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Khronos finishes WebCL 1.0 to let Web apps tap into GPU

WebGL has been a strong success, bringing hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser. Now the standards group behind it hopes to let Web apps get even more use out of the graphics chip by releasing version 1.0 of an interface called WebCL.

At this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the Khronos Group standards body announced the ratification and release of WebCL 1.0. WebCL lets programmers run general-purpose tasks on a device's graphics processing unit (GPU) or on a multicore central processing unit (CPU), the main brain in computers and mobile devices.

Just as WebGL … Read more

PlayStation 4 beats out Xbox One as the best-selling console

In the battle for the best-selling console, Sony's PlayStation 4 has come out on top -- beating Microsoft's Xbox One -- for the month of January.

Research firm The NPD Group released new data on Thursday showing that hardware sales were up 17 percent to $241 million in January compared to the same time last year. However, since January 2013 was five weeks and January 2014 was four weeks -- normalized sales of gaming hardware shows a 47 percent increase. And, PlayStation led these sales.

"PS4 led overall hardware sales this month, followed by the Xbox One,&… Read more

BBM iOS, Android users can soon make free phone calls

BlackBerry Messenger users can tap into a potpourri of new features when the app is updated on Thursday.

Slated to reach iOS and Android users, version 2.0 of BBM will bring with it BBM Voice, a way to call your BBM contacts. Already available for BlackBerry OS, BBM Voice gives you the ability to make free phone calls to other BBM users via your Wi-Fi or data connection.

Another new feature on the list is BBM Channels, a chat discussion forum devoted to a variety of topics. Find a channel that interests you, and you can join in on … Read more

Video game sales grow a measly 1 percent in 2013

The US video game market appears to be stuck in a holding pattern. While there weren't any significant declines in consumer spending in 2013, there wasn't any noteworthy growth either.

New research published Tuesday by The NPD Group shows that users in the US spent $15.39 billion on video games -- which is nothing to shake a stick at, but it's only 1 percent more than spending in 2012.

Breaking down the numbers, gamers spent a total of $6.34 billion on new physical video and PC game software, $1.83 billion on used and rental … Read more

ACLU: 'Obama, grant Edward Snowden immunity now'

In anticipation of President Barack Obama's speech about his review of the National Security Agency's spying programs, the American Civil Liberties Union has launched a petition calling for the amnesty of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

"Edward Snowden is a great American who deserves full immunity for his patriotic acts. And we're proud to serve as his legal advisors," the ACLU wrote on the petition. "Now if tens of thousands of us stand together and tell President Obama to grant Snowden immunity, we have a real chance of bringing him home."

As of … Read more

Digital movie sales climb 47 percent in 2013

It appears that digital sales could breath new life into the movie industry.

According to data from Digital Entertainment Group, consumers spent $18.2 billion on digital home entertainment in 2013, an increase of 1 percent from 2012. While that doesn't sound like a big increase, if you look specifically at digital movie sales, you can see a 47 percent rise over last year to $1.19 billion.

"Stability in home entertainment continued for the second straight year in 2013 as total consumer spending rose nearly one percent to $18.2 billion," Digital Entertainment Group director Lyndsey … Read more

Facebook to explore Artificial Intelligence in new lab

Google isn't the only major tech company dabbling in artificial intelligence -- Facebook is also getting into the game. And, to prove it, the social network just hired an expert in machine learning and mobile robotics to run its AI lab.

New York University professor Yann LeCun announced on his Facebook and Google+ pages on Monday that Facebook has created a new AI research lab and hired him to be its director. The long-term goal of the lab, dubbed AI Group, is to bring about "major advances in Artificial Intelligence," LeCun wrote.

Part of the deal is … Read more

Behold Samsung's empire -- from suits to boats to hotels

Editors' note: Be sure to catch the other stories in this package: on Samsung's bid to rule the world, on road-testing Samsung's S Translate app, on TVs and appliances in a Q&A with co-CEO Boo-keun Yoon, and on how Samsung torture-tests its products.

SEOUL, South Korea -- I came here in search of a giant.

As it turns out, I didn't have to venture far. After getting off the plane, I was surrounded by all things Samsung. Samsung TVs displayed Samsung commercials while I waited at customs to get my passport stamped. A seeing-eye dog … Read more

Chipmakers helping to give computers a visual cortex

Samsung, Qualcomm, ARM, Broadcom, and a bunch of other technology companies want your computer to see.

To that end, they banded together at the Khronos Group to try to standardize some elements of machine vision technology. It's the kind of thing that could make it easier to write an augmented reality app for a mobile phone or sign-recognition software for an autonomous car, for example, because difficult low-level technology would be taken care of.

Machine vision combines data from image sensors with technology to make sense of what a computer is seeing. A new standard called OpenVX is geared … Read more

Crave Ep. 146: MIT's inForm turns 3D digital data into something physical

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This week on Crave, we're amazed by an MIT tech innovation. We get all panoramic with the Panono camera and Google's Street Views of Venice, Italy, and we watch a man blow up a PS4 with a high-powered rifle for really no good reason other than he can and did. All that and more on this week's Crave show. Read more