If you thought Coinstar was through making industry rattling announcements today, you were wrong. After taking the wraps off its joint venture with Verizon, now the company has announced it’ll be taking over NCR’s entertainment division for $100 million. That includes DVD kiosks, retailer contracts and an inventory of discs for stocking the machines. That’s big news not only because it expands Redbox’s already sizable self-serve rental empire, but because it’s doing so at the expense of the floundering Blockbuster, since NCR owns the blue and yellow rental kiosks. Presumably existing Blockbuster Express installations will become Redboxes, though, how quickly that might happen is unclear. For a few more details about the deal check out the PR after the break.
Update: We’ve attached a letter from Blockbuster explaining the switchover after the break.
Nokia’s revealing the secrets behind ClearBlack: its display technology that, even under the brightest sunlight, renders black as black as blackest night during a dark spell. Wedged above the E7, Lumia 800 and 900 displays are three thin layers, a linear polarizer, a quarter-wave retardation film and a reflecting surface. When light enters the first layer, it vertically aligns the “wave vibration” of the light so when it hits the retardation layer, it begins to rotate towards the right. Hitting the reflecting surface causes it to reverse, becoming left-circularly polarized before passing through the retardation later again, where it polarizes horizontally. This enables the polarizing filter up top to screen out horizontally polarized light, meaning it doesn’t reflect back in your face. Why (we hear you ask) then doesn’t it happen with the light from the display itself? Because it only passes through the second half of the process, it doesn’t become horizontally aligned, leading to that beautifully dark display reaching your peepers. It’s a clever and elegant solution that we can’t help but be impressed at, even if we’ve used up the world’s supply of the word ‘polarize’ in order to explain to you.
Glaswegian engineer Grant Gibson spied a Space Invaders alarm clock being flogged off cheap ($5) and decided it deserved hacking. When activated, the battery-powered unit scuttled left to right, old-school style as it roused sleepy gamers but Mr. Gibson added a little Arduino magic to turn it into a moving Gmail notifier. Stripping out the battery compartment, he installed a USB-powered Arduino Nano, programmed to poll his email and activate the motion whenever he received a new message. The system is ripe for customization, it can be set up to alert when a front door bell is pushed or a notification received on Twitter — which you’ll be allowed to try as he’s included all the details on his blog. The project (including the Nano and Alarm Clock) came to $20 and three hours of his time, which we’re understandably impressed by. Head on past the break to see the thing in action and then fling yourself (highland-style) down to the source link to learn how to build your own.
As usual, it seems like whenever a big chip company wants to keep those key details under wraps, someone leaves a spreadsheet lying in a bar. Of course, the following information could be the product of a vengeful former employee mashing at a keyboard, so let’s agree that these are rumored details until further notice. NVIDIA’s whole range of Kepler-powered graphics cards will be PCI-E 3.0 compliant, with the GTX960 topping the group at $999 when it arrives in Q3 of this year, while the modestly-priced GTX640 will retail for $139 when it arrives in May. If you’d like to drill down into the specifics of all eight cards purportedly on offer for 2012, we’ve got all the details in a handy chart nestled just after the interval.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/06/nvidia-kepler-roadmap-leak/
We’ve seen Nikon’s successor to the D700 slip out a few times this past winter, but this latest leak and its bevy of press images might just be the real deal. According to Brazilian site ZTOP, the company’s set to officially debut its 36.3-megapixel D800 tomorrow. So, what’s on the spec list? Well, it looks like those rumors were true, as this high-end DSLR apparently boasts that aforementioned CMOS sensor capable of 7360 x 4912 resolution and the ability to toggle ISO from 100 – 6,400. As you’d imagine, this high-end, digital light box also comes equipped with the ability for full 1080p30 HD video capture, recording content in either H.264 or MPEG-4 formats. Naturally, there’s also a 3.2-inch LCD viewfinder onboard so you can sift through your sizeable gallery of stills. While we still caution you to take this news with a nigh invisible grain of salt, it’s likely all will be revealed in one day’s time. Check out the source below for additional shots.
There’s plenty of SSD options out there, but Intel’s NAND drives are among the most well thought of, simply because they’re so reliable. But, with the top speed of competing SSDs spiraling higher, Intel’s rock-solid reputation may not be enough for some enthusiasts. Enter the SSD 520, with a performance SandForce SF-2281 controller and custom firmware (codenamed Cherryville) on board to ensure the 520 meets Chipzilla’s demanding standards for stability. It’s the result of a year and a half long collaboration between Intel and SandForce, and is available in both 7mm and 9.5mm thin form factors to fit any machine — Ultrabook or otherwise. Aside from the SandForce chip, the 520 packs Intel’s finest 25nm NAND Flash, a SATA 6GB/s connection and its 550MB/s reads and 520MB/s writes can be had for $149 in 60GB garb and prices escalate up to a grand for 480GB. Naturally, as this is Intel’s effort to snatch back the performance market, a raft of reviews have been written about the SSD 520.
So, how does the 520 stack up? Well, Intel’s so confident in the 520 that it’s backed the SSD with a five-year warranty. Though its performance doesn’t drastically outpace its competition, Storage Review found the drive to be on par with the current speed king, OCZ’s Vertex 3 in its benchmarks — and also found performance and stability to be quite good in both enterprise use and in RAID arrays. Meanwhile, AnandTech found that the 520′s peak random write speeds quite similar to its sequential reads during testing, which shows how well the optimized firmware works with the NAND. Hot Hardware thought the 520 to be comparable to other SandForce-equipped SSDs, but in terms of power consumption, Tom’s Hardware found Intel’s latest to be a power hog. Generally, all the reviewers were in agreement: the 520 is a speedy SSD, but you pay a hefty premium for Intel’s reputation for churning out reliable drives. Only time will tell if the 520 can deliver the reliability we want, but there’s plenty of performance info to be had in the reviews listed below.
Remember the NEX-7? Ever since a days-long shooting session back in September, Sony’s prized mirrorless cam has eluded us — and the rest of the world. As you may recall, the flagship Alpha ILC was hit by the Thailand floods, resulting in delay after delay, eventually missing the holiday shopping season entirely before resurfacing late last month. Another week later and our beloved Sony Alpha NEX-7 has finally arrived, ready to take on the streets of New York City. So what exactly is the NEX-7, and why does it cost as much as a mid-range DSLR? First off, the-24.3 megapixel APS-C ILC captures, well, 24.3-megapixel images, offering the highest resolution of any mirrorless model on the market. Its APS-C sensor is identical to the one found in Sony’s A77 DSLR, measuring larger than Micro Four Thirds and on par with most full-size digital SLRs.
If having the ability to capture mural-size images ranks fairly low on your digicam wish list, you may take comfort in some of the NEX-7′s other features, such as its gorgeous and durable magnesium alloy body, built-in XGA OLED electronic viewfinder, 3-inch, 921k-dot articulating LCD and unique tri-navi control interface that enables direct access to key settings adjustments, including both aperture and shutter speed in manual mode. There’s also 1080/60p HD movie capture with full manual control and microphone input support, a 10 frames-per-second continuous shooting mode (with exposure and focus locked) and a BIONZ image processor that’s capable of delivering low-noise images all the way through ISO 16,000. These features combine to make the NEX-7 one of the most powerful mirrorless cameras to date, but are they enough to justify the $1,200 body-only price tag? Join us past the break to find out.
Gallery: Sony NEX-7 review
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/06/sony-nex-7-review/
Love your ThinkPad Tablet, but hate staring at its somewhat outdated operating system? Great news! Your stylus-friendly slate will be getting a heaping helping of Ice Cream Sandwich come spring, according to Lenovo. As part of the company’s commitment to “future proofing” its devices, the update will begin hitting the tablet over-the-air in May. The Android upgrade will bring with it browser enhancements, voice input, face unlock and general frozen deliciousness.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/06/thinkpad-tablet-ics/
Use more data, win more prizes. It may sound counterintuitive, but that’s exactly what Russian operator MegaFon is offering to its subscribers, as part of a curious 3G promotion. It all began back in November, when the provider announced a rather straightforward contest: customers who downloaded the most data with their 3G modems would be awarded prizes worth up to one million rubles (about $33,000), including a $5,000 vacation. According to Russian news site C News, MegaFon launched the campaign in order to showcase the expanse of its data network, which apparently covers more than 80 percent of northwestern Russia and offers speeds of up to 21Mbps. The promotion came to an official close on January 31st, with the coronation of a lucky winner who, over the course of a single week, managed to scarf down 419GB of data on the company’s 3G network. MegaFon didn’t offer usage statistics on the second and third place winners, nor did it say what they won for their efforts, if you wanna call them that.
If the names Phillip Torrone, Limor Fried and Collin Cunningham don’t ring a bell then you probably need to hand over your geek badge. If, on the other hand, those names immediately make you sit up and pay attention, you maybe excited to hear the trio have just released the first Adafruit-branded app for iOS. Circuit Playground is a reference app for makers, hackers and tinkerers that helps you decipher resistor and capacitor values; calculate resistance, current or voltage; convert decimal, hexadecimal and binary values; and store PDF data sheets for ICs. The app is $2.99, but it comes with a $3 credit at the Adafruit shop, so it’s kinda-sorta free. It’s available for iPad and iPhone only, but an Android version is in the works. If you’re an impatient Google fan, they suggest you check out ElectroDroid which performs many of the same functions and we can confirm is awesome. Check out the video after the break and hit up the source link to get Circuit Playground now.
Gallery: Circuit Playground