Patent trolling is far from a divisive issue in the United States. Pretty much everyone but the trolls can agree that patent trolling is damaging to the economy, and generally kind of a dick move. Patent trolling, if you're not familiar with the practice, is quite simple in concept: buy patents, extort licensing fees from alleged infringers, and sue if they refuse to comply. President Obama proposed some "major" changes to US law that will supposedly reduce the effectiveness of such companies. Before we look at those, though, let's look briefly at what makes a troll tick.
(And no, Apple is not a 'patent troll.' This has basically nothing to do with Apple.
Stylus inputs for smartphones and tablets have become largely obsolete, with the exception of devices packing an integrated digitizer and active stylus, like Samsung's Note series and a few others. But some of us love our styli, as millions of cheap, plastic passive pens lining iPad accessory bargain bins across the country demonstrate. NVIDIA is hoping to boost the capability of passive stylus input on Tegra 4 hardware with its DirectStylus solution, a way for a standard capacitive touchscreen to more accurately emulate pen and paper.
DirectStylus works by using NVIDIA's Direct Touch 2.0 software to bump touch input scans up to 300 times a second, then applies some of Tegra's GPU power to interpret the results.
If you are in search of a tablet that's not too big and not to small, today is your lucky day. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is on sale through eBay at the reasonable price of $349.99. That's about $30 less than what it's going for on Amazon. You also get $25 in Google Play credit free with purchase.
The Note 8.0 is Samsung's mid-range Android 4.1 tablet. It lacks the higher resolution of some more expensive tablets (1280x800) and only has 16GB of storage. There is a microSD card slot, though. It runs on Samsung's 1.6 GHz Exynos 4400 and has 2GB of RAM.
Who's excited for Redbox Instant Streaming? ...Anyone? Though the digital streaming arm of the popular DVD rental service is noticeably behind, well, everyone, customers who've paid their money can now stream movies directly to their Google TV units, thanks to the new app. Redbox Instant is available for download now. By the way, don't be misled by that "by Verizon" tag on the app title - you don't need to be a Verizon Wireless or Verizon FiOS subscriber to use the app.
HD streaming is available for those whose connections can handle 3Mbs of sustained downloads, and users without a Redbox Instant subscription can still use the service to buy or rent titles.
What? You don't have a Sphero? Well, you're going to need one to play this amusing free game. Sphero is a neat little ball-shaped robot that rolls around in response to things going on inside your phone. In this case it rolls around your floor killing augmented reality zombies with fireballs. That's got pretty much all the makings of something awesome.
So you point your device's camera at the Sphero, and the undead will attack. As you guide your sphere of death around in real life, the virtual zombies respond to it. You can play the game anyplace there is a flat enough surface for the Sphero to roll around on.
It's been a long road for the Wikipad, but in one short week, the odd little device will finally be available for purchase. After more than 18 months of development a complete redesign, the Wikipad will be launched next Tuesday, June 11th, at the reasonable price of $249 (including the unique controller add-on sleeve). The initial product push will be on Wal-mart.com, BestBuy.com, and TigerDirect.com, with more online and retail partners set to be announced after the E3 gaming show in July.
You could be forgiven for thinking the Wikipad tablet itself looks a lot like the Nexus 7, because it does, and not just on the outside.
For some reason, Samsung played a bit coy when it announced a pair of new Galaxy Tab 3 models yesterday, and left out the long-rumored Intel chip powering the 10-inch version. This morning Intel let loose with a little PR of its own, finally verifying what Reuters tentatively confirmed: there's Intel inside. The 1.6Ghz dual-core processor powering the Android 4.2 tablet is part of Intel's Clover Trail+ line. With Samsung's massive market presence, the Tab 3 10.1 could easily become the best-selling Intel Android device yet.
Also inside the 3G HSPA+ and LTE versions of the 10-inch Tab 3 is an Intel radio, included in the Clover Trail+ system-on-a-chip.
You have to hand it to Sony – they keep trying. The newly announced Xperia M is a budget-oriented phone that can be obtained in a variety of neat colors. It has a small-ish 4-inch screen, and it comes in black, white, purple, and yellow (depending on model). It's not gigantic, which is a rarity these days.
When you set out to map the entire Earth, if you do it right, you're going to end up with a lot of data. Google Maps has a constant stream of information coming in from a ton of sources - its own Street View cars, satellite imagery, governments, and users all over the world. Once you have all of that information, how do you deal with it? What happens when the government map doesn't perfectly match the satellite image? How do you make sure that a "No Left Turn" sign is reflected in the turn-by-turn directions?
As outsiders, we've always just assumed the answer to this is "magic," but it turns out, it's all handled by a program called "Google Atlas" - an internal-only tool used to manage Google Maps data.
Google is slowly adding the new slide-out navigation menu to all of its major Android apps, and today it's YouTube's turn. The latest incremental update to the official video app doesn't add a whole lot more than that, but what's there is handy: the menu that used to be available via the "app button" in the upper-left corner only on the homescreen is now enabled on all standard UI screens with a quick swipe to the left, just like in the shiny new version of Gmail. As always, YouTube is a free download, available for all Android users.
Strangely, the app button uses the little "back" icon everywhere, not just in UI screens where it will actually go back, and has not yet been switched to the "hamburger" menu button.