The future of urban transit? By Brandon Griggs, CNN

Someday, there may be a third option: Urban transit systems built around small electric vehicles, or pods, that drive themselves.

Supporters of these driverless pods say they take up less space than cars, cut down on urban noise and produce zero emissions. And they offer more flexibility: Instead of relying on a set schedule, riders can summon these pods for private, individual trips.

Since 2011, a fleet of such pods has been transporting passengers between terminals at London’s Heathrow Airport, eliminating more than 50,000 bus trips a year on crowded nearby roads. The Heathrow system runs mostly on elevated tracks.

Now, Milton Keynes, a small city 45 miles northwest of London, wants to be the first in the world to put a network of pods on pedestrian walkways. The vehicles would connect the city’s train station with its downtown shopping district a mile away.

Riders can reserve pods using their smartphones. Or they will find a fleet of pods waiting for them outside the railway station or other popular spots, said Geoff Snelson, director of strategy for Milton Keynes Council.

Early designs show a small, stubby vehicle with two seats and a large, plunging windshield. Anticipating unease with driverless vehicles, the project’s backers want the pods to look sleek, modern and unthreatening.

“We want people to be curious about using them,” Snelson said.

This illustration imagines a row of pods parked outside a destination, waiting for riders.

This illustration imagines a row of pods parked outside a destination, waiting for riders. (From Transport Systems Catapult)

British engineering firm RDM Group is working on three prototype pods fitted with autonomous-driving systems from Oxford University’s Mobile Robotics Group. To start, they’ll have a steering wheel, an accelerator, a brake and a human driver, although future models are expected to be fully autonomous.

Packed with cameras and sensors, the pods will know when to turn and brake to avoid collisions with pedestrians, cyclists or teens on skateboards.

“The focus has to be on safety,” said Neil Fulton with Transport Systems Catapult, a British public transit advocacy group.

The city plans to begin testing the two-seater pods in the spring, with the hope of gradually integrating larger models into its transit system by the end of 2015. Other municipalities worldwide are watching Milton Keynes’ plans with an eye on adopting similar systems. But first, laws must be drawn up to allow driverless cars on roads in the UK.

“There’s huge interest in this,” said Fulton. “We’re trying a completely new mode of transport.”

Nigerian Student Builds Power Generator & Planting Machine

Ismaila Suraju, a secondary school student, has built a planting machine and a locally-made power generator that uses water and batteries, among others.
The 17-year-old boy doesn’t plan to stop, he says his next goal is to build an aircraft.
Ismaila also claims to have a know-how to create a gadget that can frustrate election riggers in Nigeria.
When the student was younger, he had to make a pair of slippers out of a cardboard to protect his feet from the scorching soil of the farm path.
The necessity of protecting his face from the sun also made him create a baseball cap, then cars, train, grinding machines, all with the same cardboard.
Half way through his secondary education, Suraju graduated into using aluminum sheets in making not only miniature automobiles, such as fire extinguishing vans, excavators, but a large size planting machine that can be used for planting, as
well.
“Anything I see, I will like to do. We went for competition. I saw some people do a motorcycle they were riding. I said I would do a planting machine in a form of a vehicle that a person
can drive. I thought in our country we don’t have planting machines. Farmers are suffering. Then I took iron and aluminum sheets. I first did a small one that a small boy can enter. Then I did a bigger one. I used wheelbarrow tyres, iron from metal bed, electric motor and motorcycle gearbox to make it,” the teenager says.

What a smart boy!

Hope investors will support him to make his inventions a reality.

[Weekly Trust]

UNIJOS, University Of Jos Students Hacked Union Bank Database, Stole N2.05 Billion

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested two young men who claimed to be undergraduates of the University of Jos, Isaiah Friday and Azzaior Samuel, for an alleged N2.05bn fraud.
Two bureau de change operators, Salihu Mahmoud and Dan Ibrahim, were also arrested in connection with the alleged crime.
The suspects were also accused of being members of a syndicate that specialised in breaking into the computer data base of financial institutions to carry out dry posting of funds.
The Head, Media and Publicity, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said the suspects were arrested in Lagos and Jos.
He said, “Their arrest comes on the heels of a petition which the commission received from Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Marina,Lagos, in January 2013, alleging that a criminal attack had been launched on its data base known as ‘Flexcube’, by yet-to-be-identified criminals who falsified the bank records and accounts and created unjustified huge opening balances in several accounts across the bank’s branches. They subsequently transferred funds from those accounts to several accounts in other banks.
“The petition, which was signed by one A.F Olufade, Head of Fraud Investigation at the bank, said cash withdrawals and electronic transfers totalling N2.05bn was involved in the scam.”
It was learnt that EFCC initial investigation showed that Friday,who was carrying out computer system maintenance services for one of the Union Bank branches in Jos, Plateau State, on a part-time basis, paved the way for the fraudsters to penetrate the bank’s database.
Uwujaren said, “Friday was traced and arrested. His arrest led to the arrest of Azaaior Samuel.
“Investigations further revealed that Samuel introduced Friday to Mahmoud, who is the mastermind of the fraud with others now at large.
“Mahmoud and other collaborators told Friday that they needed access to the bank’s database in order to carry out some postings. They promised to give Friday N.5m if the deal succeeded.”
PUNCH Metro gathered that Friday agreed. On the day the crime was committed, he told people at the bank that Samuel was his colleague who had accompanied him to work.
It was learnt that after the gang had succeeded in gaining access to the bank’s premises, it carried out the postings to six different company accounts domiciled in Union Bank’s Marina branch in
Lagos.
Uwujaren said, “The accounts are Gona Bureau De Change Limited, Jaxmine Bureau De Change Limited, Dan Kawu Bureau De Change Limited, Godswill Great Communications,ZHG Services Limited and A and B Console Limited. The
postings were carried out and the syndicate thereafter went to the bank to withdraw all the funds. Friday was paid as promised and other syndicate members now at large shared the remaining balance.”
The EFCC spokesman added that the commission had been able to recover $2,129,900 and another N134,542, from the fraudsters.
He said, “Other items recovered are furniture worth N10m from Salihu Liman’s one bedroom apartment in Yaba, Lagos; four vehicles, landed properties in Kano and Kaduna and a four-
bedroom duplex worth N45m in Lagos. Investigation into the scam continues.”

[Sources: Punch, EFCC]

Apple iPhone 5C and 5S Launched In California

Apple has revamped the iPhone by launching two new handsets at its California headquarters – including one that has a fingerprint reader.
The firm’s chief Tim Cook confirmed rumours that the high-end iPhone 5S would be equipped with a fingerprint scanner to unlock the device and put an end to the days of passwords.
He promised the cheaper iPhone 5C would come with “all the great technology that customers have loved” on its previous models – but analysts said it was “nowhere near” as cheap as some had predicted.
The “budget” version of the iPhone – launched at a time when Apple arguably faces stiffer competition than ever – will be an obvious rival to some of the low-cost gadgets sold by the firm’s
major competitors.

Mr Cook introduced the device during a presentation at Apple’s California base – streamed live at a conference in Berlin – which he also used to introduce the iPhone 5S, “the most forward-
thinking phone we have ever created”.
The new flagship mobile – dubbed the “gold standard in smartphones” by the tech giant – will come in more traditional Apple colours of silver and slate grey as well as a new golden hue.

The cheaper 5C costs $99 (£63) over a two-year contract or $736 (£469) as a one-off payment.

It is billed as a handset that will be “more fun” than any iPhone yet and will come in a range of five vivid colours: blue, white,pink, yellow and green.

It was finally shown to the world after a series of images leaked online claimed to show the 5S while the web was awash with speculation that Apple would also branch out with a budget device.

Mr Cook raised a laugh as he told the audience: “A couple of you may have been expecting this.”

He added: “The business has become so large that this year we are going to replace the iPhone 5 and we are going to replace it with not one but two new designs.

“This allows us to serve even more customers.”

Apple’s Philip Schiller told the audience: “iPhone 5S is the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world, delivering desktop class architecture in the palm of your hand.”
He raised a massive round of applause as he introduced the fingertip scanner – named Touch ID – which, he said, would provide a “simple and secure way to unlock your phone with just a touch of your finger.”
The security feature is built into the home button and uses a laser cut sapphire crystal along with a sensor to take a high-resolution image of a user’s fingerprint.
According to Apple, the technology can “intelligently analyse” the print to provide accurate readings from any angle.
All fingerprint information is encrypted and the firm has insisted it will never be stored on Apple servers.

Beyond unlocking the phone, the feature can be used as a secure way to approve purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store, Apple said.
It has promised customers that all actions on the device would be faster than on previous handsets, from launching apps and editing photos to playing graphic-intensive games.

The phone will be available in the UK for a suggested retail price of £549 for the 16GB model, £629 for the 32GB model and £709 for the 64GB model.
Investors seemed unimpressed with Apple’s latest gadgets. The company’s shares closed down $11.53 at $494.64 after briefly surging to $507.45 on anticipation of the launch.

Jason Jenkins, editor of technology site CNET, said Apple has made a play for the “geeks” it “lost” to Android with the 5S.
He said: “Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One are known for containing very fast processors, while iPhones have been left behind.
“By using a technology called 64-bit processing, Apple is hoping to leapfrog the competition and attract the high-spending, nerdy crowd that like owning a phone that is technically faster than everyone else’s.”
He said the plastic iPhone 5S “looks to be a good buy” but was “nowhere near as cheap as we were hoping for”.

Twitter Admits Failing Rape Threat Women

Twitter tells Sky News what it is doing about online abuse following vicious tweets directed at a feminist and a woman MP.
Twitter has broken its silence over a growing row about abuse on the social media site, telling Sky News it has failed women who have faced rape threats.
Twitter’s head of safety, Del Harvey, said: “I think that any time that someone feels we weren’t responsive, or weren’t reactive or we didn’t care then, yes, we failed in that instance and we need
to do better.
“And that’s something that we have definitely had highlighted in terms of the need to educate people about what we’ve done and to get feedback on what we need to do better.”
A series of rape and death threats were made against feminist campaigner, Caroline Criado Perez, and the MP Stella Creasy,in recent days.
Twitter was criticised for not taking stronger and swifter action against the abusive messages. It insisted it took the issue seriously.
The allegations were reported to the police and an investigation was launched into the string of messages sent to Ms Criado Perez after she headed a successful campaign for a female figure to appear on UK banknotes, and the Labour MP for
Walthamstow.
A 25-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of harassment of the two women and earlier in the week police questioned and released on bail a 21-year-old man in connection with messages sent to Ms Criado-Perez.
Speaking to Sky News from San Francisco, Ms Harvey revealed that Twitter had spoken to police about abuse claims.
She also said “automated and manual systems” were already in place to prevent abuse and Twitter was now working on a further solution that will allow users to tap on a tweet and report it as abusive. Tweeters will then be asked to answer a series of questions about the abuse they have reported.
The ‘report abuse’ button, already available on its
latest iPhone app, will be extended to other platforms.
Her comments came as Ms Criado-Perez, who has
criticised the microblogging site’s security policies,
described how the online attack left her feeling “under siege” and terrified in her own home.
Ms Criado-Perez, 29, also said Twitter needs to “get a grip” on security, as it emerged bosses were likely to face a grilling from MPs.
She said the social network was ill-equipped to
handle episodes of sustained abuse and needed to
work more closely with police.
Ms Criado-Perez met Twitter directors on Monday
night along with Ms Creasy, who received a similar torrent of abusive messages after she offered support to the freelance journalist.
“This will have been a wake-up call for Twitter,” Ms Criado Perez said.
“It will hopefully have led them to realise that they are not equipped to deal with this kind of thing properly.”
The campaigner said the police also needed to “step up”.
Twitter bosses look set to face questions from MPs when the Culture, Media and Sport Committee examines issues surrounding child protection in the autumn.
Committee chair John Whittingdale said: “I would have thought it very possible that the committee might want, in the course of our inquiry, to talk to Twitter.”
He added: “It isn’t that the law needs to be changed; the question is how you identify people and how you prevent them (from abusing others online).
“That is the big question and it is one we would wish to explore with internet companies to determine whether they are doing as much as they can or whether they should do more. I think that’s
a very live issue.”

Earth Picture Taken From Saturn Released

The tiny blue dot in this image is in fact Earth captured from a distance of 900 million miles looking past Saturn’s rings.
The Cassini spacecraft has captured a rare image of Earth taken hundreds of millions of miles away from the outer Solar System.
The picture was captured on July 19 by the probe’s wide-angle camera from a distance of 900 million miles.
Magnifying the image five times reveals not only the Earth but also the Moon, a fainter smudge to the right of the planet.
Dr Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at the American space agency Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, US, said:

“We may not be able to see individual continents or people in this portrait of Earth, but this pale blue dot is a succinct summary of who we were on July 19.
“Cassini’s picture reminds us how tiny our home planet is in the vastness of space, but also testifies to the ingenuity of the citizens of this tiny planet to be able to send a robotic spacecraft so far away from home to take a picture of Earth and study a distant world like Saturn.”

It is only the third time the Earth has ever been photographed from the outer Solar System. Previous pictures were taken by Nasa’s Voyager-1 spacecraft in 1990 and Cassini in 2006.
The new image marked the first time people on Earth knew in advance that their planet’s portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances.
Nasa invited members of the public to acknowledge the occasion by either finding Saturn in their part of the sky and waving, or simply smiling and celebrating. At least 20,000 people participated in the event.
Such pictures are rare because seen from so far away Earth is very close to the bright Sun. Looking directly at the Sun can damage sensitive camera sensors, just as it can the retina of the
eye.
But on July 19, the Sun had moved behind Saturn from Cassini’s standpoint, allowing the probe to capture the image safely.
The image was taken using a combination of red, green and blue lens filters to create a natural colour view.
The robotic spacecraft entered into orbit around Saturn in 2004 after launching from Cape Canaveral in 1997.

Apple Buys Nigerian Techie’s Mobile Application Website HopStop.com For $1 Million

Apple has bought Nigerian Techie’s, Chinedu Echeruo’s mobile application website,Hopstop.com.
HopStop.com which was developed back in 2005 makes mobile applications for both iOS and Android that covers over 300 cities and that helps people get directions or find nearby subway stations and bus stops. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed as at the time of this publication.
HopStop has often been compared to Israel’s Waze which was recently acquired by Google for $1 billion. The move is seen as Apple’s plan to bolster its map offering especially given Google’s recent acquisition of Waze.
A serial entrepreneur, Chinedu Echeruo grew up in Eastern Nigeria and attended Kings College, Lagos. He attended Syracuse University and the Harvard Business School in the United States and founded HopStop.com after working for several years in the Mergers & Acquisitions and Leveraged
Finance groups of J.P Morgan Chase where he was involved in a broad range of M&A, Financing and Private Equity transactions. He also worked at AM Investment Partners, a $500 million volatility-driven convertible bond arbitrage hedge fund.
He founded and raised nearly $8 million for his two U.S based internet companies; Hopstop.com and Tripology.com.
Tripology.com was acquired in 2010 by American travel and navigation information company, Rand McNally. He was named Black Enterprise Magazine’s Small Business Innovator of the year and listed in the magazine’s Top 40 under 40 and is currently a partner and head of the Principal Investing group at Constant Capital, a West Africa based investment bank.
True to form, Echeruo is working on yet another venture but this time, focused on small businesses in Africa.
What a focused entrepreneur!

[Sources: The Wall Street Journal,AllThingsDigital]

Nokia Lumia 625:Colourful, Cheap And Huge New Windows Phone (PICTURES)

Nokia has unveiled another entry into its growing
– and increasingly popular – Lumia smartphone
range.
The Lumia 625 is pitched at the company’s new
mid-range device, but also its biggest, with a 4.7-
inch screen, LTE antenna and Nokia extras like
Here Maps and Nokia Music.
Powered by a 1.2GHz, Dual Core Snapdragon
S4, the phone has a decent 5-megapixel camera,
8GB of storage and comes in a range of snappy,
very bright colours that should appeal to anyone
bored with the traditional white/black/silver livery
of most smartphones. Nokia said the Lumia 625
will be available in the UK in the third quarter of
2013, from Vodafone, O2, EE, Carphone Warehouse and Phones4u. It will cost £200 off-
contract, which means you should be able to get
one pretty cheap if you’re upgrading. Check out
more details over at Nokia’s ‘Conversations’
website.

World’s ‘Smallest’ Radio-Controlled Helicopter

The tiny copter made of used smartphone parts is just 6.5cm long

The tiny copter made of used smartphone parts is just 6.5cm long

Tablet computers for children and a miniature chopper made of used smartphone parts are among the items at a Tokyo toy show.
A tiny toy helicopter made from cannibalised smartphones has been among the main attractions at a huge toy show in Tokyo.
The motor that makes a telephone vibrate
provides the power for the rotor blades on the Nano-Falcon, which its makers say is the world’s smallest radio-controlled helicopter.
The 6.5cm-long (2.4in) machine weighs just 11 grammes (0.385 ounces), has a range of five metres (15 feet) and can fly for five minutes.
Its makers say they are feeding the fantasies of adults who never really grew up.
“Japan’s ageing population made us think of developing a toy targeting adults,” said Naoki Nakagawa, head of sales at maker CCP.
“Ten or twenty years ago, helicopter-toys could cost a lot of money. Those who couldn’t afford it at the time can now make their childhood dream come true at a reasonable price.”
The mini machine retails at around 4,700 yen (£32), a price company spokeswoman Kiyoko Hayasaki said came from its use of bits of mobile phones.
“We were able to set the price at this relatively cheap level because we took some key parts from stocks that are widely available in the market for smartphones,” she said.
Elsewhere at the exhibition, toymakers have been showcasing tablet computers specifically for small children.
“Children like to emulate what adults do, and a survey said 90% of tablet computer users let their children use their tablets,” said Yuki Itagaki,a spokeswoman for MegaHouse, a subsidiary of major Japanese toy maker Bandai Namco Holdings.
MegaHouse’s “tap me” is a tablet specifically developed for use by children aged between four and eight, with built-in parental controls,including a timer that limits use.
“When the timer reaches the set time, the tablet shows a sleeping face instead of turning off,”Ms Itagaki said.
“Children can’t bring tablets to their parents and say ‘hey, the power is off. Turn it on please’.”
Despite its price tag of 20,790 yen ($219),
MegaHouse aims to sell 100,000 “tap me” computers in the coming 12 months.
US toy maker Mattel was showing off its
Apptivity Monkey, a fluffy monkey which acts as a protective case for Apple’s iPhone.
The case keeps it safe from over-enthusiastic toddlers, who can press buttons on the creature’s limbs to create music.
Japan’s Takara Tomy has a stand for the iPhone that dances along to the music it is playing.
“We hope adults with a sense of fun like this
product,” said Tsubasa Tominaga of the
company’s new products team.
The International Tokyo Toy Show runs until Sunday at Tokyo Big Sight in the Japanese capital’s bay area.

The remote controlled helicopter is slightly bigger than a large insect

The remote controlled helicopter is slightly bigger than a large insect

Apple iPad Controlled Boat: Couple Buys £15 Million Yacht Controlled By An iPad (Adastra)

64-year-old Hong-Kong based Billionaire, Anto Marden and his wife Elaine Marden have made history for the first ever acquisition of an iPad controlled boat that cost a whopping 15 million pounds (£15million).
The super yacht named Adastra is 42.5m long and it can comfortably house up to 9 people and 6 crew members.
It travel at a speed of 22.5 knots.
Adastra has an integrated ship monitoring
system and can be controlled with an Apple Ipad within 50m range.

View more photos of Adastra, £15m yacht
controlled by an ipad below

Nasa Finds Evidence Of Drinkable Water On Mars

Opportunity found evidence. Pic: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Uni

Opportunity found evidence. Pic: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Uni

Scientists describe the research as “some of the most important” of the decade-long Opportunity rover mission.
Nasa scientists say their Opportunity rover has made new discoveries about early water on Mars which may have been drinkable.
The unmanned solar-powered vehicle, described as “arthritic” as it nears 10 years since its launch,has just analysed what may be its oldest rock ever, known as Esperance 6.
It contains evidence that potentially life- supporting water once flowed in abundance,leaving clay minerals behind.
“This is powerful evidence that water interacted with this rock and changed its chemistry, changed its mineralogy in a dramatic way,” said principal investigator Steve Squyres of Cornell University.
He described the research as “some of the most important” of the decade-long mission because it showcases a very different chemistry than most of the previous discoveries about water on Mars, which is now quite dry.
Scientists believe that a lot of water once flowed through the rocks through some sort of fracture, leaving an unusually high concentration of clay.
The analysis reveals traces of a what may have been a drinkable type of water that dates to the first billion years of Martian history.
The clay rocks were forming under a more neutral pH, before conditions became more harsh and water more acidic, Dr Squyres said.
The rover’s rock abrasion tool, alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and microscopic imager provided the details to scientists, who can learn about the planet’s history without bringing its rocks to Earth.
Opportunity and its twin rover Spirit launched in 2003 and landed in January 2004 for what was initially meant to be a three-month exploration.
Both discovered evidence of wet environments on ancient Mars.
“What Opportunity has mostly discovered evidence for was sulphuric acid,” Dr Squyres told reporters, outlining the major difference detected in the Esperance rock’s formation.
“This is water you could drink,” he said. The oldest rocks, like Esperance, have a neutral pH, signaling that early Martian water was “probably much more favourable in its chemistry, in its pH, in its level of acidity for things like prebiotic chemistry, the kind of chemistry that could lead to the origin of life”.
Dr Squyres said that analysis of Esperance took seven tries over many weeks as the rover endured a dust storm, a lumpy terrain and a period when Mars went behind the Sun and out of contact with Earth.
Now, Opportunity is slowly making its way, at about 50 metres a day, towards an area a mile away known as Solander Point that contains 10 times as many geological layers for study as the area where Esperance was found. It hopes to arrive by August 1.

Mars as seen by Opportunity Pic: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Uni

Mars as seen by Opportunity Pic: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Uni

Facebook: Celebrities’ Pages To Be Verified

Facebook will mark the pages of high profile users with lots of followers with a blue tick to guarantee their authenticity.
Facebook has announced the launch of verified pages for celebrities and high-profile people,to combat the number of fake sites on the social media network.
The verified pages will be marked with a small blue tick on timelines and in search results.
A post on the website said: “We’re launching verified pages to help people find the authentic accounts of celebrities and other high profile people and businesses on Facebook.
“Verified pages have a small, blue check mark beside their name on timelines, in search results,and elsewhere on Facebook.” The move to ensure all users are authentic, follows microblogging website Twitter, which already shows a small blue checkmark to indicate the person who has opened the account is legitimate.
Facebook clarified that the pages would belong to ” a small group of prominent public figures (celebrities, journalists, government officials,popular brands and businesses) with large audiences”.
Last year company filings for Facebook said that there were 83 million fake Facebook profiles, which was nearly 10% of the 955 million Facebook accounts.
When you search for David Beckham, over 18 profiles come up with a picture of the footballer and only now there is a verification tick can you see which is the original one.
As well as jeopardising the confidence people have in Facebook, the fake accounts also affect the ability to serve targeted adverts on the site,which has a direct influence on the share price and investment.
The move is being seen as an attempt by Facebook to become a channel for celebrities,and encourage big names to use the site as a voice in a way that they already do on Twitter.
Verification will also give readers greater confidence in the posts from journalistic sources,so that they can use Facebook to follow current affairs as well as a tool to connect with people they already know.

Xbox One Console Unveiled By Microsoft

After months of intense speculation about its potential new features, Microsoft debuts its first gaming console in eight years.
Microsoft has debuted its new Xbox One, announcing the company’s first gaming console in eight years will come with exclusive video and software content.
The Redmond, Washington-based software maker says with its ability to flip between games, television movies and other entertainment, the new console will satisfy all of a household’s media needs.
One highlight of Xbox One touted during Tuesday’s launch event is a Halo television series produced by Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg. Xbox One will hit retail stores later this year – the exact date has not been released – at a still-unknown price.
The device’s launch comes after months of intense speculation on industry blogs about its potential new features.
Microsoft representatives said it interacts with television, responds to voice and gesture commands, and enables Skype video calling.
Don Mattrick, the president of interactive entertainment business for Microsoft, said the company spent four years developing the “all-in-one home entertainment system”.
During the demonstration, Microsoft employees showed how the console can flip channels at the bidding of a voice command and even bring up a channel guide when asked “What’s on HBO?”.
Xbox One will also be the first gaming platform to release the next instalment of the Call Of Duty first person shooter franchise.
Microsoft hopes its third console, after the original Xbox and Xbox 360, will draw gamers back to the stationary platform, as mobile gaming has taken an increasing market share in recent years.
The Xbox One’s primary competition will come from Nintendo’s new Wii U device and Sony’s forthcoming PlayStation 4, both of which have gone in the direction of incorporating streaming content and social media features.

BlackBerry Finally Makes A Smart Move–BBM Is FINALLY Coming To Android And iPhone, BlackBerry Announces

BlackBerry users need not be shunned any longer. BlackBerry announced Tuesday that its coveted BlackBerry messaging
system — better know to once and current BlackBerry obsessives as BBM — will be coming to iOS and Android this summer.
BBM was the original free messaging service between BlackBerry users — an iMessage in the days before the iPhone.
Now because fewer and fewer people have BlackBerrys, that free messaging is going to waste. BlackBerry users can’t receive iMessages, and Android and iOS phones can’t receive BBMs, forcing people to text message between different devices, using up their texting plans.
“For BlackBerry, messaging and
collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for BBM to become a multi- platform mobile service,” said Andrew Bocking, an executive vice president at BlackBerry. He wants to “offer iOS and Android users the possibility to join the BBM community.”
It’s not official yet, though. This arrangement has not been approved by Google and Apple yet. According to BlackBerry, if the makers of the two leading smartphone operating systems are game, a free BBM app will be available on the Apple App Store and Google Play this summer.

BlackBerry Brings Back Keyboard With Q10

The firm is now in profit thanks to the touchscreen Z10, but is going back to its roots with the Q10 and its signature keyboard.

Lily Cole holds a BlackBerry Q10 ahead of its UK launch

Model and actress Lily Cole shows of the new Q10 smartphone

BlackBerry’s latest phone, the Q10, is going on sale in the UK as the company continues its fightback.

The launch of the Q10 comes three months after the company unveiled the Z10, the other phone in its two-pronged attack to claw back sales from the likes of Apple and Samsung.

The Canadian firm said in March that the touchscreen-only Z10 had helped it return to profit. However, there were still concerns from analysts that the phone was not being marketed properly.

The new device is aimed at those who enjoy the traditional BlackBerry keyboard, but who also want touchscreen functionality.

It has a dual-core 1.5Ghz processor, 2GB of Ram, an 8 megapixel camera and a 3.1″ display.

Initial reviews of the Q10 have been complimentary, but there are concerns the relatively small screen size could deter some buyers.

Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One have a larger viewing area, and BlackBerry could lose out to its rivals in this area.

BlackBerry 10

The Blackberry Z10 helped the firm return to profit

BlackBerry has lost market share in recent years as iPhone and Android devices have become more popular. Its reputation was also damaged after much-publicised service disruptions.

The success of the new handsets is seen as crucial to the company’s survival, but competition is fierce.

The financial power of Samsung has seen the South Korean firm launch a massive marketing push for its Galaxy phones, and big sales are expected for the S4, which is due out on Saturday.

Meanwhile, despite this week’s fall in profits and whispers of weakening innovation, the popularity of Apple’s iPhone continues.

The US technology giant managed to sell 37.4 million devices in the first quarter of 2013.

BlackBerry is not the only manufacturer that is suffering. Taiwanese firm HTC has also been hit by Apple and Samsung’s dominance.

The two leaders own 71.4% of the worldwide smartphone market, with LG a distant third.

The BlackBerry Q10 goes on general sale in the UK on Monday, but is available in some shops this weekend.

 

 

HOME UK WORLD US BUSINESS POLITICS TECHNOLOGY ENTERTAINMENT STRANGE NEWS WEATHER Twitter Music App Expected To Launch

Key people have already been allowed to play with the music app ahead of a public launch expected within days.

Homepage of microblogging website Twitter generic

Buzz has continued to build about the social media giant Twitter’s launching of a new music app.

Key “influencers” have already been given a sneak preview of the software ahead of a public roll-out, expected within days.

Tech site AllThingsD said the music service, originally mooted for a Friday launch, may now be launched this weekend at the Coachella music festival at Indio, California.

Early on Saturday, Wiz Khalifa, who has nearly 10 million follows, tweeted: “Man this new Twitter music app is insane!”

On Thursday Ryan Seacrest wrote: “Playing with twitter’s new music app (yes it’s real!)..”

He added: “Lovin the app …  shows what artists are trending, also has up and coming artists …”

The speculation surrounding the launch comes after Twitter confirmed it had acquired the emerging music software firm We Are Hunted.

The San Francisco-based music firm was launched in 2007 in Australia, and allows its users to follow emerging music trends and artists.

Its software continuously updates lists of top music around the world.

Neither company indicated their plans, but the We Are Hunted site strongly hinted the deal means Twitter will be launching a long-rumoured music application.

“There’s no question that Twitter and music go well together,” a statement posted on the wearehunted.com site said.

The new music app is believed to rank music based on personalised trends and trigger points, including what Twitter accounts are followed.

The AllThingsD report said users will be able to listen to clips of music from inside the app, using third-party services and watch music videos from Vevo, which is operated by Universal Music and Sony.