Daily Report: China’s Rules for Foreign Tech Firms Draw Concern From Obama
The rules, among other things, require companies that sell computer equipment to Chinese banks to turn over secret source code, submit to invasive audits and build so-called back doors into hardware and software.
Mark Zuckerberg Goes on Charm Offensive for Internet.org
The chief of Facebook outlined why he thinks Internet.org, a service to provide people in emerging markets with free access to some online applications, would help telecommunications carriers persuade customers to spend more on streaming content to their cellphones.
Zuckerberg Goes on Charm Offensive for Internet.org
Mark Zuckerberg outlined why he thinks Internet.org, a service to provide people in emerging markets with free access to some online applications, would help telecommunications carriers persuade customers to spend more on streaming content to their cellphones.
Sony Reveals Its Waterproof 10-Inch Tablet, and a Midrange Phone the U.S. Can’t Have
The 10-inch Sony Xperia Z4 tablet is waterproof and dustproof; boasts extremely long battery life and has powerful specs. The Xperia M4 Aqua smartphone is also waterproof and has a two-day battery life, but it will not be sold in the United States.
Netflix will launch in New Zealand and Australia on March 24
Gaming execs: Join 180 select leaders from King, Glu, Rovio, Unity, Facebook, and more to plan your path to global domination in 2015. GamesBeat Summit is invite-only -- apply here. Ticket prices increase on March 6 Pacific! Netflix is announcing that its video streaming services will become available in New Zealand and Australia on March 24, 2015. The service will be available on smart televisions […]
Funding Daily: Today’s tech funding news, in one place
Get all the tech funding news of the day delivered straight to your mailbox! Sign up for Funding Daily and never miss a deal. 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. Sqore, which holds recruitment challenges for young talent, […]
As Samsung falls to Apple, Android global market share is still on the rise
Trusted technology research and advisory company Gartner has released its latest smartphone market share report today, and while the numbers spell bad news for Samsung (as bad as being the number two smartphone manufacturer in the world can be), Android is still on the rise globally.
Chrome 42 will see the end of updates for Ice Cream Sandwich-based devices
Chrome for Android devices saw its debut years ago for users running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but everything has an end, and it would appear that new features for Chrome on Ice Cream Sandwich are about to reach its end.
According to a blog post published on March 3 on the Chromium Blog, the [...]
Qualcomm details Zeroth platform, Snapdragon 820 and ultrasonic fingerprint scanning
The companies that populate the inside of our devices never get quite the attention that the manufacturers of the smartphones, tablets and wearables manage, but they do offer the best glimpse at the future, so it’s always worth keeping a careful eye on their releases.
Qualcomm today provided the Zeroth platform, which they are [...]
Lenovo introduces the camera-based Vibe Shot, budget A7000 and Pocket Projector
Lenovo has introduced three new devices at Mobile World Congress. The most intriguing of the mix is the Lenovo Vibe Shot, a new smartphone that focuses on the camera and has a design reminiscent of high-end point-and-shoots. The star of the show on the Vibe Shot is the 16-megapixel rear camera [...]
Cyanogen reveals new branding and partnership with Qualcomm
Cyanogen has just revealed a new look for its company as well as announcing a partnership with Qualcomm. Cyanogen is redesigning its website and logo to provide a design that feels “fresh, expansive, and free.” The move is part of the company’s push towards openness and innovation, as Cyanogen works to create its [...]
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.
Aether adds multi-room functionality to its Cone speaker
San Francisco-based IoT-startup Aether Things has beefed up its Aether Cone speaker with some additional features: Cone users can now play music on multiple speakers at the same time, Sonos-style, and…
SolarCity sues Arizona utility over solar anti-competitive practices
The solar financier and installer chaired by Elon Musk, SolarCity, has filed a lawsuit in Arizona federal court claiming that the Arizona utility Salt River Project is using anti-competitive practices to…
This data project could help save forests being destroyed by insects
A new project that combined satellite data, airplane mapping data, and on-the-ground field data of the forests of the Pacific Northwest over several decades could help researchers better manage future forest…
Judge halts movie industry-backed probe against Google
A federal judge has agreed to put the brakes on an investigation into Google by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood after the company complained that Hood's inquiry was an illegal censorship campaign cooked up…
Found: A Legendary Lost Civilization Buried In the Honduran Rainforest
The City of the Monkey God. La Ciudad Blanca, or The White City. All the names given to the lost city rumored to exist in a pristine Honduran rainforest sound mythical, but National Geographic reports that now we have evidence that the legendary city was real.
What Would Happen to NYC If a Nuke Exploded Over Manhattan
No question, an 800-kiloton nuclear warhead detonated over midtown Manhattan would destroy the city. But the warhead's sheer power is hard to fully grasp: roads so hot it's impossible to drive for days, superheated hurricane-force winds, and 100 square miles of fire.
The Apple Watch is one of the more intriguing pieces of hardware to come out of Cupertino for some time. It was long-awaited, and at first glance, well-received. So what is it that we've exactly been waiting for all this time? Is this the one smartwatch to rule them all or just another in a long line "meh?"
Bubbles are micro-thin orbs of liquid suspended around gas. That's nuts. And yet they're never more than a squirt of dish soap away. These 12 photos from this week's Shooting Challenge are a small reminder that the little things around us are pretty amazing.
Should You Worry About the Security of Apps Like Venmo?
Over on Lifehacker, Alan Henry looks at the security of a cadre of money transfer apps—from Venmo to Square Cash—and doles out great advice on how to use them without putting yourself to unnecessary financial risk.
A Windscreen For Smartphones Means You'll Never Shout Over a Breeze
The noise-canceling software your smartphone uses to eliminate background sounds from your voice when making a call is surprisingly good these days, but still not good enough to deal with the deafening crackle from a sudden gust of wind. That's why microphones have those puffy foam covers on the end, and why these Windblockers for smartphones and tablets aren't a terrible idea.
The Dress and #Ferguson Are the Two Sides of Flash Media Events
To understand the mass hysteria around The Dress last week, you can't compare it to other memes. You have to compare it to political events like #Ferguson, which are its diametrical opposite. Except in one way.
Liquid-Pumping Bellows Are a Mesmerizing Alternative to a Smartwatch
If watch craftsmanship to you has nothing to do with how thin a company can make an LCD touchscreen's bezel, then you're probably already aware of the wonderful creations made by a company called HYT. To make its horological masterpieces really stand out the company uses pistons and bellows to pump colorful liquid through tubes to tell the time. And its latest watch, the H3, goes well past drool-worthy.
Automotive heads up displays to exhibit CAGR of 27.3% by 2024, says ABI Research
Almost one-third of consumer vehicles shipping in 2024 will be equipped with some form of heads up displays (HUDs), with the bulk of the growth driven by combiner units, according to ABI Research. "The lower manufacturing cost and smaller size of combiner HUDs will make this kind of display viable in smaller and more price sensitive vehicles. This growth will be furthered by an underlying consensus to keep the driver's eyes on the road ahead," commented James Hodgson, research analyst with the firm.
China imports about 93 million tonnes of polysilicon in January
China recorded total imports of 93.09 million tonnes of solar-grade polysilicon in January, increasing 1.1% on month, and 57.80 tonnes or 62.09% of which was through export processing zones (EPZs), according to China's customs statistics.
Home energy management revenues expected to total more than US$22 billion from 2014-2023, says Navigant
Shortly after Google purchased Nest Labs in January 2014, home energy management (HEM) stakeholders began reporting increased market activity, as the acquisition signaled to vendors, utilities, service providers, and retailers that the value in home energy management and automation was finally gaining recognition. Similarly, consumer awareness began to increase, bringing into focus products and services that can help better manage and control home energy consumption. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, cumulative HEM revenues are expected to exceed US$22 billion from 2014-2023.
Interactive display market on the rise, says Futuresource
Despite the increased focus on PCs and tablets, interactive display value is growing due to a strong transition to higher priced interactive flat panels, which accounted for over one third of the market in 2014, according to the latest research from Futuresource Consulting.
Galaxy S6 sales to outperform its predecessors, says Samsung Taiwan executive
Samsung Electronics will begin to market its newly released flagship smartphone the Galaxy S6 starting April 10 and expects sales to outperform the Galaxy S4, the vendor's best-selling model so far, according to Andy Tu, general manager of Samsung's mobile communication business in Taiwan.
For the full year 2014, Universal Display has reported revenues of US$191 million, up 30% compared to revenues of US$146.6 million for 2013. Operating income increased to US$58.6 million for the year, up 53% from $38.2 million for 2013. The company reported net income of US$41.9 million, or US$0.90 per diluted share, for the full year 2014, compared to net income of US$74.1 million, or US$1.59 per diluted share, for 2013.
Digitimes Research: Tablet AP shipments to China drop 7.7% on year
Tablet application processor (AP) shipments to China are estimated to decline 24.2% sequentially to reach 26.3 million units in the first quarter of 2015. Compared to the same period a year ago, the volume will drop 7.7% and be the first time China's tablet AP shipments experience an on-year decline because of excess inventory from the fourth quarter of 2014, fewer working days in the quarter due to the Lunar New Year holidays, and seasonal factors.
Angela L. Byers named FBI special agent in charge of Cincinnati
Top Priority Sector:
FBI Director James B. Comey has named Angela Byers special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division. Byers most recently served as chief of the Financial Crimes section in the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) at FBI Headquarters (FBIHQ).
Mobile passport control app expands to Miami International Airport
Top Priority Sector:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced the expansion of Mobile Passport Control (MPC) to Miami International Airport. MPC is the first authorized app to expedite a traveler’s entry process into the United States. Eligible travelers submit their passport information and customs declaration form via the smartphone and tablet app prior to CBP inspection.
ASSA ABLOY reveals strategic initiative to license Seos, an identity and access management platform for mobile credentials
Top Priority Sector:
Mobile World Congress 2015 -- ASSA ABLOY has announced that it will license its Seos platform for mobile credentials to the broad identity and access management community as well as application developers and consumers. This new platform will drive the development of a wide range of interoperable, secure and privacy protecting mobile applications, enabling secure access to physical and virtual resources for enterprises, governments and consumers around the world -- and it accommodates any smart device.
Manasses, VA-based CyTech Services (CyTech) CEO Ben Cotton has announced Michael Alexiou as Chief Operating Officer. CyTech is a supporter of government, commercial and legal community clients by turning data into action -- providing a timely and cost-effective solution to extract key information to both prevent and expose cyber attacks. CyTech’s revolutionary enterprise forensics and incident response tool, CyFIR, is changing the way cybercrime investigations are conducted.
ICE, Department of Justice, Mexico collaboration leads to indictment of 42 involved in human trafficking organization
Top Priority Sector:
Forty-two individuals involved in a human trafficking organization were indicted Feb. 23 for trafficking undocumented migrants and minors, aggravated rape against an unaccompanied minor, sexual abuse of migrants, illegal abduction of migrants and for the fraudulent exercise of a public office, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The indictments result from collaboration between ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Mexico City Attaché Office, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Mexican Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR).
Cardinal Point Strategies introduces Guidant -- mobile technology for 21st century policing
Top Priority Sector:
Cardinal Point Strategies (CPS), a national strategic advisory firm, has announced the addition of a mobile application to its portfolio of forward-thinking law enforcement technology tools -- Guidant.
Applied DNA Sciences expands digitalDNA software and services platform
Top Priority Sector:
Applied DNA Sciences, Inc., a provider of DNA-based anti-counterfeiting technology and product authentication solutions, has announced the expansion of its digitalDNA software and services platform to enable customers' business process controls and supply chain partner collaboration throughout the entire lifecycle of marking, validating and authenticating goods. The new features enhance the foundation of bar code item tracking layered with SigNature DNA as the forensic backstop.
CSX ordered to clean up areas impacted by West Virginia train derailment
Top Priority Sector:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered CSX to clean up and restore the areas affected by the February 16 train derailment in Mt. Carbon, WV. Twenty-seven cars derailed from the 109-car CSX train carrying more than three million gallons of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. The derailment resulted in an explosion, fires, loss of a house, and required nearby residents to evacuate.
The EPA order follows an emergency response conducted under a Unified Command with federal, state and local agencies and CSX responding.
Google+ is being split apart into Photos and Streams, Hangouts to live on as standalone service
Google has announced some new organizational plans for Google+ and corresponding services. Google+ is being broken into two different services: Photos and Stream. Hangouts messenger will remain its own standalone service.
If you were one of the many who thought the dual-display YotaPhone was cool, you'll be happy to know that a sequel is, indeed, on the way. The company reportedly confirmed plans to bring a YotaPhone 2 to market starting this Spring in the United States.
Hands-on with Lenovo’s handy pocket phone projector [VIDEO]
Projectors are not just for PowerPoint presentations anymore. We've seen some cool new projectors at the last few trade shows, and Mobile World Congress is no different. Lenovo is showing off a compact pocket-sized projector.
Alcatel’s Hero 2+ phablet is the latest phone to launch with CyanogenMod
Alcatel might not be the most exciting name in all the mobile lands, but their latest phone gives us reason to pay attention. It's the Hero 2+, a 6-inch phablet that will find its way onto the market with CyanogenMod running the show.
One of the coolest new features of the HTC One M9 is the all-new theming capability. Well... we've gathered every single theme currently found on the HTC One M9 for this gallery from Mobile World Congress.
“Android Pay” likely to be introduced as a full-blown wireless payments platform at Google I/O
Google Wallet in the now slightly pales in comparison to Samsung Pay and Apple Pay, but Android Pay will hopefully look to change that. Google's Sundar Pichai confirmed plans to introduce the new payments platform in 2015.
Google’s Sundar Pichai confirms plans to launch an MVNO wireless carrier and their motive behind it
Before we had our bit of morning fun over at the Android booth, Google's Sundar Pichai -- who heads the Chrome and Android teams -- took to the stage at the Mobile World Congress opening keynote. One of the more interesting bits to spawn from it? Word that Google is, in fact, looking to become a wireless carrier.
New submitter Alessandro Zarrilli writes: Linux has been able do multipath routing for a long time: it means being able to have routes with multiple gateways and to use them in a (weighted) round-robin fashion. But Linux is missing a tool to actively monitor the state of internet uplinks and change the routing accordingly. Without it, from a LAN perspective, it's like having a RAID-0: just one uplink goes down and all of your LAN-to-WAN traffic goes down too. Documentation and examples on the subject are lacking; existing solutions are few and deeply integrated in firewall/routing specific distributions. To address these issues, a new standalone tool was just released: Fault Tolerant Router. It also includes a complete (iptables + ip policy routing) configuration generator.
Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial
HughPickens.com writes: The Globe and Mail reports that Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, says the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor is working with American and German lawyers to return home. "I won't keep it secret that he wants to return back home. And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of U.S. lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I'm dealing with it on the Russian side." Kucherena added that Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial. The lawyer said Snowden had so far only received a guarantee from the U.S. Attorney General that he will not face the death penalty. Kucherena says Snowden is able to travel outside Russia since he has a three-year Russian residency permit, but "I suspect that as soon as he leaves Russia, he will be taken to the U.S. embassy."
Deutsche Telecom Calls For Google and Facebook To Be Regulated Like Telcos
An anonymous reader writes Tim Hoettges, the CEO of the world's third-largest telecoms company, has called for Google and Facebook to be regulated in the same way that telcos are, declaring that "There is a convergence between over-the-top web companies and classic telcos" and "We need one level regulatory environment for us all." The Deutsche Telekom chief was speaking at Monday's Mobile World Congress, and further argued for a loosening of the current regulations which telcos operate under, in order to provide the infrastructure development that governments and policy bodies are asking of them. Hoettges' imprecation comes in the light of news about the latest Google Dance — an annual change in ranking criteria which boosts some businesses and ruins others. The case for and against regulating Google-level internet entities comes down to one question: who do you trust to 'not be evil'?
Bennett Haselton writes: Vimeo and Youtube are pressured to remove a dark, fan-made "Power Rangers"
short film; Vimeo capitulated, while Youtube has so far left it up. I'm generally
against the overreach of copyright law, but in this case, how could anyone argue
the short film doesn't violate the rights of the franchise creator? And should
Vimeo and Youtube clarify their policies on the unauthorized use of copyrighted characters? Read on for the rest.
Doomsday Vault: First Tree Samples Arrive At Underground Seed Store
An anonymous reader writes "The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, built into an Arctic mountain, received its first delivery of tree seeds. Opened in 2008, the vault is designed to withstand all natural and human disasters. From the article: "The 'doomsday' vault built into an Arctic mountain, which stores seeds for food crops in case of a natural disaster, has received its first delivery of tree samples. Norway spruce and Scots pine seeds have arrived at the frozen vault, which is located on Svalbard, an archipelago owned by and north of Norway. The organizations behind the vault hope to bring more seeds from outside of the Nordic countries. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault will now look after the samples and use them to monitor how natural forests change. They will also keep them as back-ups, in case any of the species are lost, and to see how the forests change during breeding."
Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications
linuxwrangler writes The government has fought hard to keep details about use and effects of the controversial Stingray device secret. But this Wired article points to recently released documents in which the government admits that the device can cause collateral damage to other network users. The controversy has heated to the point that Florida senator Bill Nelson has made statements that such devices will inevitably force lawmakers to come up with new ways to protect privacy — a comment that is remarkable considering that the Stingray is produced by Harris Corporation which is headquartered in Nelson's home state.
AmiMoJo writes Plans to generate electricity from the world's first series of tidal lagoons have been unveiled in the UK. The six lagoons — four in Wales and one each in Somerset and Cumbria — will capture incoming and outgoing tides behind giant sea walls, and use the weight of the water to power turbines. The series of six lagoons could generate 8% of the UK's electricity for an investment of £12bn. Tidal Lagoon Power wants £168 per MWh hour for electricity in Swansea, reducing to £90-£95 per MWh for power from a second, more efficient lagoon in Cardiff. The £90 figure compares favorably with the £92.50 price for power from the planned Hinkley nuclear station, especially as the lagoon is designed to last 120 years — at a much lower risk than nuclear. Unlike power from the sun and wind, tidal power is predictable. Turbines capture energy from two incoming and two outgoing tides a day, and are expected to be active for an average of 14 hours a day. Friends of the Earth Cymru, said the group is broadly in favor of the Swansea lagoon.
Lasrick writes The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has just launched a very cool interactive graphic to go with their famed Nuclear Notebook, the feature that tracks the world's nuclear arsenals. Now you can see at a glance who has nuclear weapons, when they got them, and how those numbers compare to each other. A short introductory video gives some background on the success of the Notebook, which has been tracking nukes since 1987.
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…
The Archos 94 Magnus may look like just another run of the mill Android tablet, but beneath its 9.4-inch display lies a hidden secret. 256GB of internal storage.
It's harnesses Archos' new technology, Fusion Storage, to achieve such as large amount of internal space
What's more the 94 Magnus also sports a microSD card slot, allowing you to build on that insane space even more by up to 128GB.
If you fancy splashing the cash on the 94 Magnus you'll need to part with £249 (around $380, AU$480), which gets you a 9.4-inch 1280 x 800 display, 1.8GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, 5MP rear camera, 0.3MP front snapper, a 6400mAh battery and Android 4.4 KitKat.
The plastic construction does feel a little cheap, and the 94 Magnus is pretty heavy at 570g - you wouldn't want to be holding it with one hand for an extended period of time.
It terms of design it doesn't break any new ground, and while it's not the most attractive tablet on the market it is at least functional.
The unit I was playing with wasn't final hardware, so some small changes may be made for the final go to market version, and on the rear cover it did say 128GB - which is an obvious mistake.
At 10mm thick it's slightly or the porky side, and overall it's a touch bigger than the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2.
It's not too overbearing when held with both hands though and the circular power/lock key is easy to find at the top of the right edge.
The volume rocker is on the top of the Magnus (when held in landscape) which I found a little tricky to hit, and it's joined by a microSD slot, two USB ports and a microHDMI port.
I found the HD display relatively average. Colours are bright and you're able to read everything clearly, but the lack of a full HD resolution is noticeable.
Stock Android runs smoothly on the 94 Magnus, and the interface feels slick under finger.
Media fans will love the fact it has front facing speakers, which improves gaming and video playback on the tablet.
If internal storage is a big factor when it comes to choosing the tablet you won't find anything bigger than the 94 Magnus, but if you're a light user there are better options available, although you'll probably have to pay more.
At the time the company only had one Steam Machine (granted, with multiple customizable loadouts) to show off, but this year they plan to release a full half dozen.
These six include the Steam Machine-Mini, Steam Machine-Mercury and Steam Machine-Switch, as well as the Steam Machine-P, Steam Machine-K and Steam Machine-X.
The $450 (about £290, AU$575) Syber Steam Machine-E is the starting point, with a quad-core AMD processor and NVIDIA® GeForce GTX graphics, while the high end is occupied by the $1,400 (about £910, AU$1,780) Steam Machine-X.
All six models are also customizable with a variety of colors, including a new orange shade, and Intel, AMD, Radeon and Nvidia components.
Syber's Steam Machines will launch alongside those from other manufacturers this fall.
Mozilla Firefox heading for 64-bit Windows glory in May
Mozilla has outed its new Firefox Developer Edition 38, the first version that includes support for a 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows.
The addition of a 64-bit version for Windows users will be a boon for native game developers who want to deliver slick speeds and desktop quality experience from apps within the browser window itself.
The improved experience is possible because the recommended heap size in the older incarnation of Firefox is 512MB, whereas the 64-bit heap size can go up to 2GB.
It also brings with it faster task execution, increased security and the whole browser experience just feels that little bit faster when set against the older edition.
Hitting all PCs in May
Reports back in October 2014 claimed Mozilla was planning to bring 64-bit support with Firefox 37 originally by March 31 2015, but it will actually be hitting the release channel during the week of April 7.
Firefox 38, meanwhile, is expected to arrive to end user PCs in May after landing on the beta channel in the big April 7 week. Until then Windows users that want a slice of the 64-bit action can already take advantage of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Opera already running in the souped up state.
GDC 2015: Amazon's next game console doesn't even have a screen
Late last year, Amazon launched Echo, its voice-controlled speaker with attitude. Although it looks like little more than a futuristic cylinder, Echo can answer questions or perform tasks by being spoken to. Now Amazon wants you to play games on it.
Speaking at GDC 2015, Amazon Developer Evangelist David Isbitski invited developers to start building games for Echo. Amazon has just launched a beta SDK for developers to start making custom apps, along with a sign-up page that you can find here.
"This thing would be great as a dungeon master," said Isbitski. "It could say, 'go left or right', and you could say 'go right'. You could tell this thing to tell me jokes. There's so much potential here."
SanDisk made a USB flash drive for the smartphone you can't buy yet
SanDisk is preparing for the smartphone future with the a new Dual USB Drive with Type C connector. As future smartphones and tablets are expected to launch with the new reversible USB port, the SanDisk Dual USB Drive allows users to store information and move files from the drive and their computers, smartphones and tablets.
The 32GB flash storage drive has built-in connector tips for both a full-size USB and Type C ports so users won't need to carry additional cables or adapters.
The Dual USB Drive is similar to SanDisk's iXpand Flash drive for the iPhone and iPad. One connector of the iXpand Flash can plug into a full-size USB port on a computer while the other end can connect to an iPhone through the Lightning tip. The iXpand Flash is now available with a 128GB maximum storage capacity. The Dual USB swaps out the iXpand Flash's Lightning tip for a USB Type C.
Both the Dual USB Drive and the iXpand Flash are essentially USB storage drives that can plug into either a computer or a compatible smartphone. This allows users to copy files from the PC or the phone to the drive for backups and to free up limited storage.
Betting on the mobile future
While phones with USB Type C ports aren't readily available on the market yet, Strategy Analytics predicts that 12% of handsets will feature the connector by 2016. USB Type C will replace the standard micro USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 port on smartphones today, providing for faster transfer speeds.
For consumers, the biggest gain with the Type C plug is its reversible design. Similar to Apple's design for the Lightning connector, Type C doesn't have a top or bottom end so you can plug in the tip without even having to look at the orientation of your cable.
The 32GB SanDisk Dual USB Drive with Type C is available worldwide starting in the second quarter. Pricing information is not yet available for the Dual USB Drive.
SanDisk's iXpand drive is available now in capacities of 16, 32, 64, and 128GB for $59 (£40, AU$80), $79 (£55, AU$105), $109 (£75, AU$145), and $199 (£130, AU$260) respectively.
SanDisk is also targeting smartphone owners with a new higher capacity microSD card. Up from the 128GB maximum today, SanDisk's new 200GB Ultra microSDXC card brings more storage space to smartphones and tablets. The 200GB card is slated for a launch in the second quarter with a $399 (£260, AU$515) price tag.
There's a TV show from the early 1990s called Red Dwarf that depicted a group of humans (and humanoids) that were lost in space in the future, desperate to get home.
One of the big ways they stayed entertained was with a holographic headset that let them play in hyper real worlds, like they were living in the action sequence.
It was meant as comedy, a chance for men to be stupid and depraved and powerful and ultimately escape the onboard reality they were faced with. I always thought that idea, that experience, would never be real.
But with the HTC Vive I took my first steps towards that world.
The frustrating thing is I can't talk about my experiences until Wednesday, but suffice to say it was awesome. This is true 360 virtual reality and it's a world away from the sit down fixed appearance on the Samsung Gear VR, for instance.
But I can say this: I promised myself I wouldn't start smiling or laughing when I tried it on. I promised I would be a professional journalist, sagely analysing what this meant for the world of virtual reality and it's place in HTC's future strategy.
I lasted approximately seven seconds before I started giggling like a tipsy schoolgirl. It's far more than a gaming platform, as it will allow you to do things like tour museums, watch films and learn – as well as hopefully kill zombies in full 360 motion.
I wish I could say more, but check back on Wednesday to get the full experience explained.
The HTC Vive headset looks and feels precisely like any other of its kind on the market right now, but with the ability to move around a room when playing.
Unlike some of the more mobile-focused offerings, this one needs to be tethered to a PC (and a powerful one at that) to work, so you'll need to be careful when wandering around to not trip over. The big difference is on the front of the headset, which is adorned with 37 sensors that connect to two wireless infrared cameras.
These wireless cameras are placed in two corners of a room (3m by 4m is suggested as adequate) and combined with the headset will create a virtual space to play around in.
The headset is tight fitting but perfectly comfortable, with a strap across the top to hold it in place, with another strap that secures things around the back.
During my time, where I was pretty energetically moving, it didn't slip once, so the fit is clearly up to scratch.
HTC stated that it came on board as a partner with Valve to create this system as it was capable of creating beautiful hardware. While the unit is solid, it's not really what I'd call beautiful - it's black plastic with some little reflectors in it, and the untrained would have no way of knowing it wasn't an Oculus Rift.
I'm hoping the final version, which will be on sale by Christmas this year, will have a more impressive chassis - making this out of brushed metal would be really cool, and I get the feeling it's going to be quite expensive anyway, so adding a little more to make it look premium wouldn't hurt.
I'm getting to the verdict now because, well, there's not really much I can say about the HTC Vive system without telling you about what it's like to actually use, which will happen on Wednesday evening.
It's a plastic headset that really doesn't look very different to anything else you've seen out there - but trust me, if / when you get to use one, you're going to see it's a massive game changer.
Will you get one as soon as it's announced? Well, it depends on the developer ecosystem, but it sounds like many games will be ready for the late 2015 launch. I really hope this takes off, as it's something that really pushes on the ability of technology in the home.
Smartphone manufacturers have been pushing the boundaries of the 'phablet' for a while, and the Huawei MediaPad X2 feels like a step too far.
At first glance the MediaPad X2 looks like a tablet. Its 7-inch, full HD display seems to confirm that fact, but actually, according to Huawei this is a phablet.
With my eyebrow firmly raised I picked up the MediaPad X2 for a closer look, and I can confirm this is much more tablet than it is phone.
The all metal construction does at least give an air of premium appeal, and the slender 7.18mm frame makes it suitably compact.
I did find the angular design wasn't particularly comfortable in the hand, especially if you try and hold the X2 with just the one paw.
All the button action is found down the right hand side of the tablet... sorry, phone, with a power/lock key just above the centralised volume rocker.
Both are far enough down the side of the MediaPad X2 to hit during one handed operation, but those with smaller palms will still find them a struggle to reach.
There are also two trays on this edge, one at the top and one at the bottom, providing the MediaPad X2 with dual-SIM 4G capabilities - perfect for those constantly on the move and in need of superfast internet.
The bezels either side of the 1920 x 1200 display are relatively slender, although above and below the screen it's a different story with chunkier bodywork on show.
If wouldn't be so bad if Huawei had stuck some front facing speakers in them, but sadly it opted for a single speaker on the rear of the phone along with a 13MP camera.
The earpiece for the calling functionality (I kid you not) is housed in the upper bezel, as is the 5MP front snapper.
Then there's the problem of actually answering a call on the MediaPad X2. Walk down the street with this held against your ear and you'll garner some odd looks. And once you've finished chatting it's not like you can stick it in your pocket, you need a bag to carry it round in.
If you do generally carry a bag with you a simple solution would be a Bluetooth headset, but who wears those anymore? Simply, this is too big to be a proper phone.
At its heart you'll find an octa-core processor and either 2GB or 3GB of RAM depending on whether you plump for 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.
Either way that's more than enough grunt to run Android Lollipop, although Google's OS has been overlaid by Huawei's Emotion 3.0 UI.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Emotion UI is a sticking point for Huawei devices, with its design and style a little off the mark for many markets.
It comes across slightly childish, and while the removal of the app draw does make things simpler for first time users it'll likely frustrate Android purists.
The interface is slick however, and I was able to glide through homescreens and fire up apps with little effort. A couple of the applications did take a few seconds to load, but this could be down to the non-final software the X2 was running.
Huawei is promising long lasting battery life from the 5000mAh power pack stuck inside the MediaPad X2, although it was unable to give me any figures. You'll have to wait for the full review to find out how it performs.
Currently there's no word on price or release date for the MediaPad X2, but I wouldn't be surprised if it only arrived in limited markets.
It's big, brash and claiming to be a phablet, the Huawei MediaPad X2 is aiming itself at a very particular niche which I'm not convinced actually exists.
The specs are respectable, the build is actually pretty good, and as a tablet it's a decent performer - but the phone functionality all seems a little pointless.
This is a flash hands on review to give you the chance to see what the phone is all about as soon as possible. Stay tuned as we'll be expanding and upgrading this review very shortly with more info.
The LG Leon is part of the new spread of mid-range smartphones that the Korean company has announced, and I got to try it out at MWC 2015.
Not only is the LG Leon a mid-range handset, but it sits firmly in the middle of the new collection of handsets, so you could say it's in the middle of the middle, which isn't an enviable place to be: neither cheap enough to explain some of the lacking features, nor expensive enough to benefit from a few extra bells and whistles.
The LG Leon sits just after the LG Joy at the bottom of the range, with the LG Spirit and LG Magna above it. Although it has been already released in the US, LG hasn't confirmed when we'll be seeing it in Europe and Australia, though an LG representative told me they are aiming to release it in the next two quarters (about six month's time in normal language). There's no news on price either.
The LG Leon features a 4.5-inch wide VGA display with a pixel density of 220ppi, along with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 5MP camera, VGA front camera and a 1900 mAh removable battery.
Storage space is limited to 8GB, and when I say limited I mean it as there's no way to expand this slight capacity via microSD.
LG's aim with the LG Leon is to bring a premium feel to an affordable handset, and to do this it has a plastic back with a metallic finish that comes in five different colours: blue, black, white, gold and silver. Though made of plastic, the body does look nice, and also feels pretty robust.
Both the power button and the volume controls are also located on the back, just below the camera. This is quite a canny decision, as it is much more comfortable to reach with a finger when holding the phone, rather than the side or the top. The buttons are slightly recessed, which helps prevent accidentally pressing them.
The VGA screen isn't going to blow any minds, but Android 5.0 (which comes preinstalled) looks fine and responds well to touch commands. LG has removed layers between the screen and the touch sensor in a bid to make the screen more responsive, and it works well with menus gliding smoothly underneath my finger. It also helps make the bezel around the phone smaller, for a more premium look.
The LG Leon, like the other devices just announced by LG, is selfie stick friendly, with voice and gesture commands that can be used to take photos. While the voice recognition didn't work, I'm inclined to give it a pass due to the loud environment I tried it in. Gesture control worked very well: all I needed to do was open my hand, then close it into a fist. A three-second countdown then appears, letting you ready your shot.
I'm not too convinced that LG has achieved the "affordable premium" goal it has been aiming for with the LG Leon, as it is still an unmistakeably budget blower. There are some nice features you'd find in more expensive devices, such as NFC and the gesture control, and Android 5.0 is a nice touch, though LG seems to have drawn the line at including 4G, as this is a 3G-only handset. However price is essential when weighing up this smartphone, and LG needs to judge this perfectly. At the moment we don't know what the price will be, so let's hope LG chooses something sensible.
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