Intel has joined the consortium of tech companies looking for a solution to wireless charging as part of the AW4P (Alliance for Wireless Power) group. They're buddying up with Samsung and Qualcomm to "create a wireless power transfer (WPT) ecosystem that delivers spatial freedom in the user experience, and industrial design of wireless battery charging of portable consumer electronics devices."
It's a long-winded way of saying "we're going to make your desk look much less like a plate of spaghetti". It's certainly desirable for those of us with multiple battery-hungry devices, but the implementation of the tech on display leaves little to be desired.
Photos from Intel last year saw phones being placed near to laptops with magnetic induction doing the rest of the work, charging the device without the need for wires. All well and good, but what about when you have multiple devices in use at once? Do we end up with a pile of devices crowding round your laptop, fighting for space like a litter of kittens around their mother?
Without wires, we're free to put devices wherever we want, which is a nice bit of freedom. Wireless technology can also be embedded into work surfaces, creating a patch dedicated to charging electronic devices. Again, a pretty ingenious solution but doesn't leave us with many options to improve our feng shui.
What's more, there are a lot of different standards at play here; Samsung alone is a member of three different working groups. The Korean company is currently working with AW4P, the Wireless Power Consortium and the Power Matters alliance. That's a lot of standards for what should be a simple, customer-focused concept.
Wireless charging is no doubt the future, one day, but changing the ‘plugged-in' mindset may be a more difficult challenge.
The state of Texas and its government haven't traditionally been seen in the best light by the rest of the world.
The people that brought us George W Bush have taken the heat for everything from immigration policy to science curriculum. The state is routinely seen as backwards and misguided, particularly in Europe.
In one case, however, Texas seems to be ahead of the rest of the US and much of Europe when it comes to protecting user privacy.
Earlier this week the state legislature passed a bill that would place the nation's strongest restriction on law enforcement collecting data from email service providers. The bill, which has yet to be signed by governor Rick Perry, would terminate any provisions in which investigators will be able to access data without first obtaining a warrant.
Such protections would provide a valuable safeguard for citizens online. Such warrantless collection of data is often seen as a central component of covert data snooping programmes such as PRISM, which has been brought to light in recent weeks. The rule would require investigators to stand before a judge and provide just cause each and every time they want a service provider to hand over user data.
If the bill is signed, users in Texas will have greater protections from online eavesdropping than those in such progressive havens as San Francisco, Boston, New York City and Seattle. As unlikely as it may be, in this case Texas is setting the standard for electronic policy and user rights.
Late Apple founder Steve Jobs is once again in the spotlight as his company works to fight price-fixing allegations.
As the company continues to square off with the US Department of Justice over charges that it collaborated with publishers to set prices for the entire e-books market through its iBooks marketplace service, a set of emails sent by Jobs has become the focus of the case and provided a rare glimpse into the inner workings of Apple.
The emails, sent to Apple executive Eddy Cue during the development of the iBooks service in late 2009, show that Jobs was playing a leading role in the development of the service. They could be vital in proving that Apple knew its model – which allows publishers to set their own price and then pay a percentage of revenues to Apple – would limit the ability of other retailers to set their own prices for e-book titles.
That Jobs had been playing a central role in the development of the iBooks service hardly comes as a surprise. During his tenure the Apple CEO was notorious for micromanaging the company and was said to have been particularly active in the development of new products.
With more emails being released in the court, however, lawyers have revealed that Jobs dictated such fine points as how pages should animate and what books will be used in the unveiling of the service and subsequent demos.
That style could also end up costing Apple a significant amount of money some two years after Jobs died from complications resulting from pancreatic cancer. With all of the publishers named in the case having settled, Apple is the lone defendant remaining and could find itself being made an example of if the court finds that Jobs knowingly acted to fix prices.
The decision could also impact Apple's other lucrative retail services. The company maintains a nearly identical structure for the iTunes and App Store services, allowing developers and publishers to set their own prices and pay a 20 percent cut of revenues to Apple. If iBooks is shot down, pressure could build on the company to change its policies with other services.
17 Jun 2013
When Twitter first exploded into the public consciousness a few years ago there was a rush to add the letters ‘Tw’ to everything related to the site, resulting in some awful words such as Twestival and Twitterati.
While this craze seems to have, thankfully, disappeared, some other key words that Twiter spawned remain part of our daily lexicon. Hashtag is now completely understood with reference to a topic that’s trending, while ‘following’ someone is no longer a creepy term that could land you in hot water with the fuzz.
Now another common word, 'tweet', has received the seal of approval as a new noun and verb with relation to Twitter, after the chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, John Simpson, confirmed it will appear in the next edition of the esteemed work.
“The noun and verb tweet (in the social-networking sense) has just been added to the OED. This breaks at least one OED rule, namely that a new word needs to be current for ten years before consideration for inclusion. But it seems to be catching on,” he said.
The influence of Twitter is clear, as the venerable institution OED is willing to bend its own rules and allow a term be added to its tome because of its huge prominence in the wider world.
One other notable new edition set to enter is the wonderful, “to have a cow” because, as the aptly named Simpson explained: “This American slang term meaning, essentially ‘to have a fit’, is often associated with the character Bart from the animated series The Simpsons, but it is much older than the television show. The new OED entry traces the phrase back to 1959.”
That's definitely something worth tweeting about.
Microsoft has released an eagerly-anticipated port of Office for iOS devices, with one very big exception.
In this case, 'mobile' does not mean tablets, even though the software runs on tablets just fine.
It seems that Microsoft has made its Mobile version of Office strictly an iPhone app, though you can install it and run it just fine on an iPad. The software is listed in the App Store as both an iPad and iPhone App, but the company is only pitching Office Mobile as an iPhone tool.
We contacted Microsoft for clarification on the matter and the company said that while the software runs on the iPad with an adjusted display and interface, tablet users will get a much better experience using the web-based Office applications (or buying a Windows RT tablet.)
The issue underscores what could be a growing problem in the App Store and other mobile marketplaces. The tablet experience is markedly different from the smartphone experience when it comes to displays and user interaction, yet software for both is offered on the same services and often through the same downloads.
Vendors and developers may soon have to work out a distinction for applications, be it in the description itself or through a new labeling or classification system, least users find themselves confused about the best way to run an application on their specific device.
Unfortunately, the solution could be even worse than the problem. Imagine having to thumb through multiple sections and links just to get the version of an app best suited for your screen size and device version.
Twitter has teamed up with Vizify to launch #Followme, a video tool that lets users create a short clip of their highlights on the social site.
The video shows which topics you tweet about the most, a selection of your pictures, the people you interact with the most, when you're most active on Twitter and even your most popular Vine post. And best of all, you can edit all of these to portray yourself in the best possible light, including the choice of musical soundtrack from rock to jazz.
Here at V3, we've had a busy and productive morning trying out the Vizify service and while it's not the most ground-breaking tool, it's a handy way of getting a quick view of your top followers and topics.
You can see our #FollowMe video clips below, which include kittens and onesies to Windows and security gurus.
With smartphone thefts on the rise and an underground market for handsets thriving, law enforcement officials in the US want to do something to make trafficking stolen phones more difficult.
A proposal from the Save Our Smartphones initiative would have major handset vendors put so-called killswitch protections on their devices, which would allow stolen phones to be rendered useless, or “bricked". The handsets would stay in locked mode and the thief would be unable to access data or restore a device to its factory default settings.
The idea is an interesting one. Apple recently unveiled a similar feature, and certainly the prospect of a stolen phone being rendered useless would reduce the incentive to steal a handset in the first place. In the wake of recent events, however, a killswitch plan could also be met with heavy resistance from the public.
Just one week ago a former government contractor blew the whistle on what was perhaps the biggest domestic surveillance project in history, the PRISM system. The massive project collected data from virtually all of the major internet application and web service providers.
With the knowledge that the government is looking to monitor everything from your webmail and search history to your Skype chat logs, users might not be so keen on a master killswitch mobile platform.
After all, if you can't trust law enforcement groups and service providers to responsibly handle the data they already have on users, would you also want to give them the opportunity to potentially access your mobile phone remotely and possibly even permanently cripple it?
A recent report has found that Internet Explorer is the most energy efficient of the leading browsers on Windows 8, a fact trumpeted by Microsoft on its Exploring IE Blog.
However, a look at the figures reveals that the differences are hardly anything to write home about. And the source report contains a more alarming fact – that websites using HTML5 double the power consumption of laptops accessing them.
The report, The Impact Of Internet Browsers On Computer Energy Consumption, was commissioned by Microsoft from the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems in the USA.
Its conclusion is that Internet Explorer 10 increased the power consumption by the least amount on computers running Windows 8, when compared with the most up-to-date versions of Google Chrome and Firefox.
The results showed that internet browsing activity increases computer power draw by an average of seven to 13 percent on laptops and three to five percent on desktop systems, relative to an idle baseline figure.
On laptops, IE10 showed the least power consumption at an average 15.6W, while Google Chrome showed the greatest at an average of 16.6W. This is a difference of about 6.5 percent between the best and worst cases, but enough for Microsoft to claim IE10 as "the most energy-efficient browser on Windows 8".
That IE10 is the most power efficient on Windows 8 is hardly surprising, since the browser is an integral component of Microsoft's latest platform, which was itself developed with the objective of cutting power consumption on tablets and mobile devices. Meanwhile, other browser developers have complained about not having the same level of access to Windows 8 APIs as Microsoft's own team.
Microsoft states on its blog that that if every Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox user in the United States moved to Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 for a year, they would save over 120 million kWh in electricity. However, the firm does not indicate how it arrived at this figure. Spread across millions of users, this also equates to savings of just a few pence on a household's annual energy bill, although it could prove significant for large organisations.
Perhaps more worryingly, the Fraunhofer report found that both HTML5 and Flash websites appear to increase power use significantly against the list of top 10 websites it used for testing.
"Most notably, the HTML5 benchmark test condition more than doubled the notebook power draw for all computers and browsers tested, while desktop power draw increased by approximately 50 percent. Computer power draw also increased for the one Flash and HTML5 website tested, increasing by approximately 50 and 20 percent for notebooks and desktops respectively," the report stated.