Verizon Wireless has announced that the Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Motorola Droid Ultra, Maxx, and Mini smartphones will begin rolling out to users today. The update follows the launch of KitKat for the Moto X on all four major US carriers, and it is the first update to arrive for any carrier exclusive devices. The carrier says that the update will be pushed to users in phases, so it make take some time before it is deployed to everyone.Android 4.4 KitKat brings a refined user interface and performance improvements over Android 4.2.2. Jelly Bean, which was previously on Droid smartphones.
macrumors.com 1 day ago
Apple and China Mobile have not yet finalized a deal that will allow the world’s largest carrier to sell the iPhone, reports Reuters. Earlier in December, a report from The Wall Street Journal suggested that negotiations were all but complete, with the two companies on track for a release sometime around December 18, the expected date for the carrier’s 4G launch. A China Mobile store promoting Apple products last week While China Mobile did launch its 4G network earlier today, bringing 4G speeds to its more than 700 million customers, there has been no sign of an iPhone deal.Xi Guohua, the chairman of the world’s largest mobile phone carrier, said on Wednesday morning that his company had no announcement to make on any deal to carry Apple’s smartphones. Xi was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Guangzhou, a southern city of China.
theverge.com 1 day ago
The original iPhone ushered in a new way to play games. With no control input other than a touchscreen and gyroscope, developers were forced to use touch and tilt in inventive and clever ways. It lead to wonderful games like Ridiculous Fishing and The Room 2, but all along many developers continued to strive for something different — a console-style game you could play on your phone or tablet. Without physical controls, however, those experiences never worked quite right. Even when the games looked the part, on-screen buttons and other touchscreen concessions just couldn't match the precision of an analog stick and some physical buttons.But with iOS 7, it seemed like that might finally change.
theverge.com 1 day ago
Asus appears to be readying a new 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet. While Dell and Lenovo have similar tablets on the market, Asus’ model may have one unique advantage: Wacom support. Mobile Geeks reports that the Asus VivoTab Note 8 is expected to include an 8-inch display at 1280 x 800 resolution with Wacom digitizer support and a stylus. It’s not clear if the stylus is optional, or whether it can be easily stored away, but some retail listings for the unreleased tablet mention Wacom compatibility. Mobile Geeks also notes that Asus’ tablet also includes Intel’s latest Bay Trail processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB or 64GB of storage options.
theverge.com 2 days ago
If you've ever been that person locked out of your house or apartment, you might have another option that'll get your door open. KeyMe, a small lock-and-key startup, is partnering with the 3D printing company Shapeways to let customers 3D print their keys from the KeyMe iOS app and have them delivered almost immediately. Using a digital copy of the key stored in KeyMe's cloud, customers can order keys online and have them delivered. You can get everything from a plastic key for $10, a ridiculous solid gold key for $4,000, and various keys in between. In New York, KeyMe is also offering an emergency lockout key delivery service at physical key cutting kiosks in 7-Eleven and Bed Bath & Beyond stores.
arstechnica.com 2 days ago
Specs at a glance: Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition Screen 1920×1080 6.4" (342 ppi) IPS touchscreen OS Android KitKat 4.4 CPU 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 RAM 2GB GPU 450 Mhz Adreno 330 Storage 16GB or 32GB Networking Dual Band 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS Network GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz); LTE (700, 850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100, 2600 MHz) Ports Micro USB, headphones Camera 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera Size 179mm x 92mm x 6.5mm Weight 212g Battery 3000 mAh Starting price $350 off contract Other perks RGB notification LED, waterproof, MicroSD slot How big is too big? Android device manufacturers continue to push the boundaries of what can be considered a smartphone. Pocket-busting devices like the 5.8-inch Galaxy Note 3 and the 6-inch LG G Flex are becoming more common, and 5-inch devices seem to be the new "normal" with the Galaxy S4 and Nexus 5 both clocking in around that size.
venturebeat.com 3 days ago
Microsoft’s take on Siri is a few steps closer to reality. With Windows Phone 8.1, set to be announced next April at Build, Microsoft plans to finally introduce “Cortana,” its own personal assistant software, as the Verge reports. The software, which sounds like a cross between Siri and Google Now, gets its name from the Microsoft-owned Halo game series, where an artificial intelligence program named Cortana guides the player around. By naming the software “Cortana,” Microsoft is giving a pretty good indication of we can expect from it. Just like the in-game Cortana can learn from and adapt to experiences, the Windows Phone Cortana will be able to learn from users’ behavior and adapt to future situations. (This is where all the comparisons to Google Now come in.) But Cortana will go further.
theverge.com 3 days ago
With the laudable Nexus 5 and G2 as its most recent smartphones, you wouldn't think that LG is in need of any help in making appealing new phones and the Korean company wholeheartedly agrees. Nonetheless, a report by the Korea Times today suggests that LG is considering setting up a joint venture with Huawei in order to "revive its smartphone business." LG has moved to quickly quash that rumor, telling The Verge that "there is no discussion now or in the past with Huawei on any aspects of LG Electronics’ business."What might be most telling about this analyst-fueled speculation is the aggressiveness with which LG has sought to extinguish it.
techcrunch.com 4 days ago
A recent Kickstarter project called the Zuli Smartplug makes each of your power outlets intelligent thanks to Bluetooth low-energy, along with remote control from a smartphone, proximity triggering and scheduling, too. It’s sort of like what you maybe have been hearing about with Apple’s iBeacons, where retail can sense a shopper’s specific location within a store and provide different content to their devices based on where they are, but for at-home use with your existing electrical appliances.Zuli’s Smartplugs can detect when you walk into or out of a room, and trigger customized actions based on what you want them to do in either case. That means you could have your computer, desk lamp, space heater and more turn on when you enter your office, for instance, or have everything but the radio turn off when you leave home for the evening.
theverge.com 5 days ago
Microsoft is still testing its upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update internally, but a leaked screenshot reveals how the company is moving to onscreen buttons in future. The tiny image, published by @evleaks, shows the standard back, Windows, and search buttons all onscreen in a Windows Phone 8.1 screenshot. The Verge previously detailed how Microsoft is testing these virtual buttons as a replacement for devices without physical buttons. We have mocked up how the onscreen buttons are displayed alongside the Windows Phone 8.1 Start Screen in an image below.
arstechnica.com 1 day ago
Once it built the smartwatch, Pebble put together a software platform so developers could make its eponymous product do stuff. With over 10,000 members in its developer portal and over 2,000 apps released so far, the results have been impressive. Today, Pebble announced that it will launch an app store in early 2014 and that developers can begin submitting their apps today. Pebble App discovery has been a problem for Pebble, and the company and community have thus far tackled it via community sites. With over 200,000 watches shipped, more and more users are exploring the different ways that apps can enhance the experience of using a Pebble. By providing a consolidated app store, Pebble is ensuring that apps are compliant with its Terms and Conditions, that the version provided is the most recent, and that apps are categorized and easily searchable. Pebble apps come in a few parts. The watchface is the component stored on the Pebble itself.
theverge.com 1 day ago
BlackBerry's messaging service will come preinstalled on LG smartphones, the two companies announced today. That starts with the G Pro Lite, a 5.5-inch Android handset announced in October. Bundling BBM with Android smartphones represents another major shift for BlackBerry as the company puts a greater focus on its services amid disappointing hardware sales. Explaining its own reasoning for the deal, LG points to BBM's widespread use across the Middle East, Africa, and Indonesia. “The LG G Pro Lite offers an optimized BBM experience with its large, high quality display and embedded Stylus Pen," said Kevin Shin, VP of LG's Asia marketing.
techcrunch.com 1 day ago
I remember in the early 2000s a friend of mine through college had a mullet zine, which was an actual print photocopied irregular publication that featured candid photos he’d taken of mullets in the wild. That was the sort of thing that happened in the early 2000s, when mullets were a thing people loved ironically. Nokia thinks mullets are still a thing, and it built an entire ad around the concept of a haircut with business in front and party in the back and its new 2520 Windows 8-based tablet.Please, by all means watch whatever the hell this is for yourself, but let me tell you right away: it’s weird, and it will make you feel uncomfortable, and it’s stupid. I’m all for a little eccentric fun once in a while, but when you line this fumbled Harry Potter-movie-soundtracked amateur comedy up against Apple’s recent holiday ad, it’s easy to see why the average human reaches for an iPad in the tablet aisle, not a Lumia 2520.
macrumors.com 2 days ago
Apple has published a new announcement for developers on its dev center website notifying them that all new App Store submissions must be built with the latest version of Xcode 5 and optimized for iOS 7. Starting February 1, new apps and app updates submitted to the App Store must be built with the latest version of Xcode 5 and must be optimized for iOS 7. Learn more about preparing your apps by reviewing the iOS Human Interface Guidelines.The new rule goes into effect on February 1, 2014 and means that any apps built on older versions of Xcode or non-iOS 7 optimized apps will be rejected from the App Store. In addition, this also applies to app updates, providing some inspiration for developers to update their developer tools and optimize their apps for iOS 7 as the updates will be rejected otherwise. Optimizing an app for iOS 7 does not necessarily mean it needs to look different, but that the underlying construction of the app must be optimized for the new OS.
theverge.com 2 days ago
Google’s just another carrier, or at least that’s what it’ll tell you. Just as Verizon and AT&T customize every device they sell, with apps and services and robotic ringtones, Google’s selling its own flavor of some of the most popular devices on the market. It just so happens that Google Play Editions’ “customizations” are in fact reversions — from the HTC One to the Samsung Galaxy S4, Google strips all added features and functionality and reverts back to the purest Android experience.The LG G Pad 8.3 is the first tablet with a Google Play Edition, a completely stock 8.3-inch slate for $349.99.
allthingsd.com 3 days ago
Nearly 10 years after international tech hub San Francisco first said it wanted to offer free public Wi-Fi, the city’s first big deployment is finally being unveiled today. There’s a new mayor and a new tech boom in town, and — perhaps most importantly — the technology for providing reliable, high-capacity access has improved dramatically over the past decade.Access points on Market Street. (They have since been painted green to better blend in with the surroundings.)San Francisco will offer free Internet access along the Market Street corridor, from the Embarcadero to the Castro, under the network name “_San_Francisco_Free_WiFi” (with the awkward punctuation so as to show up first in search results).The network is built to reach speeds of up to 50 Mbps both up and downstream, better than what many people receive in their own homes.
arstechnica.com 3 days ago
To date, Google has kept its lineup of Nexus phones and tablets pretty simple. There's a phone, a small tablet, and a big tablet. Only one device in each category is offered for sale at any given time. The wider Android ecosystem is more diverse than that, though, and the operating system's biggest power users demand more choices. Different form factors, bigger screens, and SD card slots are all common requests. The problem is that non-Nexus devices that support these features lack the clean, "stock" Android of the Nexus lineup, and they rarely get prompt operating system updates. Enter the Google Play edition (GPe) program, which lets these people have their cake and eat it too. While the Google Play edition gadgets lack the wallet-friendly pricing of the Nexuses, they run a Google-style version of Android bereft of skins and bloatware, and they get updates much faster than they otherwise would.
thenextweb.com 3 days ago
Samsung has once again introduced a new addition to its Galaxy family of smartphones after announcing the Galaxy Core Advance, a 4.7-inch screen, Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)-powered device that it says will go on sale “early next year.”There’s very little to get excited about with this phone — which is a step up on the original Galaxy Core — and it looks like another offering for consumers on a budget. The Galaxy Core advance is powered by a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and comes with 1GB RAM, 8GB of internal memory, and a microSD card slot that can accommodate up to 64GB more storage.The rear-facing camera clocks in at five megapixels, with a 2,000 mAh battery keeping things going. The usual Samsung services are on tap, including S Voice, S Translator, Sound & Shot, Group Play and Easy Mode — while there’s support for NFC (S Beam), Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with GLONASS, and three physical keys on the device.
venturebeat.com 5 days ago
The facade of a Sprint store. They're still everywhere.Sprint is mulling a $20 billion-plus acquisition of T-Mobile US, if you believe the rumors. The potential acquisition, reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, would combine the current #3 and #4 wireless carriers (by revenue) in the U.S. The combined entity would still be #3, after Verizon and AT&T Wireless, but it would theoretically be in a stronger position to compete with its bigger rivals. The rumor was enough to send T-Mobile’s stock up by 8.6 percent yesterday, its biggest one-day jump in a year, Bloomberg reported. And it makes perfect sense … until you start considering the particulars. First of all, there are regulatory concerns. AT&T tried to buy T-Mobile less than two years ago, for $39 billion, and was ultimately shot down by the U.S. Justice Department. Justice’s concern: So much consolidation hurts competition, and that tends to drive up prices for consumers.
theverge.com 6 days ago
A resurgent T-Mobile underpinned by aggressive pricing and a boisterous CEO, a new Sprint backed by hyper-fast data and a Japanese telecom giant, and the duopoly — AT&T and Verizon — up to its usual antics: just when it seemed like we'd finally reached some semblance of stability in the US wireless market, we hear the news from a Wall Street Journal report that Sprint may be ramping up to make a bid for T-Mobile. If the report holds water and Sprint elects to proceed, we could be in for an unexpectedly turbulent 2014 (and beyond) for the American wireless landscape, as regulators and executives spar over the viability and wisdom of allowing the United States' number three and four carriers to combine.