Audi and T-Mobile are rolling out a new in-vehicle plan that will give drivers WiFi Internet access in their cars. Through the Audi Connect plan, Audi drivers will be able to access real-time news, weather, fuel prices and locations, Google Earth, Google Voice and Local Search over WiFi for $15 month. That price is with a 30-month contract for $450 total. Drivers wanting to test out the service can try a six-month free trial, or pay $30 a month on a month-to-month plan. "The T-Mobile-powered Audi connect service delivers unmatched connectivity to our customers at a rate that will turn their Audi into the ultimate mobile device," Anupam Malhotra, senior manager of connected vehicle at Audi of America, said in an April 4 statement. "This plan will help move us toward the goal of one million connected Audi vehicles on the road worldwide by 2015."
Have you heard of the open source currency called Bitcoin? It is a decentralized digital currency based on an open-source, peer-to-peer internet protocol. Bitcoins can be exchanged through a computer or smartphone locally or internationally without an intermediate financial institution. In trade, one bitcoin is subdivided into 100 million smaller units called satoshis, defined by eight decimal points. Bitcoin is not managed like typical currencies: it has no central bank or central organization. Instead, it relies on an internet-based peer-to-peer network. The money supply is automated and given to servers or "bitcoin miners" that confirm bitcoin transactions as they add them to a decentralized and archived transaction log approximately every 10 minutes. The US and other governments are very concerned because this has become such a popular way of transferring and converting currency, it is bypassing tax laws and a commentator on Bloomberg, Princeton student Evan Soltas, writes that Bitcoin is an "existential threat to the modern liberal state," A new virus has even popped up to do Bitcoin mining. It uses the free processor cycles on your computer to do work thatw ill lead to Bitcoin transactions. This will surely be a thorn in the side of many governments in coming years. The value of a Bitcoin has increased 4 fold since December so now hackers are looking for ways to steal them.
Intel just announced the next-generation of Thunderbolt, codenamed "Falcon Ridge," which is Apple's latest protocol for file transfer, as well as transmitting video. Intel says that the next-generation Thunderbolt protocol will be able to push 20Gbps and will support 4K video when it's planned to launch in 2014. Intel says Falcon Ridge will include backwards compatibility with current-generation Thunderbolt devices, although anything using the current standard will be kept at those same speeds of 10Gbps. This means that Falcon Ridge is twice as fast as the current-generation of Thunderbolt, which is quite impressive and something that haven't seen yet. Intel demonstrated the new technology using top-of-the-line components that are available today and were able to achieve speeds of 1.2Gbps, which is a far cry from what the Falcon Ridge is capable of, but the most obvious bottleneck is the stage at which hardware components are at right now. If you were to use current-generation Thunderbolt, you'd have to get a solid state drive just to take advantage of the faster speeds.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will use an Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) processor in its next Xbox game console as it seeks to cut the cost of building machines and get developers to create more titles, people with knowledge of the matter said. AMD surged the most in almost two years. The Xbox will use an AMD system-on-a-chip that combines powerful "Jaguar" central processing units with graphics chips, said one of the people, who sought anonymity because the plans aren't public. The shift to the so-called x86 format ubiquitous in modern personal computers means Microsoft will drop the Power PC technology designed by International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), and game discs made for the current Xbox 360 won't be compatible.
Using Google maps to get around in your car might not be a viable option for Californians, or, at least, not a legal one.
Intel is reportedly shipping its next-gen Haswell chips out to PC manufacturers now. The Haswell chip will be powering ultrabooks as well as hybrid laptops that are part laptop part tablet. Ultrabooks running the Haswell chip will see a major boost over ultrabooks utilizing Intel's current Ivy-Bridge offering. The Haswell chip is expected to roll out around June, around the same time Windows Blue is expected to show its face.
Tech companies for years have widely been considered the "best places to work" in recent years. This year is no different according to a study and report by Glassdoor. While Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) came in as number one, the tech industry brought nine companies to the top twenty on their annual Employees' Choice Awards. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) found itself at number six on this same list. In addition to a good salary employees of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) enjoy Foosball, an annual video game day, and Ping Pong. New parents receive a one-time gift of $4000 upon the birth of a new child. Said one Facebook employee, "The atmosphere is amazing. Everyone pulling together to help the company achieve goals we all believe in, while being incredibly open, down-to-earth and helpful about it."
Virgin Mobile wants consumers to know that it's a major player in the no-contract wireless game too, and isn't afraid to spend a little money to show it. Virgin set its sights directly on T-Mobile, offering $100 to T-Mobile customers willing to switch their number over and buy a smartphone before May 31. Carriers will often provide incentives to switch, but rarely do they target a specific company. T-Mobile has made a lot of noise about its move to abolish contracts and subsidies, and Virgin Mobile, a business built on prepaid service and a unit of Sprint Nextel, wants to remind folks that it's been at it longer. "You know we've been talking about saving money with prepaid service since 2002," a company representative said in an e-mailed statement.
Sony will soon launch 4K TVs far smaller and cheaper than existing models, along with a 4K media player and download service, all aimed at bringing the next-generation TV format into the mainstream. The company said Monday it will launch a 55-inch 4K TV set in its XBR line for $4999, to go on sale from April 21 in the U.S. That is about 20 percent the cost of its 84-inch model released earlier this year for $24,999. The company had no comment about launches in other regions. Sony will also try to alleviate a major barrier to adoption of the new format: a scarcity of content. The company said that in the summer of this year it will launch a new media player, which will come pre-installed with movies in 4K format including The Amazing Spider-Man, Taxi Driver, and Total Recall. Sony said it will also launch a fee-based download service for 4K movies that will work with the new media player, to go live in the fall of this year. The company has yet to release more details about the player and service, but has made it clear they are to be used together in a Sony-only environment.
Microsoft wants its Windows XP users to get with the program, and is giving them 365 days to do so. One year from today, Microsoft will shut down extended support for its 12-year-old operating system, in favor of newer platforms like Windows 7 and 8. In 2002, Microsoft launched its Support Lifecycle policy, allowing 10 years of combined mainstream and extended support for Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows OSes. To that end, Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will lose that support on April 8, 2014.
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