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Feb 25, 2016 - 12:07 PM - by dgstorm
Engineers in the United States have made the final breakthrough for technology called Passive Wi-Fi. It's set to drive the revolution of the IoT (Internet of Things) and replace Bluetooth eventually. Passive Wi-Fi can generate an 11Mbps Wi-Fi connection, and although that doesn't seem very impressive, it does it with 10,000 times less power than standard Wi-Fi connections.
Additionally, the latest successful tests for Passive Wi-Fi had a range of 100 feet (30 meters) and consumed 1,000 times less energy, but with up to 11 times faster speeds than existing low energy standards, like Bluetooth and Zigbee.
Here's a quote with a few more details,
"To achieve such low-power Wi-Fi transmissions, the team essentially decoupled the digital and analog operations involved in radio transmissions.
The Passive Wi-Fi architecture assigns the analog, power-intensive functions - like producing a signal at a specific frequency - to a single device in the network that is plugged into the wall.
An array of sensors produces Wi-Fi packets of information using very little power by simply reflecting and absorbing that signal using a digital switch."
Joshua Smith, associate professor of computer science and engineering had this to say about the breakthrough, "Now that we can achieve Wi-Fi for tens of microwatts of power and can do much better than both Bluetooth and ZigBee, you could now imagine using Wi-Fi for everything."
It's amazing the magical things the wizards of engineering can create! Check out the video in the thread below for a demo of the new Passive Wi-Fi tech.
Feb 24, 2016 - 3:52 PM - by dgstorm
The latest crazy concoction from those zany engineers over at Boston Dynamics (the Google owned robotics company), shows off the latest advancements in robot tech. The newest version of their Atlas project is a remarkably humanoid shaped robot that can walk on snow, move boxes, avoid getting pushed over, and pick itself back up when it is knocked down.
The video (shown in the thread below) is both funny, sad and a bit creepy. You can't help but laugh as the robot stumbles around in the snow, yet you feel a tiny bit sad when the tester keeps pushing the robot over. Overall, the advancement is just a bit creepy and might remind you of the robot from the cheesy 80's movie Saturn 3: Saturn 3 (1980) - IMDb.
Regardless, it's amazing how far the robotics engineers have come so quickly.
Feb 24, 2016 - 10:37 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like Facebook finally finalized their new expanded "Like" button. They call the new extra like functions "Reactions," and there are 6 of them. These include the standard "Like" as well as Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. These will obviously give users a wider range and variation on how they respond to Facebook posts.
It certainly took them a while to nail these down, especially when you consider that forums across the web have had this functionality for years. One could argue that Facebook is simply one gigantic social forum, so why couldn't Facebook have expanded this system sooner? Here's what Facebook themselves had to say about that,
"We understand that this is a big change, and want to be thoughtful about rolling this out. For more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most. We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer."
Regardless, at least the changes are coming soon. Facebook didn't reveal precisely when these changes would roll out, but we expect it to begin soon. For more info here's Facebook newsroom post: Reactions Now Available Globally | Facebook Newsroom
Feb 24, 2016 - 10:19 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like Verizon's steady march toward truly high speed wireless internet has take a few steps forward. They just announced their 5G field tests have completed successfully and they were able to achieve multi-gigabit speeds. The technology also allows for sub-millisecond latency because it uses a combination of advanced MIMO, beamforming and tracking technology.
Several different major companies participated in the testing including: Apple, Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, LG, Nokia, Samsung and Qualcomm. Verizon plans to move on this quickly and broad scale network testing will begin soon.
The next phase of testing the LTE-U network will commence in Raleigh, N.C. and Oklahoma City first. Adam Koeppe, the Verizon vice president who’s in charge of the testing efforts, said, “[W]e want to quickly make some key technical decisions and move rapidly to pre-commercial form factors and testing later this year." AT&T is working on field testing for their version of 5G very soon as well, while T-Mobile and Sprint are also working on their own solutions.
There is one negative for Verizon to move quickly on this new tech. The standards organization that codifies carrier wireless technology, (3GPP), has yet to solidify a standard for 5G speeds. This means that as the various U.S. carriers begin to rollout their competing 5G technologies, we could end up with a varied assortment of divergent technologies that will all be labeled "5G," yet do not conform to any standard. This is basically the same thing that happened with WiMAX and LTE technology during the ramp up to 4G from 3G.
Feb 23, 2016 - 3:23 PM - by dgstorm
According to the latest rumint, Google is getting ready to make a huge change in the way it displays advertisements on the Google.com search results page. The current method includes one or two ads at the top of the page, and several additional ads in the sidebar on the right. Supposedly, the new change will actually show 4 ads at the top and an even larger compliment of ads in the sidebar on the right. You can see an example of the final change in the screen-cap above.
The obvious effect this will have for some users is that they will have to scroll down farther to actually see their own search results. We can imagine this will not be a well received change, although advertisers will likely be happier about it. What do you folks think?
Feb 23, 2016 - 11:39 AM - by dgstorm
Here's an interesting rumor that is floating around right now. Supposedly, Google could be planning to remove the App Drawer with their Android N release. There is actually quite a bit of evidence mounting to suggest they are going this direction. First, several sources in the developer world have indicated that their pre-release builds of Android 7.0 does not have the app drawer.
On top of that, it looks like the LG G5 and the HTC One X9 do not include an app drawer. Also, the Galaxy S7 has a hidden option to remove it. This suggests the OEMs are gearing up for the big change ahead of time. For now, that's all the info which points to the rumor, but it seems pretty suggestive at the very least.
We will keep an eye on this and see if we can get any additional intel. In the mean time, please let us know what you would think if Google ditched the App Drawer in Android N. Why do you think Google would get rid of it?
Feb 19, 2016 - 10:34 AM - by dgstorm
If you are in the market for a cheap, yet decent Android tablet, then Amazon might have a deal for you. The e-tailer has the Dragon Touch Y88X Plus 7'' Quad Core Google Android tablet on sale for a wallet-pleasing $49.99. The tablet's specs aren't half bad either. Here's a recap:
- Android 4.4 KitKat (okay, so that's a bit dated)
- 7-inch IPS Display, 1024 x 600
- Quad-core A33 chip
- 8 GB Ram
- Dual Camera
- microSD slot
While these specs will not be winning any awards, the price is very nice, and the tablet actually gets decent reviews. Here's the link for those who want to grab this offer before it expires: Amazon.com: Dragon Touch Y88X Plus 7'' Quad Core Google Android 4.4 KitKat Tablet PC, IPS Display, HD Screen 1024 x 600, 8 GB, Bluetooth, Dual Camera, Netflix, Skype, 3D Game Supported - Graphite Black: Computers & Accessories
Feb 02, 2016 - 10:57 AM - by dgstorm
If taking the best photos and videos is your top priority for a smartphone, then you might want to take a look at the latest Asus device over at B&H Photo. They are now selling the Unlocked version of the Asus ZenFone Zoom for just $399.99 here in the United States. What makes this device stand out is the 13MP PixelMaster rear camera, which includes a 3X optical zoom and optical image stabilization without a protrusion.
Here's a recap of the rest of the phone's specs:
- 5.5-inch 1080p display
- Intel Atom quad-core processor
- 4GB of RAM
- 13 megapixel camera sensor with 10-element lens, 3x optical zoom without protrusion, optical image stabilization
- 5 megapixel selfie camera
- 64GB of storage
- microSD up to 128GB
- 3,000mAh battery
- 2.5G (EDGE, GSM/GPRS ) MHz:850, 900, 1800, 1900
- 3.5G (HSPA+, UMTS/WCDMA ) MHz:850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100
- 4G (LTE ) Bands:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 17, 20
Above and below we included links for your to buy one. You can also check out our dedicated Asus ZenFone Zoom section for further discussion: ASUS Zenfone ZOOM | Android Forum at DroidForums.net
Source: B&H Photo - Asus ZenFone Zoom
Feb 02, 2016 - 10:24 AM - by dgstorm
According to the latest rumors, Sundar Pichai, the current CEO of Android, and his colleagues might be considering switching up the strategy with the Nexus line to be more "Apple-like." Specifically, the rumor-mill is suggesting that Pichai wants Google to take more control of the direction of both hardware and software for the Nexus series of phones. Here's a quote with more of the details from the source of this rumor,
"Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his lieutenants have signaled to colleagues and outsiders that the company wants to take greater control over its program for making “Nexus” smartphones, which are powered by Google’s Android software. The change would effectively reduce the level of involvement of hardware partners that make the phones with Google, a group which has included Samsung, Motorola, LG and Huawei."
We can see two sides to this move. On the one hand, if Google takes more control over the hardware and software of Nexus phones, it could be a boon for reducing fragmentation and for increasing security, performance and reliability for Nexus Android devices. On the other hand, it's possible that the various potential Nexus OEMs (like LG, HTC, Samsung, etc) might balk at the idea that they have to give up more control to Google. It would do the Nexus line no good if no one wants to make it. Share your thoughts.
Feb 01, 2016 - 4:22 PM - by dgstorm
The NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1 just started receiving a new update from NVIDIA. The hottest gaming tablet on the planet needs some extra love and attention because the cutting edge sometimes develops more issues. This update improves security, fixes some bugs and more. Here's a quick breakdown of the changelog:
- Optimized behavior of legacy apps that lead to instances of increased power consumption
- Improvements to Wi-Fi connectivity
- Fixed crashes in Performance, Power, and Display settings
- Fixed crashes in Gamepad Mapper
- Fixed Doom 3 not launching
- Added back SHIELD controller touch pad functionality
- Added support for Stylus Lasso Capture functionality
- Update to Android 6.0 Security Patch Level January 2016
- Fixes to App Optimization feature
Sound off if you have already received your update 1.1 for the NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1.
Jan 22, 2016 - 10:38 AM - by dgstorm
From today through to Monday, January 25th, Sprint has a 4-Day Dash promo that might be worth checking out. You can save up to $200 when you trade-in a working smartphone toward a new LG G4 and Sprint's service. This offer is in addition to (stacks with) all of Sprint's other current offers. Here's a quote with more of the details,
- Sprint offers the opportunity to switch and save 50% off most AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon rate plans.
- Sprint delivers the fastest LTE Plus download speeds according to Nielsen Mobile Performance data—faster than Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
- Sprint covers your switching fees up to $650 per line, via American Express reward card after online registration.
- Switching is easy! You can visit a Sprint store, go online or call 1-800-SPRINT1 to make the switch from your current carrier to Sprint. And, you can keep your same phone number.
- With Direct2You, you can have a Sprint expert deliver a new phone to you virtually whenever and wherever you want – for free.
- This weekend, you can get a minimum $200 trade-in on any smartphone when you purchase an LG G4. Check back at www.sprint.com for future limited-time-only offers.
For more info, here's Sprint's promo link: Now’s the Time to Switch to Sprint and Save $200 When You Purchase LG G4 and trade in any smartphone | Sprint Newsroom
Jan 19, 2016 - 10:14 AM - by dgstorm
The latest Nexus intel suggests that Google is letting HTC jump back in the ring for at least two new Nexus devices. The rumor doesn't specify any details on these devices, except that they will be a 5-inch and a 5.5-inch device. If true, it seems that HTC will be the primary Nexus device maker this year. Alternatively, it could be that Google plans to introduce two new Nexus devices along with some from other OEMs, or some combination thereof.
Either way, if the rumor is true, you could easily infer that Google is trying to help HTC stay in the game. It's no secret that HTC's business is on critical life support. Last year their revenues slid 34%. Giving them a crack at the next Nexus infuses them with some much needed capital and clout in the Android world In retrospect, HTC was the first OEM to make a Nexus device: the HTC Nexus One (shown above). The only other Nexus device to come from HTC was the Nexus 9 tablet. It could be argued that it's simply their turn again.
We will keep an eye out for an corroborating evidence of this rumor.
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