HP says it ‘in no way’ tried to copy Apple with Envy Spectre XT design

HP’s Envy line of laptops has regularly been compared to Apple’s MacBooks in terms of style and design, and when it comes to the Envy Spectre XT the company addressed the issue by saying that the device looks the way it does “not due to Apple but due to the way technologies developed.” Speaking to Engadget, HP’s VP of industrial design Stacy Wolff explained that while the Spectre XT and the Macbook Air may look a lot a like, he believes there are as many differences as there are similarities.

He pointed out things like the XT’s rubber-coated bottom, brushed metal chassis, and its different keyboard as key differentiators. As for what’s similar — such as the wedge design and silver color — Wollf says that it’s simply where the ultrabook is headed. “It is not because those guys did it first,” he explained. “It’s just that’s where the form factor is leading it.” The Envy Spectre XT is due to launch on June 8th, but be sure to check outour hands-on impressions of the laptop to learn more.

On The Verge returns Thursday, May 17th with Damon Lindelof, Masi Oka, and more!

On The Verge is back! The show returns Thursday, May 17th, 2012, and along with the regular assortment of news, segments, and music, we have an exclusive interview with one of the biggest brains in Hollywood. Josh and the team flew all the way out to Los Angeles to sit down with the co-creator of LostPrometheus screenwriter, and all around nerd-genius, Damon Lindelof. We also took Masi Oka (star of Heroes and Hawaii Five-0) out to a museum, and of course have a few other surprises up our sleeves.

The show starts at 7:00PM at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, located at 199 Chambers Street (between Greenwich and West Streets) in New York City. Directions to the theater can be found here. Tickets for assigned seating will be available at the theater box office starting at 12:00pm on the day of the show. Here’s what you need to know:

  • There is no admission fee — tickets are completely free.
  • The event is all ages.
  • Ticketing will begin at the box office at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center at 12:00PM on Thursday. Once you collect your ticket you can return for house open at 6:30pm, and the show begins at 7:00PM.
  • You cannot collect tickets for friends or family — anyone who would like to come must be present to get a ticket.
  • We have limited capacity for seating, so be sure to get there early to get a ticket!
  • The venue is located at 199 Chambers Street (between Greenwich and West Streets) in New York City. Check below for directions to the theater.
  • The show runs about an hour long.

If you’re a member of the media who wishes to attend, please contact us at:[email protected], and we’ll try to accommodate you. All other non-media questionscan be sent to: [email protected].

Flipboard for Android leaks out for all to download

At the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III, one unexpected inclusion was the Flipboard app — supposedly exclusive to the handset for the first few months. However, despite the fact that the Galaxy S III hasn’t even been released yet, the Flipboard APK has been posted to the xda-developers forums, allowing any handset to grab the social newsreader. We grabbed the app and loaded it onto an HTC One X, where it runs totally smoothly, and it’s worth noting that xda’s forum members say it runs just as well on older handsets like the original Galaxy S.

Setting up the app is as simple as picking the topics you’re interested in, with Flipboard suggesting common categories, then swiping through the headlines (with large, eye-catching images) until you find something you want to read. From there, tapping through to the story lets you swipe through the pages in the same way. One promised component of the app that hasn’t made it to the leaked APK is the widget view, suggesting that this might be an early build, but it’s stable enough for everyday use. (Update: some users are reporting that the widget works, we’re still unable to see it.) If you decide to give it a try, you’ll need to toggle the “Allow installation of non-Market apps” under your Android phone’s security settings.

You are being watched: making art from tracking technology

“We’re surrounded by systems, devices and machineries generating heaps of raw graphic novelty. We built them, we programmed them, we set them loose for a variety of motives, but they do some unexpected and provocative things.” – Bruce Sterling, An Essay on the New Aesthetic

A new exhibit, Wired Frames, is opening at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City tomorrow. It’s curated by James George, and uses the technology of tracking and surveillance that surrounds us to create new works of art. George paired a Microsoft Kinect and a DSLR to capture people’s movements through space and time in the Union Square subway station for a work he called Depth Editor Debug.

“No matter where you go these days, there are machines tracking you movements, scanning your face, this world of technology built by the government and the military,” says George, an artist in residence at Eyebeam who is curating this show. “But I think the point of this exhibit is to show that it doesn’t have to be some dystopian world. We can break these technologies open, we can remake them into art, we can open source them and teach everybody how they work.”

A MIRROR IMAGE WITH YOUR FACE SWAPPED OUT FOR THAT OF A STRANGER OR CELEBRITY

Two of the artists, Arturo Castro and Kyle McDonald, have been exploring the creative appropriation of an advanced face recognition system developed by Jason Saragih. The system tracks a highly detailed set of facial characteristics creating a virtual mask that deforms to your expressions. They have created an interactive installation, Faces, that showing visitors a mirror image of themselves with their face swapped for that of a stranger or celebrity.

James George, Alexander Porter, and Jonathan Minard have been collectively developing an open source system for film making called the RGBDToolkit, which uses the Microsoft Kinect camera paired with a DSLR video camera. The image capture system creates three-dimensional models of the subjects in video that can be re-photographed from any angle virtually. Both collaborative groups use openFrameworks, a creative coding platform in C++, to create custom software behind the works. They used this technology to create both Depth Editor Debug and Clouds, a portrait and interview series with artists and programmers discussing the way digital culture is changing creative practices.

“It’s amazing the possibilities that devices like the Kinect has brought to the average consumer,” says George. “It really democratizes some advanced technology and gives anyone the ability to pull some very interesting levers.” The exhibit is free, opens tomorrow and runs through May 17th at the Eyebeam Center in New York.

Nokia releases City Lens augmented reality beta app for Lumia Windows Phones

Nokia first demonstrated its Windows Phone version of City Lens at CES earlier this year, but the company is releasing a beta form of the augmented reality application this week. Based on the experimental Symbian version, Nokia City Lens for Windows Phone works as an augmented reality browser to discover surrounding points of interest via the phone’s camera.

Using the camera viewfinder view, restaurants, hotels, shops, and other areas of interest are displayed on the device’s screen in typical augmented reality style, but Nokia has also added in a list and maps view for use when the device is in portrait mode. Apart from highlighting what’s nearby, Nokia City Lens also provides reviews, directions, opening hours, and other useful information for points of interest. The application is available now for Lumia Windows Phone owners through Nokia’s beta labs site.

IEEE publishes fourth revision of 802.11 Wi-Fi standard, designed for faster and more reliable networking

At CES in January we saw an influx of new 802.11ac devices from several manufacturers, but all the while the standards body behind Wi-Fi, the IEEE, was already hard at work on the next release of the standard. The 802.11 working group has just released the latest version of the specification — named 802.11-2012, the fourth edition since the original publication in 1997 — which includes revisions that promise stronger connections, greater security, and smoother handoffs between Wi-Fi and mobile networks. It also consolidates ten amendments written since the last full publication in 2007, such as the 802.11n networks that are widely in use today.

Group chair Bruce Kraemer is already looking to the future: “work on the next generation of IEEE 802.11 already has commenced with a variety of project goals including extensions that will increase the data rate by a factor of 10, improve audio/video delivery, increase range and decrease power consumption.” Impressively, around 2 million products that incorporate Wi-Fi are shipped every day.

Exclusive: Kinect Play Fit to offer universal exercise tracking with ‘Joule’ heart rate monitor

Microsoft is preparing to update its Xbox 360 dashboard software to include a cross-application exercise tracking system, according to our sources. Kinect Play Fit will allow Xbox gamers to track their exercise across most Kinect games, providing tracking metrics in the cloud. The software maker is also planning to release a hardware accessory, codenamed Joule, to accompany the Kinect Play Fit service.

The Joule heart-rate monitor will let Kinect owners track their heart rate wirelessly and ensure any exercise is within a target goal for weight loss, strength, or cross-fitness workouts. Although EA currently ships its own heart rate monitor with EA Sports Active 2for the Xbox 360, Microsoft’s Joule monitor will be compatible with most Kinect games — but you won’t need it to make use of the new exercise tracking feature of Kinect Fit Play. We don’t have a solid release date for the Kinect Play Fit system, but sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans have indicated to us that a future dashboard update will introduce the system. We expect the company to detail some of its Kinect plans at E3 next month, alongside more Xbox Live content deals and additional software enhancements for the Xbox 360.

We have reached out to Microsoft for a comment on Kinect Play Fit, and we’ll update you accordingly.

DeviantArt’s Muro adds Redraw: instant replay for art

In August of 2010, online art community DeviantArt released Muro — a free, Javascript- and HTML-based web app that allowed the site’s members to make complex, layered images and share them with the community; all without a hint of Flash. Now, nearly two years and 2.5 million Muro-based “deviations” (drawings) later the company is updating its creation with a new feature called Redraw; something CEO Angelo Sotira believes will do nothing short of “unlock the creative process.”

Redraw allows artists to embed re-playable copies of their drawings nearly anywhere on the web, allowing the viewer to see each brushstroke take place. Of course, there are already lots of art screencasts on YouTube, but Muro’s lead developer Mike Dewey is quick to point out that they typically speed up in the wrong way. “If you’re just linearly speeding up the process of drawing, it’s not that fun to watch, because you’re seeing all of the pauses, and then the interesting parts are too fast.” In contrast, Redraw knows where to pulls out dead time, and speeds up quick and long strokes to different degrees for the best playback experience, he explains.

“YOU CAN TECHNICALLY, LITERALLY WATCH THE PIECE BEING MADE, DOWN TO EVERY DETAIL.”

The Muro embed can be placed on any web page (see below) and will render on any HTML5-compliant browser — we tested it on Safari 5, Chrome 18, and Firefox 10. Viewers that click on the embed are taken to DeviantArt’s site where they can speed up and slow down playback speed. The canvases can also be viewed in what’s called Artist View, which exposes the artist’s tool palette, so you can see exactly what’s being clicked and which strokes live on which layer. We can definitely see this being a lot of value to aspiring artists, and watching DeviantArt’s Director of Illustration Forest Stearns throw together the image below in about 40 minutes had us itching to give it a shot.

Because Muro is built using HTML 5 it works on an iPad, which we found a lot easier to use than clicking and dragging a mouse around. It also works with your Wacom tablet, and while it isn’t going to replace Photoshop, it does offer an impressive array of brushes and effects for you to try out. It’s worth pointing out that while Muro is a free web app, likePaper for the iPad, brushes in Muro cost real cash to unlock ($4 a pack). Muro with Redraw is live on DeviantArt right now; we recommend watching The Making of Pepperand Miss Brightside to get started.

HTC Evo V 4G for Virgin Mobile coming May 31st for $299.99

Virgin Mobile has just announced it will launch its first “4G” phone, the HTC Evo V 4G for $299.99 on May 31st. The Evo V 4G will run on Sprint’s WiMax network, and Virgin Mobile will offer a $35 plan with unlimited data and messaging plus 300 minutes of talk time. Of course, “unlimited” data is a rarity these days, and Virgin Mobile’s plan is no exception — the plan comes with 2.5GB of “full speed” data, so it sounds like bandwidth throttling will take place after the limit is reached.

As for the handset itself, it looks like a rebranded Sprint HTC Evo 3D, with the notable removal of the 3D screen. It has a 4.3-inch, 960 x 540 display, a 5-megapixel, 3D-capable back-facing camera (plus a 1.3MP front-facing camera), 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, just like the Evo 3D. One big step up for the Evo V 4G is that it’ll be running Ice Cream Sandwich, although it’ll only have Sense 3.6 onboard rather than the newly redesigned Sense 4 that HTC’s putting on the One series. Since it’s highly likely this is just a modified Evo 3D, there’s also no Beats Audio on board.

Along with its new WiMax handset, Virgin Mobile has also introduced two new Mobile Broadband devices that’ll connect to Sprint’s WIMax network. The Sierra Wireless Overdrive Pro 3G / 4G hotspot is unsurprisingly a rebrand of Sprint’s model; Virgin is offering $35 / month plans for unlimited 4G data plus 2GB of 3G data. If you step up to the $55 plan, you’ll get 5GB of 3G data along with the unlimited 4G connectivity. Virgin’s also offering the U600 3G / 4G USB stick with the same mobile broadband data plans. While Sprint may be rapidly transitioning away from WiMax in favor of its new LTE network, its old “4G” option will likely stick around for a while thanks to Virgin (as well Boost Mobile, another Sprint MVNO.