? All Tech Radio Episode 424
 all tech radio show
  • It's huge! That's the message we're hearing from electronics giant Samsung, which today unveiled another oversized Android device to add to its large-screen smartphone lineup, the Galaxy Grand 2. The Grand 2 is more of a mid-tier smartphone than Samsung's flagship Galaxy S4 or Note 3 devices, but it's larger than its predecessor, sporting a 5.25-inch HD display (1280 x 720) with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It's more powerful, too, housing a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, 1.5GB RAM, and a 2,600 mAh battery (that'll net 17 hours of talk time on a single charge, according to Samsung).The rear-facing camera is still 8-megapixels, though.
  • According to a recent Reuters report, GN Store Nord, a major manufacturer of hearing aids based in Denmark, has collaborated with Apple to allow wireless connections directly from hearing aids. The devices will ship in the first quarter of 2014. The device will use a 2.4GHz connection.
  • China will start commercial 4G mobile communications services on December 18, bringing the most advanced telecommunications technology to the country's more than 1 billion mobile users. China Mobile, the country's No. 1 mobile operator with over 700 million users, will start 4G services on that date with a new brand He, meaning harmonious in the Chinese language. China is expected to issue licenses for 4G before the telco's new services start. "It will be a national event and users are allowed to apply for 4G services without changing numbers," said a Shanghai Mobile official. Users in Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing will be the first to enjoy commercial 4G, or fourth generation, services. Shanghai, which is still building a citywide 4G network, will launch the services later.
  • The NSA reportedly infected 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malicious software with the sole aim of harvesting sensitive information it wasn't privy to, which is basically what you'd call textbook spy work in the digital age, from an agency tasked with spying. That's not to excuse or dismiss the significance of this revelation, but we've heard from the Washington Post previously that the NSA was working on this sort of thing and that at least 20,000 computers had been infected by the program as of 2008. So to hear from Snowden documents via the NRC that it's now climbed to 50,000 is hardly surprising.
  • Alas, the 3DS is not green. This is a travesty in the Year of Luigi. In a series of post-Thanksgiving deals, Nintendo has announced the first Luigi 3DS for North America. There's only one thing missing - the color green! The Year of Luigi will wrap up in about a month, and to end it Nintendo has bundled Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, which released in March, with a cobalt blue 3DS for $170. The color was first introduced in the limited edition Fire Emblem: Awakening 3DS bundle. Whereas the Fire Emblem 3DS has a design featuring the main character's sword and two dragons, the Luigi 3DS is just cobalt blue with nothing fancy on it. What a shame in the Year of Luigi. The bundle will be available starting Nov. 28.
  • Microsoft has acknowledged that owners of its new Xbox One console are experiencing problems with the disc drive. Some users say the drive is making very loud noises when they try to insert a disc and in some cases is not reading discs at all. Microsoft says only a very small number of users are affected. The Xbox One was launched on Friday and sold more than one million units in the first 24 hours. More than 150 people contacted Kotaku, a gaming news website, claiming their new consoles were faulty. Other users uploaded videos apparently showing the problem to the gaming forum NeoGAF. "The issue is affecting a very small number of Xbox One customers," said Microsoft in a statement. "We're working directly with those affected to get a replacement console to them as soon as possible through our advance exchange programme."
  • Western Digital's new Black² dual drive puts a 120GB solid state drive (SSD) and a 1TB hard disk drive (HDD) into a simple package that can be used to upgrade notebook PCs, all-in-one systems and small desktops that only have one drive bay. The WD Black² dual drive fits a standard 9.5mm 2.5in bay and connects through a single cable. In conventional systems, users have a choice between the high speed of SSD and the large storage capacities of hard drives. Having both usually means using two drive bays. WD says in a press statement: "Utilizing the benefits of both flash and magnetic disks, WD Black² dual drives offload data usage from the SSD to the HDD, which increases endurance and life of the SSD. Users maintain greater data control, which can eliminate the need and expense of cloud-based storage."
  • Amazon is hard at work on the successor to the Kindle Paperwhite which will arrive in early Q2 2014. The refreshed e-reader will feature a high resolution display operating at 300 PPI compared to just 212 PPI of the current model according to a new report from TechCrunch. The publication claims to have seen a prototype of the device, codenamed Ice Wine, which also includes some other hardware improvements. Said prototype utilized a screen that was flush with the edge of the device instead of a recessed display like the current model uses. The screen is also said to be coated in a matte-like glass instead of plastic but even still, the overall weight is less than this year's model. It'll be pretty much business as usual on the software side but Amazon will upscale the software to take advantage of the higher resolution display. The online retailer is also working on new typography for the e-reader with a custom-built font that is said to be great for reading. Amazon added a number of fonts in the last release although most weren't received well.
  • PlayStation 4 well before it was released on November 15. The only real question that remained, however, was what upgrade would be best and what sort of performance one could expect from a replacement drive. Now that the PS4 is in the wild, we have some hard data on the subject Tested recently put a pair of storage devices up against the standard issue 500GB, 5400 RPM hard drive that ships with every console. Specifically, the gang used a 256GB Samsung 840 EVO solid state drive and a 1TB Seagate hybrid drive that's part hard drive and part solid state drive. Unsurprisingly, the Samsung SSD outperformed the other two drives in every test with performance gains anywhere from six seconds (console boot up) to 20 seconds to load a pre-installed game.
  • Google has opened up its Mirror API for Google Glass to any and all developers, rather than just the whitelist of early adopters that could previously use it. After giving developers a sneak peek of the full Glass Development Kit (GDK) last week, Google has released the original application program interface (API), the first method of programming for its IT eyewear to all takers.

email from listeners:

  • Jenny from Seattle asks "What's the difference between the $100 tablets and the $500 tablets?"