Google has been under the gun has been under the gun in the EU for a while now about its privacy policies, particularly in France, which is fairly hardcore about such matters. In fact, the nation's CNIL computer watchdog has just ordered Mountain View to change its practices or face an initial maximum fine of €150,000 (around $200,000), followed by a penalty of up to €300,000 for further non-compliance. Google has just three months to fall in line, and the French regulator's ruling could just be the beginning: it investigated the search giant at the EU parliament's behest, meaning nations like Italy, Spain and the UK could follow suit. For its part, Google -- which is no doubt very sensitive to such matters at the moment thanks to the NSA saga -- said it "respects European law" and will continue to work with French and EU authorities on the matter.
Leica's just taken its vintage branding strategy to a new level with the D-Lux 6 "G-Star RAW" compact model, styled by the Dutch denim maker of that name. Design touches include a textured leather body and gun-metal grey accents, along with an embossed leather case and strap, all firsts for a compact Leica camera. The 10-megapixel model (based on the Panasonic LX7) arguably merits such a treatment, though, packing as it does a 24-90mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.4-2.3 fixed zoom, 1/1.7-inch sensor, manual control dials, full-HD video and of course, RAW still image capture. As with previous Leica designer models, the G-Star RAW version (which will hit dealers soon) bumps the standard D-Lux 6 ticket considerably to around $1,300. While that's arguably a steep price to pay for zero extra functionality, we can't say we blame them for trying -- considering how often its early styling has been appropriated.
Welcome to Samsung Day, 2013. While we wait on some big (and little) product launches this afternoon, here's a quick bite to keep us going: an interesting processor spec mentioned in the user manual for the SHV-E330S, which we think will be the new LTE-Advanced variant of the Galaxy S 4 intended for South Korea. How the folks at RBmen spotted it we have no idea, but one of the pages (shown after the break) confirms the presence of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974), which not only supports the new double-speed LTE standard but is also something of a beast when it comes to general performance. This isn't especially relevant to a Western audience, perhaps, except that it marginally increases the probability that we'll see this same powerhouse inside the rumored Galaxy Note III, since Samsung evidently feels comfortable with Qualcomm's flagship silicon -- and it can't have failed to notice that LG's engineers are fond of it too.
BitTorrent announced its new file format, the Bundle, just over a month ago, giving artists new tools to control content distributed P2P. Now, Public Enemy is one of the first to take advantage of those features by releasing its latest single as a Bundle and announcing a BitTorrent-based remix contest. Downloading the torrent gets you a copy of "Get Up Stand Up," and giving Chuck D and his mates your email address unlocks the Bundle -- thereby netting you the song's music video, outtakes and 37 remix-able multitracks. That last bit is key, as Public Enemy's encouraging folks to submit remixes of the song to the group using BitTorrent SoShare. From those submissions, Public Enemy will pick the best remix, officially release it, and give the winner recording gear and a smattering of Public Enemy swag. Sound good? You bring the DJ skills, and we've got you covered with the source tracks and more info below.
Just because Qualcomm's gone to plaid (aka. reached ludicrous speed) with its Snapdragon 800 flagship doesn't mean the company's been standing still at the other end of the market. The Snapdragon 200 family just received a major boost with the introduction of six new chips geared at China and other emerging markets. Available with dual- and quad-core CPUs, the processors are manufactured using a 28nm process and incorporate HSPA+ (21Mbps) and TD-SCDMA radios. The new SoCs are optimized to provide good multimedia performance and long battery life, with support for dual cameras (up to 8MP rear and 5MP front), multiple SIMs (dual standby, dual active and tri standby), iZat location tech and Quick Charge 1.0. Qualcomm's Adreno 302 GPU rounds up the spec list, making these chips well suited for devices running Android, Windows Phone and Firefox OS. The company's expected to begin shipping these new processors (8x10 and 8x12) in late 2013. Full PR after the break.
Bike sharing systems like New York's Citi Bike may be taking off, but it's doubtful that many participants can find every station without checking a map. Thankfully, Adafruit has unveiled a smart helmet project that could help at least a few of those riders get to their destinations while keeping their eyes on the road. The DIY effort feeds locations to an Arduino-based Flora board and its positioning add-ons, which in turn use a string of NeoPixel LEDs on the helmet as turn indicators. Commuters just have to watch for blinking lights to know where to go next. While the system isn't easy to set up when cyclists have to manually enter coordinates, it is flexible: the open-source code lets it adapt to most any bike sharing system or headpiece. As long as you can get over looking like a Christmas tree on wheels while you navigate, you can build a smart helmet of your own using the instructions at the source link.
Dolphin has done a pretty fine job when it comes to keeping its browser loaded with plenty of handy features, both on Android and iOS. Now, the Dolphin's hit version 10 for Android, bringing along an array of things including a revamped user interface, drag-and-drop support for speed dials on the home screen, additional swipe-based gestures and a new store for web-based applications. In addition to all that, Dolphin brought back support for Adobe Flash, while also taking to this release to improve the built-in search options and allow users to dig through sites like Amazon, Twitter, Wikipedia and YouTube right from within the app. The overhauled Dolphin browser is now available on Google Play, so give the source below a quick click if you're eager to check out these changes.
Netflix's first foray into the horror genre seems to have gone well, as the company announced it's renewing Hemlock Grove for a second season. The 10 episode run will debut next year, presumably after fellow Netflix Originals Lilyhammer (later this year) and House of Cards (currently in production) make their second run through the gauntlet. Hemlock Grove didn't receive the same level of critical praise as other series Netflix has premiered, but executive producer Eli Roth called worldwide fan response "phenomenal" and season one "just a warm up." So let us know -- did you enjoy it enough that you're looking for more (and, will presumably hang onto that Netflix subscription)?
Chalk up one more reason to check out Windows 8.1 Preview when it becomes available on June 26th. Today, Microsoft announced that it'll pay up to $100,000 in cash to those who discover and report novel security exploits within its latest OS revision, along with up to $50,000 in bonus loot for defensive suggestions that relate to the attack. But wait... there's more. Starting on June 26th and running through July 26th, the Redmond outfit will also pay up to $11,000 toward the discovery of critical vulnerabilities within Internet Explorer 11 Preview (Windows 8.1 Preview). Whether you're motivated by your bank account or the good of humanity, you can start taking your best shots at Microsoft's latest code just one week from now.
Sick of endless patent wars yet? According to the New York Times, so is the Federal Trade Commission. Referencing the usual persons briefed on the matter, the NYT reports that FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez is preparing to propose an inquiry that will put patent-assertion entities -- companies that exist solely to buy and collect royalties on patents -- under federal scrutiny. If approved, patent trolls that catch the FTC's attention will need to detail how they operate and if their legal proceeds pay out to the original patent owner. The chairwoman is expected to explain the proposal in more detail at a patent law workshop later this week. According to the NYT, Ramirez doesn't have any specific company in mind, but aims to investigate companies that might hamper innovation. With any luck, the inquiry will help curb spurious litigation and rampant patent trolling -- something most of us can probably get behind.