Qualcomm Debuts New Platform for Affordable Feature Phones

Qualcomm is rolling out its 205 Mobile Platform, designed for basic feature phones that will operate on faster 4G networks. Aimed at consumers in markets such as India, Latin America and Southeast Asia who cannot afford higher-end smartphones, the platform includes the Qualcomm 205 SoC in addition to feature phone hardware components and software, and offers longer battery life and faster access to social media and other content. Unlike feature phones for 2G and 3G networks, usually priced between $15 and $50, feature phones with Qualcomm’s new chip will cost about $50. Continue reading Qualcomm Debuts New Platform for Affordable Feature Phones

WikiLeaks Claims of CIA Hacking Could Impact Tech Industry

WikiLeaks released thousands of documents yesterday that it claims detail methods used by the CIA “to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions,” reports The New York Times. According to WikiLeaks, the CIA and allied intelligence services bypassed encryption on messaging services including Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp. WikiLeaks also suggests that agencies can collect audio and messaging data from Android phones “before encryption is applied.” The Wall Street Journal notes that such activities, if actually taking place with consumer electronics, could fuel tensions between intelligence agencies and the tech industry, which has been concerned about customer privacy. Mobile devices are a major concern; NYT published an article detailing potential smartphone vulnerabilities. Continue reading WikiLeaks Claims of CIA Hacking Could Impact Tech Industry

Newly Published Google Overview Spells Out Security Details

In a recently published Infrastructure Security Design Overview, Google explains its six layers of security for the cloud it uses for its own operations and its public cloud services. The company also revealed that it designs custom chips, “including a hardware security chip that is currently being deployed on both servers and peripherals,” that allow it to “securely identify and authenticate legitimate Google devices at the hardware level.” The chip works with cryptographic signatures validated during each boot or update. Continue reading Newly Published Google Overview Spells Out Security Details

Intel Unveils Mixed Reality Headset, Drone, Joule Maker Board

At the Intel Developer Forum, the company showed several new technology projects, including Project Alloy, an unusual “mixed reality” headset; a quadcopter “ready-to-fly” drone aimed at software developers; and a new Joule maker board designed as a platform for computer vision products. The company, which plans to collaborate with Microsoft on the mixed reality headset, says it does not need to be connected to a high-powered personal computer, as do other headsets, most notably Oculus Rift. Continue reading Intel Unveils Mixed Reality Headset, Drone, Joule Maker Board

Facebook Open-Sources Designs for Surround 360 Camera

Facebook just put the blueprint and software for its 17-lens Surround 360 stereoscopic 3D camera on GitHub, fulfilling a promise the company made earlier to make the camera design, assembly instructions, control software and stitching software available for free. Facebook’s move is seen as an effort to enable more people to create 360-degree immersive videos. By open-sourcing the camera’s construction and operation, developers will be able to create products and speed up the development of the marketplace. Continue reading Facebook Open-Sources Designs for Surround 360 Camera

Microsoft Releases Code to Linux and Mac OS for First Time

Microsoft released .NET Core 1.0, a software development platform for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems, marking the first time that the company has officially supported the two primary competitors to its own operating system. The source code was originally released in 2014, for testing. Linux vendor Red Hat will support it on its Red Hat Enterprise Linux OS. Because .NET Core is open source, developers will be able to configure it to their needs as well as use it for free to develop their own applications. Continue reading Microsoft Releases Code to Linux and Mac OS for First Time

Expanding Internet Access May Be Key to Facebook’s Growth

In its attempts to triple the size of Facebook, now at 1.6 billion members, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has embraced technology based on open source (freely shared code) and is building wireless antennas. The goal is to make the Internet accessible and affordable to those who don’t yet have it, mainly rural and developing nations. In doing so, Facebook is treading into territory so far dominated by companies such as Cisco Systems and Ericsson, potentially impacting their bottom line. Continue reading Expanding Internet Access May Be Key to Facebook’s Growth

What Began as April Fool’s Day Joke is Now $49 VR Headset

Google Cardboard is no longer the only inexpensive VR headset around. From Oakland, CA-based hardware collective Next Thing Co. comes Pockulus, a $49 portable game console that consists of a palm-sized computer and 3D-printed facemask. The tiny computer that runs Pockulus is CHIP, which was the company’s successful seller at $9 per unit. The idea to repurpose CHIP as a VR controller was an April Fool’s Day joke that is now a real product. It requires some DIY, mainly 3D printing the bezel that fits the display on the face. Continue reading What Began as April Fool’s Day Joke is Now $49 VR Headset

Open-Source Companies Turn to Proprietary Code for Profits

Open-source projects and operating systems are in offerings from Facebook, Twitter, Uber Technologies and operating systems such as Linux at the foundation of servers, financial trading platforms and Android phones. But businesses based on open-source code find it hard to make a profit, and sell tech support and consulting services for revenue. Even those that spin off companies from open-source projects don’t make big profits. The solution, some are finding, is to create proprietary code to support the free tools. Continue reading Open-Source Companies Turn to Proprietary Code for Profits

Open Source Kubernetes Helps Make Google Cloud Contender

Google isn’t usually focused on open source projects, but the company now dominates the market for cluster managers with its open source Kubernetes software. Developed originally for internal use, Kubernetes gives corporations a way to manage clusters of containers, which are building blocks of code with a small application, designed to work across platforms and servers. Although it’s not a revenue source for Google, Kubernetes is a key technology in making Google a serious contender in the enterprise cloud. Continue reading Open Source Kubernetes Helps Make Google Cloud Contender

Valve to Launch New PC-Based Console for the Living Room

Valve plans to release the first of its Steam Machines, a hybrid between PC-based and console gaming, to consumers on November 10th. The Linux-based device will be produced by Alienware, and combines the graphical capabilities of a traditional desktop PC with the usability of a home console. Coupled with the Steam Machine will be a new gamepad featuring two haptic touchpads that Valve claims will offer the precision of a mouse and keyboard control scheme. It will launch in three models ranging from $499 to $749. Continue reading Valve to Launch New PC-Based Console for the Living Room

21 Bitcoin Computer Enables Machine-to-Machine Payments

When Andreessen Horowitz established Bitcoin startup 21 Inc., the goal was to turning Bitcoin into an Internet protocol or common language between connected devices, enabling machine-to-machine payments. The company just unveiled its first product and first step on the path to that end. The 21 Bitcoin Computer, which will go on sale Monday for $400 and ship in November, is aimed at developers, not consumers, and offers the Bitcoin protocol as a feature of its Linux-based operating system. Continue reading 21 Bitcoin Computer Enables Machine-to-Machine Payments

Intel Looks to RealSense, Wearables, Creates Reality TV Show

As growth slows in the chip market, Intel is turning to a variety of other related industries to keep the revenue flowing. The company has turned to the burgeoning field of wearables, creating tiny chips and circuit board modules that can fit into the form factors and designs favored by wearable creators. It is also pushing RealSense, technologies that bring hearing and vision functionality to devices. To keep in the public eye, the company is also launching a reality TV show with Mark Burnett and Turner Broadcasting. Continue reading Intel Looks to RealSense, Wearables, Creates Reality TV Show

Linux to Go: Nvidia GRID Delivers Virtualization, Performance

Linux production environments can now leverage Nvidia’s recently introduced GRID technology to power VMware’s Horizon 6 for Linux and provide visual effects and animation artists anywhere, on any device, with virtual Linux workstations running their familiar high-end applications. Nvidia’s VP of Enterprise Marketing Greg Estes showed a virtual workstation running simulations in Maya on the SIGGRAPH floor in Los Angeles with the application, processors and Nvidia’s GRID and CUDA technologies installed in a data center hundreds of miles away in Northern California. Continue reading Linux to Go: Nvidia GRID Delivers Virtualization, Performance

New Emergency Patches for Flash Steps Up Calls for Its Demise

To patch two critical zero-day vulnerabilities, Adobe Systems issued an emergency update for its Flash media player. That’s in addition to a previously unknown vulnerability discovered over a week ago in a 400-gigabyte data dump published after hackers rooted the servers of Hacking Team. That bug allowed hackers to covertly install malware on end-user computers. Mozilla now blocks the hacker-susceptible Flash, and several industry leaders are calling for Adobe to pull the plug on the bug-infested media player. Continue reading New Emergency Patches for Flash Steps Up Calls for Its Demise

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