Tag Archives: Software

LED-based LCD TVs explained, compared

One of the best-performing LED-based LCDs we’ve ever tested, the expensive Sony XBR-HX929 uses a full-array backlight with local dimming.

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

If you thought all
LED TVs were created equal, you’re underestimating the power of confusion as a marketing tool. In their continuing efforts to compete against the picture quality advantages of plasma-based flat-panel TVs, makers of LCDs TVs have introduced numerous new technologies. The most successful in our opinion is full-array LED backlighting with local dimming. When you see the words “LED TV” in an ad, it definitely refers to an LCD TV with an LED backlight, but what type of LED backlight and how it’s configured make all the difference.

In the article linked below we’ve gathered reviews of six different “LED TVs” that provide examples of all four LED backlight configurations, but first we’ll provide a bit of context. All LCD-based TVs rely on a backlight of some kind to illuminate the liquid-crystal panel itself. The most common use fluorescent backlights, known as CCFL, but a growing number feature LED backlights instead. LEDs use somewhat less power, can enable thinner flat-panel cabinets, and–crucially for TV makers–provide a great excuse to charge more money.

But make no mistake: despite the misleading marketing, LED TVs are just LCD TVs with fancy backlights.

Unfortunately for TV shoppers, the confusion just increases from there. To help cut through the clutter we’re going to lengthen our descriptions beyond the “LED TV” shorthand, and tell you how picture quality generally compares with standard LCD. Click through for all the details and comparisons among the newest TVs we’ve reviewed with each backlight type.

Read more about how different LED TV technologies compare, and check out the reviews, here.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20077829-1/led-based-lcd-tvs-explained-compared/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

ISS floating orbs to get Nexus S phones

(Credit:
NASA)

The shuttle Atlantis is set to carry two Nexus S phones into orbit tomorrow that will turn a trio of floating satellites on the International Space Station into remote-operated robots.

The 135th and last flight of the shuttle program, set for 11:26 a.m. ET, will help advance the cause of robotkind when the
Android handsets are attached to the bowling ball-size orbs.

Propelled by small CO2 thrusters, the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (Spheres) were developed at MIT and have been in use on the ISS since 2006.

As seen in the vid below, they look like the Star Wars lightsaber training droid but are designed to test spacecraft maneuvers, satellite servicing, and flight formation.

Normally, the Spheres orbs carry out preprogrammed commands from a computer aboard the ISS, but the Nexus Android phones will give them increased computing power, cameras, and links to ground crew who will pilot them.

Related links
? Shuttle Atlantis poised for final mission
? GoAtlantis iOS app spots space shuttle in real time
? Robot gas station planned for final shuttle flight

“The goal is to find out how we can use telerobotics to increase the efficiency of human explorers and ground controllers,” says DW Wheeler of the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

The orbs could be used to perform mundane tasks such as inspections and checking inventory and supplies aboard the ISS, which would free up its human occupants for other work. The initial experiments to install the phones on the Spheres could happen in September or October, according to Wheeler.

Meanwhile, MIT is working with high school students under the 2011 Zero Robotics challenge that involves programming and controlling the Spheres in a tournament that happens on the ISS.

Too bad the orbs can’t fire lasers yet. They’d make great Jedi training tools.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20077721-1/iss-floating-orbs-to-get-nexus-s-phones/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Verizon quietly launches Motorola Droid 3

Motorola Droid 3

Motorola Droid 3

(Credit:
Verizon Wireless)

The Motorola Droid 3 made its debut today with very little fanfare–despite previous hubbub of rumors and leaks–and is available now online from Verizon Wireless for $199.99 with a two-year contract ($459.99 off contract) and in stores by July 14.

Much like the original Droid and
Droid 2, the Droid 3 features a slide-out, five-row QWERTY keyboard but boasts a larger and better 4-inch qHD (960×540) touch screen. The
Android 2.3 Gingerbread-based smartphone also packs a dual-core processor, 16GB of internal memory, and an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture. There is also a front-facing camera (though resolution was not specified at the time of this writing) for video calls, and the handset comes preloaded with Skype mobile.

The Droid 3 is a dual-mode phone, so you can use it globally. All the standard wireless options are there as well–Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, aGPS, 3G, and mobile hot spot capabilities for up to five devices. However, it does not support Verizon’s LTE 4G network.

We’re sure the lack of 4G will be a turn off for some, but there are plenty of people who still crave physical keyboards as well. We hope to get a review unit shortly so check back soon for our full review. If you do decide to get one now, remember that Verizon’s new tiered data and mobile hot-spot plans take effect today.

(Source: Verizon Wireless, Engadget Mobile)

Article source: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19736_7-20077461-251/verizon-quietly-launches-motorola-droid-3/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

The 411: Carrier woes

Welcome to the 411, my column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have similar queries, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I’m stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at nicole.lee@cnet.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.

As you know, Verizon has announced that starting this July 7th they will discontinue unlimited data. I just switched to Verizon from ATT .. love the service so far. Im using a
palm pre which I just bought it out right so i can update whenever. My question is, since palm is on 3G when i upgrade my phone to a 4g phone (after july 7) will i still be able to keep my unlimited data plan and get 4g or since it was only unlimited on 3g i can’t get the unlimited data on 4g phones? Please let me know if you know anything if it isn’t im upgrading.
— Joao, via email.

As far as I know, there aren’t any additional data charges for a 4G phone versus a 3G handset on Verizon Wireless. If you currently have a Verizon account, Verizon will let you grandfather your unlimited data to any future phone you purchase, so long as you don’t change your plan in a significant way. We’ll let you know if we hear differently.

I am eligible for an upgrade with t-mobile and I was thinking about the sensation 4G but here’s my question should i wait for the merger with att to get a new phone because the sensation doesn’t support att 3G/4G bands? When I call customer service about my concern they just say don’t worry which just worries me. What do you think and I don’t know if there is a phone that support both att and t-mobile I have looked but I haven’t found anything. thanks for your input! — VN, via email.

It’s a legitimate concern, VN, as you’re right that T-Mobile’s 3G bands aren’t compatible with ATT’s. There are some phones that might work with both T-Mobile and ATT’s 3G bands, but the Sensation 4G isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, we can’t get a straight answer about this from the carriers, so we don’t know if they’ll just shut the T-Mobile 3G bands off or keep them going. We think that the process of transitioning things will likely take a few years if the merger goes through, so you probably won’t have to worry about it for a long time, by which you might want to get a different phone anyway. Of course, we’re just speculating here, as we’re not sure if the merger will even pass. If any of our readers have more information about this, let us know.

I was reading the question about the father wanting to get his daughter a cell phone for the year she’s living in London, and your suggestions were great. My question is similar, but maybe a little more difficult. I’m going to Spain for 2 weeks. I have the T-Mobile Vibrant, so I know my phone will work on the European networks. I believe the easiest way to do this would be to get my unlock code from T-Mobile, and then buying a sim card while I’m in Spain, which would allow me to use my cell phone to make calls (novel, I know) but I haven’t been able to find much information on using data. I’d love to use Google Maps, etc while sight-seeing, but everything I’ve found so far leads me to believe that my data would be under the data roaming fee from T-Mobile, which could cost a small fortune. Do you know if I can use data abroad, or how, cheaply? — Jason, via email.

As you noted, you won’t have any problems making calls or sending texts with a prepaid SIM card abroad, but you might run into some trouble with data. You likely won’t have to worry about data roaming fees from T-Mobile if you use a foreign SIM, but data fees on prepaid SIMs are notoriously expensive — some are around $5 per MB. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with any prepaid data packages overseas — hopefully our readers might have a few tips for you, especially in Spain. Otherwise, it might actually make more sense to buy an international data package from T-Mobile and watch your phone’s data usage like a hawk. Also note that if you’re using Google Maps, that tends to gobble up a lot more data than just checking your email. I would suggest downloading an app that will allow you to pre-load the map onto your phone instead, like a dedicated GPS app. If our readers have more suggestions, let us know.

Article source: http://www.cnet.com/8301-17918_1-20077382-85/the-411-carrier-woes/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Apple may launch iPad 2 Plus in 2011, says analyst

Apple’s tablet

(Credit:
Apple)

Apple could hit the market with a new version of the
iPad 2 this year, FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger said today in the International Business Times .

Detailing his forecast in a recent investor’s note, Berger said he believes that a device dubbed the iPad 2 Plus could launch in late 2011. Citing “indications from the supply chain,” the analyst said that Apple has sent out requests for quotes to different suppliers for the new
tablet, though no specific schedule for production has been confirmed.

Berger added that the display for the iPad 2 Plus could be anywhere from 250 to 300 pixels per inch (ppi) compared with the current iPad 2’s 132-ppi resolution, IBT reported.

Despite hints from the supply chain, the analyst is waiting for further proof before calling this a done deal.

“While we find this new commentary interesting, we await more confirming data points from other supply chain contacts before fully believing a new iPad device is coming in 2011,” Berger said.

Looking at the current iPad 2, the analyst is eyeing sales of 10 million units in the second quarter and 16.5 million in the third.

Berger’s report follows a recent story from DigiTimes claiming that Apple is gearing up an iPad 3 with a 250-ppi display. The iPad 3 would launch in October at the same time that a new
iPhone would reach consumers, according to DigiTimes.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20077122-37/apple-may-launch-ipad-2-plus-in-2011-says-analyst/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Researchers cast doubt on cell phone cancer risk

A new report has punched some holes into arguments that mobile phones might cause cancer.

In findings published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, researchers from the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection Standing Committee on Epidemiology, have found that there doesn’t appear to be a greater risk of adults contracting a brain tumor with the use of mobile devices.

“Methodological deficits limit the conclusions that can be drawn from [the] Interphone [study], but its results, along with those from other epidemiological, biological and animal studies, and brain tumor incidence trends, suggest that within about 10-15 years after first use of mobile phones there is unlikely to be a material increase in the risk of brain tumors in adults,” the researchers wrote.

The debate over whether or not mobile phones can cause cancer has been raging for years. In 2004, for instance, a Swedish research institute found that 10 years or more of mobile phone use can cause tumors to grow in humans. In 2007, scientists found that just 10 minutes of handset use can cause changes in the brain that have been known to cause cancer.

The debate hit a tipping point in May when a division of the World Health Organization (WHO) classified mobile devices as a “carcinogenic hazard.” Exhaust from gas engines, lead, and coffee also have that classification.

The number of cases of cancer per 100,000, according to data from the National Bord of Health and Welfare.

The number of cases of cancer per 100,000, according to data from the National Bord of Health and Welfare.

(Credit:
National Board of Health and Welfare)

The WHO had previously said that it could not find a link between mobile phone use and cancer. In its most recent findings, the organization acknowledged that it still could not find a definite link between cancer and mobile phone use, and it said that more research was needed on the topic.

In the study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, the researchers released findings on cancer instances for males and females both prior to, and after, handsets were released across different age categories. It found that the number of instances have remained relatively static between 1970 and 2008.

Even so, the researchers admit that there is much more work to be done. And researching cancer risks, especially in children, can be difficult, since data “for childhood tumors and for periods beyond 15 years are currently lacking.” But according to the researchers, at least for now, evidence is piling up that handsets do not, in fact, cause cancer.

“Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumours in adults,” the researchers wrote.

For a full, in-depth look at the cancer risk associated with mobile phones, click here.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20076792-17/researchers-cast-doubt-on-cell-phone-cancer-risk/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave