Microsoft Surface Family Continues Worldwide Expansion
Feb. 28, 2013
Surface RT and Surface Pro headed to new countries starting late March.
REDMOND, Wash. - Feb. 28, 2013 - Microsoft Corp. today announced that beginning late March the rollout of Surface will continue, bringing Surface RT with Windows RT to Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan and Surface Pro with Windows 8 Pro to Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the coming months.
"We are eager to see people and businesses in more countries get a chance to experience this new category of devices," said Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface. "Surface is the best of a tablet and a PC."
Surface is an extension of the Windows experience, letting customers work, play and connect with the people who matter to them. Surface lets customers transition between entertainment and creation. It offers an ultralight durable casing and an integrated kickstand and cover that allow customers to be productive anywhere, as well as a full-sized USB port and microSDXC card slot for adding additional storage and a 16:9 widescreen high-definition display that makes it optimal for viewing and sharing content easily.
Surface RT is best described as a tablet with some laptop capabilities that weaves productivity and mobility into one beautiful product. It is great for those people looking for all-day battery life* and an entertainment-first experience with the ability to still get work done. Surface Pro is comparable to a full-blown Windows laptop that also boasts tablet capabilities. For the first time, customers can have a fully functional PC that looks, feels and acts like a tablet. With Surface Pro, customers can do virtually everything they have ever done on a PC, ranging from using their favorite desktop applications to enjoying the protection of world-class safety and security software.
Additional details on Surface are available at http://www.Surface.com, the Surface Blog and Surface on Facebook. Those interested can follow Surface on Twitter for additional updates.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
* Up to 8 hours.
Geeks who are into fast cars and stereoscopic displays must think that watching F1 races in 3D is the bees-knees. However, FIA, the sport's governing body, has often been resistant to new technology -- only adopting HD a few years ago. That's why when the FIA asked Sky to produce a test-broadcast of the
practice testing laps in the run up to the Barcelona Grand Prix, the British broadcaster jumped at the chance. Naturally, BSkyB wanted to show off its technical marvel, and so invited us to come and see what it was like. Of course, like the good geeks that we are, our attention was focused on keeping Sky's chief engineer Chris Johns in a corner and needling him with questions. Curious to find out what he said (apart from "please go away," of course)? After the break is where all the cool kids are at.
Johns explained to us that the broadcast team arrived in Spain with eight fixed 3D cameras and set them out in key locations like the opening straight and first corner. It also threw in a pair of handheld Panasonic cameras so a crew could cover the pit-lane goings on and capture some driver interviews. While none were used at this test, Johns is also a big fan of Sony's PMW-TD300 3D camera, of which the company recently bought a few.
Strictly, this was merely a demonstration that required lots of wrangling from the various parties, but we couldn't help but ask: how feasible is it to capture the action from the driver's point of view? Understandably, we would have loved to follow a drivers progress as they rushed through the Circuit de Catalunya, but F1 regulations prevented the company from adding anything extra to the cars. But for the paperwork wrangling, however, such a setup is entirely possible -- Johns said that a pair of GoPro HD cameras could be mounted at fixed points in the car, and the broadcasting system would handle mashing the two pictures into one. He also added that Sky's current setup can correct for errors if one of the cameras were knocked out of alignment -- ensuring that the 3D picture is seamless.
Sky's understandably proud of the demonstration, after all, it came to the broadcaster because of its wealth of experience in the nascent 3D space, producing more than rivals in the US and Asia. It puts its success down to what it describes as a "technically literate" audience of early-adopting Brits, all rushing out to upgrade to the latest and greatest. While no-one was beating down its door for 3D content, early uptake for the channel has proved people are eager to wear those dorky glasses. When we asked about the likelihood of Sky expanding beyond sporting and nature documentaries to drama productions, the response was lukewarm, to say the least.
In many ways, this demo was an audition to see if F1 could work in 3D, and you're all curious to know what your humble narrator thought of the experience. Well, in certain angles, it's tremendously effective, but it's certainly not ready for prime-time just yet. You see, the cameras need to be fixed to a set depth, so when errant members of the pit crew wander directly past the camera, the effect can become very jarring. Also, Sky is going to have to re-think the language of filming events in the same way it brought its Soccer cameras down to ground level from the crows' nest we were used to. At a distance, the images are indistinguishable from a regular HD show, but when the camera is right in the action, with cars rushing toward your TV, that it all becomes rather exciting. Now all we have to do is wait for the next time Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt get together to discuss that "technology thing."
Update: This session was testing, not practice. Thanks to all who pointed that out.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/02/28/f1-3d-eyes-on/
In a week that plays host to one of Europe's biggest tech shows, as you can imagine, there's a fair amount to talk about. Someone should probably do a podcast that covers these sort of things! Who would be more qualified, then, than our very own tech-loving Europe shift? Fear not then, as everything from Nokia's colorful new line up, LG's curious acquisition, to ASUS' even more curious naming convention, gets the Engadget treatment. All just a click away. Disfrutad!
Hosts: Dan Cooper, James Trew, Jamie Rigg
Producer: James Trew
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01:29 - Samsung's comically large Galaxy Note 8.0 smartphone
07:20 - Is it a FonePad? Or is it a PadFone?
12:38 - ZTE announces Grand Memo: an Android smartphone with a Snapdragon 800
15:07 - LG Optimus G Pro: hands-on
18:17 - LG acquires webOS from HP, plans to use it in smart TV platform
25:16 - Nokia 105 and 301 candybar phones announced at MWC
29:02 - Nokia Lumia 720 unveiled , Nokia Lumia 520 hands-on
37:17 - HP Slate 7 hands-on
39:58 - i-mate talks up the Intelegent, a 4.7-inch slab of vaporware
43:21 - Samsung confirms Galaxy S IV launch on March 14th in NYC
48:14 - Google announces Chromebook Pixel
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HTC didn't have much to say about its Sense 5 UI coming to existing devices when it introduced it alongside its new One handset, but it's now gotten a bit more talkative. In a post on Facebook, and confirmed to us independently, HTC says that global variants of the HTC One X, One X+, One S and Butterfly will all be getting an update to the new interface "in the next few months," although specifics remain light beyond that for the time being. The company does note, however, that not all devices will support all the features offered by Sense 5, as some of those features make use of hardware specific to the new HTC One.
The bad news: just as much of the world is starting to get excited about the prospects of 3D printing, science is moving on to the world of 4D. The good news: in the future, you might not have to assemble that Ikea chair yourself. "4D printing" is the term cientists are using to refer to a technology that MIT's Skylar Tibbits talked up during a recent TED appearance. The fourth "d" here is time, referring to an object that, once printed, is capable of changing shape (over time, naturally).
"Essentially the printing is nothing new," Tibbits told the BBC. "It is about what happens after." So far the concept has been demonstrated with thin strands of plastic, which, once added to water, form into a predetermined shape, using energy from the absorption. Suggested future applications involve furniture, pipes, bikes and buildings. First, however, scientists will have to demonstrate the technology on a larger structure, of course, and they'll explore the possibility of other energy sources, like heat, sound and vibration.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/02/28/4d-printing-mit/
It feels a bit strange to report on a webcam privacy shade as if it were a novelty: various products already let users put a decorative background on screen in lieu of a live stream, or even pull a physical shade across the lens. What Apple is apparently proposing, though, is a camera with such privacy filters built into the camera module itself. The company just applied for a patent on a camera whose images could selectively transition from opaque to transparent and back again, depending on how much privacy is called for.
Based on that illustration up there, we're going to hazard a guess it could be used in Apple's MacBook and iMac lines, though the patent application doesn't explicitly exclude mobile devices, either. (In fact, the filing acknowledges a camera like this could be used in, ahem, a television.) What we'd really like to know is how easy it would be for the user to active the privacy mode. Alas, though, the USPTO doc doesn't give any definitive answers -- the filing suggests the user could choose to switch modes, or that launching certain applications (i.e., those that use the camera) might trigger a change in privacy settings. In any case, that's about all we can glean from the patent application, but feel free to peek for yourselves if you feel like letting your imaginations get ahead of you.
There's been talk for weeks of Boeing developing a fix for the 787 Dreamliner's battery fire troubles. If the aircraft maker has its way, that should soon translate to action. The company's commercial airplane chief, Raymond Conner, tells reporters that the company has a "permanent" fix that would place three layers of protection around the batteries and, theoretically, head off fires and their causes. It sounds like just the ticket -- the challenge will be getting everyone else to feel the same way. American investigators believe the batteries are at fault, but their Japanese counterparts haven't yet ruled out external factors. With this kind of ongoing debate, we're not about to book a 787 to Tokyo for spring break.
Engadget for Mobile
We blew out last month's CES with our biggest group of editors to date, and now we've done it again here in Barcelona. There may have been fewer high-end smartphones than expected at the show, but we still managed to spend time with dozens of handsets and tablets, and even a surprise hybrid or two. Fira Gran Via, Mobile World Congress' new home for 2013, was a fitting venue, and there's even room to grow, should that be in the cards for next year. Still, we leave Spain with mixed emotions, and mixed impressions of the show. So, what exactly did we take away from our week of smartphones, sangria, tablets and tapas in Europe? Read on past the break for our take.
(Click for Image) Darren Murph, Managing Editor
A man can only take so much groundbreaking news, and honestly, I'm at peace with the quantity at this year's Mobile World Congress. Outside of the HP Slate 7, the Galaxy Note 8.0 and Nokia's latest batch of Lumia phones, North American readers aren't apt to find too much here to swoon over. That said, the show was absolutely buzzing on the ground, which speaks well of the overall economy surrounding the mobile business. Firefox OS does little to nothing for me, but I'm hopeful it'll make some positive waves in emerging markets. But, most of all, please join me in praying for a helping of LTE to blanket Barcelona in the near future. Thank you. (Click for Image) Zach Honig, Senior Associate Editor
Sure, it was weak on the high-end device front, but that's not all MWC's about. We often overlook the fact that most mobile users can't afford to drop hundreds on a phone -- often not in their lifetime, let alone once every two years. A certain mobile pioneer has the answer. The €15 (about $20) Nokia 105, which offers a color screen, FM radio and whopping 35-day standby, will help bring connectivity within reach of many millions. And, when they step up to the big leagues, those users will remember that they got their start with Nokia. My best of show is a phone I'll never own: the Nokia 105. (Click for Image) Richard Lai, Senior Associate Editor
MWC newbie here. Sure, there's no real breakthroughs in form factors apart from NEC's Medias W, but the show's been a great opportunity to closely compare the differentiation between the candy bars. My favorites? PadFone Infinity and HTC One. Most other companies focused on low- to mid-range devices, but at the risk of reducing the trade show's significance for the media. That said, MWC also featured some awesome component-level technologies -- you just need to dig a little deeper to find them. (Click for Image) Terrence O'Brien, Senior Associate Editor
It's pretty clear that MWC is moving away from being a consumer event and embracing its fate as an industry one. Like CES, this convention delivered little more than disappointment to those hoping for a major product launch or an avalanche of news. Instead we got a few underwhelming devices and had to hear the word "open" come out of Gary Kovacs' mouth an estimated 37,000 times. (Click for Image) Michael Gorman, Senior Associate Editor
MWC 2013 has confirmed we live in a world where major players keep major announcements to themselves. Samsung could've shown off the Galaxy S IV and been the talk of Barcelona, but it handed out invitations to a Samsung-only launch event instead. That said, Sammy did give us the Galaxy Note 8.0, which hits my tablet-size sweet spot, and the HP Slate 7's an awfully attractive option priced at $170. The noteworthy phones of MWC were far more disappointing: low-end handsets running Firefox OS and Tizen? Snooze. (Click for Image) Joseph Volpe, Senior Associate Editor
Forget the Galaxy Note 8.0 and LG's Optimus G Pro. This year's most awe-inducing announcement was ZTE's Grand Memo, the "first" smartphone with Qualcomm's
Snapdragon 800 Snapdragon 600 Snapdragon S4 Pro Snapdragon something, 1GB 2GB of RAM and a 5.7-inch 1080p 720p display (as you can tell from the strikethrough, company reps really didn't seem to have a clue). We're pretty sure it can also make voice calls or not make voice calls, browse or not browse the web and turn on (maybe?). Samsung, I hope you're paying attention. This is one competitor to watch. (Click for Image) Sharif Sakr, Senior European Editor
This show felt like a conspiracy. The big boys' stalls were little more than retail displays. The real action was among those desperate to grab a slice of the low-end. Nokia, ZTE, Alcatel, Firefox OS, Tizen, huge carriers you've never heard of, all swarming, scheming and striking deals signed in blood. Will the consumer be a party to this cost-cutting cabal, or a victim of it? I still don't know. (Click for Image) Mat Smith, Associate European Editor
Sorry, everyone. After a CES that left me cold, I thought we'd be wowed at this year's MWC. Instead, there was a smattering of middleweight products and no flagship phones from the major players. The fact that this got my pulse racing illustrates that nothing grabbed me. Last year, I saw Nokia's PureView tech, HTC's One series and more, but this time, companies either skipped the queue or are holding out for their very own event. (Click for Image) Myriam Joire, Senior Mobile Editor
MWC moved to a new location this year, and while the new venue is a success, I don't feel the same way about the show. HTC's pre-emptive One launch and Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S IV event lowered the excitement level. Thankfully, Nokia cheered things up with the Lumia 520 and Lumia 720, LG impressed with the Optimus G Pro and Sony refined the tablet with the Xperia Tablet Z. As for Firefox OS, it's an interesting idea, but it's marred by subpar devices and only pays lip service to the carriers. (Click for Image) Sean Cooper, Associate Mobile Editor
Mobile World Congress shifted to a new spot this year and I was hoping that with the new venue we'd see the show reborn. Instead, the show reminded me of the last CeBIT I visited, back in 2007. But unlike then, the mobile focus isn't headed south to Barcelona -- it seems it's flown the coop entirely. BlackBerry, Samsung, HTC -- all held their own events recently (or have ones upcoming) in what seems like a new trend for big unveils. See you in 2014? (Click for Image) Brad Molen, Associate Mobile Editor
Since most of the key phones and tablets were announced long before the first roller bag ever hit the floor, the show was over before it even began. When Firefox OS grabs the most headlines, you know it's been a slow event. Oddly, the buzzword on the lips of every OEM exec was "innovation," yet I didn't feel as though I saw anything truly innovative at all. The one thing that I'll take from this show? Amazing European chocolate. (Click for Image) Dana Wollman, Senior Reviews Editor
This is the part where I eat crow. Remember when I said companies were putting off their CES product announcements in favor of MWC? I take it back. All the standout news will come at Computex, or IFA, or better yet, at a standalone event like the GS IV launch. This was a low-key conference, marked mostly by mid-range devices like the HP Slate 7, ASUS FonePad and Nokia Lumia 720. I mean, at what kind of show is Firefox OS important enough to steal the limelight? At a boring one, that's where. (Click for Image) Sarah Silbert, Reviews Editor
More and more companies are launching their marquee phones and tablets outside of the trade show circuit, and that leaves little room for Mobile World Congress to dazzle. Mid-range phones are important, yes, but after last year's announcement-packed MWC, this show was a letdown. My pick for best in show: the Ericsson booth, which made up for lackluster demos with a veritable culinary world tour. (Samosas in Barcelona? I'll take it.) (Click for Image) Alberto Ballestin, Editor-in-chief, Spanish
The advent of the post-PC era has also signaled the end of the Mobile World Congress as a device-centric event. With the biggest launches of the year scheduled far away from Barcelona, the show has turned into a multi-colored B2B cathedral, its light stolen by mid-range devices and cloud oddities such as Firefox OS. I don't want to sound overly negative, though -- the organization did a sterling job; the new venue is both fantastic and well-deserved. (Click for Image) Alexandra Guerrero ("Drita"), Managing Editor, Spanish
The middle range has been the highlight of the show. Recently, mobile device manufacturers have begun hosting their own events, and that often means that star products have already been announced by the time we arrive at a show. That is exactly what happened at MWC this year. So, is this the beginning of the end for the big shows? Perhaps -- or, if nothing else, we may begin to see them evolve in order to remain relevant. Let's wait and see. (Click for Image) Elena Henriquez, Senior Editor, Spanish
I absolutely adore the Sony Xperia Tablet Z's design, but I'm a little concerned about its durability. Given that it's a device meant for the living room, free falls from the couch are guaranteed (and I'm sure Murphy's law will do its best with those sharp angles). Moreover, its celebrated flexibility gives me the creeps: it does not only bend, but also creaks. I had such high hopes for this edition... but no product has stolen my heart. Let's cross our fingers for next month's CeBIT!
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Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/02/28/mwc-2013-sound-off/
Those running the dedicated YouTube app for iOS have had TV streaming for awhile... as long as there was an Apple TV in between. Google's video division is cutting out that middleman with its newly available app update. Similar to what we've seen in the Android software, iOS device owners can at last pair directly with some TVs, the PS3 or Xbox 360 to play and queue videos, even if there's multiple iPads and iPhones jockeying for attention on the same WiFi network. If your set is left out, YouTube still offers reasons to upgrade -- there's a connection to YouTube Capture for recording, and better playback on a pokey WiFi connection. As long as you're at least curious about TV streaming beyond Apple's set-top box, it's arguably worth trying.
Dropping a smartphone is an absolutely horrifying experience. And on my first day in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, it happened to me with my BlackBerry Z10.
As much as I hate to admit, it was a dumb move on my part. Unfortunately, tragedy can strike with as simple an act as brushing one's elbow across the table, and that's all it took for me to knock my smartphone right onto a hard surface -- facedown in a perfectly horizontal position (the worst imaginable angle). If you've ever been through such an accident, you know the few seconds it takes to pick up the phone and survey the damage can be incredibly nerve-wracking and one of the most suspenseful moments of your life.
I'm happy to say that this particular story has a positive ending, as I turned the phone over to see if I would need to call BlackBerry HQ in a panic. To my shock, it was completely fine. There wasn't a single scratch or ding, and the touchscreen was just as responsive as ever. It would've been a different story had it fallen onto a concrete floor, but this still significantly increased my opinion of the Z10's durability.
Had my Z10 come face to face with concrete, I would've been in a nasty predicament. Not only would I have had to pause or put the kibosh my 30-day trial run with the BlackBerry Z10, but I'm also on the other side of the world in a foreign country. While getting a new phone isn't impossible, it's expensive, time-consuming and frustrating. Yep, this was how my 10-day international adventure began, but how well has it gone for me since?
Editor's note: This is not a review. If you haven't taken the opportunity to read through our review of the BlackBerry Z10 and the BB10 operating system, now is the perfect time to do so. As I progress through my 30-day BlackBerry trial, I'm writing most of my thoughts with the assumption that you have a basic understanding of BlackBerry's new devices and platform.
I'm going to rewind the tale of my journey to where and when it all began: the flight here. In preparation for the eight-hour venture into the dark black skies, I loaded my phone up with podcasts (via a third-party native app) and plenty of games and music to keep me occupied. Everything worked up to expectations -- and frankly, that shouldn't surprise anyone. Any smartphone that can't pass the basic airplane in-flight entertainment test simply doesn't deserve to exist, and the Z10 does just fine on that end.
One of the first matters of business after arriving was securing a pre-paid SIM for a few minutes, texts and all of my data needs, since I landed at the airport with no way of communicating with the world without paying outrageous international roaming charges (I'm giving you the evil eye, US carriers; you know who you are). Though some BB10 services offer reasonable offline support, I had a difficult time finding any that applied to me. In fear that I wouldn't be able to get the address of my hotel or pull up a map on my phone at the airport, I made sure to take a few screenshots just to be on the safe side. Accessing the address in an email was easy enough, but the screenshots came in handy when trying to describe my destination to the taxi driver.
I promptly got set up with a Vodafone pre-paid SIM. After booting, it became clear that my unlocked unit actually comes with a rather unique trait not seen in many other GSM devices (this is the first phone I've seen work this way): it's able to load up splash screens, ringtones, apps and accounts that are associated with the current SIM's carrier. On ATT, my Z10 booted up with "Rethink Possible," contained ATT-specific ringtones, offered ATT Address Book as an account option and more. Once I inserted my Vodafone SIM, however, all of those disappeared and -- with the exception of the ringtones -- were replaced with Vodafone's versions (including a Vodafone app that magically appeared after my first boot up). This was a pretty cool discovery. It's a feature that I hope is implemented on all of BlackBerry's unlocked devices (all of our units have it), though I'm not expecting handsets that are originally locked to a carrier to have the same privilege. Sure, I'm definitely not a fan of any sort of carrier branding -- especially on unlocked handsets -- but admittedly it was worthy of a small geekout moment.
Another service I've always geeked out about, despite how long it's been around, is Skype. I'm not the most frequent user of the service, but it's a godsend when I'm overseas because it makes it so easy to video chat with my wife and kids. While there are plenty of similar services available, it's the one that nearly every member of my family uses. I was hoping that Skype's anticipated app would be ready for BB10 by the time I left for Spain, but unfortunately it's still MIA. The only alternate option, FaceFlow, isn't cross-platform (though it offers a web interface), so I've been using the service on my computer instead. Of course, Skype is coming to the platform soon, so most BB10 buyers won't have the same concern for long, but it was one less way for me to take advantage of the OS.
A solid few days using the Z10 in Spain haven't changed my mind about BlackBerry 10 -- it's still a perfectly capable platform that just needs improvement in a few key areas -- but I must admit that my experience abroad has been better than I originally expected. To be on the safe side, I brought along an unlocked Android device as a backup, ready to accept my SIM at a moment's notice if I decided the Z10 wasn't successful at keeping up with my excessive work. Fortunately, I never felt it necessary to resort to the backup. Does that mean I had a flawless experience at MWC? Not at all. I had a few struggles, primarily in the area of mapping and app availability, and my desire for pure threaded-email conversations in the Hub dramatically increased when I was faced with twice the email volume and team email correspondence as a normal week.
Furthermore, my initial concerns with battery life were also magnified as I more heavily relied on the BlackBerry to handle a much larger workload than I usually require; indeed, I made good use of external battery packs as backups, just in case I ran out of juice halfway through the day. I typically got away with only needing one recharge per day. With that said, I want to make it clear that a firmware update is on the way which promises more efficient battery life, but I haven't had the opportunity to receive it yet while I've been on the road. I hope to get my hands on it as soon as possible to properly test it out.
One other thing I learned during my first few days at Mobile World Congress: four weeks after its initial launch, I was surprised to see a lot of interest in the Z10 when I pulled it out of my pocket. (The gestures seem to be a hit with most people, for what it's worth.) I know that part of this is due to the limited availability of the device so far, but people are still at least talking about it. This is good news for the company in a few ways: it hasn't been entirely dismissed by the mobile community, BlackBerry hasn't been declared dead and it is at least seen with much more curiosity and intrigue than other phones introduced at the show. (Firefox OS, anyone?)
During the first half of my international adventure, I've learned that my Z10 is much more durable than I originally expected. The BB10 platform is also at least capable of handling the workload I throw at it, even in high-stress conditions. I can't say that it's been the most efficient method of tackling my trade-show routine, but I've survived so far. As I noted earlier, there have been a few frustrations along the way, but I got through nearly all of my typical chores just fine. (I think it's also important to mention that at this very moment in the platform's infancy, I couldn't pull this experiment off without sideloading Android apps.) A few days in Catalonia have not magically turned me into a BlackBerry convert, but the phones are good enough that I have at least become a lot more confident in the company's future.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/02/28/blackberry-week-3/