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Plastic shapes can provide a real physical keyboard clicky touch


Several years ago, I attended a conference haptic technology. There is the usual array of ridiculous gadgets that are technically only meet the definition haptic (lively dog ​​collar when the dog leaves the house, the stylus that vibrates when you press it) but buried way to the back is supposed to be tactile touchscreen - and it worked! The device vibrates at various frequencies basically knock your finger from the screen several times per second, effectively adjust the friction between the finger and the glass. As I moved from the real image to image ice, my finger slipped seem appropriate, and while that may not be what you would call "useful," explained sold me on the concept: the creative use of haptics can be more than just a Rumble Pak 2.0. It can fundamentally affect how we use these devices.

These kinds of haptic technology almost all trying to use vibration to simulate several other physical sensations, but what if we really could change the friction surface, make it smoother or bumpier with real physical deformation? More importantly, what if we could make a keyboard that really pops out of the screen, and which can be suppressed because of our kind? Strategic Polymer claims will bring the product to market next year to do just that: pop lock up really click when clicked, and do it with a ground-breaking millisecond response time.

Star Trek did not even put a down payment is about 300 years in the future, even with the Federation ship using a flat, touch chirpy. Strategic Polymer solutions using high electromechanical materials new strain that can damage the "10%" and that responds quickly. Historically, we have to choose one of two virtues, getting good responses and significantly slow, or fast and small. Here, Strategic Polymer claim, we have technologies that will allow true, the key can be clicked to pop right off the surface of the touch screen of your smartphone, and to respond quickly and accurately. See initial video technology below.

This technology works through electrostriction, which is owned by every object in the world dielectrics. With these polymers engineered to respond very specifically to an electric field is applied, however, the researchers claim to be able to create all sorts of useful deformation - like, for example, a few dozen square keyboard keys. By adjusting the applied electric field in response to touch, the screen can seem to move in response to pressure, although in reality there are only moves in response to an electric field, which changes in response to touch. The result, if everything is working as quickly and as smoothly as Strategic Polymer claim, would be a real physical keyboard on the touch screen is fully functional.

What is unclear, however, is how physical features may need to be programmed. This is of course interesting to imagine a touchscreen that can take a new physical layout controller for any game or application, put a strip of rough bottom right of the screen for a good tactile scroll bar, or you can feel the volume slider slide, or maybe just embossed logo above. Info at this time does not make it clear whether this will be possible, however, due to deformation may need to be built into the electroactive polymer, keyboard layout could work for reliable key can be built directly into the polymer. ExtremeTech logo, unfortunately, much more in the air.

One very interesting feature is the ability to play sound material. A speaker is only very controlled vibrating surface, really, one that creates a small electrical wave patterns that we interpret as sound. Haptic technology has a low response time is enough that he can do this yourself. Watch the video above to see how this technology can turn almost any surface into a low-fi computer speakers.

Windows 8 lead to decreased PC


He PC market suffered the biggest decline on record, with the delivery of the first quarter dropped 14% since the same time last year. This unprecedented decline in throwing a very pleasant light in the PC industry, which is hoping that Windows 8 will boost sales - but on the contrary, Microsoft's new OS is a major factor in the sharp decline in history.

These figures come from IDC, which has been tracking PC shipments since 1994. Shipments (not sales, which may be lower) than the PC in the first quarter of 2013 reached 76.3 million, down 13.9% from the first quarter of 2012. Gartner, which has a slightly different definition of "PC," set at a decline of 11%. Among individual PC makers, Lenovo is every OEM except delivery decreased. HP's PC department, which has been flagging for some time, suffered a huge drop of 24% compared to the same period last year.

The PC market has been steadily declining in recent years, but a decrease of 13.9% is really very unpredictable. IDC, which is usually pretty accurate, had predicted a drop of the 7.7%, which would also have to be one of the biggest drop in history - yet, somehow, the actual damage is almost doubled. If this decline continues, the PC market will all but die in the next few years. (. Look: Microsoft quietly kills off the desktop PC) Just so you have some idea of ​​how dramatic the PC market has been defeated by a smartphone, get this: Samsung alone sold in the region of 70 million smartphones in Q1 2013; nearly as many as the market PC all combined (76.3 million). All told, analysts expect more than a billion smartphones and tablets will be sold in 2013, PC, on the other hand, will be lucky if they divert 350 million.

The droop in the PC market also led to a large decline in the semiconductor market, with Intel, AMD, and other PC-oriented chip makers all take a hit. On the other hand, the mobile chip suppliers such as Samsung, Qualcomm, and Broadcom, are all experiencing large growth. Nvidia, which has successfully diversified into mobile chips, managed to grow by 6%. Intel, which is a large-scale enterprise and HPC space, down 2.7% - which is no doubt hoping to reverse this year, with the release of its new mobile Atom chips.


Is Windows 8 causes of decline? We will never know for sure, but given the vagueness of Microsoft when it comes to Windows 8 sales, poor sales of Windows 8 tablets like Surface, and continual disappointment about RT Windows, it is certainly fair to say that Windows 8 is a big factor reduction PC market. According to IDC, many companies choose to install Windows 7, not Windows 8 - and, in the consumer space, the absence of the Start button, and the need to switch between Desktop and Metro mode is turned off potential buyers.

There are other factors, though. The world economy, especially in developing countries, is still weak. There's simply no avoiding the fact that the PC is being squeezed by smartphones and tablets, as well: No matter how attractive Windows 8 is, people want a new smartphone or tablet - instead of a new laptop. (See: There's only one: Smartphones are the future of the PC.) Microsoft will get another chance with Windows 8.1 (Blue) to make Windows 8 more attractive on laptops and desktops, and thus increase sales of PCs - but unless he is willing to resign in mandatory Start screen and the mouse and keyboard hates welcome back the Start menu, which seems rather unlikely.

Samsung unveils and Galaxy Mega smartphones

Samsung already has the Galaxy Note line of mobile devices, with the Galaxy Note 2 sporting a 5.5-inch screen. However, whereas the Note doesn’t pretend to be a unique smartphone and tablet hybrid (essentially being a phablet before the term caught on) through the inclusion of a stylus, the Mega looks like it will be masquerading as a standard smartphone. The model does not seem to justify its size by hiding behind a stylus. The Mega will release in two versions, the aforementioned 5.8-inch and 6.3-inch iterations. Though the Mega is significantly larger than a standard smartphone — with the new Galaxy S4 sitting pretty at a 5-inch screen — it doesn’t bring more powerful hardware to the table, even though a device of its larger size could have an easier time fitting more powerful components under the hood.

The 5.8-inch Mega sports a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, a meager 8GB of onboard storage, and a 960×540 display. The 6.3-inch model raises the specs a little to a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of onboard storage, and a 720p display, but contains the same amount of RAM as its little sister. The processor is from an unknown manufacturer. Unfortunately for those of you who enjoy smaller phablets and LTE speeds, the 5.8-inch model only comes with HSPA support, so you’ll have to step up to the 6.3-inch model for that blazing-fast LTE. The differences between the phones end here, and the rest of the specs are the same. Both phones have an expandable microSD storage slot that can support up to a 64GB card, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, and will ship with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
It seems a little odd that Samsung would announce two new large phones so soon after the company announced its flagship Galaxy S4, and it’s even stranger that the phones don’t stand up to the S4′s more powerful specs. The only real aspect of the Mega that stands above the S4 is that the screens are significantly larger, even though both Mega models have less pixel density. The lower specs and inability to reach 1080p would likely make the Mega cheaper than the S4, so it’s possible Samsung is simply looking to offer a cheaper alternative to the public, but still provide something special that consumers can’t get anywhere else, which in this case would be the larger screens. It’s also possible that Samsung is attempting to have a product in every screen size imaginable, adhering to some kind of ideology that the company should cover every single base possible.

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