H.265 (HEVC) video format finally approved

The International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Video Coding Experts Group finally approved the successor to the H.264 video format, creatively called H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). As the name implies, H.265 has a massively efficient encoding process whereby the same quality as H.264 can be achieved with almost half the bitrate. What this means is that H.265 can support videos up to  8K UHD (7680 x 4320) and resolution up to 8192 x 4320 pixels.

Apart from giving us the ability to watch 8K UHD content at a reasonably low bitrate, one of the most obvious benefits is that HD content being streamed to smartphones and tablets will be a smooth process, i.e. no more buffering. You won’t have to settle for sub-HD resolutions to livestream conferences or even HD quality videos on a slower broadband connection.

Ultimately, though, the hardware that supports this codec will not come into mainstream media devices until 2014, so for now, all we can do is wait and hope for a clearer than reality future on our handheld devices.

PureView 808 was the last new Symbian device from Nokia

January 27, 2013 by  
Filed under News, Operating Systems, Smartphones

The Symbian OS has been in the mainstream usage since 1998 when the joint venture between Psion (the original developers of the OS) and Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola started coming out with their latest smartphones using the Symbian OS. A decade later Nokia took over completely as Symbian gave some of the most popular smartphones known to the world in early to mid 200os.

However, as Apple came out with the iOS powered iPhone (and other iOS devices) followed by Google with their Android OS, the Symbian OS simply couldn’t match their features and sales started faltering. And so in their latest earnings call Nokia has confirmed that the PureView 808 launched last year was the last Symbian powered smartphone they will release.

“During our transition to Windows Phone through 2012, we continued to ship devices based on Symbian,”Nokia wrote in their earnings call. “The Nokia 808 PureView, a device which showcases our imaging capabilities and which came to market in mid-2012, was the last Symbian device from Nokia.”

In Q4 2012 alone Symbian devices sold just 2.2 million units while the Windows Phone powered Lumia handsets sold double that at 4.4 million. While Nokia will continue to sell their low-end smartphones using the S40 OS on their Asha series of handsets, it seems that the PureView 808 was the swan song for Symbian OS.

Twitter launches mobile video sharing app Vine, Facebook hates it

January 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Articles, News

There has been a lot of talk about video version of Instagram and the possibilities of success that could bring to any startup that successfully launches one. Well, looks like Twitter itself beat everyone else to the punch when they dropped the bomb earlier this week by launching ‘Vine’, a mobile video sharing app that is actually very cool.

The idea behind the application is pretty cool – it allows you to create 6 second long loopable GIF videos and post them on Twitter. The videos used in the GIF can be very short clips stitched together to tell a story or just for fun. The app is currently only for the iPhone and iPod Touch which is a damn shame, but we hope it arrives to Android and Blackberry soon enough. Most people don’t really know what to do with the thing yet, except for Facebook who know that they want to cut it off. The application has been denied accessed from accessing a user’s Facebook friends within the app to share the videos to, and Facebook reasons that apps that don’t share information back will not be given information from Facebook. Fair enough, but a shady business move more like.

Here’s an example of a Vine:

 

Here’s a funnier, more creative example for it:

Thoughts on the service?

RIM gearing up for high-profile Super Bowl advert

January 27, 2013 by  
Filed under News

Research In Motion is certainly pulling out the big guns leading up to the official reveal of BlackBerry 10. The company’s latest OS will be globally revealed on Jan 30th, and the buzz is certainly growing.

An internal communications has gone around in the company announcing that a high-profile BlackBerry advert will be screened at the upcoming Super Bowl event in the US. No leaks or clues have been given out yet about what’s going to be revealed in the advert, but it’s clear that the announcement will be geared more towards die-hard fans of the BlackBerry handset.

All eyes are on RIM for the BlackBerry 10 release, with expectations riding high as the launch date draws near. It’s a crucial time for the company, which is trying its best to regain some kind of footing in the mobile handset market, having been firmly pushed aside by the likes of Apple and Android.

Stay tuned to tbreak.com for our full coverage on BlackBerry 10 when it launches.

Steve Wozniak criticizes first clip from ‘jOBS’

January 27, 2013 by  
Filed under News

jOBS, the Steve Job biopic has seen a lot of chatter around it these past few months, especially after Ashton Kutcher was hired to play the iconic industry leader. Kutcher does seem to look the part, as seen here, but can he act the part?

At the Sundance film, a short clip from jOBS was showcased, giving us the first glimpse into what the Joshua Stern’ directed biopic has in store for us. In the clip, Kutcher who plays Steve Jobs tries to convince his partner-in-crime Steve Wozniak (played by Josh Gad) about kick starting an “industrial revolution” by  developing  and selling one of the first personal computers. The clip ends with a line that Steve Jobs sternly stood by, “How can somebody know what they want if they haven’t even seen it?”

If you have read Walter Isaacson’s biography ‘Steve Jobs’ released in 2011, you will immediately realize that the clip is full of glaring inaccuracies. In fact, so much so that Steve Wozniak himself has called it out, saying that he and Jobs “never had such interactions” and the personalities shown “are very wrong.”

“Not close…we never had such interaction and roles…I’m not even sure what it’s getting at…personalities are very wrong although mine is closer…don’t forget that my purpose was inspired by the values of the Homebrew Computer Club along with ideas of the value of such machines and Steve J. wasn’t around and didn’t attend the club so he was the one learning about such social impact of the future,” Wozniak told Gizmodo.

“Personalities and where the ideas of computers affecting society did not come from Jobs. They inspired me and were widely spoken at the Homebrew Computer Club. Steve came back from Oregon and came to a club meeting and didn’t start talking about this great social impact. His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people at the club build the computer I’d given away. Steve came from selling surplus parts at HalTed he always saw a way to make a quick buck off my designs (this was the 5th time),” he added.

“The lofty talk came much further down the line. I never looked like a professional. We were both kids. Our relationship was so different than what was portrayed. I’m embarrassed but if the movie is fun and entertaining, all the better. Anyone who reads my book iWoz can get a clearer picture.”

We can see where Wozniak is coming from, but jOBS is a movie after all, and it has be “movie-fied” in order to make it more entertaining and watchable. Wozniak admitted  that it “only one clip”, and how the rest of the movie turns is something to be seen.

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