Tagged With standards

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You've heard of SATA. It's the technology used for the majority of today's hard drives and people generally like it. But SATA wasn't designed for tiny portables. That's why the guys behind SATA are introducing mini-SATA or mSATA for short.

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We already know most of what there is to know about USB 3.0—officially dubbed SuperSpeed USB—but today it's officially set in stone. To recap, with transfer speeds of 4.8Gbps, it'll dump a 25GB HD file in about 70 seconds, and the architecture has been beefed up with extra data lanes to make for more sustained, rather than bursty transfer speeds, making it better for camcorders and the like. Even though it delivers more power than USB 2.0 to charge gadgets faster (and it'll revive a completely dead one too), its new polling architecture makes it more efficient.

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The 802.11n standard for Wi-Fi may still be technically a draft specification, but the IEEE has now completed the 802.11r specs, making a new standard for Wi-Fi roaming. Why should you care about this? It's designed for those moments when a Wi-Fi-connected device moves between hotspots, something the original 802.11 specs didn't have in mind. Typically a transition between spots involves a drop and re-associate delay of around 0.1 seconds, which is enough to drop a VoIP call: 802.11r allows re-association with the new Wi-Fi source in less than 0.05 seconds, which should keep your call connected. The specs and also cover security associations and reservation of QoS resources for roaming Wi-Fi connections and have been under development for four years.

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The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, the folks behind such innovations as the colour bar test pattern, want to codify a standard for watching 3-D content in home theatres. They're casting the net wide to include all possible sources and displays, from over-the-air broadcast to DVDs and Blu-ray. Ars points out that Hollywood is both excited to sell you their movies again, this time in glorious 3-D, and worried about potential lost revenues at 3-D theatre screenings of, say, George Lucas's 3-D Star Wars remake.

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Microsoft's HD Photo standard is now officially tapped to become JPEG's successor by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, but it'll be known as JPEG XR. XR stands for extended range, given the wider colour palette and finer gradations it can show. Other benefits include in-camera imaging processing support and, supposedly, better compression. Besides losing its Windows-y name (in a former life, it was Windows Media Photo) it's dropping proprietary control by Microsoft to become as neutral as JPEG is now. Though support's already built-in to Windows Vista, it'll take a year to get standardized, at which point large-scale adoption will probably start picking up steam.

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Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, LG, and Nokia have agreed to use micro USB as a charging-plug standard for phones. Your days of buying a bagful of accessories every time you switch phones have come to an end. Well, not quite. You will still have to toss out all your mini USB chargers, as this decision in truth indicates a rejection of that budding de facto standard. Yep, all the carriers and accessories makers will have one last chance to profit before the standard is in place.

AU: I think this is actually the best choice, because micro USB is suitable for devices like small Bluetooth headsets too. So all your accessories and phones will charge off one charger - perfect. And I already have more than one mini-to-micro USB adapter, so it isn't like mini USB chargers will be out the door. They'll easily adapt to the new task. Great to see a standard on the way! -SB