He was nominated to replace Julian Genachowski as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission a mere six weeks ago, and before he’s even got the job, Tom Wheeler’s making headlines. Ars Technica reports that would-be chairman Wheeler wants what many (all?) cell phone owners want — the ability to unlock our phones free from fear of legal retribution. The way he sees things, when folks have bought and paid for their phones and are contract-free, they “ought to have the right to use the device and move it across carriers.” Unfortunately, while he’s staked out his position on the matter, he has yet to say exactly how he plans to make phone unlocking legal, be it through legislation or other means. The good news is, he’s not the boss just yet, so he’s got time to address those niggling details while he waits to be confirmed as the new chairman.
Source: Ars Technica
The E3 and WWDC news surges have finally calmed, so now we’re back into the normal weekly groove. This week, Ben details his time using an Oculus Rift to watch recorded video and Richard attempts to ride out E3 as long as possible with our roundup. All that and more is ready to stream straight to your ears below.
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To use NVIDIA’s graphics technology, you’ve typically had to buy gadgets using NVIDIA chips — good for the company’s bottom line, but not for influencing the industry as a whole. The firm is expanding its ambition today with plans to license some of that technology on a broader scale. Beginning with the Kepler architecture, other firms can use NVIDIA’s GPU cores and graphics-related patents for their own processors and chipsets. The deal could affect a wide range of hardware, but it mostly pits NVIDIA against the likes of Imagination Technologies: a system-on-chip designer could integrate a Logan-based GPU instead of the PowerVR series, for example. While it will be some time before third-party silicon ships with NVIDIA inside, it’s already clear that the company’s in-house design is now just one part of a larger strategy.
Today we had a chance to play with Qualcomm’s latest MDP devices (tablet and phone) which pack the company’s mighty Snapdragon 800 SoC (MSM8974). The tablet is slightly larger than last year’s MDP and features a 11.6-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel display, 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM, 32GB of built-in flash storage (with microSD expansion) and a 12 megapixel AF rear camera with flash (2MP in front). All of this is crammed into a light and slim (0.46 inches / 11.7mm) chassis that’s powered by a 3400mAh Li-ion battery and includes a bevvy of radios (LTE, WiFi ac, Bluetooth 4 LE, GPS, NFC) and sensors (including pressure and humidity).
We put the Snapdragon 800-equipped MDP through its paces by running our usual suite of benchmarks (plus a few more). The results? Prepare for ludicrous speed.
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that it took down 1,400 Citadel botnets with the help of the FBI, and now Ballmer and Co. have divulged just how big of an impact the effort had. According to Richard Domingues Boscovich, the firm’s Digital Crimes Unit assistant general counsel, the operation freed at least 2 million PCs across the globe from the malicious code — and that’s a conservative estimate by his reckoning. It’s believed that more than $500 million has been stolen from bank accounts thanks to information gleaned from keystrokes logged by computers afflicted with the software. Though the chief botnet organizer is still on the loose and many machines are still burdened by Citadel, Domingues Boscovich says they “feel confident that we really got most of the ones that we were after.”
[Image credit: Edmund Tse, Flickr]
Filed under: Microsoft
The latest move in the standoff between Softbank, Sprint, Dish Network and Clearwire has been made, as Dish stated today it will not submit another bid for Sprint. This comes after Sprint sued to stop Dish from buying Clearwire, which the satellite company called an attempt to deflect attention from its own unfair dealings. If you’ll recall, Dish Network jumped in with a $25.5 billion offer to buy Sprint, but after Japanese carrier Softbank improved its proposal slightly, Sprint put Dish on a deadline to respond. That time limit expired today, and Dish is choosing to consider its options on Sprint, while focusing on completing the Clearwire deal.
Nintendo was coy when it announced that its first free-to-play game will launch before the end of next March, divulging only that it wouldn’t belong to the Mario or Pokemon franchises. However, the firm’s Shigeru Miyamoto revealed to IGN that its first gratis title would be a Steel Diver game — yes, as in the 3DS launch title — featuring four-person multiplayer. Don’t expect a rehash though, as the pricing model will change the game’s design. Kyoto’s gaming powerhouse hasn’t settled on what business model they’ll lean on quite yet, but CEO Satoru Iwata mentioned during an E3 analyst Q&A that its unpaid games would be “balanced and reasonable.” The Big N noted that “free-to-play games, if unbalanced, could result in some consumers paying extremely large amounts of money, and we can certainly not expect to build a good relationship with our consumers in this fashion.” There’s still no word regarding which consoles this free installment of Steel Diver will grace, but Miyamoto teases that it’s something they’re hoping to show “relatively soon.”
You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
Look at the people with smiling faces in the above illustration. It’s not too difficult to figure out what’s going on: it’s their birthday, and they’re all happy because they’re about to get presents. What if they knew that you had totally spaced on the fact that they were celebrating the anniversary of their birth? Fortunately, there are plenty of services that will remind you of friends’ and family members’ DOBs, and Amazon is now joining their ranks with a Facebook-integrated program called Birthday Gift. The idea is simple: you can order an Amazon gift card for a Facebook friend ahead of time, and the company will make sure it gets delivered on their momentous day. What’s more, you can also send invites to mutual friends to see if they want to pitch in a few bucks. This way, nobody feels terribly cheap for plunking down a couple dollars, and you won’t settle for the standard Wall post birthday wish. Check out the video below to see how it all works.
The Oculus Rift company is barely one year old, but it’s already off to a strong start. Developers have kits from a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, said kit has support from the industry’s biggest game engine creators, and the consumer-friendly HD version is already being shown off to press (we loved what we saw at E3 2013 last week). And now the company’s got a solid $16 million in the bank backing up its next step: creating a virtual reality headset that’s significantly more mainstream than the $300 dev kit currently available. But don’t think that alters the young company’s promise of virtual reality on the PC platform; quite the contrary, as CEO Brendan Iribe told Engadget, “We’re really focused on the PC as the platform to bring this to market right now.”
He said that Oculus isn’t against bringing its VR headset to consoles, but that PC remains the primary platform. “We’re always looking at other platforms — looking at consoles, we’re also looking at Android and the mobile side in a big way — but right now we really are focused on the PC platform,” he said. Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida told us last week in an interview that, “We’ve got a couple of the development kits, and I tried it out and I love it,” though he wouldn’t outright say if the PlayStation 4 will support the Rift. We’re betting “yes.”
As for what Oculus is doing in the short-term with the new infusion of cash? In short, it’s being used to staff up (the company’s still under 50 employees right now, mostly engineers). “We’re using the funding to ramp up on hiring more smart people, the best and brightest that we can find,” Iribe said. “The dev kit as it is now, that we’re shipping, will stay the same, and the software side will just keep getting better.” The vast majority of those new employees will be engineers — one glance at the company’s careers page quickly confirms this claim. Outside of new employees, though, Iribe said little will change in the company’s ongoing goal to create “the very best virtual reality platform we can create.”
Filed under: HD