News in Brief – Latest Tech Headlines

All the latest tech gossip from around the web.

Friday June 22

Half of Kickstarters are losers Crowd funding site Kickstarter has revealed stats on the success rates of its projects. Apparently, less than half of them make their funding targets. And in Kickstarter land, a project don’t mean a thing if you don’t reach your bling target. Think twice about that pedal-powered lawnmower idea.

Japan cracks down on pirates From October, Japanese law will let people be jailed for downloading copyrighted material. Want
that latest Michael Bay joint, but don’t want to pay? It could cost you
up to two years in the clink, or a fine of up to two million yen –
that’s about 16,000 British pounds. Ouch. The bill was passed with a
pretty clear vote of 221 to 12.
LED Umbrella
An LED Umbrella? Ella, Ella. Yes we’re still not over the Rhianna thing, and neither is View Quest. It has produced a mad-sounding LED umbrella.
It’s an umbrella, with a stem that looks like a light saber, shooting
coloured light through its length. It has a torch on the bottom too, to
help you find the house’s front door when you stumble home a little
worse for wear.

Flipboard comes to Android Flipboard is a very neat little app that lets you turn online articles into a digital magazine, arranging content from various sites into pretty pages. Until now the Samsung Galaxy S3 had an exclusive on the Android version of the app, but now it’s here for all. Check it out.

Has Google been naughty? Google has been accused of withholding evidence in an anti-trust probe. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is trying to unearth a whopping 14,500 documents that were stashed away under the pretence of attorney-client priGagvilege, without seemingly proving they’re worthy of the status. Maybe it’s just bad poetry that Larry Page is ashamed of.

Facepalm of the day In Buenos Aires, posters are used to help homeless find shelter for the night. Sounds like a nice initiative, right? Well, unfortunately, you need to scan a QR code to find our where the nearest shelter is. Because every homeless person is rocking an iPhone 4S these days, right? [9GAG]

Thursday June 21

ACTA Rejected – Big news on the anti-anti-piracy front as ACTA, the heavy weight copyright trade legislation that parliament was trying to push through, has been voted down by the International Trade Commission. This looks almost certain to stop the controversial act becoming law. The EC is expected to make a final decision in July. [BBC]

ACTACanon, O2 and Samsung voted the best by Which? – Which? magazine has just had its annual awards and among the winners were Canon, O2 and Samsung who picked up Best Photography Brand, Best Technology Services Provider and Best Home Audio-Visual brand respectively. We’re not entirely sure we’d agree with all of those but each to their own. The full list of winners if here.

Persona 4PS Vita Sales Boosted – The PlayStation Vita has had a boost in sales in its native Japan, seemingly on the back of the release of one game. Persona 4 The Golden went on sale last week and sold 137,076 copies, meanwhile the Vita hardware sales rose by 150%. Maybe there’s life in the dedicated portable console yet.

Windows Phone Sales On The Up – Windows Phone sales are apparently on the up, at least according to figures supplied by T-Mobile US. Despite mixed reviews for the current version of the software, the simple, stylish interface appears to have gained a foothold in the public’s imaginations. The catalyst for the uplift appears to be the mid-range Nokia 710, which combines decent performance and build with a bargain price. [T-Mobile Blog]

Wednesday June 20

GoogleMaps Turns On The Waterworks – Google is planning to add routing information for canals and rivers to its GoogleMaps service, allowing users to plan journeys taking into account tow paths, bridges and the 2,000 miles of canals that criss cross the UK. Google will be working with The Canal and River Trust to obtain the required data, with the update to GoogleMaps expected later in the year. [Guardian]

GoogleMaps Rivers and CanalsLG Leaves Tablet Market – LG has bid farewell to the tablet market, for the time being. Citing a desire to concentrate on getting its mobile phones right, the company has stopped all current tablet development. But the company is still open to returning to the market at a later date. It seems a sensible decision being as both its phones, such as the LG Prada 3.0, and tablets are struggling to gain significant market share.

HTC Acknowledges One X WiFi Problems – HTC has admitted there is a problem with the WiFi in the Tegra 3 versions of the HTC One X, whereby it doesn’t work properly unless the chassis is squeezed a certain way. But the company has already fixed the problem in its production process and hopefully will be issuing a replacement program for affected current users.

HTC One XPersonal Data – Are You Young And Naive Or Old And Cynical? – A recent survey of the UK populace has found 59% of 18-24 year olds and 48% of 25-34 year olds don’t mind their personal information being used to enhance services, so long as the way the data is being used is made clear. But, only 35% of UK adults trust businesses to use their personal data as directed. Meanwhile the explosion of Facebook is put in perspective as only 10% of 18-34 year olds are happy logging into other sites using the service. Data provided by Informatica and commisioned by YouGov.

New Aston Martin Vanquish Unveiled – James Bond favourite, Aston Martin, has unveiled its latest luxury motor, the new Vanquish. Carrying the same name as the smash hit car of 2001, the new model sports a similar style too, but with a more aggressive vibe. Under the bonnet of the mid-engined, rear-wheel drive four-seater is a 6-litre V12 petrol engine that’ll spew forth 565 horses and produce 457lb ft of torque, for a 0-61mph or 4.1seconds and top speed of 183mph. The chassis is bonded aluminium and carbon fibre, with the interior furnished in all the usual leather and other premium materials. All this can be yours soon for a mere £189,995. [Aston Martin]

Aston Martin Vanquish

Tuesday June 19

Acer Olympics Tablet Now Available
An Olympics-branded Android tablet? Yes it’s a bit tenuous, but Acer has at least (quite literally) paid its dues as an official sponsor of the games. The A510 tablet boasts some pretty impressive specs, too, with 15-hour battery life, a quad-core Tegra 3 processor and 32GB of internal memory. With bullet points like that, it might even go the distance, grab the gold, *insert Olympics pun here*. [Carphone Warehouse]

Acer A510Intel 50 Core Processor Dubbed Xeon Phi
How many cores does it take to change a light bulb? Intel’s latest Xenon architecture, dubbed “Phi” packs 50 cores into a PCIe enclosure along with 8GB of RAM, minimum. Don’t start dreaming of the frames per second this thing would be able to get out of Crysis, though. It uses a special version of Linux that has the capability to manage all those cores. Complex architectures like this are useful for analysing fast-flowing data, such as that of the financial markets. [Intel Blog]

IKEA TV now available (in Stockholm)
You have an IKEA wardrobe, an IKEA bookshelf and a pack of IKEA meatballs in the freezer. But what about an IKEA TV? The Uppleva TV from the furniture maker has gone on sale in “select” European stores. It melds a 1080p TV, between 32in and 46in Effwith a (mostly) tasteful-looking cabinet and speaker system. Early reports suggest it won’t exactly compete with Panasonic on picture quality, though.

Australia Gets Mature, Says F You to Banning Games
Australia has finally adopted an “adults only” rating. Until now, any game not seen as appropriate for the MA15 rating had to be reclassified or banned. The new rating is called R18 and allows all sorts of effing, jeffing, blood and guts. Hurrah.

Monday June 18

Linus Torvalds Flips Nvidia The Bird – Linux creator Linus
Torvalds – below – called out Nvidia for its lack of help in supporting Linux at a
recent Q&A session at Aalto University, Finland, and got so animated
in the process that he stuck his middle finger up at the camera and said
“F*&ck you Nvidia!”. Well quite, Mr Torvalds. Click the link for
the full video. [Aalto University YouTube Channel]

Linus TorvaldsT-Mobile Helps Out On Your Hols – T-Mobile has announced a new system for charging users wanting to access data on there smartphones while abroad. Instead of simply being charged, the user will always be directed to a page with the option to purchase access, preventing unexpected bills. The traveller can then purchase ‘Travel Boosters’, starting from £1, to gain access. [T-Mobile International Use Help and Support]

Asus Nexus 7 En Route? – Pictures – see below – apparently taken with an ‘Asus Nexus 7’ have turned up on Google’s Picasa feed, suggesting Google is working on a new 7in tablet to be made by the Taiwanese company. There’s little more to go on than this but it was by the same method that the original Galaxy S was leaked. Shame they couldn’t have picked a more interesting subject.

Asus Nexus 7Remember Kids, Crime Doesn’t Pay – Dirk B, founder of illegal movie streaming site has been sentenced to four and a half years in jail and been fined $4.7million for massive copyright infringement. He received a reduced sentence thanks to cooperating fully with police and giving a full confession. Dirk B’s sentencing follows that of 5 other members of the group that ran, with all receiving hefty jail sentences.

Friday June 15

Interchangable Lens iPhone? – An Apple patent hints at a possible interchangeable camera lens system for iPhones. Switchable zoom and macro lenses are possible uses for this technology. It’ll probably never see the light of day, but it sure is a tasty idea.

Interchangable lens iPhoneNokia Back On Course – In similar fashion, a Nokia patent details a steering wheel that’ll let you control music playback with carefully-placed taps. It’s a potential PR disaster, but we want to hear more.

Motorola Goes One Louder – Topping off the patent trio, Motorola has registered a patent that describes a weird-looking flowing sheet that sits over the top of a mobile display. Unfortunately, it’s not for crazy haptic feedback but to improve audio quality, seemingly using the whole front of the device to bolster sound output. 
MacBook Air 13in Incoming – In Apple device rumours, a MacBook Air is reportedly set to launch in early October, suggesting it will be unveiled alongside the iPhone 5 in September. Our rumour-o-meter says a Retina Display is a dead cert.

Snapdragon S4 Is A Powerhouse – The Snapdragon S4 processor with Adreno 320 GPU has been benchmarked. The AnTuTu benchmarking tool shows that the CPU outperforms Tegra 3, the iPhone 4S processor and the Samsung Galaxy S3’s Exynos 4421 chip. Now that’s power.

Scotland Goes Tidal Turbine CrazyMotorola Buys Psion – Once for the older tech fans, Motorola Solutions has bought Psion for $200 million. Hands up if you had a Psion back in the 90s….

Scotland Goes Tidal Power Crazy – And on a completely different topic, Western Scotland is to produce the world’s largest tidal array. The array uses “underwater air turbines” in fast-flowing channels around Scotland’s border, 40-100m below the surface. The estimated cost is £70 million.

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