Tech News

Technology News and -----adget Review

09 March 2011

RIM's chief marketing officer resigns

We won't read too much into this, but it comes at an interesting time -- with only a month left before RIM is expected to debut the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, the company's chief marketing officer has resigned. The Wall Street Journal reports that RIM CMO Keith Pardy (formerly with Nokia) will leave due to "personal reasons" after a six-month transition period is up. The publication's anonymous sources add that Pardy actually made the decision a month ago, and that the move "reflects larger turmoil" within RIM -- as opposed to any sort of knee-jerk reaction over the iPad 2 launch, we suppose. To be frank, we're a little worried about the fate of the PlayBook if it's indeed close to launch -- when we tried a prototype at the Game Developer's Conference this past week in San Francisco, the hardware was still pretty solid, but the software was a bit sparse, and what was there felt like it needed more than a few coats of polish.

Behold Corsair's Force GT SSD -- flaming red shell and 500 MB/s read and write speeds

Feast your eyes upon the latest and greatest SSD from Corsair, the Force GT. Aside from its flaming red fa├žade, the Force GT also promises snappy 520 MB/sec read and 500 MB/sec write speeds thanks to its SandForce SF-2000 controller -- nearly twice as fast as the company's previous SandForce drives. The 240GB SSD will officially be unveiled at CeBIT 2011 (which ends tomorrow), but we thought you'd like to see this ruby-red speed demon a little early. Enjoy.

Motorola Atrix docks literally and figuratively torn apart, hack enables Webtop over HDMI port

Motorola's got a fine smartphone in the Atrix 4G, but a mildly unsatisfactory pair of modular docks. Good thing, then, that you can gain the most intriguing functionality they add without buying one! Fenny of xda-developers reportedly figured out a way to modify the phone's APK files to activate Webtop mode over a standard HDMI cable -- with no dock needed as a go-between -- allowing you to experience the Atrix's PC-like functionality when connected to any HDMI-ready computer monitor or TV. Of course, you'll need a rooted and deodexed phone to give it a try, but we hear those aren't monumentally difficult to come by. 

While Fenny's hack could potentially make the desktop dock obsolete -- assuming you've got a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard handy -- Motorola's LapDock is still something else. It's razor-thin, it doesn't require a separate monitor, and it charges your phone. So, before you write it off entirely, you might at least want to indulge your morbid curiosity about what's inside, and thus there's a complete teardown video after the break to show you what the guts look like. Enjoy!

Electric car sales watch: 281 Volts and 67 Leafs sold in US during February

Neither Chevrolet nor Nissan have felt proud enough of their EV sales numbers to list them on their latest press releases, but our colleagues over at Autoblog Green have dug those numbers up anyhow. They make for dispiriting reading if you're an electric car well-wisher, as the Volt's sales declined from January's tally of 321 to an even less impressive 281, while the Leaf closed February with only 67 US sales, down 20 on last month. Upon seeing their previous numbers, we postulated that both cars are suffering from constrained supply, which is likely still the case, but it feels ironic to us that electric vehicles, whose driving experience offers instant torque, are taking their sweet time to rev up their sales.

Inhabitat's Week in Green: ice castles, cardboard columns, and the Geneva Auto Show

This week Inhabitat showcased several jaw-dropping feats of architecture, starting with a series of amazingly complex computer-designed cardboard columns that boast between 8 and 16 million facets. We were also struck by a stunning new net-zero Solar Academy in Germany, and we showcased a Swiss chalet that is the world's first apartment building to be heated entirely by solar thermal energy. On the cooler end of the climate spectrum, a Minnesota man has created a series of soaring ice castles using water from his geothermal heating system. 

The Geneva Auto Show also kicked off with a bang this week as Koenigsegg unveiled its supercharged Agera R racer and SAAB rose from the ashes with a futuristic PhoeniX hybrid. We also heard big news from some of the world's most luxurious automakers as Bentley rolled out a biofuel-powered supercar that can go 200 MPH on ice and Rolls-Royce unveiled their all-electric 102 EX Phantom. Two-wheeled transportation also took a leap forward as Daymak unveiled the world's first wireless electric eBike and Los Angeles approved plans for 1,690 miles of bikeways. 

We also kept on the cutting edge of consumer tech with a look at the green credentials of Apple's iPad 2, and we brought you researchers' plans for a hot new breed of batteries made from "frozen smoke". Finally, we learned from a recent study that cellphone signals actually boost brain activity, and we shared a fresh new line of iPod nano watch straps just in time for spring.

Sony Ericsson Windows Phone 7 prototype caught in the wild?

Sony Ericsson was named a Windows Phone 7 partner a year ago, but -- like another we could name -- seemingly scrapped plans to produce a device and chose another OS instead. Or did it? Pictures of what looks to be a Sony Ericsson prototype running Windows Phone 7 recently surfaced at Lizhecomb, and it could be that SE's looking to try again... but probably not. You see, rumor had it that Sony Ericsson did produce a prototype sliding WP7 handset -- the Julie -- much like the one above, and this one certainly looks a little prototypical compared to contemporary designs. What it may add up to is Sony Ericsson and ASUS in the same boat -- two WP7 launch partners that failed to launch, but each with hardware to show for it.

Skyhook brings location-awareness to the Sony NGP, including WiFi-only models

SKYHOOK'S LOCATION TO BE EMBEDDED IN THE NEXT GENERATION PORTABLE ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM FROM SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR ENHANCED GAMING & SOCIAL EXPERIENCE 

Gamers and developers to benefit from Skyhook's market-leading location technology

Barcelona, Spain - March 1, 2011 - Skyhook, the world leader in location positioning, context and intelligence, announced that Skyhook's Core Engine will be embedded in the next generation portable entertainment system (codename: NGP) from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE). NGP, which will make its debut at the end of this year, is SCE's new portable entertainment system. With the addition of Skyhook's Core Engine technology, it will better enable gamers to enjoy location-aware games and social applications by providing the most precise, reliable, and fastest location information available.

Geolocation is at the center of innovation and is fundamental to many emerging mobile games and services. Precise location enables new localized gaming features such as regional leader board, helps gamers find players nearby to challenge, or lets users find localized content. In addition, today, there are tens of thousands of mobile applications that incorporate location as a part of their user experience. Applications such as Facebook and Foursquare incorporate location to simplify user experience and to personalize content delivery.

"The launch of NGP is the latest in a long line of innovations over the past years that demonstrate how the PlayStation® brand continues to push the game industry forward," said Masaaki Turuta CTO of SCE. "Precise location information is increasingly central to the portable entertainment experience. Skyhook's Core Engine will provide NGP with superior location capabilities."

Skyhook is the recognized leader in geolocation technology and fulfills hundreds of millions of location requests every day across over 100 million handsets, tablets, netbooks, cameras, and other mobile devices. Skyhook's ground-breaking Core Engine system combines Wi-Fi, cellular, and GPS readings to produce a single, accurate location quickly and in all environments.

"SCE is one of the global leaders in innovative gaming and portable systems," said Michael Shean, founder and senior vice president, Business Development, Skyhook. "Skyhook is thrilled to enhance SCE's NGP with superior location accuracy and availability and to expand into the portable gaming category."

"PlayStation" is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

About Skyhook, Inc

Skyhook is the worldwide leader in location positioning, context and intelligence. In 2003, Skyhook pioneered the development of the Wi-Fi Positioning System to provide precise and reliable location results in urban areas. Today, Skyhook's Core Engine provides positioning to tens of millions of consumer mobile devices and applications. For more information visit www.skyhookwireless.com.