Amazon’s Jeff Bezos today took to the stage at a press conference to unveil not one but three brand new cheap-as-chips Kindle e-readers. We all know that the company is also launching a Kindle tablet today, but for those of us that can’t get past our love of e-Ink displays, Amazon is not leaving us behind.
The new lines of Kindles start at $79, with the new entry-level Kindle representing a refresh from the old Kindle 3. Measuring in at less than six ounces and 18 percent smaller than the old model (just the body, the display is still a 6-inch job), this one has just three buttons and sports a sleek and sexy design. It seems this model will be a Kindle + Special Offers deal. You might remember when the Special Offers Kindle was launched by Amazon earlier this year. If not, it’s basically a heavily discounted, ad-supported Kindle. The ads on the new Special Offer Kindle are local and classy, appearing as unimposing screensavers, so don’t worry about your reading being interrupted by annoying pop-ups.
The one Android update to rule them all — better known as Ice Cream Sandwich — is penciled in for an official launch sometime in the next two months, so it’s only natural for some shots to leak out. We just weren’t expecting a two-minute video showing off a few of the new features.
As the story goes, a lucky guy ordered a Samsung Nexus S on eBay and, upon its arrival, noticed that his new prized possession looked a little… different. Hopping over to the ‘About’ screen, he was shocked to discover that the device was running ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich). The firmware appears to be running on an updated build (IRK48) and kernel (3.0.1).
We can see plenty of influence from both Gingerbread and Honeycomb here, as well as four shortcuts on the bottom (a definite bump from the two found on vanilla 2.3). There’s a new Google Apps icon which opens up a tray containing a number of featured services put out by the search giant, and long-pressing the home button brings up a vertical Honeycomb-style multitasking menu.
The notification bar, camera UI and other menus also have a much different look. Granted, all of this could just be a custom ROM built to emulate the latest Google dessert, so we can’t be a full hundred percent certain that it’s authentic. If it’s not, at least we can give credit for it being incredibly elaborate.
Disney is looking to give younger children an excuse other than Angry Birds to play with their parents’ Apple iPad. The company’s new AppMates toys feature small Cars 2 characters with unique sensors inside them. Download a free application, place the toys on the screen, and kids can drive around a virtual interpretation of Radiator Springs. There are even games and missions to complete for older tikes. Each set comes with two characters for $19.99, and with the potential for endless updates to the Radiator Springs universe, chances are good that kids won’t get bored of the game too quickly.
Of course, the only question is, who wants to hand over their tablet to their child aged four to nine? Fortunately, Disney has thought of that, too, and will release a well-padded Cars 2-themed iPad case later down the line. That little piece of kit will set you back a heady $49, but that’s considerably less than the cost of a brand-new iPad. Hit the jump to take a look at a video of the AppMates in action.
Microsoft just filed a patent for a large format digital still camera, which the company believes will find applications in virtual museums, cultural heritage and digital art preservation and possibly astronomy.
This particular example achieves a resolution of 1.4 gigapixels (GP) by combining 4096 charged coupled devices (CCDs) with a resolution of about 0.34 megapixels (MP) each.
The process of generating one 1.4 GP image requires 4096 separate pictures (one for each CCD) that are combined into one image afterward. Each image will be creating an overlapping margin to the adjacent images to allow for a seamless composition of 4096 “tiles”. To improve the image quality, the patent filing discusses a a video camera that provides a field of view larger than that of the lens, a cooling system to cool the ambient air inside the [camera] housing as well as “a light source synchronized with the digital sensor to illuminate a tile image from different angles or different spectrum at each step to reduce the time to capture the tile images with different illumination.”
Such concepts aren’t exactly new. For example, Fermilab scientists are using a similar idea to build a 576 MP dark energy camera. For private use, such cameras are anyway something that may take some time to be realized and even then it may be questionable what we will be using such a camera for every day. However, if resolution is what counts, and you are looking for a high-res camera right now, there is Hasselblad’s H4D-200MS 200-megapixel camera. Without a lens, the camera currently retails for about $44,000.
The original, 11-year-old Counter-Strike (1.6) game is currently Valve’s most-played title on Steam, and its successor, Counter-Strike Source, is the studio’s third-most played game. Yet with the release of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve is essentially faced with the daunting task of luring those two communities away from their beloved games and stick with the newer product. That said, how will Valve end the seven year division between the two without shutting the games down completely?
One way to get them interested is to implement suggestions made by the pro Counter-Strike community. In an interview with Develop, Valve writer Chet Faliszek said they didn’t take that route with Counter-Strike Source. “With Global Offensive we want to make sure that we’re doing what they want,” he said. “Or that we at least understand the implications of what they’re asking for.”
Other ways to get the long-term fans interested in the new game is to bring them into the closed beta so that they can help mold the shooter into what it should be, and to even bring them directly into the studio itself to play-test the beta right in front of the developers’ eyes and ears. Feedback through forums is one thing — doing so face-to-face with the game’s creators can lead to a better understanding of what the players want, and what the developer is trying to create.
The Bar Tailed Godwit is an incredible creature that currently holds the record for the longest non-stop flight traversing 7,258 miles along a route from Alaska to New Zealand. Inspired by this bird’s abilities, designer William Brown created the Lockheed Stratoliner, a futuristic commercial airliner that is designed to fly any distance without the need to stop and refuel.
With an aerodynamic, bird-like design, the Stratoliner achieves maximum efficiency by utilizing oversized wings that allow the jet to generate enough lift to fly at very high altitudes. In addition, four Cryogenic Hydrogen Turbofan engines power the Stratoliner allowing it to fly massive distances while operating in a lower-power state with zero emissions.
Brown’s concept may be a bit unconventional with its bird-like shape and ambitious goals, but it is definitely an interesting design that draws inspiration from one of the many wonders of the natural world. It’s only natural to pay homage to the world’s incredible birds every once in a while, considering the fact that they have been flying a lot longer than we have.
“Are you angry, Peter?” Jaakko asks. “You look angry.”
This promotional spot for the Google Chrome browser appeared Monday night during a commercial break of Terra Nova on FOX. It features the developers of Angry Birds — Serdar, Jaakko and an angry-looking Peter — represented by their in-game counterparts. Naturally Peter talks about the benefits of using Chrome as a developer — the Chrome Web Store, auto-updates, WebGL, the framerate capabilities — but eventually gives up after constant interruptions form the other two.