Leap Motion is quickly nearing the late July release date for its controller and, starting this week, it will be rolling out the next phase of its beta test (which includes an app store - more on that below), to its early access developer community of over 10,000 developers. Gearing up for the big release, the company also has plans to open up its developer portal to the public later this week, giving developers who are interested in Leap but aren't currently in the beta the ability to get familiar with Leap's developer tools and plan for development once their device arrives in July. If you're not familiar with Leap Motion, be dazzled: The Leap Motion Controller brings motion control to your computer, reminiscent of the way Tony Stark interacts with his computers in Iron Man. With the controller, you can navigate through your Windows 8 Start screen by waving your hands in the air, and launch and play games on your PC without ever touching the keyboard. "We have the only technology in the world that is able to track 10 fingers, two hands, with a lot of accuracy," Michael Buckwald, co-founder and CEO of Leap Motion told Mashable. Leap can track movement to a 100th of a millimeter, which Buckwald says is hundreds of times greater than the state of the art motion tracking devices. The technology isn't even available in devices valued at millions of dollars. The Leap Motion Controller will cost $79.99.
Based strictly on its pricing and specs, there's very little about the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 to get excited about. The 7-inch tablet will debut on July 7 for $199. Preorders start June 25. While $199 is the going acceptable rate for 7-inch tablets these days, from particularly a specs perspective, this one fails to match key 7-inch tablets from last year. With the Galaxy Tab 3, $199 nets you a paltry 8GB of storage and a tablet screen with an unfortunately low 1,024x600-pixel resolution. That's a few hundred thousand pixels behind theNexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD, which each also start at 16GB of storage for $199.Thankfully, Samsung has infused the Galaxy Tab 3 with plenty of other features, including a 64GB-compatible microSD card slot and an IR blaster you can use to control your TV and other entertainment-centric devices in your living room. The Tab 3 will also make use of Samsung's kind-of-successful streaming video aggregator, Watch On, first seen on the Note 8.
With continuing revelations about the scope of the National Security Agency's surveillance of phone and Internet communications, many people are thinking more carefully about how to ensure their privacy online. That's led to a spike in users for a variety of Internet tools that promise a more anonymized experience compared to web giants like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo. One such search engine is called duckduckgo.com. You can search anonymously all day long without any of your searches getting cached. Google, Yahoo and Bing cache their searches up to 9 months tying them back to your IP address.
The Int Institute of Electrical Engineers are the certifiers of all new technologies like wifi and 4G. The latest certification is the new 802.11ac. This will soon replace G and N wifi and will have an astounding 1.3 gigabits of speed compared to just 50 megabits of speed using G and 100 using N wifi. New phones and computers are already being shipped with ac compatibility like the new Samsung Galaxy S4. Eventually all devices will come with the capability preinstalled. You will just need to buy a new wifi access point for your home or business that will broadcast the new ac standard.
Microsoft continued its push into the education market by announcing plans for Bing for Schools, which will optimize results for K-12 students and eliminate ads in the process. Microsoft said that when the program rolls out later this year, Bing for Schools will filter out adult content by default, and prevent students from changing that setting to allow it back in. Ads will be stripped from results. And finally, Microsoft will enhance its Bing homepage images to include "lesson plans," or provocative questions that kids can search out the answers to themselves. Microsoft made the announcement at the International Society for Technology in Education in San Antonio, Texas, on Monday, where Microsoft and others are attempting to win over the classroom. Microsoft confirmed reports from last week that it will hand out 10,000 Surface RT tablets to educators attending the event; educators can apply for the hardware at the company's site. Microsoft will also offer substantially discounted Surface RT tablets to educators-a 32 GB Surface RT tablet for $199, for example, versus its standard price of $499.
Tablet shipments are expected to grow by almost 70 percent in 2013, sending desktop and laptop computer shipments into a "nosedive." Research firm Gartner predicted that the worldwide sale of devices, including PCs, tablets, and mobile phones, will increase by 5.9 percent in 2013 and hit 2.35 billion units. Tablets and smartphones are driving this growth, while PC sales are expected to total 305 million units - a decline of 10.6 percent. Tablet sales are likely to eclipse PCs by 2015.
Microsoft is planning to invest nearly $700 million to expand a data center in Iowa that would be used to help power products like Xbox Live and Office 365. The expansion supports Microsoft's growing demand for cloud services and serves as an example of their latest in efficient data center thinking, according to Microsoft's Christian Belady.
Iowa may seem like an unlikely place to construct a data center but according to the state's economic development director Debi Durham, there may be more data center projects coming later this year. That's because energy in the region is reliable and cheap and the local government offers attractive incentives to big companies. They've created a business culture that fosters development, Durham said, and Microsoft is taking full advantage of those incentives. Microsoft was awarded $20 million in tax credits for building in the region and just last week, they were granted a five year tax rebate that could net roughly $6 million in savings for the project. The investment is the largest in the city's history, we're told, as it outpaces Wells Fargo's $250 million headquarters and their $100 expansion as well as the $200 million Jordan Creek mall and AvivaUSA's $135 million headquarters.
Microsoft Corp and Oracle Corp on Monday announced a tie-up to give the once-fierce rivals a leg up against newer Web-based "cloud" computing companies chipping away at their traditional businesses. The two industry leaders have competed for decades to sell technology to the world's largest companies. But they face growing pressure from more nimble rivals selling often-cheaper services based in remote data centers and they are rushing to adapt. Under the agreement, customers will be able to run Oracle software on Microsoft's Server Hyper-V and on Windows Azure platforms, the companies said. Microsoft will offer Oracle's Java, Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server to Windows Azure customers, while Oracle will also make Oracle Linux available to Windows Azure customers, the companies said in a news release.
Apple is readying its checkbook to refund some 23 million people involved in a 2011 class-action suit against the company for the "unlawful exploitation" of children via in-app purchases. Parents whose kids downloaded less than $30 worth of content will be reimbursed with a $5 iTunes gift card or the equivalent of their total Game Currency charges. Cash refunds will be given to consumers who no longer have an active iTunes account, or whose bill exceeded $30.
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