The Steam Box Update, Linux Powered Steam PC Console confirmed…

Steam, the purveyor of digital game downloads are no longer content being the leading online game distribution network, confirming it has hardware on its mind. CEO Gabe Newell let slip recently during an interview with Kotaku that Steam is indeed working on a hardware platform, the Steam Box.

Designed specifically for the living room big screen TV experience the Steam Box will be a Linux based mid range PC on the inside with a Steam interface upfront. Competing directly for our living room TV time, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft should all be looking over their shoulders.

The Steam Box won’t be just competing with the consoles; by mid 2013 a number of Windows 8 boxes designed for the living room will also be available. Covering all of their bases Steam already has client software for all of the competing platforms, win win.

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Pillars of Light, the Heavens Illuminated in Brazil…

Creating a tsunami wave of interest on YouTube is a video capturing a most unusual and unexplained phenomenon. Website HainanWeL.com released the video on the 17th of December, it has since generated considerable buzz amongst enthusiasts.

Filmed near the rural city of Palotina in the Brazilian state of Parana, the scene, a warm and cloudy afternoon looking out over the pastures, in the distance is what appears to be an immensely powerful spotlight emerging from the ground itself.

The first watching of the clip may leave you believing this is unusual but not unnatural phenomenon. These initial impressions though can’t dampen the feeling that something very strange has been captured on this video. Take a closer look; a second viewing may raise some unanswerable questions.

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The Polaroid IM1836, the First Android Interchangeable Lens Camera…

The road to CES, a journey full of anticipation and excitement for the gadget and electronics lovers of the world. In the build up to the big show website Imaging Resource has scooped up a nugget of news, Polaroid it seems will have a leading edge product up its sleeve, an Android camera with interchangeable lenses.

Imaging Resource received confirmation this week from Polaroid CEO Scott Hardy that his company will indeed be displaying their brand new Android Camera front and centre at CES in January. Joining the Samsung Galaxy Camera and the Nikon SC800 the IM1836 is part of the latest camera revolution, common open operating system based cameras.

The Polaroid is compact thanks to the mirrorless design, similar in many ways to the current generation micro four-third interchangeable lens camera’s (ILC), competition not to be taken lightly. Competing against the Sony NEX family, Olympus OMD, Canon EOS G and Panasonic GX1 will require aggressive pricing and a complete feature list.

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GlacierWorks and the 2 Gigapixel Mt Everest, the most incredible interactive picture….

Perched upon the roof of the world the GlacierWorks team have recently completed a photographic project of gigantic proportions, gigapixel proportions to be precise. Having spent 5 years with cold feet the team compiled 400 hi-res images to produce the most detailed digital record of Mt Everest in history.

Stitching together the source material has produced a single 2 gigapixel image that contains enough detail to allow hours of exploration. Zooming and panning, finding base camps and other points of relativity that give an impressive impression of scale.

The final image captures Mount Everest and the Khumbu glacier in spectacular beauty, showing the Himalayan peak and its surroundings in extraordinary detail.

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The Sharp IGZO Aquos Pad SHT 21 goes on sale in Japan. The IGZO tablet revolution begins…

Sharp has this week spread the IGZO display revolution to the world of tablets, reigniting the display wars once more. With the release of their 7 inch Aquos Pad SHT21 the most advanced LCD technology on the market is ready to take on the world.

Potentially a more dramatic change than the shift to IPS panels Sharp is rolling out their IGZO technology at this very moment. A technology that will eventually improve all displays; LCD, OLED and eInk.

The Aquos Pad SHT21 hits the 7 inch tablet market initially through KDDI (mobile) in Japan.  There is no word yet on pricing for the tablet, although Sharp is rumoured to be aiming for $199 price point for the WiFi only model.

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Not a Nexus. The Google Motorola X Phone and X Tablet…

Deep within the labs of Motorola Mobility (MM) a crack team of engineers has been assembled, a team branded X. Tasked by Google with taking on the top handset makers the X series of phones and tablets will create a new brand and line of products for Motorola and a new standard in high end smartphones for Google.

Google has tasked, nay challenged Motorola Mobility to compete with the likes of Apple, LG, Nokia and Samsung. To achieve these lofty goals Google and Motorola (Googlrola?) both realise they will need to produce something special, then market the hell out of it.

The first of the new products to emerge from the MM labs will be the X Phone in 2013, followed by the X Tablet shortly after. These first generation X products will need to hit the ground running though, the competition isn’t standing still after all.

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Next Generation Alpha. The Sony Full Frame Mirrorless DLSR and the Evolution of the Pro-shooter…

The march of technology continues relentlessly like the beat of a military drummer, affecting every aspect of our electric lives. Photographic equipment is no exception especially when a company such as Sony is pushing hard to capture market share.

The rumour mill is churning with speculation of Sony’s next generation full frame cameras, pro-shooters that are pushing camera technology past its current limitations. Pushing the sensor resolution to 50 megapixels while trying a number of radical design changes should ensure Sony’s new pro-shooters captures everyone’s attention at the very least.

The upcoming CES (Consumer Electronics Show) should see Sony demonstrating some of the new models; the more radical designs may not make the cut. None the less Sony should have some very interesting new hardware on show in Las Vegas (January 8-11 2013)

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Samsung’s Flexible Plastic Display and the Future Samsung Galaxy S4…

Samsung has recently given us all a brief insight into the world of tomorrow, discussing upcoming display technologies with the Wall Street Journal. A world it seems that will soon be built on plastic. With many properties that make it superior to glass; lighter, thinner, flexible and cheaper, plastic is the next inevitable step in display technology.

Samsung has been developing plastic display technology based on flexible plastic substrates for a number of years, as have many display manufacturers.  On show at the moment are the latest OLED displays built on to plastic substrates. This technology will also be on show during the upcoming expo season starting with CES in Las Vegas, January 2013.

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Time Twister, A Digital Clock With Lego a Twist…

In the world of Lego Robotics craftsman Hans Andersson is indeed a creative spark. During the day Hans designs business software but when time allows at night he becomes a robotics genius.

Hans has taken a simple toy and created something that’s off the charts cool, the Mindstorm Rubik’s Cube Clock called Time Twister. Lego clock designs have become popular with Mindstorm – Robotic Lego – enthusiasts but most have been a fairly standard affair, analogue faced tick tock kind of clock. Until now that is, Swedish Mindstorm master Hans Andersson has created the most dramatic and visually stunning clock mechanism ever. Closely resembling 4 black and white automated Rubik’s cubes this is a clock that can make the passage of time itself interesting. This isn’t the first incredible robot to come from Hans’ tinkering either he has also produced robot’s that can solve Rubik’s cubes and also another that will complete a Sudoku puzzle.

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‘Intel Kills the PC?’ or ‘How we learned to love the socket!’…

Website PC Watch has this week created a storm in a teacup, an internet buzz of exceptional proportions. Releasing a leaked Intel CPU roadmap doesn’t normally create waves of this size; this particular roadmap however contained one small nugget of information that had chins wagging, Intel is planning to kill off the CPU socket, killing the hand built PC in the process.

Intel’s next generation socket to go with its Haswell CPU’s (2013) will be dramatically different than the current generation of drop in sockets. The Haswell CPU’s will be soldered directly onto the motherboard. The socket won’t disappear completely, just become a very flat set of solder pads. The CPU’s will however become permanently attached to the motherboard.

A change that has many media pundits declaring the sky is falling, for home PC builders in any case. Here at Highpants we doubt that many of the technoid commentators have ever held a screw driver let alone popped the hood on their PC.

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