Category Archives: Tablets

Rugged, wildly modular tablet runs Android and Linux

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CrossfirePro running Android

Entegra announced a rugged, modular tablet that’s configurable for a wide range of environments and applications, and supports both Android 4.2 and Linux.

Entegra’s CrossfirePro is unlike any tablet you’ve encountered: it’s the consummate chameleon of rugged slates, boasting a modularity that starts with its snap-in Qseven computer-on-module processing core and extends to nearly every aspect of its I/O and software. Though it ships standard with a 1.86GHz quad-core Intel Bay Trail M-series N2930 processor, the COM-based core supports alternatives ranging from faster or slower Intel and AMD x86 CPUs, to ARM-based SoCs. It also accepts I/O add-ons such as barcode scanners, magnetic strip readers, fingerprint scanners, smart card and NFC readers, and a variety of custom modules, says the company.

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CrossfirePro with a rear-mounted cardswipe/keypad module

Entegra also offers three docks for the CrossfirePro, which support its use in office, point-of-sale, and vehicular environments. These would presumably be accompanied by snap-in or add-on modules, operating systems, and application software suitable to each market.

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CrossfirePro Desk Dock
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CrossfirePro Vehicle Dock
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CrossfirePro Point-of-sale Dock

The photos below show how the Qseven COM and mSATA storage devices snap into compartments in the rear of the tablet.

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CrossfirePro’s configurable Qseven COM and mSATA storage device

To support such an extensive array of modularity, Entegra designed a unique mainboard that’s controlled by a PIC microcontroller. The PIC chip serves as a “traffic cop” to initialize and manage the options it discovers upon power-up, as illustrated in the diagram below.

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CrossfirePro’s PIC µC discovers modules and configures the tablet accordingly on power-up

For a full list of the specs follow the source link below.

Source: LinuxGizmos.com

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Verizon spotted testing 80Mbps LTE network in New York

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Verizon could be working on increasing the speed of its phone network in New York, by performing a new LTE rollout. The carrier has apparently been spotted operating a new LTE network, which is shown to be providing network speeds of around 80Mbps downstream, and peaking at almost 23Mbps for uploads.

Milan Milanovic told GigaOM that his spectrum analyzer showed the network as operating on the 2.1GHz Advanced Wireless Services band, and was able to be connected to using an iPhone 5s. The new connections could end up offering a 150Mbps theoretical maximum, with the carrier apparently deploying the network on 40MHz of spectrum in some areas thanks to the acquisition of 4G licenses from cable companies last year. It is thought that the 80Mbps achieved on the test network is due to either an artificial data rate restriction or an insufficient fiber backhaul.

The same high-speed network is apparently also being tested in Los Angeles in Chicago, though these rumors were not able to be confirmed to the same level as the New York trials. A launch date for the mystery network is also unknown.

Source: Electronista

How to turn off iOS 7 frequent location tracking and increase your privacy

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By default, iOS 7 will track and record places that you visit most often to provide better location-based data such as in the Today summary of Notification Center. If you value your privacy more than you do location-based data, you can turn the feature off. Turning off features like these can also help save a bit of battery life too.

Here’s how:

1. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.

2. Tap on Privacy.

3. Now tap on Location Services at the top.

4. Towards the bottom of the next screen, tap on System Services.

5. Again, towards the bottom of the next page, tap on Frequent Locations.

6. At the top of the next screen, turn the Frequent Locations option to the Off position.

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That’s all there is to it. Locations you travel to most will no longer be tracked. While this comes at the expense of not having as accurate location data in places like the Today Summary screen, it also preserves your privacy better and to a lot of us, that’s more important.

Source: iMore

Swype co-founder reinvents tablet typing with Dryft

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Anyone who has spent significant time typing on a tablet knows that despite its larger size, there’s still a massive room for error. Because it’s missing that satisfying, tactile clickety-clack of physical keyboards, tablets enable mistakes and typing hiccups in the same way that smartphones do. So it’s no surprise that Randy Marsden, co-founder of Android smartphone typing staple Swype, and a small team are seeking to reinvent tablet typing with a new startup called Dryft.

Announced at TechCrunch Disrupt, Dryft recognizes where hands move while typing, and subtly shifts the keys to compensate for the inevitable drifting (get it?) hands do across the device. The keyboard is able to track that by utilizing the accelerometer in a tablet to assess whether hands are moving or at rest. So users will be able to settle their hands on the keyboard without the risk of unintended typing — and with the added benefit of shifting keys. Marsden says those two features considerably boost natural typing speed up to 80 WPM, and lead to less errors.

See a video demo below:

Companies have made an earnest effort to perfect touchpad typing on tablets of all sizes in the last few years — most notably Apple’s split keyboard feature on the iPad. But that hasn’t stopped physical keyboard makers from producing some much-hyped products. If Dryft is able to get its resources together and get off the ground, it could prove to be as big a hit for Android tablets as Swype is for phones.

Marsden and co-founder Rob Chaplinsky are pushing Dryft into beta testing and are actively looking for OEM customers, developers and investors.

Source: GigaOM

Researchers Create 3Gbps LiFi Network with LED Bulbs

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Researchers at the Fraunhofer Henrich Hertz Institute (HHI) in Germany have successfully transmitted data at 3Gbps using conventional LED bulbs in a laboratory setting. In a real-world setting (at a trade fair), the same system was capable of 500Mbps.

The concept of visible light communications (VLC), or LiFi as it is sometimes known, has received a lot of attention in recent years, mostly due to the growing prevalence of LED lighting. Unlike incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, LEDs are solid-state electronics, meaning they can be controlled in much the same way as any other electronic component, and switched at a high speed. VLC is essentially WiFi — but using terahertz radiation (light) instead of microwaves (WiFi). Instead of oscillating a WiFi transmitter, VLC oscillates an LED bulb — and of course, on the receiving end there’s a photodetector instead of an antenna.

Now, unfortunately the Fraunhofer press release is almost completely devoid of detail, except for the 3Gbps bit — but we do have the technical specifications of Fraunhofer’s previous VLC system, which the 3Gbps system is based on. The previous VLC system was capable of transmitting up to 500Mbps over four meters (13 feet), or 120Mbps over 20 meters (67 feet). Rather than actually using a standard LED bulb, Fraunhofer’s VLC system is a black box, with an LED and photodetector on the front, and an Ethernet jack on the back to connect it to the rest of the network. In this system, the hardware only allowed for 30MHz of bandwidth to be used, limiting the total throughput.

To reach 3Gbps, the HHI researchers have found a way of squeezing 180MHz of bandwidth out of the LEDs — and instead of using just one LED, they now use three different colors. It is not clear whether this new technique has a higher or lower range than the previous, but it is likely the same. In real-world testing at a trade fair, with less-than-optimal atmospheric conditions, 3Gbps becomes 500Mbps — still pretty darn fast.

Visible light communication has a slew of advantages. In essence, LiFi can turn any LED lamp into a network connection. LiFi, by virtue of operating at such high frequencies (hundreds of terahertz), is well beyond the sticky tentacles of the wireless spectrum crunch and regulatory licensing. For the same reason, LiFi can be used in areas where there’s extensive RF noise (conventions, trade fairs), or where RF noise is generally prohibited (hospitals, airplanes). The Fraunhofer researchers even claim that VLC improves privacy, because your signal can be easily obscured from prying eyes with opaque materials — but as you can imagine, that’s also a tick in the “con” column as well.

Moving forward, we’re still waiting for the first commercial LiFi LED bulbs and LiFi-equipped laptops/smartphones to come to market. There are a few startups that are making headway, and numerous research groups, but no one seems to have a definitive roadmap for commercial products. With so many possible uses, from street lamp-to-car communications through to ultra-fast short-range communications, and the growing maturity of LED lighting, it’s really just a matter of time until LiFi becomes a reality.

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Source: Extreme Tech

Another, New iOS Lock Screen Vulnerability Uncovered

Hot on the heels of a vulnerability that gave snoopers the ability to bypass the iPhone’s passcode in iOS 6 and make calls, view and modify contacts, and even access to photos via the Contacts app, is a new one that allows the entire contents of the handset to by synced with iTunes.

“The vulnerability is located in the main login module of the mobile iOS device [applies to iPhone or iPad] when processing to use the screenshot function in combination with the emergency call and power button,” said Vulnerability Lab, who initially discovered the flaw.

The vulnerability allows anyone with physical access to the iOS device the ability to easily bypass the passcode lock and use  a USB cable to get access to the data stored on the iPhone or iPad from a Mac or PC.

Below is a video demonstrating the vulnerability.

This is a very serious vulnerability indeed, as it means that someone could get access to data stored on an iOS device without leaving a trace. While home users might not like the idea of family and friends snooping through their data, it’s businesses who use iPhones and iPads that need to be really worried. This vulnerability means that storing sensitive information on an iOS 6 is not a good idea, and additional steps need to be taken to protect the data.

Source: Forbes

Homeland Security Approves Their Right To Search and Seize Your Electronics Without Suspicion

Four years ago, Agnieszka Gaczkowska, a 29-year-old doctor and entrepreneur from Poland, was travelling through Detroit’s airport on her way to Boston when her bag was selected for random inspection.  The inspection officer asked her if she had any documents with her. Exhausted after a long journey, she replied that she did not, forgetting that she had put a few outstanding bills in one of her textbooks.

Suddenly, she found herself in serious trouble. The inspection officer found the bills and accused her of “lying to a federal officer.” They held her for two hours as she was interrogated about the details of her life. The officer ordered her to turn her phone on, and then proceeded to read her e-mails, texts, and Facebook messages without her permission.  She was shocked. Eventually, Gaczkowska was released, but she wondered if this was a common practice.

As it turns out – it is; thousands of people every year face a similar situation.  Our government agencies have allowed themselves the right to search and seize your electronic devices with stunning impunity.

Just two weeks ago, the Department of Homeland Security quietly released a strangely worded document reaffirming their own right to search and seize your electronics without suspicion or cause, anywhere along the United States border (which they define as 100 miles in from the border – an area twice as long as Rhode Island).  In reality, this is nothing new, Homeland Security been doing this since at least 2009; That’s when Secretary Napolitano put her stamp on the Bush-era practice, and promised an impact assessment within 120 days. Over two years later, it’s finally here, and it is nothing more than a poorly written press release.

Having a government official force their way into your laptop is fundamentally different from having them inspect your suitcase.  Our hard drives contain personal correspondence, intimate details, deep logs of our activities, and sensitive financial or medical information.  Yet we still give this less legal privacy protection than a sealed envelope with a stamp on it.

For now, the business community has figured out a way around having the government search and confiscate devices with company secrets – give their employees blank laptops, and put the important information in the cloud. This subject is much bigger than how Homeland Security does its job. There is a deeper issue here that is not going away any time soon: our electronics, and the data they hold, have become extensions of who we are.

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution already provides us with protection against unreasonable search and seizures for people in their “persons, houses, papers, and effects” – is it time that we add “data” to this list?

The way in which we go about answering this question will have enormous ramifications for our entire legal system. Courts around the country are struggling to decide how to balance security with privacy.  From school to the workplace, this question is popping up in different ways almost every day.

In the meantime, the government has accelerated their pursuit of our digital breadcrumbs. In 2011, mobile companies received a staggering 1.3 million law enforcement requests for data, including text messages and location information. It has been over 25 years since Ronald Reagan signed sweeping digital privacy protections into law. In today’s world of cloud computing and ubiquitous screens, these protections are horribly inadequate. We should not have to continue to rely on protections passed in an age where the Internet was a military project and the personal computer was just becoming a common thing.

Eventually, the Supreme Court will have to step in to settle the issue, and they are not exactly known for their technological expertise.  It might not be long before we are asked at the airport whether we packed our own devices, if we were asked to bring anyone else’s files, and if we know if anyone has placed any data on our devices without our knowledge.  At least then, it might seem polite; for now, they don’t even have to bother with the questions.

Source: Forbes

Cisco: Average North American Mobile User to Consume 6 GB/Month in 2017

Mobile subscribers in North America and the Asia-Pacific region will be the drivers of a 13-fold growth rate in global mobile data traffic from 2012 – 2017, according to a new report from Cisco Systems.

Cisco’s latest Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast report indicates that North American mobile subscribers will continue to consume the most data per subscriber per month of anyone else in the world. However, subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region will account for 47.1 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2017, up from 35 percent in 2012–making the Asia-Pacific region the largest in terms of data consumption. 

Cisco’s annual report is widely cited every year by carriers and vendors alike as a key benchmark for measuring and predicting data traffic, and also as a data point to justify calls for network investment, traffic management technologies and more spectrum.

The report, Cisco’s sixth such one, estimates that over the next five years mobile data traffic will reach 11.2 exabytes–a billion gigabytes–per month. According to the forecast, in 2017 the average mobile subscriber worldwide will use 2 GB of data per month, up from around 200 MB in 2012, and they will consume around 10 hours of video per month, up from one hour in 2012.

Cisco’s projected growth rate is slower than it had forecasted last year. Last year Cisco said mobile data traffic will grow 18 times between 2011 and 2016 to 10.8 exabytes per month. Now Cisco thinks traffic will hit 7.4 exabytes per month in 2016.

Arielle Sumits, principal analyst for Cisco’s VNI Forecast, told FierceWireless that Cisco decided to take a more conservative approach in forecasting the growth rate of data from laptops connected to cellular networks. “It’s normal to see a little bit of the tapering in the growth rate over time,” she said. 

Sumits said that Cisco “started to see this year, more than other years, a regional divergence” in mobile data traffic growth. North America, for instance, will see a dramatic increase in average mobile data usage per subscriber per month, the report predicts, going from an average of 752 MB per month in 2012 to 6 GB per month in 2017. Subscribers in Asia-Pacific will jump from using an average of 136 MB per month in 2012 to around 1.75 GB per month in 2017.

Subscribers in other regions will see similar jumps: in Western Europe subscribers will go from using 491 MB per month on average to 3.26 GB; in Latin America the growth will be from an average of 122 MB per month to 1.3 GB; in Central and Eastern Europe from 200 MB per month on average to 2.27 GB; and in the Middle East and Africa from just 73 MB per month on average to 990 MB per month.

However, the sheer volume of growth in Asia-Pacific will dwarf other regions, according to the VNI forecast. The forecast predicts that the number of mobile subscribers in the region will grow by 600 million from 2012 to 2017, up from 2.2 billion to 2.8 billion. The number of mobile devices and connections in the region will skyrocket from 3.47 billion to 5.24 billion. In North America, the growth will be much slower: The number of mobile users will climb from 288 million in 2012 to 316 million in 2017, and the number of devices and connections will jump from 459 million in 2012 to 841 million.

What will be driving this traffic growth? In North America, smartphones’ share of total data traffic will inch up slightly from 49 percent in 2012 to 52 percent in 2017, according to Cisco. Traffic from laptops will drop dramatically from 40 percent of all traffic in 2012 to just 13 percent in 2017. Tablet traffic will climb from 6.8 percent in 2012 to 28.3 percent in 2017 as shared data plans encourage more tablet adoption. Traffic from machine-to-machine applications will grow from 2.6 percent in 2012 to 6.6 percent in 2017.

In Asia-Pacific, the picture is different. There, smartphones are expected to make up the lion’s share of total data traffic over time as adoption increases and smartphone prices come down. Cisco forecasts that smartphones will make up 78 percent of all data traffic in the region in 2017, up from 46 percent in 2012. As in North America, traffic from laptops will drop, from 42 percent in 2012 to 11 percent in 2017. Tablets and M2M traffic will only make up 5.1 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, of data traffic in the region in 2017, Cisco estimates.

One other notable aspect of the report is its take on the growth of LTE through 2017. Cisco predicts the number of 4G connections worldwide will steadily rise from 60.4 million in 2012 to 135.2 million in 2013 and up to around 992 million in 2017. That forecast is more conservative than a recent forecast from IHS iSuppli on LTE subscriber growth.

Cisco found that in 2012 only 1 percent of global connections were 4G but that 1 percent drove 14 percent of all global mobile data traffic. By 2017, 4G connections will represent 10 percent of global connections but will generate 45 percent of the data traffic. “That’s a huge jump,” said Thomas Barnett, director of service provider marketing at Cisco.

Press Release

Source: FierceWireless

Turn Your iPad Mini Into A Dashboard Console

An F150 Forums user who goes by 2011SuperCrew, found a fantastic use for the small 7.9 inch touchscreen on the iPad mini. As an in dash display that serves as an entertainment system in a way, similar to the Google Nexus 7 that was made into the entertainment system in a Dodge Ram, the iPad Mini relies on the apps available on the tablet.

The most important part of this project is the frame to mount the iPad Mini in the right place. This required some careful measuring of both the iPad Mini and the width of the car’s dashboard, particularly the area just above the CD player where the iPad is located.

Interestingly, 2011SuperCrew started the project before he even owned an iPad Mini, so he used a wireframe template that’s available online.

2011SuperCrew had to completely gut his truck’s stereo control console. He then made his frame by cutting holes in the original dash, then applying body filler. He added a home button and after sanding and painting the frame, he attached his iPad Mini to the frame and placed the entire assembly in his truck.

The iPad draws power from a Lightning connector attached to the stereo system and 2011SuperCrew uses a MiFi hotspot to enable Wi-Fi connectivity to his truck. The rest of the features used on the iPad Mini simply rely on the apps installed on the tablet.

Via: Tech Hive

According to The CEA: Spending on Consumer Electronics Will Climb to $1.1 Trillion in 2013

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, worldwide spending on consumer gadgets will reach $1.1 trillion in 2013.

The CEA, which organizes the Consumer Electronics Show, said global consumer spending on electronics will grow 4% over 2012 after having dipped roughly 1% last year. The estimate comes from Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis for the CEA, and he believes mobile computers, smartphones and tablets will be responsible for more than half of global spending on consumer electronics this year.

Koenig warned that the uncertain European economy could have a negative impact on his forecast, however, and tax changes in the U.S. could hurt consumer spending as well.

Source: BGR