Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Tesla Battery

Tesla on Tuesday unveiled new versions of its Model S electric vehicle with a larger battery that makes it one of the fastest-accelerating production cars in the market today. Equipped with a 100 kWh battery, it’s said that the Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode will clock 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds, making it slower only than the LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder.
The company’s newest battery will also be available on the Model X SUV. Based on its tests, Tesla estimates that it both vehicles will have increased ranges, with the Model S getting 315 miles and the Model X going 289 miles.
It’s reported that the Model S P100D will start at $134,500, while the updated Model X will be around $135,500. Furthermore, initial production runs of the updated battery are said to be “limited” to 200 packs per week, meaning that it’ll be a while until Tesla is able to offer the enlarged batteries elsewhere.
Customers who have ordered the Model S P90D with Ludicrous mode, but who haven’t yet taken possession, can upgrade to the 100 kWh battery for $10,000. If you have received your vehicle, you can pay $20,000 for the updated battery, but will also need to recycle your used 90 kWh pack.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Sales

Better-than-expected demand for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's new Galaxy Note 7 is causing supply constraints globally, the South Korean tech giant said on Wednesday, suggesting strong initial sales for the new premium smartphone.
While robust demand could help deliver another solid quarter of earnings, Samsung also risks missing out on potential sales if it cannot boost supply quickly. Rivals such as Apple Inc are poised to launch new phones which could pull customers away from Samsung if a shortage persists.
"As pre-order results for the Galaxy Note 7 have far exceeded our estimates, its release date in some markets has been adjusted," Samsung told Reuters in a statement without commenting on where launch delays could occur.
Production problems for the curved displays for the Galaxy S6 edge phone resulted in disappointing sales last year, and some investors fear a repeat if the world's top smartphone maker does not move quickly to meet Note 7 demand.
Samsung shares were down 2 percent as of 0339 GMT Wednesday after hitting a record high on Tuesday, while the broader market was down 0.3 percent.
Samsung said it was trying to boost production at the secret locations where the Notes are made, and aimed to meet demand "as early as possible". It gave no further details.

Monday, August 29, 2016

World Pentax Day

Pentax Forums will be celebrating its 10th birthday on September 7th, and next World Pentax Day event will take place at the same time!

We'd like to invite you to go out and shoot between September 6th and 8th, and upload photos to a collective gallery (featuring an inveractive map).  All the details can be found below:

Learn More about World Pentax Day

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Great Offer

If you use a desktop and have a free PCI-e slot then this may be for you.

Rosewill will be offering their RNX-N150PCe Wireless Wi-Fi Adapter on at a discounted price of $8.99 plus free shipping (originally listed for$21.99).  The link is below will take you to the deal. @rosewill @rosewillinc
This offer is only available from August 30th until September 5th.

Amazon Music

Amazon is working on two new music streaming services that could be available as soon as next month, a source told Recode.
One service would be an economical, all-you-can-eat offering: $10 per month to stream from Apple Music, Spotify, and others from any device. Music streaming services like Apple Pay and Spotify ask customers to spend $10 a month to receive unlimited streaming music.
The other — more interesting — service would be available only on the Amazon Echo and cost just $5 per month. While ad-free and providing unlimited access to its music library, the service would not be available from smartphones or other devices. Such an offering speaks to Amazon’s devotion to developing Echo as a platform for new services
Amazon may launch the new services in September, though the company has yet to finalize deals with major music companies, the source said.
The Amazon Echo became available last spring and sold three million units in its first 18 months. Amazon hopes to sell about 10 million of them in 2017, according to The Information.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

AMD Zen Chip

AMD knew it needed to make radical changes in its Zen CPU chip to become a force in the PC and server markets again.
So when the chip designers sat down four years ago to etch out the Zen design, they had two things in mind: to drive up CPU performance as much as possible and to keep power efficiency stable.
The company ultimately settled for a 40 percent improvement in Zen over its predecessor, Excavator.
“We had a hard time convincing the team we were going for 40 percent,” said Mike Clark, a senior fellow at AMD. “It was a very aggressive goal, and we knew we had to do it to be competitive.”
AMD first promoted the 40 percent CPU improvement goal when it introduced Zen in 2015 during an overhaul of its chip roadmap. The company recently demonstrated Zen chips to prove it has achieved the goal.
If benchmarks of PCs with Zen hold, a 40 percent boost in CPU performance will be a radical improvement compared to low-double digit improvements claimed by Intel and AMD in recent x86 chips.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Google Nougat

Google surprised everyone when it launched a public beta of the Android Nougat back in March. Annual updates are nothing new for Android, but not only did this announcement come very early, it also offered users the option to easily install the beta with an over-the-air update. Now, half a year later, Nougat is out of beta and available for Google’s own Nexus devices (the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player), the Pixel C tablet and the General Mobile 4G.
If you own one of those devices (no matter whether you were enrolled in the beta or not), you should see an update prompt fairly soon. The first new phone that will come with Android Nougat pre-installed is the LG V20, which should arrive in early September.
Keep in mind that this will be a slow rollout. A Google spokesperson tells me that it may take several weeks for Nougat to arrive on all supported phones.
I’ve used the betas both on a Nexus 6P and Pixel C for the last few months. While Google says Nougat introduces about 250 major new features, you’ll likely only notice a handful when you first boot up your phone after the update.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Apple Watch Problems

Apple Inc. has hit roadblocks in making major changes that would connect its Watch to cellular networks and make it less dependent on the iPhone, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The company still plans to announce new watch models this fall boasting improvements to health tracking.
The updated versions will also be able to integrate GPS-based location tracking, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Apple shipped its first watch in April 2015, hoping for a new blockbuster product amid slowing iPhone sales, which contribute almost 60 percent of revenue. While the company shipped 1.6 million watches from April to June, that was less than half as many as during the same period in 2015, according to IDC.

Monday, August 22, 2016

MSFT Rewards

Years back, Microsoft began paying people to use its Bing search service via a program called Bing Rewards. Now, Microsoft will do the same with its Edge browser and other products.
Microsoft announced last Wednesday that over the next few weeks, Bing Rewards will become Microsoft Rewards. The concept remains the same: The more you use or buy Microsoft products, the more freebies you’ll receive in return. With the debut of Microsoft Rewards, you'll also be able to accrue points by browsing with Edge or purchasing items at brick-and-mortar Microsoft Stores.
Why this matters: At the end of July, Google Chrome held over 50 percent of the world’s browser market share; Edge is at 5.09 percent, according to NetApplications. Microsoft clearly wants to lift that number. Locking down Cortana to use only Bing might be seen as the stick, but a rewards program like Microsoft Rewards is the carrot.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Cisco Layoffs

Cisco Systems Inc said it would cut nearly 7 percent of its workforce, posting charges of up to $400 million in its first quarter, as the world's largest networking gear maker shifts focus from its legacy hardware towards higher-margin software.
The gradual move to fast-growing sectors such as security, the Internet of Things and the cloud is a response to sluggish demand for Cisco's traditional lineup of switches and routers from telecom carriers and enterprise customers, amid intense competition from companies such as Huawei and Juniper Networks Inc.
Savings from up to 5,500 job cuts would be reinvested into key growth areas, Cisco said.
"We think this is partly an effort by (CEO) Chuck Robbins to put a stake in the ground and send a message that this is going to be a leaner, meaner Cisco that is focused on driving software and recurring revenue business," said Guggenheim Securities analyst Ryan Hutchinson.

Revenue at the company's routers business fell 6 percent in the fourth-quarter ended July 30, while switching unit revenue was up 2 percent. Orders from service providers fell 5 percent, while revenue in emerging markets fell 6 percent, Cisco said.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

USB-C Audio

One venerable computing technology, USB, could be about to help kill off an even older standard, the 3.5mm audio jack.
The 3.5mm audio jack was popularized as the way to plug headphones into Sony's portable Walkman tape player and got a new lease on life as a way to handle audio on virtually every mobile phone and PC. But if Intel and its allies get their way, the new USB Type-C connector that's spread to some high-end PCs and phones will replace it in coming years.
One big problem with removing the 3.5mm jack is that countless sets of earbuds and headphones suddenly become useless unless you buy an easily misplaced adapter. Another is that it's harder to charge a phone if you have headphones plugged into its sole port.
But at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Tuesday, Intel architects Brad Saunders and Rahman Ismail sketched out a coming USB audio standard that could help push the 3.5mm jack aside. The new specification, due this quarter, adds features to ensure a USB headphone doesn't drain too much battery power and defines how buttons for pausing music or lowering volume work.
The work "will really make USB Type-C the right connector for audio," Saunders said.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Google Duo

Google's new app, Duo, is a simple video-calling service that's available for Android and iOS today. Alongside the upcoming messaging app Allo, it's one of two communication apps Google announced earlier this year at its I/O conference, and one of four altogether from the company.
In a way, it's Google's answer to Apple's FaceTime, and it makes one-to-one calling between Android phones, and from Android to iPhone, very simple. Though both parties have to download the app to begin chatting (unlike FaceTime, which is baked into the dialer of compatible iPhones), it's still an intuitive app to use.
And while Android users will likely enjoy using Duo to video-call all their friends, iPhone owners won't find it compelling enough to ring up fellow iPhone users. However, it may certainly become their go-to app when calling up a buddy who uses Android. With that said, here are its main highlights:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Olympic Streaming

TV viewership for the Rio Olympics is down quite a bit from London.
That’s the major headline of these Games, certainly the one that media buyers are most concerned about as they worry over whether NBC will hit ratings guarantees.
But a few years from now it may not be the lower ratings but rather the shift in viewing habits that’s the big takeaway from this Olympics.
The Rio Games are the first to take place since digital video became a part of the mainstream, with people watching live events like the Super Bowl online and streaming video on demand services such as Netflix and Amazon drawing good-sized audiences.
That’s translated into record web viewership for these Games.
Through Friday, and the NBC Sports app had streamed 2 billion minutes, including 1.67 billion live streams, according to NBCUniversal.
That’s better than the entire London Games. In fact, it tops the total for both the London and Sochi Olympics.
NBC has offered more streaming options than ever before—previously the network did not allow simultaneous live primetime streaming so as not to cannibalize TV coverage.

But the network decided it was a necessity in these times where people expect to get everything online.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tattoos as Screens

MIT Media Lab, in partnership with Microsoft Research, has unveiled DuoSkin, a project that uses temporary tattoos as connected interfaces that can be used in a variety of ways.

DuoSkin, as described by MIT researchers on the project's dedicated page, is a fabrication process that allows for the creation of customized functional devices that can be attached onto the skin of users.

According to MIT Media Lab PhD student Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, the project originated from the growing trend of metallic temporary tattoos, making DuoSkin a combination of existing fashion with useful functions in the connected world.

Friday, August 12, 2016

New Logitech Switch

Logitech has a new device called the Pop Home Switch, and it’s a bit different from their usual offerings. A company known for Universal Remotes encrusted with physical keys, touchscreen displays and all manner of interaction options is instead going for single-button simplicity.
The Pop is a broad button about the size of your palm, which connects to a hub that plugs directly into an outlet via Bluetooth LE. The hub has the real smarts, with support for a whole host of top smart home gadgets, including Phillips Hue lights, LIFX connected bulbs, Lutron smart drapes and August locks, to name just a few. Using a companion app on either Android or iOS, you simply scan your Wi-Fi network for compatible devices, then tie those devices to one or more Pop for simplified control and recipe creation.
Individual Pops only offer a big, single button – but they can be programmed to do three different things, since you can press, double press and long press each to trigger a separate action. This means you could program a Pop to turn your Phillips Hue lights on or off, activate just a single room or group, and also set it to dim the brightness to set the mood. If you want more flexibility, the idea is you’d add more Pops; a Starter Pack comes with two and a hub, and additional Pops can easily be added to the same hub.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Google Maps News

Google is making its Maps app more accessible to users in emerging markets with two nifty features for the Android version of the service.
The company today announced a Wi-Fi-only option for the Google Maps app for Android — it began testing the feature last month — and it also added support for SD card data download.
The two features might not seem like a huge introduction, but this is a big deal for people who own a budget smartphone with limited internal storage and have a pre-paid or limited data plan.
The Wi-Fi only option will be great for those who travel overseas too, since cuts down on the often limited data plans for travelers, and helps others avoid data roaming charges altogether.
Offline support for Maps has long been a blessing, allowing you to download the data for a city or place before you even visit. But the size of that download can be prohibitive. That makes the additional of SD card support equally as important for those who juggle limited space on their phone, as Google explained in a blog post.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New Micron Chips

Micron announced its first 3D NAND chip for mobile devices with the goal of cramming more storage into handsets, and maybe reducing reliance on SD card slots.
3D NAND provides more capacity in the same size chip than other technologies can. Micron’s 3D chip has 32GB of capacity and is targeted at mid-range and high-end phones. It’s based on the new UFS 2.1 standard, a fast storage protocol that isn’t in smartphones yet.
Micron believes internal storage capacity in smartphones will need to grow, especially with new applications like virtual reality and streaming video. Low-end smartphones have as little as 4GB of storage, while the iPhone 6S has up to 128GB.
Micron’s goal is to cram even more bits into its 3D NAND mobile chips as it refines the manufacturing process, said Gino Skulick, vice president at Micron’s mobile business unit.
In a few years, internal storage capacity in smartphones could be as great as it is in PCs today, perhaps up to 1TB by 2020, Micron said. But the company didn’t provide a roadmap of the storage capacity it will provide in its 3D mobile flash chips.

3D NAND chips are already in SSDs from companies like Intel, and the density they offer is only growing. Micron has said it can cram more than 3.5TB in gumstick-sized SSDs.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Olympics in 4K

Ladies and gentlemen, in case you haven’t noticed over the last couple of days, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil began this week, and tonight is the night to catch the much-anticipated 4K Ultra HD coverage of the Opening Ceremonies in what is sure to be a spectacularly colorful affair – It is Rio, after all.
For those of you not lucky enough to be at the event in person, the next best thing is to catch the action in glorious 4K Ultra HD resolution from the NBC Network via supporting linear satellite TV channels on DirecTV and DISH and on a streaming TV app from Comcast cable on supporting Samsung and LG 4K Ultra HDTV models. Unfortunately, that won’t include others.
NBC has announced that it plans to present 83 hours of the event in 4K high-resolution video starting with the Opening Ceremonies August 5th (tonight and tomorrow morning) and running through August 21st.
NBC’s 4K Ultra HD productions are scheduled to include both the opening (tonight) and closing ceremonies, select events in swimming, track and field, judo, and basketball, plus the men’s soccer final. At least one event from the previous day’s competition will be shown in 4K Ultra HD every day.
Read more on the 4K Ultra HD Olympics coverage plans after the jump:
But for the sports events themselves, 4K fans will have to keep their heads in the sand for 24 hours if they don’t want the results of the event winners spoiled. There will be a one-day delay between when an event takes place and the time it airs on 4K telecasts in United States.

Monday, August 8, 2016

MSFT Changes Downgrade Policy (again!!)

Microsoft has hidden a new downgrade policy within the Windows 10 Anniversary Update: Once you’ve installed it, you’ll only have 10 days to downgrade to an earlier version or build, rather than the 31 days provided before.
Historically, Microsoft had given users a full month to roll back any updates, including upgrades to Windows 10. Supersite for Windows reported this week, however, that it was unable to downgrade to an earlier build after a 10-day limit had expired, though it wasn’t exactly clear what builds the limit applied to.
Applying the Anniversary Update triggers the new policy. According to Microsoft, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 8 or Windows 7, or whether you simply updated your PC from an earlier version of Windows 10. Once you’ve installed the Anniversary Update, you have 10 days to back out, not 31, before the AU becomes “permanent.”
“T]his new 10-day behavior is for all upgrades and updates to the Anniversary Update,” the representative said in an email.
Why this matters: Just when you thought Microsoft’s aggressive upgrade practices were over—remember all the nastiness about deceptive upgrade tactics?—it appears Microsoft is stealthily closing the Windows 10 escape hatch. Recent Windows 10 converts need to figure out when they upgraded to Windows 10, and whether they want to keep it, pronto. And if you upgraded to Windows 10 just so you could downgrade again? You may need to act fast.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Back To School Sales

It's that time of year again -- back-to-school -- when parents and CE retailers alike rejoice.

According to research released by The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), 59 percent of American consumers who plan to do back-to-school shopping intend to buy a technology product, an increase of 12 percentage points over last year.

CTA estimates $18.5 billion will be spent this year on back-to-school tech products/accessories in 2016, a 6.2 percent increase over last year.

Here are the top 10 back-to-school tech products consumers plan to buy this year:
1. Portable memory (71 percent)
2. Basic calculator (55 percent)
3. Headphones (52 percent)
4. Scientific/graphing calculator (51 percent)
5. Carrying or protective case (48 percent)
6. Laptop (44 percent)
7. Software for computer (39 percent)
8. External hard drive (23 percent)
9. Tablet (22 percent)
10. Product subscription service (22 percent)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Nintendo Sales

Nintendo Co. appears to be benefiting from Pokemon Go after all, just not in the way investors had originally thought.

The Kyoto-based company said last month it didn’t expect the app’s runaway success to have much direct effect on profits, but Pokemon Go seems to be casting a halo that is helping Nintendo’s other businesses. Shipments of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, games for the 3DS handheld device, have more than doubled in Japan since the Pokemon smartphone app debuted in early July, according to data from gaming magazine Famitsu. The titles, which retail for about 4,600 yen ($45) each, have been available in Japan since late 2014. Weekly sales have almost reached 8,000 units, the publisher said, compared with 3,241 shipments during the first week of July.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

GameStop Acquires Hundreds of AT&T Stores

GameStop Corp. acquired 507 AT&T wireless stores as part of a drive to diversify and reduce its dependence on sales of video games.

The stores are located in 26 states, with the biggest share in Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma, Tony Bartel, GameStop’s chief operating officer, said in an interview. He declined to reveal the purchase price but said it amounted to the bulk of the $475 million the Grapevine, Texas-based company raised in a debt offering this year.

“Video games are cyclical,” he added. “We said, ‘Let’s take our real estate experience and extra capital that we have and see if we can diversify.’ ”

GameStop, the largest independent retailer of video games, has been trying to add new businesses as more purchases of video games take place online. The company’s wireless retailing is on pace to produce $1 billion in annualized sales this year and profit of $85 million to $100 million, Bartel said.

The stores were acquired from three companies, Cellular World Corp., Midwest Cellular Inc. and Red Skye Wireless Inc. The deal expands the company’s AT&T wireless stores to 1,421, making GameStop the largest authorized AT&T Mobility retailer.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

MSFT Phone Market Share

Microsoft Corp. is more than doubling an earlier job cut plan, part of Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella’s move to pare the company’s smartphone ambitions.
Some 2,850 positions worldwide will be eliminated in fiscal 2017, the company said Thursday in a regulatory filing. That’s in addition to 1,850 job cuts, primarily in the smartphone hardware business and sales, announced in May.

Microsoft has already written off most of the value of its purchase of the handset business of Nokia Oyj in 2014 after that unit failed to make significant market share gains against Apple Inc.’s iPhones and Google’s Android operating system.

Windows phones had less than 1 percent of the global smartphone market in the first quarter, according to Gartner Inc. That compares with Android’s 84 percent and 15 percent for Apple’s iOS.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Huawei Expansion

Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, plans to open 15,000 new retail stores around the world this year as it aims for a record-high shipment of smartphones and greater sales of premium-priced models.
“We are optimistic and confident about reaching our target shipment of 140 million smartphones this year,” Richard Yu Chengdong, the chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business group, said on Tuesday in Shenzhen.
That would mark a 30 per cent increase in smartphone shipments from 108 million units last year.
Unfazed by the lingering economic slowdown, Yu indicated the company’s retail store expansion would help its ability to reach more consumers and drive sales of its high-end smartphones priced in the US$500 to US$600 range.