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29Feb/120

Samsung Galaxy Beam set for summer 2012 release in the UK

If you found Samsung’s combination of a pico projector and Android smartphone interesting (if not overly utilitarian), you weren’t alone. And sooner than later, you’ll be able to pick one up if you live in the UK. Samsung has announced that it intends to sell the Galaxy Beam starting in July for £385 unlocked, which is just over $600 USD. The company says that it will partner with multiple British cellular carriers to subsidize the phone, but wouldn’t say which ones.

The Galaxy Beam combines a mid-range Android smartphone with a tiny projector recessed into its top side. The lamp is 15 lumens – low by projector standards, but plenty bright enough to see in even moderate indoor light. The 640×480 image can be projected up to 50 inches, with a focus function built into the volume buttons on the side of the phone. The screen on the front is a 4-inch TFT – not huge by Android standards, but big enough. Speaking of Android, the now-outdated Gingerbread runs with TouchWiz on top and a 1.0Ghz dual-core processor underneath. The rear camera is five megapixels with a 1.4 front-megapixel front camera to boot.

The 2000mAh battery is massive by mid-range standards – the better to power the projector. Samsung claims that the lamp inside will last 20,000 hours, much longer than the standard two-year contract. This isn’t the first cell phone to cram a micro-projector into its case (not even the first Samsung cell phone to do so) but it is the first to bring Android along for the ride. And even with a lamp, lens and battery, the profile is still an impressive 12.5mm thin, about the same same size as the original Motorola DROID. Interested? Check out our hands-on look at the Galaxy Beam from Mobile World Congress.

[via GizmoCrave]

Samsung Galaxy Beam set for summer 2012 release in the UK is written by Michael Crider & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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29Feb/120

UK firm takes wagers on iPad 3 features, backs out quickly

Think you know what’s coming up on March 7th, when Apple finally (maybe, likely, definitely) reveals the iPad 3? Then put your money where your far-flung prediction is. That was the idea behind SkyBet’s iPad 3 prediction betting pool, which briefly allowed gamblers to place bets on the specifications of the upcoming ubergadget. Unfortunately the gambilng site took down its prospective predisctions a few hours later. Some of the odds had climbed as high as twelve to one.

Predictions for a retina display seemed downright certain, with 1/8 odds for and 9 to 2 against. More fanciful features, like a Thunderbolt port (5 to 1 for, 1/50 against) and an SD card slot (12 to 1 for, 8/13 against) got better returns if they actually panned out. Interestingly, most of the participating gamplers believed that the iPad 3 wouldn’t get the name we’ve all assumed that it will have, instead copying the iPhone’s nomenclature and going by “iPad 2s”. This option had the same odds as the retina display prediction.

SkyBet didn’t say why they removed the portal, or if the bets already made would be honored. We won’t have to wait long to find out the truth, in any case – Apple’s San Francisco event is exactly one week from today. In a fit of corporate rivalry, Apple sent out invitations to the event during Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Next Wednesday you can head over to live.slashgear.com to catch our on-location liveblog. At 10:00 AM Pacific time, all bets are off.

[via Crave]

UK firm takes wagers on iPad 3 features, backs out quickly is written by Michael Crider & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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29Feb/120

Alien hunting goes crowd-sourced with SETILive

While the Search For Extra Terrestrial Life (SETI) may not be quite as flush as it used to be, its organizers are finding new and interesting ways to continue the search for life among the stars. Their latest initiative is SETILive, a crowd-sourced web application that lets anyone join the search of the nearby universe, no advanced degrees required. The SETILive website allows registered users to scan automatically-generated images based on radio frequency scans of sections of space that SETI believes are the likeliest to contain extraterrestrial life.

This isn’t just a worldwide digital field trip: SETI believes that under the right circumstances, the human eye may be a better tool than their massive computer arrays for analyzing this particular set of data. Considering that the scientists involved don’t actually know exactly what an alien radio signal might look like even if they found it, it seems like a valid enough tactic. A single user can’t sound the UFO alarm alone; if enough users report possible extraterrestrial activity on a single radio frequency image, SETI’s telescopic radio arrays will automatically re-scan the area and alert on-staff scientists to the crowdsourced findings.

Less than a year ago the SETI program was in dire straits, with budget cutbacks temporarily shutting down the bulk of their expensive and mostly government-funded search. Thankfully at least some of their funding has been re-appropriated back to the program, and the search continues. This isn’t the first time that the program has appealed to the public for distributed assistance: the SETI@home program has been using a network of thousands of home computers to augments the processing power of SETI’s own hardware for over a decade. Participants allow a portion of their computer’s idle computing strength to be lent to SETI over a virtual private network.

SETILive is a very similar idea, with the notable difference that participants are lending their own down-time. A small social network is already being built around the service, with Foursquare-style badges and achievements. At present there’s anywhere from 50-100 people actively scanning photos at once, with over twenty thousand classified entries in the system already.

Story Timeline

[via Slashdot]

Alien hunting goes crowd-sourced with SETILive is written by Michael Crider & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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29Feb/120

AMD buys SeaMicro to enter cloud server business

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices has announced today that it is buying server startup SeaMicro for $334 million in a bold and surprising move to bolster its server business against long-time rival Intel. AMD has failed to secure a spot in the mobile space and now hopes to double down on its server business with SeaMicro, which specializes in highly dense and power-efficient servers for large-scale cloud computing.

AMD is interested in SeaMicro’s core IP, which has to do with a customized chip that can handle the networking demands of more than 500 chips, all packed into a very tight space. SeaMicro was able to eliminate all but three of the chips on a standard server motherboard, which yielded servers that consumed only a quarter of the power and one sixth of the space of traditional x86 servers. AMD hopes to license the technology to other server vendors.

The acquisition will be a blow to Intel, which had a close partnership with SeaMicro and even developed a special version of its Atom processor for the SeaMicro servers. AMD expects to close the deal in March and will be paying $281 million in cash with the remainder paid in stock.

[via PC World]

AMD buys SeaMicro to enter cloud server business is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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29Feb/120

Reflection app goes live, brings iOS screen mirroring to your Mac

Ever wanted to use AirPlay mirroring to show the screen of your iPad 2 or iPhone 4/4S on your Mac? Just released, Reflection ($14.99 for a single license, $39.99 for a 5 pack) offers a well-featured mirroring receiver for OS X, ideal for education and demos -- and a great way to eliminate the Frankencable for iPad video capture.

I've been beta-testing Reflection for several weeks. I watched as David Stanfill (developer of AirParrot, which I introduced a few weeks ago on TUAW) refined and stabilized this app. With Reflection, you can project app demos to your Mac in real time. This is a great feature for any developer or teacher, or even for business folk who would like to bring along their presentations on their phone.

I first wrote about Reflection a few weeks back on TUAW, and it received quite the warm welcome -- many of our readers asked when it would debut, and how they could purchase a copy. At that point, the app was just in its initial alpha release. It barely supported multiple resolutions and provided few options.

What you get today is full mirroring, including audio, with orientation updates and many video optimization features as well as pseudo-frames that make the video on your desktop look as if it's running on an iPhone or iPad -- just as it would with the Xcode iOS simulator. It's not quite at a bulletproof release, but for day-to-day use for those of you who need these features now and are willing to deal with the occasional crash, it's a great solution as-is.

AirParrot ($9.99 for a single license, $29.99 for a 5 pack), the app that mirrors your OS X desktop to Apple TV, has also undergone major changes since I first wrote it up. In the latest release (approximately version 1.2.1), you can now use your Apple TV as an separate external monitor, not just for mirroring desktops. AirParrot also now supports audio mirroring and perceptual smoothing. These are great feature bumps to an already useful app.

TUAW - The Unofficial Apple WeblogReflection app goes live, brings iOS screen mirroring to your Mac originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 29 Feb 2012 18:23:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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29Feb/120

Lytro Review Round-Up

Lytro‘s shoot-first, focus-later digital camera caused plenty of head-scratching in the photography world when it was announced last year, and with early reviews landing today it seems that sense of confusion has carried through. The concept of the Lytro is simple, even if the camera’s technology is not; it captures not only light hitting the sensor but the angle at which it hits, and with that data stored you can subsequently refocus on different parts of the image. That’s great, reviewers say, but there are also plenty of downsides to the Lytro package. Check out everything you need to know after the cut.

“Lytro is no miracle worker” USA Today says, “the skill and creativity (or lack thereof) that a photographer brings still very much matters.” Learning how to take good shots takes time, and the best images are those which include plenty of 3D depth to them, not just good 2D spacing.

AllThingsD describes the final shots as having “some fun variability” while the WSJ‘s Walt Mossberg goes further and claims it’s “a revolution in consumer photography, with more benefits to come”; however, Mossberg also suggests it’s still more of a second camera for most people, with obvious omissions such as a flash. That’s also cited by the Washington Post, which criticizes low-light performance and the design of the camera, the odd shape of which can apparently make framing shots troublesome.

The refocusing magic is addictive, Wired says, though the design comes in for further critique with the tiny 1.5-inch screen being a noted drawback. Popular Science has positive things to say about the build quality, particularly praising the magnetic lens cover, though still thinks it’s a one-trick-pony albeit with an impressive trick to show. The best shots, they found come from macros.

Bloomberg echoes the comments about the rough edges, with Lytro not yet offering a Windows client, only Mac, as well as not supporting video. The relatively small choice of sharing options is also a frustration, with Facebook and Lytro’s own gallery the only place where the refocus shots can be seen in their full glory; everywhere else just offers a link back to the latter site.

Arch-geek Robert Scoble shelled out his own cash for a Lytro, and came away impressed but with plenty of caveats. He describes the camera as disappointing in low-light performance, image sharpness, portability and shutter speeds, and argues that the quality isn’t even up to what you’d get from a smartphone; however, it’s also a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and is an impressively flexible camera.

The takeaway is that this is a very interesting, if somewhat niche first-gen product, with plenty of appeal for gadget-lovers and those wanting a unique take in their photography, but also with its fair share of flaws. Many reviewers suggested that the technology would be far more compelling if integrated into a smartphone, rather than offered on a standalone camera with only USB connectivity (WiFi and Bluetooth are onboard in hardware form, but not yet activated). Still, with word that Steve Jobs met with the Lytro team to discuss potential integration of the technology into a future iPhone, it’s likely that version 2.0 will be worth waiting for.

[Image credits: Wired/Lytro/PopSci/Robert Scoble]

Lytro Review Round-Up is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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29Feb/120

Gravity Rush heading to PS Vita on June 12

The PlayStation Vita exclusive Gravity Rush game has finally received an official release date, but it’s not what anxious gamers were hoping for. Sony has slated the game now for a June 12 release in the US, although the game has already been well received in Japan since February 9 under the name of Gravity Daze. Along with the announcement, Sony released a new trailer for the game.

Gravity Rush is an action-adventure game in which a futuristic world is under attack from unknown forces that cause “gravity storms,” while strange creatures terrorize the human race. The main character, a young girl named Kat, wakes up one day to find that she has the amazing ability to control gravity. Kat must uncover the truth behind the mysterious events to stop the world from disintegration. To get an idea of the game play, watch the trailer below.

The release date is quite a ways off from the original estimation of May 29, but Sony attributes the delay to localization issues. The game will be available to purchase as a physical retail copy as well as a digital download at launch. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet.

[via PlayStation Blog]

Gravity Rush heading to PS Vita on June 12 is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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29Feb/120

Samsung flexible OLED gadgets incoming this year

Samsung is mass producing flexible OLED displays for products still on track for release in 2012, the company has confirmed, though the exact extent to which they actually bend will depend on more than just the panels themselves. Samsung Mobile Display’s assistant president confirmed the sales plans this week, Asia Economy Park News reports, insisting that “flexible displays will be commercialized within a year.” The initial implementations are expected to include smartphones and tablets.

According to the SMD exec, exactly how flexible the displays end up being will be a matter of the substrate selected, among other things. Although the dream of bendable screens has been a pull-out panel that can offer both a large viewing area and a small gadget size, there are also potential implementations in devices that have wraparound panels or touchscreens that contort to suit the shape of a device.

In fact, Samsung has already experimented with curved screens, with its so-called Contour Display technology as seen on the Galaxy Nexus. That has a slight bend to the lower portion of the screen, intending it to be more easily used with a single hand.

However, what we’d really like to see is something like Nokia’s GEM concept, a phone clad entirely in touch-sensitive display panels, or indeed a production version of Samsung’s own folding MID concept from earlier last year. The company has been pushing the envelope with AMOLED screen sizes in recent months, such as the huge Galaxy Note, and is expected to use another large panel for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III.

[via OLED-Display]

Samsung flexible OLED gadgets incoming this year is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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29Feb/120

Super Fighter Team developing new Super Nintendo game

There’s a new side-scrolling action game heading to the Super Nintendo system. Don’t worry – you haven’t somehow traveled back in time to 1995. It’s still 2012, but there are some die-hard programmers out there who wanted to bring out a new game to a system that was officially discontinued before the turn of the century. Only 600 copies of the game are currently scheduled to be manufactured, and the company is taking pre-orders now.

The team behind the project is called Super Fighter Team, which says it “was formed around the dream that new life can be breathed into video games, game systems and computers that have otherwise been abandoned by game companies.” Its brand new Super NES adventure is called Nightmare Busters. The company also hopes that one day it will be able to create new Sega Genesis or Atari Lynx titles.

And potentially its scope will even expand beyond that. “We proudly offer up what may one day be the world’s only source of worthwhile new games for” discontinued systems, the company said. And even though the Super Nintendo is an old system, you still can’t build Rome in a day. Nightmare Busters isn’t due out until 2013, with no further release date window specified. For those who pre-order a copy now, your $60 (yep, the game is $60) is really more of a symbolic donation to the company’s efforts. Best of luck, Super Fighter Team.

[via Examiner]

Super Fighter Team developing new Super Nintendo game is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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29Feb/120

Activision Blizzard cuts 600 jobs, says game development teams not affected

Activision’s Blizzard Entertainment unit announced today that it will be laying off 600 employees. Blizzard is the largest US developer of video games, including major franchise titles such as Diablo, StarCraft, and the most popular massively multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft. President and co-founder, Mike Morhaime, released a public statement on the World of Warcraft forums to explain the decision and to allay any concerns over the company’s future game developments.

Morhaime says that the difficult decision came after the company reviewed its organizational needs and while there were areas of the business operating at the right levels, there were certain other areas that had become overstaffed. However, he assures that most of the game development teams will not be affected by the job cut and that those who will be impacted will get a severance package as well as other benefits.

Additionally, the games slated for release this year are still on schedule and will not be affected by today’s announcement. The company is continuing to develop Blizzard DOTA, Diablo III, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, along with other yet to be announced projects. Coming soon will be the release date for Diablo III as well as a private media event to preview Mists of Pandaria.

[via PCGamer]

Activision Blizzard cuts 600 jobs, says game development teams not affected is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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