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Friday, February 28, 2014

Commission says most Europeans download, stream pirated content

Around 70 percent of European citizens stream or download movies online, though some of them are legal, according to a recent European Commission study. Filmmakers need to appreciate the intricacies of filming and distributing content in Europe, with most films staying in their host nation.


Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents say they pirate films for free, with more than half watching on a smartphone or PC.

"The study confirms that the European film industry is not making the most of its potential to reach new audiences or capitalizing on cross-border partnerships," the European Commission press release states. "We encourage filmmakers to make the most of the funding provided through Creative Europe, the EU's new program for the cultural and creative sectors, and its media subprogram in particular."

There is a global fight against Internet piracy, with copyright groups on the offensive to shut down piracy websites - and sometimes target users directly.

Google rumored to be forcing OEMs to use recent versions of Android

Google has pushed out a new policy that will see OEMs using newer versions of Android, if they want to quality for Google Mobile Services (GMS) - otherwise known as Google Apps, reports Android Police.


If the rumors are true, it would see the Mountain View-based giant no longer authorizing devices running versions older than Android 4.2. The report also states that OEMs will no longer be allowed to release devices running versions of Android older than Android 4.2 after April of this year, with the same rules applying to Android 4.3 after July 2014.

OEMs won't be happy with this news, but consumers will benefit greatly from having the latest versions of Android on new devices.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

U.S. gaming market racked up $15.39 billion spent in 2013

Total consumer spending in the gaming market reached $15.39 billion in 2013, signaling a 1 percent improvement over 2012, according to The NPD Group. Full-game downloads and downloadable content saw especially strong growth, in addition to more people embracing mobile gaming.


Both gaming hardware and software, in addition to downloadable content, should increase as cost-effective next-generation hardware becomes available.

"The bottom line is that the overall games market is growing," said Liam Callahan, NPD Group analyst, in a press statement. "NPD reported declines in content and hardware spending in both 2011 and 2012, so the growth in 2013 is a positive indicator for future market growth as we enter the first full year with all three new consoles on the market."

The gaming industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry and is an indicator on the health of the overall consumer technology market.

FirePower Technology honors OCZ PSU warranties, keeps products alive

Shortly after announcing FirePower Technology acquired OCZ's power supply assets, the company announced it will honor the warranty of current OCZ PSU owners. FirePower paid $850,000 for the OCZ business unit and plans to revive the brand, operating under the FirePower Technology name, with Silencer MK III, ZX, ZT, ZS, ModXStream, CoreXStream, Fatal1ty and StealthXStream products.

FirePower hopes to use the OCZ product portfolio to enter the gaming PC and industrial workstation markets.


"We are excited to launch our business with the OCZ power supply team, which was built on the successful legacy of the PC Power and Cooling brand," said Lawrence Firestone, FirePower President and CEO, in a statement. "The launch of this independent business unit within FirePower will allow us to re-establish these brands, launch new products and drive the company back to the market leadership position this group enjoyed several years ago."

OCZ product owners have been left in limbo following the company's demise towards the end of 2013, though customers with units under warranty have been given a reprieve.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Samsung to launch foldable flagship smartphone next year

The Korea Herald is reporting that we should expect Samsung to launch multiple Galaxy devices this year that will feature flexible, or bendable displays. Samsung will reportedly launch a new Galaxy device that will feature a "bent" display.


Next year, the company will launch a new foldable flagship smartphone, with the company investing around $1.9 billion in flexible panel production over the course of the year, with the bendable Galaxy smartphone expected to sell quite well. KDB Daewoo Securities analyst, Song Jong-ho said: "The bent smartphones will be rolled out as a Galaxy variant with a few million units at the end of this year, initially taking aim at the niche market".

Samsung tested public, and critic reactions with its Galaxy Round smartphone, but these new devices will be Samsung's "ultimate flexible product" that will launch in 2H 2015. Song said: "The bent device is the first step toward testing the market and gauging how it would react to its foldable smartphones that are to be unveiled in the second half of next year". The South Korean electronics giant is expected to ship between 20 million to 30 million foldable smartphones next year.

Ubuntu Linux most secure end-user OS

Ubuntu Linux operating system is the most secure end-user operating system currently available, according to research done by the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG). The CESG is part of the British Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ), and while none of the OSes is completely secure, Ubuntu Linux 12.04 was rated the highest.


Each OS was rated on criteria such as Virtual Private Network (VPN) support, disk encryption, authentication, malicious code detection and prevention, incident response, and device update policy, among other categories. Ubuntu's built-in VPN struggled to meet the strict criteria set by the CESG, though hopes its own VPN will be supported with Ubuntu 14.04, scheduled for an April launch date.

During the analysis, researchers took a look at the following operating systems - for both desktop and mobile devices - Android 4.2, Android 4.2 on Samsung devices, Apple iOS 6, Google Chrome OS 26, BlackBerry 10.1, Ubuntu 12.04, Windows 7 and 8, Windows 8 RT, and Windows Phone 8.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Singapore IT Show special

Logitech® PowerShell™ Controller + Battery

Price: SGD$129.00 

The Logitech® PowerShell™ Controller + Battery turns your iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, and iPod touch (5th generation) running iOS 7 into a mobile console gaming experience. To use this first-of-its kind mobile gaming console, simply insert a compatible iPhone or iPod touch into the controller as one would with a standard case. Doing so unlocks a myriad of additional capabilities, including roughly doubling the battery capacity, all in a form factor that’s infinitely portable and maintains all the functionality of your compatible iPhone or iPod touch. And adding game controls doesn’t compromise access to your phone features like power on/off, speakers, audio controls and camera. PowerShell fits easily in your pocket or small bag – putting immersive, complex games within your reach anywhere you go.

Key Features
 Console-style analog game controls: Analog off-screen controls allow gamers to play more intensive, complex games and use the entire screen for viewing the game leading to a more immersive mobile gaming experience.
 1500 mAh battery: Allows for long play sessions of high-powered games without worry of draining the phone’s internal battery. Both batteries can be recharged without removing the phone from the controller.
 Works with iOS 7 controller-compatible games: The gamer is not limited to a small selection of games targeted at one controller nor is required to install special software to enable the controller.
 Portable, comfortable shape: The gamer has access to intensive, complex games in any situation and can play for longer periods with less hand fatigue.
 Full access to phone features: The gamer does not compromise any phone feature by adding game controls. Power on/off, volume, camera, speakers, headphone jack and charging area all accessible without removing the phone from the controller.

System Requirements
 iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, and iPod touch (5th generation)
 Platform compatibility: iOS 7

Logitech® G19s Gaming Keyboard

Price: SGD$299.00

Product Description
The Logitech® G19s Gaming Keyboard has an integrated, full-color, tilting GamePanel™ LCD to give you a steady flow of information, including vital stats, game-specific apps and customizable information panels. Its custom-color RGB backlighting lets you choose among 16 million colors and assign a particular color to each profile and profile mode in the same game, so you know exactly where you stand within a game. Plus, this keyboard has 12 programmable G-keys that make complex actions simple by allowing you to configure up to 36 functions.

Key Features
 Adjustable color GamePanel LCD: The Logitech G19s Gaming Keyboard features a GamePanel LCD to provide you with vital information in real time. Background system information, VoIP communication data, video playback and image slide shows help you monitor your gaming at the highest level.
 Custom-color RGB backlighting: With 16 million colors to choose from, you can assign a particular color to each profile and profile mode in the same game. The custom backlit keys make it easy for you to locate keys, ensure your setup is correct, and tell which mode you’re in without looking down.
 12 fully programmable G-keys: Make complex actions simple by configuring up to 36 specific functions across three different modes with three macros per key. G-keys give you instant access to a variety of customizable functions with a single click, from changing DPI levels to intricate Lua scripts on the fly. You can quickly simplify actions to stay immersed in your game and never lose a step.
 Advanced surface materials: The keyboard has advanced surface materials for durability and comfort. For example, its hydrophobic coating helps keep your hands from sticking to the palm rest, while the durable double UV coating gives keys extra long life. In addition, fingerprint-resistant coating on the faceplate helps keep a fresh look
 Two Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ports: The powered USB ports let you transfer data to and from peripherals – such as MP3 players and flash drives – while also charging battery-powered devices.
System Requirements
 Windows 8, Windows® 7 or Windows Vista®
 Mac® OS X 10.6 or later
 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port
 Internet access and 80 MB of hard disk space for software download

Product Specifications
 Dimensions (L x W x H): 495 mm x 267 mm x 51 mm
 Weight: 2204 grams
 Display: Color 320-by-240 pixel display

Xbox chief is not afraid of Steam Machines popping up

We saw a tease of twelve Steam Machines at CES 2014, but according to Marc Whitten, the Xbox Chief Product Officer, he isn't worried about Steam Machines taking over gamers' living rooms.


During an interview with Engadget at CES, Whitten said he's "not sweating" over Valve's push into the living room, stating that "there's room for both." Whitten continued: "I personally don't know how to think about Steam Machines yet. I'm not knocking it or whatever. I continue to think that PC gaming - the sort of uber configuration and I can change everything and I can mod - that's an important thing and there's a lot of people that wanna do that."

Whitten did add that when a device is in the living room, gamers want to be instantly entertained. He said that gamers don't want to fiddle with settings or anything else, where he wrapped up with: "When you get into that living room environment, you don't want to spend any of your brain cells doing anything but being entertained. I don't want to work on it; I don't want to feel like I have to know how it works. I would like to be blowing things up now, or watching a thing now. That's the fundamental thing that you want to do."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Kakaotalk looking to list IPO, is there a bubble in the market?

While Facebook's $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp was most certainly the biggest tech news of the week, another popular messaging service is making big waves in the tech community as well, although most Americans have likely never heard of it. Korean messaging service Kakao, has announced that it is negotiating with Morgan Stanley as well as Samsung Securities in hopes of filing its first Initial Public Offering.


With more than 133 million users, the app is about 1/5 the size of WhatsApp in its user base, but with more than seven years under its belt, it is a vet when it comes to instant messaging and mobile gaming. Kakao is seeing to raise about $2 billion which is about 1/8th of what Facebook paid for WhatsApp, so in terms of scale, the asking price is technically a deal, but with the app being locked to the Korean market, it is still a bit of a gable. Some industry insiders are suggesting that Kakao could be seeing the capital in an effort to expand its world wide presence, but nothing official has been announced yet.

So is there a bubble in this market? It looks like a bubble is forming!

Microsoft would take in your PS3 for $100

Microsoft stores are offering $100 of in-store credit if you trade in your old console, which includes the PS3, Xbox 360 S or Xbox 360 E. Only select Microsoft retail stores will be providing the trade-in credit, unfortunately.


The deal runs from January 23 to March 2, with all consoles traded in needing to power up, be fully functional, include all of the original accessories and chargers, and cannot be damaged. There is a catch of course, with the details stating in order to "receive maximum trade in value, you must purchase an Xbox One at the same time".

Sunday, February 23, 2014

LG to launch the G2 Mini smartphone at Mobile World Congress

LG has taken to its Facebook page to confirm it will be releasing the G2 Mini smartphone at Mobile World Congress. The South Korean giant will fully unveil the new, smaller smartphone.


LG used the caption: "Experience the MINI. Mobile World Congress. 2014-02-24". Not much else is given to us to decipher, other than some pictures showing bigger grey things, next to smaller, pink things - such as a show, a starfish, and a cupcake - which has now made me hungry. We should expect the smaller G2 Mini to feature a rumored 4.3-inch 960x540 panel, 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and 2GB of RAM.

WhatsApp sees 50 billion messages per day, more than all SMS combined

During the DLD conference in Germany, WhatsApp CEO, Jan Koum, shared some exciting news with attendees about the messaging app's usage numbers. WhatsApp now has more than 430 million monthly active users, which makes it the worlds largest messaging app by leaps and bounds.


More importantly though are the number of messages sent every day on the service. More than 36 billion outbound messages are sent in a day while 18 billion inbound messages are received each day. That equates to 50 billion text messages sent over WhatsApp each and every day. To put that into perspective, that is more messages sent each day than all SMS messages on every carrier world wide in a 24 hour period.

With many of the largest mobile carriers still charging fees for a set amount of text messages every month, WhatsApp is now the biggest competition in the SMS realm for every wireless carrier in the world. Most of my friends as well as almost everyone I know uses WhatsApp on a daily basis, and many who use it as their sole text messaging platform. With growth like this, I feel that there is no stopping WhatsApp and if the company can released a PC version as well, the sky is the limit on how far WhatsApp will go!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

AMD 16 core CPU?

 The AMD Operton 6300-series, or "Warsaw" processor, is designed for 2- and 4-way goodness in servers.


It uses the socket G34, and are based on the Piledriver architecture. The new chips feature between 12 and 16 cores, 16MB of L3 cache, quad-channel DDR3 memory and much more. They should have a much better performance-per-watt ratio over today's Opteron 6300 series, too. The company were poised to release these new CPUs later in Q1 2014, but ShopBLT is offering a pre-order on the 12-core version for $421, and the 16-core Operton for $663.


The details on the processors are as follows: the 12-core version is the Opteron 6338 HE, which has a 99W TDP. The 16-core processor, is the Opteron 6370 HE, and also has a 99W TDP. The HE stands for high efficiency, and should feature moderate clock speeds to keep the power numbers down.

Apple awarded solar-powered MacBook patent

Apple was awarded quite the patent on Tuesday, that might end up with consumers seeing a solar-powered MacBook being announced sometime in the future. The concept's original patent filing took place in 2010, so we might not even see this technology used by Apple in the coming years.


The patent described multiple formats which could be used, with a laptop being powered by direct sunlight. All versions did share the same core concept, that the display and functional features on both sides, were labeled as "electronic device display module". Currently displays baked into laptops have a screen on one side, and a non-functional lid surface on the other - which is for protection purposes.

Apple's new patent would see the back of its MacBook screen turned into a very special part of the device. The main concept involves a multifunctional outer surface for the laptop, which would feature photovoltaic cells, that would let the computer run indefinitely, as long as it was in sunlight.

The solar-powered MacBook could allow users to use a small screen and touch sensor that would allow media playback and sleep modes without having to physically open the MacBook up. Another nifty feature is that the electrochromic glass on the back of the display would allow users to choose between the rear surface transparent or translucent, which would allow two people to view the screen at one time - one on each side.

Friday, February 21, 2014

NZXT Announces Release of Low-Noise FN V2 Series Case Fans in Singapore‏

NZXT is pleased to announce the release of the FN V2 series case fans in Singapore. Today's high-performance PCs require high-performance cooling, but as fan airflow increases, noise is a growing concern. NZXT's new FN V2 fans were redesigned from the ground up to offer better acoustics and even better performance than old-fashioned case fans.

Stylish, Strong, and Quiet

In real-world tests, the FN V2 fans achieve a remarkable noise rating of only 21 dBA, while still outputting an impressive 45 to 50 cubic feet per minute of cool air to protect valuable PC components. You can rely on the FN V2 fans to protect your PC quietly and unobtrusively well into the future. But you won't want to hide these fans away with their classic white blades and sleek design.

Compatible for All Users

The NZXT FN V2 fans, now available in 120mm and 140mm versions, fit easily in all standard PC cases. They are ideal for users who are bothered by noise and vibration, and for anyone who takes pride in the appearance of a well-designed system. These fans are suitable for mainstream users, gamers, modders and enthusiasts alike. The FN V2 fans are the same fans used in the H440 mid-tower case.

Low Noise Innovation

The aerodynamically-styled curved blades of the FN V2, together with the carefully-designed mounting, greatly reduce turbulence and airflow noise, projecting a stream of cool air exactly where it's needed. This design allows the FN V2 to run at the relatively low speed of 1200 RPM (only 1000 RPM for the 140mm fan), while still moving a large amount of air. This further reduces unwanted noise, compared to competing products. The noise-reduction features don't stop there, however. The FN V2 is acoustically isolated by eight vibration-damping mounting pads. These prevent fan noise and vibration from being amplified by the case, cutting out the annoying rattling and low-frequency noise that plague other case fans.

Energy-Efficient and Durable

These 12V DC fans connect to standard 3 pin or 4 pin fan connectors and require only 1.92W (120mm fan) or 2.16W (140mm fan). To protect your investment, the FN V2 are outfitted with sleeved cables. Durable with an attractive natural woven texture, the sleeves not only looks great, but also protect the cables from snags, friction and everyday wear and tear – greatly reducing the risk of fan failure or electrical short caused by unprotected cables. Together with the vibration damping features, the FN V2's internal rifle bearings offer a long lifetime of reliability and stable performance, and are backed by NZXT's two year warranty.

Whatsapp rejected Google's $10B over before accepting Facebook's $16B offer

Why did Facebook just buy WhatsApp for $16 billion? Probably because if it didn’t,Google would have picked up the popular mobile messaging app for $10 billion. Two unnamed sources tell Fortune that Google reportedly made a $10 billion offer to buy WhatsApp that was apparently turned down in favor of Facebook’s much larger offer. In addition to offering less cash, Google also reportedly didn’t offer WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum a seat on its board of directors as Facebook did.
Adding to the Google-WhatsApp intrigue, The Information is reporting that Google last year actually offered to pay WhatsApp money if it agreed to tell Google that it was entering into acquisition talks with another party. This particular offer was worth a mere “millions” of dollars so it was obviously separate from Google’s later reported attempt to buy WhatsApp outright. The Information says that WhatsApp ended up rejecting this offer so it looks like Google was really in the dark when it came to knowing what companies were moving in on WhatsApp.
In explaining its decision to buy WhatsApp on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that WhatsApp now has 450 million regular monthly users and added that it “is on a path to connect 1 billion people.” WhatsApp is particular popular in many key emerging markets, which means it could help Facebook extend its reach even further than where it already is.

Asus and Acer to enter the wearables market

It looks like both Acer and ASUS are preparing to enter the wearable device market, according to a report from Focus Taiwan. ASUS' chairman, Jonney Shih, said on Tuesday at ASUS' end-of-year party: "We will put our entire design thought into it. There are actually many challenges in this area, and I don't think products that lack special features will be useful. We'll try to replace your watch by all means". ASUS will most likely debut its smartwatch at Computex 2014 in Taiwan, in June.


What about Acer? It will launch its wearable devices in the second half of the year, with the company working on a wearable device that will have an option for a necklace-style piece.

Focus Taiwan adds that the wearable devices market will grow to $20.6 billion by 2018, with 191 million units shipped worldwide.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lenovo splits itself into four business groups

Lenovo has just announced that as of April 1, it will split itself into four business groups that will each tackle completely different parts of the market.


Yang Yuanqing, Chairman and Chief Executive of Lenovo, said "Today, Lenovo is in one of the most important and exciting phases in our history. We are the number 1 PC company in the world. We are number 3 in Smart Connected Devices (PC, tablet, smartphone). And we just announced the intent to make an acquisition that will make us a significant competitor in the enterprise space".

Lenovo will split into four completely different business groups, as follows:

PC Business Group (including Lenovo and Think brands), led by Gianfranco Lanci, who currently leads Lenovo EMEA. The business unit will continue to sell PCs and ensure that they offer value to both traditional users of Think-branded machines as well as offer modern functionality.

Mobile Business Group (smartphone, tablet, smart TV), led by Liu Jun, who currently leads the Lenovo Business Group (consumer and mobile products). This group is focused on making Lenovo a profitable global player in the smartphone and tablet markets and developing the company's smart TV business.

Enterprise (including servers and storage), will be led by Gerry Smith, who currently leads Lenovo's Americas Group. The goal of this group is to aggressively build a new, fast-growing profit engine in enterprise, where we already have a solid foundation. Pending regulatory approvals, the business represented by the recently announced acquisition of IBM's x86 server business would be integrated into Mr. Smith's organization.

Ecosystem and Cloud Services (including both Android and Windows opportunities), led by George He, senior vice president, Lenovo, who currently serves as Chief Technology Officer. The goal of this group is to continue building Lenovo's China ecosystem and drive a strategy for monetization and ecosystem expansion.

Nokia's Android smartphone, Project Normandy, leaks in benchmarks

An Android-based smartphone was the last thing anyone thought they would ever see from Nokia, especially with its handset division recently being purchased by Microsoft, but all indications point to a Nokia Android phone being in existence. Dubbed "Project Normandy," the smartphone's release seems imminent if the increasing rate of leaks is any indication.


This morning we spotted the Nokia RM-980, Project Normandy's model number, in Rightware's online benchmark results, and while the numbers leave much to be desired, the fact stands that and Android-based Nokia smartphone is in existence. In the results, the RM-980 falls below the now dated HTC Incredible S, and just above the HTC OneX which all but confirms the low-end specs that leaked recently from @evleaks.


The infamous leakster says that Project Normandy will feature a very low-end 4-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 480x800 and will be powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked in at 1GHz. Just 512MB of RAM will be packed in along side 4GB of storage and a 5-megapixel generic imaging sensor. The leak did mention a 1500mAh battery as well as Android 4.4 KitKat, so at least it has that going for it. The more info that comes in on Project Normandy, the more I begin to believe rumors that this is actually the next-generation of the Asha line of feature phones. With MWC 2014 not far away, I am sure we will have a definitive answer on Project Normandy soon.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Over one billion smartphones were shipped last year

Last year was a massive year for smartphones, with over one billion smartphones shipped last year. The International Data Corporation has some data that shows that 1,004.2 million smartphones were shipped last year.


This is an increase of 38.4% from last year, where 725.3 million smartphones were shipped. Of those 1 billion smartphones shipped, Samsung held the lions share with 313.9 million handsets, increasing its market share from 30.3% to 31.3%. Apple took second place with 153.4 million iPhones shipped over the course of 12 months.

Apple's market share slipped however, from 18.7% to 15.3%, even with it posting a record number of iPhones in the last quarter. Huawei, LG, and Lenovo did not mind though, as they scooped up that lost market share. Huawei shipped 48.8 million, LG shipped 47.4 million, and Lenovo pushed out an impressive 45.5 million smartphones in the quarter.

iOS 7 is now on over 80% of Apple devices

Apple announced some massive numbers during its earnings call today, creating a record quarter for the company thanks to huge upticks in iPhone and iPad sales. But how is iOS doing?


The company has announced that 80% of all iOS devices in the wild now feature iOS 7, with 17% still on iOS 6, and the last 3% running an older version of Apple's mobile OS. Remember, these numbers are for the most active iOS users, not all iOS users. Apple found its numbers by using App Store usage over a seven-day period which ended on January 26.

Apple did point out that its iOS 7 numbers are much better than Android 4.4, but that is to be expected when there are so many different Android handsets on the market, versus just a handful of iPhones and iPads.