Synaptics’ USB Fingerprint Module Can Add Biometric Authentication to Any PC

Synaptics' USB Fingerprint Module Can Add Biometric Authentication to Any PCSynaptics, the company with a product portfolio of touch, display, and biometrics, has introduced its new biometric solution for PCs. The company’s new “ultra-small” form factor USB dongle enables Natural ID secure fingerprint authentication on any PC. In the smartphone sphere, the company is best know for making fingerprint sensors for Samsung.

The firm explained that the new USB dongle, which features Synaptics’ IronVeil ‘Catalyst’ sensor on board, is a turnkey solution for OEMs, ODMs, and private labels that will enable them to offer easy to use and inexpensive fingerprint module alternative for PCs. The new solution from Synaptics can be used on PCs that lack integrated biometric sensors. The new turnkey USB dongle is expected to sample in Q3 CY16 while mass production is expected to kick off in Q4 CY16.

“The dongle is a fully housed, ready-to-use fingerprint module small enough to remain unobtrusively installed in any notebook USB port,” the company explains. The USB dongle uses Synaptics’ Natural ID solutions that combines biometrics and advanced encryption.

The company stresses that the implementation of the new USB dongle biometric solution supports both Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport. It notes that the Natural ID solutions are FIDO Certified (Fast Identity Online) that means it provides broad compliance with an industry-wide ecosystem of products.

“Notebook buying cycles are historically much longer when compared to smartphones, and Synaptics’ new USB-based fingerprint solution provides a cost effective and simple entry point to what I estimate to be 500 million Windows 10 systems via Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport by the end of 2016,” said Patrick Moorhead, President and Principal Analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.

Commenting on the launch, Godfrey Cheng, Vice President of Marketing, Human Interface Systems Division (HISD) Synaptics, said, “The rapid growth of online payments combined with the critical need for protecting access to PC data for businesses and consumers alike is driving the need for high performance biometric authentication. Our new USB fingerprint reader expands our line-up of PC peripherals, enabling our customers to offer consumers myriad options for adding fingerprint sensing to existing notebook and desktop PCs. This low cost turnkey solution can easily be bundled or sold separately.”

Separately, speaking with Engadget at Computex, Synaptics revealed that the USB-based fingerprint module would cost OEMs roughly $40 a unit.

The company also showcased its under-glass fingerprint sensor at the trade show, a sensor that works below the glass on the trackpad of laptops and under the display of smartphones. Synaptics said the sensor would be ready for Windows Hello, and that it has improved its anti-spoofing technology for fingerprints. The company did not provide a timeline for rollout, which is unfortunate, as the technology would remove reliance on a secondary button or sensor that’s separate from the laptop’s trackpad or smartphone’s display, freeing up space and providing more freedom to designers.

Asus ZenBook 3 Launched; Said to Be Faster, Lighter, Thinner Than MacBook

Asus ZenBook 3 Launched; Said to Be Faster, Lighter, Thinner Than MacBookAsus at its pre-Computex 2016 ‘Zenvolution’ event at Humble House Taipei on Monday unveiled new products in its laptop and tablet portfolio – namely, the ZenBook 3, Transformer 3 Pro, and Transformer 3. All three are Windows 10 devices. The event also saw the launch of the ZenFone 3 smartphone series.

Starting with the ZenBook 3, Asus says it is thinner than the MacBook Air, yet faster than the MacBook. It features the world’s thinnest fan at 3mm, and has an 82 percent screen to body ratio. It bears a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 panel, and is claimed to have a 9-hour battery life that’s coupled with quick charging – 60 percent charge can be achieved in 49 minutes. It will be available in Royal Blue, Quartz Grey, Rose Gold colours, and features a gold-backlit keyboard with “twice the key travel” of the MacBook.

The ZenBook 3 (UX390) with an 12.5-inch display, Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB PCIe x4 SSD is priced at $1,999. The Core i5 variant, with 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, is priced at $999. It weighs in at 910 grams, measures 11.9mm in thickness, and sports a fingerprint reader. To put that in comparison, the MacBook is 13mm at its thickest point, and weighs in at 920 grams.

Coming to the Asus Transformer 3 Pro (T303) – the company says the laptop-tablet hybrid is thinner than Surface Pro 4, at 8.35mm. It features Harman Kardon audio with dual-front speakers that are supposedly four times as loud as the Surface Pro 4.

Asus Transformer 3 Pro’s top model specifications include a 12.6-inch (2880×1920 pixels) display, up to Intel Core i7 processors, up to 16GB of RAM, up to a 1TB SSD, a 13-megapixel rear camera, Thunderbolt 3, full-size USB 3.0 port, and full size HDMI port. The hybrid will launch alongside a mobile hub accessory (Asus Universal Dock) for all other ports. A stylus with 1,024 pressure levels, a Bluetooth speaker accessory for quad speaker surround, and an external Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card are also available. The Transformer 3 Pro starts at $999 including a keyboard and stylus pen.

The Transformer 3 (T305) was also unveiled (seen above), weighing in at 695 grams and measuring just 6.9mm in thickness. It bears a 12.6-inch (2880×1920 pixels) display with an 80 percent screen-to-body ratio, and a 121 percent SRGB gamut. Apart from quad speaker support powered by Harman Kardon audio, it features a fingerprint reader and Windows Hello biometric authentication support, up to seventh generation Intel Core processors, up to a 512GB SSD, up to 8GB of RAM, and a 9-hour battery life. The base model starts at $799 including the keyboard dock.

Asus at its Zenvolution event also unveiled the Transformer Mini (T102), calling it the “world’s lightest 2-in-1 PC.” It bears a magnesium-aluminium alloy design, and weighs 790 grams with the keyboard attached and just 530 grams otherwise. The Transformer Mini (seen below) is 8.2mm thick, and bears a 10.1-inch display. The company is promising up to 11 hours of battery life.

The Transformer Mini also bears an integrated kickstand with a patented stepless “Smart Hinge” design that opens up to 170 degrees. It also sports a fingerprint sensor and Windows Hello biometric authentication support.

Google I/O 2016: Chrome OS to Get Android Apps, Play Store Support

Google I/O 2016: Chrome OS to Get Android Apps, Play Store SupportGoogle’s developer conference is underway and a bunch of interesting things have already been been introduced. However, a slip-up in one of I/O’s session descriptions has let out that Google will introduce Android app and Google Play support to Chrome OS.

The session description indicates clearly that Google is holding a session where all the developers will be able to test apps on the Chrome OS. In April, some Chome OS v51 users reported seeing setting and a pop-up window that pointed to upcoming Android app support and Google Play access, creating noise that Google will make this official soon.

Now, the description further attests to these claims. The schedule summary was first spotted by 9to5Google on the Google I/O website, and it reads, “Today we announced that we’re adding the best mobile app experiences in the world, Android apps and the Google Play store, to the best browser in the world, Chrome! Come to this session and test your Android apps for Chrome OS. You will get hands on help from our friendly engineers on how to optimise your Android app for Chromebooks. Oh, and we will also be giving the first 50 developers to show up a free Chromebook so they can get a head start bringing their apps to Chrome!”

HP Unveils ‘World’s First Production-Ready’ 3D Printing System

HP Unveils 'World's First Production-Ready' 3D Printing SystemGlobal printer and personal computer major HP Inc. on Tuesday unveiled the world’s first production-ready commercial 3D printing system to bring disruptive manufacturing solutions to markets.

With partners such as Nike, BMW and others, HP has taken a major step in reinventing prototyping and manufacturing industry with first commercial 3D printers based on open platform, the company announced at “RAPID 2016”, the largest 3D additive manufacturing conference in Florida.

The “HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution” will deliver superior quality physical parts up to 10 times faster and at half the cost of current 3D print systems.

By printing functional parts at the individual voxel level (a voxel is the 3D equivalent of a 2D pixel in traditional printing), HP offers customers an unprecedented ability to transform part properties and deliver mass customisation.

Designed for model shops and 3D print service bureaus, the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution offers simplified workflow and reduced cost for radical prototyping, delivery of final parts manufacturing with breakthrough economics.

“The 3D printing platform is unique in its ability to address over 340 million voxels per second, versus one point at a time, giving our prototyping and manufacturing partners radically faster build speeds, functional parts and breakthrough economics,” informed Stephen Nigro, president of HP’s 3D printing business.

HP is offering two new 3D printers designed for rapid prototyping and production.

The HP Jet Fusion 3D 3200 printer is ideal for prototyping, offering improved productivity and the capacity to grow usage at a lower cost per part.

The HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 printer is designed for prototyping and short-run manufacturing needs, with high productivity to meet same-day demands at the lowest cost per part.

“The new printing system delivers a combination of speed, quality and cost never seen in the industry. Businesses and manufacturers can completely rethink how they design and deliver solutions to their customers,” Nigro added.

“At Nike, we have been using 3D printing to create new performance innovations for footwear for the past several years. We are excited to partner with HP to accelerate and scale our existing capabilities,” added Tom Clarke, president of innovation at Nike.

Microsoft Says UK Staying in EU Important for Investment

Microsoft Says UK Staying in EU Important for InvestmentMicrosoft said on Tuesday that Britain should stay in the European Union if it wanted to receive more investment, the same day the Confederation of British Industry urged firms to discuss the vote with staff.

The US software giant employs 5,000 staff in Britain and plans to offer Europeans remote access to data from centres based in Britain, but said further investment could be at risk if Britain votes to leave the EU in next month’s referendum.

“Our view is that the UK should remain in the EU,” Microsoft’s UK chief executive Michel Van der Bel said on the firm’s website. “The UK remaining in the EU supports important criteria for continued and future investment by Microsoft and others.”

The CBI, which also says there is a strong economic argument for Britain to stay in the EU, said firms should discuss the issues with their employees.

“Responsible business leaders should give their employees the choice to hear what impact a Brexit would have on company growth, their jobs and their local community,” CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said.

“This is not about telling people how to vote but having calm, evidence-based conversations, whichever camp the business is in, or if they are neutral.”

Opinion polls in recent days have shown a wide range of results, with some showing moderate leads for those planning to vote “Out” on June 23, and others showing a majority for “In”

HP EliteBook 1030 With Fanless, All-Metal Design Launched

HP EliteBook 1030 With Fanless, All-Metal Design Launched

HP has unveiled its new EliteBook-series laptop for business users, the EliteBook 1030. Priced at $1,249 (roughly Rs. 80,000), the HP EliteBook 1030 laptop will go on sale this month. Interested consumers can sign-in on the company’s official site to be notified about availability.

The new EliteBook 1030 features a 13.3-inch screen and comes in two models. One features a non-touch full-HD display while the other packs a Quad-HD display with touch. The laptop sports an additional Corning Gorilla Glass cover on screen and features “diamond-cut” all metal design, as per HP. Additionally, the laptop packs a fanless design.

The company adds that the back-lit keyboard on EliteBook 1030 is spill-resistant. It also adds that the laptop can offer up to 13 hours of battery life.

It also packs some added features including HP Sure Start with Dynamic Protection which is for data protection. HP says that the EliteBook 1030 features the “industry’s first self-healing PC BIOS with runtime monitoring.”

The laptop also comes with on-sensor fingerprint reader and for managing devices with optional Intel vPro 4 and LANDesk management that comes with IT requirements.

The new HP laptop is powered 1.1GHz sixth generation Intel Core M Processor and comes with 512GB of SSD storage. It includes up to 16GB of RAM and a USB Type-C port, two Micro-USB 3.0 ports, Wi-Di, Miracast, WLAN 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.2 for connectivity. For audio, HP has tied up with Bang & Olufsen which power the speakers on the EliteBook 1030.

Apple Releases Revamped iTunes App for Desktop Alongside OS X 10.11.5

Apple Releases Revamped iTunes App for Desktop Alongside OS X 10.11.5

Alongside iOS 9.3.2, Apple on Monday released updates for OS X and iTunes for the desktop. This update brings in a simpler design for iTunes along with other bug fixes.

OS X El Capitan v10.11.5 brings in fixes for Spotlight search, and generally brings improvements in stability, compatibility, and security of Mac devices. On the other hand, iTunes 12.4 update introduces a design revamp. Apple restores the left hand navigation bar that lets you access specific lists in each section. For example, music library is sorted in lists like artists, albums etc.The updated app is availableto download for Windows and Mac.

The icons on the top left have changed. Instead of logos, users can now see the name of the menu options, and can select the desired one by pressing the navigation buttons on the side. The Menu tab only displays three options (Music, Movies, and TV shows) by default, but the user can decide and add which options show up by clicking on the ‘Edit Menu’ button. The overall layout looks a little inspired by Apple’s iOS design.

What Apple has not clearly mentioned is whether this update brings fixes to the iTunes Store that was randomly deleting music from select users’ devices. Last week, Apple did say that an update would be rolled out this week with additional safeguards, and we hope that these updates have brought fixes for this bug.

As we mentioned, Apple has also released iOS 9.3.2 for compatible devices. The update is a rather minor one and brings in several bug fixes. The biggest highlight is possibly the restoration of Night Shift in Low Power Mode.

Microsoft to Remove Windows 10’s Wi-Fi Sense Password Sharing Feature

Microsoft to Remove Windows 10's Wi-Fi Sense Password Sharing Feature

Microsoft released a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build on Tuesday, and alongside, made an announcement that should make privacy enthusiasts much happier. It is removing the controversialpassword sharing feature of Wi-Fi Sense.

To recall, the feature if enabled within Wi-Fi Sense let users share Wi-Fi passwords with their contacts, and also automatically connect to networks that their contacts had shared. Wi-Fi Sense also lets users automatically connect to open Wi-Fi hotspots, and that feature will remain.

In a blog post introducing the new Windows 10 Insider Preview build (14342), Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul gave the reason for deprecating the feature – and no, it was not due to complaints by privacy advocates. Aul said, “The cost of updating the code to keep this feature working combined with low usage and low demand made this not worth further investment. Wi-Fi Sense, if enabled, will continue to get you connected to open Wi-Fi hotspots that it knows about through crowdsourcing.”

The Wi-Fi password sharing feature will be removed from Windows 10’s Wi-Fi Sense alongside the Windows 10 Anniversary that is expected to be released in late-July this year.

Other changes introduced in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14342 include the ability to download Edge browser extensions via the Windows Store (something first seen with AdBlock and Adblock Plus); real-time Web notifications in Edge; swipe navigation in Edge; Bash on Ubuntu on Windows improvements; Skype UWP Preview update; updated Windows Ink Workspace icon; updated visuals for User Account Control dialog; middle click for dismiss in Action Center; Apps for websites; Feedback Hub improvements, along with bug fixes