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The Battle Over Digital Assets
February 13, 2015 | 10:25 am

digital assetsGigaOM has a great write-up about Facebook's new 'legacy contact' feature, a new settings preference for American users which lets you designate a person who can access your account to perform certain functions in the event of your death. It seems like a benign thing, but as the article points out, it may be a more devious new feature than it first appears. Law-makers in several states are in the process of creating 'digital assets' legislation to specifically address not just a Facebook account, but other digital accounts a person may have. Could Facebook be trying to exempt themselves from compliance...

Corning’s Project Phire ready to phire up your screen?
February 9, 2015 | 6:25 pm

Broken_glass_300Corning, whose Gorilla Glass is the default standard for many touchscreen tablet and smartphone devices, has been seeding the media with hints about its new Project Phire lately, which apparently approaches the scratch resistance of pure sapphire when used for screens. As yet, there's no confirmation on the Corning website, but the original report on CNET quotes a speech at an investor presentation by James Clappin, president of Corning Glass Technologies, stating that the new project will combine the shatterproof and drop resistance durability of its existing Gorilla Glass with sapphire's scratch resistance. Exactly why Corning is so eager to follow in...

Mobile goes total as Cisco forecasts almost 10x traffic jump
February 5, 2015 | 10:26 am

The new Cisco VNI (Visual Networking Index) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, 2014-2019, just released, showcases some eye-popping figures on the growth in mobile users, mobile data traffic, and average mobile data speeds. Naturally, Cisco is about as likely to forecast a drop in mobile activity as a brewer is to preach temperance, but all the same, there is little reason to doubt their figures. The forecast predicts that, by 2019, "there will be 5.2 billion global mobile users, up from 4.3 billion in 2014. There will be 11.5 billion mobile-ready devices and connections, more than 4 billion more than there were in...

Qualcomm goes bats with ultrasound digital pen technology
January 23, 2015 | 6:25 pm

The recent HP announcement of the debut of its HP Pro Slate Android tablets included the detail that they would come bundled with the HP Duet Pen, "the first to use Qualcomm Snapdragon digital pen technology on both a tablet and regular paper." For a stylus buff like me, any news about new digital pen technologies is interesting, and this Qualcomm innovation looks to be one of the more striking wheezes to break cover lately. According to Qualcomm's technology partner on the new device, GlobalLogici, the Qualcomm Snapdragon Digital Pen "represents the next generation of the stylus popular with tablet devices. With the size...

Charging your devices isn’t leaching cash – or useful life
January 21, 2015 | 12:25 pm

nookcharger_thumb.jpgTechRadar has just shared a post which should be of interest to all users of ereading devices - even if it mostly concerns smartphones. Of course, many keen consumers of ebooks these days are reading on their smartphones anyway, but even those readers who stick to Kindles or Kobos only can still learn from this. In answer to the perennial question "should we unplug our chargers each night?," TechRadar's David Nield compiles up-to-date tech opinion and the results of recent efforts to push battery life and power management. He instances, for example, the International Energy Agency's 1-Watt Plan, which "proposed that all...

RIP Pixel Qi?
January 14, 2015 | 12:25 pm

A report on Good eReader seems to have twigged the web to the demise of Pixel Qi, the once-feted low-power display producer. I'm puzzled as to exactly why this is seen as news, since as Michael Kozlowski points out, the key events in the de facto dissolution of the company - the departure of husband-and-wife founders Mary Lou Jepson and John Ryan - happened back in 2013. And as Chris Meadows reported back in mid-2013, even then Pixel Qi was already in the "where are they now" crowd. All the same, it seems to have jogged the memories of an awful lot...

E Ink makes colorful leap forward at CES 2015
January 11, 2015 | 1:25 pm

E Ink made quite an eye-catching appearance at this year's CES - literally. The pioneering electronic paper display company debuted some of its most striking color epaper technology to date in the shape of E Ink Prism, a series of "unique and dynamic materials for architecture and design incorporating its new color changing electronic ink technology." This move confirms E Ink's shift out of the dedicated ereader display space, where it has seen falling demand, and into rather more physically ambitious solutions. "E Ink Prism bridges the gap between traditional static materials and digital technology with dynamically changing materials," the company explains. "Architects...

Gentlemen take Polaroids
January 10, 2015 | 4:37 pm

The Polaroid brand has been enjoying a sort of second life for a while now as a budget Android tablet line, with Chris Meadows reporting on a mini-tablet from them roughly a year ago. With this year's CES, the legacy brand managers Southern Telecom have come out with two new Android tablets that may rebuild its cachet further, as both ship with Lollipop 5.0, the latest version of the Android OS, making them some of the first budget devices to do so. As announced by Polaroid, the Polaroid L Series "is comprised of the L7 (7” tablet), and L10 (10.1” tablet). Both sizes...

Intel Compute Stick puts Windows on a stick
January 7, 2015 | 4:25 pm

Debates can continue to circle forever as to how far Microsoft wanted to take back ground from Android through Windows 8. Intel, though, has just launched a push into a form factor that Android, and to a lesser extent, Linux, really created: the computer on a stick. Intel's introduction for its new Intel Compute Stick device doesn't exactly mince words about the point. "The Intel® Compute Stick is a new generation compute-on-a-stick device that’s ready-to-go out-of–the-box and offers the performance, quality, and value you expect from Intel," it declares. "Pre-installed with Windows 8.1 or Linux, get a complete experience on an...

Lenovo, Toshiba field handwriting input solutions
January 6, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Tech vendors seem to be giving fresh impetus to handwriting input and onscreen writing/drawing solutions, perhaps inspired by the success of the Samsung Galaxy Note series with its S-pen. For one thing, there's Toshiba's new series of Encore 2 Write Windows 8.1 tablets, debuted at CES 2015 in both 8"and 10" formats, with Wacom stylus technology implemented via the bundled accessory dubbed the TruPen. This platform builds on Toshiba's previous forays into the pen-enabled tablet space, such as the Android-packing Excite Write tablet, and reportedly comes with complementary apps called TruNote and TruCapture to support the hardware. Prices are reportedly $349.99 and...

NVIDIA goes up to 11 for mobile with Tegra X1 superchip
January 5, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Not content with owning the innards of many name-brand Android tablets and other digital devices, NVIDIA has just raised its mobile processor game a notch or few more, using the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 as the platform to debut is new Tegra X1 "superchip." NVIDIA describes this as "the most advanced mobile processor we’ve ever created," with "powerful new NVIDIA Maxwell™ architecture, 256 GPU cores, a 64-bit CPU, unbeatable 4K video capabilities, and more power-efficient performance than its predecessor make it perfect for even the most challenging mobile and automotive applications." NVIDIA's official blog boils this down into "a full...

Apple stylus patent tries to do a Wacom with prior art
January 2, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Apple stylusApple has been granted a renewal on a 2010 patent for: "a stylus comprising: a body with a first end and a second end; a tip located at a first end of the body; one or more position sensors disposed on the body, wherein the position sensor is in communication with the tip; and a transmitter operative to transmit position data generated by the one or more position sensors to a remote computing device." The fairly detailed outline goes on to spec out more fully a design that involves accelerometers and other motion sensors to implement a stylus that can transmit...