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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Next-generation Surface tablets

Microsoft, Next-generation Surface tablets, Surface 2

Microsoft are set to improve their latest Surface tablets with better graphics performance and longer battery life. On Monday, they announced an update to both the full-Windows Surface Pro 2 and the low cost Surface 2. 

Microsoft, wanted to join the tablet market, opted to push Windows 8 and Windows RT through its own products. However, their first attempt last year led to disappointing results, the company is trying again with improved internal specs.

Panos Panay, Microsoft vice president in charge of Surface said that the Surface Pro 2 is a full laptop in a tablet design, and noted the graphics performance is 50 percent better and its battery life 20 percent longer than its predecessor. It includes a tweaked "dual-position kickstand" that allows users to tilt the screen at two different angles.

The Surface 2 is the successor to the original Surface RT, which runs a stripped down version of Windows 8. The company said it is lighter, thinner, and faster.

The RT version contains a Tegra 4 chip from Nvidia, a full HD 1080p screen and runs three to four times faster than its predecessor. At the same time, battery life is 25 percent better than the first Surface.

The 32GB Surface 2, which runs Windows RT, will retail for $449, $50 less than its predecessor. A 64GB will cost $549. The Pro version, meanwhile, starts at $899 for the 64GB version. Both tablets will be available for preorder at 8 a.m. ET on Tuesday and will arrive in stores on Oct. 22.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nokia delays Lumia 1520 phablet launch after Microsoft deal

Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet, Microsoft

Reuters reported that Nokia apparently delayed the launch of their phablet Lumia 1520 following a deal to sell its handset business and license patents to Microsoft. The release date was originally planned for late September.

The company from Finland has pushed back the launch date and a Nokia spokesman declined to comment on the new release date.

Nokia and Microsoft are still operating as separate companies as the 5.44 billion euro deal, which was announced on September 3, has not yet closed. But Chief Executive Stephen Elop, who was hired from Microsoft in 2010 to turn the company around and is returning to his former company after the deal closes, has stepped aside to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

Under Elop, Nokia struggled to close the gap with Samsung Electronics and Apple in smartphones, although it has stepped up its pace of product launches in the past year. Market leader Samsung has led the way in phablets, proving wrong early critics who said they were too clunky. Apple has become the top seller of tablet devices.

The Lumia 1520 is a 6-inch full HD screen, with fast quad-core chip, 20-megapixel camera on the back, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. AT&T and Verizon Wireless will sell the phablet in the U.S.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

iPhone fingers security

iPhone fingers security, iPhone 5S, Fingerprint recognition

The new iPhone fingers security can start a new trend in smartphone security that can further increase trust in doing mobile banking and other important stuff using mobile devices.

Fingerprint recognition technology included features of the sophisticated iPhone 5S set to hit the market on September 20 was hailed by computer security experts as a great move that rivals will likely rally to match.

"It could be amazing," Lookout principal security researcher Marc Rogers told AFP on Wednesday.

"What is going to happen really depends on Apple's implementation," he continued. "We've seen Apple take obscure technologies and make them mainstream overnight."

Apple on Tuesday unveiled two new iPhone models, one of them a top-of-the-line 5S with innovative features including a fingerprint sensor to use as a security measure in place of passcodes.

"You can just press the home button to unlock your phone," Apple vice president Phil Schiller during an event at the company's Silicon Valley headquarters. "You can use it to authenticate iTunes purchases."

Schiller added: "We have so much of our personal data on these devices, and they are with us almost every place we go, so we have to protect them."

Reticle Research principle analyst Ross Rubin described Touch ID as a "show stealer" that addresses "a necessary annoyance that many consumers have to deal with many times a day."

Studies by Apple and Lookout, which specializes in protecting smartphones and tablets from hackers, show that less than half of smartphone owners protect handsets with access codes

A camera sensor built into the 5S home button at the bottom of the smartphone face peers deep into layers of skin to analyze loops and swirls of fingerprints.

Data from fingers is stored exclusively inside the sophisticated Apple-made chip that powers the smartphone and is refined every time Touch ID is used, according to Schiller.

"The company says that fingerprint data is encrypted and not sent to its (or anyone else's - sorry, NSA) servers," security researcher Graham Cluley said in a blog post, making a reference to reports of US spying on the Internet.

Touch ID lets 5S owners store as many as five fingerprints, meaning people will be able to let spouses, children, or others they trust share access to smartphones.

Combining fingerprint recognition with "second-factor authentication" such as verification codes ramps up smartphone security tremendously, according to Rogers.

"Imagine a banking application that lets you press a fingerprint to gain access, but to transfer money you also enter a four-digit code," Rogers said.

"It could make mobile devices more secure than their desktop counterparts."

Whether Touch ID transforms mobile commerce is likely to depend on how Apple shares the technology with the creators of applications tailored to run on iPhones.

"It is not unreasonable to imagine where Apple might go in the payment space for things outside the Apple ecosystem with a PayPal or Square type function," said Forrester analyst Charles Golvin.

"Some aspect of doing commerce in the real world is on the horizon for Apple."

Computer security specialists note that fingerprint security is not flawless, and resourceful hackers will still craft attacks.

"Your fingerprint isn't a secret, you leave it everywhere you touch," said security researcher Bruce Schneier.

Fooling some of the better fingerprint sensors with rubber fingers is difficult, but possible, according to Schneier, who noted that a researcher in Japan managed the trick more than a decade ago with candy gelatin used to make Gummi bears.

"The best system I've ever seen was at the entry gates of a secure government facility," Schneier said.

"Maybe you could have fooled it with a fake finger, but a Marine guard with a big gun was making sure you didn't get the opportunity to try."

Touch ID also prompted speculation about movie-style scenarios in which someone's digit is lopped off to unlock a stolen smartphone.

Security specialists thought the gruesome tactic unlikely, especially since PIN code access will likely remain in place as a way to get access to a smartphone if something goes wrong with the fingerprint scanner.

"It's inconceivable that malicious hackers and data thieves won't try to subvert Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanning technology," Cluley said.

"How capable they will be at doing that, remains to be seen."

source AFP

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Acer Liquid S2

Acer Liquid S2, phablet, smartphone

Taiwanese company unveiled their newest phablet the Acer Liquid S2. It is the only smartphone/tablet hybrid that can record footage in ultra-high definition (4K resolution 3840 x 2160 pixels).

The Liquid S2 has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage memory, 4G LTE connectivity, and run on Android 4.2.2. The whole device measures only 8.9mm thick and has a generous 3300mAh battery inside. The camera has 13-megapixels, and can shoot regular 1080p video too, plus it’s accompanied by a 2-megapixel video call lens above the big screen. Acer has also fitted a pair of stereo speakers to the Liquid S2, and installed Dolby Digital Plus to ensure they sound their best.

Acer plans to put the Liquid S2 on sale in Europe by the end of October, but hasn’t released a price for the phone yet, nor has it stated if the phone will see a U.S. release in the future.