Firefox Phone OS Opens Up & Transhumanist Headphones – SiliconANGLE News Roundup

Your ZTE is Open


The world’s first Firefox OS phone, the ZTE Open, will launch tomorrow, and be available for less than a hundred dollars. The announcement came in the form of a tweet from Spanish wireless carrier Telefonica, who will be the carrying the phone.

Firefox OS smartphones are said to be the first devices that are completely powered by web technologies. The web-based operating system means the ZTE Open will be able to deliver new features, unmatched by any other phone.

While discussing the launch of the Open, Mozilla’s Chief Operating Officer Jay Sullivan commented on their new platform saying, “The launch of Firefox OS marks an incredibly exciting time for the Web. It powers the first smartphones built entirely on Web technologies and will stimulate an inspiring new wave of innovation for the Web. We are proud to deliver an experience for first time smartphone users that will delight them and really put the power of the Web in people’s hands.”

Google Owns The Airwaves, Maaaan…


Google’s database system for TV white space was approved for operation by the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology over the weekend, potentially bringing cost-effective broadband service to rural areas in the US.

In total, the FCC authorized the use of five different spectrum blocks for TV, from 54-60MHz, which include a number of channels between channel 2 and 51.

Google concluded trials for its database system on April seventeenth, making them the third database system to be approved for the new spectrum. Eventually, using a process called dynamic spectrum sharing, Google plans to free up more of the spectrum to allow additional users to share and enjoy the airwaves.

WiFi – All Over the Place


Residents of Santa Clara California can enjoy free Wi-Fi all over the city, thanks to new electric meters installed in local homes.

Though wireless electric meters have been used by cities for around for a decade, Santa Clara is the first in the country to fully embrace digital smart meters on homes as channels for free citywide Wi-Fi.

John Roukema, director of Silicon Valley Power, the community’s utility provider, spoke about the initiative, saying “This is just one of the major benefits our community will enjoy as a result of our advanced metering technology. Now our residents, visitors and local workforce can get Internet access while waiting for a train, shopping downtown, getting their car washed or relaxing in their yard.”

The special meters were initially designed to send electricity and water usage reports wirelessly, in order to save the city from having to manually read each meter. Unlike other cities with the technology, Santa Clara’s meters come with a separate channel that provides free, wireless internet access.

Palm Bomb Part 2: Revenge of the Packard


The WebOS powered Palm smartphones may be a distant memory, but we haven’t seen the last of HP.

An executive from HP unveiled the company’s plans to re-enter the smartphone market. The near-future device is said to offer users a new and unique experience.

While the company is still focused on tablets, laptops and all-in-one devices, they’ve decided not to ignore the increasing influence of smartphones, despite the unfortunate result of their acquisition of Palm.

When speaking about HP’s phone ambitions, Senior Director of Consumer PCs and Tablets Yam Su Yin said, “Being late, you have to create a different set of propositions. There are still things that can be done. It’s not late. When HP has a smartphone, it will give a differentiated experience.”

Slacks That Literally Hide Your Butt


There’s a blooming industry that’s using fashion to combat the intrusiveness of Big Brother, and other surveillance systems.

Clothing and accessories designed to help individuals remain anonymous in public, known as Stealth Wear, are becoming increasingly popular. One designer of stealth wear commented on the subject, saying “The science-fiction part has become a reality, and there’s a growing need for products that offer privacy.”

Stealth wear examples include a series of hoodies and cloaks that use reflective, metallic fabric — like the kind used in protective gear for firefighters — that has been repurposed to reduce a person’s thermal footprint., and a purse with extra-bright LEDs that can automatically foil the attempts of unauthorized photographers.

There’s even hairstyling and makeup applications that can keep cameras from recognizing the person beneath the getup. Although Stealth wear is capturing the public interest, it’s unlikely to be mass marketed anytime soon.

A New King of the Web Crowned

The latest releases of all the major web browsers have been benchmarked, and the results may come as quite a surprise. Firefox22 pulled off an upset, replacing the long-time champion Google Chrome as the world’s fastest browser.

Internet Explorer Ten is in a distant third, with less than half the performance score of Chrome.

Opera12 is in last place, lagging slightly behind Microsoft’s browser. On the positive side, the Opera Next beta browser performed nearly three times faster than Opera12, putting it technically in third place, just behind Chrome.

We’ll have to wait and see if Google’s next Chrome release can reclaim its crown.

Body Mods Leading Way For Bionic Men


Rich Lee, a self-described transhumanist, created his own invisible headphones by implanting magnets directly into his ears.

The body modification fan, or grinder, was inspired by a similar idea that featured two small in-ear magnets stimulated by a coil necklace, which is attached to an amplifier. The only difference for Lee was that he actually implanted magnets inside the fleshy part of his ear lobes. He keeps the necessary coil necklace hidden by his clothing, and the scars from the implants aren’t noticeable, making his body modification completely unrecognizable to an outside observer.

Speaking about his transhuman intentions, he said “Listening to music is nice and probably the most obvious answer, but I intend to do some very creative things with it. I can see myself using it with the GPS on my smartphone to navigate city streets on foot. I plan to hook it up to a directional mic of some sort so I can hear conversations across a room. Having a mic hooked up to it and routed through my phone would be handy.”

And that’s all we have for today. For this and more news, be sure to join us every weekday morning on NewsDesk with Kristin Feledy.

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writing credit: Andrew E. Lowe