NASA wants to put your name on a spacecraft headed to an asteroid
Forget those dime-a-dozen “name a star” gifts — wouldn’t you rather put your name on a spacecraft that advances human understanding? NASA certainly thinks you do. It’s teaming up with the Planetary Society to etch your name on chips inside its OSIRIS-REx probe, which will head toward the asteroid Bennu in 2016. While it’s doubtful that any aliens will read your microscopic claim to fame, it’ll certainly get the grand tour. The spacecraft will spend 500 days around the asteroid before heading back, and both the decommissioned vehicle as well as the returning sample capsule will have your ID. You can register your name today for free; just be prepared to wait years for the payoff.
Google’s new wearable project is a smart contact lens with medical uses Google loves wearables and this time it’s getting even closer to your body with a developmental smart contact lens. Through miniaturized electronics, it can apparently measure the levels of glucose in your tears, offering diabetics an easier way to monitor their condition without the needles and the blood — something we’ve reported on a several before. A tiny (really tiny) wireless chip and glucose sensor are wedged between two layers of “biocompatible” contact lens material, and Google is saying that it’s already working on embedding tiny LED lights for notifications, too. There’s been no shortage of developmental contact lens tech over the last few years, but the clout of Google means this could well be the most realistic mainstream offering, in addition to its very practical use cases. Google is currently angling for partners with more expertise in the medical market to help make it happen and is “in discussions with the FDA” to ensure the tech ticks all the right healthcare boxes before it progresses further.
Recode’s got a deep dive on the make-up of the smart contact: we’ve added their science textbook-grade diagram right after the break.
Samsung could have possibly tweaked its Exynos 5 Octa processor to perform better when running select benchmarks, according to a forum member on Beyond 3D and AnandTech. Nebuchadnezzar, the Beyond 3D forum member, noticed that the Samsung Galaxy S4 was pushing its GPU to a clock speed of 532 MHz when running whitelisted benchmarks such as the old GL Bench app but would max out at 480 MHz on non-whitelisted apps such as the new GFXBench benchmark. What this means is that the S4 delivers more power than usual when running benchmarks but throttles down the GPU to achieve better battery life on other apps, suggesting that the benchmark results of the Galaxy S4 do not accurately represent real-world performance.
Nebuchadnezzar’s findings were confirmed by AnandTech as well, who also tested if the Galaxy S4’s Exynos CPU was also tweaked to deliver better results on recognized benchmarks. They found that it was and that when running older whitelisted benchmarks such as GLBench 2.5.1, AnTuTu, Quadrant, Linpack and Benchmark Pi, the processor would always be at max power with the Cortex A15 cores consistently at 1.2GHz, irrespective of what load the benchmarks put on the device. However, when the non-whitelisted GFXBench 2.7.0 was run, the S4 switched over to the more economical Cortex A7 cores.
AnandTech also found something more interesting that makes all of the above look like it was deliberately done by Samsung. While digging around in the Galaxy S4’s system files, AnandTech came across the TwDVFSApp.apk file responsible for changing the processor’s core clock speeds. Opening the APK file in a hex editor revealed a string titled ‘BenchmarkBooster’ and a list of benchmark names that included all of the ones mentioned above. This proves, almost conclusively, that Samsung intended to make the Galaxy S4 perform better during benchmarks than it would when running anything else.
At the end of the day, there is very little chance that the performance tweaking affects you, if you own a Galaxy S4. You won’t really find any performance shortfalls when using the phone on a day to day basis. However, by tweaking the phone’s processor to work in a non-regular manner, Samsung clearly wanted to taint benchmark scores in reviews in order to make the Galaxy S4 look better than its competition. We’ve always maintained in our smartphone reviews that synthetic benchmark numbers do not signify real-world performance and have always made it a point to score a smartphone based on real-world performance as well (we test that by running a whole bunch of popular games, running HD videos and using the phone as our primary device for a couple of days).
By going out of its way to manipulate benchmark scores, Samsung has further highlighted the drawbacks of using synthetic benchmarks. Samsung has also shown how insecure it is with respect to the Galaxy S4 and we’re sure many smartphone users will be disappointed that the company had to resort to tricks to paint its flagship phone in a better light.
While all of this doesn’t really affect real world performance, it does mean that you should take benchmark results of the Exynos 5 Octa-powered Galaxy S4 variants with a large helping of salt. The 480MHz default clock isn’t all that far away from the full 533MHz frequency, and Samsung might have decided to stick with the lower clock to ensure stability. However, that doesn’t mean this isn’t cheating. We think Samsung should have focused more on improving the user experience than spending large amounts of time making an application for fooling benchmarks.
It does seem like the graphics in Samsung’s upcoming flagship—the Galaxy S4—will be powered by a PowerVR GPU. Imagination Technologies has released a press release that announces that its PowerVR SGX 544 GPU has been used in Samsung’s 5410 Octa chip that is said to power the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The GPU has two variants—the tri-core 544MP3 and the quad-core 544MP4. Reports around the Internet state that the former will be powering the Galaxy S4. More information will undoubtedly be revealed during the upcoming official announcement.
The Exynos 5 Octa’s graphics are powered by a PowerVR chip
According to the test scores, the CPU is clocked at 1.8GHz with a 4+4 core setup. With all that power, the phone is set to top the charts. And that’s very much the case. Compared to a Nexus 4, which is powered by a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, the benchmark results show that the Exynos 5 Octa has a crazy final tally of 24,894, which makes it nearly 40 percent faster than the Nexus.
The screenshots also reveal that the Galaxy S4 will launch with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The forthcoming flagship will also be a true ‘world’ phone, rather than have different variants for each region or carrier. This conclusion is arrived at thanks to the Exynos processor supporting GSM/WCDMA/LTE.
The benchmark scores also confirm that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will have a 13-megapixel primary camera, along with a 2.1-megapixel front-facing shooter. It will be released in 16GB and 32GB configurations. There is some further speculation about a 64GB version, but that might be a stretch. However, we do know that Samsung’s flagships also feature microSD card slots to further enhance the internal memory.
We can also see that the device will have a 4.99-inch, full HD screen with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. Seeing as there is no pixel allowance for on-screen buttons, we think there will be physical buttons just like the older Galaxy S phones. The onscreen buttons in the above screenshots are from the Nexus 4, which was used for the benchmark comparison.
The Galaxy S4 will be unveiled on March 14 in New York City. DUDEn*n*DIVA will be bringing you all the coverage from that event, as well as word about the launch of the phone in India. For all the information we have right now, you can check out our rumour round-up for the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Qualcomm has revealed its next generation smartphone and tablet processors with the 600 and 800 chipset series. 75% faster than current Snapdragon S4 Pro processor
Qualcomm has unveiled its next generation of processors for smartphones and tablets. The Snapdragon 600 and Snapdragon 800 series processors is of course faster than the current S4 Snapdragon series but will also offer Dolby Digital Plus surround sound as well as 4K video recording with a 4096 x 2304 pixel resolution.
Snapdragon S4 is the currently the fastest processor from Qualcomm. You will find variants of these processors in Sony Xperia Z, Nexus 4 and HTC Droid DNA. The Snapdragon 600 will be 40% faster than the Snapdragon S4 Pro which is the fastest chipset family from Qualcomm today.
The Snapdragon 600 chipsets has quad-core processors running at up to 1.9 GHz. The Adreno 320 GPU will to the graphic computation and the expected increase in performance compared to S4 Pro is up to 40%
Snapdragon 800 will be the flagship model with processors clocked up to 2.3 GHz. Quad-core of course. The new Adreno 330 GPU will be up to 2 times faster than the currently fastest Adreno 320 GPU. Another interesting feature is the support for UltraHD (4K) video capture and playback. That is four times the resolution as Full HD 1080p. We are looking forward to see the next generation 4K displays utilizing this high-resolution. Snapdragon 800 chipsets will support up to four cameras in Full HD. It is time to demand dual lenses with 3D capabilities in your next smartphone maybe. Snapdragon 800 will offer up to 75% better performance than the fastest processor available from Qualcomm today.
We of SamMobile just received a huge tip from our insider at Samsung and according to him this is the next generation of the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy S IV. We can’t 100% confirm if this is indeed the Galaxy S IV but the picture he sent us looks really sharp and doesn’t look fake at all. The design of the device looks also very similar to the design of the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Premier, which makes this picture more authentic.
By looking at the picture of the device we observed a few things, the device will use on-screen buttons as there is no home-button present on the device (Finally), the bezel around the device is much thinner and the device features a large display.
We didn’t get any confirmation on the specifications of the Galaxy S IV but the rumoured specifications are listed below:
– Exynos 5450 Quad-Core CPU clocked at 2.0GHz
– Mali-T658 GPU
– 2GB of RAM
– 4.99” SuperAMOLED FULL HD resolution (1080×1920) Display
– 13 Megapixel Rear Facing Camera
– 2 Megapixel Front Facing Camera
– Android 4.2.1 (Out of the box)
– Source claimed to have more pictures.
– It’s hard to believe.
– Mix between Galaxy S III / Galaxy Premier could make this render (press photo) looks real.
– Before the official presentation by Samsung is nothing 100% sure.