Video game maker Nintendo Co Ltd will develop a device to monitor a user’s fatigue and map their sleep, Chief Executive Satoru Iwata said on Thursday, the first offering from the company’s newly created healthcare division.
The device will be co-created with U.S. firm ResMed Inc, which currently makes products to treat sleep disorders, and will be available in the financial year ending March 2016.
“By using our know-how in gaming… to analyse sleep and fatigue, we can create something fun,” Iwata said.
Nintendo, better known for its Mario video game franchise and Wii and Wii U consoles, has said it expects its healthcare division to turn a profit in 2015/2016. The company already offers fitness games on its Wii console, played with a motion sensor controller.
According to an image Iwata shared at a media conference, the device will be about the size of a hand and can be placed on a user’s bedside table. It will use microwave transmission sensors to track sleep, with the data collected used to help users cultivate healthy sleeping habits.
Iwata refused to discuss the company’s sales expectations for the new device beyond saying that it may be offered via a subscription service rather than a one-off purchase.
“We only start something new if we think we will be able to create a big market, but as I’m not able to discuss pricing plans and other details today I don’t think there’s much point in giving a figure for our projected scale,” he said.
The device was launched a day after Nintendo reported an unexpected quarterly profit, after hit games gave a boost to sales of its Wii U console.
China’s Xiaomi Inc has nudged it’s way into being the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor just three years after first hitting the market, trailing only Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc, according to a new industry study.
Strategy Analytics said Xiaomi accounted for 6 percent of all 320 million smartphones shipped during July-September. Samsung made up 25 percent, down from 35 percent a year earlier due to rising competition from several directions.
Apple’s share also fell slightly to 12 percent.
“Xiaomi was the star performer,” Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston said in a statement.
“Samsung continues to face tough competition from Apple at the higher-end of the smartphone market, from Xiaomi and Huawei in the middle-tiers, and from Lenovo and others at the entry-level.”
Xiaomi has been the top seller in its home market of China and recently entered India, where it sells phones exclusively through e-commerce site Flipkart.
Vice President Hugo Barra told Reuters in Bangalore last month that the company aimed to sell 100,000 phones a week in India in October when the country celebrates Diwali.
Microsoft will rollout mobile device management (MDM) capabilities to Office 365 in 2015, making it easier for firms to manage corporate data across a range of mobile devices, including those running iOS and Android as well as Windows.
Microsoft unveiled the updates coming to its Office 365 cloud-delivered productivity suite in 2015 at its TechEd Europe conference.
These will enable customers to apply security policies against devices that connect to Office 365 to ensure that email and documents can be accessed only by approved devices, plus the ability to remotely wipe Office 365 data if necessary.
Julia White, Microsoft general manager for Office 365, said that the updates will enable customers to offer “conditional access” to Office documents and email, such as ensuring that any device used by employees has not been jailbroken or rooted, which could potentially pose a security risk.
Administrators will be able to set policies directly from the Office 365 administration portal, and enforce the use of a Pin to secure access to the device. Any wipe of Office 365 content will not affect the user’s personal data, White added.
These MDM features coming to Office 365 are actually powered by Microsoft’s Intune cloud-based management service and are a subset of Intune’s capabilities, the firm disclosed.
Intune itself is also getting some upgrades that will enable customers to benefit from additional security features if they also subscribe to Intune.
These will include data leak prevention measures that enable policies to be applied against managed applications, preventing users from copying and pasting data from an Office 365 app to another, for example, or copying files from Office 365 to elsewhere on the device.
While these capabilities are built in to Office 365, Microsoft will also enable this to be extended to other applications using Intune app wrapper functionality, White said.
White also confirmed that Microsoft is working on an Android version of the Office for iPad suite of mobile productivity tools that the firm announced for Apple’s tablet platform earlier this year.
Microsoft’s Office announcement comes amid speculation that the firm will release Office for Android next month.
After releasing a string of AAA console titles to varying levels of commercial success, the UK-based studio is attempting to establish what it describes as a “third way” of making games – one that falls somewhere between what we have traditionally called AAA and Indie. Smaller scale, lower cost, with no sacrifices made in terms of creative risks and quality of execution.
“We’re taking our work on Hellblade as an opportunity to question the way the games industry has always done things,” said product development manager Dominic Matthews in a recent developer diary. “To see if there’s a better way, a more streamlined way. To create amazing quality on a smaller budget.”
As a result, Hellblade has a core team of 12 people, with a single person working in the majority of discipline areas. Ninja Theory is committed to finding affordable or homebrew alternatives to the high-end processes associated with its previous games – the performance capture used in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, for example – but its sales target will remain eminently achievable: between 200,000 and 300,000 units.
“[Hellblade] is about what we feel passionate about, what we’re good at, and what we think our fans and supporters want from a game,” said Tameem Antoniades, Ninja Theory’s co-founder. “But it comes at a price. We have to self-fund this game, and we have to work within the restrictions that that means for us.”
Microsoft Corp introduced a device called “MicrosoftBand” that will allow users to monitor their fitness and exercise regime, marking the world’s largest software company’s foray into the wearable technology market.
The wrist-worn device has sensors that monitor pulse rate, measure calorie burn and track sleep quality, Microsoft said in a blog post. Microsoft said the device will be available in the United States in limited quantities from Thursday for $199.
Apple Inc unveiled a smart watch on Sept. 9 that will combine health and fitness tracking with communications and will go on sale in early 2015, while Samsung Electronics Co unveiled its Galaxy Gear smart watch in September 2013. The Apple Watch will be priced at $349.
Microsoft also launched a health app called “Microsoft Health” that includes a cloud service for users to store and combine health and fitness data.
The Microsoft Health app will collect data from the fitness band and will work on iPhones and Android smartphones, as well as its own Windows Phone.
ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley first reported on comments made by Julia White, general manager of marketing for Office and Office 365, at Microsoft’s Tech Ed Europe conference in Barcelona.
According to Foley, White said that the next version of Office on Windows would launch in the last half of next year, a broad timetable that was different from previous speculation, which had focused on the first half of 2015, perhaps as early as April.
During the end of a guest spot Tuesday on Channel 9, Microsoft’s online television channel, White did not specify the second half of the year, saying only “later in 2015.” But she did mention that the next version of Office would go through Microsoft’s typical testing process, including TAP (Technology Adoption Program) and a beta, with the latter presumably available to the general public.
TAP builds are pre-beta, and restricted to an invite-only group that’s usually composed of Microsoft’s larger corporate customers.
Microsoft confirmed that White’s comments were accurate as reported.
If Microsoft makes its target of the second half of next year, the upgrade would be on the same schedule as the last several editions, which have been released about two-and-a-half-years apart. Office 2013, for example, reached what Microsoft calls “general availability” in January 2013, while Office 2010 and Office 2007 made that milestone in June 2010 and January 2007, respectively.
The next office, code named Office 16, would carry the official label of Office 2016 if Microsoft follows convention.
Andrew Conrad, head of the Google X research lab’s Life Sciences Team, told the WSJ.D Live conference that the particles can be directed toward different parts of the body by applying wearable magnetic devices to the skin.
The wearable would be able to count the particles and possibly compile information about what potential medical conditions they detected.
“Nanoparticles are the nexus between biology and engineering,” Conrad said in an interview at the conference, which was excerpted in a video. “We can make these nanoparticles behave in ways that we want them to do.”
The so-called Nanoparticle Platform comes in the form of pills that are covered with “antibodies or molecules that detect other molecules,” he added.
The particles would be less than one-thousandth the size of a red blood cell and would attach to molecules, proteins and cells in the body. The nanoparticles could help detect arterial plaque or high sodium levels, and might replace standard blood tests to detect early signs of disease, according to Conrad.
Conrad said Google would license the technology to other companies and it would not be responsible for managing information collected through nanoparticle monitoring.
Implementing the nanoparticles could take more than five years, The Wall Street Journal said in reporting the interview with Conrad.
The game might be inspired by a lot of games, but the basic idea is that you are the leader of a Stone Age tribe and you have guide your tribe through civilization and human history. The ability exists for you to form alliances, trade with friends, and raid your enemies.
Reynolds has not said what is next for the new Big Huge Games, but if DomiNations is successful, it could fund more complex projects for console or PC according to our sources.
Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) has warned that industrial control systems (ICS) in the US have been compromised by the BlackEnergy malware for at least two years.
The BlackEnergy family of malware is believed to be the same used in the cyber attack against Georgia in 2008.
It uses a malicious decoy document to hide its activities, making it easier for the hackers to mount follow-up attacks.
US-CERT said the malware campaign is sophisticated and “ongoing”, and attackers taking advantage of it have compromised unnamed ICS operators, planting it on internet-facing human machine interfaces (HMI) including those from GE Cimplicity, Advantech/Broadwin WebAccess, and Siemens WinCC.
It is currently unknown whether other vendors’ products have also been targeted, according to US-CERT.
“At this time, Industrial Control Systems-CERT has not identified any attempts to damage, modify or otherwise disrupt the victim systems’ control processes,” said the team in an alert.
“ICS-CERT has not been able to verify if the intruders expanded access beyond the compromised HMI into the remainder of the underlying control system.
“However, typical malware deployments have included modules that search out any network-connected file shares and removable media for additional lateral movement within the affected environment.”
US-CERT describes the malware as “highly modular”, and said that not all functionality is deployed to all victims.
An analysis run by the team identified the probable initial infection vector for systems running GE’s Cimplicity HMI with a direct connection to the internet.
“Analysis of victim system artefacts has determined that the actors have been exploiting a vulnerability (CVE-2014-0751) in GE’s Cimplicity HMI product since at least January 2012,” the alert read.
On Monday, US-CERT also warned of attacks spreading the Dyre banking malware, which steals victims’ credentials.
The department said that, since mid-October, a phishing campaign had targeted “a wide variety of recipients”, but elements, such as the exploits, email themes, and claimed senders of the campaign, “vary from target to target”.
“A system infected with Dyre banking malware will attempt to harvest credentials for online services, including banking services,” the alert warned.
In a celestial surprise, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has identified a cloud of methane ice high in the stratosphere of Saturn’s huge moon Titan.
“The idea that methane clouds could form this high on Titan is completely new,” study lead author Carrie Anderson, a Cassini participating scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement. “Nobody considered that possible before.”
Anderson and her colleagues spotted the methane cloud hovering over Titan’s north pole in images taken by Cassini in December 2006, when it was winter in the moon’s northern hemisphere. (The north is now shifting from spring into summer.) [Amazing Photos: Titan, Saturn's Largest Moon]
Researchers had seen methane clouds on Titan before, but in the troposphere, the lowest part of the moon’s thick, nitrogen-rich atmosphere. While wispy clouds of ethane and several other materials have been observed in the stratosphere, this region had been regarded as not quite cold enough to support the existence of methane clouds. (Cloud formation requires colder temperatures at higher altitudes, because the air higher up contains less moisture, researchers said.)
This view was based on previous measurements taken just south of Titan’s equator, which returned stratospheric temperatures of around minus 333 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 203 degrees Celsius).
But more recent Cassini data show that the stratosphere is patchy, with temperatures as low as minus 344 F (minus 209 C) in places, researchers said. And those frigid patches are cold enough for methane ice particles to form.
The methane cloud likely formed when relatively warm air rose to the stratosphere from the surface of Titan’s southern hemisphere, where it was summer in December 2006, and then circulated up to the north polar region and sank back down, cooling as it went. Such a mechanism could produce methane clouds at altitudes ranging from 19 to 31 miles (30 to 50 kilometers), researchers said.
“Cassini has been steadily gathering evidence of this global circulation pattern, and the identification of this new methane cloud is another strong indicator that the process works the way we think it does,” said Michael Flasar, also of NASA Goddard, principal investigator for Cassini’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer instrument, in the statement.
Similar mechanisms are behind the formation of stratospheric clouds here on Earth, which is the only body in the solar system besides Titan known to possess bodies of stable liquid on its surface. Of course, Earth’s weather system is based on water rather than hydrocarbons.
“Titan continues to amaze with natural processes similar to those on the Earth, yet involving materials different from our familiar water,” said Cassini deputy project scientist Scott Edgington, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “As we approach southern winter solstice on Titan, we will further explore how these cloud formation processes might vary with season.”
IBM will help businesses predict trends in the marketplace and consumer sentiment about products and brands and will train 10,000 employees to consult businesses on the best use of Twitter data.
IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty has been trying to shift the 100-year-old company’s focus away from commoditized hardware to higher-value cloud and data analytics products.
In July, IBM announced a partnership with Apple Inc to offer iPads and iPhones loaded with applications geared toward enterprise clients.
“Here we are seeing an alignment of old tech and new tech companies. It is the second such deal that IBM has announced in the last couple months. They realize they don’t have all the answers and a lot of other companies have asset offerings that can be matched well,” said Scott Kessler, analyst at S&P Capital IQ in New York.
In April, Twitter acquired social data provider Gnip to burrow into the 500 million tweets sent daily on its network.
Enterprise clients will now be able to filter the data based on geography, public biographical information and the emotion expressed in the tweet.
The company previously allowed third-party companies such as Gnip, Datasift and Dataminr to buy access to tweets and re-sell that data to corporate clients.
That rate of growth is expected to increase each year over the next three years. By 2018, Gartner forecast shipments worldwide to top more than 2.4 million units.
The report points to the popularity of lower-cost, “plug-and-print” machines that require little or no technological knowledge to use. Users simply plug the machines into their desktops or laptops, upload 3D CAD images and hit “print.”
“As we noted last year, the 3D printer market is at an inflection point,” said Pete Basiliere, research vice president at Gartner. “Unit shipment growth rates for 3D printers, which languished in the low single and double digits per year throughout the 30 years since the first 3D printers were invented, are poised to increase dramatically beginning in 2015.”
As radical as the forecast numbers may seem, Basiliere noted that even the 2.4 million shipments Gartner expects to be sold in 2018 is still “a small fraction of the total potential market of consumers, businesses and government organizations worldwide.”
Gartner includes seven technologies in the 3D printer market that will propel growth, including the material extrusion products used to print objects. Two main thermoplastics dominate: PLA (Polylactic acid) and ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene).
The primary drivers for consumer-grade 3D printers include lower prices (below $1,000), improved performance and expanded global availability. The primary drivers for the enterprise 3D printer market are the viability of the technologies for rapid product prototyping and manufacturing coupled with lower 3D printer costs, improved quality and a wider range of materials, Gartner said.
The program, which will be marketed as Schwab Intelligent Portfolios to retail investors and independent investment advisers, will create portfolios of exchange-traded funds managed by Schwab and other providers.
In offering the service without management, transaction or account service fees, Schwab intends to be “disruptive” to competitors that have rapidly been introducing “rob o-adviser” platforms that charge fees of about 0.25 percent of money invested, Schwab officials said in a conference call with analysts and investors.
Reuters reported Schwab’s plan to introduce a free rob o-program on Oct. 3.
Schwab said it can make money through fees from managing and servicing underlying ETFs and from investing client cash in the portfolios. While the portfolios could draw investors who use conventional Schwab accounts or hire advisers who trade through Schwab, the company is not afraid of “cannibalizing” its own revenue, executives said.
The service will appeal primarily to Schwab’s traditional self-directed investors who do not want to use its fee-based advice programs, Chief Executive Walt Bettinger said.
He would not name specific competitors Schwab expects to undermine, but said they range from independent firms that offer only automated programs, to “wire houses,” a reference to large full-service firms such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS AG’s U.S. brokerage unit.
“This has the potential to create impact across the entire market,” Bettinger said.
WD announced that it will begin shipping larger capacity drives in its surveillance series.
The WD Purple range, launched in February, will now include a 6TB version designed for use in video surveillance environments.
WD Purple drives are capable of recording in groups of eight hard drives, monitoring a total of 32 high-definition camera feeds.
“Video surveillance has long been a pioneering Internet of Things application,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president and general manager of WD’s Storage Technology group.
“Driven by machine-to-machine interaction between high-resolution, high bit-rate video cameras and high-capacity surveillance video recorders, IoT brings access and big data analytics to improve users’ security. WD Purple 6TB drives enable innovation in this fast growing market.”
As well as the storage credentials, the firmware of the drives contains a few surprises. Allframe reduces video frame loss, improves playback and increases the number of drives supported. This is coupled with regular firmware updates that improve the quality and reliability of the playback.
Intelliseek analyses its environment to optimise searching speeds for the temperature, system resource workload and power consumption in a given situation, while reducing noise and vibration.
The 6TB version is shipping now at $300. It joins the existing range with capacities from 1TB to 5TB.
WD has had a busy year across its consumer and enterprise ranges, releasing the WD Red and WD Red Pro, the WD Ae range for cold storage, featuring incremental disc sizes, and most recently its first wireless addition to the decade-old My Passport range for consumers.
Nvidia Tegra TK1 is being shunned by major phone designers as if it were suffering from ebola, our industry sources have confirmed.
It looks like that 2013 is the year of Qualcomm and that every significant design win has Qualcomm processor inside.
Mediatek is trying the Tegra TK1with the entry level phones but they still have to prove themselves in the mainstream and high end phones that the European or USA phone market craves. They could get there in time, but didn’t manage it in 2013.
Tegra TK1 32-bit quad core managed a few design wins but none of them were in phones. Nvidia is using the chip for its own Jetson TK1 development board that gathered some nice revenues. There was also the Shield tablet, which was not eaten by Hydra, the Acer Chromebook 13, HP Chromebook 14, Lenovo ThinkVision 28 and the XiaoMi MiPad.
The XiaoMi tablet seems to be selling like hotcakes, although, since most of the sales are in China, the word hot cakes should probably be steamed pork buns. The XiaoMi tablet almost resembles Nexus 9 specification, if you look at it in the right light, but sells for half of its price. The Tegra TK1 64 bit, aka Denver, won a design award with the HTC Nexus 9 and this looks like it will sell in buckets. Nvidia also has Google Project Tango tablet, but this won’t sell in any serious numbers as this is more of a developer’s toy rather than a retail product.
However by the end of October 2014 there was no a single phone design win with Tegra K1 32-bit or 64-bit. Nvidia Tegra 4i Gray chip was greeted with a loud sounding yawn when it showed in a Wiko Wax , Blackphone and LG G2 mini LTE for the South American market. None of them was really a huge seller for Nvidia.
The 64 bit Tegra K1 might get some attention but it looks like that phones based on 64 bit Tegra K1 Denver might not show up until early 2015 at the earliest. Meanwhile the Snapdragon 810, Qualcomm’s 64-bit high chip will appear at the Mobile World Congress phone by that time. People are already claiming that the Snapdragon 810 is inside of Samsung Galaxy S6 and we would be surprised if it was not in the LG G3 successor (LG G4) or HTC M8 successor which will probably be dubbed the HTC One M9.
This doesn’t leave Nvidia much space for success in phones but then again Tegra is selling in cars, developers’ boards (such as Jetson Dev Kit), Chromebook and the occasional tablet.
No-one can win in all markets and it seems that Tegra powered Chromebooks perform quite well and that Nvidia is top choice for most car manufactures. However the phone market that might be too hot for Nvidia Tegra TK1 32-bit to handle. We will see if Denver, the 64-bit Tegra K1 or its successor can change things in 2015.