Darren Murph

    Darren, former Engadget editor-at-large, holds the Guinness World Record for being the most prolific professional blogger on planet Earth, and is the author of 'iPad Secrets.'

  • Farewell, and thank you

    It's been a pleasure. An absolute pleasure. Over seven years ago, I gave up nights, weekends, and nearly every waking hour I could find in order to write about technology for anyone who would read it. Engadget was but two years young, but I had every intention of helping it to last well beyond the future... whatever "the future" was. After today, my own future will involve a different path. Writing, reporting and opining on Engadget has been a tremendous honor. Working in an industry that never pauses to catch its breath is both exhausting and exhilarating, and I've always considered myself fortunate to be a small part of it. From a midnight oil-burning news writer to a world record holder, Engadget has transformed me -- I owe a comically large deal of thanks to the site, its founders, its readers and my coworkers. Indeed, my colleagues over the years deserve all of the credit for me being able to write for this long. I've been schooled, shaped and properly molded by this industry's finest. I am immensely, immensely proud of what we've accomplished, and I have nothing but gratitude for every single reader that spent even a minute of their day interacting with this site. Conversing about technology and seeing how it's transforming the lives of cultures all around the world has given me extreme joy, and it's with a heavy heart that I take a step back from doing that today. The world, I've learned, is both huge and tiny, but no longer overwhelming given the tools that we have. This may be the end of my journey at Engadget, but I'm eager to discover what walls I can tear down next. I can't say that I have any particular plans at the moment, but I've never been opposed to seeing where serendipitous winds blow. Don't be a stranger! I'm @darrenmurph on Twitter.

  • Camera showdown: iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 5 tested in the wilds of Patagonia

    One of our favorite travel photogs, Austin Mann, snapped up an iPhone 5 and flew to Iceland last year in order to pit Apple's latest flagship against its prior king in a bitterly cold camera test. This year, Mr. Mann hopped a flight down to Patagonia in order to pit the iPhone 5s' sensor against that of the 5. One of the more remarkable findings was the dynamic exposure applied to panoramas with the 5s; in his testing, pans that involved dark and light subjects were accounted for properly without the use of HDR. The result was a far more evenly lit panoramic image, whereas prior iPhone cameras tended to blow out a portion of the image to compensate for another portion. The 5s also demonstrated dynamic range that was said to be "remarkably better" than on the 5. In post-processing, images taken with the 5s maintained integrity far better than the 5 when using Snapseed to recover details lost in shadows. Not surprisingly, shutter lag has gone from impressive to "nonexistent," and he noted that the 5s' burst mode is intensely useful for action shooters who need to quickly grab a litany of shots (say, of a lion pouncing on its next meal) and select the one with just a few swipes. The iPhone 5's camera was certainly no slouch, but Apple's tweaking seems to have produced a markedly superior camera on the 5s. Interestingly, in a gallery of side-by-side comparison shots, the 5s displayed results that were a bit flatter with less noticeable contrast. According to Mann, "photographers will liken this to a RAW image, which doesn't look as nice off the bat, but has a lot more flexibility for editing on the backend." For more comparisons -- including a look at the 120FPS Slo Mo mode -- point your browser of choice right here.

  • Rohm showcases colorful solid hydrogen-source fuel cell chargers at CEATEC

    You know what makes a fuel cell charger in your pocket a little less frightening? Colors! CEATEC mainstay Rohm has arrived back in Japan with a new set of hydrogen-source fuel cell chargers, with the latest prototype lot boasting a litany of new hues that may very well match up with that iPhone 5c you're (presumably) picking up soon. The actual technology used within hasn't changed from last year, but the company is evidently considering the release of such portable chargers for those who'd prefer something a bit less drab. We're told that a fully-fueled pack can keep the average smartphone alive for twice as long as it would otherwise last, but as has become the norm at this show, there's nary a hint of a price / release date. Mat Smith contributed to this report.

  • Nissan's autonomous Leaf shows its smarts on Japanese test track

    Now that Nissan's partially automated Leaf has the proverbial green light to traverse some of Japan's roadways, we figured we'd place our lives in the hands of various computer systems in order to have one whisk us around a test track at CEATEC. This year's autonomous Leaf demo was a step up from last year, with our test vehicle trained to not only stay between the lines, but also pause and evaluate the situation when faced with a fellow car. An on-site representative informed us that off-the-shelf PC components are being used to calculate its motions at the moment, and yes, it's a Windows-based system underneath (for now, anyway). A suite of prohibitively expensive lasers keep the car from veering outside of its lane, while onboard processing determines whether a stopped or slowed vehicle is passable or not. The company has tested the automated Leaf at speeds as high as 70 kilometers per hour, but we barely broke 15 on the track. Speaking of which, you can catch a bit of footage from our ride just after the break. Mat Smith and Richard Lai contributed to this report.

  • Toshiba's concept REGZA 40V and 50V 4K HDTVs double as pro-grade reference monitors

    Toshiba's overall TV division may be ailing, but it's innovations like this that'll keep it from completely decaying. Displayed at the company's CEATEC booth here in Japan are two new 4K HDTV displays -- the 40-inch 40V and 50-inch 50V. Outside of devilishly-thin bezels and native 4K resolutions, the company's not talking specifications. What it's focusing on instead is the concept: it's dreaming of an Ultra HD range of displays that can operate as televisions and as pro-grade reference monitors. After all, budding editors who are being tasked with cutting together 4K footage certainly deserve a monitor that won't cut corners, right? A company representative informed us that while the displays weren't perfectly color accurate, they were far superior to rivals. Plus, the ability to easily toggle between reference mode and various other living room-accepted modes will enable a level of A/B testing that's pretty tough to get right now. Naturally, both monitors looked stunning up close, and if we're being candid, we're fallen in love with Photoshop all over again after seeing it displayed on these guys. Mat Smith contributed to this report.

  • Elliptic Labs releases ultrasound gesturing SDK for Android, will soon integrate into smartphones

    Elliptic Labs has already spruced up a number of tablets by adding the ability to gesture instead of make contact with a touchpanel, and starting this week, it'll bring a similar source of wizardry to Android. The 20-member team is demoing a prototype here at CEATEC in Japan, showcasing the benefits of its ultrasound gesturing technology over the conventional camera-based magic that already ships in smartphones far and wide. In a nutshell, you need one or two inexpensive (under $1 a pop) chips from Murata baked into the phone; from there, Elliptic Labs' software handles the rest. It allows users to gesture in various directions with multiple hands without having to keep their hands in front of the camera... or atop the phone at all, actually. (To be clear, that box around the phone is only there for the demo; consumer-friendly versions will have the hardware bolted right onto the PCB within.) The goal here is to make it easy for consumers to flip through slideshows and craft a new high score in Fruit Ninja without having to grease up their display. Company representatives told us that existing prototypes were already operating at sub-100ms latency, and for a bit of perspective, most touchscreens can only claim ~120ms response times. It's hoping to get its tech integrated into future phones from the major Android players (you can bet that Samsung, LG, HTC and the whole lot have at least heard the pitch), and while it won't ever be added to existing phones, devs with games that could benefit from a newfangled kind of gesturing can look for an Android SDK to land in the very near future. Mat Smith contributed to this report.

  • NTT DoCoMo's vision of '5G' wireless: 100x faster than LTE, but not until 2020

    We knew good and well that Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo would be divulging details about its 5G wireless plans at CEATEC, but the claims that we've stumbled upon here in Chiba are nothing short of bananas. Granted, the operator is making clear that its vision isn't intended to reach implementation until 2020, and it confesses that a 5G standard has yet to be ratified. That said, it's dreaming of a world where its network offers "1000 times the capacity and 100 times the speed as the current network." Representatives for the company told us that the challenge is going to be dealing with range limitations in higher frequency spectrum, but it plans to employ "high-frequency bandwidth by transmitting with a large number of antenna elements." The goal for looking so far forward? It's already seeing an insane appetite for video on networks that can barely maintain poise under the load, and the notion of transferring 4K content to the masses is going to require a substantial upgrade. CEATEC's known as a place that allows companies to dream big and aim for the fences, but we'll be honest -- we'd really, really prefer that 2020 arrived sooner rather than later. Mat Smith contributed to this report.

  • Texas A&M researchers concoct nanoparticles to soak up crude oil spills

    The 2010 Deepwater Horizon may be forgotten to many, but remnants of its destruction still remain in the Gulf of Mexico. Mercifully, it appears that researchers at Texas A&M University "have developed a non-toxic sequestering agent-iron oxide nanoparticles coated in a polymer mesh that can hold up to 10 times their weight in crude oil." In layman's terms, they've engineered a material that can safely soak up oil. As the story goes, the nanoparticles "consist of an iron oxide core surrounded by a shell of polymeric material," with the goal being to soak up leftover oil that isn't captured using conventional mechanical means. The next step? Creating an enhanced version that's biodegradable; as it stands, the existing particles could pose a threat if not collected once they've accomplished their duties.

  • Twitter scores NFL deal to showcase Sunday's finest instant replay material

    Following a similar deal in May with the NBA, Twitter's Amplify program has landed an envy-inducing arrangement with the National Football League. As part of the new advertising partnership, the NFL will leverage Twitter to "package in-game highlights and other video content" inside sponsored tweets, which can be distributed via a marketer during games. Both Twitter and the NFL will take a slice of the profits, though neither side is talking specific terms. As of now, it sounds as if Verizon will be the "premiere sponsor," which grants it "exclusive sponsorship rights for Amplify ads during the Super Bowl next February." The upside? Easily tweetable instant replays. The downside? It might make you a shill. Them's the breaks!

  • Gmail for Android update brings cleaner conversation view and improved multi-select

    Google's made quite the habit out of improving its Gmail offering, and for those relying on the Android app in order to access their email, you'll find a pleasant new update available starting today. The refreshed build ushers in a cleaner conversation view, as well a number of additional design tweaks "such as checkmarks for multiple message selection so you can easily see what messages you are about to move, archive or delete." Oh, and in case you occasionally deal with bouts of disconnectedness, the app now notifies you right from the inbox if account sync is nonfunctional for any reason. Enjoy!

  • Google fuels the entrepreneurial spirit by launching Tech Hub Network in seven cities

    Innovation, man. You either have it, or you don't. And, in the case of Google, you stand to gain all sorts of long-tail revenue if you help fuel the aforesaid fire. Google for Entrepreneurs was just the start, and now the company is branching out to partner with existing technology hubs and incubation labs across the world. Rather than crafting hubs of its own, Google is announcing a Tech Hub Network that'll launch with seven partners, initially located in North America. 1871 (Chicago), American Underground (Durham), Coco (Minneapolis), Communitech (Waterloo), Galvanize (Denver), Grand Circus (Detroit) and Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville) have made the starting lineup, and if you're near one, you might want to consider dropping by. Google is committing to "providing each hub with financial support alongside access to Google technology, platforms and mentors, and ensuring that entrepreneurs at these hubs have access to an even larger network of startups." And, of course, being that much closer to Google Ventures can't hurt.

  • iPhone 5s and 5c shipping to regional carriers on October 1st, but not to US Cellular

    When your name is on a Major League Baseball stadium, and you're a mobile operator, you carry the iPhone. Unless you're US Cellular, that is. For reasons that cannot be comprehended by mere mortals, one of the United States' largest regional carriers still isn't offering the iPhone in any variant, despite promising back in May to carry Apple products before the year's end. In fact, things have gotten so bad over at USCC that its Facebook page has gone dead silent since September 13th, with customers far and wide ranting in the comments section about the carrier's inability to get the one phone they all want. Making matters worse for USCC is the fact that Appalachian Wireless, C Spire, Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, GCI, MTA, Nex-Tech Wireless, Ntelos and Strata are all lined up to start selling both the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s on October 1st. We suppose even more could be added as time rolls on and the supply / demand balance rights itself, but it's probably high time for US Cellular holdouts to head on over to a rival. Patience only gets you so far, you know?