Nvidia Thunders Into Tablet Zone with Tegra Note

Taking to its company blog, Nvidia announced on Wednesday that it was taking the wraps off its new tablet platform called Tegra Note, powered by its Tegra 4 reference design.

Doing so creates plenty of tablet-watching talking points, including its suggested price and feature set. Earlier this year, there was a lot of talk about a forthcoming Tegra Tab, now known as Tegra Note -- a platform that will be translated into real-life tablets by Nvidia's partners.

The seven-inch Tegra Note tablets will be available next month with a Nvidia-suggested price of $199. That price, said Matt Wuebbling, director of Nvidia's product marketing, "will help many more people experience the new technologies going into Tegra Note, including its 100 percent Android OS."

Following Nvidia's Tegra 3 reference design, the Tegra 4 design will translate into a quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU, and 72-core GeForce GPU, rear and front cameras, advanced imaging features, microSD card slot, and a micro HDMI port.

Nvidia says the Tegra Note should be able to deliver 10 hours of battery life while playing video. Features also call for a slide cover that allows a tablet to be set up in three distinct positions using built-in magnets for flexibility.

The key draw is the Tegra Note's stylus feature. The stylus takes advantage of Nvidia's DirectStylus technology. Tablet users can expect pressure-sensitive input from the passive stylus, which can be used to draw lines of different widths through varied applied pressure.

Supported by the image-processing power of Tegra 4's GPU, DirectStylus recognizes the difference between fine-tip stylus, finger, eraser and palm. This next-level stylus allows the user to apply both finer point and broader stroke control. What's more, users can write on the screen using the stylus as a pen and its opposite end can be used as an eraser.

A...

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Nvidia Thunders Into Tablet Zone with Tegra Note

Taking to its company blog, Nvidia announced on Wednesday that it was taking the wraps off its new tablet platform called Tegra Note, powered by its Tegra 4 reference design.

Doing so creates plenty of tablet-watching talking points, including its suggested price and feature set. Earlier this year, there was a lot of talk about a forthcoming Tegra Tab, now known as Tegra Note -- a platform that will be translated into real-life tablets by Nvidia's partners.

The seven-inch Tegra Note tablets will be available next month with a Nvidia-suggested price of $199. That price, said Matt Wuebbling, director of Nvidia's product marketing, "will help many more people experience the new technologies going into Tegra Note, including its 100 percent Android OS."

Following Nvidia's Tegra 3 reference design, the Tegra 4 design will translate into a quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU, and 72-core GeForce GPU, rear and front cameras, advanced imaging features, microSD card slot, and a micro HDMI port.

Nvidia says the Tegra Note should be able to deliver 10 hours of battery life while playing video. Features also call for a slide cover that allows a tablet to be set up in three distinct positions using built-in magnets for flexibility.

The key draw is the Tegra Note's stylus feature. The stylus takes advantage of Nvidia's DirectStylus technology. Tablet users can expect pressure-sensitive input from the passive stylus, which can be used to draw lines of different widths through varied applied pressure.

Supported by the image-processing power of Tegra 4's GPU, DirectStylus recognizes the difference between fine-tip stylus, finger, eraser and palm. This next-level stylus allows the user to apply both finer point and broader stroke control. What's more, users can write on the screen using the stylus as a pen and its opposite end can be used as an eraser.

A...

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Facebook Talks Internet.org’s Plans To Open Up the Web

Can the Internet be made so efficient that it's affordable for the whole world? A new white paper, released this week by an organization set up by Facebook and several other technology companies, lays out strategies and projects to do just that.

The 70-page "Focus on Efficiency" white paper, from the Internet.org organization created in August by Facebook, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Samsung, MediaTek, Nokia and Opera, outlines a variety of projects designed to provide dramatic improvements in the Net's efficiency.

Internet.org's mission is to make the Web more affordable, and the projects announced this week focus on data compression, application efficiency, server efficiency and other ways to improve the economics and thus increase the reach of the 21st century's most important technology. Currently, about 2.4 billion people of the planet's 7 billion people have Internet access.

'A Human Right'

"As founding members of Internet.org," the paper says, "we believe it's possible to build infrastructure that will sustainably provide free access to basic Internet services in a way that enables everyone with a phone to connect to the Internet."

The first efforts will focus on making access less expensive, increasing data efficiency, and assisting businesses in increasing access. To do that, the costs of data will need to be reduced, and greater efficiency will need to reduce data transmission requirements.

The white paper said that if a 10x improvement can be achieved on these fronts, "it becomes economically reasonable to offer free basic services to those who cannot afford them, and to begin sustainably delivering on the promise of connectivity as a human right."

In the paper, Facebook described some of its efforts. For instance, the social networking giant is using a system it created, Air Traffic Control, to help simulate different network conditions in its offices, with the ability to tweak bandwidth, packet loss, corrupted packets or...

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What You’ll Find as iOS 7 Rolls Out Today

Apple released the long-awaited iOS 7 today. Even though it's a major change to the iOS ecosystem, there are some things included in the new operating system that you can't see just by looking at it.

The biggest change -- which can be seen right away -- is that iOS 7 is colorful and almost all of the main applications look and act differently. Outside of that, there are actually some really important changes under the hood in iOS 7. Let's take a look.

AirDrop, Multitasking, and Siri

Many smartphones have begun offering local file sharing between devices but until now, Apple has not included any feature of that nature in iOS. That changes with the inclusion in iOS 7 of AirDrop, a feature which allows users to share files, photos, videos, contacts, etc., with other nearby iPhone users.

A lot of applications that allow local file sharing utilize WiFi, but AirDrop enables sharing over Bluetooth as well.

Multitasking has been a part of the iPhone feature set since iOS 4 was released, but limitations have made it hard for some applications to utilize. Now, Apple has loosened the reins on iOS multitasking, allowing more apps to run in the background, performing various tasks even when they are not open.

Just like with many of the other new features in iOS 7, the design for multitasking is completely different than it was in iOS 6. Instead of seeing a small row of icons near the bottom of your screen, double tapping the home button will pull up a card-based interface to browse through and see which applications are still open in the background.

When the Siri voice-command and response system launched with iOS 6, people thought it would change everything. Unfortunately, the features of the voice recognition service have been lackluster, and Siri's usefulness has been...

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Microsoft Pushes Workaround for IE Emergency

Software giant Microsoft just woke up from a bad dream. Redmond is facing a zero-day vulnerability in all versions of its Internet Explorer browser and has rushed an urgent fix for the bug.

Microsoft is officially investigating public reports of the vulnerability and admits it is aware of targeted attacks that attempt to exploit the zero-day flaw in Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9. Redmond was fast on its feet to release a workaround known as the "CVE-2013-3893 MSHTML Shim Workaround," to prevent hackers from exploiting the software.

The company said it is dealing with a remote code execution vulnerability. It seems there's a flaw in the way IE accesses an object in memory that has been deleted or hasn't been properly allocated.

"The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer," Microsoft said in a security advisory. "An attacker could host a specially crafted Web site that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the Web site."

Good News, Bad News

We caught up with Paul Henry, a security and forensic analyst at Lumension, to get his thoughts on the workaround. He told us there's good news and bad news here. The good news is there are many mitigating factors. The bad news is this is a very wide-reaching workaround, affecting all versions of IE across all operating systems, from XP to RT.

"And more bad news: the average user is very susceptible to being hit with this. The average user does not run the restricted sites mode, is not using the Enhanced Security Configuration, and [may be] all too willing to click on phishing emails," Henry said.

"I recommend employing the mitigating factors, as well...

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Tech Startups Predict Encryptions To Go Mainstream

Encryption is on the verge of going mainstream. In this age of corporate cyberspies and government snoops, the ancient art of encoding messages is something ordinary citizens will soon come to view as an essential service.

At least that's what several tech start-ups are anticipating. On Monday, Wickr, a free app that encrypts text, voice and video messages, became available on the Android platform.

Wickr leaves no trace of your cybermusings on servers or on the device. It was introduced in June 2012 for Apple iOS. Company co-founder Nico Sell champions a return to traditional notions of privacy, and she advocates boycotting Facebook.

Sell wants her daughters, ages 4 and 12, to be able to freely express themselves online without fear of being exploited or put in harm's way. "Private correspondence is a fundamental human right that's extremely important to a free society," says Sell. Facebook and other big Internet companies are ostensibly advertising platforms designed to monetize personal information, she says.

In a similar vein, start-ups Silent Circle, Koolspan and Seecrypt offer systems that use encryption to lock down cellphone calls and e-mails. These services are aimed at corporate executives and employees who routinely work on sensitive projects.

"Various groups are spying, stealing information and organizing fraud against individuals and organizations around the world," says Jon Callas, co-founder and chief technology officer of Silent Circle. "People see the need for defense against these threats."

These new personalized encryption services enable individuals to wrest back ownership of their online behaviors. That's a potential challenge to tech giants and media companies whose business models revolve around tracking what you say, where you navigate and, with GPS, where you are physically located. This is driven primarily to better sell advertising.

Wider use of locked-down phone calls, e-mails and messaging could slow the current iterations of Internet commerce. But by...

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Nokia Lumia 1520 To Debut in October

Taking to its Twitter feed, Nokia all but announced its next significant product reveal date. The phone maker tweeted: "At Nokia, we never stop innovating. More to share on October 22." The tease leads us to believe Nokia is prepping a Lumia 1520 smartphone and possibly an RT tablet for debut this fall.

The announcement comes after rumors that Nokia had to delay the event because of Microsoft's recent acquisition of Nokia's devices and services unit. Word on the street says Microsoft did not want Nokia to announce a tablet or phone so close to its own second-generation Surface announcement, which is expected later this month.

Nokia Lumia 1520

The Nokia Lumia 1520 has been rumored for months, with tons of information regarding the flagship device leaked online. Although we do not know for certain that the 1520 will be unveiled on October 22, odds-makers predict it will.

Rumors also suggest the Lumia 1520 will include a 1080p screen. If that is true, it will be the first Windows 8 Phone with such a high-resolution display.

The phone is expected to launch with a 6-inch display, making the 1080p resolution very beneficial to the overall user experience. Since Nokia loves high-end cameras in its phones, many anticipate the 1520 will come equipped with a 16-megapixel Pureview camera.

Other rumors suggest it will include a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor.

Microsoft's Nokia Acquisition

It appears as though the main reason for the October announcement -- instead of a September date -- is that Microsoft swooped in and acquired a large portion of Nokia. The deal has yet to close, but once it does, Microsoft will be paying $7.2 billion for Nokia's devices and services unit.

Microsoft originally tried to acquire Nokia back in June but the deal fell through. Even though Nokia's Lumia 1020 has not been an immensely popular...

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Clip-On Sensor Turns iPad Into 3D Scanner

Capture a 3D model of a room, or create 3D images of objects, just by walking around the space or the objects with a tablet equipped with a clip-on sensor. That's the idea behind the first 3D sensor specifically designed for mobile devices.

In addition to capturing 3D models, the Structure Sensor, from a startup called Occipital, is also designed for playing augmented reality games that utilize 3D sensing. The product is now attracting attention as the company tries to raise funds on the crowdsourcing Web site, Kickstarter. As of Tuesday, the firm had raised more than $110,000 on the site, exceeding its goal of $100,000 -- and it still has 44 days to go.

The sensor instantly captures the 3D models in file formats that can be used for CAD or for 3D printers. It is specifically designed for Apple's fourth-generation iPad, although the company says it will also work with other, unspecified mobile devices. Other iPad models, the company said, will be supported with upcoming model-specific brackets.

Scan, Print Your Own

Or, if you didn't want to wait for other model brackets, it would be possible to scan the iPad 4 bracket and, using 3D software, modify it for the desired device and then print your own on a 3D printer. Any iOS device that uses the Lightning connector can stream data from the sensor, including the iPad mini, iPhone 5, 5c or 5s. The sensor connects to the devices via USB.

"The goal," said Occipital on Kickstarter, "was to make a device that enabled incredible 3D sensing applications, was easy to use, had great battery life, was compact, and looked like beautiful, precision hardware."

The range of the sensor starts at 40 cm and extends to over 3.5 meters, which the company said means that it can "easily capture anything from a...

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What’s the Truth About iPhone 5c Sales?

Like clockwork, Apple announces how many pre-orders of the latest iPhone it has on record the Monday after it makes the hyped-up announcement. Those figures are always record breaking.

This Monday, Sept. 16, there was no announcement.

For all the talk around the lower-cost, plastic-styled iPhone 5c before it was unveiled, there's just as much chatter about what appeared to be less than a standing ovation in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and beyond.

Wall Street took notice, and Apple's stock dipped on Monday. After closing at $465 on Friday, the iPhone-maker's shares lost $15 in value on Monday.

It should be noted, of course, that you can't pre-order the iPhone 5s this time around. Consumers will have to stand in lines for those devices. (How long those lines will be remains to be seen.) But why the iPhone 5C is posting questionable sales is, well, questionable.

Don't Worry, They'll Buy

Is there really a problem with Apple iPhone 5c pre-sale numbers in the United States and China? Or is Apple holding the numbers for some other reason?

We asked Jeff Kagan, a wireless analyst in Atlanta, for his take on the hubbub. He told us speculation abounds about why Apple's pre-sale numbers are reportedly so weak in China -- and so far nonexistent here in the U.S.

"Is this a bad omen? Give me a break," Kagan said. "How about this is simply a maturing marketplace and nothing is really wrong at all? Although, growing competitive forces play a role as well."

Kagan questions why anyone would wait in long lines around the block or pre-order when you can simply pick up your new phone whenever you want. He thinks of it like a marriage: When you were dating, you couldn't wait to be together. Years later, after you got married that need faded.

"You still...

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IBM Bets Another Billion on Linux

Big Blue made another billion-dollar announcement on Tuesday. At LinuxCon 2013, IBM pledged to invest $1 billion in new Linux and open-source technologies for its Power Systems servers.

The goal: to help clients capitalize on big data and cloud computing with modern systems built to handle the new wave of applications coming to the data center in the post-PC era.

"Many companies are struggling to manage big data and cloud computing using commodity servers based on decades-old, PC era technology," said IBM Fellow and vice president of Power Development Brad McCredie. "These servers are quickly overrun by data which triggers the purchase of more servers, creating un-sustainable server sprawl. The era of big data calls for a new approach to IT systems; one that is open, customizable, and designed from the ground up to handle big data and cloud workloads."

Another Flurry of Innovation?

IBM announced a new Power Systems Linux Center in Montpellier, France, a hub where software developers can build and deploy new applications for Big Data, cloud, mobile and social business computing on open technology building blocks using Linux and the latest IBM POWER7+ processor technology. The first center opened in Beijing in May. Additional centers are located in New York City and Austin, Texas.

And to serve the growing number of developers, business partners and clients interested in running Linux on Power Systems, IBM is expanding its Power Systems cloud for development. The no-charge cloud service is ramping up its infrastructure to provide more businesses the ability to prototype, build, port, and test Linux applications on the Power platform as well as applications built for AIX and IBM i.

"The last time IBM committed $1 billion to Linux, it helped start a flurry of innovation that has never slowed. IBM's continued investments in Linux for Power Systems...

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