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Nintendo Finds Early Success With Switch

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Nintendo Finds Early Success With Switch

It might be early days for the Switch, but so far the curious hybrid of tablet and console shows success-- so much so the Wall Street Journal reports Nintendo needs to double planned production in order to meet demand.

The Japanese company was supposedly going to make 8 million Switch units in fiscal 2017 (starting in April), but higher-than-expected sales have lead to a doubling of the figure to 16 million, unnamed supply chain sources claim. The WSJ adds the widely praised Zelda game sold 1.5m units in its first week, and sales for March 2017 can total up to 2.5m.

Such reports follow tweets by New York Times journalist Nick Wingfield, who says the Switch was the fastest selling Nintendo machine in the Americas, with launch title Zelda: Breath of the Wild as best selling standalone launch title.

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Post-PC Intel Looks to Drones

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Post-PC Intel Looks to Drones

An ailing PC market drives Intel to look for other product categories in which to prosper-- such as drones, as Chipzilla now offers the Aero Ready to Fly Drone.

The Aero is a full-assembled drone complete with integrated flight controller, remote control receiver and transmitter. Since it is an Chipzilla product it uses an Intel CPU (specifically an Atom x7-Z8750) and a 3D RealSense depth camera, which come in handy when used together with GPS, altimeter and magnetometer to power an auto-pilot mode.

Other details include 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, 802.11ac wifi and a USB 3.0 port. The OS of choice is a version of Linux, meaning programmers can develop apps for the drone. Construction is in carbon fibre, and of course it also includes electronic speed controllers, motors and propellers. Strangely enough the package does not include a power pack-- instead customers need to buy a specific high-capacity lithium-polymer battery separately.

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Apple Preps Ultra Accessory Connector?

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Apple Preps Ultra Accessory Connector?

According to 9to5Mac Apple is working on a new kind of iDevice connector-- the "Ultra Accessory Connector," (UAC) reportedly a new application for an old 8-pin plug.

Apparently released in developer preview form through the Made-for-iPhone (MFi) licensing program, the UAC connector is small connector measuring 2.05mm x 4.85mm, making it slightly thinner than USB-C and nearly half as wide as USB-C and Lightning. It is essentially identical to the ultra-mini USB connectors found in proprietary cables bundled with devices such as Nikon cameras (pictured).

But what use will be the use of UAC plugs? As an intermediary, mainly. The unnamed 9to5Mac sources say UAC is not be a Lightning replacement. Instead it provides cross-compatibility between multiple connector types. Thus, users can swap between Lightning-to-UAC and USB-to-UAC cables with the same pair of headphones, with UAC allowing device firmware to juggle between connectors on the fly.

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EC Investigates CE Vendors in Antitrust Probe

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EC Investigates CE Vendors in Antitrust Probe

The European Commission (EC) launches an investigation to determine whether Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer are manipulating online retail prices.

According to the press release, the companies are accused of breaking EU competition rules by stopping online retailers from setting own prices for "widely used" CE products such as notebooks, hi-fi products and household appliances. Making the situation worse is pricing software automatically adjusts retail prices to those of the leading competition, bringing a wider impact to overall online prices for CE products.

Philips says a preliminary probe has been going on since 2013, and it is "[continuing] to engage and cooperate fully with the European Commission."

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What Caused the Galaxy Note 7 Fires?

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What Caused the Galaxy Note 7 Fires?

Samsung details why the Galaxy Note 7 phablet shipped with the unfortunate tendency to catch fire-- an investigation explains the reason boils down to two distinct battery flaws, not a hardware or software issue.

According to the company the batteries had two major flaws. The first is a casing too small to actually fit the electrode assembly, leading to short circuits. Samsung suppliers realised the problem and replaced the batteries with a safer version, only in their haste they brought about welding defects that also lead to short circuits. Either way, the smartphones started overheating, and catching fire.

Samsung insists it built a stand-alone testing lab to look into all potential causes of overheating, including wired and wireless charging, the USB-C port and the iris-scanning functionality. TUV Rheinland was also hired to check if storage or transport processes affected the batteries.

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Apple, TV Show Producer?

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Apple, TV Show Producer?

Apple sets to rival the likes of Netflix and HBO, the Wall Street Journal reports-- the iPhone maker apparently plans to start producing original TV series and possibly even movies.

The WSJ adds such content will be available by end 2017 via Apple Music. As to the genres of such shows, unnamed sources point out HBO's Westworld and Netflix's Stranger Things as comparisons, and say they "don't have any particular relationship to music."

Mind, Apple already confirmed it is working on video content, mind-- last year it announced its music streaming service will be hosting a season of Carpool Karaoke and Vital Signs, a drama starring Beats co-founder turned Apple exec Dr. Dre.

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Intel Demos Cannon Lake, VR at CES

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Intel Demos Cannon Lake, VR at CES

Intel's CES keynote is all about virtual reality-- so much so the company handed attendees VR headsets to experience a series of pre-recorded and live experiences narrated by CEO Brian Krzanich.

The VR experiences featured 360-degree 4K video of scenes such as the inspection of a solar power plant in the Moapa River Indian Reservation, with footage sent live from a drone equipped with Orah 4i cameras and low-power, high-latency processing technology. Another demo had the first showing of a VOKE VR immersive live sports streaming.

The Intel all-in-one VR technology seen at the show, dubbed Project Alloy, includes collaboration with HypeVR, a computer vision company working on live action VR capture and playback with 6 degrees of freedom. Intel adds OEMs should start producing Project Alloy-based VR headsets by Q4 2017.

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Fitbit Confirms Pebble Acquisition

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Fitbit Confirms Pebble Acquisition

Fitbit confirms last week's rumours as it announces the acquisition of former Kickstarter darling Pebble. The deal does not include Pebble products, meaning the company's smartwatch story is officially dead.

Financial details are not available, but the grapevine put the price paid for Pebble to around $40 million, a fraction of its previous estimated worth. After all, in 2015 Citizen offered $740m for the company! As for why Fitbit acquired Pebble, the announcement press release cites an interest in "key personnel" and the software powering Pebble devices, a sentiment echoed by a post on the official Pebble blog.

“With basic wearables getting smarter and smartwatches adding health and fitness capabilities, we see an opportunity to build on our strengths and extend our leadership position in the wearables category,” Fitbit adds. “With this acquisition, we’re well positioned to accelerate the expansion of our platform and ecosystem to make Fitbit a vital part of daily life for a wider set of consumers, as well as build the tools healthcare providers, insurers and employers need to more meaningfully integrate wearable technology into preventative and chronic care.”

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Fitbit to Buy Pebble?

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Fitbit to Buy Pebble?

Kickstarter darling Pebble is reportedly looking for a buyer-- according to The Information rival Fitbit is "near a deal" to acquire the little smartwatch maker that previously could.

Apparently Pebble is going through hard times, as declining sales have lead to a slashed workforce and growing debts. In fact, TechCrunch claims Pebble will go for $34-40 million, a "small mount" described as "barely covering their debts." To think just a year ago the smartwatch maker had reportedly received an offer worth $740 million by Japanese watch maker Citizen!

In the beginning Pebble was a crowdfunding success story-- on May 2012 its first smartwatch, the Pebble ePaper Watch, made over $10m on a Kickstarter campaign, the highest amount ever raised on the Platform. This year the company returned to Kickstarter to fund the Pebble Time Round, but at the time the company reportedly layed off 40 employees and started looking for investors in order to "stay afloat."

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