Google Glass: are they really worth £1,000?

Despite the eye-watering cost, Google has been anxious to point out that the technology is still in its prototype phase. So what should early adopters expect from the “geeky goggles”?

What is Google Glass?

Google describes the device as a “wearable computing device designed to make it easier to bring people the technology they need without distracting them from the world around them”.

Effectively, Glass is “a cross between a smartphone and a pair of glasses”, The Times says, with a transparent heads-up display projected onto a piece of silicone that lets users see information by looking up and slightly to the right. The device also has a speaker that can play audio softly into a user’s ear.

Like a smartphone, Glass runs third-party apps that can be accessed through a touchpad on the device’s right arm. They can also be controlled with voice commands which are triggered by the phrase “Ok Glass”.

What kinds of things can it do?

Currently Glass can show maps, display emails and text messages, take photos and videos and provide search results, news reports and weather updates. Like smartphones, the functions of Glass will expand as software developers build new applications to run on it.

Is using Glass distracting?

Despite Google’s claims of unobtrusiveness, the UK’s Department of Transport pre-emptively banned drivers from wearing Glass last year, Wired reports. “It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road,” a spokesman for the department said at the time. A number of American states, including Illinois and New Jersey, have also moved to ban drivers from using Google Glass while on the road.

Reasons to give Glass a try

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has called Glass a way to “free your eyes”, and described smartphones as “emasculating”, The Guardian reports. The company created a video showing the kinds of things users might be able to do with the device.

Since it went on sale in the US, the device has been subject to a broad range of privacy objections, ridicule and theft.

The company is fighting to combat the “glasshole” tag that follows users of the product. In February, the company released an etiquette guide for people with the new headwear, including tips such as “don’t be creepy” by taking photos of people without their permission, and don’t “glass-out” by spending long periods staring into space.

The smartglasses are also still in “beta” – or prototype – form, and the company warns that early adopters should not expect the product to be completely polished.

“We want it to get it better and better before it goes to a wider audience,” said Ivy Ross, head of Google Glass.

While some people within the industry may be excited by the UK launch of Glass, Stuart Miles, founder of technology website Pocket-lint, told the Daily Mail that he believes the average consumer “still requires some convincing that Glass is the future of tech”.

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Android Wear: will anyone buy a Google smartwatch?

As the first generation of Android Wear smartwatches go on sale, analysts are asking whether the Google-powered gadgets will bring the technology into the mainstream – or prove to be a passing fad.

The LG G Watch, the Samsung Gear Live and the Motorola all feature Android Wear, a version of its mobile operating system designed specifically for smartwatches and other wearable gadgets.
What does Android Wear do?

It’s based on Google’s Android operating system, which is used in the majority of the world’s smartphones, and has been adapted for smaller screens and more limited interfaces. Instead of icons and menus, it responds to wipes and voice commands, triggered by the phrase “OK Google”.

Android Wear devices aim to “show you relevant information, and make sure you never miss an important message, while letting you stay engaged with the people that you are actually with”, said David Singleton, director of engineering in Google’s Android division.

Notifications can be sent from a phone to the smartwatches so that emails, text messages, reminders and alerts can be read without a user having to retrieve his or her phone. The smartwatches also display maps and directions, which Google believes will be one of the most important applications for the devices.

Like a smartphone, Android Wear watches will also run apps that will extend their functionality, so you will be able to order food or hail a taxi.
Why does Android Wear matter?

Google’s operating system is intended to bring some clarity to the question of what a smartwatch is for. “The problem with smartwatches so far has been that the sector hasn’t quite decided what it wants to be,” Steffen Sorrell of the Juniper Research consultancy, told the BBC. “Is it a phone on your wrist or an accessory device? Once you introduce Android Wear, it will hopefully provide a more focused case for what the devices are capable of. And that’s a direction that could invigorate the market.”
Will anyone wear Android Wear?

CNET’s Eric Mack believes that it is going to take a while before ordinary people adopt smartwatches. “While we in the tech media are all losing our minds, the vast majority of Americans… couldn’t care less,” Mack writes. One group of users who definitely won’t be buying into the range of new smartwatches is iPhone owners, as the operating system won’t work with their phones.
How do Android Wear watches look?

“Aesthetics is what will help sell Android Wear devices,” says Greenbot’s Florence Ion. In her hands-on review of the Motorola Moto 360 and the Samsung Gear Live, Ion concludes that both companies have managed to get the styling right: “They’re svelte. They’re stock. And maybe Google’s influence is what will help drive the wearables market forward after all,” Ion said.

In a hands-on test of the Samsung Gear Live, Gizmodo’s Brent Rose praised the smartwatch’s sleek feel and solid construction but criticised the device’s battery, which currently only lasts “about a day”.

While the clasps on the strap are a little insecure and the heart rate monitor only takes measurements when instructed to do so, overall Rose says he was impressed: “Turns out smartwatches could be great,” Rose concludes.

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Both Samsung and LG to launch smartphones with flexible screens in September?

Looks like the Korean duo is preparing to yet again bless the world with flexible screen-equipped smartphones in September. According to DigiTimes‘ sources, Samsung may launch a device with its three-sided Youm display technology and as far as we (don’t) know, that could be the forthcoming Galaxy Note 4. Speaking of which, it may be available in two different versions, one with a regular flat screen and the other with fancy Youm display.

Meanwhile, LG may go for a device that has a G Flex-like flexible display. It may not be successor of that model — we’ve heard the Flex 2 won’t be available until next year — but some other device. Perhaps now’s the right time to bring flexible screens to mainstream users. We like how that sounds. ;)

It remains to be seen whether consumers will flock in numbers to get phones with flexible displays. Last year’s Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex are far from being considered bestsellers; perhaps this time round both Samsung and LG find a way to make their high-end gear sexier in the eyes of the users. We’ll see…

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How Chromecast will talk to smartphones without Wi-Fi or Bluetooth

Google revealed yesterday that it will allow its Chromecast streaming stick to cast content without being on the same Wi-Fi network as the device sending it. According to a session Thursday, the Chromecast will be able to pair without Wi-Fi, or even Bluetooth, via an unusual method: ultrasonic tones.

GigaOm reports on Thursday’s Google I/O session with Chromecast engineering manager John Affaki, in which he described the use case for multiple devices queuing up content to one Chromecast. At a party, for instance, not everyone who wants to throw a YouTube video up on the TV with their smartphone is going to have the home’s Wi-Fi password. The product team needed a new way to make the devices and the Chromecast talk.

In the new system, Chromecast owners first allow support for nearby devices. A nearby device then requests access to the Chromecast, and the Chromecast plays an ultrasonic sound through the connected TV’s speakers. The sound is then picked up by the microphone in the device, which allows it to pair with the TV.

Based on a demo from a Google engineer last year, the sounds aren’t just used for simple confirmation that two devices are in the same room. Instead, the Chromecast likely uses a combination of tones that can be encoded with data to communicate a message. This limits the bandwidth and reliability of the transaction, but for a simple exchange like pairing, it’s a fine solution. Below is a video of Boris Smus, “sonic networking” creator, using tones to send messages between a computer and a phone.

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10 Future Technologies You Need to Understand Now – Part Two

Nvidia GRID

Desktop virtualization has done wonders for IT departments looking to speed and simplify PC deployment for enterprise task workers. But rendering a 3D model over a VDI connection can be like watching grass grow. That’s about to change thanks to GRID, a series of server-side PCIe GPUs from Nvidia that time-slice hundreds or thousands of graphics cores among as many as 32 of the server’s hosted VDI users. A small Windows app works with a modified hypervisor to compress and transfer the pixels at close to real time, making apps such as AutoCAD run like they’re local. Linux and Mac OS clients are expected this summer. Pricing starts at $2500; it supports hypervisors from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware. The video card maker in May launched a site that allows resellers to test Nvidia GRID for free.

SIMD.js

JavaScript is the de facto language for web apps. CSS is what’s behind the user interface. Together as HTML5, they’ve become the best cross-platform building blocks that humans have yet to devise. But obstacles remain, including access to native hardware and performance. A project spearheaded by Intel is breaking through the roadblocks between HTML5 apps and the underlying hardware, at last giving apps direct access to host processors and the compute-intensive apps that portends. With help from Google and Mozilla, the SIMD.js project endeavors to build a JavaScript library that brings the performance gains of single-instruction, multiple-data (SIMD) instructions inside modern ARM and Intel processors to web apps. Previously possible only with native code, the technique opens the browser to perceptual computing, speech and facial recognition, and of course 2-D and 3-D

Cryptocurrency

Like it or not, cryptocurrency is a fact of the modern age, and every serious business should at least understand how it works. Of the dozens of cryptocurrencies in use today, the oldest and most widely known is Bitcoin. At the heart of the the Bitcoin system is an open-source application that’s deployed by individuals or companies that compete to securely process transactions. Whenever currency changes hands, the transaction is verified by the software and a secure signature is added. The transaction is then anonymously recorded and stored in the network and a small commission (in bitcoin) is paid to the owner of the bitcoin server that “won” the transaction. In this way, bitcoins are slowly put into circulation at an ever decreasing rate and with a cap of 21 million. Bitcoins are traded in bitcoin exchanges just like those of other currencies. Transactions involve no financial institutions and are untraceable, which has drawn scrutiny from regulators.

Simple Bank

While bank-free transactions appear to have secured a part of the future world economy, traditional bank accounts are still a part of today’s reality for most businesses. But what about physical branches? Trying to prove they’re obsolete is Simple Bank, which in 2012 went to beta with its all-electronic banking system and now has more than 40,000 customers and assets in excess of $1 billion. Accounts are FDIC-insured through The Bankcorp, a private-label banking service provider that caters to “branchless banking,” ATM transactions carry no surcharge and checks are deposited via smartphone camera. In February, Simple was acquired for $117 million by BBVA, an international banking conglomerate headquartered in Spain.

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10 Future Technologies You Need to Understand Now

Future Technologies

Stay on top or be left behind. That’s been the rallying cry for coaches in business, sports and life in general. Technologies have a way of catching up on businesses, which often focus more on keeping up with day-to-day activities and less on staying abreast of what the future might have in store. Take General Electric for a recent cautionary tale. Once the world’s biggest, the company recently announced a $1 billion investment in its software business to play catch-up with the likes of IBM.

Understanding technologies of the future is key to playing a successful role in it. Here are 10 emerging technologies with the potential to dominate the high-tech landscape in the coming decade. Many relate to the Internet of Things, which for that reason is first on the list.

The Internet of Things

The so-called “Internet of Things” is getting lots of attention these days. But what is it? If you already understand the concept of embedded systems–like those running in cars–then just add an IP stack and you’re up to speed on IoT. The Earth of 2020 will be coated by 25 billion autonomous web-connected devices that collaborate to serve mankind, according to research by Gartner. These devices will be watching homes and offices, alerting us of suspicious activities, monitoring the power grid to keep energy systems running at peak efficiency, streaming media and health alerts and ensuring that all of our environmental and automation systems keep running. The IoT is also the cloud, where most business and computing will get done in the future, and it is ripe with opportunity for solution providers.

Nest

A group of former Apple engineers sought to personalize the IoT in 2010 and make it meaningful to people’s lives. The result was Nest Labs, which had an idea so unique and useful that in January it was worth $3.2 billion to Google. The company’s flagship, the Nest Thermostat, works like a modern programmable model. However, it’s controlled with a mobile device, monitors your activity while home and away to maximize the efficiency of energy usage and communicates with the utility company to help minimize your bills and control energy prices for the general community. There’s also a smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector. For managed service providers, Next and others like it offer opportunities to help customers automate their environmental systems and provide ongoing maintenance services.

Peloton

Peloton is the French word for platoon, and for truck fleets it means using technology to electronically combine two or more individual vehicles into a convoy to increase safety, reduce driver fatigue and save as much as $100,000 or more in fuel costs per truck per year. Peloton Technology is a 2011 venture-funded startup that’s currently beta testing a system combining GPS, wireless communications, blind-spot video monitoring and forward collision avoidance systems similar to today’s adaptive cruise control. According to the company, its system mitigates “the most common truck accidents,” and in tests with pairs of trucks, they’ve seen fuel savings of 4.5 percent for the lead truck and 10 percent for the back rig. The system is capable of controlling larger vehicle groups and might even persuade competitive freight haulers to work together more.

Wi-Fi 802.11ac

You might have noticed new letters with or instead of the a/b/g/n that usually accompanies a Wi-Fi spec. Many new mobile devices now include the 801.11ac spec and its support for wireless speeds up to 1.3 Gbps. But most organizations still lack the infrastructure to make it work. This spells an opportunity for resellers to prepare customer Wi-Fi networks for the future. All that’s needed is an access point (AP) that supports the new spec. Approved in January, the 802.11ac works by expanding the capacities of the 802.11n spec. The new spec supports single-link throughput of up to 500 Mbps, doubles the number of spatial streams to eight and optionally widens the channel bandwidth from 40 MHz to 160 MHz, with a mandatory width of 80 MHz. The 802.11ac spec is backward compatible with 802.11n and operates on the same 5GHz band.

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iSolv Technologies gearing up for biggest gathering of southern African intelligence industry

The company will display its range of security products at its exhibition stand, from 15-17 July, at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Next month will see intelligence and security experts from all over southern Africa gathering at the Sandton Convention Centre for the ISS (Intelligence Support Systems) World South Africa.

ISS World South Africa is the world’s largest gathering of African law enforcement, intelligence and homeland security analysts as well as telecom operators responsible for lawful interception, hi-tech electronic investigations and network intelligence gathering.

South African leading security and intelligence monitoring company, iSolv Technologies, will be heavily represented at the conference.

iSolv CEO Jayesh Nana and CTO Tumisho Matlala are on the list of speakers at the event.

iSolv is also looking forward to interacting with conference attendees at its exhibition stand.

The conference will present methods and useful tools for the industry (law enforcement, public safety and government intelligence communities) to use in the fight against cyber crime, including drug trafficking, cyber money laundering, human trafficking, terrorism and other criminal activities conducted over today’s telecommunications network and the Internet.

iSolv Technologies has a range of security products to counter cyber crime, and more information on this will be available at its exhibition stand.

The event will run from 15-17 July 2014 and sessions will cover different topics including the next-generation of IP interception, social network monitoring, secure human intelligence, mass monitoring, covert intrusion and collection solution for smartphones and tablets, as well as other related topics.

Other interesting seminars that will form part of the conference include a focus on the “dark Web” and Bitcoin-based transactions.

The invention of Bitcoin has long held the attention of the online community, with interest in who created Bitcoin leading the world media into a frantic search for the inventor.

It is still not clear who the inventor of Bitcoin is.

IBM predicts there will be a trillion interconnected devices by 2015 – quick math says that is 143 devices per living being.

The need for online security has never been more important and so the ISS conference is such a timely event for the industry.

Matthew Lucas, a computer scientist and VP at TeleStrategies, will chair the session on how the Web is getting darker, and will take a novel look at the spectrum of devices entering the market (eg, sensor technologies, telematics, wearable technologies); what all these devices are purported to do; how criminals are leveraging these devices; and discuss the broad and furious implications for law enforcement and intelligence analysts.

There will also be a pre-conference training session ahead of the conference (on 15 July) where people attending the seminars will be taught about social media and intelligence investigations; the successful use of online social media in criminal investigations; Facebook tools, tricks, and techniques that investigators need to know; as well as other topics.

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The Aldi tablet – That sounds good

That sounds good: 399 euros will cost the Medion P9516 LifeTab at Aldi. However, you get a flat computer of the 10-inch class with dual-core processor, Wi-Fi, UMTS and 32 GB of flash memory. Yes, 399 euros will cost the Medion P9516 LifeTab at discount supermarkets Aldi, equipped with 32 GB of memory, Wi-Fi and UMTS. Apple’s iPad with comparable equipment is more expensive in the current version 300 euros. However, hardware and software of the new Medion tablets not current.

Therefore, if you compare it with the previous model better iPad 2, Apple has continued to offer. Apple provides the iPad 2 with only 16 GB of memory. The wireless version it costs just as much as the Aldi Tablet, including UMTS module but you have to spend even 519 Euro. In addition, in every respect, the Medion device is not only heavier than the iPad 2 (750 instead of 613 grams), but also much thicker (13.3 instead of 8.8 mm).

It feels clunky and difficult, at least if you are used an iPad. However, it also offers some technically what some miss the Apple tablet. So you can extend the built-in memory via microSD card or “transferred from a USB flash drive and connect input devices such as keyboard and mouse” data via USB host function, such as the manufacturer advertises.

True, but a USB port on the tablet has not yet. Instead, a USB adapter for the so-called multi-function cable included. Ever plugged in, just like once with the Aldi PC, plenty of accessories in the box. In addition to AC adapter and USB adapter is an HDMI cable to connect to TV while, also USB cable for connecting to PC, two cleaning cloths, a screen protector, a cheap headset, a leather pouch, plenty of leaflets and a starter pack for the Aldi Talk prepaid wireless service.

Sometimes a bit slow

Less satisfactory, but it should open the covers of the slots for SIM and memory card. To unlock it, you have to press hard with a supplied bracket in small holes next to the covers. Unfortunately, this clip is shaped like a thin metal that is feared on the first try to cancel it. If that happens, the loss would be bearable, because an ordinary paper clip will do the job just as well.

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Apple, Amazon and Microsoft in a fierce competition for the tablet business

Apple, Amazon and Microsoft engaged in a fierce competition for the tablet business. Now, the market research firm IHS iSuppli, the material costs of iPad mini, Surface and Kindle Fire HD discovered compared and that the profit margins is changed drastically.The current generation of the pad manufacturers are experimenting with new sales models and mixed calculations.

Microsoft Surface estimates iSuppli expert Rassweiler, would cost in the sum of the parts about $ 271 for the most basic 32-gigabyte version (without cover). The display of Samsung suppliers do it with around $ 137 for about half of these costs. In the store, the unit is finally for $ 499. Rassweiler recognizes that compared to the costs it is relatively low selling price. It is intended to attract potential tablet buyers and purchasing for products that are more expensive. The cost Microsoft in manufacturing around $ 16, but will sell for $ 120.

The business with the accessories

How well it can work a deal, Amazon has already shown us with the very expensive Kindle Covers. Sometimes the cost are half as much as the best e-book reader the Kindle series is. Amazon is still a mixed calculation, as iSuppli wants to recognize the ratio of material costs to selling price of the Kindle Fire HD. The cost in Amazon Webshop only $ 199 for Amazon. The sheaths that Amazon itself offers beat, with another 45 dollars on the bill, as and a simple charger with quick charge costs another $ 20.

DISPLAY

The newly introduced iPad Mini for Apple probably does not help. The autopsy of iPad components showed a price items totalling approximately $ 188 for 16 gigabytes / Wireless version. Apple sells it for $ 329 (same price in euros). Nevertheless, as always, Apple deserves the accessories business very well. That with the device alone is no golden apple to earn confirmed Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer: The profit margin of the new iPads is “substantially less” than other Apple products.

The question remains what are the numbers from iSuppli actually worth. Actually cost depends on the quality standards of the manufacturer, how many components of a given type decreases a manufacturer, over what periods contracts are closed, and many more factors.

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Asus RT VivoTab – a tablet that is laptop computer

This notebook is a tablet or vice versa. The VivoTab RT is an example of how PC makers use the power-saving version of Windows 8 to realize exceptional concepts. We tested whether such a combination package makes sense and is fun.It uses Microsoft’s Windows operating system RT. This is a variant of Windows 8, which is designed specifically for tablets, so that Windows can also compete on the flying machines with iPad and Android tablets.To do that, Windows 8, however, had to be altered fundamentally.

First, it was adapted to the low-power tablet processors, which usually work with the chip technology developer company ARM. On Intel chips only run Windows 8 on ARM chips (such as the Tegra 3) Windows only RT. This also means that normal Windows programs will not run on Windows RT. In addition, Microsoft has specified that only programs from the Windows Store, Microsoft’s online store, can be installed on RT, and software from other sources is denied the operating system.

Perennial typewriter

The result is a tablet with an OS that looks like Windows 8, feels just like Windows 8 and Windows 8 is not yet. In addition, that is good, because with a normal Windows VivoTab the RT would hardly nominally eight hours of battery life. If you couple dock and tablet together is the socket working loose, it can even be extended up to 16 hours, Asus promises.

How long you can actually work on battery power, in the end, however depends, on what you are doing. As a portable typewriter, the VivoTab RT hold two relaxed working days, probably not as slot and video machines.

Doubly hard

Used as the Tablet is good VivoTab RT especially for couch surfing and email. The screen is recommended with its HD Ready resolution and a video screen. The fun thing about YouTube is detracted a bit in that its controls are represented by the high resolution in full screen mode is very small, and so are difficult to meet with the fingers. For the hands-free usage should go in the Asus because it is nice and light.

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