The first of Lenovo’s CES-announced S Series, the S205, sauntered into the computer manufacturer’s online store this week, albeit lacking the 8GB DDR3 SDRAM option mentioned at its announcement. The base model sells for $499, sporting a 1.60Ghz dual-core AMD Fusion E-350 CPU, an 11.6-inch (1366 x 768 resolution) 16:9 widescreen panel, 3GB of DDR3 SDRAM, ATI Mobility Radeon 6310 graphics, and a 350GB HDD. Two higher cost configurations score an extra gig of RAM, an optional Bluetooth radio, and a 500GB or 750GB HDD. The lesser of the higher end models can be had for a $429 at LogicBuy until Wednesday, if you can live without Bluetooth (which man did for thousands of years, but you know what we mean).
Verizon has ‘determined the cause’ of LTE outage, working to restore service Yeah, we know, 3G data is so last year. If you’ve already made the jump to LTE and are totally bummed about today’s outage, know that there’s a fix coming. We have an official statement from Jeffrey Nelson from VZW Corporate Communications, who indicates that the company has “determined the cause of our issue” and is “working with our major vendors to restore connections.” We’re guessing that doesn’t actually mean plugging something back in, but maybe it does. The full statement is after the break, but what you won’t find is an ETA on when things will be live again.
T-Mobile’s Bobsled temporarily suspends service in first week (updated) It’s a sad day for Bobsled’s one-eyed chat bubble monster, as T-Mobile has just announced it’s temporarily shuttering the recently launched VoIP service. A statement released on Bobsled’s Facebook profile revealed it is “voluntarily and temporarily suspending service” of its week-old app to “ensure that the Bobsled experience is clearly differentiated and is not mistaken for a Facebook created property.” The news comes at a particularly inopportune moment, as Vivox just made its own announcement (embedded after the break) last Wednesday saying it will power the seemingly ill-fated app. No word yet on when the service will be back up and running, but this doesn’t bode well for T-Mo’s foray into the VoIP market.
Update: We just received word from Vivox saying its announcement was actually released last Wednesday. In any case, it’s safe to say the news is still a downer for the magenta monster.
After launching the Squeezebox Controller app on Android last month, what could Logitech do next other than release a version for your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. The features and interface appear to be identical, letting users control any or all Squeezeboxes on the WiFi network complete with metadata and album art. iOS equipped owners of the ‘boxes can get their AirPlay-free distributed audio lifestyle going by clicking the link below to download the free app (and see how it compares to the existing $9.99 third party iPeng remote app) from iTunes.
An East Texas jury recently awarded a relatively small computer firm patent troll a pretty hefty settlement (in you and me dollars) in a patent infringement suit that named Google, Yahoo, Amazon, AOL, and Myspace as defendants. The jury awarded Bedrock Computer Technologies LLC $5 million for a patent concerning the Linux kernel found in the software behind Google’s servers. The patent in question is described as a “method and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data.” It appears Google is the first of the defendants to face a judgement, but we have a feeling this decision might have set a precedent. Of course, no infringement suit would be complete without a healthy helping of appeals — and considering the decision came from a district court, we can almost guarantee this case is no exception. You didn’t expect the big guys to stay down for the count, did you?
Update: As it turns out, the plaintiff in question here, Bedrock Computer Technologies, is actually owned by David Garrod, a lawyer and patent reform activist. Ars Technica profiled Garrod following the initial suit, pointing to the clear contradiction between his trolling and reform efforts. What’s more, Bedrock sued Google and the rest of the defendants in June 2009. Just six months later, Bedrock was back in the courtroom, but this time it was on the receiving end. Red Hat, the company supplying the OS behind Google’s search engine services, was suing Bedrock for patent invalidity.
Graphics card companies don’t live and die by the enthusiast market alone. That may be where the glory is, but it’s the budget cards that really bring in the bacon. For the entry level, AMD just unleashed a trio of sub-$100 cards, the Radeon HD 6670, 6570, and 6450. How do they perform? Well, let’s just say you get what you pay for. Reaction from reviewers has been one of mild indifference. Depending on manufacturer, fan noise does appear to be an issue, possibly precluding the cards from being a viable HTPC choice. Otherwise, even the lowly, $55 6450 is a worthy upgrade over an integrated graphics chip or a two-year-old discrete card, but it can’t match the performance of NVIDIA’s GT 430, which can be had for only a few dollars more. Consensus was that, with prices of the older 5000 series being slashed, purchasers can get more bang for their GPU buck by sticking with last generation cards (like the Radeon HD 5750) if they’re looking for pure gaming prowess. That said, the GDDR5 flavors of the 6670 provide perfectly playable performance on most modern games (it averaged 45 FPS in Call of Duty: Black Ops) for just $99 (the 6570 runs about $79). Just beware those models shipping with GDDR3. Benchmarks galore below.
Nintendo’s kid-tested, researcher-approved Wii Balance Board has struck at the heart of the medical supply industry yetagain — this time, the Bluetooth-connected scale is being used to help physically challenged children at Shriners Hospital in Houston. Seniors at Rice University hand-machined a set of force-sensitive parallel bars and programmed a monster-shooting game called Equilibrium to get kids excited about improving their walking gait, where they can play and score points with each proper step they take. The game automatically ratchets up the difficulty as patients improve, and handrails will play a part too, with a custom three-axis sensor box able to detect how much patients rely on the parallel bars (and dock points accordingly) in an effort to improve their posture. Yep, that sounds just a wee bit more useful than the Balance Board lie detector or the Wii Fit Roomba. Video after the break.
Are you tired of waking up to the same old semiconductor-based solar array? Do you yearn for a change? We know you do and, thanks again to the wonder and mystery of magnetic fields (they’re not just for stopping speech anymore), there’s a new day dawning. University of Michigan scientists were shooting lasers at glass, as they do, and made a remarkable discovery: light passing through a non-conductive surface like glass generates impressive magnetic effects – up to 100 million times greater than expected. The resulting magnetic force could replace the electric effect exploited by current technology, paving the way for “optical batteries.” Though different from the Wysips transparent photovoltaic cell, the technology could have similar applications and may render obsolete those massive solar farms. No need to worry, though — your stylish solar backpack is as fly as it ever was.
We knew it was coming, and today at MIX 11, Microsoft showed off its developer platform for the next version of Windows Phone, which developers will be able to get their hands on for free in May. The new application platform adds:
Multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer, and fast app switching, including background audio playback for HTML5 webpages
Deeper integration of apps into the OS, allowing programs to leverage Live Tiles, including push notifications via Live Agents running in the background
Raw access to the camera and sensors (gyro and compass) via the Motion Sensor library, letting apps to control device hardware
Microsoft hopes this will allow developers to make even more creative and engaging apps. To get our juices flowing, it showed off demos of new app concepts from Skype, Spotify, Layar, Qantas, Amazon Shopping, and Kik Messenger. Check out our gallery below and hit the break for the details.
It’s been exactly 50 years to the day — in some places, anyway — that cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s maiden voyage set off an international space race that defined an era, and while only Gagarin knew exactly what it was like to be the first man in space, documentarian Christopher Riley is giving us a glimpse of what the world might have looked like from the porthole of Vostok 1. As we reported before, First Orbit is a mashup of sorts that features original audio recordings from Gagarin’s flight, coupled with footage taken by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli from aboard the International Space Station. The result is nothing short of stunning, but you don’t have to take our word for it — in fact, go ahead and grab yourself some popcorn, hit the play button, and prepare to be amazed.