TECHPULSE August 31, 2013

New Gadgets

  • ASUS teases new Transformer Pad coming September 4th, confirms it definitely has bezel

    transformerasusifafb TECHPULSE August 31, 2013

    As IFA starts to slowly edge its way over the horizon, the product teasers start to rain. We’ve already seen hints from Sony, an outright admission from Samsung, and speculation from HTC. The latest tidbit, comes via ASUS’s Facebook, which suggests it plans to show a new tablet at the event. What can we say about it? Well, odds on it’s another Transformer Pad, running Android, and if you’re into numerology (and consistency), Tegra 4 inside. Coincidentally, an unknown ASUS tablet (pictured after the break) with model number K00C popped up at the FCC last week, revealing little more than the usual WiFi and Bluetooth radios, and a display somewhere around 10-inches. Though the description of it as a Transformer Pad could indicate that whatever its exact configuration, it’s arrival in the US won’t be that far out.

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    Source: Facebook

  • Alcatel quietly reveals One Touch Idol S, Idol Mini and Evo 8 HD tablet

    alcatel one touch idol hed TECHPULSE August 31, 2013

    Unlike babies that wail when they’re born, the three new members of Alcatel’s One Touch family have silently slipped into the company’s website. The two handsets, the Idol S and the Idol Mini, follow the original trio revealed at CES this year, sharing similar elements despite the difference in size. Both run Android 4.2, can read microSD cards up to 32GB in capacity and support quad-band GSM, as well as some UMTS (3G) bands, depending on the model.

    Idol S, the larger of the two weighs 110 grams, has a 4.7-inch 1,280 x 720-pixel screen and DC-HSPA data connectivity. It’s powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, has 4GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel rear / 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. On the other hand, the Idol Mini has a smaller 4.3-inch 854 x 480-pixel display, weighs 96 grams and comes with HSPA+. It’s equipped with up to 8GB of internal storage, 512MB of RAM and a 5-megapixel rear / VGA front camera.

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    Via: GSM Arena

    Source: Idol Mini, Idol S, One Touch Evo HD

  • Nikkei: KDDI plans 220 Mbps cellular network upgrade for summer 2014

    kddi android au TECHPULSE August 31, 2013

    Think 150Mbps LTE-Advanced data is quick? KDDI could offer far more bandwidth next year. Nikkei claims that the Japanese carrier plans to upgrade its cellular network to 220 Mbps data as soon as summer 2014. Service would reportedly launch with an Android smartphone, and rely on new wireless technology; it’s not clear whether this entails a faster LTE-A variant or something new. KDDI hasn’t confirmed the rumor, so we wouldn’t consider moving to Japan just yet. If there’s any truth to the claims, however, even NTT DoCoMo’s upgraded LTE could soon feel downright pokey.

    [Image credit: TAKA@P.P.R.S, Flickr]

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    Source: Nikkei (subscription required)

  • Moto X could have price slashed to $100 by Christmas, $50 for wooden covers

    woodenmotoxbits TECHPULSE August 31, 2013

    When Motorola announced it’s first flagship since becoming part of Google’s empire, it was to mixed response. But, if evleaks is right, as is often the case, then a forthcoming $100 price-drop could suddenly change a few minds. Currently, the customizable phone, that listens to your every word, will set you back $199 on your network of choice, so a drop to $100 on contract — reportedly just in time for Christmas — could see this rise up the gift lists. Oh, and those wooden covers? Our leaker claims will come with a $50 price tag, for those that want the natural look this winter.

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    Source: @evleaks (Twitter)

  • HTC’s exiting designers interrogated for expense fraud and stealing trade secrets (updated)

    htc thomas chien 1377937826 TECHPULSE August 31, 2013

    Earlier today, several top designers at HTC were arrested in Taipei under suspicion of fraudulent expense claims, as well as stealing trade secrets ahead of leaving the company to run a new mobile design firm in both Taiwan and mainland China. Five people were interrogated, with the most notable ones being Vice President of Product Design Thomas Chien (pictured above), R&D director Wu Chien Hung and design team senior manager Justin Huang (who also personally sketched out the One’s design). Chien and Wu are taken into custody, whereas the others were released on bail (see video after the break). Their offices were also raided yesterday as part of the investigation.

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    Source: UDN (1), (2), China Times

  • Facebook’s Windows Phone beta updated to work on WP7 too

    1234 TECHPULSE August 31, 2013

    There was a time when Windows Phone 7 users could only look on as WP8-using peers Like status updates on their newer and shinier Facebook app. Not anymore. An update to the Beta version is now ready for download, bringing to the table a user interface similar to the WP8 version that meshes well with the platform’s aesthetics. Those who’ve been waiting for the update forever can hit the source link below — it’s available for both platforms, so WP8-toting folks can also join the party.

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    Source: Facebook (Windows Phone Market)

  • Washington Post report details how often security agencies break into other networks

    nsasign TECHPULSE August 31, 2013

    The latest national security related revelation to come from the documents leaked by Edward Snowden is an account of how offensive computer operations work, and how many there are. The Washington Post reports that in 2011, 231 took place with about three quarters of them against “top-priority” targets, which its sources indicate include Iran, Russia, China and North Korea. Also interesting are details of software and hardware implants designed to infiltrate network hardware, persist through upgrades and access other connected devices or networks. The effort to break into networks is codenamed Genie, while the “Tailored Access Operations” group custom-builds tools to execute the attacks. One document references a new system “Turbine” that automates control of “potentially millions of implants” to gather data or execute an attack. All of this access isn’t possible for free however, with a total cyber operations budget of $1.02 billion which includes $25.1 million spent this year to purchase software vulnerabilities from malware vendors. Get your fill of codenames and cloak-and-dagger from the article posted tonight, or check out the “Black Budget” breakdown of overall intelligence spending.

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    Source: Washington Post (1), (2)

  • Ceton Echo Windows Media Center extender won’t support Android after all

    cetonechoremote1 TECHPULSE August 31, 2013

    Around nine months ago Ceton unexpectedly announced plans to support the Android operating system and apps on its $179 Echo Windows Media Center extender, but now that’s not happening. According to the company, Android is “up and running” on Echo hardware in its labs — we saw screenshots back in February — but early beta tests with home users showed a problem with an internal component. That flaw apparently causes a failure to update in some cases, and since efforts to find a workaround have been so far unsuccessful Ceton is shelving the project (presumably alongside its Q DVR). There’s no question this is disappointing for Echo users that expected the feature, but the possibility of a bricked box seem worth avoiding. We haven’t talked about the Echo much since it came out of beta with a fix for 1080i output issues — if you’re an owner then let us know if you were (still) waiting for Android, or if you’ve moved onto another solution like Roku, Ouya or Chromecast.%Gallery-slideshow47995%

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    Source: Ceton Blog

  • Transparent gel speaker plays music through the magic of ionic conduction (video)

    gelspeaker2 TECHPULSE August 31, 2013

    It may be hard to believe, but that transparent disk in the photo above is actually a fully functioning speaker. A team of researchers at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have pioneered a never before seen application of ionic conductivity by creating a see-through artificial muscle that can produce sounds spanning the entire audible spectrum. While ionic conduction isn’t a novel idea, it’s been considered impractical due to the fact that ionic materials react poorly to high voltage. The team, which included postdoctoral research fellows Jeong-Yun Sun and Christoph Keplinger (pictured above), circumvented that obstacle by placing a layer of rubber between two sheets of transparent conductive gel, allowing the system to work with both high voltage and high actuation, two qualities necessary for sound reproduction. Theoretically, soft machine technology such as this can be used to do much more than play Grieg’s Peer Gynt, particularly in the fields of robotics, mobile computing and adaptive optics. To watch it in action, check out the video after the break.

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    Via: The Verge

    Source: Science, Harvard

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