Apple antitrust suit: Qualcomm overcharged ‘billions’

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Apple on Friday sued Qualcomm, accusing the California chipmaker of abusing its market power to demand unfair royalties, echoing charges filed days earlier by US antitrust regulators.

Apple said in the court filing that it has been overcharged “billions of dollars” by its chipmaking partner’s “illegal scheme.”

Apple also claimed Qualcomm owes it a billion dollars but is refusing to pay in retaliation for the iPhone maker’s cooperating with South Korean antitrust regulators looking into the chipmaker’s actions in that country.

“For many years Qualcomm has unfairly insisted on charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with,” Apple said in an email statement.

“To protect this business scheme Qualcomm has taken increasingly radical steps, most recently withholding nearly $1 billion in payments from Apple as retaliation for responding truthfully to law enforcement agencies investigating them.”

The suit charges Qualcomm of building a business model on using its rights to older, legacy technology considered telecommunication industry standards to raise royalties when Apple innovates with features such as TouchID fingerprint recognition or digital wallets in mobile devices.

“Despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined,” Apple said.


ANTITRUST WOES


Apple noted in the suit that Qualcomm’s business practices have come under scrutiny by antitrust regulators in an array of countries for selling its smartphone chipsets only to makers agreeing to its “preferred license terms” for essential mobile telecom patents.

Apple asked for a jury trial, and for damages including Qualcomm paying the company what it owes plus giving up excessive royalties it has raked in.

Qualcomm did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

The Apple filing came three days after the US Federal Trade Commission filed suit in federal court in California claiming Qualcomm abused its market power in as part of its “unlawful maintenance of a monopoly in baseband processors,” which are devices that enable cellular communications in phones and other products.

Qualcomm rejected the agency’s case as “significantly flawed,” arguing that reasoning at the heart of the civil complaint is wrong.

South Korea’s anti-trust watchdog last month slapped Qualcomm with a record fine exceeding $850 million for abusing its dominant market position as a maker of baseband chipsets used in mobile phones.


ROOM FOR RIVALS


Apple relies on Qualcomm for chip-based modems that enable iPhones and iPads to communicate with telecommunication networks.

Apple undoubtedly knows of the antitrust tide rising against Qualcomm and would like to help provide room for rival chipmakers to flourish, perhaps letting Intel improve its position, according to analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insight and Strategies.

“I think Apple is not comfortable in feeling that they have only one source and are taking this opportunity to go after Qualcomm,” Moorhead said, referring to the mobile device modems.

“Qualcomm is being looked at on every continent on the planet; this is probably, strategically, the right time for Apple to do this.”

While the legal case alleges exclusionary contracts and the idea of being overcharged for licensing, it may well be powered by Apple wanting to ramp up competition to Qualcomm so it can negotiate better deals, the analyst said.

Modem chips are separate from processors that act as the brains or graphics engines for mobile devices.

Russian Transport Company Releases Plan To Build A Moon Base

Lin Industrial is a Russian transport company and has recently claimed that it is capable of constructing a base on the Moon. However, despite having the means to do this task, there is no indication of this project being actually executed.
Lin Industrial Claims it Can Build a Moon Base2
Lin Industrial Claims it Can Build a Moon Base

The company has released quite a detailed plan actually as to let everyone know how they plan to achieve this amazing feat. The company’s experts have suggested to make use of Malapert Mountain that is located near the Moon’s South Pole to build a base. As per the team, it will take about 5 years to build this base and the second phase of the project will be about the housing of 2 members followed by 4 members at the outpost. A total of 10 years have been predicted for this to be achieved.Lin Industrial Claims it Can Build a Moon Base3

According to company’s calculations, 13 heavy carrier rocket launches will be required for the project whereas a total of 37 launches will be needed to carry out the maintenance. The project is said to be completed with $9.3 billion. Head of the company, Sergei Burkatovsky, has so far invested around $176,000.Lin Industrial Claims it Can Build a Moon Base4 Lin Industrial Claims it Can Build a Moon Base5

This company is not the only one busy in working on lunar habitation. Lunar Mission One is also one such project that is being run privately and raised $1 million on Kickstarter. The mission is about funding a journey to the Moon with the goal of ensuring landing of a probe on the Moon’s South Pole in the next ten years and this probe will be responsible for drilling into the surface and collecting rock samples. According to David Iron, the founder of Lunar Missions Ltd and Lunar Mission Trust, “Lunar Mission One will make a huge contribution to our understanding of the origins of our planet and the Moon and will inspire a generation to learn more about space, science and engineering – in the same way that my generation was inspired by the Apollo Moon landings.”

Boeing Will Be Converting Sound Of Its Airplanes Into Electricity

Boeing has filed a patent that entails the conversion of noise being generated by aircraft during landings and takeoffs into electricity. Commercial aircraft jet engines create noise at 140db and this is other than the noise of wheels when the plane lands and the noise made due to friction with air. Chin Toh, a company employee, was the one who came up with the idea to harvest electricity from all this acoustic energy that usually goes to waste.Boeing Will Be Converting Sound Energy Into Electricity

The method involves installing a number of ‘acoustic wave collectors’ along the runways’ edges where they will collect the noise being generated by the airplanes and ultimately have it converted into usable energy that shall be used for powering some of the airport systems.Boeing Will Be Converting Sound Energy Into Electricity 2

The vibrational energy from sound waves could be converted into an airflow boost to a turbine and thus end up creating electricity. A substation would collect this energy and have it distributed to the appropriate sectors. The system developed by Toh, however, is still not able to generate enough electricity to justify its need and the cost of implementation.
Boeing Will Be Converting Sound Energy Into Electricity 4
Boeing Will Be Converting Sound Energy Into Electricity 3

So, until the time technology allows us to convert sound into energy at an enhanced level, this Boeing patent could very well stay on hold for a long time. However, there is one thing we are sure of; it will come out of closet in the future!

10 Notorious Serial Killers Of The Last Decade

Even a group of people as disturbing as serial killers has its classics. Everyone has heard of Bundy, Manson, BTK, or the Zodiac Killer. Those men have enjoyed extensive media coverage, documentaries showing their murderous exploits, and even movies based on them. However, focusing solely on decades-old killers makes us think that this phenomenon is a thing of the past, something we don’t have to worry about anymore. This is far from the truth. Evil is just as present today as it ever was.

10 The Serial Shooter

01

Photo credit: Arizona Department of Corrections

Phoenix was not a good place to live in 2005 and 2006 because it had not one but two serial killers active at the same time. One of them, dubbed the Serial Shooter by the media, performed drive-by shootings on pedestrians seemingly targeted at random.

The killings went on for more than a year before the Serial Shooter was apprehended in August 2006. By then, he’d claimed eight victims but was also considered a viable suspect in dozens of other shootings in the Phoenix area. However, what was most surprising is that the Serial Shooter was actually a team of killers, Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman.

The pair turned humans into prey and embarked on their own little twisted hunting game. They admitted to keeping score during their killing spree and even had their own special name for it—“Random Recreational Violence.”

9 The Milwaukee North Side Strangler

02

Photo credit: Wisconsin Department of Corrections

Walter Ellis had a 21-year killing career before he was finally caught in 2007. During this time, he raped and killed seven women in the city of Milwaukee. He received nickname of the “Milwaukee North Side Strangler” from a local news organization and was somewhat criticized for concentrating his criminal activities to a single area.

It is quite possible that he had other victims. His DNA was found on nine female victims, in total. However, since all of them were prostitutes, it is hard to say from DNA evidence alone that he was the killer. At least one woman is thought to have been killed by someone else because she wasn’t strangled like the rest.

It took a long time for police to establish a link between all the murder cases. Even when they did, the DNA found on all the bodies didn’t match anyone in the police database. But once Ellis’s name came up, DNA comparison made it easy to determine that he was the man responsible for the murders.

Ellis spent only six years in jail before dying of natural causes, and police are still looking into him as a possible suspect for other murders.

8 Zhou Kehua


Zhou Kehua, once dubbed China’s most dangerous man, went on an eight-year-long rampage between 2004 and 2012, killing as many as nine people. His primary motivation was financial—he would find people leaving ATMs or banks and then shoot and rob them.

The extent of his crimes is not fully known. He spent his time traveling through multiple Chinese provinces and likely committed murders and robberies in most of them. It is certain that he is responsible for shootings in the Jiangsu and Hunan provinces, as well as the city of Chongqing where the ruthless killer finally met his demise.

After being the target of a large-scale manhunt, Kehua died in a shootout with police in Chongqing once an anonymous tipster revealed his whereabouts. Two plainclothes officers tried to approach him, he opened fire, and the officers gunned him down.

7 The Crossbow Cannibal


The media referred to Stephen Griffiths’s murders as the “crossbow cannibal killings,” and when he appeared in court in 2010, he proudly gave his name as “the crossbow cannibal.”

Between 2009 and 2010, Griffiths killed three prostitutes with crossbow shots to the head in Bradford, England. Afterward, he claimed that he cut off parts of their bodies and ate them while getting rid of the remains. Police are also looking into Griffiths as a possible suspect for other murders, as he once claimed in an interview that he killed six people.

Stephen Griffiths was a killer in the making ever since he was a teenager. At 17, he was sentenced to three years after attacking someone with a knife. Even back then, he confessed that he fantasized about killing people and even predicted that he would end up going on a killing spree. He ran a website detailing his admiration for other serial killers. He was fascinated with Bradford’s other notorious serial killer, Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.

6 Kang Ho Sun

04

Photo credit: BBC

Kang Ho Sun killed at least 10 women between 2006 and 2008 in the Gyeonggi Province of South Korea. He picked them up in bars or at bus stops, raped and killed them, and then dumped their bodies in the woods near the city of Ansan. DNA evidence connected him to eight murder cases, and he confessed to the killings. However, police suspect that he is responsible for more murders and are looking into disappearances in the region.

Curiously, Kang Ho Sun was convicted of a further two murders, those of his wife and mother-in-law, but he vehemently denies committing them. The two died in a suspicious fire a short time after Kang purchased several policies in his wife’s name, so he inherited a lot of money after her death. Despite the overwhelming evidence (as well as his conviction as a serial killer), Kang insists that the fire was an accident.

5 The Suffolk Strangler

05

Photo credit: Suffolk Constabulary

Steve Wright is the perfect example of a killer leading a seemingly normal life while hiding a gruesome secret. To his golf buddies, Wright was “the most boring bloke in the world.” He created the persona of a dull, average forklift operator with a normal marriage, and everyone bought it. The reality was much darker—he had a violent temper, a record of petty crimes, and a habit of frequently visiting prostitutes. All of this culminated in a six-week crime spree in Ipswich, England that left five women dead in 2006. Wright would have sex with the prostitutes and strangle them afterward.

In 2008, he was sentenced to life in prison. He refused to make any comment regarding the killings or give any information regarding his motives. He is currently being looked into as a possible suspect for other murders committed in the area.

4 Jimmy Maketta

06

Photo credit: Brenton Geach/Cape Argus

South Africa has had a string of notorious serial killers over the last few decades, and Jimmy Maketta is one of the worst. During his relatively short nine-month spree between April and December 2005, he killed 16 people. He was convicted in 2007 on 46 counts—among them 16 murder charges and 19 rapes.

Maketta’s trial portrayed him as a remorseless psychopath with a typical killer’s childhood. He had troubles at home living with a dysfunctional family, had a record for setting fires, and committed petty crimes when he got older. He showed no emotion or guilt during the trial and even smiled at certain moments.

After he was convicted and jailed, Maketta still found ways to make headlines by claiming that he had found religion. He wrote to several newspapers of his crimes and his conversion, even thanking the captain who’d arrested him for the way he’d treated him. The media subsequently named him the “Jesus Killer.”

3 The Baseline Killer

07

Photo credit: Arizona Department of Corrections

Mark Goudeau was active in the Phoenix metro area during 2005 and 2006 at the same time as the Phoenix Serial Shooters. His spree lasted about the same length, but he managed to claim the lives of nine victims. Goudeau had already had a record for various rape and assault charges. He progressed to murder by holding his victims at gunpoint and then shooting them in the head after he raped and robbed them.

Police had a pretty hard time identifying the victims of the Baseline Killer due to the Serial Shooter having a similar M.O.—both parties shot people seemingly at random. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, a robber named James Dewayne Mullins took credit for one of the murders. He later recanted when the crime was connected to the other Baseline killings, but police still wasted plenty of time investigating him as a viable suspect.

2 The Noida Serial Murders


The Noida serial murders (also known as the Nithari Kand) have been described as among the most notorious crimes ever perpetrated in India. Between 2005 and 2006, at least 16 children and women were killed in a small village called Nithari just outside New Delhi. Their skeletal remains were linked to local businessman Moninder Singh Pandher, who was accused of the murders together with his servant Surrender Koli.

What made matters even worse were the rising claims of corruption among the police investigating the killings. Singh was rich and influential, while the victims and their families were poor villagers, so accusations quickly arose that Singh was using his status to evade justice. The police limited the media’s access to the case, reduced the number of the bodies supposedly found, and even took credit for those that were found by the villagers.

Surrender Koli was convicted of five of the murders and received five death sentences. Singh was initially also sentenced to death for one of the killings, but the decision was later overturned. He is now not charged with any crimes but is still under investigation for 12 murders. If he is convicted of any of them, he could get the death penalty after all.

1 Ronald Dominique

10
In 1997, Ronald Dominique embarked on a decade-long killing spree that might have claimed as many as 23 lives. When he was arrested in 2006, he was charged with eight murders and condemned to eight life sentences. However, while in custody, Dominique confessed to the murders of 23 gay men whom he’d picked up in gay bars around the Bayou Blue area in Louisiana. Police think that the final count may be even higher than that and are still looking at him as a suspect in other cases.

Dominique would target gay men and offer them money in exchange for sex. Those who refused, he overpowered and raped. He says he began killing his victims to ensure that they did not report him to the police. He had been previously incarcerated on a rape charge in 1996 and was finally caught in 2006 when a potential victim refused to let Dominique tie him up and then reported him to the police.

Stratolaunch Is The Largest Aircraft Ever Built And Will Launch Satellites In Space

Stratolaunch is slated to go on its first flight in 2016 and shall become, officially, the largest aircraft in the world. It is being built in Mojave Air and Space Port in California by aerospace company Scaled Composites. Stratolaunch will feature two fuselages, six jet engines and shall sport a wingspan of 385 feet. Scaled Composites President, Kevin Mickey said, “If you were to put the center of this airplane on a football field. Its wingtips would extend beyond the goalposts by about 15 feet on each side.”Stratolaunch Will Be Launching Satellites Into Space 3

Because of its dimensions, it is 65 meters wider than the Hughes H-4 ‘Spruce Goose’ and about 37 meters wider than the Airbus A380. Let us use this opportunity to remind you that the Airbus A380 is world’s largest passenger airplane as of now. Stratolaunch is being built around a pair of retired Boeing 747s.Stratolaunch Will Be Launching Satellites Into Space 4

The brain behind this project is Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen. The idea was not to create the world’s largest aircraft but to change the way that satellites are being launched into space. It has been designed to carry a rocket that has been equipped between its two fuselages. Once the aircraft reaches the desired altitude, the rocket is launched off into space for the releasing of satellite. Stratolaunch Will Be Launching Satellites Into Space 2The estimated combined weight of Stratolaunch along with the rocket is about 600 tons.

Meet The SPUD: A 24-inch Collapsible Projector That Can Fit In Your Purse

We have seen a plethora of screen projecting devices over the years, all trying to double our digital experience by making the screen bigger and better. The prospect of a second display is indeed great, but carrying a second monitor around you is indeed a pain.

Pic Credits: Kickstarter

Pic Credits: Kickstarter

In comes SPUD, which is a unique, portable and collapsible projector-and-screen combo that can be floated up like a balloon and used to project display of any sort.

Pic Credits: Kickstarter

Pic Credits: Kickstarter

SPUD or Spontaneous Pop-Up Display was revealed in a Kickstarter campaign and seems to be a very handy and innovative idea. The screen looks like a deflated airbed when it is collapsed and can be folded into the size of a hardback book which weighs just under two pounds. It is more of an umbrella or a light diffuser when it is opened, where the projector is placed at the back of the unit and then displays the image on the 24-inch screen.

Advertisement

Pic Credits: Kickstarter

Pic Credits: Kickstarter

The projector unit can be given an input using HDMI and USB ports, while its internal batteries last over three hours on full brightness. It also can connect with your WiFi connection and has compatibility with a range of streaming services such as Chromecast and Roku.

Pic Credits: Kickstarter

Pic Credits: Kickstarter

So, from making presentations to playing your favourite mobile games on a big screen, SPUD is a handy solution. There are still some design problems such as the amount of space it takes up on your desk, and since the product hasn’t been launched in the market, no one is sure about the quality of the display.

Pic Credits: Kickstarter

Pic Credits: Kickstarter

The prices for the SPUD are also on the higher side, starting at $374 on Kickstarter, which is about the same what a contemporary pico projector from Sony would cost.

What are your thoughts on this projector innovation? Comment below!

Apple’s Darkest Secrets [Video]

Apple is one of the biggest companies of our time and its innovative products have changed the world. Despite its near god like status, however, the company is far from perfect and has some very dark secrets.

For example, if you work at Apple you will have to deal with being constantly micromanaged. This doesn’t just mean having a boss constantly interfere with your work, though. No, this means being constantly watched by Apple to make sure that you don’t leak information about any new products.

Apple’s security and secrecy policy is so strict that it even forbids its employees from speaking to their wives about the projects they are working on. Also, according to the Daily Mail, the company monitors new prototype devices using a system called iTrack.

The company even has its own security service (secret police unit) called the Worldwide Loyalty Team otherwise known as the ‘Apple Gestapo’ to help keep its secrets safe. According to this video from Dark5, the ‘Apple Gestapo’ have even disguised themselves as police officers in order to search an employee’s home for a prototype iPhone.

Apple’s security policies are certainly not their only dirty secret, though. Apple has also been heavily criticized for its harsh working culture and the safety of its employees. For example, Foxconn, Apple’s primary Chinese manufacturer’s factories have been described as similar to forced labour camps. Reportedly there is even a quote on a factory wall that reads “A harsh environment is a good thing”. The working conditions are so bad that in 2010, 14 workers committed suicide.

See Also: 10 Surprising Facts About Apple

Want to see what Apple’s other dirty secrets are? Check out the video and let me know what you think in the comments section below…;

Playing for green: A new wave of VR eco-games aims to save the planet

Slay Aboriginal peoples with a bow and arrow — that was the mission in Survival Island 3, a video game released in late 2015 and removed from shelves after a change.org petition made the rounds. Then there’s Hatred, in which committing mass murder is the goal. Or Playing History 2, where the challenge is to fit as many Africans as possible onto a slaver’s ship in a grotesque version of Tetris. When it comes to the video game industry, if controversy isn’t assured, contemptible behavior surely is — remember the raped-and-murdered prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto? Anal probes in South Park: The Stick of Truth? But for the next generation of gamers, the best avatar might not be the one who wreaks the most havoc or horrifies the most mommy bloggers. It may be the one who tackles another, nobler mission: saving a polluted planet.

This is not just a goody-goody ploy meant to pander to the granola-gamer set (which, by the way, is totally real) — it’s about effecting real-world change. This possibility has been creating buzz since Pokémon Go swept the nation this summer, when fanatical hordes searching real neighborhoods for fictional characters rescued abandoned animals, thwarted would-be robbers and, yes, picked up trash. If augmented and virtual reality gaming can lead to such unintended payoffs, imagine the result if social change was built into the game. If the nearly-$24-billion-a-year video game industry throws its weight behind the proposition, could vigilante gamers use their powers for good — say, cleaning up real oil spills, identifying real poachers in Africa, reducing the size of real giant garbage patches in the Pacific?

“I think it can be done,” Mark Skwarek, Director of New York University’s Mobile Augmented Reality Lab and CEO of Semblance Augmented Reality, told Salon. This semester, he’s expecting more environmental pitches from amateur game designers than ever before. “What you need are smart, dedicated people who are willing to make it happen.”

Enter Aura Higuera Rodriguez and her team of fellow students at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, who are developing Doom Prepper Sailors. The game is set 50 years in the future, in an apocalyptic world in which water pollution has led to a plethora of diseases. If this doesn’t sound too different from the state of things today, that’s precisely why the game plays out in the real world of the present day. Players guide 3D-printed, remote-controlled 18-inch-long boats and equipped with sensors and GPS through actual waterways. Points come from identifying areas of contamination in real rivers and streams. Who wins? The high-scorer — and also the environment. The data collected by players gets downloaded to a server and sold to the organizations responsible for cleaning these areas. In the testing phase now, Doom Prepper Sailors’ official release is awaiting financial backing.

“My team and I are members of a key generation that witnessed the change to a digital era,” Rodriguez told Salon. “We were in close touch with our environment during childhood, and we’re working with cutting-edge technology in adulthood. We don’t want to lose our roots, but we want the benefits technology brings, so we have to find the way to correlate them.”

Here in the US, Congress has issued grant money for the development of climate change-related video games. And a game developed by Cody Karutz while he was a student at Stanford University, The Crystal Reef, takes players on a virtual scuba diving trip through the corals of Ischia, Italy. Players take on the persona of a marine biologist, observing and collecting marine life samples from a healthy area before moving over reef that’s been affected by ocean acidification, a byproduct of climate change. Here, snails and octopus are clearly hurting, and algae and seagrass are taking over.

The drama is less obvious than in a shoot-em-up adventure — there’s no chance your biologist avatar will die from lack of oxygen, and none of the octopi morph into murderous robots. But researchers say the focus of the game aligns with the values of a generation that prioritizes experiential purchases, like travel.

“If you’re a millennial who cares about environment and doesn’t want, or can’t afford, to waste jet fuel flying around the world — something that affects the very reef you’re traveling to see — you may be willing to pay $.99 to have that virtual experience, one that’s more ecologically sustainable,” Karutz told Salon.

Besides, experts say Americans are growing more comfortable with the idea of “gradual” drama — the same sense of patience we apply as we wait more than a year for a new season of Game of Thrones, makes us more willing to battle a slow-moving virtual foe, like climate change, versus an intense and immediate threat, like a zombie or terrorist. “Look at the relatively recent explosion of health trackers, calorie counters, and other self-monitoring devices,” Eddo Stern, game designer and professor of media arts at UCLA, told Salon. “These technologies allow you to track things over time, data that is subtly and slowly developing into a narrative. People are getting used to a longitudinal way of looking at drama.”

This burgeoning category of games — most funded by academics, nonprofits and social think tanks — are known in the industry as “serious” games. They serve a social purpose. And, though their higher purposes may make them sound like TV “after-school specials” masquerading as fun, they’ve already proven their worth. Four years ago, Yale University researchers developed a browser game called Planet Hunters in order to help overwhelmed astronomers. To play, citizen scientists of all ages comb through NASA data in search of irregular star patterns that might indicate the existence of a planet — the human eye is better equipped for this sort of thing than a computer. To date, the game’s enthusiasts have discovered more than 40 potentially life-supporting celestial bodies.

For-profit gaming companies have taken notice and are getting in on the action, turning to current events and social issues to create games. The Italian company Inner Void Interactive is developing That Day We Left, a 3D journey in which the characters are Syrian refugees fleeing their country. It’s only a matter of time before the gaming challenge is navigating melting ice caps and rising seas.

Cash prizes don’t hurt. This summer, a contest sponsored in part by Columbia University’s PoLAR Partnership, evaluated prototype video games with environmental themes. The winner of the $10,000 grand prize — an awareness-raising game called ECO in which renewable resources are the new gold coins, and choices made affect the ecosystem — came from Seattle’s Strange Loop Games. It is the company’s first foray into this new genre, which owner John Krajewski calls “global survivor games.”

“The current direction within the video game industry is an experience that’s less created for players by a designer with a linear purpose, and much more created by the players,” Krajewski told Salon. “That’s a pretty big shift that’s still in its early stages. Having large-scale simulations greatly affected by a player’s actions adds more fidelity and more richness to the fictional world. Tying that into climate change and ecosystems puts it in a real context.”

There are obstacles. Ecological games require developers to rethink the concept of winning. For so long, the first-person shooter who comes out victorious by taking out other characters has been the tried-and-true model. Despite the success of games like Spore — which features no adversarial opponent, and instead involves nurturing an alien creature from microscopic organism to adult — breaking with this convention is still seen as a big gamble within the industry, one which requires a hefty investment, in terms of research and development.

Although attitudes are slowly changing, there remains an industry-wide reluctance to take on partisan themes. “Traditionally, developers have been wary of politicizing games, and how that might turn off a customer base,” Skwarek said. “There’s a rumor that programmers who’ve done this on their own have been blacklisted from jobs at bigger companies.”

However, the overlords of the gaming industry might soon change their tune, according to some experts, as the gamer demographic is maturing, and so are its tastes. Gone are the days of a gamer subculture comprising pimply high school boys holed up in their parents’ basements, getting kicks from digital explosions. With the advent of mobile platforms, a once solitary, indoor activity is finding new audiences — those attracted to the social potential and location-based plots of games like Pokémon Go. Today, more than 150 million Americans – of every race, age, gender and socioeconomic group – play. Increasingly, this includes people following environmental news and policy.

Still, an eco-friendly agenda may sound strange for an industry with a historically large carbon footprint. A study published last year in the journal Energy Efficiency found that gaming computers — the fastest-growing gaming platform — guzzle $10 billion worth of electricity per year. And sales should double by 2020.

But, as Scott Steinberg, an expert in gaming trends and host of the Discovery Channel’s “Next Up,” told Salon: “It’s a pop culture business. As goes the news, so too goes gaming. Developers are going to cater to the tastes of the public. In a way, this will be a bit of a renaissance — some of the first floppy disc games, like Balance of the Planet, focused on environmental issues. Now we’re coming full circle.”

And this time around, the technology has advanced — maybe even enough to save the world.

This Death Ray Weapon Can Knock Out Drones In Using Radio Waves

Advertisement

Welcome to Las Vegas where a system capable of taking out drones via radio waves is being shown off. It makes use of high powered radio waves for disabling drones by blocking their communication and switching them off in midair. The system has been termed as death ray.Death Ray Can Knock Out Drones Using Radio Waves 4

Executive vice-president of Liteye Systems, Rick Sondag, said, If I can see it, I can kill it. He was the person who debuted it at the Commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Expo that was held in Las Vegas last week. The company is based in Colorado and has been acting as the named distributor in US and Canada for the system since the start of 2015 by its three manufacturers; Enterprise, Chess Systems and Blighter. Sondag is hoping to sell the systems to airports and locations where national security is an issue.Death Ray Can Knock Out Drones Using Radio Waves 3

He said, The US government, like everyone else, has critical infrastructure and if they dont feel like they can protect it, theyll pass laws that will hamper progress and hamper current use. According to the trio of firms, The system may be used in remote or urban areas to prevent UAVs being used for terrorist attacks, espionage or other undesirable activities against sites with critical infrastructure. The Anti-UAV Defence System is likely to be an integral part of a wider networked surveillance and defence system. Its soft kill capabilities make it a very attractive option for both military, internal and border security forces. Where the situation demands restraint under provocation and where active, yet discrete, deterrence is required, AUDS delivers a very powerful message.MoS2 Template Master

According to Defence sources, the British-designed system termed as AUDS Anti Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Defense System was tested out in Scotland earlier this year and has been proven effective against drones that are remote controlled and the ones that follow pre-programmed flight paths. According to the AUDS manufacturers, it takes the system about 10-15 seconds for targeting and disrupting multiple drones that are in the swarm attack formation. However, the technology has been designed so that it doesnt affect any commercial or military aircraft that employ encrypted communications.

Tech world eyes digital life beyond smartphone

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The smartphone revolutionized how people live and work, but the technology world is now struggling to see what comes next.

As smartphone sales have peaked in most major markets, Apple, Samsung and others are being forced to rethink their business models to keep growing and connecting with consumers.

The trend in smartphones appears to follow similar peaks in tablet sales and personal computers, said Bob O Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research.

“We are clearly entering a new era where growth of traditional devices has ended and you have to think differently,” O Donnell said.

It s not clear what will be the “next big thing” in technology or even if there is one, and that is troubling for an industry that has been living off growth from smartphones and their ecosystems of Android and Apple iOS applications.

John Curran, managing director of Accenture s communications, media, and technology group, said that in a maturing smartphone market, consumers are not hesitating about new purchases.

“Consumers are basically satisfied with their current devices,” said Curran.

Curran said the Internet of Things appears to be a promising market but that no single device has proved compelling so far.

“We re seeing a broad range of devices, smartwatches, home automation, drones and the like,” Curran said.

“But these are not taking off (because) people don t see the personal value in their lives yet.”

An Accenture survey released in January, based on polls in 28 countries, found declines in purchase intent for new smartphones and other big-ticket electronics devices.

Only a relative small number of consumers expressed interest in new Internet of Things devices such as smartwatches or drones — expressing concerns over cost, security and complexity of use.

Curran said the smartphone became wildly popular because it addressed a key problem of communications for people on the go, but that the next big thing is not clear.

“Consumers are looking for things that solve practical, tangible problems,” he said.

“They want to see things that make their lives easier, that delight and amaze them.”

– Looking for integration –

===========================

Ramon Llamas, analyst at the research firm IDC, said consumers want to see how all their new gadgets and services can be interconnected.

“The smartphone will still have a privileged place in our lives, but it needs to connect to all our other devices,” he said.

“You want your smartphone to talk to your home security system and your wearable device.”

Global smartphone sales in the first quarter showed their slowest growth on record of 0.2 percent, according to IDC. A separate report by Juniper Research was even more gloomy, saying global sales fell nearly six percent.

The market for devices such as smartwatches, fitness bands and smart home technology is growing, but in a more disjointed fashion, with a number of competing operating systems that can often confuse consumers.

“In all of those environments, you will need some level of computing or connectivity, so the companies that can deliver those kinds of things will be better positioned,” O Donnell said.

With no single important device dominating, O Donnell said the future tech landscape will see players emerge that can combine hardware, software, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. That could open the door to important roles for Facebook, Amazon, Intel and other players.

– Devices fade away –

=======================

Some look to a landscape where technology and artificial intelligence permeate all aspects of life, where the “device” may become almost irrelevant.

“Looking to the future, the next big step will be for the very concept of the device to fade away,” says Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet unit Google, in a recent blog post.

“Over time, the computer itself — whatever its form factor — will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day. We will move from mobile first to an AI (artificial intelligence) first world.”

Samsung, the world s biggest smartphone maker, said it too is looking at a different future of connected things.

“We are already imagining the next step beyond the smartphone,” Samsung Electronics mobile communications business president Dongjin Koh told the company s developer conference in California.

Samsung wants to integrate software and services using its Tizen platform in the belief that “everywhere you go, there will be opportunities to bring devices and people together,” Koh said.

Intel, the company known for PC chips and failing to recognize the shift to mobile devices, last month unveiled a major restructuring, with a view to the “Internet of Things.” Some reports said Intel s new structure abandons the smartphone in favor of emerging devices and services.

“The biggest opportunity in the Internet of Things is that it encompasses just about everything in our lives today,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in a blog post.

“From our shoes and clothes to our homes and cars — the Internet of Things is transforming everything and every experience.”