- Facebook likes Karma app, buys the whole darn thing
What does one do after generating billions from an initial public stock offering? Go shopping, of course. After falling short of expectations following its somewhat helter-skelter IPO debut, Facebook simply shook off the whole thing and acquired itself some good Karma. No, we’re not talking about that Karma. Instead, Facebook purchased the startup responsible for the Karma social gifting app. The move was apparently made to bolster Facebook’s mobile chops — an area the company considers ripe for opportunity. Just recently, Facebook also acquired mobile stalwart Instagram and the Lightbox team, for example. As for its newest purchase, Karma will be allowed to “continue to operate in full force” despite its recent status change, according to a blog post by co-founders Lee Linden and Ben Lewis. Details weren’t disclosed about how much the deal was worth but judging from celebratory nature of their post, it doesn’t look like Linden and Lewis will “Unlike” the agreement any time soon.
Facebook likes Karma app, buys the whole darn thing originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 19 May 2012 16:38:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- China clears Google acquisition of Motorola, eliminates last barrier to Googorola bliss
The final significant roadblock to Google’s buyout of Motorola has been cleared, as Chinese regulators have just given their rubber stamp. Their approval follows a few months after the simultaneous American and European clearances, and virtually all that’s left now is to formally close the deal and start integrating the two mobile giants. It might still come too late for the combined entity to present a united front at Google I/O, but at least they won’t have any awkward glances at each other across the room. We’re just trying to decide on whether or not Googorola is the best pet name for the loving, $12.5 billion-dollar Android union. Update: Google has since told the AP that the deal will likely wrap up early next week, so Motorola should be part of the family well in advance of Google I/O. Also, Google has to keep Android freely usable by anyone for at least five years, although no one was expecting that to change anytime soon.
China clears Google acquisition of Motorola, eliminates last barrier to Googorola bliss originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 19 May 2012 14:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Robot uses glue gun to make tools, hopes to ace Survival Skills 101
Looking through Engadget’s annals of robotic achievements, we see droids juggling, dabbling in competitive sailing and even manning prisons. Cool as they are, those functions aren’t going to mean a thing when Mr. Automaton is lost in the wilderness, damaged and without a helping human hand in sight. Researchers at ETH Zurich are working to change that scenario, as they’re currently developing a “self-reconfigurable” device that packs a glue gun for creating the tools it needs on the fly. It might not be the quickest method — as you’ll see in the video below, making a glue cup takes a good hour — but it’s effective enough for transporting and pouring water. That’s not to say that the prototype is ready to fend for itself; it built the cup, but only under human direction. The researchers’ next step is adding in autonomous capabilities so the bots can repair things — and even build other robots — without being told to do so. A sea of self-regenerating droids? Sounds harmless to us.
Robot uses glue gun to make tools, hopes to ace Survival Skills 101 originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 19 May 2012 14:16:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Insert Coin: CordLite illuminated iPhone cable (video)
In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you’d like to pitch a project, please send us a tip with “Insert Coin” as the subject line.
On average, North American consumers will spend a lifetime total of five days on failed attempts to pair their dock connector cable with an iPad or iPhone. Yeah, that’s not true, but we can certainly sympathize with frustrated device owners — fitting a tiny connector to any gadget can be a chore, especially in the dark. Scrap Pile Labs’ CordLite sets out to point the way to a successful connection with its built-in LEDs. The illuminated cable is quite simple to use — with no buttons or switches to fuss with, the connector lights up when you touch the aluminum plates, and powers off the moment it’s secured to your device. There’s really not much else to it — CordLite functions identically to an Apple-manufactured cable, though the dock connector itself is significant larger than the OEM variety, at least in its current prototype form.
The design team has turned to Kickstarter to get their project funded, with a $70,000 goal. If all goes to plan, they expect to ship black or white CordLites beginning in September at $35 a pop, but as always, getting in during the “pre-order” phase will net you a hefty discount. The first 200 backers can get an early-bird cord in the color of their choice with a $25 pledge, with the required amount jumping up to $30 from there. A $45 pledge gets you an exclusive laser-etched model, while $50 will be met with a pair of early-bird cords. As you may have gathered from the picture above, the first version will only function with Apple devices, though a microUSB cord is also said to be in the works. See it in action in the video demo just past the break.
Insert Coin: CordLite illuminated iPhone cable (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 19 May 2012 12:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Dish warns the FCC its 4G LTE might come in earnest as late as 2016
Dish has been tranquil about facing a longer FCC review period for its planned LTE-based 4G network, and now we might have an idea as to why. The satellite TV giant is telling the FCC that it only expects coverage to reach up to 60 million potential customers “within four years,” or about 2016 — six years after MetroPCS and Verizon first flicked their respective 4G switches. This is also assuming that the 3GPP cellular standards group clears the AWS-4 frequency band for LTE use. There’s speculation that Dish is giving the extra time so that it can sell the spectrum later, but we’d take the safe road and assume Dish is serious. After all, AT&T wouldn’t be trying to set tough conditions for Dish’s LTE if it didn’t think there was possibly significant competition on the way.
Dish warns the FCC its 4G LTE might come in earnest as late as 2016 originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 19 May 2012 10:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- T-Mo delays HTC Amaze 4G online orders due to ‘unforeseen issue,’ has other recommendations
Hot off the heels of the One X and EVO 4G LTE spending some prolonged time at customs, now another member of HTC’s sensational family appears to be feeling the rigorous effects of the ITC. According to a recent email acquired by TmoNews, it looks as if the Magenta carrier is delaying shipments of the HTC Amaze 4G in the US, saying it’s facing “an unforeseen issue with receiving the product from the manufacturer,” and that it doesn’t know when the handset will be up for grabs again. What’s also interesting here, however, is T-Mobile going as far as recommending Sammy’s Galaxy S Blaze 4G as a substitute — which, let’s face it, can’t be good news for HTC. Here’s to hoping this all gets sorted out relatively soon. In the meantime, you can check out the aforementioned email in its entirety at the source below.
T-Mo delays HTC Amaze 4G online orders due to ‘unforeseen issue,’ has other recommendations originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 19 May 2012 08:47:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Researchers tout efficiency breakthrough with new ‘inexact’ chip
Accuracy is generally an important consideration in computer chips, but a team of researchers led by Rice University are touting a new “inexact” chip (dubbed PCMOS) that they say could lead to as much as a fifteen-fold increase in efficiency. Their latest work, which won a best paper award at a recent ACM conference, builds on years of research in the field from the university, and is already moving far beyond the lab — some inexact hardware is being used in the “i-slate” educational tablet developed by the Rice-NTU Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics, 50,000 of which are expected to wind up in India’s Mahabubnagar school district over the next three years. As for the chips themselves, their inexactness comes not just from one process, but a variety of different measures that can be used on their own or together — including something the researchers describe as “pruning,” which eliminate rarely used portions of the chip. All of that naturally comes with some trade-offs (less defined video processing is one example given), but the researchers say those are often outweighed by the benefits — like cheaper, faster chips that require far less power.
Researchers tout efficiency breakthrough with new ‘inexact’ chip originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 19 May 2012 06:43:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Raspberry Pi team shows off pics of (and taken with) prototype camera add-on
While the main thing that would make Raspberry Pi’s diminutive $25 / $35 Linux setups better would be if we could get our hands on them faster, the team behind it is already working on improvements like this prototype camera seen above. The add-on is slated to ship later this year and plugs into the CSI pins left exposed right in the middle of each unit. According to the accompanying blog post, the specs may be downgraded from the prototype’s 14MP sensor to keep things affordable, although there’s no word on an exact price yet. Possible applications include robotics and home automation, but until the hackers get their hands on them you’ll have to settle for one pic from the Pi’s POV after the break and a few more at the source linked below.
Raspberry Pi team shows off pics of (and taken with) prototype camera add-on originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 19 May 2012 04:33:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Apple files (again) for a preliminary ban against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
If you found yourself longing for the minor tweaks Samsung made to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany earlier this year, you may be in luck: Apple’s filed for a preliminary injunction against the slate stateside. It isn’t the first one, either, Cupertino filed something similar back in February, though it didn’t quite pass legal muster. After gaining some headway earlier this week, Cook’s crew is in for round two, according to FOSS Patents, asking for Judge Koh to rule in their favor without a new hearing. Concerned consumers, however, can sidestep the whole mess by simply opting for an injunction-exempt Galaxy Tab 2. Details and speculation can be found at the source link below, just in case you aren’t already sick to death of the whole Samsung / Apple spat.
Apple files (again) for a preliminary ban against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 19 May 2012 02:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.