Apps  Music  2014-04-22 07:51:45

Disrupt Battlefield alumnus and wireless power pioneer Ossia has made some new advances with its Cota tech that it showed off to investors recently, including extended range and the ability to transmit without direct line-of-sight, making it much closer to becoming a practical every day technology suitable for general use.  2014-04-22 06:37:49

According to Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times [Google Translate, via G for Games] Apple's larger 5.5-inch inch iPhone 6 has been delayed and will launch in 2015. The report notes that the company is struggling with finding a sufficient battery that measures 2 mm or less to fit in the device's "very thin" profile. The report also notes that Apple suppliers are referring to the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 as the "iPhone Air", which has not been finalized as an official name for the device. If the claims are true, however, an iPhone Air would join Apple's MacBook Air and recently released iPad Air in carrying a similar name and delivering a product with a slim chassis. Past reports have indicated that Apple's 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will launch first this fall, and have shared similar details about the 5.5-inch version being delayed due to production issues.  2014-04-21 19:19:53

Mailbox's biggest update yet is out in the App Store. Version 2.0 of the iOS email app brings "Auto-swipe," a feature that predicts which messages you might want to respond to in a while, which threads you've had enough of, and which messages you'll send straight to the archive folder. "The app very quietly makes suggestions about improving what it does," co-founder Gentry Underwood told The Verge earlier this month, "and when you choose one, you just made Mailbox smarter."It's a feature in keeping with Mailbox's original mission of helping you achieve inbox zero nirvana; the app works by helping you set reminders for important emails and encouraging you to archive everything unnecessary.  2014-04-20 20:00:51

When the Galaxy Gear wristwatch launched last fall, the results looked like a Samsung panic move. Someone at the company must have thought there was a race to beat the other mobile-world titans—namely, Google and Apple—to a wearable, phone-like accessory for mass consumption, so they assembled a watch with some decent ideas and rushed it to market. Touchscreen, microphone, camera, pedometer, and more, all within wrist’s reach.To this date, Google and Apple haven’t launched their own watches yet, but Samsung hasn't capitalized on that vacuum with its debut Gear. The watch wasn’t sloppy by any stretch, but it was slow, bulky, and limited enough to encounter the common consumer complaint: What do people need a “smart” watch for? Isn’t a phone enough?Last week, Samsung used the Galaxy S5’s launch as an opportunity to refresh its smartwatch line.  2014-04-18 20:50:39

Owners of a Nike FuelBand may soon have a relic on their hands. The company has laid off 70 to 80 percent of its FuelBand team, about 55 employees based in Beaverton, Oregon and Hong Kong, according to a report by Cnet. Citing an anonymous source familiar with Nike’s plans, the report said that the company is getting out of the wearable hardware business, and appears that its Digital Sport division won’t be producing any new devices.  2014-04-11 02:24:00

Oppo has a reputation for clever smartphones, but there's a good reason why you rarely see its devices in the US: it hasn't had local LTE data until the (currently unreleased) Find 7, and that's not exactly cheap.  2014-04-10 18:32:05

Get ready for the module ecosystem. Today, Google released a Module Developers Kit (MDK) in advance of next week’s first Ara Developers Conference. This is the first detailed look at the do-it-yourself smartphones’ containers of features, the modules. Last week, a video posted online showed the current state of Project Ara. It was originally part of Motorola Mobility, but Google retained Project Ara as part of its Advanced Technology and Projects group when it sold Motorola to Lenovo earlier this year. The idea is that a physical smartphone framework, or endoskeleton, provides certain basic functions, such as a display. Interchangeable modules containing specific functions snap into blocks on the endoskeleton. Some modules might have protruding extensions to support additional functions, like a lens.  2014-04-10 09:34:00

An easily expandable phone isn't always an easily repairable phone. If you need proof, take a look at iFixit's newly completed teardown of the Galaxy S5. While Samsung's latest flagship gets some kudos for its removable battery and microSD slot.  2014-04-09 16:32:38

Google is starting to show developers what they need to do to create swappable parts for its upcoming modular smartphones, currently called Project Ara. On Ara's website, it's just posted the Module Developers Kit, which contains the information that manufacturers need to get started on creating modular parts. "Ara’s success is predicated on a rich, vibrant, and diverse ecosystem of modules from a myriad of developers," one document in the kit reads.Ara phones begin as no more than a skeleton, before owners plug in everything from a display and processor to a camera and Wi-Fi unit in order to complete them. Google wants many of those modules — including some unorthodox ones — to come from third-party developers.  2014-04-09 05:24:00

With companies like Verizon pushing into its broadband turf, Comcast may be pushing back with its own mobile network, according to a report from The Information.  2014-04-22 07:28:11

 LG's upcoming smartwatch will be water and dust resistant. Essentially it can be worn to the beach and it will be just fine. Or to a sprinkler party in a dusty warehouse. Either way, the watch will survive.  2014-04-22 04:35:00

Despite suggestions that NFC payments were too slow, London's Tube and bus networks appear ready once again for some contactless disruption. According to the Financial Times, both EE and Vodafone have engaged in talks with Transport for London (TfL).  2014-04-21 17:11:00

When it comes to offering a vast selection of Android smartphones on the cheap, BLU Products is a company that quickly comes to mind. And now we can add another one to its budget-friendly lineup: the Blu Studio 6.0 HD.  2014-04-19 12:00:36

A little over three years ago, you, the readers, asked us, the Ars staff, about the best way to prolong the life of a lithium-ion battery. Now that time has passed, the gadget landscape has changed, and it's time for an update. There are a few new things to look out for, but mostly the principles we stated then, stand today: "Use your battery. Not too much. Mostly for small apps."Our initial guide clarified a great many things about lithium ion batteries and the ways they can differ from other types of batteries. These differences once used to strike fear into the hearts of consumers. For instance, Li-ion batteries, unlike nickel-based batteries, and don't get their capacity "confused" by shallow discharges. In fact, frequent and shallow discharges are the best advice for keeping a young Li-ion battery fit and trim.One of the worst things you can do to a Li-ion battery is to run it out completely all the time.  2014-04-11 06:19:00

While Samsung said in January that it's hard at work on a 2,560 x 1,440 AMOLED panel, it won't be the first to show one off. That honor goes to AU Optronics, a Taiwanese display company that makes screens for numerous device manufacturers.  2014-04-10 23:00:02

Samsung's latest smartphone, the Galaxy S5, is now available around the world. The Korean company's flagship smartphone launched in 125 markets, including the United States, Europe, and much of Asia. It's joined on shelves by the Samsung Gear 2 and Samsung Gear 2 Neo smartwatches, and the Samsung Gear Fit health tracker, which also launch today. The reasons for moving up to a Galaxy S5 are fairly straightforward: it features the fastest processor on the market, offers a number of built-in fitness features, and is immune to the water-related incidents that would spell doom for most phones. If the company's recent phones are anything to go by, you can also expect solid camera performance.  2014-04-10 12:32:06

iPhone 6 rumors have thus far pointed towards a device that includes a larger screen and a thinner chassis than the existing iPhone 5s. Supporting those rumors, French site [Google Translation] has shared a case maker's iPhone 6 model from Chinese case manufacturer Elam, which shows an ultra thin form factor very similar to that found in recent schematics. The iPhone case model appears to have rounded corners and a single unified volume switch, which is different from the separate volume buttons in the iPhone 5s. It's also a slight deviation from earlier design drawings, which showed separate rectangular volume buttons, suggesting this model may come from a different source. Though not depicted on the case model, separate rumors have pointed towards a relocated power button, either on the top left edge of the device or on the side of the device, to improve one-handed use on a larger device. Currently, the power button is located on the top right edge of the iPhone.  2014-04-10 08:45:57

Don’t be surprised by any major business shifts from BlackBerry — because there will likely be many. Under new CEO John Chen, the former smartphone giant is now keenly aware of its precarious financial position, and it seems like it will do whatever it takes to survive. Chen’s recent admission to Reuters that he’s willing to have BlackBerry exit the handset business if necessary makes this clear. Update: In a blog post this morning, Chen “clarified” that he has “no intention to sell off or abandon” the handset business anytime soon. His statement to Reuters seemed clear, though, and I would wager he’s just covering himself from angry investors with his response. Today’s BlackBerry is no longer trying to relive past glories — a world before the iPhone and Android, where BlackBerry was the top smartphone solution for business.  2014-04-09 05:39:56

According to Japanese website EMSOne, Apple is planning to begin mass production of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in July with the larger 5.5-inch version to enter mass production in September. The report notes that both versions of the next-generation iPhone will go on sale at some point during the fourth quarter of this year, with the 4.7-inch iPhone being announced and released earlier than the 5.5-inch iPhone. Renderings of iPhone 6 (4.7") and iPhone 6 (5.7") based on leaked schematics The news comes as a report from Reuters last month stated that Apple would begin production of the 4.7-inch display to be used in the iPhone 6 this May for the device's release this fall. The report also noted that the 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 would be delayed due to difficulties with in-cell production technology, and would start production several months after the 4.7-inch version.  2014-04-09 00:18:11

Three Apple suppliers have delivered samples of flexible circuit boards for the iWatch as the device is now expected to be unveiled in September, reports DigiTimes. Flexible PCB suppliers Flexium Interconnect, Zhen Ding Technology Holding and Career Technology reportedly have delivered FPCB samples for use in iWatch devices to Apple for validation, according to industry sources. The news follows a report yesterday from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News which indicated that the iWatch will launch in the third quarter of this year, with Apple targeting production of 65 million units by the end of 2014. A reveal in September would mean that the device would be released shortly thereafter, most likely alongside the iPhone 6 and iOS 8. While details about the iWatch have been slim, most reports have pointed to the device featuring biometric sensors to track a number of health-related statistics.

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