Saturday, February 23, 2013

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Yes, Google Glass, like all Google products, will be iPhone compatible

The Google Glass heads-up-display device will be iPhone compatible, as noted in The Verge‘s extensive look at the device.
The device gets data through Wi-Fi on its own, or it can tether via Bluetooth to an Android device or iPhone and use its 3G or 4G data while out and about. There’s no cellular radio in Glass, but it does have a GPS chip.
The report is unclear about what this compatibility will entail, but it does seem to infer that Glass will be able to use an iPhone’s data connection. Google Glass, as previously revealed, will be able to send text messages, but it seems unclear whether or not it will work with an iPhone in this manner.

iOS includes APIs to allow accessories to use iPhone functions. For example, the Pebble smart watch can read text messages and iMessages from an iPhone.
Google Glass iPhone compatibility to not a major surprise seeing how supportive Google is of Apple’s products. For example, Google offers most of its services in app form via Apple’s iOS App Store. Google also offers software for OS X.

Google Glass is said to launch as a consumer product by the end of the year. 9to5Googlepreviously reported that Glass would be sold in Google Stores in the U.S., which are planned for opening by the end of the year.

First photos of case for next full-sized iPad again point to narrower, iPad mini-like design

In January, we published the first photos of actual rear shells for Apple’s upcoming fifth-generation iPad. Based on these photos, the next iPad will carry a design that is akin to the iPad mini, but, of course, larger.
Today, we have received the first photos of a carrying case for this redesigned 9.7-inch iPad. Once again, this new evidence of a redesign points to a form-factor that is narrower in comparison to previous full-sized iPads.

The edges of the case also point to a more squared-off design, as found on the current-generation iPad mini. Our previous photos of the fifth-generation iPad parts point to the design also because almost as thin as the iPad mini.

Friday, February 22, 2013

10 Things You Didn't Know Chrome Could Do

Since its release in 2008, Chrome has grown into a dominant browser — as of November 2012, some estimates put it as high as 35% usage share. So there's a fair chance you're reading this article on Chrome right now, across any number of devices.
But how much do you really know about it? Surely you're familiar with the innovative and awesomely-named "Omnibox," just as you know when to go "Incognito."
But have you used the Chrome Web Store to truly customize your browsing experience?Google's browser is known for its stark and simple UI; have you cluttered it with extra buttons and fun stuff? Chrome has muscles you probably don't flex on a daily basis, but there are ways to optimize your daily web routine and make your surfing simpler and prettier.

Take a look in the gallery to see what you've been missing. Like a 1970s muscle car, there's a lot under that Chrome exterior begging to be let loose.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Google Chromebook Pixel Release Date

Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched
Google just announced its new high-end computer called Chromebook Pixel, which is aimed at “everyone” (including the “enthusiast” market), and we got a chance to check it out this morning. If you are unfamiliar with Google’s Chromebook products, they are computers built for “cloud” users who rely mainly on web-based applications and services. It has had some real retail success (Amazon) and has gained some traction in the education space as well. Previous Chromebooks laptops were primarily designed to be affordable, and that means making tough choices when it comes to hardware, especially in terms of chassis materials and display quality. The Chromebook Pixel will change this, and this time again, Google has worked (hard) with Samsung to build this laptop computer. [Photo credit: Karsten Lemm (]

Making the computer disappear behind the screen

Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched
Sundar Pichai introducing the Google Chromebook Pixel to the world
Chromebook Pixel’s goal is to have the computer “disappear” behind the screen. Because this computer is designed to run web application and display web-content, Google did not think that 16:9 was a great choice since the web has a lot of vertically-oriented content. Instead, the Chromebook Pixel uses a 3:2 which gives 18% more vertical height for the screen’s content. This does make a big difference for every web user – which is… everyone.
The Chromebook Pixel laptop also features a touch screen with high-DPI (239 dot per inch, or DPI, which is a bit higher than Apple’s Macbook Pro Retina display). Google has included some high-resolution desktop wallpaper to show how good the screen is, and we hope that you are lucky enough to see that for yourself soon. If you want to work outdoors, the display has a 400 nit brightness (this is quite bright!) and also has very good viewing angles (LCD IPS display?). There are 4.3M pixels on the screen, and most users should not be able to distinguish individual pixels when using the laptop from a normal distance.

Built with touch in mind from the start

Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched
Touch is very important to Google, since consumers are getting used to tablets interfaces, and frankly, for many operations, touch is much faster than using the trackpad. Even simple drag and drops are much easier and intuitive, if the operating system (OS) provides a good support for tactile gestures. Google demonstrated apps like Street View, but also other sites like CNN to show how smooth the graphics and scrolling are.

If it doesn’t exist, build it

Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched
To build the Chromebook Pixel computer, Google has custom-designed a number of elements including a very specific industrial design. For example, the cooling and even screws have been hidden whenever possible to have a nice and pure design. The Chromebook Pixel’s “tactile” feedback also needs to “feel” good, and Google has worked on the keyboard and touchpad to address this. The keyboard uses quality switches that respond crisply and allow for comfortable fast typing. The touchpad has a glass surface and went as far as making sure that the glass was extra-smooth. This is undoubtedly the right call: we see too many PC OEMs making the mistake of “cheaping out” on the keyboard and trackpad (and display), which are two essential components of the user experience.
The trackpad software is also important, and this is also something that is easy to get wrong. Google has paid special attention to how the trackpad interprets the hand/palm/finger interaction. We did not quite have enough time to test it thoroughly, but given’s Google experience with touch technology, it’s fair to say that the odds are very good.

High-end Audio Processing

Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched
The Chromebook Pixel features two microphones to be able to use noise-cancellation techniques like beam forming. This is a well-known technology that is used in smartphones and high-end webcams, but very few laptop-integrated cameras do have it. The goal is to filter out background noise. Google even added a third microphone to detect, and filter-out typing sound from the keyboard – that’s a great feature! Soon, third party applications will have access to those microphones as well…

Fast PC Hardware

Hardware wise, the Chromebook Pixel is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, so the laptop is as fast as comparable Windows or Mac systems. Additionally, Chrome has less processes running in the background, so the experience is noticeably faster than any other Chromebook before. Google is pretty excited about the speed of the Chromebook Pixel.

Microsoft Office Compatibility

More importantly, Google has announced that it plans to add Microsoft Office compatibility in 2 or 3 months. Now *that* would be a game-changer for Chromebook because in the end, a huge number of people do care about having a great compatibility with Microsoft Office. It’s actually one of Microsoft’s most potent advantage these days. Of course, many applications claim to be compatible with Office, but in the real-world, even Office for Mac (from Microsoft) has left many users in the cold at times, so we will have to see if the MS Office support can really be “good enough”.

Conclusion, Pricing and availability

Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched
Google is taking a rather unexpected but welcome move into high-end laptops territory. Beyond this initial launch, Google wants more OEMs to join Chromebook, and so far, Lenovo is said to be on board.
Google is opening pre-orders right now, but the new computer will ship in the “first week of April”. The WiFi version will cost $1299 and the LTE version is sold for $1449. What do you think of this new Chromebook? Would you leave your Windows or Mac OS behind for it? Let us know in the comments.
Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched Google Chromebook Pixel High End Laptop Launched

Google Finally Shows Off Google Glass UI

Google is slowly pulling down Google Glass’ veil of secrecy. With each announcement, the company reveals a bit more of its secrets. This time around, the video above shows Google Glass’ UI in real world situations— you know, real world as in jumping from a plane and swinging on a trapeze. Forget about the wide-eyed concept videos; this is the real deal.
Get ready for even more Glasshole sightings, Google is ready to hand out Google Glass units to non-developer types. But you have to apply. And still pay the Glass Explorer Edition’s $1,500 price tag. But Google Glass!
Using the hashtag #ifihadglass, take to Twitter or Google + and with 50 words or less, explain how you would use Google Glass. Photos and videos can be included as well. The deadline is February 27, and Google didn’t state how many Glass units will be handed out through this program, but the competition will be fierce.
The UI shown in the video is radically more subdued than in the original concept video. Gone are the little circles and VH1 Pop-Up Video-ish notifications. Instead, users interact with Google Glass through a single pane in the top right. Everything from Google searches to notifications to hangouts seemingly happen in this one space — rather than dancing around the field of vision like in earlier Google Glass videos.


Google has yet to announce when general consumers will be able to buy Google Glass. But that’s smart.
Google is slowly rolling out units to die-hard fans that can likely help the development and deal with first-gen bugs. Frankly, at this point, Google Glass isn’t ready for mass consumption. It
will be released when it’s ready and until then, lowly consumers like most of us will have to sit on the sidelines and enjoy the future vicariously through YouTube demo videos.

PlayStation 4: Everything you need to know

Sony's brand new gaming machine has emerged from Sony's development prison, blinking in the light and bathed in the collective excitement of gaming fans. Here's what we know so far -- and what Sony has kept hidden.

DualShock 4 controller and Eye

The PlayStation 4's rumoured touch-panel controller is confirmed. It keeps the familiar controller-shape, but features a rectangular panel above the dual analogue sticks. That touch-sensitive panel is expected to work in a similar fashion to the one on the back of Sony's Vita handheld, letting you stroke and prod at the panel's surface to influence gameplay.
The DualShock 4 also has a lightbar that makes the controller motion-capable, just like Sony's older Move tech. The glowing light communicates with the PlayStation 4 Eye, a new dual-camera sensor bar that also supports Move controllers.

Streaming games and 'Share' button

The controller has a 'Share' button, which Sony says will let you broadcast your game session to online friends, via services like Ustream. Sony is gunning hard for the social crowd, with features such as the ability to upload gameplay clips to Facebook.
The PlayStation 4 will have the power to stream games over an Internet connection, which could make up for the fact that the console won't play nice with older PlayStation games. You'll likely have to pay for the privilege of streaming those old titles though, which is bound to annoy anyone who's already paid for their games once.

Graphical punch

Sony made much of the console's graphical capability. A demo for new title Killzone: Shadow Fall, (embedded below) gives a clue as to what Sony's next system will be capable of.
Pretty natty, non? The graphics don't look a monumental step forward, and PC gamers with high-end hardware may already be squeezing similar performance out of their systems, but that demo is certainly easy on the eye.
Sony showed several more demos of PlayStation 4 performance, including a tonne of bouncing blue balls and some ultra-realistic facial animation. Here's another clip, which shows off some of those features, as well as upcoming games.


We already know several key titles that are promised for the new system, including Knack a game about a size-shifting robot built from scrap, and Destiny, the 'shared-world shooter' from Bungie, the studio behind Halo.
The aforementioned Killzone: Shadow Fall as well as Diablo 3, a new Infamous game and hacking adventure Watch Dogs are also confirmed, while there were strong hints of a new Final Fantasy game in the works. That's certainly enough to get excited about for now.

Hey Sony, where's the console?

While new features and graphical capabilities were detailed, Sony refused to reveal what the console would actually look like. The actual console itself, therefore, remains a mystery.
On the one hand, what the system actually looks like is hardly the most important aspect. On the other, I'm finding it quite tough to get excited about a console when I don't even know what it looks like.

Release date and price 

Sony says the PlayStation 4 will be out for Christmas this year, but didn't mention specific release dates for individual countries. A pre-Christmas release around the globe is a relatively safe bet, though.
Pricing is also a mystery, at least for now. Expect more details at the E3 trade show in the summer, though we're expecting the system to be closer to the £300 mark than the PlayStation 3's eye-watering £425 launch price.

Apple patent filing points directly to 'iWatch' concept with flexible touchscreen display

A patent application discovered by AppleInsider on Thursday reveals Apple is indeed investigating a wearable accessory device that not only boasts a flexible touchscreen display, but conforms to a user's body through the use of a "slap bracelet" mechanism. 
Wearable Device

Source: USPTO

Apple first filed its application for a "Bi-stable spring with flexible display" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in August of 2011, describing a wearable accessory device that can be easily worn on a user's wrist or other body part. When active, the unit connects to a portable device via various communications protocols like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to display relevant information in real time. While the device itself can conform to nearly any appendage, a suitable location would be a user's wrist.

Instead of using clips or other cumbersome methods of attachment, Apple proposes the use of a bi-stable spring:
The most recent widespread use of such a device was the slap bracelet, also called the slap wrap. The slap bracelet consists of layered flexible steel bands sealed within a fabric cover. Typical slap bracelets are roughly one inch in width by nine inches in length. In a first equilibrium position they can be flat. The second equilibrium is typically reached by slapping the flat embodiment across the wrist, at which point the bracelet curls around the wrist and stays relatively secure in a roughly circular position.

According to the filing, in its most simplest form, the proposed invention involves embedding a flexible display, along with the necessary electronic components, into a conventional slap bracelet. The bi-stable spring would be made out of thin steel, which would then be wrapped in a fabric covering and heat sealed. The display would be overlaid with an adhesive over one side of the bracelet, while the device's logic board, battery and other parts are mounted to one end. By locating the components in this manner, the bracelet would cover the vital electronics module when it is being worn. 
Wearable Device Display

Illustration of device with display (402), kinetic energy gathering device (502), wireless antennas (506), connector, (508) and battery (504).

In another embodiment, the invention calls for a more robust design in which the flexible display is mounted directly to the bracelet and "framed" by a thicker, more comfortable fabric covering. Switches and critical electronics should also be resistant to fatigue, the patent notes, as the bracelet switches from a convex shape to a concave configuration depending on whether it is being worn by the user. 

While the slap bracelet is the main underpinning discussed, the filing notes that any number of other materials can be used, with mechanisms such as snaps or velcro as used as attachment points. This leaves room for interpretations on the design, including more traditional watch interfaces. 

As far as usability is concerned, the invention points out that the accessory doesn't need to be limited displaying information from a portable device like an iPhone, but can also interact with the handset at a basic level:
With a touch screen user input a user can accomplish a number of different tasks including adjusting the order of a current playlist, and reviewing a list of recent phone calls. A response to a current text message can even be managed given a simple virtual keyboard configuration across the face of the flexible display.

Such interactive features are seen in basic form with existing "smart watches" like the Pebble, though Apple's patent extends the idea into more advanced iterations such as the viewing and control of digital maps. 

Apple's wearable display can be a truly universal fit, as an "end-detection" sensor provides a contingency for larger and smaller sized appendages. Located at one end of the device, the sensor can turn off the unused portion of the display that is covered when the bracelet overlaps for smaller users. In some embodiments, the touchscreen itself can be used as the end-detection sensor. 

In addition, ambient light energy collectors, commonly referred to as solar panels, or kinetic energy gathering devices can be included onto the bracelet to boost battery life. An AMOLED display can further enhance the unit's efficiency, though Apple has yet to deploy a product that uses the technology. 

Communications are facilitated through wireless protocols, though the proposed unit also contains wired connectors for syncing and recharging the internal battery. 

Thursday's patent application is tangible evidence that Apple is working on a so-called "iWatch." Rumors regarding the purported device have been heating up as many industry watchers say wearable computing is the next logical step for the mobile technology.

There are multiple existing patents in Apple's quiver if it decides to build the proposed device, including a manufacturing process for curved glass, solar cell multitouch panels and "shake to charge" kinetic energy technology.

The filing credits Fletcher R. Rothkopf, Derek W. Wright and Scott A. Myers as its inventors.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Liquid cooling vs. traditional cooling: What you need to know

Every computer, from the smallest of home theater PCs to the most hulking of gargantuan gaming rigs, generates heat during operation—heat that can kill your PC's precious internals if you're not careful.
While you don't have anything to worry about if you bought your computer from a big-box retailer or straight from a manufacturer like HP, you'll be faced with a potentially crucial decision if you're building (or custom-buying) a fire-breathing, benchmark-eating computer: Should you chill your PC with a traditional air cooling solution or a pricier, yet more efficient liquid-cooling system? That question has many aspects to consider before you can answer it.

Cooling methods explained

The secret to harnessing the cooling power of air lies in fans—lots of fans. Your typical air-cooled PC is packed with case fans, graphics card fans, and a CPU fan or two—positioned atop a big metal heat sink—to keep your expensive components nice and frosty.
A water-cooling system, on the other hand, employs a series of coolant-filled tubes, a radiator, water blocks (the equivalent of heat sinks), and a couple of other components to keep your PC feeling refreshed. You'll even need a few fans to push around all the water! Our guide to setting up a liquid-cooled PC explains a basic (ha!) system in exacting detail.
Got it? Good. Defining air cooling and liquid cooling is the easy part. The trickier bit is making the decision to use one or the other.

Air cooling

A stock Intel CPU cooler, as installed in a PC: Not too big, but not too impressive.
One of the great joys of using fans to cool your system is that, in a lot of circumstances, you really don’t have to do anything to create a decent cooling setup. If your system’s chassis is of the non-bargain-bin variety, odds are high that its manufacturer has already installed exactly what you need—namely, an intake fan in the front that pushes outside air over your hard drives and an exhaust fan that shoots hot air flying out of the rear of the chassis.
Graphics cards and computer processors pretty much always ship with powerful stock fans—you know, the ones that sound like a plane taking off when they roar into action. Those, combined with case fans, make up the Holy Trifecta of air cooling within a typical desktop PC.
Aftermarket coolers like the Noctua NH-D14 can handle overclocked CPUs, albeit loudly.
So, the big question remains: Why air? It's cheap, for one thing. Even if you want to go with an aftermarket cooler for your CPU or GPU, you’re going to be paying far less than you would for a liquid cooling setup. The same goes for case fans. You can certainly purchase bigger, better, more efficient fans if you want a quieter rig, or even fans that light up if you’re into that sort of thing. Sure, you'll have to pay for them, but you’ll still spend far less cash upgrading or building a nice air-cooling setup than you will on a typical water-cooling loop.
Also consider the cost to your sanity. It’s a lot easier to use four screws to attach a fan to your case than it is to build your own water cooling setup.
Traditional air cooling has three major downsides, though. First, fans aren't as efficient as water cooling, which can pose a problem with severely overclocked processors or in particularly beefy rigs filled with multiple graphics cards. Second, the heat sinks on powerful CPU coolers can get big. Finally, fans are loud.

Water cooling pros

The act of switching from air to liquid cooling represents a personal milestone in one’s computer-building life. You, young PC Padawan, are now a desktop Jedi.
A water-cooled PC can be a work of art.
Let’s start with the pleasant bits. One of the key benefits of a strong liquid cooling setup is that it allows you to cool specific system components to a greater degree than if were you to use fans—not the most applicable setup for someone running a typical stock-clock processor, but one that’s definitely of interest to anyone looking to overclock their chips a bit (or a ton).
Even if you don't tax your rig enough to need a bigger cooling boost, a cheap self-contained water cooling loop—more on those later—can help lower your PC's sound output. Water cooling is much quieter than stuffing your case full of fans.
There's also the issue of space. A huge heat-sink/fan combination might perform well enough, but the best CPU coolers eat up a ton of real estate inside your case. Liquid cooling requires much less space, and it looks a lot niftier to boot. You can't discount the cool factor of a case full of colorful, liquid-filled tubes!

Water cooling cons

Liquid cooling takes a lot of homework, several parts, and careful planning.
One big downside of water cooling is its comparatively high cost, especially if you’re looking to build a custom setup. While most traditional upper-end CPU coolers cost somewhere between $50 and $100, building a liquid-cooling setup can cost far more. For example, EKWaterBlocks' top-tier H3O 360 HFX water cooling kit costs a whopping $360. (The price is converted from euros, so the 360 in the name may be coincidental.)
Quality matters in a liquid-cooling setup: You don’t want to buy cheap parts to save a few bucks and end up dousing your pricey PC components in brightly hued coolant.
The homework involved is another drawback. Generating the parts list is going to take a little planning if you're not buying a prepackaged kit. You’ll have to pick up a water block for your CPU that fits its socket, fittings that match your block and tubing size, the tubing itself, a pump, a reservoir, a radiator, a fan (or fans) for the radiator, and the coolant itself. And that’s just a typical setup for the most bare-bones configuration you can build. If you want to power separate loops for your video card, motherboard, RAM, or hard drives, you’ll have to do even more planning and purchasing.
Don't forget to include a way to actually get the coolant in the tubes!
You'll also have to make sure you have room for your setup. Radiators typically require open fan slots on your case. Reservoirs require space in your case as well, and you’ll have to plan out your loop’s layout so that you can actually get it up and running ("priming" the pump, so to speak) when you fill it with coolant. In other words, your water-cooling loop does you no good if you don’t have a good way to get the fluid running around!
Then there’s the installation itself. Simply put, your first adventures in water-cooling land could very well be fraught with peril. Installing loops isn’t exactly newbie-friendly, and the process might be more involved than you’re comfortable with, even if you’ve installed a typical fan-based aftermarket CPU cooler or two.
Which reminds me: Connecting your tubing and fittings in a secure and safe fashion is going to be your number-one issue when building your first water-cooling setup. You willspring a leak in some fashion. You'll want to construct and test your liquid-cooling systemoutside of your PC to ensure its fortitude before installing it around your expensive electronics. Component manufacturers aren't likely to replace flooded electronics, and the manufacturers of your water cooling parts certainly aren’t going to foot the bill.

Self-contained liquid coolers

Antec's Kühler H2O 620 sealed liquid cooler: Water cooling in a box.
If all this talk of water cooling's complexity has left your head spinning a bit, fear not: Another solution is available.
Self-contained or "sealed" liquid-cooling kits—preassembled and completely sealed, they start at around just $60—allow you reap the benefits of a simple water-cooling setup without having to deal with any of the messy particulars. You just need to attach a water block to your CPU and a radiator/fan combination to your case, and you’re off to the races, with nary a drop of coolant to worry about. You may lose customization options if you use self-contained kits like Corsair’s Hydro H-series or NZXT's Kraken-series coolers, but you also lose most of the headaches typically associated with do-it-yourself liquid cooling. Leakage is highly unlikely as long as you don't bend or twist the tubing at sharp, weird angles.
Installing a self-contained liquid-cooling kit is about on a par with the difficulty of installing an aftermarket cooler for your CPU. If you need to water-cool only your overclocked processor, a sealed liquid cooler is a compelling option. Stick to DIY loops if you want to liquid-cool more than the single component, however—or if you want the bling factor of clear tubes filled with colorful coolant. Most sealed coolers are opaque.


So, which is better? Air cooling or water cooling? The answer depends on your particular usage needs.
One size does not fit all when it comes to case cooling, but most people can get by with fans alone. It's easy, and it's cheap. If, on the other hand, you’re an enthusiast who needs the best cooling possible for your flaming CPU and a gaggle of graphics cards, a DIY water-cooling setup is in your future. Finally, try a sealed liquid cooler if you're considering liquid cooling either to keep your overclocked processor chilled or simply to benefit from reduced system noise.