The Guardian and New York Times revealed today that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart, GCHQ, have been working to take advantage of “leaky” smartphone apps, such as the popular Angry Birds game (which according to the report, was used as a “case study” in smartphone surveillance). According to top-secret documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the apps transmit users’ private data across the Internet which the NSA took steps to “piggyback on” to collect for its own purposes.
Don't flush that valuable energy source down the drain! Scientists have announced that they have found a way to charge a smartphone using urine. Researchers from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory passed the urine through a series of microbial fuel cells, which contain tiny microbes that consume and metabolize the liquid into small amounts of energy (which is then transferred into a capacitor for temporary storage), and were able to successfully charge a Samsung smartphone device. The new process generated enough power to send a SMS text, browse the internet and make a brief call.
EMBRACE+ is anxious to get to market and we’re itching to get our hands on one. EMBRACE+ provides customizable notifications for incoming calls, texts, email, calendar alerts, alarm and timer, social media apps (Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype) and more via lights in a stylish, space-age looking bracelet. Users can choose different colors, light intensity, number of blinks, and speed of blinks for incoming calls from your girlfriend, boyfriend, boss, a contact group, unknown callers and more.
Samsung today announced its new Galaxy Xcover 2, a ruggedized smartphone designed for outdoor adventurers. It is dust and sand proof and water resistant up to a depth of one meter. It features a 4-inch display, 1GHz dual-core processor, VGA front-facing camera, and 5-megapixel rear camera. It will include 4GB of internal memory, expandable to 32GB with a microSD card. It’s small form-factor ensures it will be easy to carry around in your pocket or strapped to your arm. If the specs seem a bit low, it’s ability to hold a 570 hour charge should erase all ill feelings.
NEC Casio’s upcoming Medias W Android smartphone will have two 4.3-inch touch screens arranged back-to-back on a hinge. When unfolded, the rear screen swings up to form a single 5.6-inch touch screen (with the line in the middle). In normal usage patterns, the main screen will be used with the phone folded but when both screens are taken into account and put to use, there are several interesting “modes” that the phone can operate in opening up a unique set of opportunities for users.
Undoubtedly the Sony Xperia Z smartphone is going to rock and the Xperia Tablet Z looks to be lining itself up quite will with its smaller sibling. We’ re fairly certain the device will sport Sony’s highly touted waterproof and dustproof casing and Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 running on a quad-core processor is quite likely too. Twitter leaks from @Xperia_info have shown the specs to be as follows. Both devices are expected to hit the market during the second quarter of 2013. They are expected to debut in Japan and Hong Kong before being released to European markets.
Chinese website, Chip Hell, has leaked what could be the specs of Nvidia’s next-generation Tegra processor, codenamed “Wayne” (following Nvidia’s superhero naming scheme). If the leak is true, Qualcomm and Samsung better stay on their toes. The Tegra 4 will apparently follow the same 28nm process (battery saving) as its rivals and according to the slide from Chip Hell, will feature a dizzying 72-core graphics chip giving it 6x the graphical power of the current-generation Tegra chips. The chip will be a 4+1 quad-core processor and given the “Eagle” moniker in the CPU spec, we can assume it will be a Cortex-A15 (Eagle was ARM’s codename for the architecture). The slide also touts , USB 3.0 support, 4K video playback, and support for resolutions up to 2,560 x 1440.
China’s Oppo puts the best of everything into one tiny and beautiful package. The Find 5 includes a 5-inch 1080p display with retina burning 441 ppi, Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 chip clocked at 1.5 Ghz, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, a 2,500mAh battery, and Android 4.1.2. It features a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera and a huge 13-megapixel, 5fps camera on the back with built-in hardware HDR photography. The camera can also capture slow-motion video up to 120fps (wow!) and can shoot at 20-frames-per-second in burst mode. The device is shrouded with a single piece of stainless steel manipulated 12 times then plated in a black chrome finish. The 3.25mm screen bezel is razor thin making the 5-inch wonder easy to hold in the hand. Alas, following a disappointing trend, the device does not feature a microSD expansion slot.
South Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world with an estimated 98% of the population connected with broadband Internet and 2/3 of the population owning smartphone devices. But being ultra-wired does have its drawbacks. Officials estimate that 160,000 children between the ages of 5 and 9 are addicted to the Internet. 2.55 million adults are addicted to smartphones. An estimated 2 million people cannot wean themselves from online video games. To counter the growing problem, South Korean officials are widening efforts to prevent Internet and digital addiction in school-age children and preschoolers. Starting next year, South Korean children from the age 3 to 5 will be taught to protect themselves from overusing digital gadgets and the Internet.
Researchers at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg are designing an emergency onboard smartphone charger that draws energy from the piezoelectric force generated by your fingertips clicking the keypad, your voice, or by giving the phone a good shake. It doesn't generate a lot of power but in an emergency, you could shake the phone for a few minutes and generate enough power to make a phone call.
HTC and Verizon today announced the HTC Droid DNA smartphone featuring a retina-searing 5-inch, 1920 x 1080 full HD Super LCD 3 edge-to-edge display at a record-breaking 440ppi pixel density. The device features Qualcomm’s 1.5 Ghz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage, 8 megapixel camera, 2,020 mAh battery, and runs Android Jelly Bean 4.1 out of the box. The camera has a f/2.0 lens (reportedly giving it a picture quality better than the iPhone 5) and features full HD video chat, face detection, smile capture, and HDR shooting. Other features include NFC, Beats Audio, two speaker amplifiers, and wireless charging. At only .16-inch wide, it’s thinner than the Samsung Galaxy SIII. Pre-sales begin today with the device hitting stores on November 21, 2012 at a price of $199 on contract.
One of the new features introduced in Windows Phone 8 is a technology called DataSense. In the new “pay for the data you use” age, DataSense not only helps you keep an eye on your usage but also compresses information being transferred to help reduce data costs. But taking it one step further, Microsoft has included technology from California-based Devicescape which specializes in offloading cellular data traffic by routing it over a large network of free Wi-Fi networks such as those found in airports, coffee shops, and other public venues. Devicescape already has over 11 million free Wifi hotspots documented in its Curated Virtual Network (CVN), all of which Windows Phone 8 can automatically connect to when they are in range.
Trend Micro has revealed a new Trojan that secretly steals pictures, rather than text, from your smartphone. Named Pixsteal-A Trojan, the Trojan steals .jpg and .dmp picture files from the user’s smartphone via FTP, uploads them to a control server. The ramifications of this new trend are important for smartphone users.
Computerworld is reporting that Intel is working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets. They have a working prototype and expect the revolutionary CPU to hit the market in 5-10 years. "If we're going to have this technology in five to 10 years, we could finally do things that take way too much processing power today. This could really open up our concept of what is a computer... The phone would be smart enough to not just be a computer but it could be my computer."
After cancelling its planned launch event in respect for Hurricane Sandy, Google instead announced a line of new products via their blog today. The leaks we began reporting last week turned out to be true – the Nexus 4 from LG, will feature a 4.7-inch 1280 x 768 IPS+ LCD HD display with 320 ppi, 1.5 GHz quad core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor (fastest on the market), 2GB RAM, two cameras (8-megapixel back and 1.3 megapixel front), NFC chip, 2,100mAh battery that provides 10-15 hours of talk time, and two storage options (8GB and 16GB).
The United States Librarian of Congress has ruled that jailbreaking tablet devices is illegal (but jailbreaking smartphones is OK). The closed nature of the devices with respect to eBooks in particular, sparked the exception that made jailbreaking smartphones legal. However, the Librarian said that the definition of a tablet device wasn't specific enough to allow for the exception to be extended to devices such as the Ipad.