Posts Tagged ‘Cheap’
Being behind in a market sucks, and it’s understandable to want to lash out at the top dog, as Microsoft has shown it’s willing to do with Google in search and email, and now with Apple in tablet computers. A brand new Surface ad pits the iPad against Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet, in an attempt to show how much more versatile the Surface is vs. the iOS device.
Microsoft uses Siri’s voice (which isn’t difficult, given that it’s a fairly generic computer-generated female tone) to highlight what the Surface can do that the iPad can’t, including things like live tiles (it took me a couple views to figure out what “I don’t update like that” even meant), Windows Snap multitasking, and… PowerPoint. Then finally we get a price comparison, showing the much cheaper price tag for the Surface RT.
The problem is that not only is the Siri construct weak and her actual lines poorly written, but the abilities Microsoft chooses to highlight show exactly why it doesn’t “get” the tablet market. People aren’t looking for multitasking PowerPoint slide deck-creating machines; they have computers for that.
The closing bit here is maybe the worst part; showing that Apple’s iPad can easily provide a remarkably realistic experience for playing Chopsticks on the screen is not the way to trash your competition, especially if you noticeably can’t offer up an equivalent experience on your own hardware. Apple uses that in its own ads for a reason, and that’s to highlight the magical, delightful experiences users can have on its device. Countering that with a bunch of sober (though admittedly useful) features isn’t the way to turn the tide back in your favor.
AMD boasted that its Z-60 Hondo chip would bring Call of Duty to thin tablets, and its boasts were for naught, but it looks like the company’s latest processor core is going to see a lot of use in the next generation of cheap laptops. Today, AMD has revealed its basic performance claims for its Jaguar core, the same one that’s reportedly built into the chips in both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The resulting Temash and Kabini APUs could finally have the combination of performance and battery life you’d need in an inexpensive Windows 8 tablet or laptop.
While some of AMD’s charts are a little misleading out of context, this one is fairly straightforward: AMD claims that its low-power Temash system-on-chip simultaneously manages to…
One interesting element of Google I/O this year were the sensors laid out everywhere around Moscone tracking environmental data throughout the event. Those types of sensors are now all around us, including in our phones and in various smart home devices, and now a new Kickstarter project from ManyLabs wants to help kids get familiar with them very early on.
The project is called Sensors for Students, and it wants to build a sensor collection kit that includes a plate for an open-source Arduino board and Grove shield combo, along with one of a variety of parts for a number of different types of sensors, including accelerometers, electromagnetic field detectors, a color sensor, a plant watering kit (similar to one component of the Bitponics automated hydroponic garden), and many more.
The team behind ManyLabs consists of Peter Sand and Elliot Dicus, who formed the nonprofit with the ultimate intent of spreading low-cost hands-on tools for teaching science and math to the classroom. Sand has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT, and has focused his work and research on computer vision, robotics and education.
Sand and Dicus wanted to make it possible to get kids learning data literacy and experimenting with open source hardware early on in life. Their goals sound similar to those of Adafruit, the NY-based hardware company that’s also trying to make people more comfortable with concepts around electrical engineering and DIY maker culture, beginning early on in life.
ManyLabs isn’t just supplying hardware, though, it’s also very clearly marketing a curriculum, with lessons and content being offered alongside each type of kit available to backers, along with online resources that will be made available on a yearly subscription basis. There’s no soldering required in the kits that are on offer, so these are suitable for a range of ages and skill levels, and ManyLabs hopes to put them in the hands of backers as soon as August this year, with kits beginning at $ 40. The most expensive individual kit is $ 75, and while ManyLabs requires you to supply your own Arduino, it’s still very affordable, a key value add for educational markets.
When Defense Distributed created the first 3D-printed “Liberator” pistol, it did so on a professional-grade Stratasys printer well out of the reach of most would-be weapon makers. The prohibitive cost, among other things, made the gun seem more like a proof of concept than a revolution. But according to Forbes, another hobbyist has taken things a step further, making a working version of the Liberator on a relatively low-end 3D printer.
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.
As scientists and renewable-energy developers continue to make advances in solar and wind technology, it’s becoming more apparent than ever that clean energy doesn’t just represent the future — it’s also the present. Spain proved that this week, when the Mediterranean country announced that it produced an impressive 54 percent of its total energy in April from renewable sources. Researchers at Yale University discovered a way to boost the efficiency of solar cells by 38 percent simply by coating them with a fluorescent dye. In another promising development, scientists at the University of Georgia developed a way to harness the photosynthetic process to generate clean energy from plants. And at a conference in California, NRG unveiled a mini prefabricated solar canopy that could soak up rays in any garden or commercial lot.
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As glad as we are that MediaTek ushered in affordable, quad-core SoC designs with the MT6589, even that silicon can only go so far in making smartphones accessible. The company’s new MT6572 might be frugal enough to lower some of those few remaining barriers. The all-in-one part mates a cheaper dual-core, 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A7 processor with HSPA+ 3G, China-focused TD-SCDMA, Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi, dropping the construction costs beyond what even the chip’s quad-core sibling can manage. While the MT6572 can only handle up to a qHD display, a 5-megapixel camera and 720p video, that’s more than enough to improve baseline features in a category where many recent entry-level phones still tout single-core CPUs and WVGA screens. Its rapid arrival in the marketplace may be crucial, too. MediaTek expects the first phones based on the MT6572 to roll out in June — just in time to keep the world’s transition to smartphones moving at full steam.
Bluetooth speakers still tend to revolve around portable designs, but there’s been a gradual shift toward traditional-looking speakers that just happen to have short-range wireless as an option. Creative’s T3150 is proof positive: while it’s an entry-level, 2.1-channel PC speaker on the outside, it stuffs in stereo Bluetooth audio to handle mobile devices in a pinch. Mind you, that’s not the only thing Creative is stealthy about. Although the company is willing to say that the T3150 has an Image Focusing Plate to widen the listening sweet spot, there’s no mention of the power output; we’ve reached out for more detail. At prices of £60 and €70 (around $ 100) for the planned May launch, though, we’d expect a modest amount of wireless audio power.
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While lots of present drone programs are very complex – and costly – inexpensive drones used for snooping, mapping, as well as attacks can turn the tables on world militaries by providing terrorists and less well-funded teams access to UAV modern technology.
A report by the Task 2049 Institute notes that China is hard at work on its own, less-expensive drone program that might wind up being marketed to various other players on the world. Iran, for instance, already sells simple drones to next-door neighbors in the Middle East, including Syria. An advanced program coming out of China would, at the very least, permit more powerful gadgets to percolate out to nations with less-developed UAV systems.
“ In whatever future problem circumstance we ’ re in five or 10 years from now, the proliferation of UAVs is visiting complex things for the UNITED STATE armed force, ” stated research fellow Ian Easton to TechNewsDaily. The market for unmanned drones can reach $ 89 billion over the next years.
While they could not be as powerful as US, European, or Japanese robot systems, these cheaper, Chinese drones can level the playing industry simply a bit when it involves unmanned combat in the future.
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While many current drone programs are extremely complex – and costly – cheap drones used for spying, mapping, and even attacks could turn the tables on world militaries by giving terrorists and less well-funded groups access to UAV technology.
A report by the Project 2049 Institute notes that China is hard at work on its own, less-expensive drone program that could end up being marketed to other players on the globe. Iran, for example, already sells simple drones to neighbors in the Middle East, including Syria. An advanced program coming out of China would, at the very least, allow for more powerful devices to percolate out to countries with less-developed UAV systems.
“In whatever future conflict scenario we’re in five or 10 years from now, the proliferation of UAVs is going to complicate things for the U.S. military,” said research fellow Ian Easton to TechNewsDaily. The market for unmanned drones could reach $ 89 billion over the next decade.
While they may not be as powerful as US, European, or Japanese robotic systems, these cheaper, Chinese drones could level the playing field just a bit when it comes to unmanned warfare in the future.
SpaceX ‘Grasshopper’ Test Brings Us One Step Closer To Resuable Spaceships, Banging Aliens On The Cheap
This is a video of private space exploration company SpaceX successfully testing their Grasshopper vertical take off and landing (VTVL) vehicle. The Grasshopper was designed to be a rapidly reusable spacecraft so that, one day soon, we’ll all be able to know what space feels like. SPOILER: Creepy and dark. Still — you get to float.
On Thursday, March 7, 2013, SpaceX’s Grasshopper doubled its highest leap to date to rise 24 stories or 80.1 meters (262.8 feet), hovering for approximately 34 seconds and landing safely using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. Grasshopper touched down with its most accurate precision thus far on the centermost part of the launch pad.
Grasshopper, SpaceX’s vertical takeoff and landing (VTVL) vehicle, continues SpaceX’s work toward one of its key goals – developing fully and rapidly reusable rockets, a feat that will transform space exploration by radically reducing its cost. With Grasshopper, SpaceX engineers are testing the technology that would enable a launched rocket to land intact, rather than burning up upon reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere.
By a show of hands, how many of you actually think you’d be able to handle the intensity and claustrophobia of traveling to space? Because I struggle even in my car. You’d have to cryogenically freeze me to get me into space, and as soon as you thawed me I’d either have a heart attack or murder everyone on the ship. Just don’t go repeating that to the folks at the Mission to Mars thing , because I totally signed up for that.
Hit the jump for a video of the rocket test, which may or may yes have a cowboy mannequin strapped to it to give you a sense of scale (the rocket is 10-stories tall).
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