Apps  Music  2013-11-12 19:20:02

It's difficult to overstate how high hopes were for the Moto X ahead of its launch. The mythical customizable Google X phone commanded fevered speculation that with Motorola under its wing, Google could finally produce an Android device to rival the global popularity of the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy lineups. Alas, while the Moto X has proven to be a commendable device in terms of overall hardware and software quality, the phone's reach with consumers appears to have fallen short: only 500,000 Moto X smartphones have been sold since the device was released in August, according to a new report this week from Strategy Analytics, a market research firm (via The Wall Street Journal).  2013-11-12 09:00:01

SmartThings, the open platform for powering home-automation efforts, has received $12.5 million from Greylock Partners and Highland Capital Partners.The Washington, D.C.-based startup said it would use the money from its Series A funding to improve its products and increase distribution.SmartThings, which began as a Kickstarter initiative, had previously raised $3 million. It sells a starter kit for close to $200 that lets consumers control various things in the home — from lighting to climate or security — via a mobile application. That includes actions such as detecting motion or closing a garage door.These kind of products are often referred to under the meme of the “Internet of Things” — a much overused term in tech right now — which is essentially digitizing and connecting an ever wider variety of devices.As part of the transaction, SmartThings said Greylock’s Josh Elman and Highland’s Manish Patel will join its board of directors.  2013-11-12 07:43:53

Apple said today that shipping of the iPad mini with the Retina display is getting under way. Announced on Oct. 22 without a specific launch date, an Apple internal support site started giving the ship date yesterday. Similar in design to the first iPad mini, which debuted last fall, the new version of the device has several major improvements, chief among them the Retina display, which boasts 323 pixels per square inch, matching that of the flagship iPad Air.The refreshed iPad mini also contains Apple’s new 64-bit A7 processor, the latest and greatest of the Apple-designed, but Samsung-built chip, which Apple has touted as “desktop class,” implying that it’s a sufficiently beefy computing engine to power a full-fledged personal computer. Its computing capacity is four times that of its predecessor, while its ability to handle graphics has improved by a factor of eight.  2013-11-11 12:12:02

BlackBerry wants its new executive chairman and interim CEO, John Chen, to turn the company around, and it's set him up with a pay package that should help to keep him on board. Chen is receiving 13 million shares of restricted stock — worth about $85 million today — vesting over the next five years. He'll also see $1 million each year in base salary, with a potential performance bonus of up to $2 million annually. If terminated without cause, he'll see a $6 million termination package.Though there's no word on BlackBerry's search for a new permanent CEO, Chen would seemingly be a likely frontrunner given both his pay package and credentials.  2013-11-11 09:33:38

If you're an iPhone user who wants to find out what that whole Android thing is about, there's really no better way to get your feet wet than to buy a Nexus phone. The hardware is never perfect, but Google and its partners will typically sell you a fair-to-good smartphone off-contract for about half the price you'd normally pay for one. It's a fine value proposition if you've already used your carrier subsidy to buy a shiny new iPhone 5S. As someone who spent a lot of time jumping between an iPhone 4S and Nexus 4 (and now, an iPhone 5S and Nexus 5) as a daily driver, I've got a few tips to pass on to people who are interested in Android, but who aren't quite ready to make a permanent move, or for the people who want to stay familiar with both operating systems because their jobs demand it, or for the true tech omnivores who just like to use a little bit of everything.  2013-11-10 22:44:16

Handset maker Oppo unveiled the N1 in September, a 5.9-inch Android smartphone with a full HD display and a 13-megapixel camera fitted to an adjustable hinge.Today, the phone has finally gone on sale in China for CNY3498 ($574) on Oppo’s website. Only 10,000 units are available though, on a first-come-first-served basis.Oppo claims that the N1 camera, constructed from 67 different components, is the first to feature a six-piece lens design in an Android smartphone. It remains to be seen when the phone will roll out to other international markets, but in any case, it is coming up against a lot of competition such as the iPhone 5s, Lumia 1020 and Xperia Z1.  2013-11-10 05:01:26

Apple is said to be working on two curved display iPhone models for the “second half of next year,” according to a source speaking to Bloomberg, with a likely released planned for the third quarter, and building better touchscreen sensors that introduce fine pressure sensitivity for later devices to be introduced after that.These new iPhones for 2014 would come in 4.7 and 5.5-inch flavors, according to the report, meaning that Apple would be introducing not one, but two different models at the same time, in theory. We've seen reports of Apple working on different models of large-screen devices in the past, including one from the Wall Street Journal that suggests it's been working on different tests of devices with screen sizes between 4.8 and 6 inches. This is the first time we've really heard firm information about a possible release date for said devices, from a source as generally reliable as Bloomberg.  2013-11-09 09:51:45

Alaska Airlines photoYou may not have to interrupt that movie, book or game next time you’re flying on Alaska Airlines. The Seattle-based airline just announced that passengers will be able to use electronic devices from gate-to-gate, starting this morning.“Our customers have long wanted to be able to read a book, listen to music or watch a movie on their electronic devices whenever they’re onboard one of our flights,” said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing, in a press release. “We’re thrilled to have FAA approval giving our customers the flexibility and better onboard experience they want.”Other airlines have already made the switch, following new regulations implemented by the FAA late last month. You still can not connect to wi-fi below 10,000 feet, so email and other Web-based tasks will not be possible at lower altitudes.Laptops and other larger devices also must be stowed during takeoff and landing.  2013-11-06 08:10:39

2015 looks to be a big year for Samsung. In its big analyst event in Korea last night, the electronics giant laid out its plans for the future and answered concerns about its current business. Most notably, Samsung says by 2015 it will have mobile devices with foldable displays, as well as major advancements in its processor and memory technology, the Wall Street Journal’s live blog reports. Out of nowhere, Samsung also made the term “phablet” seem a bit less obnoxious with its own term for big screen phones, “fonblet.” The company claims it was the pioneer of that new category of big screen phones with handwriting recognition. Why all the early details? Samsung is likely trying to sway investors who may be worried about slowing smartphone sales (the Galaxy S4 reportedly didn’t sell as well as some hoped, which led to a huge stock hit).  2013-11-06 01:49:29

Nokia’s Lumia 1520 looks set for a release on AT&T next week. The Microsoft Store is now accepting pre-orders with a release date of November 15th for $199 on contract. Following similar deals for the Lumia 900, 920, and 1020, AT&T is the exclusive carrier for Nokia’s latest Lumia 1520 Windows Phone. The 6-inch handset is available in black, white, yellow, and red at AT&T, with off contract pricing set at $549.While the Lumia 1520 is launching on AT&T shortly, there’s no word on full international availability just yet. AT&T’s variant is unique as the built-in Qi wireless charging has been removed in favor of optional shell accessories that make use of the rival PMA standard.  2013-11-12 11:03:04

Verizon Wireless announced today that the BlackBerry Z30 will be available for purchase starting this Thursday for $199.99 on-contract. The Z30 is BlackBerry's largest phone to date, with a 5-inch, 720p display, 1.7GHz processor and quad-core graphics, and a 2,880mAh battery. It is also the first device to launch with BlackBerry 10.2, the latest version of BlackBerry's operating system.Despite there not being a high demand in the US for BlackBerry's earlier phones, the Z10 and Q10, Verizon has opted to offer the company's latest model. Unfortunately for BlackBerry, no other major carrier in the US has decided to pick it up, leaving it out of reach for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint customers.  2013-11-12 08:50:43

Apple Nov. 12 - 13, 2013 San Francisco, CA Tickets On Sale Now Apple issued a press release today explaining why customers haven’t been able to order an iPad mini with retina display as well as how they can now obtain one. The company said the device was in short supply despite its high demand, which is why you’ll now only be able to get one if you order online and arrange to pick it up at a nearby Apple Store. Don’t have an Apple Store near you? Guess its time for a road trip! The news means people can’t just simply walk into an Apple retail store and purchase a new Retina iPad mini. My guess is that this will only be annoying for a handful of people who likely have an iPhone and can simply order the new iPad mini from said iPhone after discovering the extra loop they have to jump through.  2013-11-12 07:15:02

Earlier this year, The Washington Post claimed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had developed a method nine years ago to locate cellphones when they were powered down. The publication didn’t provide technical details on the software or hardware involved, leaving security researchers puzzled by the revelations. Seeking clarification on the technologies invoked, British privacy watchdog Privacy International conducted a survey of eight cellphone manufacturers in August to obtain details on how it would be possible to track a cellphone once it’s turned off.  2013-11-11 09:37:48

Motorola is hoping to capture a greater share of holiday sales, dropping the contract price of its phone to $99.99 and bringing its Moto Maker customizing option to all four major carriers.“Your clothes, your dog, your body, your car …” Motorola said in a blog post. “You customize it all to express your personal style. Why should your smartphone be any different?”The online customization tool allows Moto X buyers to choose front, back and accent colors, as well as personalize settings and add memory. Until now, it had been exclusively available to AT&T buyers.Moto X also said that an upgrade to KitKat, the latest version of Android, is coming soon.Google’s Motorola unit introduced the Moto X in August, playing up the ability to control the device by voice, a shake-to-camera feature, and a battery-saving feature that pulses the time and other information, reducing the need to wake the device.  2013-11-11 09:21:23

Motorola's Moto X is a solid phone, but part of its appeal are the customization options that allow users to engrave things into the back, change the color and even material of the back case and more via the Moto Maker online tool. But that started out as an AT&T exclusive, and remained so until today, when it's expanding to Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S.Motorola's customization features are available for phones starting at $100 for a 16GB Moto X on a two-year agreement, but there's no option yet to use the wood backs Motorola previewed back when it first launch the device. The wood backs are expected to come with an extra $50 price there's been nothing firm on when to expect those beyond sometime during the end of this year.The Moto X is actually a strong contender for best available Android phone, despite its cost and somewhat mid-tier specs, thanks to the unique features Google and Motorola have built in.  2013-11-10 07:16:12

Apple is developing two next-generation iPhones with larger, curved glass screens set for release late next year, reports Bloomberg. The new iPhones will feature displays at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, with the report also claiming that Apple is working on enhanced touch sensors that incorporate pressure sensitivity for later iPhone models after next year. iPhone 5s vs. 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note III (Source: Two models planned for release in the second half of next year will feature larger displays with glass that curves downward at the edges, said the person, declining to be identified as the details aren’t public. Sensors that can distinguish heavy or light touches on the screen may be incorporated into subsequent models, the person said. The new iPhones will be Apple’s largest at screens of 4.7 and 5.5 inches, the person said, approaching in size the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 that Samsung Electronics Co. debuted in September.  2013-11-09 15:45:20

A judge overseeing document handling in the Apple-Samsung case said Friday that it appears Samsung’s outside lawyers did indeed violate an order that should have kept them from sharing certain documents with the Korean Electronics giant.Nokia filed a motion in July arguing that Samsung’s lawyers had breached the protective order designed to keep business agreements obtained for the case away from the company itself. Apple filed a motion in August asking for sanctions and the right to investigate how Samsung officials came to know the details of Apple’s licensing agreement with Nokia.Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal said he has finished pouring through boxes and boxes of Samsung documents trying to get to the bottom of the ongoing dispute.“Having finally crawled out from under the boxes, it appears to the undersigned that if anything was breached, it was this court’s protective order, and that sanctions against Samsung and its attorneys are warranted,”.  2013-11-08 15:06:07

Apple and Microsoft both expressed interest in acquiring portions of BlackBerry, according to a new report from Reuters. BlackBerry's board ultimately elected not to break up the company, despite Apple's interest in its intellectual property and patents. According to the report, the company also had discussions with Microsoft, Cisco, Google, and Lenovo.BlackBerry Ltd's board does not believe a break-up of the Canadian smartphone maker is currently in its best interests, even though Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Lenovo Group Ltd, among others, have expressed interest in acquiring parts of the company, according to people familiar with the discussions. The board rejected proposals from several technology companies for various BlackBerry assets on grounds that a break-up did not serve the interest of all stakeholders, which include employees, customers and suppliers in addition to shareholders, said the sources, who did not want to be identified as the discussions were confidential.  2013-11-06 04:57:33

It's time to start getting used to discussing WQHD resolution, or 2560 x 1440 pixels, in relation to smartphones. Samsung's Analyst Day gathering today shed some light on the company's future plans, and the display category was highlighted by the promise of 560ppi AMOLED panels for phones. Combine that with the 1440p resolution and you get a 5.2-inch handset — the same dimensions as on LG's 1080p G2, but with 78 percent more pixels. And if that's not enough, we're told to look forward to 4K resolutions — also known as Ultra HD or 3840 x 2160 — in 2015.  2013-11-05 14:17:07

Nike's second-generation FuelBand SE is now available for purchase from the Online Apple Store and is available from select retail locations beginning today according to Apple's Personal Pickup options. The FuelBand SE looks similar to the original Nike FuelBand, but adds colored accents in yellow, pink, and red. It also incorporates Bluetooth LE (4.0), which significantly cuts down on power usage when paired with the iPhone 4s or later. Like the original, the FuelBand SE is designed to track movement and activity. NikeFuel is a single, universal way to measure all kinds of activities—from your morning workout to your big night out. This uniquely designed metric applies to whole-body movement no matter your age, weight, or gender. FuelBand tracks how much, how often, and how intensely you move. So go ahead and set a daily NikeFuel goal for how active you want to be. You'll receive move reminders for an extra push to get you moving every hour.

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