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    Amazon loses $544 million in Q3 after Fire Phone failure



    It's pretty well established now that the Amazon Fire Phone was a complete and utter failure for the company. Data from two months ago indicated that as few as 35,000 Fire Phones were in circulation, causing Amazon to slash their on-contract price in an attempt to shift more stock.



    Now that the company's third quarter earnings report is in, we're getting a better look at how the phone has performed. For Q3 2014 Amazon posted revenues of $20.84 billion, up 20% from the same period last year; however operating losses were significantly higher at $544 million.

    Amazon wrote off $170 million as a direct result of the failed Fire Phone, stating the company has a further $83 million of inventory still to deal with. Executives said they were learning from their successes and failures, and might not be so quick to jump into a market next time around.


    Amazon's financial results were also affected by the $1 billion acquisition of Twitch, and a $2 billion investment in the Indian ecommerce market. Despite a large increase in free cash flow compared to Q3 2013, Amazon stock tanked by 10% in after hours trading following the news of a significant operating loss.

    Next quarter Amazon expects the losses to continue, estimating to lose around $570 million for the period. It may be some time before the online retail giant can return to profitability.

    Amazon loses $544 million in Q3 after Fire Phone failure

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments



    It's pretty well established now that the Amazon Fire Phone was a complete and utter failure for the company. Data from two months ago indicated that as few as 35,000 Fire Phones were in circulation, causing Amazon to slash their on-contract price in an attempt to shift more stock.



    Now that the company's third quarter earnings report is in, we're getting a better look at how the phone has performed. For Q3 2014 Amazon posted revenues of $20.84 billion, up 20% from the same period last year; however operating losses were significantly higher at $544 million.

    Amazon wrote off $170 million as a direct result of the failed Fire Phone, stating the company has a further $83 million of inventory still to deal with. Executives said they were learning from their successes and failures, and might not be so quick to jump into a market next time around.


    Amazon's financial results were also affected by the $1 billion acquisition of Twitch, and a $2 billion investment in the Indian ecommerce market. Despite a large increase in free cash flow compared to Q3 2013, Amazon stock tanked by 10% in after hours trading following the news of a significant operating loss.

    Next quarter Amazon expects the losses to continue, estimating to lose around $570 million for the period. It may be some time before the online retail giant can return to profitability.

    Google is building a version of its Play Store to sell Project Ara modules

    Google is building a version of its Google Play store for Project Ara. The marketplace will allow developers to sell their custom modular components directly to consumers much like apps are sold today.

    During a recent speaking engagement at a Purdue University event, Project Ara director Paul Eremenko said there was still a lot more they need to do in terms of ironing out the technical risks associated with the project. That said, there are probably at least two additional prototypes left to build.
    During the market pilot, Eremenko added, they’ll have a lot to learn about how people interact with the device.
    Whether or not Project Ara is truly a viable solution in today’s smartphone market remains to be seen but naturally, Eremenko is exuding with confidence. Key to its success, he noted, is whether or not they can span price points that range from a feature phone to a very high-end device.
    Last month, the project lead revealed that Ara will run a modified version of Android Lollipop. What’s more, users will be able to swap modular components (except for the CPU and display) without having to power down their device.
    Eremenko revealed at the time that Google would sell modules through an online store although his latest speech provided much more detail on the subject. We still don’t know how much individual modules will cost or how many will be available through the online store initially however.

    Google is building a version of its Play Store to sell Project Ara modules

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    Google is building a version of its Google Play store for Project Ara. The marketplace will allow developers to sell their custom modular components directly to consumers much like apps are sold today.

    During a recent speaking engagement at a Purdue University event, Project Ara director Paul Eremenko said there was still a lot more they need to do in terms of ironing out the technical risks associated with the project. That said, there are probably at least two additional prototypes left to build.
    During the market pilot, Eremenko added, they’ll have a lot to learn about how people interact with the device.
    Whether or not Project Ara is truly a viable solution in today’s smartphone market remains to be seen but naturally, Eremenko is exuding with confidence. Key to its success, he noted, is whether or not they can span price points that range from a feature phone to a very high-end device.
    Last month, the project lead revealed that Ara will run a modified version of Android Lollipop. What’s more, users will be able to swap modular components (except for the CPU and display) without having to power down their device.
    Eremenko revealed at the time that Google would sell modules through an online store although his latest speech provided much more detail on the subject. We still don’t know how much individual modules will cost or how many will be available through the online store initially however.

    Nvidia readies new Android/PC games machine

    Nvidia is to launch a new gaming device that can link up to a PC's graphics card to supercharge its own processing power when used in a different location, the BBC has learned.
    The company will offer a budget-priced separate controller for the Android device, which can also stream PC games to a TV via its HDMI-out port.


    That may pose a challenge to the forthcoming Steam Machine games PCs.
    But analysts note that Nvidia's earlier Shield handheld console has struggled.
    "I think it's fair to say that Shield sold reasonably poorly," said Ed Barton, a games industry analyst at the consultancy Ovum, who has now seen the new device.
    "And if the new device requires your PC to have a relatively new Nvidia GPU [graphics processing unit] to make use of its abilities, that will really limit its addressable market."
    The BBC understands the device will run PC titles via Nvidia's GeForce Experience system, which does require the PC to be fitted with one of Nvidia's more powerful graphics cards.
    Nvidia ShieldNvidia's Shield generated headlines at 2013's CES tech show but has not been a bestseller
    It will, however, be able to run Android games natively via Nvidia's new Tegra K1 chip.
    The company recently showed off the mobile chip - which includes both an ARM-based central processing unit (CPU) and a 192-core GPU - at Google's I/O developers conference where it powered the graphics-intensive Unreal Engine 4 games software.
    The new device may in part be intended to provide a showcase for the chip in order to encourage other tablet and smartphone manufacturers to adopt it.
    As yet it has only been used in a small number of devices, including a tablet from the Chinese Xiaomi, a smart TV by Lenovo and Google's experimental 3D-gesture-sensing Project Tango tablet.
    A spokeswoman for Nvidia would not confirm the details of the device beyond saying that the company had an "awesome new gaming product that is launching soon".
    Hardcore mobile gaming
    The machine's ability to play PC games on a TV set threatens to disrupt Valve's plans to launch Steam Machines - living-room PCs running its Steam games platform built by third parties.
    Valve recently announced it had delayed the launch of the tech until 2015.
    The appeal of Nvidia's device is that it would combine the ability to offer graphics-intensive gaming in the living room and on the road via its low-cost add-on controller, as well as being able to be used as a standalone device to run the full range of Android apps, including productivity software.
     
    The existing Shield handheld can also run non-gaming Android apps and support streamed PC games out-of-home via wi-fi as a test "beta" feature, but its bulky controller-centric form factor has limited its appeal to a niche subset of hardcore players.
    One industry watcher suggested the new machine might also find it difficult to find an audience.

    Wikipad


    "Sony's PlayStation Vita already offers the best core console gaming experience on the move, and take-up of that device has been all right but not great," said Nick Parker, a games analyst at Parker Consulting.
    "There are another number of devices that have tried to extend the Android mobile gaming experience, but experience has shown that people above a young age seem happier to play on a standard smartphone or tablet rather than travel with multiple devices.
    "It could be the case that this is some kind of lab test. Nvidia may not be so interested in how many it sells, but rather the feedback it obtains to help it understand Android gaming on other devices and longer-term portable viability."

    Nvidia readies new Android/PC games machine

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    Nvidia is to launch a new gaming device that can link up to a PC's graphics card to supercharge its own processing power when used in a different location, the BBC has learned.
    The company will offer a budget-priced separate controller for the Android device, which can also stream PC games to a TV via its HDMI-out port.


    That may pose a challenge to the forthcoming Steam Machine games PCs.
    But analysts note that Nvidia's earlier Shield handheld console has struggled.
    "I think it's fair to say that Shield sold reasonably poorly," said Ed Barton, a games industry analyst at the consultancy Ovum, who has now seen the new device.
    "And if the new device requires your PC to have a relatively new Nvidia GPU [graphics processing unit] to make use of its abilities, that will really limit its addressable market."
    The BBC understands the device will run PC titles via Nvidia's GeForce Experience system, which does require the PC to be fitted with one of Nvidia's more powerful graphics cards.
    Nvidia ShieldNvidia's Shield generated headlines at 2013's CES tech show but has not been a bestseller
    It will, however, be able to run Android games natively via Nvidia's new Tegra K1 chip.
    The company recently showed off the mobile chip - which includes both an ARM-based central processing unit (CPU) and a 192-core GPU - at Google's I/O developers conference where it powered the graphics-intensive Unreal Engine 4 games software.
    The new device may in part be intended to provide a showcase for the chip in order to encourage other tablet and smartphone manufacturers to adopt it.
    As yet it has only been used in a small number of devices, including a tablet from the Chinese Xiaomi, a smart TV by Lenovo and Google's experimental 3D-gesture-sensing Project Tango tablet.
    A spokeswoman for Nvidia would not confirm the details of the device beyond saying that the company had an "awesome new gaming product that is launching soon".
    Hardcore mobile gaming
    The machine's ability to play PC games on a TV set threatens to disrupt Valve's plans to launch Steam Machines - living-room PCs running its Steam games platform built by third parties.
    Valve recently announced it had delayed the launch of the tech until 2015.
    The appeal of Nvidia's device is that it would combine the ability to offer graphics-intensive gaming in the living room and on the road via its low-cost add-on controller, as well as being able to be used as a standalone device to run the full range of Android apps, including productivity software.
     
    The existing Shield handheld can also run non-gaming Android apps and support streamed PC games out-of-home via wi-fi as a test "beta" feature, but its bulky controller-centric form factor has limited its appeal to a niche subset of hardcore players.
    One industry watcher suggested the new machine might also find it difficult to find an audience.

    Wikipad


    "Sony's PlayStation Vita already offers the best core console gaming experience on the move, and take-up of that device has been all right but not great," said Nick Parker, a games analyst at Parker Consulting.
    "There are another number of devices that have tried to extend the Android mobile gaming experience, but experience has shown that people above a young age seem happier to play on a standard smartphone or tablet rather than travel with multiple devices.
    "It could be the case that this is some kind of lab test. Nvidia may not be so interested in how many it sells, but rather the feedback it obtains to help it understand Android gaming on other devices and longer-term portable viability."

    Microsoft to release Android-powered Nokia X2 handset

    Microsoft has unveiled its first phone after completing its takeover of Nokia's handset division - and the device is powered by Android.
    The operating system, developed by Google, is usually seen as a rival to Microsoft's own Windows Phone OS.
    Microsoft said the Nokia X2 offered it a way to hook users into its cloud-based services, several of which come pre-installed as apps.


    One expert said the alternative would have been leaving "money on the table".
    "I still find it astounding that Microsoft is making Android phones, but there seems to be a steely determination to take a more open approach for the greater good of the whole company rather than just the Windows Phone platform," said Ben Wood, from the telecoms consultancy CCS Insight.
    The original model became the best-selling mobile in Pakistan and the third best-selling handset in India - according to market-research company GfK - as well as achieving strong sales in Russia, Kenya and Nigeria.
    The new device features:
    • a slightly bigger 4.3in (11cm) screen
    • 1GB of RAM - double the amount of memory previously included
    • a more powerful battery
    • the addition of a front-facing camera for selfies
    It will cost 99 euro ($135; £80) when released in July.
    Microsoft's video chat app Skype, its Outlook email service and its OneDrive internet storage apps all come pre-loaded.
    The firm is also promoting some of its other apps - including Bing Search, the Yammer business-focused social network and the OneNote idea jotting service - as optional free downloads for the device.
    "The whole idea of bringing more people into Microsoft Cloud through these services is the very core of the strategy," Jussi Nevanlinna, vice-president of mobile phones product marketing at Microsoft, told the BBC.
    Nokia X2Microsoft says that it has used a new two-layer coating that makes the phone's case appear to "glow"
    "In fact we're ahead of other Android devices [in this respect].
    "But I want to stress that Lumia remains our primary smartphone strategy and that Nokia X is a stepping stone to it."
    The tile-based homescreen and ability to see apps displayed as a scrollable list on the X2 mirrors the Window Phone user interface, which might help encourage consumers to later make the leap to Microsoft's more expensive Lumia range.
    However, Mr Wood said there was a risk that the users would instead switch to other Android models since Windows Phone still lags behind its rival in terms of the amount of third-party software it offers.

    Microsoft to release Android-powered Nokia X2 handset

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    Microsoft has unveiled its first phone after completing its takeover of Nokia's handset division - and the device is powered by Android.
    The operating system, developed by Google, is usually seen as a rival to Microsoft's own Windows Phone OS.
    Microsoft said the Nokia X2 offered it a way to hook users into its cloud-based services, several of which come pre-installed as apps.


    One expert said the alternative would have been leaving "money on the table".
    "I still find it astounding that Microsoft is making Android phones, but there seems to be a steely determination to take a more open approach for the greater good of the whole company rather than just the Windows Phone platform," said Ben Wood, from the telecoms consultancy CCS Insight.
    The original model became the best-selling mobile in Pakistan and the third best-selling handset in India - according to market-research company GfK - as well as achieving strong sales in Russia, Kenya and Nigeria.
    The new device features:
    • a slightly bigger 4.3in (11cm) screen
    • 1GB of RAM - double the amount of memory previously included
    • a more powerful battery
    • the addition of a front-facing camera for selfies
    It will cost 99 euro ($135; £80) when released in July.
    Microsoft's video chat app Skype, its Outlook email service and its OneDrive internet storage apps all come pre-loaded.
    The firm is also promoting some of its other apps - including Bing Search, the Yammer business-focused social network and the OneNote idea jotting service - as optional free downloads for the device.
    "The whole idea of bringing more people into Microsoft Cloud through these services is the very core of the strategy," Jussi Nevanlinna, vice-president of mobile phones product marketing at Microsoft, told the BBC.
    Nokia X2Microsoft says that it has used a new two-layer coating that makes the phone's case appear to "glow"
    "In fact we're ahead of other Android devices [in this respect].
    "But I want to stress that Lumia remains our primary smartphone strategy and that Nokia X is a stepping stone to it."
    The tile-based homescreen and ability to see apps displayed as a scrollable list on the X2 mirrors the Window Phone user interface, which might help encourage consumers to later make the leap to Microsoft's more expensive Lumia range.
    However, Mr Wood said there was a risk that the users would instead switch to other Android models since Windows Phone still lags behind its rival in terms of the amount of third-party software it offers.

    Japan reveals plans to cut corporate tax to below 30%

    Japan has unveiled plans to cut the country's corporate tax to below 30% in several stages starting next year.
    The move is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to revive the economy, a pledge made when he took office in December 2012.
    Japan's corporate tax rate, at nearly 36% for large companies operating in the capital Tokyo, ranks among the highest in the industrialised world.



    The latest move has been dubbed as Mr Abe's "third arrow".
    Arrows launched
    The first two arrows launched last year and focused on using fiscal and monetary policies to turn the economy around.

    Details in terms of how the tax cut will be implemented are yet to be revealed by the Prime Minister's office.
    Mr Abe's previous economic reform measures included working with the country's central bank, the Bank of Japan to embark on an aggressive quantitative monetary easing policy, through monthly bond purchases.
    That helped drive down the value of the Japanese yen against the US dollar, and helped to benefit Japanese exporting companies, such as the automakers.
    Deflation battle
    The central bank has also set an inflation target of 2%, which it hopes to achieve in a few years' time.
    The country had been battling deflation, or falling prices for nearly two decades. But that may be changing, as prices have been rising over the last several months.
    That was helped by a raise in sales tax in April this year, to 8% from 5%.
    That's the first increase in the sales tax, in 17 years. And it will rise again to 10% in October 2015.
    The gradual increases in the sales tax are aimed at covering rising social welfare costs linked to Japan's ageing population.
    Japan currently has one of the lowest birth rates in the world.
    It also has the world's highest ratio of elderly to young people, raising serious concerns about future economic growth.
    It will take time
    Mr Abe also said he would end compulsory overtime payments for workers earning over 10m yen a year (£57,000) and raise the proportion of female managers to 30% by 2020 from last year's 7.5% rate.
    Linda Yueh, the BBC's chief business correspondent, said the changes were "crucial to getting growth going".
    However, economists warned it would be years before the country benefitted from the planned changes.
    "Various legislation must be enacted and it will take time for companies to begin to act. Therefore, it will be 10 to 20 years before the potential growth rate rises," said Kenji Yumoto, vice chairman of the Japan Research Institute.
    And Naoki Iizuka, an economist at Citigroup Global Markets Japan, said Mr Abe's plans needed to be bolder.

    Japan reveals plans to cut corporate tax to below 30%

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    Japan has unveiled plans to cut the country's corporate tax to below 30% in several stages starting next year.
    The move is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to revive the economy, a pledge made when he took office in December 2012.
    Japan's corporate tax rate, at nearly 36% for large companies operating in the capital Tokyo, ranks among the highest in the industrialised world.



    The latest move has been dubbed as Mr Abe's "third arrow".
    Arrows launched
    The first two arrows launched last year and focused on using fiscal and monetary policies to turn the economy around.

    Details in terms of how the tax cut will be implemented are yet to be revealed by the Prime Minister's office.
    Mr Abe's previous economic reform measures included working with the country's central bank, the Bank of Japan to embark on an aggressive quantitative monetary easing policy, through monthly bond purchases.
    That helped drive down the value of the Japanese yen against the US dollar, and helped to benefit Japanese exporting companies, such as the automakers.
    Deflation battle
    The central bank has also set an inflation target of 2%, which it hopes to achieve in a few years' time.
    The country had been battling deflation, or falling prices for nearly two decades. But that may be changing, as prices have been rising over the last several months.
    That was helped by a raise in sales tax in April this year, to 8% from 5%.
    That's the first increase in the sales tax, in 17 years. And it will rise again to 10% in October 2015.
    The gradual increases in the sales tax are aimed at covering rising social welfare costs linked to Japan's ageing population.
    Japan currently has one of the lowest birth rates in the world.
    It also has the world's highest ratio of elderly to young people, raising serious concerns about future economic growth.
    It will take time
    Mr Abe also said he would end compulsory overtime payments for workers earning over 10m yen a year (£57,000) and raise the proportion of female managers to 30% by 2020 from last year's 7.5% rate.
    Linda Yueh, the BBC's chief business correspondent, said the changes were "crucial to getting growth going".
    However, economists warned it would be years before the country benefitted from the planned changes.
    "Various legislation must be enacted and it will take time for companies to begin to act. Therefore, it will be 10 to 20 years before the potential growth rate rises," said Kenji Yumoto, vice chairman of the Japan Research Institute.
    And Naoki Iizuka, an economist at Citigroup Global Markets Japan, said Mr Abe's plans needed to be bolder.

    Hover cars to be built in Tel Aviv

    An elevated network of hover cars is to be built in Tel Aviv.
    A 500m loop will be built on the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) followed by a commercial network, according to skyTran, the company that will build it.
    Two-person vehicles will be suspended from elevated magnetic tracks, as an alternative transport method to congested roads, the firm promised.



    The system should be up and running by the end of 2015.
    The firm hopes the test track will prove that the technology works and lead to a commercial version of the network.
    The plan is to allow passengers to order a vehicle on their smartphone to meet them at a specific station and then head directly to their destination.
    The vehicles will achieve speeds of up to 70km/h (43mph) although the commercial rollout is expected to offer much faster vehicles.
    A number of skyTran projects are planned globally, including in India and the US, but will depend upon the success of the Israeli pilot.
    SkyTran, based at the Nasa research park in California, hopes to revolutionise public transport.
    Chief executive Jerry Sanders described the agreement to build a test track with IAI as a "breakthrough" for the project.
    Joe Dignan, an independent smart city expert, said the system represented "a hybrid between existing infrastructure and autonomous vehicles".
    "It will get the market in the mood for autonomous vehicles - it is not too scary, is cheaper than building out a train line and uses part of the urban landscape, 20 feet above ground, that isn't currently used."

    Hover cars to be built in Tel Aviv

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    An elevated network of hover cars is to be built in Tel Aviv.
    A 500m loop will be built on the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) followed by a commercial network, according to skyTran, the company that will build it.
    Two-person vehicles will be suspended from elevated magnetic tracks, as an alternative transport method to congested roads, the firm promised.



    The system should be up and running by the end of 2015.
    The firm hopes the test track will prove that the technology works and lead to a commercial version of the network.
    The plan is to allow passengers to order a vehicle on their smartphone to meet them at a specific station and then head directly to their destination.
    The vehicles will achieve speeds of up to 70km/h (43mph) although the commercial rollout is expected to offer much faster vehicles.
    A number of skyTran projects are planned globally, including in India and the US, but will depend upon the success of the Israeli pilot.
    SkyTran, based at the Nasa research park in California, hopes to revolutionise public transport.
    Chief executive Jerry Sanders described the agreement to build a test track with IAI as a "breakthrough" for the project.
    Joe Dignan, an independent smart city expert, said the system represented "a hybrid between existing infrastructure and autonomous vehicles".
    "It will get the market in the mood for autonomous vehicles - it is not too scary, is cheaper than building out a train line and uses part of the urban landscape, 20 feet above ground, that isn't currently used."

    Samsung launches the 6.6mm-thin Galaxy Tab S series

    Samsung has today announced yet another line of tablets aimed at dethroning Apple's iPad from the top spot in the market. The Galaxy Tab S series comes in two sizes, an 8.4-inch and 10.5-inch model, both packing Super AMOLED displays and razor-thin designs.

    The Galaxy Tab S is the first time since 2012 that Samsung has used a Super AMOLED display in a tablet, with the 10.5-inch model packing the largest Super AMOLED display Samsung has used in a mobile device. Both models pack resolutions of 2560 x 1600, and you only get a PenTile subpixel matrix in the 8.4-inch model.
    Each Tab S is just 6.6mm thin, which is thinner than either the iPad Air or iPad Mini with Retina Display. They're both lighter than their respective iPad competitors as well, but still manage to pack respectably large batteries: 7,900 mAh (~30 Wh) in the 10.5-inch unit; and 4,900 mAh (~19 Wh) in the 8.4-inch.
    Internally you'll find identical specifications across the Galaxy Tab S series. If you opt for the Wi-Fi only model you'll get an Exynos 5 Octa SoC with a 1.9 GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU paired with a 1.3 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7; meanwhile the LTE model will use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800.
    Interestingly both of these SoCs seem one step behind current top-end: the Exynos 5 Octa SoC appears to be the same one used on some variants of the Galaxy Note 3, skipping over the new SKU for the Galaxy S5, while the Snapdragon 800 is slightly behind the current 801.
    You'll also get 3 GB of RAM, up to 32 GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot, and the usual range of connectivity including Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0. Samsung has included the fingerprint scanner from the Galaxy S5 integrated into the home button, and the design used is very similar to that found on the S5 as well.
    Software-wise you'll find Android 4.4 'KitKat' plus a version of TouchWiz we first saw on the Galaxy S5. You'll be able to interact with your S5 on the Tab S using SideSync, which streams the S5's UI onto the Tab S using Wi-Fi Direct.
    The Galaxy Tab S series will go on sale in the United States starting July, and will retail for $399 (8.4-inch model, Wi-Fi, 16GB) and $499 (10.5-inch model, Wi-Fi, 16GB).

    Samsung launches the 6.6mm-thin Galaxy Tab S series

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    Samsung has today announced yet another line of tablets aimed at dethroning Apple's iPad from the top spot in the market. The Galaxy Tab S series comes in two sizes, an 8.4-inch and 10.5-inch model, both packing Super AMOLED displays and razor-thin designs.

    The Galaxy Tab S is the first time since 2012 that Samsung has used a Super AMOLED display in a tablet, with the 10.5-inch model packing the largest Super AMOLED display Samsung has used in a mobile device. Both models pack resolutions of 2560 x 1600, and you only get a PenTile subpixel matrix in the 8.4-inch model.
    Each Tab S is just 6.6mm thin, which is thinner than either the iPad Air or iPad Mini with Retina Display. They're both lighter than their respective iPad competitors as well, but still manage to pack respectably large batteries: 7,900 mAh (~30 Wh) in the 10.5-inch unit; and 4,900 mAh (~19 Wh) in the 8.4-inch.
    Internally you'll find identical specifications across the Galaxy Tab S series. If you opt for the Wi-Fi only model you'll get an Exynos 5 Octa SoC with a 1.9 GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU paired with a 1.3 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7; meanwhile the LTE model will use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800.
    Interestingly both of these SoCs seem one step behind current top-end: the Exynos 5 Octa SoC appears to be the same one used on some variants of the Galaxy Note 3, skipping over the new SKU for the Galaxy S5, while the Snapdragon 800 is slightly behind the current 801.
    You'll also get 3 GB of RAM, up to 32 GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot, and the usual range of connectivity including Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0. Samsung has included the fingerprint scanner from the Galaxy S5 integrated into the home button, and the design used is very similar to that found on the S5 as well.
    Software-wise you'll find Android 4.4 'KitKat' plus a version of TouchWiz we first saw on the Galaxy S5. You'll be able to interact with your S5 on the Tab S using SideSync, which streams the S5's UI onto the Tab S using Wi-Fi Direct.
    The Galaxy Tab S series will go on sale in the United States starting July, and will retail for $399 (8.4-inch model, Wi-Fi, 16GB) and $499 (10.5-inch model, Wi-Fi, 16GB).

    McLaren confirms track-only P1 GTR

    A month ago, TopGear.com delivered the news that McLaren was busy creating a track-only version of the P1. Now we can tell you more about it. It’ll be called the P1 GTR, it’ll produce more power, more downforce, more grip and will cost more than double the price of a standard P1.


    Let’s start with the name. GTR was the tag McLaren attached to racing versions of the F1 road car. A car, let’s not forget, that won Le Mans back in 1995. The timing of this announcement, with the famous 24 hour race taking place this weekend – is surely no coincidence. At the moment, all McLaren is saying about the GTR is that this is a track-only version of the P1, but McLaren is fond of an anniversary – could it be possible that a P1 GTR will debut at Le Mans 20 years on from the F1’s famous victory?
    Actual technical details are scant, as are images: we only have the underwhelming sketch below for now. McLaren claims it’s aiming for a 1,000PS output (986hp, a gain of 83hp over the current model) but doesn’t say if that’ll be from electrical enhancement or simply turning the wick up further on the twin turbo 3.8-litre V8. The aerodynamics will be enhanced to deliver more downforce, the track widths will be widened, the styling will be more aggressive and in place of the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres, the GTR will feature ‘race-proven’ slicks. 
    This will make a big difference. The standard P1 is capable of pulling 2.15 lateral g and batting past 60mph and 100mph in 2.5sec and 5.0sec respectively. Just how much faster will the GTR be? Could 2.0sec to 60mph be possible? Sub-4.5sec to 100mph? 
    Here’s what we do know. It’s intended as a track day car for very wealthy clients. Production will only start once all 375 standard P1s have been built. Numbers will be very limited, and the GTR will cost £1.98 million (about $3.4m) – a fair markup on the £866,000 charged for the ‘ordinary’ P1. The asking price will include a program of track days at current Formula One circuits around the world, as well as advice and consultations with various McLaren people from the driver fitness team to Design Director Frank Stephenson – which could mean there’s a possibility of bespoke styling. Access to McLaren’s fabled racing simulators will also be included. p0210xr0
    McLaren P1 GTR teaser. (McLaren Automotive)

    McLaren confirms track-only P1 GTR

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    A month ago, TopGear.com delivered the news that McLaren was busy creating a track-only version of the P1. Now we can tell you more about it. It’ll be called the P1 GTR, it’ll produce more power, more downforce, more grip and will cost more than double the price of a standard P1.


    Let’s start with the name. GTR was the tag McLaren attached to racing versions of the F1 road car. A car, let’s not forget, that won Le Mans back in 1995. The timing of this announcement, with the famous 24 hour race taking place this weekend – is surely no coincidence. At the moment, all McLaren is saying about the GTR is that this is a track-only version of the P1, but McLaren is fond of an anniversary – could it be possible that a P1 GTR will debut at Le Mans 20 years on from the F1’s famous victory?
    Actual technical details are scant, as are images: we only have the underwhelming sketch below for now. McLaren claims it’s aiming for a 1,000PS output (986hp, a gain of 83hp over the current model) but doesn’t say if that’ll be from electrical enhancement or simply turning the wick up further on the twin turbo 3.8-litre V8. The aerodynamics will be enhanced to deliver more downforce, the track widths will be widened, the styling will be more aggressive and in place of the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres, the GTR will feature ‘race-proven’ slicks. 
    This will make a big difference. The standard P1 is capable of pulling 2.15 lateral g and batting past 60mph and 100mph in 2.5sec and 5.0sec respectively. Just how much faster will the GTR be? Could 2.0sec to 60mph be possible? Sub-4.5sec to 100mph? 
    Here’s what we do know. It’s intended as a track day car for very wealthy clients. Production will only start once all 375 standard P1s have been built. Numbers will be very limited, and the GTR will cost £1.98 million (about $3.4m) – a fair markup on the £866,000 charged for the ‘ordinary’ P1. The asking price will include a program of track days at current Formula One circuits around the world, as well as advice and consultations with various McLaren people from the driver fitness team to Design Director Frank Stephenson – which could mean there’s a possibility of bespoke styling. Access to McLaren’s fabled racing simulators will also be included. p0210xr0
    McLaren P1 GTR teaser. (McLaren Automotive)

    Microsoft explains why there were no Windows games at E3

    E3 is perhaps the biggest gaming-related trade show in the world. Every year, a bevy of game publishers and accessory manufacturers converge on the Los Angeles Convention Center for nearly a week to showcase their new wares to eager media. It seems like the perfect place to let everyone in on your next big project, right?









    Not so, according to Microsoft.
    As you may have noticed, Windows PC gaming was a no-show at this year’s conference and according to Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer, that was no accident. In a recent interview with Polygon, Spencer said gaming on Windows has arguably never been healthier in the sense that big franchises like League of Legends and World of Tanks dwarf a lot of what they are doing in the console space in terms of users and monetization.
    Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean a show like E3 is a good fit for such titles.
    Spencer pointed out that E3 is a retail show, a console show, and it didn’t really feel like the right place for Microsoft to talk about Windows gaming. That’s not to say that Windows games aren’t critical to the company’s success, however.
    With E3 off the table, where then should Microsoft peddle PC games? Spencer said e-sports gaming meets, like Intel’s recent Extreme Masters e-sports event that attracted more than 55,000 spectators, could have potential. 

    Microsoft explains why there were no Windows games at E3

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    E3 is perhaps the biggest gaming-related trade show in the world. Every year, a bevy of game publishers and accessory manufacturers converge on the Los Angeles Convention Center for nearly a week to showcase their new wares to eager media. It seems like the perfect place to let everyone in on your next big project, right?









    Not so, according to Microsoft.
    As you may have noticed, Windows PC gaming was a no-show at this year’s conference and according to Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer, that was no accident. In a recent interview with Polygon, Spencer said gaming on Windows has arguably never been healthier in the sense that big franchises like League of Legends and World of Tanks dwarf a lot of what they are doing in the console space in terms of users and monetization.
    Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean a show like E3 is a good fit for such titles.
    Spencer pointed out that E3 is a retail show, a console show, and it didn’t really feel like the right place for Microsoft to talk about Windows gaming. That’s not to say that Windows games aren’t critical to the company’s success, however.
    With E3 off the table, where then should Microsoft peddle PC games? Spencer said e-sports gaming meets, like Intel’s recent Extreme Masters e-sports event that attracted more than 55,000 spectators, could have potential. 

    Siemens and Mitsubishi launch Alstom gas bid

    German firm Siemens and Japanese engineering giant Mitsubishi have come up with a fresh offer for Alstom.
    The companies are bidding against US firm General Electric, which also wants to acquire the French firm's assets.
    Siemens wants to buy Alstom's gas turbines business, while Mitsubishi has proposed three joint ventures with Alstom and a 10% stake in the company.


    The offer includes 3.1bn euros in cash. Siemens is offering 3.9bn euros (£3.1bn) for the gas business.
    General Electric (GE) has offered $16.9bn (£10bn) for Alstom's energy business.
    Siemens also plans to discuss the possibility of creating a combined rail business with Alstom, which makes the high-speed TGV trains.
    All three businesses have been courting the French government over a possible deal.
    Both GE and Siemens have made pledges on jobs, with both parties promising to create 1,000 jobs.
    Siemens has promised no job cuts in either Germany or France for three years after the deal is completed.
    Siemens also said it would headquarter the gas turbines business in France.
    'Strategic'
    Siemens and Mitsubishi are meeting the French President, Francois Hollande, on Tuesday.
    The French government can block foreign takeover bids for companies deemed "strategic", and has made job preservation a priority at Alstom. The company is one of France's key industrial firms.
    French President Francois Hollande will hold a meeting on Thursday morning to review developments on the sale, said Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg.
    Alstom had to be bailed out by the French government in 2004, and has suffered heavy debts and a fall in orders over the past 10 years.

    Siemens and Mitsubishi launch Alstom gas bid

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    German firm Siemens and Japanese engineering giant Mitsubishi have come up with a fresh offer for Alstom.
    The companies are bidding against US firm General Electric, which also wants to acquire the French firm's assets.
    Siemens wants to buy Alstom's gas turbines business, while Mitsubishi has proposed three joint ventures with Alstom and a 10% stake in the company.


    The offer includes 3.1bn euros in cash. Siemens is offering 3.9bn euros (£3.1bn) for the gas business.
    General Electric (GE) has offered $16.9bn (£10bn) for Alstom's energy business.
    Siemens also plans to discuss the possibility of creating a combined rail business with Alstom, which makes the high-speed TGV trains.
    All three businesses have been courting the French government over a possible deal.
    Both GE and Siemens have made pledges on jobs, with both parties promising to create 1,000 jobs.
    Siemens has promised no job cuts in either Germany or France for three years after the deal is completed.
    Siemens also said it would headquarter the gas turbines business in France.
    'Strategic'
    Siemens and Mitsubishi are meeting the French President, Francois Hollande, on Tuesday.
    The French government can block foreign takeover bids for companies deemed "strategic", and has made job preservation a priority at Alstom. The company is one of France's key industrial firms.
    French President Francois Hollande will hold a meeting on Thursday morning to review developments on the sale, said Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg.
    Alstom had to be bailed out by the French government in 2004, and has suffered heavy debts and a fall in orders over the past 10 years.

    Microsoft patents used in Android licensing deals revealed by Chinese government

    Microsoft has been using its extensive patent portfolio to extract licensing deals with a long list of Android and Chrome OS manufacturers, entitling them to an undisclosed fee per device sold. So far the strategy has been a success for Microsoft, with over 70% of Android phones sold in the US covered under such agreements and revenues estimated to be in the billions. But the actual patents within by such deals have remained mostly a mystery. Until now.

    In order to seek approval for its Nokia acquisition the company had to submit patent related information to government regulators in several nations. That included China, which just published a list of more than 300 mobile patents and applications held by Microsoft, via its Ministry of Commerce site.
    The patents include 73 standard-essential patents as well as 127 patents that Microsoft says are implemented in Android, 68 patent applications, and 42 issued patents. A full list is available here along with a subset of 100 or so patents that the Chinese regulator focused on for the deal’s approval.
    Ars Technica took a closer look at the documents and found patents for a wide range of functionalities, among them: 8,255,379 "Customer Local Search," 5,813,013 "Representing Recurring Events," 6,999,047 "Locating and tracking a user in a wireless network through environmentally profiled data,” 5,889,522 "System Provided Child Window Controls," and 6,339,780 "Loading Status in a Hypermedia Browser Having a Limited Available Display Area.”
    Notably, a number of the patents were obtained in the “Rockstar” deal, in which a consortium of Google rivals that also included Apple and RIM jointly bought the intellectual property of now defunct Nortel for $4.5 billion.
    Microsoft has said it supports bringing more transparency to the patent system but so far has failed to voluntarily reveal the full list of patents it owns. The fact that its mobile patents are now public could, in some cases, help Android makers design around the patents or try to invalidate them in court.
    In the short term with most major players already paying fees to Microsoft, the company stands to continue making millions from Android, which will come in handy to cover its own losses in its devices and entertainment divisions.

    Microsoft patents used in Android licensing deals revealed by Chinese government

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    Microsoft has been using its extensive patent portfolio to extract licensing deals with a long list of Android and Chrome OS manufacturers, entitling them to an undisclosed fee per device sold. So far the strategy has been a success for Microsoft, with over 70% of Android phones sold in the US covered under such agreements and revenues estimated to be in the billions. But the actual patents within by such deals have remained mostly a mystery. Until now.

    In order to seek approval for its Nokia acquisition the company had to submit patent related information to government regulators in several nations. That included China, which just published a list of more than 300 mobile patents and applications held by Microsoft, via its Ministry of Commerce site.
    The patents include 73 standard-essential patents as well as 127 patents that Microsoft says are implemented in Android, 68 patent applications, and 42 issued patents. A full list is available here along with a subset of 100 or so patents that the Chinese regulator focused on for the deal’s approval.
    Ars Technica took a closer look at the documents and found patents for a wide range of functionalities, among them: 8,255,379 "Customer Local Search," 5,813,013 "Representing Recurring Events," 6,999,047 "Locating and tracking a user in a wireless network through environmentally profiled data,” 5,889,522 "System Provided Child Window Controls," and 6,339,780 "Loading Status in a Hypermedia Browser Having a Limited Available Display Area.”
    Notably, a number of the patents were obtained in the “Rockstar” deal, in which a consortium of Google rivals that also included Apple and RIM jointly bought the intellectual property of now defunct Nortel for $4.5 billion.
    Microsoft has said it supports bringing more transparency to the patent system but so far has failed to voluntarily reveal the full list of patents it owns. The fact that its mobile patents are now public could, in some cases, help Android makers design around the patents or try to invalidate them in court.
    In the short term with most major players already paying fees to Microsoft, the company stands to continue making millions from Android, which will come in handy to cover its own losses in its devices and entertainment divisions.

    Business v state investment disputes in EU spotlight

    Should foreign businesses have the right to take a sovereign state to arbitration to seek compensation for a change in the law or government policy? And if so, in exactly what circumstances?
    These issues have been raised as a result of a plan being negotiated by the EU and the US called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
    The questions about companies' rights to seek arbitration are the subject of a public consultation exercise that is under way in the EU, ending in early July.



    The European Commission has a page on its website for members of the EU public wanting to contribute.
    TTIP is controversial and the proposed rights for foreign investors are especially contentious. That part of the plan is known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS - not to be confused with the International Sheepdog Society).
    The basic idea of ISDS is that foreign investors should be able to go to independent arbitration if they believe they have been treated by a host government in a way that breaches an international investment agreement. If they win, they may get compensation.
    The potential benefits for the foreign investors are clear enough. But why would governments subject themselves to this kind of constraint?
    'Chilling factor'
    There are two arguments. The legal protection can be appealing to foreign companies, so it could encourage them to invest when they might not otherwise have done.
    And if you offer this arrangement in a bilateral agreement, the same protection would be available to your own companies when they invest in the other country involved.
    The inclusion of ISDS in the transatlantic negotiations is hotly debated. Critics say that it could inhibit governments' rights to regulate in the public interest, and expose them and taxpayers to hefty compensation bills if they do regulate in a way that hits foreign investors' profits.
    People protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US at the final election party of the Christian Democratic Union on 23 May 2014TTIP has been controversial, prompting some protests in Europe
    Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is one of theleading groups campaigning against ISDS.
    It rejects the idea that ISDS protects investors against unfair behaviour by host states. Instead, the group argues: "It serves as a powerful corporate weapon to delay, weaken and kill regulation." 

    Business v state investment disputes in EU spotlight

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    Should foreign businesses have the right to take a sovereign state to arbitration to seek compensation for a change in the law or government policy? And if so, in exactly what circumstances?
    These issues have been raised as a result of a plan being negotiated by the EU and the US called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
    The questions about companies' rights to seek arbitration are the subject of a public consultation exercise that is under way in the EU, ending in early July.



    The European Commission has a page on its website for members of the EU public wanting to contribute.
    TTIP is controversial and the proposed rights for foreign investors are especially contentious. That part of the plan is known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS - not to be confused with the International Sheepdog Society).
    The basic idea of ISDS is that foreign investors should be able to go to independent arbitration if they believe they have been treated by a host government in a way that breaches an international investment agreement. If they win, they may get compensation.
    The potential benefits for the foreign investors are clear enough. But why would governments subject themselves to this kind of constraint?
    'Chilling factor'
    There are two arguments. The legal protection can be appealing to foreign companies, so it could encourage them to invest when they might not otherwise have done.
    And if you offer this arrangement in a bilateral agreement, the same protection would be available to your own companies when they invest in the other country involved.
    The inclusion of ISDS in the transatlantic negotiations is hotly debated. Critics say that it could inhibit governments' rights to regulate in the public interest, and expose them and taxpayers to hefty compensation bills if they do regulate in a way that hits foreign investors' profits.
    People protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US at the final election party of the Christian Democratic Union on 23 May 2014TTIP has been controversial, prompting some protests in Europe
    Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is one of theleading groups campaigning against ISDS.
    It rejects the idea that ISDS protects investors against unfair behaviour by host states. Instead, the group argues: "It serves as a powerful corporate weapon to delay, weaken and kill regulation." 

    Apple exchanges 'overheating' European USB power adapters

    A European USB iPhone charger sold between October 2009 and September 2012 "may overheat and pose a safety risk", says manufacturer, Apple.
    The US firm is offering to exchange the defective items free of charge.


    In an advice note, the company urges those who own the adapter to stop using it, although it says the malfunction only occurs in "rare cases".
    The model was sold in 37 countries, including some countries in Africa and Asia, but not in the UK.
    The item was shipped with iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S models, and was also sold as a separate accessory.
    Its model number is A1300 and it features the letters "CE" in solid grey.
    It was sold in the following countries:
    • Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Vietnam
    This is not the first time Apple has exchanged USB adapters. In 2008, the company offered to exchange defective iPhone 3G chargers in the US, Japan, Canada and several Latin American countries.
    Apple has also offered to replace counterfeit or third-party iPhone chargers sold to customers in China, amid concerns over safety.

    Apple exchanges 'overheating' European USB power adapters

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    A European USB iPhone charger sold between October 2009 and September 2012 "may overheat and pose a safety risk", says manufacturer, Apple.
    The US firm is offering to exchange the defective items free of charge.


    In an advice note, the company urges those who own the adapter to stop using it, although it says the malfunction only occurs in "rare cases".
    The model was sold in 37 countries, including some countries in Africa and Asia, but not in the UK.
    The item was shipped with iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S models, and was also sold as a separate accessory.
    Its model number is A1300 and it features the letters "CE" in solid grey.
    It was sold in the following countries:
    • Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Vietnam
    This is not the first time Apple has exchanged USB adapters. In 2008, the company offered to exchange defective iPhone 3G chargers in the US, Japan, Canada and several Latin American countries.
    Apple has also offered to replace counterfeit or third-party iPhone chargers sold to customers in China, amid concerns over safety.

    At E3, signs that virtual reality's time may finally be coming

    In 2013, Oculus VR's booth at Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gaming industry's biggest annual convention, was relegated to a far corner of the showfloor near the restrooms.
    What a difference a year makes. At the 2014 expo this week, the startup, which Facebookbought in March for $2 billion, drew crowds of oglers for its latest virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift.



    The change is a sign of the rising interest in virtual reality platforms among publishers and developers, who hope the years-old technology -- which creates a 360-degree view that immerses players in fantasy settings -- can finally become a viable platform to reverse shrinking video game industry revenues and draw a new generation of users.
    Whether gamers will buy into that remains to be seen, but Facebook’s big bet has joltedgaming companies into action.
    At the expo, known as E3, Sony let gamers try out its virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus, and teased them with experiences such as zipping down a highway on a luge.Electronic Arts has dedicated research teams to explore virtual reality, even beyond headsets. Yves Guillemot, chief executive of French video game publisher Ubisoft, told Reuters his company is working on a virtual reality experience that's "coming soon."
    The chief executive of Oculus, Brendan Iribe, has gone on a hiring spree for engineers, designers and developers to fine-tune the technology, develop games in-house, and convince others to make VR-content.
    "It’s just the beginning. We’re all learning and making a lot of mistakes along the way," Iribe said at the expo.
    Some developers say the Rift headset has undergone improvements in display technology in the past six months and is inching closer to overcoming perennial obstacles to mainstream adoption: nausea-inducing motion-blur, uncomfortably grainy displays and sheer bulk.
    "I have rarely seen this kind of very ground-up, groundswell of developer support," said Andrew House, group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. "Maybe its time has come."
    Oculus and Sony are expected to begin selling their devices next year, but content remains scarce. At E3, Playful Corp debuted adventure game "Lucky's Tale" and CCP Gamespresented space combat game "Valkyrie."
    Technology companies struggle to entice developers to create content to drive a new platform. Developers tend to balk if the technology is untested.
    "It’s a vicious cycle that’s hard to break unless someone spends a lot of money on a lot of content," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said. "I would bet on Oculus because Facebook’s got the money."
    Consulting firm KZero Worldswide projects revenue from virtual reality hardware andsoftware of $90 million in 2014, and over $2 billion in 2015. Others urge caution.
    "I have a belief in VR but I’m not 100 percent sold that we are ready today," said Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson.
    Still, initial consumer interest is high. Hundreds of gamers lined up at E3 to the Oculus Rift, squirming and screeching along to Sega's horror sci-fi game "Alien:Isolation."

    At E3, signs that virtual reality's time may finally be coming

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    In 2013, Oculus VR's booth at Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gaming industry's biggest annual convention, was relegated to a far corner of the showfloor near the restrooms.
    What a difference a year makes. At the 2014 expo this week, the startup, which Facebookbought in March for $2 billion, drew crowds of oglers for its latest virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift.



    The change is a sign of the rising interest in virtual reality platforms among publishers and developers, who hope the years-old technology -- which creates a 360-degree view that immerses players in fantasy settings -- can finally become a viable platform to reverse shrinking video game industry revenues and draw a new generation of users.
    Whether gamers will buy into that remains to be seen, but Facebook’s big bet has joltedgaming companies into action.
    At the expo, known as E3, Sony let gamers try out its virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus, and teased them with experiences such as zipping down a highway on a luge.Electronic Arts has dedicated research teams to explore virtual reality, even beyond headsets. Yves Guillemot, chief executive of French video game publisher Ubisoft, told Reuters his company is working on a virtual reality experience that's "coming soon."
    The chief executive of Oculus, Brendan Iribe, has gone on a hiring spree for engineers, designers and developers to fine-tune the technology, develop games in-house, and convince others to make VR-content.
    "It’s just the beginning. We’re all learning and making a lot of mistakes along the way," Iribe said at the expo.
    Some developers say the Rift headset has undergone improvements in display technology in the past six months and is inching closer to overcoming perennial obstacles to mainstream adoption: nausea-inducing motion-blur, uncomfortably grainy displays and sheer bulk.
    "I have rarely seen this kind of very ground-up, groundswell of developer support," said Andrew House, group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. "Maybe its time has come."
    Oculus and Sony are expected to begin selling their devices next year, but content remains scarce. At E3, Playful Corp debuted adventure game "Lucky's Tale" and CCP Gamespresented space combat game "Valkyrie."
    Technology companies struggle to entice developers to create content to drive a new platform. Developers tend to balk if the technology is untested.
    "It’s a vicious cycle that’s hard to break unless someone spends a lot of money on a lot of content," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said. "I would bet on Oculus because Facebook’s got the money."
    Consulting firm KZero Worldswide projects revenue from virtual reality hardware andsoftware of $90 million in 2014, and over $2 billion in 2015. Others urge caution.
    "I have a belief in VR but I’m not 100 percent sold that we are ready today," said Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson.
    Still, initial consumer interest is high. Hundreds of gamers lined up at E3 to the Oculus Rift, squirming and screeching along to Sega's horror sci-fi game "Alien:Isolation."

    Oil markets spike on Iraq concerns

    The price of Brent crude spiked on Friday over concerns about the ongoing insurgency in Iraq.
    Oil prices settled down, but at $4 per barrel higher than at the beginning of the week.
    Reassurances about the flow of oil supplies went some way to calming market jitters.
    Brent crude futures stabilised at $112.32 per barrel, while US crude levelled to $106.55, after the highest reading for both since September.

    Insurgents have taken over two Iraqi cities, prompting the US to say it was considering "all options" to help Iraq.
    Iraq is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) group.
    According to figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iraq accounts for roughly 4% of global oil production.
    Nevertheless, the IEA, which was set up to deal with crises in oil supply, on Friday said: "Concerning as the latest events in Iraq may be, they might not for now, if the conflict does not spread further, put additional Iraqi oil supplies immediately at risk."
    The IEA reassurances came after OPEC said on Thursday that extra production should be more than sufficient to meet growing demand.
    Insurgency
    Sunni Islamist insurgents have taken control of the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit.
    Led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), the insurgents are believed to be planning to push further south to the capital, Baghdad, and regions dominated by Iraq's Shia Muslim majority.
    Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor, says the success of ISIS can only make the turmoil in the Middle East worse.
    He explains that ISIS is an ultra extremist Sunni Muslim group and its success will deepen the sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shias that is already the most dangerous fault line in the Middle East.
    The Middle East is one of the biggest oil producing areas in the world and there are fears that if this conflict escalates further, it may hurt global oil supplies.
    Petrol prices
    Despite risks to supply, the crisis would have to be long term to have an impact on UK consumer petrol prices, motoring organisation, the AA said.
    "We're not that worried at the moment," said AA spokesman Luke Bosdet. "If there's a sustained problem in Iraq that may feed through to sustained higher prices."
    Mr Bosdet added that European petrol prices in the short term were more likely to be affected by US demand for oil as the summer "motoring season" kicks in.
    However, the situation in Iraq will be closely monitored for its effect on the markets, motoring foundation, the RAC said.
    Pete Williams, head of external affairs for the RAC, said there will "be a continued focus both at home and abroad in what is happening on the ground and how the market will respond."

    Oil markets spike on Iraq concerns

    Posted by Mohamed Mady No comments

    The price of Brent crude spiked on Friday over concerns about the ongoing insurgency in Iraq.
    Oil prices settled down, but at $4 per barrel higher than at the beginning of the week.
    Reassurances about the flow of oil supplies went some way to calming market jitters.
    Brent crude futures stabilised at $112.32 per barrel, while US crude levelled to $106.55, after the highest reading for both since September.

    Insurgents have taken over two Iraqi cities, prompting the US to say it was considering "all options" to help Iraq.
    Iraq is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) group.
    According to figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iraq accounts for roughly 4% of global oil production.
    Nevertheless, the IEA, which was set up to deal with crises in oil supply, on Friday said: "Concerning as the latest events in Iraq may be, they might not for now, if the conflict does not spread further, put additional Iraqi oil supplies immediately at risk."
    The IEA reassurances came after OPEC said on Thursday that extra production should be more than sufficient to meet growing demand.
    Insurgency
    Sunni Islamist insurgents have taken control of the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit.
    Led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), the insurgents are believed to be planning to push further south to the capital, Baghdad, and regions dominated by Iraq's Shia Muslim majority.
    Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor, says the success of ISIS can only make the turmoil in the Middle East worse.
    He explains that ISIS is an ultra extremist Sunni Muslim group and its success will deepen the sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shias that is already the most dangerous fault line in the Middle East.
    The Middle East is one of the biggest oil producing areas in the world and there are fears that if this conflict escalates further, it may hurt global oil supplies.
    Petrol prices
    Despite risks to supply, the crisis would have to be long term to have an impact on UK consumer petrol prices, motoring organisation, the AA said.
    "We're not that worried at the moment," said AA spokesman Luke Bosdet. "If there's a sustained problem in Iraq that may feed through to sustained higher prices."
    Mr Bosdet added that European petrol prices in the short term were more likely to be affected by US demand for oil as the summer "motoring season" kicks in.
    However, the situation in Iraq will be closely monitored for its effect on the markets, motoring foundation, the RAC said.
    Pete Williams, head of external affairs for the RAC, said there will "be a continued focus both at home and abroad in what is happening on the ground and how the market will respond."

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