Well it’s a brand new year and we’re back with our Tech Round-Up to cover all the latest news in the industry.
This week we take a look at quantum computing, the latest acquisitions at Apple and Google, LG’s amazing 4K TV lineup and of course, the new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles!
CUTTING EDGE: NSA Working on a Code-Cracking Quantum Computer
The Washington Post has reported that the United States National Security Agency is working on a new quantum computer to break message encryption. Supposedly around £49 million has been spent by the NSA so far but no working machine has emerged.
Quantum computing is still very much in its infancy, the biggest problem being that observation and outside interference can affect a quantum computer’s operation. If the NSA did manage to get it to work, it could be used to decrypt secure messages from foreign governments.
The name of this ambitious project is ‘Penetrating Hard Targets’ alleged from the whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s disclosed documents.
Many research groups around the world are working on quantum computing as unlike a conventional computer a quantum machine can carry out a vast number of simultaneous calculations thus making it far more effective at complex decryption tasks.
The technology in theory is quite amazing and it appears the NSA has started to make the basic building blocks for such a machine. It could still be some time before we see a working model though.
APPLE: Reportedly Acquires Developer Behind Photo App ‘SnappyCam’
The Cupertino tech giant has reportedly made another acquisition in the form of SnappyLabs, the one-man developer of the SnappyCam app. This information was reported by TechCrunch on Saturday although Apple is yet to confirm the deal officially.
The founder of SnappyLabs is John Papandriopoulos, an electrical engineer from the University of Melbourne and he is in fact the only employee.
If the deal is confirmed he would be working with Apple on future camera app developments, allowing them to make better use of the iPhone’s hardware.
SnappyCam essentially allowed the user to take a series of burst camera shots with very little reduction in image quality, boasting shooting speeds of 20 to 30 frames per second and superior to Apple’s offering.
Following reports of the acquisition, SnappyCam has been pulled from the App Store. This purchase could be an excellent move for Apple; the expertise could not only be used to improve the camera app for new, high-end devices but also to bring burst-shot capability to older iPhone models as well.
ANDROID: Popular Alarm App ‘Timely’ Has Been Purchased By Google
Well it certainly seems to be the season for new business purchases as reports now come in that Google has acquired the team behind the stunning alarm app ‘Timely’.
The company Bitspin is delighted with the move and has released a statement re-establishing its commitment to the delivery of great, innovative products. The app continues to be available on the Google Play store and all in-app content is now free of charge going forward.
If you haven’t checked out ‘Timely’ yet then I strongly recommend you do, it is quite simply one of the most beautiful apps out there at the moment, not to mention being a fantastic alarm clock substitute.
It will be exciting to see how this excellent quality is translated into new Google products over the coming years. I for one cannot wait.
GADGETS: LG Unveils New Line-Up of 4K Televisions
Well I don’t know if it qualifies as a ‘gadget’ exactly but tech giant LG have announced twelve 4K resolution televisions for 2014.
These include a monster 105-inch LCD model and two curved OLED series as well; this makes for one of the most extensive 4K product offerings on the market to date.
For those not familiar with the term, 4K is essentially a form of Ultra-HD picture that fits around 4,000 pixels horizontally across the screen.
We can expect to see advancements in LG’s Smart TV technology plus hopefully the latest connectivity enhancements in the form of HDMI 2.0 but this has yet to be confirmed.
Various other enhancements and refinements have been added to the different models including a proprietary chip to enhance resolution on the larger UB9800 series and Colour Refiner and High Dynamic Range (HDR) on the OLED devices.
Cinema-quality television is coming to our living rooms sooner than you think!
GAMING: The Next Generation of Gaming
I would be remiss if I didn’t write something about the next generation of console gaming: the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
It seemed these new platforms couldn’t come soon enough to most gamers and since their release in November; both consoles have been selling like hot cakes. Various figures seem to be reporting one console ahead of another but it’s just too close to call at the moment.
However, there do seem to be more Xbox Ones available to buy online right now. Essentially, it all comes down to personal preference and what you want from your gaming machine.
The PS4 slightly outstrips the One on raw graphical power but this doesn’t necessarily translate to increased performance. Furthermore, Microsoft seem to have built the One to be a comprehensive home media centre with Sony claiming their own machine is for the ‘pure gamer’ instead.
At the end of the day, both are fantastic pieces of kit and what your decision could come down to are the games exclusive to each console.
Halo lovers will want a One for the 5th game in the franchise, plus the hotly anticipated Titanfall. Whereas the PS4 will have Infamous: Second Son and Killzone Shadow Fall.
The decision is entirely yours but if you can’t afford either console right now, there are still some fantastic games on offer for the ‘previous-gen’ Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 so be sure to check them out as well.
James is a freelance technology and science writer from Bucks.
His interests range from gadgets and apps to movies and gaming, really anything geeky!
Check back here every week for the latest news and reviews!