Cheap computing power, paired with ubiquitous connectivity in nearly every corner of the world, is creating a global, intelligent fabric of network services and applications that will transform the way we live over the next three to five years.
That’s according to Stafford Masie, technology entrepreneur and Co-Founder of a content and cloud enabling company with SEACOM. He says that the Internet is rapidly evolving into a Sensory Membrane of Ubiquitous Real-time Federated Subsystems (Smurfs) that delivers rich services and applications that were the stuff of science-fiction just a decade ago.
“A range of technologies are maturing and meshing together into a rich network that already has immense capabilities. Just think about doing a Google search on your phone. The device does none of the processing, yet you have access to a wealth of information within a few seconds of starting the search,” says Masie.
Within the next 18 to 36 months, we can expect to see a range of machine to machine applications as well the growth of big data completely change users’ expectations of what the global network can do for them.
So what exactly is this “Smurf” village he is talking about?
The PC world has officially gotten Ultrabook fever – machines with ultra low voltage processors, solid state storage and super sleek bodies, all made in a similiar style to Apple’s Macbook Air. The first ones were not especially great, but recent offerings are indeed looking better and better. But HP‘s latest Ultrabook now ships with Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge line of processors, and a more feature rich set of ports than Apple’s offering.
Measuring in at 14.5 mm, the machine is indeed very thin – but HP also gave it a USB 3.0 port, an Ethernet port, HDMI port and a Kensington lock – all things the Macbook Air lacks. The new more efficient processor also enables the Envy Spectre XT to reach 8 hours of battery life, which still needs to be proved in reviews.
The display is a 13.3 inch size, with a 1366 x 768 resolution. The US price is $999, so HP is firmly going after Apple’s new favourite notebook with this one. Like all ultrabooks the memory cannot be upgraded, so professionals who need massive amounts of RAM will still stay away.
Cape Town based travel technology company Tourism Radio that brought us its travel application for mobile phones Hummba, has teamed up with Frommer’s Unlimited to provide local travel information for mobile audio guides.
The new partnership aims to revolutionise the world of mobile travel guides by providing intelligent city guides for a fulfilling travel experience.
Tourism Radio’s technology will see it seamlessly integrate its audio clips with Frommer’s travel content that will automatically play when a user enters their specific location. Why Frommer’s? Well, for one thing, the company has been providing reliable and comprehensive travel guides for over 50 years.
The initial partnership launch will see the release of audio and text travel guides to a number of popular travel destinations including London, New York and Paris. Information at these destinations will include Frommer’s recommended restaurants, tourist attractions, hotels and night life spots. Information will also provide insight into how to experience each city as a local, where to find the best deals and how to travel safely and conveniently.
The guides can be downloaded as standalone applications for Android and iPhone or accessed through Hummba, currently available for Android and iOS devices with BlackBerry and Nokia versions coming soon.
Did you ever think that a vehicle that doesn’t require an actual driver, would be granted a license? Well, according to the State of Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Google’s self-driving car has been deemed safe enough to be granted a license in order to begin tests on public roads.
This makes it not only legal for the self-driving Prius to be on the public roads, but a first for the United States. Nevada was also the first state to pass a law making self-driving cars legal with Bills having been introduced in Hawaii, California, Florida and Oklahoma.
Google’s innovation uses a combination of GPS and artificial intelligence to drive itself with very little assistance from a human. A laser radar on the roof, can detect people, other cars and obstacles on the road in order to drive safely and to avoid any collisions. The computer screen inside the car picks up and displays traffic lights, planned routes and other potential hazards.
The Nevada DMV having issued the license is on condition that there be two people inside the vehicle while in operation, at all times - one in the driver’s seat and the other monitoring the car’s computer screen that shows its planned route and other obstacles.
Based on information received from a source, Cult of Mac has reported that the individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, has claimed to have seen a prototype of the Apple HD Television.
In terms of size, the much anticipated HDTV apparently resembles that of Apple’s current LED-backlit Cinema Display monitor but is “much larger”.
The Apple TV can make FaceTime calls using the built-in iSight camera with facial recognition and the ability to zoom in on a subject’s face and follow him or her around the room. This also means that the subject isn’t required to sit directly in front of the camera and can chat while moving around.
Calls are also apparently initiated by Siri, the virtual assistant, which the source claims Apple used to make the call on the television. In addition, the TV uses AirPlay which enables the streaming of music and movies from an iPad, iPhone or Mac.
Because the product seen was in prototype form it is likely that the details above could be incorrect and are merely experiments in the early stages of development. We will just have to wait and see.
Based on the information provided, a mock-up of what the Apple HDTV could look like was created by Dan Draper of Dan Draper Design that includes, a front view, side view and wall-mounted side view.
As far as a launch date goes, that still remains unknown, however back in December 2011, Apple analyst Gene Munster commented only that the Apple TV was likely to be launched in 2012.
With the unofficial launch of FNB’s new GeoPayment app yesterday, Mxit has hit back with a geo-fenced mobile payment application of their own.
The application is called Gust and a Beta version is expected to be ready in June. While Gust runs on iPhones for the mobile phone user, the merchant side runs on an iPad.
This is how it works: When two devices are close to each other the merchant can request a payment from the mobile phone user. Unlike other payment systems which use geo-fencing logic, Gust does not need a GPS device or even a GSM connection.
Rather, Gust simply uses wi-fi, your name and your photo to make a payment with devices on the same wifi network, discovering each other using that basic information. With all communication occurring over the wifi network, the payment process is very fast.
News has recently broken of a new feature that First National Bank (FNB) will add to its FNB Banking App for iOS and Android powered devices. The news of the ‘geo-payments’ application leaked into its mobile app, 48 hours before its official launch on 9th May.
Once the news broke, FNB CEO Michael Jordaan posted the following tweet:
The news of #FNBGeopay broke sooner than expected. Only 48 hours till we reveal all.
— Michael Jordaan (@MichaelJordaan) May 7, 2012
If the new 3rd generation iPad’s pricing is a bit too high for your liking, the iPad 2 is still available (see our review here), and is still a very good deal. Even though it is only available in 16GB capacity, the $400 price tag is good enough to keep the competition at bay.
But Apple has not simply taken the “old” iPad 2 and decreased the price – they are actually using a new, more efficient chip design in the “new old iPad 2″. While the exterior looks exactly the same, the built in Apple A5 processor is built on a new, more efficient 32nm manufacturing process, which has significantly increased battery life. The actual chip is smaller, but still contains the exact same number of transistors, but it needs less electricity to keep going.
This means that the “new” iPad 2 gives around 20% better battery life, depending on the task at hand. In fact, Anandtech found that the newer processor of the iPad 2,4 (as its official codename is called) runs 720p video at a full 15 hours, compared to 13 hours for the previous iPad 2. Just for interest’s sake – the iPad 3rd generation can “only” hit 11 hours.