ESA Pushes For Satellite-Based 5G Internet, Inks Deal With 16 Space Companies To Make It A Reality

The European Space Agency (ESA) has thrown its weight behind satellite-based 5G internet. In fact, ESA has partnered with 16 European space companies to champion the technology, and they’re all preparing for testing in the next couple of years.

The agreement over the partnership, dubbed “Satellite for 5G,” was signed at the recent Paris Air and Space Show.

Signing Up For 5G Internet Connection?

ESA and its partners in the European space industry will work as one to deploy satellites in different trials over the next couple of years. The goal is to convince providers on the supremacy of satellite-based 5G over terrestrial-based counterparts.

The trials will focus on selected targeted sectors, including “transport, media and entertainment, and public safety,” an ESA statement noted. Afterward, the group seeks to win support from the European Commission.

ESA Director of Telecommunications Magali Vaissiere stated that satellites can offer high-speed 5G connection even on remote islands and mountains, and users can reach first responders wherever they are on Earth.

“5G provides a major opportunity for our space industry, for space and satellites to become integral parts of the future generation of communications networks and services,” Vaissiere said following the signing of the agreement.

As Engadget noted, the joint agreement is still in very early phases and the signatories are yet to finalize the details of the tests they are planning to perform. But it’s expected that the public will hear more about the ambitious project at the “Space and Satcom for 5G: European Transport and Connected Mobility” conference to be held on June 27 to 28.

Potential Gains And Challenges

Gizmodo UK wrote that it’s quite unlikely for satellites to completely replace the current system of “huge masts dotted everywhere.”

The problem, particularly with data, is a signal heading to one’s phone from space takes a while to complete its journey. The latency results in issues, meaning some applications won’t work properly. As for download speed, the distance isn’t substantial, only the time found between requesting a file and the time one actually starts downloading.

Again, though, the technology may provide a lifeline to those in remote areas where there’s simply dismal coverage.

The 5G’s ultimate goal isn’t the network’s power and speed, and ultra-broadband is only part of what it can bring. It is being eyed to deliver new services, particularly when it comes to connecting objects, from smartphones and tablets to headsets VR and intelligent cars.

“We are trying to anticipate the future,” Vaissiere emphasized, adding that sectors such as the connected car may have a need for the 5G network.

Vaissiere said that ESA had long sought to unite the players to make the 5G a reality, taking leadership of the initiative.

In related developments, a team of Chinese scientists has recently succeeded in beating the record for quantum entanglement, beaming the entangled photons from 300 miles above Earth to separate places 750 miles apart.

The breakthrough is deemed useful in the urgent matter of tackling cyberattacks. In the face of internet connections’ current vulnerability to online attacks, quantum communication is seen promising in forging faster, more secure communication channels.


Bigger Isn’t Always Better: YouTube Aims To Fix VR By Cutting It In Half

VR 180

As the name implies, VR 180 ditches the traditional 360 degree-focus of other VR videos for a more limited field of view. This will make it easier for content creators to make VR videos that work on mobile and desktop devices while still supporting Daydream, Cardboard, and PSVR. When paired with one of the supported platforms, VR 180 videos will give users an immersive 3D experience. In addition to videos, VR 180 will also support live streams allowing content creators and viewers to interact in real-time.

It hasn’t given us a date, but YouTube said that VR 180 videos will soon be compatible with standard video production tools such as Adobe

Affordable Cameras

As we’ve already noted, the costs of VR are one of the major hurdles to widespread adoption. While Google and other companies are working to make the headsets more affordable, they are also taking a major step forward in terms of VR videos. Google has announced that they have partnered with YI, Lenovo, and LG to produce VR cameras that will be the same as standard cameras. The first batch of these VR cameras is expected to launch this winter. Google’s VR 180 certification program will offer other companies the opportunity to produce VR 180 cameras which should help to keep prices low.

Aside from price, usability has been another major obstacle to VR’s success. While the tech may not be too complicated for tech-enthusiasts, the average user may be a different story. Luckily, these upcoming VR camera won’t have that problem as Google insists they’re as easy to use as any point-and-shoot camera.

The ease of usability combined with an affordable price point should make VR 180 a more popular format, at least as popular as VR videos can be. The real question we have is whether or not many users will take advantage of the VR-aspects of these videos. VR headsets are still a niche product and this produ.


Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh glad to let elite athletes play two sports in college

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh fielded questions during some down time at the Michigan elite camp on June 23, 2017, in Ann Arbor. Video by Mark Snyder/DFP

U-M football could have a baseball player, a swimmer and a wrestler in the freshman class


As the rest of Michigan football’s freshman class begins academic orientation on Saturday, they’ll consider their football futures.

Some will also consider playing other sports.

U-M coach Jim Harbaugh said today he’s glad to let them play multiple sports, if they’re good enough.

The topic arose because of U-M linebacker Jordan Anthony, who would like to play football in the fall and baseball in the winter and spring.

High school players run drills with Wolverines coaches and players assisting at the Michigan elite camp June 23, 2017 at Michigan Stadium. Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press

“Very much would embrace it,” Harbaugh said following today’s Michigan’s elite camp. “He’s an elite football player, an elite baseball player. When they’re elite at two sports, right when football’s over, their freshman year, we’ll let them go to another sport. Starting in January, he could go play baseball if he chooses to.”

His requirement is they need to be “elite-elite in two sports.”

More: Get to know 5 incoming freshmen from Michigan’s 2017 recruiting class

Harbaugh noted that incoming receiver Oliver Martin has that freedom to join the Michigan swimming team and another unnamed player may choose to wrestle.

But it’s only if they’re proven with high-level talent in other sports.

“If they’re going to just spit seeds in the outfield then no, come establish yourself in spring practice,” Harbaugh said. “A track runner, if they’re elite-elite in track or field in throws, as soon as football’s over we’ll let them go participate in the second sport. Now if they’re just going to be put in a race to finish 10th and pick up a point, we’d rather have them in winter conditioning until they establish themselves as a football player.”

More: Aubrey Solomon not sorry he left South, glad to be under Rashan Gary’s tutelage

Familiar face: Harbaugh confirmed that his former NFL running back Alfonso Smith has joined the U-M program as an intern, learning to be a coach. Smith was a running back for Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers in the 2014 season.

“Just a great, great guy,” Harbaugh said. “First class individual all the way. He is very serious about football, always was. When we were coaching him in San Francisco, I remember the day, I went up to him and said, you should coach when you’re done. Play football as long as you can but then coach. Fortunately when he decided he was hanging them up, he called and we just jumped at the opportunity to get him over here.”

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh opens the elite skills camp on June 23, 2017 at Michigan Stadium. Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press

Smith will assist with the running backs but all of his duties must take place off the field.

Notes: Michigan is no longer in the graduate transfer market after pursuing at least two known players in the past few months. Both offensive lineman Sunny Odogwu (UCLA) and safety Korrin Wiggins (East Carolina) chose other schools. “I think we’re settled,” Harbaugh said.


Dell XPS 15 (2017) review: Kaby Lake and a 4K display make a difference

dell xps15 4

Dell’s XPS 15 is proof that iterations—no matter how small—still matter. Externally, even owners of the previous XPS 15 would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between new and old.

The ports are the same, the keyboard and the trackpad are the same and, well, just about external thing with the XPS 15 looks identical. Yet the internal changes make this year’s XPS 15 a markedly better laptop than last year’s.

dell xps15 5

IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

The keyboard on the XPS 15 appears unchanged, which isn’t a good thing because it’s still slightly too small.

It’s what’s inside that counts

The main difference with the latest generation XPS 15 is, of course, inside. While the previous version sported a 6th-generation quad-core Intel Skylake CPU paired with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, the latest iteration notches up to a quad-core 7th-gen Kaby Lake chip, and graphics upgrades itself to a GeForce GTX 1050.

Besides the Core i7-7700HQ CPU and GTX 1050, Dell has also given the XPS 15 an optional Windows Hello-compliant finger print reader. It’s not the horrible swipe-style reader of yesterday that always took four attempts to work. It’s a modern, full-fingerprint pad reader similar to what you’d find on phones and tablets.

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IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

There’s no Windows Hello camera, but a fingerprint reader (seen just below the right cursor key) lets you use Windows 10 Hello.

Our test unit comes equipped with a 15.6-inch 4K UHD screen. With its near edge-to-edge “InfinityEdge” display, and glossy Gorilla Glass NBT protective layer, the IGZO panel is truly stunning to behold. The near bezel-less design does, unfortunately, banish the integrated webcam to the bottom of the panel, as well as prevent the XPS 15 from integrating a near infrared (IR) camera for Windows Hello support. Consider the fingerprint reader your consolation prize.

Also featured in our test unit are 16GB of DDR4/2400 in dual-channel mode and a 512GB Lite-On CX2 NVMe M.2 SSD. The drive uses MLC flash rated at 2.5GBps reads and 1.2GBps writes. On CrystalDiskMark 5.2 we saw about 2.1GBps reads and 1GBps writes.

The other change from the prior generation is an increase in battery capacity, to about 97WHr from the previous model’s largest battery of 84WHr. That’s just shy of the largest lithium ion cell you can carry on a plane legally.

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IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

The port selection is unchanged from prior to current generation. This view of the right side shows an SD card reader, USB Type A, and Kensington lock port.


Alpina builds what BMW won’t – M5 Touring

Alpina builds what BMW won’t – M5 Touring

Performance estates are a dream-come-true for an automotive geek. It has the practicality of a wagon and performance of a sports car bundled into one awesome package. After BMW declined to build the G30 M5 estate, Alpina has come to our rescue with a 600bhp wagon.

The Alpina B5 B-Turbo, will be offered both in sedan and estate body styles based on the new OKL platform on which the G30 5 Series are being built. Under the hood you have the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 engine delivering 600bhp of power. The earth-bending 800Nm of torque is delivered through an all-wheel drive system, because the traction from two wheels will not just be enough.

If you thought the added weight would make it less agile, the Alpina B5 also gets rear-wheel steering to ensure you carve corners faster than ever before while the four wheels dig in to the tarmac to lay down all the power. The Alpina B5 pits itself against power wagons like the Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate, the Audi RS6 Avant and the Jaguar XF Shooting Brake.


June security patch hitting Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and A7 (2017)

Samsung has started rolling out a new update to its Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017) smartphones. Currently hitting units in India, the update brings the Android security fixes for June.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

A detailed change-log isn’t yet available, so it’s difficult to say what other changes (if any) are included in the update. As is usually the case with OTA roll outs, it might take sometime for the update to hit your device.


Samsung Galaxy Folder 2 lands in South Korea for $260

The Samsung Galaxy Folder 2 flip phone – which was made official back in September last year, and has been only available in China so far – has now arrived in the company’s home country of South Korea.

Samsung says both LTE and 3G variants of the phone will be launched in the country. Color options include black and burgundy. The handset will carry a price tag of KRW 297,000 ($260).

The Galaxy Folder 2 is powered by a Snapdragon 425 SoC, and sports a 3.8-inch display of a WVGA resolution. It comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal memory. The flip phone features an 8MP main camera with LED flash and a 5MP front shooter.

Measuring 122 x 60.2 x 15.4mm and weighing in at 160g, it runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box and packs in a 1,950mAh battery.


How to share your DRM-free ebooks with Calibre


Calibre is a popular tool for managing any DRM-free ebooks you’ve got kicking around your hard drive. It makes it easy to access them and even downloads the necessary metadata to make your collection look nice. Calibre version 3.0 recently rolled out, and to mark the occasion we’re going to look at Calibre’s built-in feature that lets you turn the software into an ebook server.

With the server feature enabled, and the software running, any device with a web browser on your home network can access your ebooks. If you’re reading books on your phone and want to change to a different device, your files are a few taps away.

We’re going to assume that you’ve already downloaded and installed Calibre on your PC, and have your ebook library set up. If not, Calibre can walk you through the simple process.


Ian Paul/IDG

Get started in the Connect/share menu.

To activate the server feature, open Calibre and click on the double arrow to the far right of the menu icons. This will reveal a few extra menu options. Click on Connect/share and from the drop-down menu select Start Content server. If Windows asks for permission to access the firewall, say yes.


Ian Paul/IDG

Calibre with the local server running.

The menu option you just clicked on will now disappear. Navigate back to the same option and you should see the option changed to Stop Content server. In brackets next to that option is an IP address, usually 10.100.XXX.X.

Note that number, and then from another device’s web browser type in the following: http://10.100.XXX.X:8080. That “:8080” part is key. Don’t forget to use that.

Once the site loads you should be able to access you Calibre library. If not, make sure your device is on your home Wi-Fi network as that is the most likely culprit.

To turn off the Calibre server just shut down the software or select Connect/share > Stop Content server.


Honda to export 1.6-litre diesel engines to Thailand

Honda to export 1.6-litre diesel engines to Thailand


Honda to export 1.6-litre diesel engines to Thailand

Honda is going to start exporting 1.6-litre diesel engines for the Thailand market. The said engines will be produced at the Tapukara plant in Rajasthan, which currently caters only to the domestic market.

Tapukara currently produces three types of engines for the Indian market – 1.2-litre petrol, 1.5-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel. Altogether, the company manufactures around 440 units of these engines every day. However, the capacity of the plant is relatively higher at 730 engines per day, and we can expect some of this capacity to be utilised for the 1.6-litre diesel engine. As of now, Honda has been exporting engine components to 15 countries, although this is the first time the company will ship off diesel engines to a global market.

While Honda’s small cars do get the option of diesel engines, the Accord and the CR-V are currently available only with petrol engines. The commencement of production of 1.6-litre engines could open new avenues for Honda’s premium range. With the brunt of revised GST rates making the Accord Hybrid significantly more expensive, there is a possibility that Honda might introduce a diesel engine in the line-up to keep it competitive. And given that diesel SUVs enjoy higher demand


Google Inbox updated with ability to undo actions taken inside notifications

Google has pushed out a new update to its Inbox by Gmail app, bumping it to version 1.49. It includes only a single change, but it’s an important one: the option to undo actions taken inside a notification.

The new feature will definitely be of great help in times when you accidentally send reply to a wrong person, or wanted to change something immediately after sending. The functionality is already there in the app as well as in the Web client.

The updated Inbox app is now available