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The inevitable future of police bodycams: Video or it didn’t happen?

Perhaps the best indicator that the on-officer camera is an idea whose time has come is that business journals are now producing whole articles about the market gains of the companies that provide them. TASER International, Digital Ally, and GoPro have all seen dramatic gains in their valuations as the police surveillance market quietly begins to pick up momentum. Pending Congressional approval, one key driver of this potential windfall will be a new funding initiative from the Obama administration to provide $263 million to improve community relations with police through cameras.

BodyCam

While the crystal ball deep inside ExtremeTech’s technology bunker wasn’t designed for picking stock winner’s, we can provide some analysis of the products already in use by police forces across the country. Between TASER and another company called VieVu, over 70,000 cameras have already been sold to 5000 police agencies. The new funding would potentially equip an additional 50,000 officers with video capability, as well as training in exactly how this new technology should be used.

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Lenovo P90 is the first smartphone powered by Intel’s 64-bit Atom

Over the past few years, Lenovo has been one of Intel’s stalwart partners in the mobile phone business. The company has launched multiple Atom-based devices going back to the original Medfield SoC, and this year is no exception. Lenovo announced its P90 phone today — the first smartphone based on Intel’s 64-bit Atom.

Lenovo P90

Intel may have prominently announced imminent shipment of Cherry Trail devices, built on 14nm technology, but Lenovo is tapping the company’s 22nm silicon for this effort. The 22nm Z3560 SoC at the heart of the P90 is based on Intel’s Moorefield design, with a quad-core CPU and a burst clock of up to 1.83GHz. The GPU is based on Imagination Technologies’ G6430 — the same GPU inside the iPhone 5S. While no longer cutting-edge, it’s still more than sufficient for most tasks and mobile gaming.

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Wireless power system charges devices up to 20 feet away

A plethora of firms are racing to develop a feasible method for delivering power wirelessly, but thus far the best we’ve managed are short-range standards like Qi and PMA. A company called Energous is on hand at CES with a demo of its new wireless power system known amusingly as WattUp. It uses a mix of Bluetooth and RF to combine the convenience of wireless power with the security of a wireless network. If it all pans out, WattUp could juice up your phone from up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) away.

WattUp

The heart of WattUp is a hub that’s basically a powerful RF transmitter station. Devices that want to receive power from the hub announce their presence via Bluetooth 4.0. WattUp then uses that connection to direct the wireless power signal to the device. It operates in the same unlicensed spectrum as WiFi, which makes me wonder about possible interference in busy wireless environments. Assuming the connection holds, though, the WattUp signal is absorbed and converted to DC power in the phone or tablet by a receiver chip.

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As the Internet of Cars draws near, here’s what drivers don’t want

Automakers think car buyers are in love with slick connected car features, like buying a song you just heard or updating your Facebook status while parking. Not so. More often, drivers and passengers want mainstream features that get them to their destination faster and then find a place to park. The driver’s top five requests today are on-demand real-time traffic information, automated map updates, real-time weather and news, real-time parking spot finder, and driving assessment/coaching.

OnStar Vehicle Health 1

“This is a defining year for the auto industry [and] the connected vehicle,” said Thilo Koslowski, VP for automotive at the Gartner tech consultancy, speaking at the Consumer Telematics Show in Las Vegas the day before CES opened. “You will see lots of examples [at CES] of the connected vehicle becoming the main innovator of mobile and IOT [Intenet of Things] innovation. It’s about how the car is connected in the future to the other pieces of our daily lives.” This is the Internet of Cars, or IOC.

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CES 2015: The week in photos, without leaving your desk

After 97,000 steps (about 45 miles of walking), a couple dozen press events, countless booth visits, and six nights in an overpriced hotel room, my week at CES is over for another year. Like last year, cars and car tech were a major theme of the show. Fortunately, we had yeoman Bill Howard on site for ExtremeTech to sort it all out. Ben Algaze focused a lot of his attention on the AV space, so expect to read his thoughts on the smart TVs and some of the audio technology that was introduced.

Audi self driving A7 CES 2015

As usual, I have a short attention span, so I dove into a little of everything, including a drone that lets you make Hollywood-style movies, an immersive 3D desktop, a roundup of the slew of 3D printers that were released, and a cool new Android tablet that hopes todethrone Microsoft’s Surface in the hybrid space. Stay-tuned for a couple more articles on the brand-new indoor navigation system used at the show, and a company that promises to do away with passwords (yes, I know, they’re not the first to make the claim).

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Canonical unveils Snappy Ubuntu Core, a lightweight operating system for your home

For the past few years, Canonical, the UK software developer behind the Ubuntu operating system, has been working to extend its traditional desktop operating system into a much broader range of products. Today, the company launched the alpha version of Snappy Ubuntu Core — an ultra-lightweight Ubuntu distribution designed to interface with large-scale cloud application build outs and power the so-called Internet of Things.

Snappy Ubuntu Core is built on the Ubuntu Core project. As the name implies, Ubuntu Core is a barebones, stripped-down implementation of Ubuntu that’s designed to operate in extremely constrained environments. Its advantage is that its software loadout can still be customized with very specific applications, without the additional overhead typically imposed by the full operating system.

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Apple Watch to reportedly feature powerful CPU, 60 fps display, terrible battery life

Ever since Apple announced that it was building its own smartwatch, fans of wearables have been eager to see what the Cupertino company would deliver. Whether you love it or hate it, Apple has a reputation for excellence, and for waiting until it can deliver a superior experience that make previous products from lesser companies look like floundering newbies by comparison. Now, that long-time reputation for excellence may be sorely tested by the one force in the universe that remains impervious to the company’s Reality Distortion Field — physics.

iWatch

New reports indicate that while the Apple Watch will pack significant processing power and a fluid, 60Hz display, it won’t deliver much in the way of battery life. 9to5 Mac is claimingthat the CPU inside the Watch is close in power to the Apple A5 and running a stripped-down version of iOS known as SkiHill.

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