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Intel

Submission + - Intel and Micron Unveil 128Gb 20nm NAND Flash (arstechnica.com)

ScuttleMonkey writes: "A joint venture between Intel and Micron has given rise to a new 128Gb die. While production wont start until next year and distribution mostly likely not until 2013, this little beauty sets new bars for capacity, speed, and endurance. "Die shrinks also tend to reduce endurance, with old 65 m MLC flash being rated at 5,000-10,000 erase cycles, but that number dropping to 3,000-5,000 for 25nm MLC flash. However, IMFT is claiming that the shrink to 20nm has not caused any corresponding reduction in endurance. Its 20nm flash uses a Hi-K/metal gate design which allows it to make transistors that are smaller but no less robust. IMFT is claiming that this use of Hi-K/metal gate is a first for NAND flash production.""
Communications

Bluetooth 4.0 Devices To Make the Scene Later This Year 48

Engadget is reporting that new Bluetooth 4.0 devices could be hitting the scene later this year, and it looks like Bluetooth low energy has been added to the spec. "But don't expect any dramatic changes in battery life for most of your gadgets: while the low energy spec introduces connectivity to a host of lower-power devices that have in the past relied on proprietary technology (such as watches, pedometers, and cats), your traditional Bluetooth devices, such as phones and laptops, will consume roughly the same amount of power. Indeed, the low energy spec is merely throwing smaller devices (with smaller amounts of data to transfer) in to the mix: if you want Trans-Siberian Orchestra to sound as glorious as ever on your wireless headphones, you'll need to push as much data (and hence draw as much power) with version 4 as you would with version 3."
Microsoft

Microsoft "Courier" Pictures 230

tekgoblin writes to let us know that Gizmodo has some early shots of the new prototype "Courier" booklet (foldable tablet) on the way from Microsoft. "Courier is a real device, and we've heard that it's in the 'late prototype' stage of development. It's not a tablet, it's a booklet. The dual 7-inch (or so) screens are multitouch, and designed for writing, flicking and drawing with a stylus, in addition to fingers. They're connected by a hinge that holds a single iPhone-esque home button. Statuses, like wireless signal and battery life, are displayed along the rim of one of the screens. On the back cover is a camera, and it might charge through an inductive pad, like the Palm Touchstone charging dock for Pre."
Hardware

New Heat-Reduced Magnetic Solder Could Revolutionize Chip Design 103

A new heat-reduced soldering technique using magnets may lead to some revolutionary changes in the way chips are manufactured. Details are scant since the inventor seems to be playing it close to the vest for now in hopes of attracting chipmaker interest. "The result is a tin-silver alloy that contains a dispersion of iron particles tens of micrometers in diameter. When a magnetic field is applied to the solders, two things happen. First, the iron particles heat up, locally melting the solder. This localized heating, which works on the same principle as inductive stoves, remains completely contained, keeping the surrounding area cool. And second, the iron particles line up with the direction of the magnetic field, squeezing and pushing the liquid in that direction. This alignment is retained when the solder solidifies, and the well-ordered particles provide mechanical reinforcement that's greater than that afforded by a regular dispersion of particles."
Portables

Asus Takes Another Stab at Revolutionizing Netbook Market 162

Perhaps most well known for their netbook innovations with the Eee PC, Asus is at it again with their latest rollout at CeBIT Germany. The "Waveface Light," a new concept laptop, can be used as a conventional laptop or converted to a tablet by removing the keyboard and opening it to a completely flat position. Sounds like either a stroke of genius or a "small widget broke and now it's worthless" design issue.
Government

US Government Begins Largest IT Consolidation in History 283

miller60 writes "Saying 1,100 data centers is too many, the federal government has begun what looms as the largest IT consolidation in history. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has directed federal agencies to inventory their assets by April 30 and prepare a plan to reduce the number of servers and data centers, with a focus on slashing energy costs (full memo). Kundra says some applications may be shifted to cloud computing platforms customized for government use."
Cellphones

LG's Windows Phone 7 Series Early Prototype 103

suraj.sun writes to tell us that Engadget got an early look at the new Windows Phone 7 series early prototype (and included a video). "The QWERTY slider is the first branded Windows Phone 7 Series device the world's ever seen, and while the hardware and software are both obviously early, we can tell you a few things about it: it's just a hair thicker than an iPhone or Nexus One, there are dedicated hardware camera, volume, and power buttons in addition to the back, home, and search buttons dictated by Windows Phone 7 Series, and we noticed a five megapixel camera with a flash on the back, along with a headphone jack. Can't say much apart from that right now, since things are so early and everything is subject to change, but things are certainly moving along."
Communications

LG Launches Watch Phone In India 109

roh2cool writes "If you are a watch freak and also happen to be a fan of ultra rare (and expensive) gadgets, this might just interest you. The LG GD910 watch phone looks like a normal watch – except for the fact that it can double up as your mobile phone when needed. 'It is quite thin at just 13.9mm and packs in 3G and Video Calling capabilities as well. The phone is quite stylish and the front fascia is covered by scratch-proof tempered glass. It comes with a Bluetooth headset so you don’t have to keep talking like David Hasselhoff talked to his super-car KITT in the “Knight Rider” series.'"
Data Storage

Exploring Advanced Format Hard Drive Technology 165

MojoKid writes "Hard drive capacities are sometimes broken down by the number of platters and the size of each. The first 1TB drives, for example, used five 200GB platters; current-generation 1TB drives use two 500GB platters. These values, however, only refer to the accessible storage capacity, not the total size of the platter itself. Invisible to the end-user, additional capacity is used to store positional information and for ECC. The latest Advanced Format hard drive technology changes a hard drive's sector size from 512 bytes to 4096 bytes. This allows the ECC data to be stored more efficiently. Advanced Format drives emulate a 512 byte sector size, to keep backwards compatibility intact, by mapping eight logical 512 byte sectors to a single physical sector. Unfortunately, this creates a problem for Windows XP users. The good news is, Western Digital has already solved the problem and HotHardware offers some insight into the technology and how it performs."
Technology

MIT's Flyfire To Paint Images In the Sky Using Micro-Helicopters 65

@engadget mentions that a new project dubbed "Flyfire" at MIT is looking to launch a fleet of LED-equipped micro-helicopters and coordinate them in synchrony to create massive floating images. "By using LED-equipped drones the project pledges to build free-floating 3D displays, endowing them with enough smarts and positional awareness to organize themselves into an airborne canvas. It sounds deliciously exciting and challenging."
United Kingdom

New Linux-Based Laptop For Computer Newbies 198

Smivs writes "The BBC is carrying a report on how people confused and frustrated by computers can now turn to a laptop called Alex built just for them. Based on Linux, the laptop comes with simplified e-mail, web browsing, image editing and office software. Those who sign up for Alex pay £39.95 a month for telephone support, software updates and broadband access. The Newcastle-Based Broadband Computer Company who developed Alex has been working on this project for three years, and didn't immediately adopt a Linux solution — in fact, the first big trial was based on Windows. The company's Chief Technology Officer Barney Morrison-Lyons says that was never going to be the right route: 'The biggest problem with Microsoft is badly-written software — the operating system allows you to write software badly unlike Mac or Linux.' Mr. Hudson, one of the company's founders, said the company also intends to launch an application store for Alex for customers who want to add more features and functions to their computer. 'People who love Linux will be keen to develop for this,' he said."
Power

Trash-To-Fuel Process Validated By US Military 64

An anonymous reader writes "After going through all kinds of grief, including being shut down by the Washington State Ecology Department, classifying them as an 'incinerator,' it looks like Green Power Inc is finally ready to shine. The Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marines, in a joint effort, validated their technology in November, and the results are now being published for the first time. For every 100 tons of municipal solid waste feedstock processed each day, the plant produces 1240 gallons of Naphtha, 3700 gallons of Kerosene, 6900 gallons of Diesel and 3000 gallons of Fuel Oil. And even the ash can be used for cement or asphalt. They generate 1 MW of electricity to sell to the grid 24/7, running three shifts per day to keep the plant going, employing approximately five people per shift. Sticker price is $25 million. ROI, 3.5 years. Maybe with this announcement, the trend of no sales in the US will change, compared to the 72 foreign contracts backed by letters of credit."
Data Storage

A Look Under Western Digital's Hood 131

Tom's Hardware got a rare opportunity to explore the Western Digital campus and show us what goes on under the hood of one of the favorites in storage tech. "When you buy a car, you look under the hood. Given the critical importance of hard disk storage in all of our lives, we thought you might want a peek under that hood, too. Now that Western Digital is in the business of breaking new capacity records (the latest Caviar Green was the first drive to hit 2TB, for example), we jumped at the chance to take a first-ever, unrestricted tour of its California R&D facilities. This is the place where magnetic technology of the 1950s meets the nano- and quantum-level technologies of the current decade."
Data Storage

Submission + - A Look Under Western Digital's Hood (tomshardware.com)

ScuttleMonkey writes: "Tom's Hardware got a rare opportunity to explore the Western Digital campus and show us what goes on under the hood of one of the favorites in storage tech. "When you buy a car, you look under the hood. Given the critical importance of hard disk storage in all of our lives, we thought you might want a peek under that hood, too. Now that Western Digital is in the business of breaking new capacity records (the latest Caviar Green was the first drive to hit 2TB, for example), we jumped at the chance to take a first-ever, unrestricted tour of its California R&D facilities. This is the place where magnetic technology of the 1950s meets the nano- and quantum-level technologies of the current decade.""
Communications

Google Shooting For Smartphone Universal Translator 178

nikki4 writes to tell us that in giving some major improvement tweaks to its existing voice recognition tool for the Smartphone, Google is aiming for new translator software that will provide instant translation of foreign languages. "The company has already created an automatic system for translating text on computers, which is being honed by scanning millions of multi-lingual websites and documents. So far it covers 52 languages, adding Haitian Creole last week. Google also has a voice recognition system that enables phone users to conduct web searches by speaking commands into their phones rather than typing them in. Now it is working on combining the two technologies to produce software capable of understanding a caller’s voice and translating it into a synthetic equivalent in a foreign language."

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