Arnova isn’t exactly a newcomer when it comes to dealing with budget-friendly tabs, already having produced the 9 and 10 G2s. The outfit’s newest addition to its tablet lineup is simply dubbed 8b G2, honoring its 8-inch, 800 x 600, TFT display. Coming in what some could consider “last year’s specs,” the slate’s packing a 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, a front-facing shooter, microSD slot for extra storage (4 or 8GB built-in) and a predictably outdated piece of Gingerbread. Presumably price will be its best asset — Arnova hasn’t given us a figure but, if it’s predecessor is a telling sign, we can’t imagine you’d part ways with more than 200 bucks.
Last year CBS and Turner Sports brought every game of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament home in HD on four cable channels, and streaming for free to PCs and iOS devices. While the broadcast plans remain the same this year, if you want to stream the 41 games broadcast on cable networks then you’ll need to subscribe to an affiliated TV provider (all the major guys except Time Warner) and log into the TNT, TBS, or TruTV website on your Windows PC or Mac. For the other 41 games broadcast on CBS, CBSSports.com is your (free) online resource. Live streaming on mobiles (over WiFi or 3G) has been extended to the Android platform for the first time, however after being offered for free last year the rebranded March Madness Live app will cost $3.99 this time around, which is still less than the $10 it cost in 2010. Check out the press release after the break for all the details on what’s viewable where — cord cutting sports fans will want to make some alternate arrangements.
Google didn’t exactly offer much fanfare for this new feature — as far as we can tell, it still hasn’t been officially announced. With the latest update to the Maps app, Mountain View delivered an extra level of functionality to the all but forgotten Latitude. Now check check-ins earn you points which are tallied and used to rank Google+ users on a global leaderboard, just like on Foursquare. Not everyone is seeing the feature just yet, and it only appears to reveal itself after you check-in somewhere. In fact, we still haven’t found a way to pull up the leaderboard without first registering our location. You can see the rather sparse help page at the more coverage link and sound off in the comments if you’re seeing your name ranked alongside your favorite Engadget editors and Leo Laporte.
The next time you get caught hijacking your friend’s Facebook, remember it could be worse. On Friday, British Student Glenn Mangham was sentenced to eight months in not-so-social jail, for hacking deep into Facebook’s servers. Apparently no user details were taken, with Mangham heading straight for “invaluable” intellectual property instead. Facebook alerted the authorities after it discovered the breach last May, the FBI then followed the digital thread back to the Briton’s UK address. It’s believed Mangham gained access to the inner sanctum after hacking into a Facebook employee’s account, though it’s not known if the comedy status update and embarrassing profile picture were also part of the attack.
In a fevered mash up of blockbuster films directed by James Cameron, DARPA is looking to put soldier controlled bi-pedal robots on the battlefield. Think Terminator meets Avatar. The agency has set aside $7 million of it’s $2.8 billion 2012 budget to develop an “Avatar program” that will “develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier’s surrogate.” DARPA isn’t talking about simple remote control rigs, either — these ‘bots are being designed to clear rooms, and facilitate sentry control and combat casualty recovery. The new budget also sets aside $4.1 million to design laser countermeasures to protect military weapons, well, lasers — ensuring that the future’s robot soldiers will be nigh indestructible when they rebel against their human hosts.
Swooping through the trenches of the Death Star likely ranks high on every geek’s bucket list, but thanks to the global financial crisis, we likely won’t be seeing Dubai’s Death Star any time soon. Fortunately, the folks at NASA have rigged up a passable alternative — flying through a massive 19-mile crack across Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier. The crack was discovered last October and measures 60 yards wide and 50 yards deep, certainly more than enough clearance to accommodate adventurous fliers. Using data gathered by NASA’s Operation IceBridge science flight team, the agency generated an animated fly through that, well, mostly flew over the crack — but we’re sure that was a defensive maneuver. After all, you just never know when a TIE fighter flown by someone’s father might sneak up from behind. See the icy flyover yourself after the break.
Similar to its pre-CES reveals, LG just couldn’t wait for Mobile World Congress to get underway on the 27th before showing off its new Optimus Vu handset. These new pics offer a much clearer look at its 4×3 aspect ratio, 1024×768 res, stylus-friendly 5-inch IPS LCD display, while the official specs confirm rumors it would pack a 1.5GHz dual core CPU, 8MP camera, LTE, 2080mAh battery and Android 2.3 in a slim 8.5mm thick frame. An upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich is promised within three months of its launch, currently scheduled for March on Korean carriers SK Telecom and LG+. Check the gallery for a few more glamour shots of this new Galaxy Note competitor, and see if wider truly is better.
Update: You’ll find a few more official pictures in the gallery below and the English PR with details on its “QuickClip” hotkey for one-button screenshots and memos and the “Rubberdium” stylus after the break.
Gallery: LG Optimus Vu
While we already know that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 will offer a quad-core variant, incorporate LTE and use a 28nm manufacturing process, the company posted an article to its media blog ahead of Mobile World Congress showcasing the new features provided by the chipset’s Image Signal Processor. You’re likely familiar with some of the imaging functionality available in Qualcomm’s existing Snapdragon processors — technology like Scalado‘s Rewind (pictured above) which we’ve covered before. The new SoC cranks things up a notch with support for up to three cameras (two in the back for 3D plus one front-facing), 20-megapixel sensors and 1080p HD video recording at 30fps. In addition to zero shutter lag, the Snapdragon S4 includes proprietary 3A processing (autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance) along with improved blink / smile detection, gaze estimation, range finding and image stabilization. Rounding things off are gesture detection / control, augmented reality and computer vision (via Quacomm’s FastCV). Want to know more? Check out the source link below, then hit the break for video demos of the S4′s image stabilization and gesture-based imaging chops.
We know you’ve got questions, and if you’re brave enough to ask the world for answers, here’s the outlet to do so. This week’s Ask Engadget inquiry is from Martin, who’s planning an expedition and wants something more sophisticated than a cork-board to manage it. If you’re looking to send in an inquiry of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.
Hi Engadget, I’m about to start planning for a big expedition. There’s plenty of forward planning required and I need some software to handle my to-do lists, notes, phone numbers, mail conversations, images, PDF-files etc. Best case scenario is something that syncs with my Macbook and iPhone but I’d also use a good offline solution if it was available. Is there a consumer-friendly app that suits my needs out there?
Project management software? Novice-friendly database? Something entirely better? If you just happen to know the one package that’ll solve Martin’s woes, do the decent thing and share it with the world.
It wasn’t all that long ago that we saw a student turn a tablet into a Braille writer, and now some researchers from Georgia Tech have done the same thing for smaller touchscreens, too. The Yellow Jackets produced a prototype app, called BrailleTouch, that has six keys to input letters using the Braille writing system and audio to confirm each letter as it’s entered. To use the app, you simply turn the phone face down, hold it in landscape mode and start typing. As you can see above, it’s currently running on an iPhone, but the researchers see it as a universal eyes-free texting app for any touchscreen. Early studies with people proficient in Braille writing show that typing on BrailleTouch is six times faster than other eyes-free texting solutions — up to 32 words per minute at 92 percent accuracy. Skeptical of such speeds? Check out the PR and video of the app in action after the break.