Verizon, ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular will all receive variations of the Galaxy S III this month, but Samsung isn’t sharing the exact pricing and release date for each carrier just yet. What we do know is that $200 is the lowest price of the bunch.
What’s incredibly interesting (and what CNET had predicted) is that the U.S.-based version, like its HTC One X rival, will carry a 1.5 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor as opposed to the 1.4GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor that’s used in the global release.
The “downgrade” is likely due to a current incompatibility between the quad-core chip and LTE data networks, just as with the HTC One X, which forewent the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor that was used in the global version of its hero device.
If you’re tempted to get huffy over your quad-core loss, keep in mind that Qualcomm’s Continue reading
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Colbie Caillat, best known for her hit single “Bubbly,” was performing that very song in Pittsburgh this week when she asked the crowd to join in.
They obliged. A crowd of insects took a strong interest in her, as well.
Around the halfway point (2:00 below), bugs swarmed Caillat to the point where they interrupted the song, forcing the beautiful singer to run for cover.
Gamely, she returned and had the crowd help her finish the tune:
“My goodness. I am traumatized from the bazillion bugs that were literally raining on me from the sky while singing on stage,” she wrote afterward.
Caillat, who’s touring with Gavin DeGraw, may be a girly girl, but she’s a good sport. One who will advocate for indoor venues from now on.
From her seat on the stage at the World Economic Forum, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told a packed room what she was thinking as her plane prepared to land in Thailand for her first foreign trip in 24 years.
The Nobel laureate said she was sitting in the cockpit at the invitation of the pilot and was “completely fascinated” by the shimmering lights of Bangkok on the ground below.
“I thought, 30 years ago, the scene that met my eyes on landing in Bangkok would not have been very different from what would have met my eyes on landing in Rangoon. But now the difference is considerable,” she said.
On leaving Myanmar three days ago for an historic trip to Thailand, Suu Kyi said locals were holding candlelight protests across the country against electricity cuts “that have been plaguing us for a month or so.”
Of seeing the lights of Bangkok, Suu Kyi paused, smiled and said, “I have to say very frankly that what went through my mind is that ‘we need an energy policy’.”
A ripple of laughter and applause ran through the audience in recognition of Suu Kyi’s enduring commitment to change in a country ruled for 50 years by a military junta. For many of those years, she was held under house arrest for daring to call for reforms.
During that time, Myanmar’s moribund economy forced millions to leave the country in search of work in neighboring countries. Human rights groups estimate there are around three million Burmese migrants in Thailand alone. Continue reading
Justin Bieber got into a fight with a glass wall Thursday…and the wall won.
After accidentally running into a totally see-thru panel at his concert in Paris yesterday evening (and suffering a concussion as a result), the “Boyfriend” crooner is showing off his battle wounds of sorts, in the vain of an immobile eyebrow.
“I got in a fight with a glass window yesterday, and in result I can’t move my eyebrow,” the Biebs said in a video he posted on Viddy Friday. “There’s no wrinkles on this eye. How weird is that? There’s some weird stuff going on there.”
We hope he doesn’t get surprised any time soon.
While Bieber works on bringing his eyebrow back to life (we hope), don’t get too worried about the Biebs and his malfunctioning brow though.
Something tells us he’ll be ready to put up a fight if another pesky wall comes his way.
Beijing has indicated that it will lift its year-long moratorium on new nuclear projects in a move that will breathe life into an industry plagued by uncertainty since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi reactor last year.
China’s cabinet announced it had approved the 2020 nuclear strategy, finalised new safety standards and finished inspecting the country’s existing nuclear plants. After the Japanese nuclear crisis China suspended approvals of new reactors while it conducted safety inspections and drafted new regulations.
As the world’s largest energy user China is key to setting the direction of future global nuclear expansion. Beijing’s latest announcement marks a major step towards the full resumption of its nuclear building programme, which accounts for 40 per cent of global reactors under construction today.
“This is the main hurdle,” said Guo Shou, energy analyst at Barclays. “Approvals for new nuclear reactors are around the corner, they are going to come very, very soon.”
Restarting nuclear approvals will help boost growth and create jobs in China’s nuclear sector at a time when Beijing is weighing options on how to prevent a further slowdown in the economy, although the plans are not formally part of any stimulus programme.
China draws most of its energy from burning coal but Beijing is building up wind, solar, hydropower and nuclear power as it seeks to shift toward non-fossil fuel sources. The country is targeting 60GW of nuclear capacity in 2020, according to comments by Chinese officials, which would put China’s reactor fleet on par with that of France.
In the aftermath of the Japanese nuclear crisis in March 2011, several European countries abandoned or postponed plans for nuclear expansion. However many emerging economies, including China, remained committed to nuclear power and are setting the pace of global nuclear growth.
China’s new safety regulations are expected to provide a boost worldwide for the latest nuclear technologies, especially for “third-generation” reactors being built in China by Westinghouse of the US and Areva of France.
Chinese nuclear companies are also trying to expand their presence overseas and have bid for reactor contracts around the world.
“The combination of technical experience, operational experience and support that can come out of China will make China a leader in the global nuclear industry,” said George Borovas, head of the nuclear practice at global law firm Pillsbury. “We are starting to see it already. Chinese companies are in the international marketplace much more aggressively than they were one or two years ago.”
China’s cabinet said that some Chinese reactors will need to be upgraded under the new standards, citing the need for flood-safety and seismic-related improvements.
The announcement, which was posted online and dated May 31, clears the way for China’s energy administration to roll out a set of more detailed policies, although the cabinet stopped short of saying exactly when new approvals would restart.
The 2020 plan and the new safety standards have not yet been released but the State Council said they would be published for public comment, without indicating when.
For a preview of the next big thing in video gaming, look no further than the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the splashy industry showcase that kicks off Monday in Los Angeles.
Will it be the oddly named Wii U, Nintendo’s attempt to update its aging Wii console for a new wave of gamers? Or “Halo 4,” the next chapter in the massively popular sci-fi action series? Or maybe a surprise device or game that comes out of nowhere to captivate attendees?
This year’s E3, as the annual trade show is better known, arrives during a time of upheaval for the multibillion-dollar gaming industry, which is scrambling to adapt to changing consumer habits. While home console gaming remains huge, more and more people are playing casual or social games on touchscreen phones and tablets.
“I think we may be seeing the last generation of dedicated handheld gaming systems with the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS,” said Blair Herter, co-host G4TV’s “X-Play.” “What we’ve seen is the mobile gaming space really take over what used to be considered the handheld gaming market.”
Many analysts, including Herter, think this year’s E3 won’t have as much bang as previous shows. Herter said he thinks this is because of expectations for next-generation consoles being developed by Sony and Microsoft for release in 2013, and game developers’ hesitation to make something that might have a short shelf life.
As an industry-only event, E3 is geared toward gaming media, developers and insiders. But in an effort to reach out to the public, many companies will be streaming events and shows throughout the four days of the conference to give fans early glimpses at new games and let them hear from developers directly.
The E3 show floor doesn’t open until Tuesday, although festivities begin Monday with press announcements by Microsoft, Sony and several game developers. Here’s a roundup of what to look for:
The Wii U, ready for its closeup
Most companies at E3 will be showing off what their existing hardware can do or emphasizing new video game titles.
Nintendo is the only one of the Big Three console makers — a trio that includes Microsoft and Sony — that will be demonstrating a new gaming system this year — the Wii U. While the Wii U was previewed in more primitive form at last year’s E3, there have reportedly been some changes in how the console looks and what it can do.
Official word has been hush hush, which is typical for Nintendo before a big announcement. However, some images and news have leaked out suggesting the touchscreen controller for the Wii U will be different from what was shown last year.
There has been some confusion about whether the Wii U is just a new controller or a more powerful console. Nintendo hopes to clear that up next week by demonstrating a “final” version of the system with games designed specifically for the Wii U. At last year’s E3, Nintendo showed a Wii U video demo featuring gameplay from Xbox 360 and PlayStation games.
Pricing remains a mystery for the Wii U, which is expected to go on sale in fall 2012. In April, Nintendo chief executive Satoru Iwata said a price for the new console would not be announced at E3, but that the company would reveal its initial lineup of games. Some industry analysts think Nintendo needs to announce a price at E3 to generate buzz for the console.
Some observers think the current lineup of consoles — the Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 — will all be replaced by newer systems by late 2013.
“I think it is safe to assume this will be the last E3 where the current generation of consoles are talked about,” said G4TV’s Herter.
At E3, both Sony and Microsoft will be focusing on new software for their current systems.
Sony is expected to make a big push for games for its PS Vita handheld console. The new gaming platform, released in February, has been suffering from a lack of new content after its initial launch. Critics have praised the Vita as technologically impressive but agree the device needs major game franchises to make it more popular.
Help may be on the way in the form of new Vita titles. “Little Big Planet Karting,” a racing game featuring Sackboy, and “PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale,” a fighting game with some of Sony’s top characters, are likely to be announced next week as part of cross-platform gameplay with the PlayStation 3.
There also have been strong rumors of a “Monster Hunter” game for the Vita to increase support for the console in Japan.
Microsoft will concentrate its E3 efforts on development for the popular Kinect motion controller and additional games for the venerable Xbox 360. There also are rumors flying around that Microsoft will unveil a more refined recognition system for Kinect, including the sensor’s ability to read individual finger movements.
Microsoft also may announce new partnerships with TV broadcasters and programs in an effort to further transform the gaming console into a home entertainment center. Currently, HBO, ESPN, Hulu Plus, Netflix and others are part of the television lineup for the Xbox 360.
Big game titles
On the software front for the Xbox 360, “Halo 4″ will be showcased in a four-hour event with its new developer, 343 Industries, and the return of Master Chief as the main character. The game is due out in November. Other exclusive, unannounced titles for the Microsoft console and Kinect are also expected — although some franchises may be holding out for a next-generation console in a year or so.
While “Halo 4″ is one of the biggest titles at E3, it is far from the only hotly anticipated game. We hope to see more from “Assassin’s Creed III” (made by UbiSoft) and its setting in the American colonies, more from “Dishonored” (Bethesda) and its steampunk action, and more about “Resident Evil 6″ (Capcom) and that game’s multiplayer/co-op modes.
“There are a lot of great [big-name] games that are going to be there and be talked about,” Herter said. “But even the software is going to be a little less than what people expect because of the potential for next-gen consoles next year.”
On the other end of the gaming spectrum, there are also plans for several new massive multiplayer online games. One, “Defiance” (Trion Worlds), features a unique tie-in with a new sci-fi TV series, where what happens on the show can affect what happens in the game.
What we won’t see at E3
For all the hype and excitement about E3 announcements, there are some notable titles and companies that are choosing to bypass this year’s event. The makers of “BioShock Infinite,” one of the most highly anticipated games for 2012, were originally scheduled to show off new gameplay and features. But the game’s release was pushed back to February 2013, and creative director Ken Levine said the next time people will see the game is when it’s ready to go in the box for delivery.
“Grand Theft Auto V,” the latest in the blockbuster urban action series, also may skip E3. Rockstar, developer for the game, said it has no plans for the show, although some watchers speculate that could change at the last minute.
Despite persistent rumors, Valve Software has said it doesn’t expect to reveal any new hardware — or popular games such as “Half-Life 3″ or “Portal 3″ — next week. But Valve does plan to attend E3, and misdirection from gaming companies has been known to occur before the show.
By next week at this time, we’ll know much more about the best gaming has to offer for the next 12 months. Gamers, what are you hoping to see at E3? And what are you most looking forward to later this year?
Microsoft is taking its last big step before releasing what promises to be a massive overhaul of its Windows operating system — and, by extension, how almost all devices running it work.
Nearing the end of a long process of tinkering under the hood, the computing giant on Friday rolled out its final preview of Windows 8, which is expected to go on sale this fall.
“Since our first preview release last September, millions of people now use the pre-release product on a daily basis and millions more have been taking it through its paces, totaling hundreds of millions of hours of testing,” Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky wrote Friday on the Windows 8 blog.
“We genuinely appreciate the effort that so many have put into pre-release testing, and of course, we appreciate the feedback too. Direct feedback and feedback through usage contributed to hundreds of visible changes in the product and tens of thousands of under-the-hood changes.”
The post said Microsoft has received about 18,000 comments from 7,000 early testers of Windows 8, which have contributed to “hundreds of visible changes in the product and tens of thousands of under-the-hood changes.”
The release will mark the first major update of Microsoft’s operating system since Windows 7 was released three years ago. Unlike previous releases that have, essentially, revamped (or, in at least one case, mercifully killed) existing features, Microsoft is touting Windows 8 as a radical reimagining of its core product.
Perhaps its most visible difference from previous versions of Windows will be its compatibility with touchscreen technology. That, combined with the system’s ability to connect devices (say, a PC, a tablet and a Xbox gaming console) is what Microsoft hopes will renew the enduring Mac vs. PC war on a new front.
“In our hands-on of Microsoft’s Consumer Preview, we declared that your familiar Windows desktop is all but dead,” Alexandra Chang wrote Friday for Wired.
“In the changes we’ve seen in the Release Preview, this still holds true,” she added. “Microsoft is focused on improving and deepening the Metro [the system's design language] experience, where the desktop is only a portion — or even an afterthought, for some users — of a larger, app-based system.”
The company has made something of a ripple with its smartphone system, at least among critics. The recently released Nokia Lumia 900 has been heralded as the best Windows phone ever, although, as of March, only about 4% of U.S. smartphones ran the company’s operating system. (For what it’s worth, that’s a month before the Lumia was released.)
But Microsoft has barely moved the needle in the tablet space, where Apple still rules the roost, and only a simpler and less expensive device like Amazon’s Kindle Fire has been able to put up much resistance.
Even as the final Windows 8 trial was being announced, reports were surfacing that Asus, Toshiba and Acer all plan to unveil Windows tablets next week at the Computex trade show in Taipei.
Meanwhile, many in the tech world are watching and waiting. With its prowess in the computing world, it’s impossible to count Microsoft out. But with Apple and Google’s Android system grabbing the attention and market share in the mobile world, Microsoft appears to have an uphill battle.
“There’s a long, narrow road ahead for Windows 8,” reviewer Seth Rosenblatt wrote for CNET. “It could be the next big thing, but there’s not much room for missteps.”
Corinne Schulze/ CBS Interactive)
More details of God of War: Ascension? A cloud gaming acquisition? A reason to care about
We’ve already outlined what we expect Sony will announce at this year’s E3 press conference. To see the news as it happens, heat up some dinner and check back here on Monday, June 4, at 5:45 p.m. PT/8:45 p.m. ET.
While you’re waiting, feel free to peruse our ongoing coverage of E3 2012.
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In the movies, it’s a familiar storyline: superheroes joining forces to tackle a world crisis.
But CNN Heroes can do it, too. Marie Da Silva, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow and Evans Wadongo are working together to help AIDS orphans in the African nation of Malawi.
Today, there are 400 children in the school, and they’re also benefiting from the help of two top 10 Heroes from 2010: Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, whose organization, Mary’s Meals, feeds more than 600,000 schoolchildren around the globe; and Evans Wadongo, who has brought more than 23,000 free solar lanterns to rural African communities through his nonprofit, Sustainable Development For All.
CNN recently spoke with Da Silva about the team-up and how it’s helping the children.
CNN: How did you connect with Magnus?
Marie Da Silva: I went to the CNN Heroes tribute show in 2010, and I saw Magnus because he was one of the top 10 CNN Heroes. In his speech, he mentioned … how he was feeding over 300,000 children in Malawi. And it touched me. So, after he got his award, I had to go and see him and say thank you.
But there was something else that was happening at our school at that same time. For all the years that I had the school, I was buying the porridge for the children, costing me something like $500 a month. Then, for a time, we were given porridge by (another organization) … but we had had a drought in Malawi, so I was panicking.
I went up to Magnus and … I told him what was going on at the school. I felt a little embarrassed, but I just asked him to consider us. Now, he’s feeding all 400 of our students a day.
Some of these children do go without food at home, and most of them come without breakfast to school. This porridge has all the nutrients needed and is made of soya, too — one of the healthiest meals our orphans can have each day. We have many students who are HIV-positive, so Mary’s Meals is saving lives by keeping our children healthy.
CNN: How has Magnus’ support enabled you to do more for your students?
Da Silva: The high school students who stayed in school through the afternoon … they were weak, most sleeping in class. (Mary’s Meals) agreed to provide an additional meal of porridge for (them) at noon. This has resulted in a lot more attendance at the school and students studying with energy.
One of our college graduates is now working for Mary’s Meals as a field monitor. We are so proud. … This is what we want: to see them graduate and get quality jobs.
Mary’s Meals built a new stove for us that uses less firewood and cooks our porridge even faster. … Now, the most firewood we will use is about seven pieces, down from 40 pieces. So we’ve actually saved our costs. And the most important thing is, we’re saving the environment.
Magnus, he’s really a saint to me. His support means a lot to us. Every day, the children will always have something to eat, so we are thankful.
CNN: How did you come to work with Evans Wadongo?
Da Silva: I first heard about Evans through CNN Heroes. I met him through a friend of mine, Lane Hill, who thought Evans should come to teach our kids to build the (solar lanterns).
Then Robert Burke, a math teacher at the Shanghai American School in China — one of our biggest supporters — was looking for another project for his students to become involved in. … Since seeing my story on TV, they’ve visited us and donated money to build our first toilets with running water, a clinic and a physics and science lab. … So, (he) raised money to bring this project to life.
Today, I’m happy to tell you that we have over 200 lamps made by the kids themselves with the help of Evans and his team, and we distributed the lamps to the kids who are taking their examinations.
For the family, (this) cuts the costs. And for the children, it’s helping them to study. And during this examination time … I’m sure we’re going to see better results, so we’re very thankful to Evans.
CNN: How did your students respond to him?
Da Silva: Evans brought a lot more than just those lamps to our students. … He’s a young African guy, and they’re young African students, so … he’s motivated our kids to be inventors. They’ve come up with their own little models that work just like Evans’ lamps. … He really gave them confidence that they, too, can make something that can help people and change people’s lives.
This summer, the kids will be making their own designs and (giving) a lamp and a book out in the villages and to schools. This will be our first outreach program … teaching our kids to give back.
CNN: Are you surprised that two of your fellow honorees have been able to help you?
Da Silva: CNN Heroes coming together to work together is something that I don’t see as that unusual. All of us (are) doing something that is helping others, so when we hear each other’s stories, we just want to see if we can help.
It’s a family, you know? You want to help your family. I love it, and it makes a huge difference.
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screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)
If Facebook wants to buy Opera Software, the Norwegian browser maker’s price tag just went up.
After last week’s rumors that Facebook was considering acquiring Opera, Opera’s stock price leapt up 20 percent, or 6.70 Norwegian kroner, to about a price of about 41 kroner ($6.83) in trading today.
That gives the company a market cap of $811 million, or as Internet wags would have it with today’s exchange rate, about 0.8 Instagrams.
That’s a lot of money, even before any premium. And Opera founder Jon S. von Tetzchner, who controls 10.1 percent of its stock through Dvorzak Invest, could be roadblock, telling Reuters today he wants Opera to concentrate on its own business growth. “I want Opera to focus on growth and delivering good results; there are big opportunities for Opera,” he said.
But Facebook does have a market cap of $87 billion, despite last week’s Facebook IPO mess, which gives it some flexibility. And as Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote at CNET sister site ZDNet, “It’s not like Zuckerberg has to answer to either his stockholders or his board.”
Opera declined to comment. We’ve contacted Facebook and will update this story if Facebook has anything to add. Pocket-lint reported last week that Facebook is looking to buy Opera, and The Next Web added that Opera is “talking to potential buyers.”
Why would Facebook want to buy a browser company? To better control its destiny, most likely.
That’s because vertical integration is all the rage these days as everybody tries to catch up to Apple’s tightly linked suite of technologies, and a browser is an increasingly important foundational layer in the software stack.
Web standards such as HTML5 and CSS3 are tremendously important to Facebook because their cross-platform nature lets the company build apps for many mobile phones, not just high-profile models such as the
iPhone. In a speech at Mobile World Congress in February, Facebook Chief Technology Officer Bret Taylor described how Web Facebook would like better Web standards support to make it easier to reach more mobile devices.
Right now, Web apps can’t match native apps on mobile devices, a shortcoming pointed out by Mike Shaver, who leads Facebook’s
Android app development now but who previously led
Firefox engineering. The Facebook app for Android is “mostly a wrapper” around the mobile Web site, he said.
In stark contrast to a few years ago, when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer ruled the world, browsing competition is as fierce as it’s ever been today. After Firefox opened the door, Google’s Chrome raced through, and Apple’s iOS means that Safari has become the incumbent power for mobile devices. Even Yahoo is getting into the browser business with Axis, although that relies on other browsers for the core job of rendering Web pages.
Having a browser could help Facebook ensure that using a Web-based Facebook app works the way the company wants — in particular for the tens of millions of Opera users who don’t have Android or iOS phones. And a browser could serve as a vehicle to promote the services that Facebook wants — for example, searches wired to Facebook’s partners, Microsoft Bing.
Just getting a browser team isn’t enough to really control your destiny, though. Apple dramatically restricts what third-party browsers can do on iOS, for example, and Microsoft plans similar browser restrictions with Windows RT, its version of the OS for devices using low-power ARM processors typically geared for tablets and other mobile devices.
Acquiring Opera also could give Facebook greater clout in creating and solidifying Web standards. Opera has small market share globally compared to its rivals, but it’s still got millions of users and a strong presence in standards groups that are hammering out the future of the Web. Facebook recently has become active in one of those groups, the World Wide Web Consortium.
Then of course there’s that Facebook phone rumor. Given the company’s penchant for Web apps, it’s certainly possible such a device could resemble Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko (B2G) project, which runs Web apps in an embedded browser.
Through B2G, Mozilla is working on some of the interfaces that a browser-based smartphone needs, including some of the interfaces that Shaver called for, including camera control and notifications. Telefonica has signed on as a B2G supporter as a way to sell lower-cost smartphones, so the project is real if not anything that’s going to dethrone Android or iOS any time soon.
So I could see a case for Facebook acquiring Opera, even if spending hundreds of millions of dollars has a tremendous opportunity cost. The acquisition would be a stretch, perhaps, but it looks right now like Facebook is trying more to stretch its wings than take a cautious approach to growth.
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