- The Engadget Podcast is live tonight at 5PM!No Tim this week, sadly, but that won’t stop this runaway podcasting freight train. Darren and Terrence will be joining Brian to discuss the biggest news of this post-holiday / pre-CES lull, but mostly we’ll be talking about the year that wasn’t — join us in the chat below or send a note to podcast (at) engadget (dot) com to share your thoughts on the biggest tech misfires of the year.
- Apple applies for facial recognition patent, wants to let iDevices get to know you better
Your momma always said your handsome mug would take you places. Now it might allow you to access your iPad. An Apple patent application released today describes a facial recognition system that requires minimal computing power, and works whether you’re indoors or out — we don’t use our tablets and phones in a photo booth, after all. The technology works by comparing a current image of your mug to a reference model user profile made using “high information” portions of the human face, like eyes and mouths. Translation: it’ll take a picture, compare it against the pictures associated with various user accounts on the device and decide if the two images are similar enough to grant you access. Because this is just an application, it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing this kind of facial recognition in iOS anytime soon, but let’s hope it works better than the ICS version if it does.
Update: An important thing to note is that Apple applied for this patent long before Android’s Face Unlock debuted a few months back. The paper work was first submitted on June 29th, 2010 — it’s just now being disclosed to the public.
Apple applies for facial recognition patent, wants to let iDevices get to know you better originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 29 Dec 2011 15:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- British training ‘Xbox generation’ soldiers with tweaked gamesAusterity means the military can’t afford the big-budget training exercises to battle-harden new recruits, so it’s relying more on computer simulations. Sadly, Virtual Battlespace 2 can’t compete with the Hollywood-style excitement of Modern Warfare. That’s why it’s buying in game engines from the studios (VB2 was based on tech licensed from the makers of Operation Flashpoint) and cutting out the unrealistic physics — such as rifle bullets flying three miles and vehicles that don’t obey gravity. It’s hoped the project will keep the attention of death-match hardened trainees and encourage them to play it in their own time: the team were told that two soldiers learned enough skills to stay alive during combat thanks to marathon sessions in the game. If you’ve just unwrapped an FPS for the holidays, you can now tell disapproving family members that it’s educational.
British training ‘Xbox generation’ soldiers with tweaked games originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 29 Dec 2011 14:51:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- White Epic 4G Touch to grace Sprint come January, proves your wildest dreams can come true
If you thought Sprint was going to let T-Mobile and AT&T be the only US carriers to offer white Galaxy S IIs, think again. Per Sprintfeed is a supposed internal memo pegging the carrier’s bleached variant of the GSII for January 8th, 2012. For those keeping score at home, that’ll be nearly a month after T-Mo, and a good six months after we first caught wind of the unicorn. Frothing at the sentiment? Better think long and hard, as there’s bound to be something equally lust worthy at an upcoming trade show.
White Epic 4G Touch to grace Sprint come January, proves your wildest dreams can come true originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 29 Dec 2011 13:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Tech’s biggest misfires of 2011The past 12 months have been a boon of technological innovation, particularly in the world of mobile devices, where top companies have been waging an arms race for the top of the smartphone and tablet hills. Not everything has been smooth sailing, however — 2011 has also been dotted by delays, false starts, security breeches and straight up technological turf outs. Check out some of the lowlights from the year that was after the break.
- Oops: Droid 4 makes an early appearance in Best Buy promo
With its backlit keys and shaved corners, it could only be the Droid 4 leading the pack of phones in this Best Buy promo shot. The slider hasn’t yet reached the shop floor, but that hasn’t stopped it from promoting the big box retailer’s Rewards Zone offers. While Verizon has already let a festively-colored Droid RAZR and a pair of
Xoom 2Xyboard tablets out of the gates this winter, keyboard hunters have been left out in the cold. Hopefully, this snafu will translate into a release very soon.
Oops: Droid 4 makes an early appearance in Best Buy promo originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 29 Dec 2011 12:16:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- The morning after: PlayStation Vita sales go cold during first full week in Japan
It’s hard to set much store by early sales performance, particularly after the evergreen 3DS faced such a rocky road. Nevertheless, the Vita’s latest stats do look disappointing for such a highly anticipated — not to mention high-quality — console: after shifting a remarkable 321,000 units during its first two days on sale in Japan, it could only muster 72,500 in the whole week between December 19th and Christmas Day. In comparison, the PS3 sold 76,000 units during the same period, while the 3DS rang up half a million. This doesn’t necessarily reflect a lack of interest, however: there have been stock shortages, and it’s also possible that buyers are waiting to make sure that all the launch bugs get cleaned up. As for us, our alarms remain firmly set for February 22nd.
The morning after: PlayStation Vita sales go cold during first full week in Japan originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 29 Dec 2011 11:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Amazon marks ‘best holiday’ for Kindle devices, fills stockings full of cash
It was yet another solid year for Amazon’s Kindle family of products. The mega online retailer sent out its yearly post-Christmas card, bragging about moving “well over one million Kindle devices per week” for December, making it the best holiday yet for the e-reader / tablet line, according to the company. Three Kindles held the top spots on the site’s list of best sellers, led by the Fire, the Touch and the plain old fourth generation Kindle. No exact numbers from Amazon, as per usual, but it looks to have been a pretty green Christmas for Bezos and co. Jingle all the way to the celebratory press release after the jump.
Amazon marks ‘best holiday’ for Kindle devices, fills stockings full of cash originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 29 Dec 2011 10:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Verizon confirms latest LTE outage restored, again claims 3G operated normally
Verizon Wireless appears to be standing behind its claims of operating “the nation’s largest, most reliable 3G network and the nation’s largest 4G LTE network,” following this month’s latest nationwide data outage. A Verizon spokesperson wrote in to inform us that “the 4GLTE issue was resolved overnight. 3G operated normally; calling, texting were unaffected.” We were unable to access data on both LTE and 3G CDMA networks with our Galaxy Nexus yesterday, however. Verizon may be working furiously to add cities to its LTE coverage map, but with repeated outages and little clarification this month, it may be a very long time before the carrier can include 4G reliability in its corporate maxim.
Verizon confirms latest LTE outage restored, again claims 3G operated normally originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 29 Dec 2011 09:55:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.