Google outs Haswell-based Chromebooks
Google has announced that new Chromebook laptops toting powerful-yet-energy efficient Intel Haswell processors will be available in “the coming months”. While Google’s blog post doesn’t get into too many specifics, it seems as if new models from HP, Asus, Acer and Toshiba will all be based on Haswell architecture and as a consequence could deliver up to double the battery life of older models. The product page for the HP Chromebook 14, for instance, claims 9.5 hours of use from a single charge. Prices are yet to be announced. [Source: Chrome blog]
Art world’s finest customise Stormtrooper helmets for charity
Star Wars and the world of modern art are not the most obvious of bedfellows, but an upcoming exhibition has them crossing over in an intriguing way – and it’s all for charity. Art Wars, which will be on show at the Saatchi Gallery from 9th-13th October, consists of a collection of Stormtrooper helmets that have been remoulded as art pieces by the likes of David Bailey, Damien Hirst, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Antony Micallef.
The helmets have been cast from the original 1976 moulds made by Stormtrooper costume designer Andrew Ainsworth, who won the right to use them from LucasFilm in a 2011 court battle.
After the exhibition the pieces will be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to the Missing Tom fund. Co-organiser Ben Moore’s brother Tom went missing in 2003 at the age of 31, and the fund was set up in order to help find him. [Source: Art Wars via Artlyst]
Steam will let you share games with friends and family – for free
Valve has announced that its digital video game service Steam will soon allow users to share games they have bought with friends and family. Dubbed Family Sharing, the system will allow titles to be shared on up to 10 devices at one time. Friends will send you a request which, when authorised by you, will allow them to play the game, earn achievements and access any DLC you’ve already purchased. Only one user will be able to play a particular game at any one time.
Downsides? Well there don’t really seem to be many, but Valve says that region locks will remain in place and that certain games (i.e. those that require subscriptions like World of Warcraft) will be unavailable.
Family Sharing will being beta testing in mid-September with a full launch coming later. Click through the link below to sign up for the beta. [Source: Steam]
Airplane Wi-Fi set to get speedier
If you’ve ever used airplane Wi-Fi you’ll know that it’s not particularly fast. You’re unlikely to complain about it because, y’know, you’re using the Internet on a plane and that’s amazing – but you’re not going to rely on it for an online Call of Duty deathmatch. That looks set to change in the not too distant future, at least for those flying over mainland America.
In-flight Internet provider Gogo is about to unveil a new satellite and cellular tower-based system that gives each plane a 60Mbps connection – that’s six times faster than its current fastest option. It will be available on Virgin America flights from the second half of 2014.
Meanwhile US budget airline JetBlue (which doesn’t yet offer in-flight web access) has announced plans to install a new satellite Internet link on some of its planes this year that would deliver up to 12Mbps per device on a plane, not just to the plane itself. It says the service should be available on each of its 180 planes by the end of 2015. [Source: WSJ]