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Hardik Patel

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Showing posts with label FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES. Show all posts

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Amazon Asks Permission From F.A.A. to Test Drone Delivery System



In some ways, this was not the best week for Amazon. The Federal Trade Commission sued it for improperly billing customers for games used by their children. And it continues to be enmeshed in a nasty public relations battle with the publisher Hachette.
But Amazon still has the drones. In a filing with the Federal Aviation Administration that got widespread attention Friday, Amazon asked for permission to test its drone delivery system outdoors, a practice that is banned for safety reasons.
Never mind for the moment the fact that the F.A.A. said a few weeks ago that there would be no commercial uses of drones in a memo that did not mention Amazon but pointedly excluded even the free shipping of items by drone. That’s a lobbying battle for another day.
Delivery by drone was first mentioned by Amazon last year on “60 Minutes,” and quickly became a viral sensation despite, or because of, the fact that it was unlikely to happen anytime soon. If nothing else, it was a vivid demonstration of Amazon’s gift for showmanship.
In the filing to Michael P. Huerta, the F.A.A. administrator, Amazon said that it should get an exemption from the rules because of the “enormous consumer benefits” of what it is calling Prime Air: getting stuff to people quickly.
Amazon said that if it did not get what it wanted, it would have to move the drone team to another country.
“Of course, Amazon would prefer to keep the focus, jobs and investment of this important research and development initiative in the United States,” the letter said.
Amazon stock shot up Friday faster than a you know what, jumping more than 5 percent. It was either the power of the drone or analysts’ reports predicting a good second quarter.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

IBM proposes to build first carbon computer by 2020


People often compare computers with our brains, but there are important differences between them. One difference, which the wider public seldom thinks about, is that computer brains are made of silicon while our brains are made of carbon. All known life is made of carbon, which is the most versatile element in the universe. Why should computers be made of silicon, even if it is the second most versatile element in the universe? IBM now thinks that the silicon age of computers is about to end, and that we might see the first carbon computer in just six years. 

It is a bold statement, tempered with caveats, made more with hope than authority. Carbon nanotube chips would be not very different from silicon chips, only much faster. However, making them in large scale still requires significant technology advances. The year 2020 is around the time when silicon is supposed to hit a roadblock, yet again. 

It will be great to get nanotube chips ready by then. This is what IBM hopes for, and also a large section of the industry also hopes for. According to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, an industry organisation formed by the leading semiconductor companies in the world, silicon chips would reach a feature size of four nanometers by 2020, which is three generations from the current 22 nanometers. No one has an answer to the intense technical problems that can crop up at this size. 

The industry wants to get a replacement technology by then, and carbon nanotubes seem to be its best bet at the moment. It is not a passing issue but a serious problem that can slow down the industry significantly. It could slow down global innovation too, as much of technology innovation is based on continual increase of computing power. According to the Linley Group, a technology consultancy, costs per transistor are set to rise from now onwards, after falling steadily for decades. 

The next generation of chips, of 14 nanometer size, may be expensive and not so widely used for a while. Technical problems and the cost increase as they shrink further. Currents leak. Chips get too hot. They resist mass production. The industry needs new materials for chips, and many have been tried. Nanotubes have performed very well, and they have the additional advantage of being technologically similar to silicon and yet being carbon, a smaller atom that may one day let us do many wonderful things. 

IBM's research gives us hope that nanotubes will work, as the company has made nanotube transistors already. But the nanotubes are not close enough to each other; it is a difficult problem to solve because we do not have the technology to do so. What if it is not solved by 2020? One factor we often forget, due to our obsession with Moore's Law, is that software has been advancing too, at least as rapidly as hardware has done. 

Advances in software can drive computing even if hardware grinds to a halt for some time. Let us look at how brains evolved. Between two million and 100,000 years ago, the human brain rapidly increased in size in two spurts. But it has decreased in size by 10% in the last 15,000 years. Does that mean that we are less intelligent than our ancestors? Probably not. 

After reaching a certain size, the brain may have learned to work more efficiently. The human brain needs a lot of energy, and it is always good to have it just at the right size. Chips can follow the same logic in reverse. As their size stands still, we can make them more efficient. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

How Google Now puts Siri to shame


If you have Siri set to speak in English, she will not understand the word "gracias." But Google on Thursday updated its Google Now voice search and assistant app so it can quickly switch between multiple languages on the fly, CNET reports.

Rather than select a single language setting from Google's list of about 50, Google Now can now recognize and understand the speaker's language and allow users to switch up to seven different ones on the fly. According to Google, you'll have to pre-select your secondary languages, but after that the feature will work automatically.

In an interview with CNET, Google said "seemingly simple language-recognition tasks are much harder than they appear," and that it's still working on making Google Now a true linguist by understanding complex accents and minimizing ambient noise.

Simultaneous multi-language support will roll out to Google Now users within "the coming days," Google said.

Apple working on smart home devices: Report



Apple is reportedly working on new connected home products for consumers, according to 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman.
Although Apple unveiled its HomeKit platform for developers at this year's WWDC, the company is now working on actual hardware products for everyday users. 

Gurman's sources haven't specified exactly what types of devices Apple is working on, but they did reportedly say that the connected home space will be an important market for Apple moving forward. 

These smart home devices would integrate deeply with Apple's existing products, such as its line of iPhones and iPads. 

Apple's smart home product probably won't compete with the Nest Learning Thermostat or the newly announced Honeywell Lyric. Rather, it will focus on something a little more mainstream that will get more widespread usage. 

This could mean Apple is working on a smart speaker system or some type of controller for the devices in your home, Gurman's sources reportedly said. There's also no specific timeline for the product(s), so there's no telling when or if we'll see such devices hit the market. 

9to5Mac's report comes just after The Information reported similar news on Wednesday regarding Apple's plan to develop devices for the smart home. 

This also isn't the first time we've heard that Apple is interested in creating a gadget that can act as a universal controller for your home. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White predicted last year that Apple's long-rumored iWatch could be used as a multi-media controller for your home. 

It's not entirely surprising that Apple could be creating hardware geared toward the connected home. Now that Apple has baked support for smart home functionality into iOS 8, we would naturally expect some new products to go along with it.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Apple's smartwatch to go in mass production in July



Taiwan's Quanta Computer Inc will start mass production of Apple Inc's first smart watch in July, a source familiar with the matter said, as the US tech giant tries to prove it can still innovate against rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

The watch, which remains unnamed but which company followers have dubbed the iWatch, will be Apple's first foray into a niche product category that many remain skeptical about, especially as to whether it can drive profits amid cooling growth in tech gadgets.

The production will be a boost to Quanta, given that its work for Apple till now has focused on laptops and iPods, product lines that are in decline. Quanta's role though is likely to raise questions about what involvement Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, one of Apple's biggest suppliers, will play in production.

While the watch is widely expected, the start date of its mass production and the extent of Quanta's involvement were not known until now. Mass production will start in July and the commercial launch will come as early as October, according to the source and another person familiar with the matter.
 
Apple will introduce a smart watch with a display that likely measures 2.5 inches diagonally and is slightly rectangular, one of the sources said. The source added that the watch face will protrude slightlythe band, creating an arched shape, and will feature a touch interface and wingless capabilities.

The source said Apple expects to ship 50 million units within the first year of the product's release, although these types of initial estimates can be subject to change. The watch is currently in trial production at Quanta, which will be the main manufacturer, accounting for at least 70% of final assembly, the source said.

Like many other smart watches, Apple's watch will be able to perform some functions independently, but tasks messaging and voice chat will require a paired smartphone, according to the source. The device will only be compatible with gadgets running Apple's iOS,its flagship iPhone, one of the sources said.

Most mainstream smart watches collect data about the user's heart rate and other health-related metrics, in addition to facilitating tasks checking e-mail and making phone calls.

A third source said LG Display Co Ltd is the exclusive supplier of the screen for the gadget's initial batch of production. It also contains a sensor that monitors the user's pulse. Singapore-based imaging and sensor maker Heptagon is on the supplier list for the feature, two other sources said.

Apple declined to comment. Quanta, LG Display and Heptagon also declined to comment.

Game-changer?
Apple's move will follow on the heels of releases of similar devices by Samsung, Sony Corp, Motorola and LG Electronics Inc — gadgets that tech watchers say haven't been appealing or user-friendly enough to ignite a wave of mass adoption.

But the market is growing fast, with data firm IDC saying that worldwide shipments of wearable computing devices — a category that includes smart watches —will triple in size this year over 2013.

Apple has already dropped hints of its plans in this arena, hiring the former chief executive of French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, a unit of Kering SA, and proclaiming that it will introduce "new product categories" this year.

Many are hoping that Apple's entry into the field of so-called smart wearable will be a game-changer that transforms the industry the company's iPhone did in 2007.

Some are foreseeing that smartphone sales, the current cash cow of the consumer tech world, will lose momentum in the years ahead as the market reaches saturation.
 
IDC predicts that worldwide smartphone sales will increase 23% this year, a slowdown the 39% growth of last year, and that growth will average only 12% annually 2013 to 2018.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Amazon Fire phone review roundup





The Amazon Fire phone has finally been announced after years of speculation, and it's certainly bringing some different ideas to the table.
First up it sports five cameras on the front - one is the traditional front-facing snapper, and the other four are part of the Fire's Dynamic Perspective feature.
Dynamic Perspective tracks your head, and works out the distance it isthe screen, to produce 3D-like graphics on-screen.
Firefly is a supercharged barcode scanner which you can use to scan, well, anything. A pub sign, a car, a magazine, a bottle of beer. You name it, Firefly will scan it, and then probably try and make you buy something.
Mayday - Amazon's 24-7-365 interactive customer service - also makes the leapthe Kindle Fire HDX tablet to the Fire phone.
Thatsounds lovely, but is it any good? We've taken a look at the early hands on Amazon Fire phone reviewsaround the web to gauge the interest.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo doesn't hold back, declaring the Fire phone to be "Great for Amazon, less for you."
From the various hands-on reviews it's clear that the Amazon Fire isn't convincing people it's worth ordering just yet.
"The biggest impression one's left with is that Amazon poured the bulk of its resources into the part of the Fire phone - that's Firefly - that makes it easiest for you to buy thingsAmazon."
"Our advice for now, though: Hold off on pre-ordering. Amazon's Fire HDX tablet is fantastic. The Fire Phone? We're less sure."

Wired UK

The face and head tracking cameras are certainly impressive tech, but as Wired notes it's still not perfect.
"We had a representative at our side throughout the demo, and any time he had control of a head-tilting moment and aimed the phone my way, the control or sense would become wonky.
"This noticeably occurred at least six times in our half-hour of testing. "It's seeing both of our faces," he'd say apologetically each time. That's a huge hurdle to overcome, especially if Amazon expects to virally advertise this phone by having enthusiasts show it off."

Cnet

Cnet reckons Amazon is taking a bit of a gamble with the Fire phone. "Amazon is taking huge risks in going against the big guysSamsung and Apple. It's done it before, but in a tablet space that isn't as entrenched - or as vital - as smartphones."
Plus it's not the likes of Firefly and Mayday which will attract customers to the phone either.
"More likely, customers will come for the free year of Amazon Prime, especially if they rely heavily on Amazon's online services,shopping and music and video streaming, or own a Kindle or Amazon Fire TV."

Engadget

The folks over at Engadget appear relatively non-plussed about the Amazon Fire phone.
"Spec-wise, it isn't the most impressive phone, despite commanding a $199 price tag on-contract ($650 off-contract). But it's not horrible either - it's simply what you'd expectan average phone."
"Users with motion sickness will notthe Dynamic Perspective option. It reminds me of the parallax motion on iOS 7, a feature that frustrated a fair number of iPhone and iPad users. Fortunately, Amazon will let you turn this feature off.

The Verge

The Verge highlights that one of the core reasons Amazon has produced the Fire phone is to drive sales.
"There simply has never been a better device to help you indulge in impulse purchases - a prospect that has us both intrigued and terrified in equal parts."
As with the others, the Verge doesn't see it as a bad device, but the Fire appears to be struggling to win people over. "The Fire phone makes a neat first impression, but it has a mid-range ethos to it that makes the total asking price feel a little steep."

Android Central

Over at Android Central the feeling is that the retail giant has done the right thing. "Amazon created a mobile device that speaks to its customer base perfectly, and the end result is the Fire Phone."
"How much appeal it actually draws will ultimately be limited by its price and carrier restrictions, but as a first start for Amazon in the phone marketplace, we're excited about the Fire Phone."


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mozilla to Release a Firefox OS Smartphone for Only Rs.1500

BANGALORE: Mozilla is reportedly planning on launching a Smartphone costing as low as $25 for the Indian markets according to the inputs on the Wall Street journal. The company has announced a tie-up with the Indian OEMs like the Intex and Spice to bring its Firefox OS phones, reports Times Of India.


Mozilla will work with the Chinese chipset manufacturer Spreadtrum, to develop the chipsets which will cost low and let the handset manufacturers to keep the price of the Smartphone cheap. There is no word on the specifications of the phone as yet, but the company says the phone will be available in India sometime this year.


"Intex is excited to announce its association with Mozilla which will enable us to develop unparalleled smart devices on the latest Firefox OS platform”, said Mr. Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, Business Head, Mobile, Intex Technologies."The platform will give us an edge in upgrading buyers from feature phones to Smartphones while making it affordable for the mass market. This will propel our devices to be much more than a way to use the web, but take the engagement further and develop the web as a mobile platform."


“With a $25 price tag, there is no price gap between a smartphone and a feature phone. This attractive price point would help motivate feature phone users to switch to smartphones," said Gong Li, The Chief Operating Officer of Mozilla to Wall Street Journal.