Apps  Music  2014-01-14 15:45:51

What’s better than a cheap-yet-capable Android phone? One that’s cheap, but running pure Android. Google quietly launched a Google Play edition of Motorola’s Moto G today, which starts at the same $179 you’d pay elsewhere, but runs a completely stock version of Android. For $179, you’ll get a Google Play Moto G with 8 gigabytes of storage. But really, you should just spend the extra $20 to get a more usable 16 GB of storage. While it’s not as powerful and feature-rich as the Moto X, the Moto G could be a useful phone for casual smartphone needs, or if you just need something use for development testing. The Google Play Moto G will ship with Android 4.4 “KitKat,” and like other Google Play-edition phones it will receive Android updates promptly after they’re released. Other Moto G owners will have to wait until Motorola and their carrier approve Android updates. This special Moto G will work on AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks.  2014-01-14 13:09:12

Google is adding a new device to its roster of Play Edition smartphones today: Motorola's Moto G. The phone is selling for as low as $179 unlocked and will work on AT&T and T-Mobile. The Moto G's low price makes it the most affordable smartphone in the Play Store — a title that never really existed among Play Edition phones before — giving Google a much more accessible lineup of devices.Unlike other non-Google phones that end up in the Play Store however, there really isn't much of a change here: the Moto G was already running a nearly stock version of Android and only sold off contract.  2014-01-14 10:05:06

Apple's iPhone fingerprint sensor supplier TSMC is preparing to begin production on sensors for the iPhone 6 in the second quarter of this year, according to a report from Digitimes. The report claims that TSMC will be shifting to a larger 12-inch fab from the current 8-inch fab, a move that should increase production efficiency. TSMC will also handle the packaging process for the sensors itself rather than contracting out to other firms, centralizing control over the component.Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) reportedly will begin producing fingerprint sensors for Apple's next-generation iPhone at its 12-inch fab using a 65nm process in the second quarter of 2014, according to industry sources. [...] TSMC has been fabricating the fingerprint sensors for iPhone 5s at its 8-inch fabs, while outsourcing the backend services to Xintec, China Wafer Level CSP and Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE).  2014-01-14 03:05:34

Motorola's flagship phone is yet to see release in Europe, but that's set to change next month — the company announced today that the Moto X will be available off-contract for €429 in France and Germany or £380 in the UK from February, according to CNET. The release follows last year's launch of the low-cost Moto G, which is focused on markets outside the US and retails for around £130 in the UK.  2014-01-13 16:20:24

When Microsoft announced its intention to purchase Nokia's mobile handset division, they came away with two brands: Lumia and Asha. The Lumia line has been home to Nokia's Windows Phone efforts. The Asha line, on the other hand, is based on Nokia's Series 40 (S40) platform, which was first introduced in 1999. Nokia's mysterious Android efforts have made the rounds more than a few times since the Fall. First, there was The New York Times coverage that established it as a credible rumor and an ongoing project. Then, the prolific @evleaks released several renders of the handset in question, giving us the codename we know it by: Normandy.  2014-01-13 11:14:36

Another day, another device getting KitKat. This time, though, one of the big flagships from Samsung is finally joining the party: the Galaxy Note 3. Sammobile was the first to spot the update, which is currently only available in Samsung's Kies update software, and oddly only in Poland to start out.The update is specifically for the SM-N9005, the unlocked Snapdragon version. The Note 3 runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 in the US and Samsung's Exynos processor internationally. This build's closeness to the US carrier version means the carriers should have a finished build soon, and they can start their network testing process. Samsung has managed to pump out a 4.4 update just two-and-a-half months after launch.This build was actually leaked over the weekend, so we're well aware of what's in it. Besides the usual performance improvements and KitKat underpinnings, the biggest visual change is the move from Samsung's green and white status bar icons to all-white status icons.  2014-01-13 04:35:03

The TEO smart lock is a week into its Kickstarter campaign. If the TEO's creator, OckCorp, succeeds in raising the $165,000 CAD ($151,000 US) it's requesting to manufacture the device, it won't be the world's first smart lock. The TEO is joined in the field by, among others, the Lockitron, the Kevo, the Goji Smart Lock, the OKIDOKEYS, and the beautiful August. But where those devices are designed to fit around existing deadbolts to secure your doors, the Teo is more versatile: it's a Bluetooth padlock you can unlock with your smartphone.  2014-01-12 09:45:26

The latest data from Google shows a small gain in the number of devices running its newest KitKat flavor of Android, but Jelly Bean continues to be the variation that is seeing highest growth among users.The latest figures put the installation rate of Jelly Bean among active Android devices — that is, those who use the Google Play Store app — at 59.1 percent, up from 54.5 percent last month. Two-month-old KitKat is still very much in its infancy with few rollouts so far, and that is reflected in its 1.4 percent adoption rate, which is up from 1.1 percent in November.Gingerbread may be two years old, but it continues to account for a substantial chunk of users (21.2 percent), while Ice Cream Sandwich accounts for 16.9 percent. Google doesn’t say how many active Android devices are out there, but we know that more than 1 billion have been activated to date.For comparison, Apple’s newest iOS 7 platform hit 78 percent adoption last month.  2014-01-08 19:36:05

Motorola stunned us a few months ago when it announced plans to develop a modular smartphone through a collaboration called Project Ara, but we've yet to see even a prototype of the device. Here at CES, ZTE is showing off its own modular phone concept, named the Eco-Mobius. The model on display is locked behind glass, and try as we did representatives would not remove it from its tomb for a close look. But the concept does show how users could replace the camera, battery, display, and "core" modules. The core includes separate modules for the processor, RAM, storage, and graphics processor.It's an extremely attractive design.  2014-01-08 16:51:26

LAS VEGAS — Wielding a can of Red Bull, energetic and outspoken T-Mobile CEO John Legere took to the stage today at CES to lay out the Bellevue-based wireless carrier’s next moves — including a plan to credit as much as $650 to people who switch to T-Mobile from rival carriers. He also announced continued growth in T-Mobile’s customer base, with more than 1.6 million new customers in the fourth quarter.But first he took a little time to bash his rivals.It was classic Legere who has been a one-man wrecking crew in the wireless industry since taking the top job at T-Mobile in Sept. 2012, repositioning the once troubled carrier. Last year at CES, you may recall that Legere referred to AT&T’s network in New York as “crap.”Well, Legere — fresh off of getting kicked out of the AT&T party this week at CES — was back again in full force ripping his rivals.  2014-01-14 13:15:30

Apple has received a patent -- originally filed for in 2007, when the original iPhone was only months old -- that allows an iOS device to adjust its screen to make it easier for users to interact with the touchscreen when it detects movement (via AppleInsider). For example, play and next/previous track buttons on the lock screen, or listings in the Contacts app, could get larger if the iPhone detects that the user is jogging. It could also have items like app buttons on the home screen move themselves slightly to give the illusion of stability. Apple proposes using the gyroscope, proximity sensor, accelerometer and other sensors to detect movement and the angle of the display, with the iPhone then adjusting user interface elements to prevent touch errors. It also learns about how the user touches the display, allowing it to better correct for errors in the future.  2014-01-14 10:07:09

Here’s what you already know about the photography market in 2014: As the demand for smartphone cameras continues to surge, the market for dedicated point-and-shoots is shrinking just as quickly. Those trends have created a big opportunity for companies like Moment, a camera lens startup that wants to bridge the gap between portable smartphone cameras and high-quality professional ones. The company today is announcing its first pair of $100 smartphone lenses, the 18mm Moment Wide and 70mm Moment Tele, both of which promise to vastly increase the range of photos people can take with their phones. Moment’s first step, though: Raising $50,000 through Kickstarter for the pair, which it aims to ship by June. A few samples of photos taken with Moment’s lenses.  2014-01-14 08:05:26

Whether it's Jay-Z giving free albums to Samsung users, or Alicia Keys serving as Blackberry's creative director, celebrities and smartphones are a seemingly perfect match. But while the stars do a good job of selling phones to the rest of us, when it comes to their personal devices it takes a special kind of sales technique to get Martha Stewart using a Galaxy S3. In Fast Company, Shane Snow details Samsung's "white glove" parties, in which a combination of fellow celebrities, Samsung reps, and free gadgets are used to lure stars to the brand.  2014-01-14 01:59:45

Sony is adding two smartphones to its growing stable of devices. Meet the Xperia T2 Ultra and the Xperia E1 — both substantial updates to Sony’s 2013 models. Best yet, both are offered in dual-sim variants.These latest phones join the Z1S and Z1 announced last week at CES. However, it seems Sony held these close to its chest, as they’re somewhat mundane and not destined for the U.S. market. And, as Sony found out from years of experience, to “win” CES requires focused and streamlined announcements and not a proverbial conveyor belt of press releases.Sony is up front about the T2 Ultra’s destination: This phone is for emerging markets like China, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific rim, touts the press release. But this phone isn’t lacking in any substantial way. It’s packed to the gills with the best Sony has to offer, including a near edgeless design with a 6-inch screen and a 13MP camera.  2014-01-13 11:18:12

An interview with Nokia’s Viral Oza in The Economic Times published today details the company’s mobile strategy in India and the world at large.Oza isn’t concerned about the potential for increased competition, telling the Times that “The entry of more players in the Windows Phone market will help the ecosystem to grow further.” Nokia’s Lumia line of Windows Phone smartphones has become the de facto brand of handsets, but there has been rumor of Sony jumping into the ring this year.He then appears to tie the entrance of new hardware players to a more healthy application market: “Also, more developers will come on board, strengthening the ecosystem even more. In that sense, it only encourages the consumers to buy Windows Phone and broadening the ecosystem.”This is a long-term argument. Presumably the entrance of a large player, say Sony for example, could depress Nokia’s short-term device sales.  2014-01-13 11:00:03

Samsung has launched an Android mobile app that prevents you from texting while driving. The app aims to protect people from the dangers of failing to pay attention to the road. It notes that drivers are 2.8 times more likely to get in an accident while dialing and 23 times more likely when texting. Currently, the app is available only in Singapore as Samsung explores its full potential before rolling it out to other markets. SamsungEyes on the Road app stops you from texting while driving. The “Eyes on the Road” app uses your phone’s sensor fusion technology and GSM cell towers to measure your speed to determine if you’re driving. If you are, it hides phone calls, SMS text messages, and social media alerts until you reach your destination. If you are traveling above 20 kilometers per hour, it blocks the phone and sends an auto reply to text messages that says you are behind the wheel.  2014-01-12 13:11:39

An excellent keyboard was Blackberry's original claim to fame. But after a couple years focusing on software keyboards with devices like the Z10 and Z30, the company is now looking back to its bread and butter — however outdated — as inspiration. CEO John Chen told Bloomberg that the company's next phones will mostly feature hardware keyboards. "I personally love the keyboards," Chen said, "so you will look to Blackberry going forward to do keyboards — I wouldn't use the word exclusively, but predominantly." Chen plans to retarget corporate and government customers with the company's next devices, a demographic which he says still values a speedier and more tactile typing experience.  2014-01-08 20:41:37

Apple and Samsung have agreed to discuss their issues in a mediation session next month, to give their CEOs a chance to meet in person ahead of another round of patent battles in the courtroom.Reuters reports that Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon will meet before February 19, accompanied by their respective legal teams.However, the companies have tried this approach before without much success, so there is no guarantee of any positive outcome.  2014-01-08 18:48:57

Mophie announced the Mophie Space Pack at CES this week, promising the new battery pack would not only double your battery life but also your iPhone 5 or 5S' storage capacity. We went hands on with the device at the company's booth today, and things already look promising. It's a wonder no one thought of this before.  2014-01-08 15:45:39

John Legere — never a man to mince words — failed to deny that his company would be purchased by Sprint and corporate SoftBank this year, as has been recently rumored. In response to a question about the deal at T-Mobile's CES press conference today, Legere said, "I can tell you that the T-Mobile brand, attitude, and identity is here to stay."That seems to suggest that a combined company would adopt T-Mobile's branding (and Legere's trademark tirades) rather than Sprint's, whose identity is arguably fading fast as T-Mobile goes full-bore on all fronts with Legere at the helm. "What we're doing, in any [acquisition] scenario, will prevail," Legere added.

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