Leap Motion, the Kinect-like gesture control system we profiled here, is super exciting; it measures gestures to the hundredth of a millimeter, and works on any computer. They're working their way up to shipping the device as an accessory, but they've also partnered with HP for something a little different: a built-in Leap Motion laptop.
HP has spent the last year or so, as the new owner of the WebOS mobile operating system, alternately making arbitrary decisions about the platform's future and making sure to not release any nice hardware for it. After the company ignominiously shut down WebOS for good this summer, we thought that was it for the best smartphone platform nobody used--but today, HP surprised us with an announcement that WebOS will be going open-source.
Today, in an almost insultingly brief statement in the middle of a press release about something else entirely, HP killed off its most recent acquisition, and perhaps its most beloved platform: WebOS, the mobile OS designed by the scrappy gurus at Palm. It's a bitter, inconsequential end for an OS that in its own way paved as much ground as the iPhone, and that even in its current decrepit state is a damn fine platform. WebOS, you deserved better.
Palm's WebOS operating system, seen on the Palm Pre and Pixi, is the great underdog of the mobile world: critically adored, but commercially ignored, to the point that Palm actually had to sell itself to HP to stay alive. Since we've last had a big WebOS announcement, Android has exploded in popularity, Microsoft entirely rebooted their platform, and the iPhone came to Verizon--so today's announcement of the new HP (not Palm) WebOS devices is a do or die moment for WebOS. The lineup that will decide that: The Veer mini-smartphone, the Pre 3, and the TouchPad tablet.
Artificial intelligence has long been the overarching vision of computing, always the goal but never within reach. But using memristors from HP and steady funding from DARPA, computer scientists at Boston University are on a quest to build the electronic analog to a human brain. The software they are developing – called MoNETA for Modular Neural Exploring Traveling Agent – should be able to function more like a mammalian brain than a conventional computer.
Remember back in January when HP announced it would bring a tabletop 3-D printer to market, at a place and time to be named later? That place and time just became a quite a bit less ambiguous. Today Stratasys, the company that is manufacturing the device for HP, announced that it has shipped the first units of the HP-branded Designjet 3D fabrication machines, which will be available in May -- but only in Europe.
In 1971, electrical engineering professor Leon Chua proposed a theoretical basic electronics component called a memristor. In 2008, Hewlett Packard brought the memristor out of theory and into the real world. And today, HP announced that they have finally proven that they can build devices that use memristors, instead of the transistors that enable all current computer chips.
Efficient new laptops can run multiple programs without sucking extra wattage. That’s because they pace themselves. Their processors can shut down partially when the screen is static or when running simple tasks, and ramp up to full steam when big programs call for it.