.
BizLink to see at least 10% revenue growth in 2015
Wire and cable product maker BizLink Holding expects its revenues to achieve at least a double-digit percentage growth in 2015 thanks to shipment growths in product lines such as electric applications, car electronics and USB Type-C products.
Among electronic connector and cable assembly makers, Lotes posted a rather strong gross margin at 34.67% and net EPS of NT$1.99 (US$0.06) for the first quarter of 2015 despite the quarter being the traditional slow season.
Taiwan attracts foreign direct investment of over US$1.5 billion in January-April, says MOEA
Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has revealed it approved 1,162 foreign direct investment projects (except from China) totaling US$1.517 billion in January-April 2015, respectively increasing 9.52% and 38.89% on year.
Washington D.C., May 16 – The Coast Guard released its first boating safety app last week as the kickoff to this year's National Safe Boating Week, May 16 – 22.
The Boating Safety Mobile app was not designed to replace a boater's marine VHF radio, which the Coast Guard strongly recommends all boaters have aboard their vessels. The app was mainly designed to provide additional boating safety resources for mobile device users.
Growing number of major media companies select Modulo GRC solution
Top Priority Sector:
Atlanta, GA, May 21 – Modulo, a provider of technology governance, risk and compliance (GRC) solutions, has announced that a growing number of major media companies are selecting Modulo’s GRC solution to automate its digital risk and compliance programs.
DHS S&T announces winners of innovation prize competition
Top Priority Sector:
Washington, D.C., May 20 – The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has announced the winners of S&T’s first innovation prize competition: The Vreeland Institute, Inc., of Copake, NY, and Certa Cito, LLC, of Rochester, NY. The competition, “Indoor Tracking of the Next Generation First Responders” focused on the challenge of keeping track of first responders when they are inside buildings, tunnels and other structures.
E-signatures provide assurance and efficiency…but what about independence?
Top Priority Sector:
By John Harris
With the 1998 implementation of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, the United States government made clear its intentions to become more efficient and save taxpayer dollars by reducing its dependence on paper documents.
Largest-ever prescription drug operation involves nearly 1,000 law enforcement officers
Top Priority Sector:
New Orleans, LA, May 20 – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and federal prosecutors have announced unprecedented enforcement action across the states of Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi in an effort to reverse the effects produced by the trafficking and abuse of pharmaceuticals. As part of this effort, dubbed Operation Pilluted, 22 doctors and pharmacists were arrested in the 15-month operation, which involved nearly a thousand law enforcement officers across the four states.
Deepwater Horizon oil spill contributed to high number of Gulf dolphin deaths
Top Priority Sector:
Barataria Bay, LA, May 20 – As part of an unusual mortality event investigation, a team of scientists has discovered that dead bottlenose dolphins stranded in the northern Gulf of Mexico since the start of the Deepwater Horizonoil spill have lung and adrenal lesions consistent with petroleum product exposure according to a paper published today in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE.
Pebble has announced that their revised shipping estimates for the new Pebble Time are still on, and they even have a hard shipping date to prove it -- May 27th! That's a mere 5 days from now, and it shouldn't be much longer beyond that until it starts arriving on doorsteps.
Here’s our first peek at the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Iron Man edition, coming “next week”
When Samsung first teased the Iron Man Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge we'd only gotten a look at a box. A very cool box, mind you, but it was just the box. But today we seem to get our first glimpse at the device itself.
Google will fulfill all Project Fi invites by mid-summer
Google is entering the mobile carrier space, if you haven’t heard, with a solution that they’re calling “Project Fi”. Upon making that huge announcement they began accepting applications for beta invites… and today, Google has RSVP’d by claiming they’ll get to everyone by mid-Summer. Here’s the complete e-mail: Hello! Thanks for requesting an invite to Project […]
Android M could bring native support for fingerprint scanning hardware
If you've been doing this Android thing for awhile now, you'd know that fingerprint scanning smartphones are nothing new to Android. Turns out the next version of Android -- Android M -- could bring native support for the hardware.
Google Maps gets improved traffic alerts in time for Memorial Day
Google has detailed a new update for Google Maps that'll help you avoid the dreadful result of a busy society: congested traffic. The company's improved traffic alerts will now let you know if there is heavy traffic en route to your destination and will let you select an alternate route, if available.
Report: HTC could reduce One M9 component orders by 30% in the wake of poor sales
While it's hard to say how well, exactly, the HTC One M9 is doing in terms of sales, it's still rather easy to get a rough idea. For the HTC One M9, the idea couldn't get any rougher -- the company is reportedly cutting back on component orders by a whopping 30% thanks to less-than-expected sales.
Twitch for Android update brings support for video on demand
Game watchers will be happy to know that the Twitch app has received a huge upgrade over at Google Play. There's one major highlight within a sea of other under-the-hood improvements and fixes -- video on demand.
ESA Satellite Shows Sudden Ice Loss In Southern Antarctic Peninsula
ddelmonte tips news that the ESA's CryoSat spacecraft has detected a sharp increase in the rate at which ice is being lost in a previously stable section of Antarctica. In 2009, glaciers at the Southern Antarctic Peninsula began rapidly shedding ice into the ocean, at a rate of roughly 60 cubic kilometers per year (abstract). From the ESA's press release:
This makes the region one of the largest contributors to sea-level rise in Antarctica, having added about 300 cubic km of water into the ocean in the past six years. Some glaciers along the coastal expanse are currently lowering by as much as four m each year. Prior to 2009, the 750 km-long Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change. ... The ice loss in the region is so large that it has even caused small changes in Earth’s gravity field, detected by NASA’s GRACE mission. Climate models show that the sudden change cannot be explained by changes in snowfall or air temperature. Instead, the team attributes the rapid ice loss to warming oceans.
Ads Based On Browsing History Are Coming To All Firefox Users
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla has announced plans to launch a feature called "Suggested Tiles," which will provide sponsored recommendations to visit certain websites when other websites show up in the user's new tab page. The tiles will begin to show up for beta channel users next week, and the company is asking for feedback. For testing purposes, users will only see Suggested Tiles "promoting Firefox for Android, Firefox Marketplace, and other Mozilla causes." It's not yet known what websites will show up on the tiles when the feature launches later this summer. The company says, "With Suggested Tiles, we want to show the world that it is possible to do relevant advertising and content recommendations while still respecting users’ privacy and giving them control over their data."
India Targets July/August To Test Its Space Shuttle
New submitter gubol123 writes with news that India is close to launching its own space shuttle for the first time. Their space program, ISRO, is planning the shuttle's first test flight for some time in July or August. The unmanned shuttle will fly to a height of approximately 70 kilometers before splashing down in the Bay of Bengal. Oddly, the vehicle itself probably won't be recovered. When it lands in the water, it will sink, and there are no plans to try to bring it back to the surface. The most important obstacles are surviving re-entry and simply staying intact during splashdown. Scientists and ISRO engineers are hoping the shuttle program, when finished, will drop the cost of placing objects in orbit by a factor of 10.
snydeq writes: With Java hitting its 20th anniversary this week, Elliotte Rusty Harold discusses how the language changed the art and business of programming, turning on a generation of coders. Infoworld reports: "Java's core strength was that it was built to be a practical tool for getting work done. It popularized good ideas from earlier languages by repackaging them in a format that was familiar to the average C coder, though (unlike C++ and Objective-C) Java was not a strict superset of C. Indeed it was precisely this willingness to not only add but also remove features that made Java so much simpler and easier to learn than other object-oriented C descendants."
US Proposes Tighter Export Rules For Computer Security Tools
itwbennett writes: The U.S. Commerce Department has proposed tighter export rules for computer security tools and could prohibit the export of penetration testing tools without a license. The proposal would modify rules added to the Wassenaar Arrangement in 2013 that limit the export of technologies related to intrusion and traffic inspection. The definition of intrusion software would also encompass 'proprietary research on the vulnerabilities and exploitation of computers and network-capable devices,' the proposal said.
Linux 4.0 Has a File-System Corruption Problem, RAID Users Warned
An anonymous reader writes: For the past few days kernel developers and Linux users have been investigating an EXT4 file-system corruption issue affecting the latest stable kernel series (Linux 4.0) and the current development code (Linux 4.1). It turns out that Linux users running the EXT4 file-system on a RAID0 configuration can easily destroy their file-system with this newest "stable" kernel. The cause and fix have materialized but it hasn't yet worked its way out into the mainline kernel, thus users should be warned before quickly upgrading to the new kernel on systems with EXT4 and RAID0.
The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read
jfruh writes: Java made its public debut twenty years ago today, and despite a sometimes bumpy history that features its parent company being absorbed by Oracle, it's still widely used. Mark Reinhold, chief architect for the Oracle's Java platform group, offers one explanation for its continuing popularity: it's easy for humans to understand it at a glance. "It is pretty easy to read Java code and figure out what it means. There aren't a lot of obscure gotchas in the language ... Most of the cost of maintaining any body of code over time is in maintenance, not in initial creation."
Oldest Stone Tools Predate Previous Record Holder By 700,000 Years
derekmead writes: The oldest stone tools ever found have been discovered by scientists in Kenya who say they are 3.3m years old, making them by far the oldest such artifacts discovered. Predating the rise of humans' first ancestors in the Homo genus, the artifacts were found near Lake Turkana, Kenya. More than 100 primitive hammers, anvils and other stone tools have been found at the site. An in-depth analysis of the site, its contents, and its significance as a new benchmark in evolutionary history will be published in the May 21 issue of Nature.
Sprint: LG G Flex Will Launch Online on January 31 for $299 on Contract
Starting today, Sprint customers can pre-order the unique LG G Flex smartphone for $299 online with a two year contract. By pre-ordering between now and January 31st, customers will receive a complimentary Quickwindow Folio Case, which is valued at $60. Sprint…
Motorola Announces Moto X Launch in UK, France, and Germany on February 1
Certain European consumers interested in the Moto X smartphone from Motorola will soon have their chance to purchase the excellent handset. Expected to launch on February 1st, Motorola will sell its iconic Moto X device in Black or White in…
In Depth: The past, present and future of smartphone batteries
The science of batteries
If you own a smartphone – and if you're reading this then chances are you do – then you'll be all too aware of the nightly ritual of plugging in your mobile to charge it ready for the morning. Few of today's top models can last more than a full day of steady use, with current lithium-ion technology struggling to keep pace with the growth in screen sizes and power requirements of our handsets.
But why is battery technology lagging and why doesn't it seem to be getting any better? We've analysed the current state of the market to bring you the reasons why you have to charge your phone every night – and how that could change over the next few years.
A very brief, simplified science lesson: the lithium-ion battery inside your phone isn't fully lithium, and if it was, it would last a lot longer. Every battery has three main components: an electrolyte providing electrons, an anode discharging them, and a cathode receiving them.
In the rechargeable batteries inside today's smartphones, lithium is found in the electrolyte, but not in the anode, restricting the efficiency and lifespan of the blocks. If a viable lithium anode could be developed, our batteries would be lighter, smaller, faster to charge and longer lasting.
Graphite is used as the anode in today's lithium-ion packs, and scientists believe we're now reaching the limit of what it can hold. Silicon and lithium metal are both potential materials that can replace graphite, while some research teams are investigating the possibility of using sulfur as the anode.
It's not quite as simple as replacing one material for another though, as some are potentially dangerous, some can only stand a few hundred recharges, and so on. As it stands, the lithium-ion packs we have today are the best that modern science can offer in 2015.
It's not just phones: these issues are holding up the progress of battery-powered boats, cars and aeroplanes too, because larger lithium-ion batteries aren't terribly effective either.
That's not to dismiss lithium-ion's achievements, because the breakthrough technology has made the super-thin and ultra-light smartphones and tablets of today possible. However, it's starting to show its age.
Talking about the next step for battery technology is difficult to do, as even the scientists at the cutting edge of the field are learning as they go: that's why you'll see a particular super-battery technology get announced one year and fade away the next.
Follow up on next-gen battery stories from the past – as we did here – and in the majority of cases you'll find the technology didn't work exactly as the inventors thought it would, wasn't commercially viable, or was based on a hypothesis that turned out to be wrong.
In short, it's an incredibly complicated area of electronics, and progress is slow despite the best efforts of some of the world's brightest minds. Only last year conventional thinking on the processes working inside lithium-ion batteries was turned on its head by a new theory. That's potentially a lot of super-smart battery projects going back to the drawing board.
Trying to figure out the physics and the chemistry to power a next-generation smartphone battery is one of the trickier problems in science, so bear that in mind the next time you back a super-battery project on Kickstarter.
There's no shortage of people working on the problem though, and the potential benefits are huge – not just for consumer gadgets but for transportation, renewable energy, and all the areas of our lives where batteries are used.
Working towards future batteries
Battery technology is a complex science, so you're unlikely to see any breakthrough battery projects appear completely out of nowhere.
Any progress that's made in the field has to be rigorously tested and examined before it can get close to our smartphones, and making sure it works and is safe is only part of the equation – it also needs to be commercially viable too.
Most of the papers and press releases you'll read about battery breakthroughs involve some kind of chemical tweak to get more energy out of the same battery over a longer time. These small improvements don't attract the same kind of headlines as flexible phone screens or a new smartwatch, but they're much more important for the future of our electronic gadgets.
Amprius is one of the companies working on the problem, and it has the backing of some top-level investors too (not least Google Chairman Eric Schmidt).
It started in Stanford University and received $30m in funding last year. The batteries Amprius is developing can store 50% more energy than today's blocks thanks to the use of silicon in the anode.
The founder of Amprius is Stanford professor Dr. Yi Cui, who is something of a celebrity in the field of battery research. We spoke to Wesley Guangyuan Zheng, one of the researchers working in Dr. Cui's lab, about what's around the corner.
"To overcome the physical limitation of current battery technology, we need to look for alternative battery chemistries that will have higher theoretical value," he told us. "Some of the new materials that have been explored include silicon and lithium metal for the anodes, and sulfur for the cathodes. These materials can potentially offer three-to-five times increase energy density as compared to today's lithium-ion batteries."
"These materials each have their own issues and problems. For example, silicon and lithium metal experience large volumetric expansion during battery cycling and that causes degradation of the electrode integrity. Scientists have come up with many innovative solutions to the problem, and we are seeing some of these technologies getting out into the market, albeit at a small volume."
Despite the complex nature of the science involved, and plenty of promising theories that have had to be abandoned, there is hope for the future. "There are many groups around the world, including our lab at Stanford, working on these advanced electrodes," says Zheng.
"The landscape will depend on the breakthroughs in battery material development. At the same time, battery companies are also making improvements on the current lithium-ion battery technology. Therefore, we are going to see much cheaper and better batteries down the road."
A longer-lasting battery and a cheaper smartphone to boot? Sounds perfect.
Also working hard on potential battery improvements are academics at the University of California, Riverside. "With current developments in our laboratories, we are able to fabricate novel materials by engineering them at the nanometer scale – 100 times thinner than human hair – which can be used as active electrodes in li-ion rechargeable batteries," Professor Mihri Ozkanor of the UCR Department of Electrical Engineering explains to us.
Professor Ozkanor told us that her work could eventually boost battery lifespans, shorten charging times and reduce the size of battery packs. "Highly cost-effective and scalable starting materials such as our paper-like silicon material could improve the existing battery technology, and the advancement in new electrode materials such as ours, will change the existing landscape of batteries in our cell phones and in other portable electronics," she says.
Last year one of UCR's most interesting innovations was to use sand to extend battery life by two or three times, but the common refrain applies again: the technology is still in its infancy, and a lot more research is required.
The secret sauce the startup uses hasn't been explained in detail, but there are claims it can double the life of current smartphone batteries by essentially replacing some of the liquid chemical mix inside a battery with a solid-state equivalent that's said to be much more effective.
By using solid-state technology some of the dangers (like battery explosions) are removed, and the batteries can be made thinner and lighter too. Whether or not Sakti3 can get any further towards the consumer market than its predecessors have done remains to be seen, but the investment from Dyson will certainly help.
Finding the balance
Even when scientists make improvements in one area of battery design, it may be limited or negated by another aspect of the technology, which is why progress can seem very slow. It's akin to upgrading one part of your PC only to find a different component then becomes the bottleneck in the system.
For these various reasons efficiency savings in software and the electronics of our smartphones are likely to significantly extend battery life before there's any substantial improvement in the composition of the batteries themselves.
Microsoft has a different approach altogether. Its research team has floated the idea of splitting the smartphone battery in two, optimising one piece to provide quick bursts of power, and the other to keep your phone ticking over while it's not doing very much.
Microsoft Researcher Ranveer Chandra says that battery life improvements of 20-50% could be possible according to initial tests, but – and stop me if you've heard this one before – there's no estimate of when this might actually appear in a handset on the high street.
If you read up on the latest battery breakthrough news on the web, as we have for this article, you'll find a familiar pattern developing; most articles start with a declaration that a new discovery could make a huge difference to smartphone battery life, and end with an admission that more research and experimentation is required.
That's not to dismiss the valiant efforts of the scientists working on the puzzle – it just gives you some idea of the size of the task. You're not going to see an amazing new battery developed by a group of friends in a garage, for example.
Researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have been busy, too: their new and improved batteries use a titanium dioxide gel for the anode instead of graphite.
However, the improvements will largely be in how fast the batteries can charge and how many charging cycles they can withstand, rather than how long they can last between charges.
There are several alternatives to lithium-ion in development too, and it's possible that a different type of battery technology is going to power the smartphones of the future.
Right now though, there's a lot that's up in the air – and to explain each technology in turn would take ten feature-length articles rather than just one.
One of the technologies most likely to impact the market in the short-term is the use of lithium-sulfur batteries. They can – in theory – hold a lot more energy than lithium-ion batteries, but the challenge here is stopping them from degrading rapidly over successive charges.
The reality of the matter is that we're all still going to be charging our smartphones every night, for the next year or two at least. Take heart, though, because there are many people across the world working on the challenge of keeping our mobiles powered up for longer, and they are making progress.
In Depth: What should we expect from the PS5 and the next generation?
PS5: what does the future hold for PlayStation 5?
The PS4 is barely out of its box in terms of a console life cycle and looks set for a potential 4K playback upgrade before the end of the year.
But with so many recent advances - PlayStation Now, pre-loading games, YouTube streaming and PlayStation TV to name but a few - we're thinking about the future of black boxes under the television.
Is there one or are we just looking at Sony TVs shipping with a DualShock 4 from here on in rather than a PS5 console?
A PlayStation 5 will land in some form but what's most interesting is whether it'll be the big component packed box we've grown accustomed to heating our living rooms, a palm sized streaming device or an invisible power ever present on our televisions or even iPhones and iPads.
Gazing back 20 years to the original PlayStation and its successors – yes, you're that old – it's fascinating how little really changed until the internet explosion of the last few years.
Into each generation a whirring box under the TV was born, complete with disc support and a whole bundle of the newest components but it's only now, as we Remote Play content live to our PlayStation Vitas and play seamless online multiplayer in games like Destiny, that it really feels like the future has arrived.
When a PS5 comes a calling, this is the time for things to change. Or is it?
Discs are so 20 years ago
Now that PlayStation Now and streaming capabilities should be the norm by Christmas let alone in five years' time, shouldn't we scrap the disc drive already?
We can hear it from here. Despite the magazine dropping the legendary demo disc in the middle of last year, ex editor of Official PlayStation Magazine, Ben Wilson disagrees.
"Steam on PC has taught us that disc drives are becoming less and less necessary, but I can't see them being phased out completely for a while yet," he says.
"People love their boxed products, and 'experts' have been predicting the 'imminent' demise of the CD for more than 20 years. Remind me how that one has turned out? There will always be those who prefer special editions and sexy packaging to invisible downloads, and it's those guys and girls who'll ensure disc drives live on within gaming in some form."
Looking at the ages of the people investing in technology (that's us remember, and let's be honest, we're not getting any younger) we do still have the desire to buy physical products despite their ready availability online.
But it's not just PlayStation (and better pricing on the PlayStation Store) that needs to evolve here. Our broadband speeds largely still leave much to be desired and a solid online infrastructure will have to be implemented before we depend solely on fibre-optic wires to get our gaming fix.
Adding an extra hurdle to a disc-less world, there's yet another reason why the upcoming preloading feature will be like a gift from the PlayStation gods. Size.
"I'd argue that the ever-expanding size of games would cause significant issues for a digital-only machine," says Matt Pellett, current editor of Official PlayStation Magazine.
"Both in terms of download times and the number of games people could store on their hard drive at any one time."
With the launch of Ultra HD Blu-ray, towards the end of the year, and their 50-100GB capacity, that's the sort of media we'll need our next next-gen games to be shipped on. With such huge game sizes it would be a struggle for all but the most advanced broadband connections to cope with.
Sony is quite likely to want to keep momentum going with the new disc format too and so it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see it wanting to do that with a UHD Blu-ray drive in the next version of the PlayStation.
Whether that's in a PS5 or a 4K update to the PS4 though is still up in the air.
PlayStation Now is the time
In swaggers PlayStation Now to fix all these problems. Game size? No problem. It's all in the cloud.
Choice? In five years or so, Sony could have filled it with every game on their back catalogue. Is this enough? Or could this pose even more problems for the future of PlayStation?
"If we end up in a place where streaming games is the norm, like it has become in the movie/box-set rental market, then the console itself is under threat," says PC Gamer's resident tech expert Dave James. "And if there's no actual console, what do the developers target and what do they develop on and how does Sony make its money?"
So a physical console still seems the most attractive prospect here for Sony. PlayStation Now seems an excellent solution as an additional feature, especially for accessing games from previous generations, saving you blowing the dust off that enormous original PS2 you've not been able to say goodbye to.
Another matter is the thorny issue of cost. If we've shelled out for the newest console, what's the sting for the back catalogue?
"The big talking point of the PlayStation Now Beta has been the price-point," says Pellett.
"Sony needs to get this right in order to be as competitive in the streaming market as it is in the console hardware market. With Sony's library of games and the ability for people to revisit the games they can't play on PS4 – and in some cases can't buy these days – it could become a hugely important part of the PlayStation family."
The suggestion of the PlayStation family here is important. As we know, Sony will be shipping Sony Bravia TVs with PlayStation Now built in but this won't be a replacement for the PS4 or any future consoles.
Too much rests on the power from our home consoles as new tech appears on the horizon. Yes, we're looking at you Project Morpheus.
4K and the VR revolution
Project Morpheus looks like the future. No, really.
The baying for an Oculus Rift consumer version has proved that virtual reality might just have a place in our living rooms after all and Sony's Morpheus announcement came just at the right time. Is the future of PlayStation inside a headset?
"Between PS Now and Project Morpheus, PlayStation 4 is well-placed to evolve dramatically in the years ahead," considers Pellett. "In five years we may well not only be buying our games in a different way, but the types of games we'll be playing in the first place could very well be different to what we're experiencing now."
So more shark based diving experiences then.
It seems clear that, like PlayStation Now, Morpheus is a strong addition to the PlayStation brand but an add-on to the main event which still happens to be that whirring console we can't get rid of. Yet as 4K televisions raise their ugly but oh-so-pretty heads, how can the PlayStation 4 cope with the extra processing power necessary for extra pixel production?
"Given the rapid price drops of 4K TVs, and the likelihood of increased adoption, I think Sony is going to need to produce a PS4K hardware update in the next couple of years to increase the GPU horsepower," says Dave James.
"With both latest-gen consoles battling to play native games at just 1080p there is no chance of them ever being capable of running at a native 4K resolution without a serious change in components.
"Given the processor manufacturer supplying the silicon design for both consoles is constantly iterating on that technology it should be relatively simple for Sony to upgrade the components, and as it will still be an x86-based platform it would be backwards compatible. But whether Sony would want to do that, creating a two-tier PlayStation 4 ecosystem, is tough to say."
A PlayStation 4.5, rather than a 5 almost makes sense, given Sony's clear investment in the development side of things.
"Speaking with different developers it's clear that PS4 has been designed with external studios at heart," explains Pellett.
"I've been assured it's the easiest console to develop for in PlayStation history, which is as good as an open-door invitation for teams to make games for PS4."
This strong investment in the development side of things means Sony clearly doesn't think their box is going anywhere anytime soon. Any successor is going to follow in this parallelogram's footprint.
The evolution of PlayStation
The PS Vita's Remote Play feature already hints at the miracles of new ways we can play but can features such as PlayStation Mobile extend the console experience even further?
And can future PlayStation updates deliver that?
"The thing I most want is to see PlayStation Mobile on iOS," says Ben Wilson. "The issue, of course, is that it would require Sony and Apple to clamber into bed together, which isn't going to occur anytime soon.
"But perhaps by the time PS5 rolls around, and there's even more scope for cross-platform sharing, we will see a way in which you can start a Call Of Duty 21: Robots vs Zombies campaign on console in the morning, continue it on iPad in the afternoon, and compete it on your phone at 2am while the rest of the household snores in unison."
It appears that we can't escape this idea of a home console. As a processing hub, an independent gaming power not necessarily dependent on the internet, a unit to centre our experiences around and plug extra peripherals into and a centre of the PlayStation universe.
Why the PS5 could be the cheapest console ever
First published January 2014 The PlayStation 5, whether you like it or not, will exist in some form or another and chances are it will look less like the future and more like what we already know.
"Look at the evolution of PS3 from launch day to now, and then consider that the PS4 was designed from the ground up to evolve in the years after its release," considers Pellett. "Even with simple updates, the PS4 under my TV today is going to be unrecognisable to the PS4 under my telly in 2019 – despite being the same box."
It's not only an exciting new gaming service, but also a mesmerising hint at the destiny of the PlayStation brand and the future of gaming in general. This is the beginning of a cosmic shift in the paradigm of gaming, and it's happening right here, right now. Be excited.
In case you missed the announcement, PlayStation Now is at first-sight a simple game-streaming service that will initially enable both the PS4 and PS3 to stream PlayStation 3 games over the internet.
You'll be able to select a game and begin streaming it immediately, meaning absolutely no delay in getting the game up and running. Instantaneous PS3 gaming, no loading times at all. Awesome!
But there's more. Lots more.
Game streaming functionality will later arrive on the PS Vita and, far more excitingly, Bravia TVs. Yep, using a DualShock 3 pad, you'll be able to play full-blown PS3 games, in HD, on your big TV, without the need to own a PlayStation console. Incredible!
But wait. There's still more.
Eventually, PS Now will offer not only PS3 games, but PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games - not only on the PS3, PS4, PS Vita and Bravia TVs, but also on third-party TVs, smartphones and tablets as well. All without needing to own a games console. Wow.
Games will be available to rent on a one-off basis, with unlimited Netflix-style monthly PSN subscriptions a payment model Sony is likely to pursue aggressively.
That's right, the future of gaming lays entirely in software, services and super-fast internet connections and not in expensive black boxes.
What it means for gaming
Play any PlayStation game on any device with a screen. All you need is an internet connection. Amazing.
What this essentially means is that the days of paying $400 for PlayStation hardware are numbered. In fact, it's very possible that the PlayStation 5 (make no mistake, there will still be a PS5) will be a cheap-as-chips $50 set-top box that will do nothing other than stream content from the great PlayStation publishing cloud in the sky.
After all, who would pay excessive prices for a console that does nothing you can't do on your existing tech? Sony has never been able to make money from PlayStation hardware anyway, in fact it generally makes a loss. Woohoo cheap gaming for everyone!
So here we are, at the start of 2014 walking into a world where all Sony Bravia TVs could ship with a DualShock controller by default and offer access to every PlayStation game ever made. All you need is a robust connection, and that will certainly be the biggest obstacle to this tech becoming mainstream. That and the fact that PlayStation Now is initially only launching in a closed US trial with no worldwide launch date even hinted at. But it's coming...
The future of gaming
This news might miff some who've has just splurged a wad of cash on a PS4 or Xbox One, but don't worry - this cloud-based future is a way off yet. But it means the audience for games in the near future will be far, far bigger. It means graphics in games will no longer be bottlenecked by years-old console components.
It means more and better PlayStation games. Possibly even cheaper games as developers battle for your game-hours. The possibilities of this future really are endless and they're up for discussion right now. What's certain is that it's great news for gamers like you and me.
Rumours are once again swirling that BlackBerry is being targeted for acquisition by major players in the technology industry.
According to a report by DigiTimes the recent success of BlackBerry, which has seen it return to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2014, has got some big names interested in acquiring it.
Some of the companies quoted by industry sources include Xiaomi Technology, Lenovo and Huawei. Outside of China, Microsoft is also reportedly interested, apparently commissioning investment companies to evaluate the possibility of taking over BlackBerry.
Although Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia hasn't exactly paid dividends for the Redmond company, it is apparently interested in BlackBerry to help strengthen its mobile technology division, as well as get hold of some possibly lucrative patents.
As for the Chinese-based manufacturers, they might have trouble getting through regulatory agencies in the US and Europe.
Nothing concrete has been confirmed, so take this news with a hefty dose of salt. We've contacted both Microsoft and BlackBerry for comment.
NetApp will be laying off around 500 workers across the firm as internal and external factors continue to weigh heavily on its balance sheet.
The data storage hardware firm followed up a brutal set of fourth fiscal quarter results that showed profit dropping off by 32% with the news that some 4% of the total global workforce can expect to be jobless by the third quarter.
NetApp expects to absorb a charge of between $25 million and $35 million as a result of the redundancies and Tom Georgens, chairman and chief executive of the firm, blamed two main factors for forcing the job losses: the general shift to cloud storage and NetApp's own major product overhaul.
The latter has seen NetApp shift over to what it calls Clustered OnTAP and Georgens added that large swathes of its biggest customers have shunned the move because they are waiting for newer versions that have the features they want.
Three out of three
"We underestimated the complexity associated with these transitions. That is entirely our fault, and it is up to us to fix it," said Georgens during a conference call, according to the Wall Street Journal.
NetApp has been wielding the axe to its workforce on an almost annual basis for the past couple of years after 600 jobs were lost in March 2014 and 900 back in May 2013 with the shift to the cloud having a disastrous effect.
Rockstar is suing BBC over upcoming Grand Theft Auto drama
The BBC's feature-length drama about the creation of Grand Theft Auto might be in trouble: a statement released by Rockstar has confirmed that its parent company, Take-Two Interactive, is filing a lawsuit against the BBC.
For some time now, TechRadar has understood from sources that Rockstar has been unhappy about the drama being created, so we're not hugely surprised to hear that action is actively being taken.
"While holders of the trademarks referenced in the film title and its promotion, Rockstar Games has had no involvement with this project," reads the statement. "Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC's pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games. We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary."
The TV drama, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar President Sam Houser, is set to be aired later in the year. However, this might force the BBC to put the brakes on.
Updated: This racial slur leads Google Maps to the White House's doorstep
At the heart of Google Maps is its search algorithm, which can be used to virtually travel to the Eiffel Tower or find a restaurant you were looking for, but didn't know the name of. However powerful, no algorithm is perfect.
Today, users reported on a glaring loophole in the way that Google Maps associates search terms with results that it surfaces. Several US institutions, like the White House and Howard University, could be found by typing the N-word and other versions of the word alongside "house" or "university."
While no one is sure what's behind the search results, what's plausible is that Google's search algorithm learned to associate places with names that people call them around the internet, no matter how nasty.
Hopefully, Google acts soon to address how its algorithm associates landmarks with offensive racial slurs. We've asked Google for an official statement and will update this article as soon as we hear new information.
Update: Google has apologized for the racial slurs appearing in Maps.
"Some inappropriate results are surfacing in Google Maps that should not be, and we apologize for any offense this may have caused. Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly." a company spokeswoman stated.
Guy who flew gyrocopter into White House garden could be jailed for nine years
Last month 61-year-old mailman Douglas Hughes flew his gyrocopter into one of the White House gardens, intending to deliver letters of protest about the influence of big money lobbying on US politics. Rather unsurprisingly, he was promptly arrested.
In hindsight he might want to reflect on his choice of protest - the Associated Press reports that Hughes could face up to nine-and-a-half years in prison. He faces six charges, including operating as an airman without an airman's certificate, violating aircraft registration requirements and violating national defence airspace.
It appears he could also be heavily fined and have his gyrocopter confiscated, lest he be tempted to make another stand for democracy. On the plus side, he didn't get shot out of the sky - he can be thankful he's still breathing. Hughes is appearing in a federal court in Washington today.
The Florida man isn't happy. "We are looking at a case where there was no injury and no property damage, and the requirements as far as what the prosecution is asking for include years of jail time," Hughes told the AP. "The penalties that they are demanding are not consistent with the damage."
Cisco strengthens its hardware-defined networking products
We so love FC and FICON still
Cisco has introduced a new Fibre Channel fabric switch to better connect virtualised servers to all-flash arrays, seeing a rise in back-end array connection port-counts and speed needed to satisfy all-flash array IO demands.…
Governance the key if you don't want mobile workers escaping your control
On the move but not on the loose
Mobile computing is great. No longer are we chained to our desks when using technology and doing proper work. Not only are laptops getting smaller, lighter and cheaper, it is also possible to do real, productive stuff even more freely using phones and tablets.…
Dominican Republic migrants rescued by US Coast Guard off grossly overloaded vessel
MIAMI, USA -- The US Coast Guard rescued 117 Dominican migrants east of the Dominican Republic on Wednesday afternoon. Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center watchstanders received notification from the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch that their maritime patrol aircraft located...
IDB to invest $27 million to improve transportation in Haiti
WASHINGTON, USA -- The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $27 million grant to help modernize and improve the management of Haiti’s roads and ports, key sectors that are fundamental for the country’s economic development and integration. The grant is the second in a series...
It appears that, for the first time in our independent history, a political organization has been able to best the People's National Movement at its own games and the people behind the People's National Movement seem to have no clue as to what to do about it. So now they attack who disagrees with them.
ST GEORGE, Barbados -- Gentle Folks Nursing Home located on breezy grounds, coconut tree-trimmed streets and the quiet of St George in Barbados is under investigation by the island’s ministry of health compliance officers following reports made to the ministry by a number of individuals regarding...
Jamaicans urged to destroy mosquito breeding sites amidst zika virus outbreak in Brazil
GENEVA, Switzerland (JIS) -- Following meetings at the World Health Assembly now taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, and subsequent to a warning issued by the Pan American Health Organization regarding an outbreak of the zika virus in Brazil and the potential of the virus to spread to other countries.
Commentary: Russia and Dominica: 20 years of partnership
Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are important partners of the Russian Federation. We are bound by relations of real solidarity and cooperation, mutual understanding and sympathy. We welcome initiatives on advancing integration in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the...
Intruder chased off charter boat anchored off Canouan, St Vincent
CHARLESTOWN BAY, Canouan -- Occupants of a charter boat anchored at Charlestown Bay, Canouan, St Vincent and the Grenadines, were awakened in the middle of the night on May 1, 2015, when they heard footsteps on deck and one individual tried to pry open a hatch, Caribbean Safety and Security...
Trinidad Integrity Commission terminates investigation into PM and parliament
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- The registrar of the Integrity Commission in Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday indicated that that there are no or insufficient grounds for continuing its investigation into the so-called ‘emailgate’ allegations and accordingly the investigation has been terminated.