Skip to main content

Today's Tech: IBM makes silicon nanophotonics breakthrough, Valve confirms Steam Box rumours, Sony Xperia J reviewed

An IBM research team has created a 90nm computer chip that integrates both optical components and electrical circuits, in a development that should make the transfer of data quicker, more efficient and cheaper. Silicon nanophotonics technology means that frequencies of light, rather than electrical signals, will be used in the transmission of data. The breakthrough represents the first time this particular technology has been successfully built into a sub-100nm chip. It will predominantly be directed towards large-scale systems that need to process Big Data, though it could eventually reach consumer products.

British startup Eyetease has revealed that it is bringing free Wi-Fi to London's black cabs in early 2013. The advert-funded service, called CabWifi, will provide passengers with free Internet access in exchange for watching a 15 second advert every 15 minutes. This means that black cabs will join the London Underground as the latest form of transport to offer Wi-Fi in the capital. EyeTease anticipates that its forthcoming service will prove popular with tourists hoping to avoid data roaming charges, and claims that it will "uniquely" switch between 3G and 4G connectivity. A specific network provider has not yet been revealed.

Lauded game developer Valve has long been rumoured to be developing a TV-compatible PC tailored for living room use. Company co-founder Gabe Newell has just confirmed the truth behind said speculation, setting a 2013 planned release for the colloquially nicknamed "Steam Box." Newell believes PC gaming holds advantages over its console rivals, and predicts the creation and subsequent rollout of similar living room-friendly offerings from various other PC manufacturers.

Sony has struggled to compete in the smartphone arena lately, and Sandra Vogel's review of the Sony Xperia J highlights just why. While the device has some "encouraging" design features, it ultimately fails to impress in other areas. Sandra found the handset's general performance to be slow and buggy, with apps seeming surprisingly slow for a 1GHz single-core processor. Meanwhile, Sony's Android 4.0 skin and the device's camera are equally disappointing. "The Sony Xperia J is good in the looks department, and has some strong points on the features front including a couple of neat widgets and good battery life. But it is seriously let down by very poor speed and jerky performance," she concluded. Follow the link for a more in-depth look at the Sony Xperia J.