Consumer Electronics

Xbox One Price Cut In The U.K.

By Aglaia Staff

From Friday February 28 the Xbox One will be reduced from £429 on its own to £399 with a copy of eagerly anticipated first person shooter Titanfall.

The console was previously £70 times more expensive than the PS4, which has an RRP of £349.

Since the PS4 and Xbox One were launched in Europe and America last November Sony‘s console has strongly outperformed its Microsoft rival.

The PS4 has shifted 5.3 million units worldwide compared to 3.9m Xbox One consoles sold across the globe.

Harvey Eagle, marketing director at Microsoft Xbox UK, said: “This is about giving UK gamers the best value that we can. 

“We’ve already seen that Xbox and PlayStation will both be commercially successful devices. We see this as a marathon, not a sprint.”

The price cut will only apply to the UK. In America the Xbox One is on sale for $499 (£300). 

Britain is the second-biggest market for the Xbox One after the US.

Seth Barton, editor of Expert Reviews, said the price cut was a “canny move” by the company co-founded by Bill Gates.

He said: “By knocking £30 off and adding a game into the bundle, Microsoft have destroyed the price differential with Sony, without having to drop their RRP. 

“They can now sit back and wait to see how well it does, and if it does very well, they can add another game into the deal.”

Titanfall has been developed exclusively for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PCs by one of the makers of the best-selling Call of Duty franchise. 

Mr Barton added: “I don’t think it’s in either company’s interest to launch a price war at this point in time. 

“According to Chart-Track, the Xbox One was selling 1.5 less consoles than the PS4 in the first three months since launching. 

“So they were obviously on the back foot and the price was hurting them.”"The only problem is that it is likely to annoy lots of people who have already bought an Xbox One, and a lot of them did so because they wanted Titanfall.

“It is the most anticipated game in all existence right now.”

The PS4 has outsold the Xbox One despite having more demand than supply.

The console have been like gold dust with many shops quickly selling out of PS4 units.

Last week PlayStation UK Managing Director Fergal Gara has said those looking to buy a PS4 should not expect to find one easily available until April.

Speaking to MCV, Mr Gara said: “I can’t work it out precisely. But based on what I’ve seen so far, I think it is going to be tricky until around about April.

“You might get a fortnight or a week here or there where it is more available, but we should be back to free supply by about April.

“That’s our best guess. It might be a little earlier than that, or it might be a little later. But we’ll get there.”

 

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Samsung Galaxy S5 To Be Launched Today

By Aglaia Staff

Samsung Electronics will unveil its highly-anticipated Galaxy S5 at the event scheduled at the Mobile World Congress on Monday in Barcelona.

The Galaxy S5 is variously rumoured to have a fingerprint scanner on the home button; a 5.24-inch, full high-definition display; a water and dust-proof case, possibly metallic, and a 16 megapixel camera

Samsung has already sent out invitations for “Samsung unPacked 5″ event on February 24 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The world’s biggest smartphone maker is bracing for its weakest mobile annual profit growth in seven years amid fierce competition from Apple Inc and Chinese vendors, and as growth for high-end smartphones eases due to near saturation in many markets.

The launch at the annual industry gathering is set to reflect a new emphasis on costs, marking a departure from the glitzy marketing Samsung has deployed in the past, including the use of actors and a full live orchestra to launch the S4 at New York’s Radio City Music Hall last year.

Meanwhile, Samsung has launched Sunday a new smart watch, the Gear 2, after a first version won over few critics, adding new features and ditching Google`s Android in favour of its own operating system.

Besides an array of features including sports tracking software and a heart rate monitor, the Gear 2 marks an important and widely rumoured step towards independence from Android.

The watch, available in two models — the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo, which has no camera — will be powered by the Tizen operating system developed by Samsung with various partners to break free of the Android dominance.

 

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Indian American Makes 3D-printed Loudspeakers

By Aglaia Staff

An Indian-American researcher at the Cornell University has used 3D printing to make a loudspeaker that work almost as soon as it comes out of the printer. Apoorva Kiran and Robert MacCurdy, both graduate students in Mechanical Engineering, worked with Hod Lipson, associate professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to customise a device that could print a variety of materials.

The loudspeakers are made up of a plastic body, conductive coil and a magnet. The researchers had to figure out how to design and print materials that could fit together and work right away.

“Everything is 3-D printed,” said Kiran, who is originally from Bihar, as he launched a demo recently by connecting the newly-printed mini speaker to amplifier wires.
Prior to coming to Cornell for his research, Kiran trained as a Material Scientist, Physicist and Mechanical Engineer. He holds an MSc in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Science-Bangalore and a B Tech in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering and Physics from Indian Institute of Technology-Madras.

Lipson said he hopes this simple demonstration is just the “tip of the iceberg.” 3-D printing technology could be moving from printing passive parts towards printing active, integrated systems, he said. “But it will be a while before consumers can print electronics at home,” Lipson said adding that most printers cannot efficiently

handle multiple materials because it requires different temperatures and curing times.

Creating a market for printed electronic devices, Lipson said, could be like introducing colour printers after only black and white had existed. “It opens up a whole new space that makes the old look primitive,” he said.

 

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India’s Broadband Dream: Making It A Reality

By Aglaia Staff

As per the 2013 edition of the State of Broadband report released recently, there are now more than 70 countries where over 50% of the population is online. The report emphasises that broadband internet has become a key tool for social and economic development, and points out an important caveat that 90% of the people in the world’s 49 least developed countries remain totally unconnected.

300px India Internet Segments Indias Broadband Dream: Making It A Reality

The Indian government set itself a target of 160 million broadband users by the year 2017 and 600 million by 2020. A quick look at the recent performance indicators published by Trai indicates the following: wire-line broadband subscription stands at a paltry 15 million with a maximum in Maharashtra at about 2.5 million; of these 15 million, 85% are provided through the digital subscriber loop (DSL) technology deployed by the fixed line service providers; wireless internet subscriptions has reached an astonishingly high number of 143 million with a maximum of about 14 million in UP.

What is interesting is that while the top 10 states in wire-line broadband subscription accounted for about 80% of the total wire-line broadband in the country, the same set accounts for only 65% of mobile internet subscriptions. The above statistics indicate that mobile internet access is a possible substitute for wire-line broadband service. Going by the existing definition of 256 Kbps downlink speed, most of the mobile internet subscribers that use 3G services might qualify to be broadband subscribers. So, we seem to have almost reached the target set for next year, now itself!

300px Vertical vs horizontal approach Indias Broadband Dream: Making It A Reality

Visit aglaia.co.in English: Vertical versus Horizontal approach to overcome barriers to mass usage of Mobile Internet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is the problem then?

Though NTP 2012 has a clause for the grand revision of the definition of broadband from 256 Kbps to 512 Kbps to 2 Mbps by 2015 and thereafter to 100 Mbps, the mobile internet access still crawls. Though Trai is yet to come up with detailed metrics for measurement of quality of service for data and internet services over mobile, the response time and call disconnects do not make it worth browsing content-heavy websites on our mobiles—unless of course we do not have a wire-line broadband service at home, which seems to be

the case especially for those who live in suburban areas and less dense locations.

On the other hand, countries are marching ahead with improving broadband penetration levels, which research indicates has a positive correlation with economic development. While most of the European countries have mandated 100 Mbps broadband connections to homes, companies such as Google are experimenting with providing fibre-to-home with a speed of 1 Gbps in the US!

Amongst the OECD countries, Japan and Korea lead the pack with over 60% of the wire-line broadband deployed over optic fibre cables. However, despite opening up basic telecom services with no cap on the number of operators, the wire-line connectivity has not picked up in our country.

Is there any solution in sight?

Options for improving broadband penetration

First is the unbundling of the local loop by the incumbents about which Trai released its recommendations way back in April 2004 that will allow internet service providers and cable companies to lease the last mile/bandwidth of the incumbents to provide broadband access. Though unbundling has been touted as unsuccessful until recently, the regulators are using this policy to improve competition in an otherwise natural monopolistic market.

300px Ch3e3d Indias Broadband Dream: Making It A Reality

Visit aglaia.co.in English: Availability of 4 Mbps-Capable Broadband Networks in the United States by County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Between 2005 and 2013, the number of unbundled lines in the UK has multiplied 70 times to about 9 million copper lines offering more than 24 Mbps. The competition in wire-line broadband has significantly increased leading to drop in prices by about 50% during this period.

With more than 90% of the 35-million-odd fixed lines being owned by the government operators (BSNL and MTNL), it is time that the government mandates unbundling to unlock value of these assets much like the above example to improve broadband penetration in the country.

Second, given the fragmented and minimal spectrum allocations to mobile operators, we can only dream of good broadband connectivity on our mobiles. Hence, release of more spectrum suitable for 3G and higher technologies is warranted.

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The 2013 CES

By Sunil Kumar

One of the biggest fairs in the consumer electronics industry; the CES kicks off on Tuesday in Las Vegas. This is the forum where big guns such as Samsung, Sony, Intel, and more show off their latest and greatest technologies. In the past, electronics such as the CD player, camcorder, and VCR made their stateside debuts at CES. More recently, HDTV, tablets, and the Microsoft Xbox have been unveiled at the conference.

A few announcements this year: ultra-high definition televisions with large screens, evolution in smartphone glass technology, a new version of the Optimus and the Galaxy S4. Intel is going to introduce a new processor; the Bay Trail-T to take on Nvidia‘s Tegra and Qualcomm‘s S4. With CEA estimates that factory-installed automotive technology will generate $8.7 billion dollars in 2013, so it’s no wonder seven major car companies will be on the show floor.

The launch of a corresponding ecosystem means that companies from over 150 countries will be on display.

 

 

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3D Movies In Your Living Room: Straight

By Sunil Kumar

Researchers will unveil this technology in Berlin at this year’s IFA trade show from August 31 to September 5.

Lounging on a sofa while watching a 3-D movie is an exquisite pleasure for many film fans. Be that as it may, those nettlesome 3-D glasses might diminish the fun somewhat. That’s why television manufacturers are working on displays that can recreate the spellbinding magic of three-dimensional television images — without the glasses.

Though prototypes of these TV screens already exist, consumers will not have to wait much longer for the market introduction of these autostereoscopic displays. Neverthe-less, the content might be a bit problematic: The 3-D movies currently available on Blu-ray are based on two different perspectives, i.e., two images, one for each eye.

However, autostereoscopic displays need five to ten views of the same scene (depending on the type). In the future, the number will probably be even more. This is because these displays have to present a three-dimensional image in such a manner that it can be seen from different angles — indeed, there is more than one place to sit on a sofa, and you should be able to get the same three dimensional impressions from any position.

Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz Institute, HHI in Berlin recently developed a technology that converts a Blu-ray’s existing 3-D content in a manner that enables them to be shown on autostereoscopic displays. “We take the existing two images and generate a depth map — that is to say, a map that assigns a specific distance from the camera to each object,” says Christian Riechert, research fellow at HHI.

“From there we compute any of several intermediate views by applying depth image-based rendering techniques. And here’s the really neat thing: The process operates on a fully automated basis, and in real time.” Previous systems were only capable of generating such depth maps at a dramatically slower pace; sometimes they even required manual adaption.

Real-time conversion, by contrast, is like simultaneous interpretation: The viewer inserts a 3-D Blu-ray disc, gets comfortable in front of the TV screen and enjoys the movie — without the glasses. Meanwhile, a hardware component estimates the depth map in the background and generates the requisite views.

The viewer is aware of nothing: He or she can fast forward or rewind the movie, start it, stop it — and all with the same outstanding quality. The flickering that could appear on the edges of objects — something that happens due to imprecise estimations — is imperceptible here.

The researchers have already finished the software that converts these data. In the next step, the scientists, working in collaboration with industry partners, intend to port it onto a hardware product so that it can be integrated into televisions. Nevertheless, it will still take at least another calendar year before the technology hits department store shelves.

7654051928 761dd12ff5 m 3D Movies In Your Living Room: Straight

Visit aglaia.co.in Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

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The Nokia Pureview 808

By Sunil Kumar

Released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona a few months back, the Nokia Pureview 808 is a phone for photography enthusiasts. Well, we said it. That’s one of the redeeming and appealing features of this phone.

What are the other competing smartphones in the market? The IPhone 4S, the Galaxy SIII,  the HTC One X. A more affordable price point in comparison is the LG Optimus 4X HD. The phone runs Symbian Belle, unappealing compared to the iOS or Google’s Android.

Most users do not care much for photography, and are looking for phones that fit in with their corporate needs. Apart from the ubiquitous Blackberry, rapidly losing market share, the iPhone has been steadily becoming more popular. Nokia PureView 808 has been positioned as the camera with a 41 mega-pixel camera. That is correct; the only thing in which it is better than the competition.

Photos can be captured in astounding detail, but it does not have additional features present in the point-and-shoot camera variety. Apart from the Carl Zeiss lens, there is a xenon flash assisted by an LED. It has a ND(Natural Density) filter that can help users take more natural colors.

It has a 1.3 GHz natural processor with a seperate chip for image processing. Other tech specs include 512 MB RAM, 16 GB inbuilt storage, and support for a microSD card. But the resolution is pretty low for a smartphone.  PureView is essentially a clever solution to problems facing customers such as lack of optical zoom and bad low-light photography.

17958v3 max 450x450 The Nokia Pureview 808

Visit aglaia.co.in Image via CrunchBase

For business users however, conventional smartphones remain a better bet. The Nokia PureView 808 is essentially more of a camera phone.

 

 

 

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Samsung launches Music Hub as iTunes rival

By Sunil Kumar

Samsung has launched a new music service on the Galaxy S3, its flagship smartphone that rolls out across Europe, to boost its appeal in competition with top devices like Apple’s iPhone.

The company has previously rebranded existing music and video services on its devices, where they compete with music stores from the likes of Google and Amazon and streaming services such as Spotify

7293498344 c42c82844d m Samsung launches Music Hub as iTunes rival

Visit aglaia.co.in Samsung Galaxy S3 (Photo credit: Stereopoly Blog)

and Pandora Media.

 

 

 

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The Leap Takes It All

143x150 The Leap Takes It All

Visit aglaia.co.in MIAMI BEACH - NOVEMBER 04: Vicente Galarza plays with Microsoft's new Kinect controller for the Xbox 360 as the Xbox representative Charles Leano (R) looks on at the Best Buy store on November 4, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. The Kinect went on sale today and uses sensors to read the players body language so controllers are not necessary to play Xbox games with the Kinect. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

By Sunil Kumar

 

Leap Motion has given technology enthusiasts a reason to be happy with a video of its new gesture-control platform. This showcased a system of incredible speed and precision, but controlled demos can sometimes not give you a fair assessment.

Much ike the Kinect, the peripheral tracks human body gestures, and translates this movement into corresponding motions on a video display. According to Leap Motion, its input device is 200 times more precise than Kinect or anything else on the market.

The device has been designed for gaming, designing, and 3D modeling. Leap Motion will make an SDK and APIs available to developers, and there are plans on shipping the first batches of the hardware to developers as well.

 

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Israel Hotbed For Flash Innovation

By Krishan Kumar

Flash storage is at the forefront of technology powering current industry trends such as cloud services, virtualization and online transaction processing. Because of that, flash development is a red-hot industry, analysts add. Israel has long understood this fact. The country has long been a nation that draws in big corporate R&D facilities and acquisitions. When it comes to engineering NAND flash storage products, writing code to manage how the non-volatile memory is used is key, especially as the size of flash chips continues to shrink.

300px NAND Flash Pages and Blocks Israel Hotbed For Flash Innovation

Visit aglaia.co.in I, § Music Sorter § (talk) 04:56, 18 June 2010 (UTC), created and uploaded this drawing into Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. This drawing illustrates the difference between data written to NAND Flash memory in 4 KB pages and data erased in 256 KB blocks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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