Breakfast Briefing: Xbox tablet, RISC on Raspberry Pi, how Google shares the Nexus love

Raspberry Pi takes a trip back in time with RISC and the voting machine that really wanted Romney to win

7 Nov 2012

In today's top technology stories, Microsoft's plans for an Xbox tablet, a step back to the 80s with Raspberry Pi, voting machine fallibility and Google's Nexus largesse.

Next up: the Xbox Surface?

"Multiple sources familiar with plans within Redmond have confirmed to The Verge that initial hardware planning for an Xbox Surface is underway." Yes, the rumour mill is once again suggesting Microsoft will be producing its own 7in gaming tablet, and it won’t be running the full OS, instead preferring a "custom Windows kernel". Rumours like this have surfaced (sorry) before, so The Verge makes sure to point out that we can expect to see it ahead of the next Xbox, provided "the project doesn't get killed in favour of a full 7in Windows tablet, in the same way Microsoft axed Courier".

Raspberry Pi takes a RISC

Good news for all those Raspberry Pi owners who like to make things even more complicated for themselves: you can now go back in time. Says the official blog, "we’re very pleased to announce the immediate availability of RISC OS for the Raspberry Pi. First released in 1987, its origins can be traced back to the original team that developed the ARM microprocessor."

Why Google spreads the Nexus load

The New York Times has an interview with Google's John Lagerling, director of business development for Android, covering all things Nexus and drawing comparisons between Google's offerings and Apple's similarly-sized range. With a different manufacturer so far picked for each Nexus, some have suspected the company was trying to keep its partners sweet, but Google says it was just a happy coincidence.

"It's not so much fairness as it is to sort of work with partners who happen to be in good 'phase match' with us in what we’re trying to do. So Samsung just happens to be in a good phase match on a high-end display, which is exactly what we wanted to do at a low cost," Lagerling said. "It’s just more about the timing being right."

And that subsidiary, Motorola? "They stand where Sharp would stand, or Sony would stand or Huawei would stand," Lagerling said. "It would bid on doing a Nexus device just like any other company." Feeling the love, Motorola?

Polling station machinery glitch

Apparently there's been some sort of election going on, and it provided another example of why people fear technology in the polling station. According to The Telegraph one voter using an electronic reader found the technology overriding his selection on numerous occasions, switching his mark for Barack Obama into a vote for Mitt Romney in a software glitch.

The voter tried to explain the issue to the polling room attendant, but they were less the proactive. "I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted. I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney," the unnamed voter reported. "Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it. She said 'It's nothing to worry about, everything will be OK,' and went back to what she was doing." That's tech support straight from the manual.

Gabon blocks plans for Megaupload II

Lawyers for Megaupload mega-mouth Kim Dotcom have accused Gabon of breaking the net neutrality ethos after the African state said it would stop the entrepreneur's latest web plans. Dotcom, who's fight accusations his Megaupload service was an illegal download site, had intended to open a new service based in Gabon, where presumably he thought the music and film industry lawyers would have less impact. According to CNet, however, the country's communications minister has put paid to such plans, saying the country "cannot serve as a platform or screen for committing acts aimed at violating copyrights, nor be used by unscrupulous people".

Depressing cartoon of the Day

Dilbert has the sort of cartoon to make PC makers weep, highlighting some of the issues facing the industry.

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