Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Data Storage

RIP John Ellenby, Godfather of the Modern Laptop (nytimes.com) 26

John Ellenby managed the development of the Alto II before starting the company that built the world's first successful "clamshell" laptop. Slashdot reader fragMasterFlash quotes the New York Times: Ellenby, a British-born computer engineer who played a critical role in paving the way for the laptop computer, died on August 17 in San Francisco. He was 75... Mr. Ellenby's pioneering work came to fruition in the early 1980s, after he founded Grid Systems, a company in Mountain View, California. As chief executive, he assembled an engineering and design team that included the noted British-born industrial designer William Moggridge.

The team produced a clamshell computer with an orange electroluminescent flat-panel display that was introduced as the Compass. It went to market in 1982. The Compass is now widely acknowledged to have been far ahead of its time.

Back in the 1980s, NASA used them as backup navigational devices on the space shuttle -- one was recovered from the wreckage of the Space Shuttle Challenger -- and John Poindexter, America's national security advisor during the Reagan administration, described them as "built like an armored tank". Data storage cost $8,150 -- equivalent to $20,325 today.
PlayStation (Games)

PlayStation 3 Games Are Coming To PC (cnet.com) 123

PlayStation 3 games are coming to Windows. Sony said Tuesday that it is bringing its PlayStation Now game-streaming program to Windows PCs. The service broadcasts PlayStation 3 games over the internet similar to the way Netflix beams movies to devices like Roku. CNET reports: This fall, you'll be able to play previously exclusive games like Uncharted 3 and Shadow of the Colossus on a Windows laptop. The catch: you'll be playing those games over the internet with Sony's streaming game service, PlayStation Now. Think Netflix. PlayStation Now has already been around for a couple of years on the PS4, PS3, PS Vita handheld, plus a handful of Blu-ray players and smart TVs. For $20 a month or $45 for three, the service gives players unlimited access to a long list of over 400 PlayStation 3 games. Like Netflix or any other streaming service, the quality can vary wildly depending on your internet connection -- Sony requires a solid 5Mbps connection at all times, and that doesn't change today. What changes is the size of Sony's audience. With a Windows laptop or tablet, you aren't tethered to a big-screen TV. You could theoretically take these PlayStation games anywhere -- and wherever you go, your save games stream with you.
Security

New Cache Attack Can Monitor Keystrokes On Android Phones (onthewire.io) 36

Trailrunner7 quotes a report from OnTheWire: : Researchers from an Austrian university have developed techniques that allow them to perform cache attacks on non-rooted Android phones that can monitor the keystrokes, screen taps, and even observe code execution inside the ARM processor's TrustZone secure execution environment. The attacks the team developed are complex and rely on a number of individual building blocks. The techniques are similar to some used against Intel x86 processor-based systems, but the team from Graz University of Technology in Austria shows that they can be used on ARM-based systems, such as Android phones, as well.

"Based on our techniques, we demonstrate covert channels that outperform state-of-the-art covert channels on Android by several orders of magnitude. Moreover, we present attacks to monitor tap and swipe events as well as keystrokes, and even derive the lengths of words entered on the touchscreen," the researchers wrote in their paper, which was presented at the USENIX Security Symposium this week.

It's a proof-of-concept attack. But interestingly, another recently-discovered Android vulnerability also required the user to install a malicious app -- and then allowed attackers to take full control of the device.
Android

900M Android Devices Vulnerable To New 'Quadrooter' Security Flaw (cnet.com) 129

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from CNET: Four newly-discovered vulnerabilities found in Android phones and tablets that ship with a Qualcomm chip could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected device. The set of vulnerabilities, dubbed "Quadrooter," affects over 900 million phone and tablets, according to Check Point researchers who discovered the flaws. An attacker would have to trick a user into installing a malicious app, which wouldn't require any special permissions. If successfully exploited, an attacker can gain root access, which gives the attacker full access to an affected Android device, its data, and its hardware -- including its camera and microphone.
The flaw even affects several of Google's own Nexus devices, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, according to the article, as well as the Blackberry DTEK50, which the company describes as the "most secure Android smartphone." CNET adds that "A patch that will fix one of the flaws will not be widely released until September, a Google spokesperson confirmed."
Hardware Hacking

PS Vita Jailbreak Finally Lets One Run Emulators and Homebrew Software (geek.com) 38

Finally, someone has managed to hack PS Vita, allowing people to install emulators and homebrew software on the handheld gaming console. The jailbreak dubbed HENkaku works on the latest 3.60 Vita firmware. From an article on Geek.com: The exploit allowing full access to the Vita hardware has been created by Team Molecule and named HENkaku. The code injected into the handheld when visiting the website unlocks the hardware and removes the file system from its protective sandbox. It's then possible to access it and the Vita memory card using FTP. The super simple unlock opens up the Vita to homebrew developers who want to create their own games for the system without going through official channels. But it also allows full access to the hardware meaning the ability to overclock the processor, and for PlayStation TV owners it also means all games are whitelisted. That's great news as there are many blocked games known to work perfectly fine on the PSTV.
Nintendo

Nintendo NX Is a Portable Console With Detachable Controllers, Says Report (eurogamer.net) 158

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Eurogamer.net: We now have a good idea as to what the Nintendo NX will consist of thanks to a new report from Eurogamer. According to a number of sources, Nintendo's upcoming NX will be a portable, handheld console with detachable controllers. Eurogamer.net reports: "On the move, NX will function as a high-powered handheld console with its own display. So far so normal -- but here's the twist: we've heard the screen is bookended by two controller sections on either side, which can be attached or detached as required. Then, when you get home, the system can connect to your TV for gaming on the big screen. A base unit, or dock station, is used to connect the brain of the NX -- within the controller -- to display on your TV. NX will use game cartridges as its choice of physical media, multiple sources have also told [Eurogamer]. Another source said the system would run on a new operating system from Nintendo. It won't, contrary to some earlier rumors, simply run on Android. [...] The system will harness Nvidia's powerful mobile processor Tegra. Graphical comparisons with current consoles are difficult due to the vastly different nature of the device -- but once again we've heard Nintendo is not chasing graphical parity. Quite the opposite, it is sacrificing power to ensure it can squeeze all of this technology into a handheld, something which also tallies with earlier reports. Finally, we've heard from one source that NX planning has recently moved up a gear within Nintendo ahead of the console's unveiling, which is currently slated for September. After the confused PR fiasco of the Wii U launch, the company is already settling on a simple marketing message for NX -- of being able to take your games with you on the go."
Android

Turn Your Android Phone Into a Laptop For $99 With the Superbook (techinsider.io) 126

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: A company called Andromium is attempting to harness the processing power of your Android smartphone and turn it into a full fledged computer. The 'Superbook' consists of a 11.6-inch laptop shell, which you connect to your phone via a USB Micro-B or Type-C cable, and run the Andromium OS application (currently in beta, but available in the Play Store)... The leader of the project and Company co-founder Gordon Zheng, previously worked at Google and pitched the idea to them... They refused so he quit his job and founded Andromium Inc.

In December 2014 the company had introduced their first product which was a dock which used the MHL standard to output to external monitor. That campaign failed, however their newest creation, the Superbook smashed their Kickstarter goal in just over 20 minutes.

And within their first 38 hours, they'd crowdfunded $500,000. In an intriguing side note, Andromium "says it'll open its SDK so developers can tailor their apps for Andromium, too, though how much support that gets remains to be seen," reports Tech Insider. But more importantly, "Andromium says its prototypes are finished, and that it hopes to ship the Superbook to backers by February 2017."
China

Eight Of the World's Top 12 Smartphone Vendors Are Based In China (digidip.net) 59

An anonymous reader writes: How serious and dangerous is China's offensive on Korean and Western mobile hardware brands? Extremely, according to research conducted between January and March by IC Insights, which predictably positioned Samsung and Apple atop the smartphone manufacturer hierarchy, only followed by a flurry of handheld vendors based in the Middle Kingdom. In fact, eight of the ten vendors that followed the two giants are Chinese. These OEMs are, in order of their market capture, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo, ZTE, Lenovo, TCL, and Meizu.
Handhelds

Ask Slashdot: Why Do Most Tablet Specs Suck? 231

Slashdot reader Qbertino describes himself as a "happy tablet user," moving from an old HTC Flyer to his Yoga 2. But he notes that most other tablets "have laughable battery times," and "I've yet to find a tablet that does not give me storage or memory problems in some way or other, lasts for a day or two in power and doesn't feel chintzy and like it won't stand a month of regular everyday use and carrying around..." He asks why none of the manufacturers seem willing to offer more than one gigabyte of RAM -- and why they're so stingy with storage. "Where is the rugged 16GB RAM / 1TB Storage / 20-hour battery tablet?"

So leave your educated opinions in the comments. What are your thoughts on the current tablet market? And are they the ultimate all-purpose "convergence" device that Apple and Ubuntu seem to think they are?
Games

The World Video Game Hall of Fame 2016 Inductess 54

Reader Dave Knott writes: The World Video Game Hall Of Fame has announced its inductees for the year 2016, the second group of games to be so honoured since the award's inception in 2015. The Hall Of Fame "recognizes individual electronic games of all types -- arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile -- that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general". This year's six inductees are: Grand Theft Auto III, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Space Invaders.The Sydney Morning Herald has more details.
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Deal With Glare On Cellphones? 135

An anonymous reader writes: As far as I know, I am not particularly sensitive to glare; I've used CRTs in offices full of overhead fluorescent lights, and just ignored the terrible reflections, and I've worked in places where the natural sunlight cleverly funneled in by architects was bounced around by glass walls and mirrors in just the right way to irritate. Still, I never found it much of a problem. Now, though, I work in a field that has me both working outdoors a lot, and traveling by car a fair amount, too. Now that days are getting longer, especially up here in the Pacific Northwest, I know that I'll be squinting and cursing a lot at my phone. My question(s): Are there are any modern smart phones you can recommend with a truly or even passably day-light readable screen? I don't care if it's e-ink (that would be cool), transflective (long promised!) or maybe just a secondary screen with some daylight-readable technology. Barring that, how do you deal with glare on a phone, when you need to use it on a sunny day? Same answer could apply to laptop use, I suppose. Do you build a little glare shield, of the kind that camera operators use? Wear a giant hood of privacy and darkness? I know I'm not alone — I see lots of others squinting and cursing at their cell phones, cupping it with their hands at their eyes, or ducking into scant shade just to see whether the call that's coming is one they need to take, or to read a text. I've tried quite a few phones that have been praised by reviewers for their bright, crisp, daylight-friendly displays, but I think those reviewers probably lived in New York or San Francisco, and were reading in either shadow or fog, because even the brightest Samsungs, Motorolas, and LGs I've seen cannot hold a candle to the summer sun north of Seattle.
Handhelds

Ubuntu Tablet Now Available For Pre-Order 81

prisoninmate writes: During last month's MWC 2016 event, Canonical had the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet on display at their huge booth, along with the superb Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone, and the Sony Xperia Z1 and OnePlus One Ubuntu Phones. The company teased users last week with the availability for pre-order of the first ever Ubuntu tablet for March 28, and that day has arrived. Probably the most important aspect of the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet, which interested many users, was the price, and we can tell you now that it costs €289.90 for the Full HD version, and €249.90 for the HD model. It can be pre-ordered now from BQ's online store.
PlayStation (Games)

Sony Is Bringing PlayStation Games To iOS and Android Devices (gizmodo.com) 48

An anonymous reader points us to Bryan Lufkin's report on Gizmodo: A year ago, Nintendo announced its long-overdue plans to bring its games to smartphones. Now, Sony's doing the same thing. You'll soon be able to play original Sony games on your iOS or Android device, the company announced today. Sony is setting up a new business division called ForwardWorks, which will focus on mobile services, bringing 'full-fledged game titles' and Sony's PlayStation characters and intellectual property to handheld smart devices. And it could be happening pretty soon -- the press release says ForwardWorks kicks off operations next month.
Iphone

FBI Hires Cellebrite To Crack San Bernadino iPhone (reuters.com) 237

tlhIngan writes: Earlier this week, the FBI asked the court for a continuance so it could do some research into a proposed method of cracking the [iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino, California shooters]. It turns out the FBI has contracted Cellebrite for $15,000 to break into the phone. Cellebrite is an Israeli software provider specializing in mobile phone forensics software. If they succeed, it would mean Apple would no longer need to be involved.
Cellphones

Encryption Securing Mobile Money Transfers Can Be Broken 28

An anonymous reader writes: A group of researchers has proved that it is possible to break the encryption used by many mobile payment apps by simply measuring and analyzing the electromagnetic radiation emanating from smartphones. Modern cryptographic software on mobile phones, implementing the ECDSA digital signature algorithm, may inadvertently expose its secret keys through physical side channels: electromagnetic radiation and power consumption which fluctuate in a way that depends on secret information during the cryptographic computation.
Iphone

Apple Unveils Smaller iPhone SE, Starting At $399 (techcrunch.com) 158

An anonymous reader writes: Apple has officially unveiled a smaller, cheaper iPhone designed to make a splash in the budget-friendly smartphone market. The new device, called the iPhone SE, looks nearly identical to the iPhone 5S but with a new rose gold color configuration. It's the internal specifications that differ significantly. The new iPhone SE will feature a NFC chip for Apple Pay, A9 processor and M9 motion co-processor, 12-megapixel camera sensor with the ability to capture 4K video, and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Unfortunately, it does not feature Apple's new 3D touch functionality. The iPhone SE will come in two models, 16GB and 64GB, priced at $399 and $499 respectively. You can buy the new iPhone starting March 31, and it will make its way to 100 countries by May.
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: Are You Excited About Upcoming 4-inch iPhone or 9.7-inch iPad Pro? 310

If rumors are to be believed, at its 'Let Us Loop You In' event on Monday, Apple will launch a new smartphone dubbed "iPhone SE," and a new tablet dubbed "iPad Pro." According to 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman, who has a reliable track record with Apple news, the iPhone SE will sport a 4-inch display and have the same processor, RAM and other innards as the iPhone 6s, which was launched last year. The new 9.7-inch iPad will reportedly have the same hardware specifications as the 12-inch iPad Pro, which was also unveiled last year. The Associated Press reports that the forthcoming event hasn't stirred "much passion." It adds, "So far, however, there have been no hints of any dramatic announcements, such as last year's highly anticipated Apple Watch debut, or major initiatives like the company's long-rumoured but yet-to-materialize streaming TV service." Are you looking forward to purchasing either of the devices?
Blackberry

Facebook and Whatsapp Discontinue Support For Blackberry (canadajournal.net) 138

Meshach writes with a link to news that as of yesterday, Facebook and WhatsApp have both discontinued support for Blackberry smartphones including BlackBerry 10 and BBOS platforms. Apparently Blackberry fought to have the support continue but in the end they were not successful. BlackBerry has had to replaced their official Facebook App with a native app that uses a simple web interface. If you're still using a Blackberry, it would be interesting to know why. (You like the interface? Business requirement? Just being contrarian?)
Android

Is $699 Too Much For a 13.3-inch Android E-ink Reader? 195

Robotech_Master writes: GoodEReader editor Michael Kozlowski is running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to sell a $699 13.3" Android e-ink tablet. The campaign seeks $42,000--enough to fund the 60-device minimum order set by the OEM. But is it really a good deal for that much money? As an early-adopter or business-class device, it very well might be.
Microsoft

Microsoft Finally Rolls Out Windows 10 Mobile To Older Phones (engadget.com) 44

An anonymous reader writes: One year after Windows 10 Mobile was announced, Microsoft is finally rolling out their new OS to older mobile devices, specifically devices running Windows Phone 8.1. Here's the complete list of supported phones: Lumia 1520, 930, 640, 640XL, 730, 735, 830, 532, 535, 540, 635 1GB, 636 1GB, 638 1GB, 430, 435, BLU Win HD w510u, BLU Win HD LTE x150q, and the MCJ Madosma Q501. Depending on where you live and which carrier you have, the update will be handled differently. Microsoft has said "many older devices are not able to successfully upgrade without an impact on the customer experience." For an OS that continues to lose market share [to] iOS and Android, it makes sense for Microsoft to be so concerned about the user experience as it is crucial for the success of Windows 10 Mobile.

Slashdot Top Deals