Computing & Mobile Update: Google News, ASU’s New Flexible Display, New Tech for Better Displays, Airline Cuts Weight with iPads, New Rugged Phones, and Great Gazintas
By Mark Devlin
June 11, 2012
Google Acquisition Could Help It Move Even Deeper into Mobile
Google keeps racking up yet more acquisitions, this time adding the popular Quickoffice (the mobile app maker) to its portfolio.
According to this article at PCWorld, the company’s purchase is a preemptive strike at Microsoft’s expected November release of Office for iOS, Android, and Windows-based tablets. Quickoffice already has a solid market position, says PCWorld, which gives Google a leg up in the marriage between their Google Docs and Quickoffice.
"Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device," Google Engineering Director Alan Warren explained in a company blog. "Quickoffice has an established track record of enabling seamless interoperability with popular file formats, and we'll be working on bringing their powerful technology to our Apps product suite."
Could be cool, but I still want Office on iOS and Android; even whittled-down versions would be better than the kludges so far.
According to this brief at Slashdot, Google has also purchased social/advertising company Meebo.
Think You’ve Got a Stuxnet or Flame Infection?
Considering the targets as well as regional outbreaks, chances are pretty good that you have neither. But, just in case, Google will warn you if you might be facing a state-sponsored attack.
How does Google know if such an attack has happened or is in-progress? According to this New York Times article…
“We can’t go into the details without giving away information that would be helpful to these bad actors, but our detailed analysis—as well as victim reports—strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored,” Eric Grosse, Google’s vice president of security engineering, wrote in a blog post.
Google? Governments? Nah. Absolutely no connection.
ASU Debuts Largest Flexible Display
A flexible display would be neat, sure. More important, it could lead to flexible devices. (How about a tablet computer that rolls up to keep in your pocket?)
According to this brief at Discovery News, the new unit built by the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University measures 7.4 in. across.
The project was based on a DoD mandate to make a flexible display that not only shows color video, but does so in battlefield conditions. Plus, it’s more durable than glass.
Instead of silicon used in typical, rigid displays, the new one uses mixed oxides that can be bent and don’t require complex manufacturing ops.
New Semiconductor Tech ‘May Revolutionize Displays’
Another new oxide semiconductor approach, called IGZO will—according to this article at PhysOrg—enable even higher resolutions, reduce power consumption, and increase touchscreen performance.
The new IGZO technology—from Sharp partnered with Semiconductor Energy Laboratory…
…imparts crystallinity in an oxide semiconductor composed of indium (In), gallium (Ga) and zinc (Zn). Compared to current amorphous IGZO semiconductors, it enables even smaller thin-film transistors to be achieved and provides higher performance.
Commercialization challenges remain, but let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Interesting Airliner Engineering Move
Low-budget, Singapore-based Scoot airlines not only offers in-flight Internet access, but has also decided to offer passengers iPads instead of using much heavier in-flight entertainment systems, according to this article at Bloomberg.
C’mon. How much weight can really be saved? Actually, it’s a substantial amount: 7% is cut from the weight of their planes—even after a 40% increase in seating compared to their parent company’s (Singapore Airlines Ltd.) airliners. Scoot will fly four 777-200s, each with 400 seats. (Ouch!)
Greater fuel efficiency is the goal, especially since fuel prices have increased a hefty 36% in just the last two years.
Economy-class passengers will pay $17 for the single-flight use of a Scoot iPad, which has been pre-loaded with movies, games, and television shows. Budget-class passengers can use ‘em for free.
Psst. Buddy. Need a Rugged Smartphone?
There have been a few rugged phones out there for awhile, but not many. Your choices just increased with Sony’s release of their Android (2.3 Gingerbread) based Xperia Acro S and Go offerings. The latter has a 3.5 in. screen, while the former goes with the much more usable (and readable) 4.3 in. format. Both have (different) dual-core processors. The Acro S has a 12 mp rear camera, while the Go (that’ll be called the Advance when it hits the U.S.) snaps shots with a 5 mp sensor.
Also, the Go/Advance has a new feature called ‘wet finger tracking.’ according to this brief at Gizmodo. So, the phone remains usable in the rain, or in other situations when your fingers are wet.
Here’s the juicy, industrial stuff: the Acro S is rated IP55 for dust and IP57 for water, while the Go achieves IP67 for dust and water.
For more details and vids, see this Electronista article.
How Many Giant Phones will be Sold by 2015?
I love the idea of a ‘giant’ cell phone with a stylus, namely the Samsung Galaxy Note covered previously here on IEN.
According to this article at PopSci, a recently released report predicts that Galaxy Note sales will reach ‘a completely bonkers’ 208 million in 2015.
Not satisfied with the vagueness of such a number, PopSci decided to run more numbers—on Wolfram Alpha—to help but things in perspective.
They went conservative; instead of basing their numbers on the larger Note ‘phablet,’ which boasts a 5.3-in. screen, PopSci tech mavens went with the smaller-but-still-phablet Galaxy Nexus with its 4.65-in. screen.
So, that 208 million number really means that such an Earth-tilting quantity of large cell phones could…
…pave 98% of Monaco, three entire Pentagons, or more than four Vatican Cities
…wallpaper the Empire State Building 236 times.
That’s a lotta Gazintas. Bravo, PopSciGuys.