Pandora – gaming console

Even though the first batch has been sold out even before its release through pre-sales orders, many from the non-gaming community have no insight about the Pandora and its features.

Pandora is an open source handheld device which is being aimed to become the most powerful one till date in both Raw CPU power and 3D Graphics. Pandora is basically an ultra portable device with a gaming console aimed to conquer the gaming market from aging GP2X.

This gaming console is built from the scratch as an OS with a Linux distro. It is the same size as the Nintendo DS and the company comments on its strange design, that it provides better resistance, better battery space and easy handling.

Design Specifications:

  • Substantial color LCD touch screen
  • Dual analog joy pads
  • Digital D-pad
  • A-B-X-Y buttons
  • QWERTY keyboard just for kicks 🙂

Internal Specifications:

  • ARM® Cortex™-A8 CPU running Linux
  • 800×480 4.3″ 16.7 million color touch screen LCD
  • OpenGL 2.0 ES compliant 3D hardware
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • Dual SDHC card slots
  • Dual analog and digital gaming controls
  • 43 button QWERTY and numeric keypad
  • TV output
  • High Speed USB Host

With the Pandora priced at $330, some gamers consider it to be the new king-pin but it is yet to be seen how the open source device captures the gaming community.

Pandora preview

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Chinese monitor Skype messages!!

A group of Canadian researchers including some Canadian human-rights activists and computer security researchers have caught hold of a huge surveillance system in China that monitors and archives text-chat messages based upon some search criteria. The researchers have found that the joint venture of eBay owned Skype and TOM Online, named TOM-Skype, which provides Skype client in Chinese, monitors and censor text messages that has any information about political issues of china. Nart Villenveuve of the University of Toronto Citizen Lab released a 16-page report named “Breaching Trust,” explaining about the incident.

The full text chat messages sent through the Skype chat client are regularly scanned for sensitive keywords relating to the government and if found, these messages with the personal details of the sender are stored on a insecure publicly-accessible server breaching the security principles. That’s how the researchers were able to download and analyze copies of the surveillance data because the Chinese computers were improperly configured, leaving them accessible.

The search criteria based upon which the messages are monitored include words related to the religious group Falun Gong, Taiwan independence and the Chinese Communist Party. It includes not only words like democracy, but also earthquake and milk powder. (Chinese officials are facing criticism over the handling of earthquake relief and chemicals tainting milk powder.)

When questioned about the monitoring of chat messages of users and the extent of support TOM-Skype was extending to the Chinese government, Skype says, “As part of the joint venture, TOM provides guidance to Skype about how to co-operate with local laws and regulations in China. In every country we operate in, we always work with local authorities to follow local laws and best practice.”

“TOM operates a text filter in TOM-Skype. The filter operates solely on text chats. The filter has a list of words which will not be displayed in Skype chats. The text filter operates on the chat message content before it is encrypted for transmission, or after it has been decrypted on the receiver side. If the message is found unsuitable for displaying, it is simply discarded and not displayed or transmitted anywhere.”

Skype also mentioned that:

  • The text filter does not affect in any way the security and encryption mechanisms of Skype.
  • Full end-to-end security is preserved and there is no compromise of people’s privacy.
  • Calls, chats and all other forms of communication on Skype continue to be encrypted and secure.
  • There is absolutely no filtering on voice communications.
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Gear up for Nokia Tube

After taking its own time, Nokia has finally decided to venture into the market which iPhone is ruling. With the Nokia Tube, the first touch device of the series 60, getting unveiled tomorrow, the leaders of mobile market would pose a strong competition for the Apple iPhone 3G.

Comparing them head to head:

Brand Nokia Apple
Type Tube 3G
Bluetooth Version 2.0 with A2DP Version 2.0
Infrared No No
Wi-Fi Yes Yes
USB 2.0 2.0
Main display Color TFT touchscreen Color TFT touchscreen
Color display 16.000.000 colors 16.000.000 colors
111 x 52 x 14.5 mm 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3 mm
Weight 104 grams 133 grams
Memory 140MB on-board storage + memory options 8/16 GB shared memory
Camera 3.2 MP with Auto-focus 2.0 MP
Battery BL-5J 1150mah Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion
OS Symbian S 60 Mac OS X v10.4.10

With Nokia’s Tube matching and excelling the features of the IPhone in the comparison, experts say that the sales of the Tube would depend upon the price of the phone which would decide result of the war. But I would say the war has just begun. With Blackberry’s touch phone which is to be released in early Jan and advanced version of the 3G iPhone still in the pipe, the touch market is still seeing its dawn.

Nokia Tube featured in The Dark Knight

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