Drone Debate Continues as Hollywood Seeks Production Options

Hollywood continues to consider drones for media production since they have the potential to save money, offer creative options and create a safer set. Drone-makers, rigging manufacturers and aerial production companies have joined forces to offer camera-equipped drones and services. However, federal law prohibits the commercial use of unmanned aircrafts. The FAA is currently reviewing a request by the MPAA to allow drones for use by the film and television industry. Continue reading Drone Debate Continues as Hollywood Seeks Production Options

Intel Enters the Mobile App Business with Avatar Messages

Last week, chipmaker Intel introduced its own mobile app called “Pocket Avatars.” Unlike most of Intel’s functional software, Pocket Avatars is purely recreational. The app uses a smartphone’s camera and microphone to record the user’s voice and facial movements. Then the app translates those signals into a talking, animated avatar message that users can send to their friends. The free app is available for iPhones and Android smartphones. Continue reading Intel Enters the Mobile App Business with Avatar Messages

Amazon Hires Engineering Team to Design Its Own Server Chips

Retail and cloud giant Amazon has joined Google and Facebook in investing in development its own server chips. The company recently brought together a team of CPU architects and hardware development engineers, four of whom come from Calxeda, the defunct ARM-based server startup in Austin, Texas. Despite the high initial costs of custom server chips, these specialized products would allow Amazon to optimize costs and improve performance. Continue reading Amazon Hires Engineering Team to Design Its Own Server Chips

Dolby Wants to Bring Atmos Surround Sound to Mobile Devices

Dolby plans to introduce a surround sound experience for tablets and smartphones. During last month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company detailed how algorithms running on an audio processor chip or ARM processor core could simulate Atmos-like surround sound by essentially tricking the user’s brain into thinking the audio is 3D. While it is not clear when the tech might become available to consumers, Dolby says the first iteration will be ready for hardware partners by the end of this year. Continue reading Dolby Wants to Bring Atmos Surround Sound to Mobile Devices

Microsoft Working on Free Version of Windows 8.1 with Bing

Microsoft is said to be experimenting with a free version of its Windows 8.1 operating system in hopes of increasing the number of users. Sources familiar with the plans say “Windows 8.1 with Bing” will bundle key Microsoft apps and services. The company aims to introduce Windows 8.1 with Bing as a free or low-cost upgrade for Windows 7 users. The new Bing-powered software may also be offered to computer manufacturers as part of recent license cuts for sub-$250 devices.

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Vacuum Sealed Protection for Smartphones That Also Floats

A new version of the DryCASE for smartphones and larger sizes for tablets was introduced at CES by Dry Corp. If you grew up by the sand and water you’ll appreciate how this crystal clear vacuum bag can both protect your phone from the elements and save it from a watery grave. Learning the hard way that anything in a pocket seems destined to end up 100 feet below the surface, this case and it’s armband supply both protection and flotation. So even if it’s not stowed on your arm it will bob to the surface. Continue reading Vacuum Sealed Protection for Smartphones That Also Floats

Will Wearable Tech Have a Future in Entertainment Media?

Even a cursory look at the news coming out of CES makes it clear that wearables have garnered a lot of the buzz. Smartwatches, augmented reality headsets, digital health solutions and fitness tracking monitors are all the rage here. What’s not clear is if wearables will ever intersect with the entertainment industry. Although the question itself may seem risible, it’s worth remembering that most people dismissed the mobile phone as an entertainment device only a few years ago. Continue reading Will Wearable Tech Have a Future in Entertainment Media?

Breakthrough: HGST to Ship Helium-Filled Hard Disk Drives

Western Digital’s HGST subsidiary announced yesterday it is shipping a helium-filled, 3.5-in hard disk drive that has been more than 10 years in the making. The company says the new drive offers 50 percent more capacity than current 4TB drives and uses 23 percent less power and is 38 percent lighter. While pricing has yet to be announced, the company says the drives will “command a premium” based on the lower total cost of ownership. HGST plans to sell the drives to server and storage array manufacturers. Continue reading Breakthrough: HGST to Ship Helium-Filled Hard Disk Drives

Will the iPhone 5s Lead To a Sea Change for Mobile Gaming?

Donald Mustard, co-founder and creative director of Chair, developed “Infinity Blade 3,” tried it on the iPhone 5s, and was impressed by how it played. While gaming on Apple’s new iPhone, Mustard discovered much more than he expected. The game had more color, improved resolution and better graphics. A new game-friendly smartphone may generate interest from children and teens who are gaming more on mobile devices, and at younger ages. Continue reading Will the iPhone 5s Lead To a Sea Change for Mobile Gaming?

SIGGRAPH: Nvidia Demonstrates Next-Gen Mobile Processor

Nvidia offered a sneak peek at its next-generation mobile processor, Project Logan, during the SIGRRAPH Conference in Anaheim this week. Logan is based on Nvidia’s advanced Kepler graphics architecture used for desktop and laptop chips. Nvidia plans to launch Logan next year, and combine its mobile phone and desktop 3D graphics architectures. This will enable new mobile applications such as augmented reality, computer vision and speech recognition. Continue reading SIGGRAPH: Nvidia Demonstrates Next-Gen Mobile Processor

Intel Emphasizes Mobile Focus, More Attention on Atom Chip

Intel’s leadership promised on Friday to place their chip processors in position to enter the mobile and other non-computer markets. Despite their planned release of a TV set-top box, Intel is entering the new field with caution. In contrast, it is focusing much effort on its chip making. Intel will attempt to bring their Atom chips to a more equal level with their Core line of computer chips, and compete directly with ARM processors. Continue reading Intel Emphasizes Mobile Focus, More Attention on Atom Chip

Streaming Movies from Intel-based Laptops to Samsung TVs

Intel and Samsung announced a partnership this week that will allow Samsung TV owners to stream movies directly from PCs running Intel’s latest processors. The companies are teaming to integrate Intel’s Wireless Display technology directly into Samsung’s TVs, which will eliminate the need for a separate receiver to play media content on TVs streamed from a PC. The technology is expected to reach consumers by the end of this year. Continue reading Streaming Movies from Intel-based Laptops to Samsung TVs

Next Gen Intel Chips for Mobile Devices Three Times Faster

Intel claims that its next generation of chips designed for mobile devices will triple the calculating speed of previous chips. Based on a design called Silvermont, the new chips will also look to maximize power and performance while remaining energy efficient, drawing as little as one-fifth the electricity of current Atom chips. The company hopes new smartphones and tablets will turn to Intel rather than chips based on the ARM architecture. Continue reading Next Gen Intel Chips for Mobile Devices Three Times Faster

New Chip War is Looming: Intel Versus ARM Architecture

According to Wired, a new chip war is on the way. For years, most of the massive data centers that power the Internet have been driven by Intel microprocessors. But in the coming months, a group of chip makers hopes to challenge the company with a new breed of processors based on ARM architecture, which is the same basic chip design found in most of the world’s smartphones. Continue reading New Chip War is Looming: Intel Versus ARM Architecture

Freescale Offers Smallest ARM-Powered Chip in the World

Chipmaker Freescale Semiconductor has created the world’s smallest ARM-powered chip (called the Kinetis KL02), which touts 32KB flash with 64 byte flash cache, up to 4KB RAM, a 32-bit processor and multiple flexible low-power modes. Measuring only 1.9 by 2 millimeters, the chip is a full microcontroller unit that includes RAM, ROM and an I/O control unit — all the requirements of a miniature computer. Continue reading Freescale Offers Smallest ARM-Powered Chip in the World

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