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We’ve known for a while that Intel’s Haswell processor would continue to drive GPU performance in a significant way. With Haswell, Intel will offer a higher end graphics configuration with more execution resources than before (GT3) as well as an even higher end offering that pairs this GPU with 128MB of embedded DRAM on the CPU package (GT3e). Intel’s performance target for the highest end configuration (GT3e) is designed to go up against NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 650M, a performance target it will hit and miss depending on the benchmark.
Regardless of whether or not it wins every benchmark against the GT 650M, the fact that an Intel made GPU can be talked about in the same sentence as a performance mainstream part from NVIDIA is a big step forward. Under no circumstances could Intel compete with NVIDIA on performance and still do so under the Intel HD Graphics brand. Haswell is the beginning of a new era for Intel. The company is no longer a CPU company forced into graphics, but with Haswell Intel begins its life as a GPU company as well. As a GPU company, Intel needs a strong GPU brand. AMD has Radeon, NVIDIA has GeForce, and now Intel has Iris.
Google showed off a Samsung Galaxy S 4 running stock Android 4.2 this morning at the Google I/O keynote. Stripped of the extra Samsung interface bits, the S 4 drew applause from the developer-heavy audience; they applauded even harder when Google VP Hugo Barra announced that the device would deliver to users the same software experience as a Nexus device, including timely Android updates.
The Google-ified S 4 will ship unlocked, with the capability to function in the US on AT&T and T-Mobile's cellular networks with full LTE support. It will include 16GB of flash and an SD card slot to expand its on-board storage.
The smartphone will be available directly from Google via the Google Play store starting on June 26 for $649.
Google announced a handful of new developer tools at its I/O conference Wednesday in San Francisco. Among the handy new tools are Android Studio, which allows developers to view and tinker with their app rendered at different screen sizes and resolutions; new dev console features like app performance analysis; and Google Play game services, which provide a multiplayer experience and player matching within apps.
Android Studio, which is a new IDE based on IntelliJ, will give developers a bit more flexibility in how they create their apps. At the I/O keynote, the Android Studio demo showed the interface’s ability to render apps at various screen sizes (only Nexus devices were used) and view what the app looks like in different (spoken) languages.
In addition to Android Studio, Google also added five new features to the dev console announced last year. The dev console can now provide optimization tips, including how the app is performing in the Google Play store and ways to improve its performance. The dev console will also add an option for professional translation services, referral tracking to see what types of ads are the most effective within the app, and revenue graphs that can break numbers down by country.
Google announced a new music subscription service that integrates with Google Play at its Google I/O conference Wednesday. The service, called Google Play Music All Access, is offered on demand with a catalog of content that users can play and organize as they choose, similar in offering to popular streaming services Rdio and Spotify.
The service can show personalized recommendations and will also offer featured playlists curated by "music editors." Chris Yerga, the engineering director for Android, noted that anything the user can see, they can "immediately start playing," and if the user likes the song, they can start a radio station based off of the track.
The My Library section of the app includes personal music (presumably local tracks and those not acquired via the Google Play store) as well as anything discovered and added from All Access. Yerga emphasized the app's ability to make music recommendations, and will offer top albums by genre as well as "expert power recommendations."
The service gained a number of updated and new APIs. First up is version 2 of the Google Maps Android, which lets developers build Google Maps functionality directly into apps.
Next are three location-related APIs: Fused Location Provider, Geofencing, and Activity Recognition. Fused Location Provider takes advantage of an Android device's extra sensors to quickly figure out the phone's location. According to Google, it's faster to acquire location, it's more accurate, and it uses less power than previous location services (Google says the new mode uses less than 1 percent of battery per hour). Geofencing gives app developers a standardized method to define up to 100 "fences" around areas and trigger actions when the device enters or leaves the area. Finally, Activity Recognition uses the device's accelerometer data and a number of machine-learning classifiers to let developers understand whether a user is walking, driving, or cycling with the Android device. It does not use GPS.
For more than two years, the Linux operating system has contained a high-severity vulnerability that gives untrusted users with restricted accounts nearly unfettered "root" access over machines, including servers running in shared Web hosting facilities and other sensitive environments. Surprisingly, most users remain wide open even now, more than a month after maintainers of the open-source OS quietly released an update that patched the gaping hole.
The severity of the bug, which resides in the Linux kernel's "perf," or performance counters subsystem, didn't become clear until Tuesday, when attack code exploiting the vulnerability became publicly available (note: some content on this site is not considered appropriate in many work environments). The new script can be used to take control of servers operated by many shared Web hosting providers, where dozens or hundreds of people have unprivileged accounts on the same machine. Hackers who already have limited control over a Linux machine—for instance, by exploiting a vulnerability in a desktop browser or a Web application—can also use the bug to escalate their privileges to root. The flaw affects versions of the Linux kernel from 2.6.37 to 3.8.8 that have been compiled with the CONFIG_PERF_EVENTS kernel configuration option.
"Because there's a public exploit already available, an attacker would simply need to download and run this exploit on a target machine," Dan Rosenberg, a senior security researcher at Azimuth Security, told Ars in an e-mail. "The exploit may not work out-of-the-box on every affected machine, in which case it would require some fairly straightforward tweaks (for someone with exploit development experience) to work properly."
The Google I/O developer conference is finally here. The event will kick off with a keynote on Wednesday, May 15 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Ars reporters Andrew Cunningham, Sean Gallagher, and Florence Ion will be in attendance to liveblog big announcements during the event.
We've recently seen numerous leaks and rumors about the event crop up. We can probably expect the announcement of a dedicated multiplayer gaming service called Google Games as well as an all-inclusive, cross-platform messaging service called Babel (though some outlets are saying this service may just fall under the Google Hangouts umbrella). We're also hearing that Google may only announce incremental updates to its latest Nexus devices, the Asus-manufactured Nexus 7 tablet and LG-manufactured Nexus 4 smartphone. Android Jelly Bean will likely get a minor bump too—up to version 4.3. There are other murmurs too, everything from Android@Home possibilities to replacements for iGoogle. For now we're all just waiting for the keynote to begin (while, of course, taking bets on whether or not we'll see any skydiving antics this year).
So join us this Wednesday for the keynote liveblog as we learn what's next from the search engine giant. Be sure to follow along with us throughout the week for more coverage from the rest of the Google I/O conference.
The Department of Homeland Security is investigating Mt. Gox, the largest Bitcoin exchange, for violating laws on US money exchange and money transfers—and it's grabbing the exchange's money in the process.
DHS officials refused to comment on the ongoing investigation, but they did provide a copy of the warrant that was used yesterday to seize funds that Mt. Gox had in Dwolla, a money transfer service. Dwolla is a Des Moines, Iowa company that provides one of the most popular ways to move US dollars to Mt. Gox, where they can be used to buy bitcoins.
In the warrant, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), states that there's probable cause to believe Mt. Gox is engaging in "money transmitting" without a license, a crime punishable by a fine or up to five years in prison. The warrant goes on to demand that Dwolla hand over the keys to account number 812-649-1010, which is owned by Mt. Gox subsidiary Mutum Sigillum LLC, and held in the custody of Veridian Credit Union.
Lately I have found myself doing a case review here and there, and battery cases are particularly interesting since they're easy enough for us to test and integrate into our workflow in a unique matter. Plus, there's never such thing as too much battery life for a device. Battery life is a big part of our smartphone reviews, and for a while now I've been carrying around the newly-released Mophie Juice Pack Helium case for the iPhone 5. Back in the iPhone 4S days, I had a previous generation Mophie for that form factor, and even though I ran the battery life tests, I never got around to actually writing a review of the case for whatever reason. When I saw the Helium come out for the new form factor of the iPhone 5, I decided to go for it and run it through our tests.
The Helium is built like and feels unsurprisingly similar to the previous generation of Mophie juice packs. The material in contact with the hand is a soft touch, semi rubbery material which feels like a lot of other smartphones. The iPhone slides into the case from the bottom and not the top like the previous juice packs. Interestingly enough this necessitates the presence of some electrodes which connect from the bottom of the case to the body of the case which contains the battery.
On the back, Mophie continues to include a battery charge status indicator which consists of four white LEDs, a status button, and power switch. When plugged in, the Helium no longer constantly flashes the charging status LEDs, instead only flashing it for a short time to let you know you plugged it in correctly, before stopping after 30 seconds. Checking on charging status by tapping the button does illuminate them, but again only for a short time, so the new Mophie doesn’t keep users who put their phones face down on a nightstand for charging up all night.
On the inside of the case, Mophie has placed five rubber raised inserts around the case to put a small gap between the aluminum back and the material of the case itself, so the two aren't completely coplanar. This is done to mitigate any potential chance of putting hairline scratches or sleeks into the back of the case from dust or dirt that finds its way in-between. I wish more cases did this instead of putting the rear of the device right against material. I should note that the Helium I took a look at was the version being shipped online, not a snap-in design which is supposedly being sold on Apple Store shelves, since Apple doesn't want to have any chance of slide-on slide-off cases or accessories leaving deep scratches on the backside of its devices.
Since the lower end of the Helium contains the lightning connector into the iPhone and microUSB connector for charging, the bottom snap on part is correspondingly thicker at its edge. Due to that thickness, getting to the headphone jack requires a large rubber extension which has a boot and male connector at one end, female connector at the other end. If you want to use headphone output and the Helium, this is something you'll want to keep handy.
The Helium contains a 1500 mAh battery at 3.7 V nominal, for 5.55 watt-hours of capacity. For comparison the iPhone 5 has a 1440 mAh battery with 3.8 V nominal chemistry, for 5.45 watt hours of capacity. The battery in the Mophie is in the top, longer portion of the battery back.
Subjectively the Helium does add to the size and thickness of the iPhone 5 considerably, although it isn't any more so than previous generations. Thickness is up, although the most noticeable dimension of change is aspect ratio. The already quite tall 16:9 iPhone 5 feels even taller thanks to the speaker chamber and charge controller lip at the bottom, but it isn't overwhelmingly large.
I put together a table of dimensions with the Helium installed and what other information there is which is relevant.Mophie Juice Pack Helium Juice Pack Helium Battery 1500 mAh, 3.7 V, 5.55 Whr Dimensions 139.3 x 63.3 x 15.5 mm (L x W x H) iPhone 5 Battery Rundown 2.5 Hours iPhone 5 W/Mophie Rundown 4.0 Hours Mophie Charge Time 2.3 Hours
Obviously this wouldn't be of much value without doing a battery life test. For the Helium I decided to try something different and use the Anritsu base station emulator where I have full uplink power control. I'm still trying to nail down the most realistic uplink power number, and think I set things a bit too aggressive for this test, but what we're after is how much scaling you'll get out of the Helium. The workload itself remains the same as our other battery life tests — it's the same page loading suite as we use in the big reviews — I'm just attaching it to the base station emulator and controlling uplink power manually.
Mophie recommends turning on the Helium at around 20 percent battery on the iPhone 5 and then off at around 80 percent. This is ideal advice, as it closely matches the iPhone 5's charge curve. Because the Helium has to work through the PMIC on the iPhone and charge it like an external charger, there are inherent losses, and those losses are at their minimum in that region. I mimicked this for our battery life test by letting the Helium charge the iPhone 5 and then resuming the test.
We see a 60 percent scaling in this pretty brutal test which managed to kill the iPhone 5 in under 3 hours. Following Mophie's guidance and turning the Helium on only when you want to charge up the iPhone 5 will definitely help improve efficiency. There's overhead given the way the Helium has to charge the iPhone instead of act like a battery, but that's something all battery cases will endure for the iPhone. With that size battery you'll at least get an additional boost.
I've been timing charge times of devices as well lately, and the Helium takes 2.3 hours from completely empty to charge up. This is pretty fast given the size, and I have no problems with charging it on any BC 1.2 USB charger with microUSB.
There will inevitably be people who complain about the size of the Helium, but there have been multiple times that the Helium has made the difference between a phone with enough charge to get me through the rest of the day, and no phone at all. Given the current state of battery life across the smartphone spectrum, I'll gladly take increased size in favor of more battery life, and the Helium will get that done and offer additional protection.
We've seen this chassis before, but we haven't seen it with CyberPowerPC's touches, and we haven't seen anything about the Kepler-based NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX. That changes today.
Apple has been hit with a class action lawsuit over the power button on its iPhone 4, per a report from GigaOm Wednesday. California resident Debra Hilton alleges that Apple knew about the defective power button in “thousands” of iPhone 4s sold to customers, but the company neglected to do anything about the defect.
The lawsuit describes a problem that begins with a “wiggly” power button, described on Apple’s discussion forums. After about a year of ownership (around when the phone’s warranty expires), the lawsuit states that eventually the button becomes unresponsive, failing to lock or turn off the phone when pressed.
Hilton claims that Apple knew that the source of the defect was in a flex cable connected to the button, but the company continued to sell the phones regardless. GigaOm reports that Hilton is suing Apple under the RICO statute, a racketeering law commonly employed in class action suits.
Speculation and rumor are flying as we count down the minutes until the Google I/O keynote at 9:00am PDT/12:00pm EDT this morning. It's widely expected that Google will announce the release of a new version of the Android operating system during its multihour presentation, but it looks like Google gave The Verge a quick accidental peek behind the curtain this morning.
The Verge is reporting that a concrete reference to Android 4.3 made a brief appearance in their search results when they were poking through Google's Android developer site:The Verge
We'll know the whole story later this morning—we have Florence Ion, Andrew Cunningham, and Sean Gallagher on the scene at I/O and waiting for the keynote. Our intrepid team will be liveblogging the whole thing shortly.
At long last, VMware's dual-persona software for smartphones is available on actual devices. Today, VMware and Verizon Wireless announced that the Android-based LG Intuition and Motorola Razr M can now be purchased with VMware's Horizon Mobile software, which separates the device into isolated partitions that keep a user's work applications and data separate from personal stuff.
VMware began promising virtualized smartphones in 2010, claiming they would be available for sale in 2011. Samsung promised to support VMware's virtualized phone vision in September 2011, and VMware started promising virtualization for iPhones and iPads in August 2012. We called it "vaporware."
Samsung and Apple devices still aren't running the dual-persona software, but it's nice to see VMware phones finally materialize. VMware and Verizon said the Intuition and Razr M are immediately available for sale with Horizon Mobile software. Perpetual licenses to Horizon Mobile start at $125 per user and "can be purchased through local resellers of VMware and Verizon Wireless," the companies said.