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4
Jan
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Apple Acquires SnappyLabs, Maker of SnappyCam Burst Photo App


SnappycamApple has acquired SnappyLabs, a one-man app maker behind the now-discontinued SnappyCam app. The app was removed from the App Store — along with its website and social media presence — within the past few days.

According to TechCrunch, which first reported the acquisition:

Sources have since affirmed that the company was acquired by Apple, and that there was also acquisition interest “from most of the usual players”, meaning other tech giants. I don’t have details on the terms of the deal, and I’m awaiting a response from Apple, which has not confirmed the acquisition.

Back in July, SnappyCam was upgraded with new technology, detailed in a now-deleted blog post (still viewable via Archive.org), that explains how developer John Papandriopoulos was able to redesign how JPG images are compressed, allowing the iPhone to shoot full-quality burst mode photographs at significant higher frames per second than other competing technologies, including the new burst mode built into iOS 7.

Snappycamscreenshot
With the acquisition, it seems likely that Apple will integrate the SnappyCam technology into its native iOS and OS X camera programs and APIs. Apple added burst mode photo shooting to iOS 7, allowing iPhone 5s owners to shoot 10 photos per second at full resolution, in order to get the best shot in action scenes or with fast-moving children.

SnappyCam is no longer available for download from the App Store. Pricing and other details were not revealed, and Apple has not yet confirmed the acquisition.

    



4
Jan
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Feedback Loop: NSA spying, favorite gadgets, New Year’s resolutions and more


Welcome to Feedback Loop, a weekly roundup of the most interesting discussions happening within the Engadget community. There’s so much technology to talk about and so little time to enjoy it, but you have a lot of great ideas and opinions that need to be shared! Join us every Saturday as we highlight some of the most interesting discussions that happened during the past week.

Engadget Forums

As 2013 came to a close, the Engadget community took time to share their favorite products and games of the year and made predictions for the year to come. We also donned our tinfoil hats to discuss whether recent NSA revelations have affected our browsing habits. Lastly, we shared some of our favorite book recommendations related to technology and the companies behind it. Click past the break and read what fellow Engadget users like you have to say.

Have NSA revelations changed your internet habits?

Grab your tinfoil hats, brush up on your encryption algorithms and generate PGP keys for your PGP keys (just to be extra safe). It seems like every day, a new secret is revealed about the extent of NSA spying. Have these revelations caused you to change your internet habits?

Favorite games of 2013

Frankspin shares some of his favorite games of 2013. Which games did you have the most fun playing on mobile, console or PC during the last year? Share your favorites with the Engadget community!

Best health and fitness apps on iOS

The new year is here and that means we’ve been making all sorts of resolutions to improve our minds, bodies and spirits. Swin1974 wants to know the best fitness apps on iOS that will help strengthen his core. If you have health and fitness recommendations, share them in the forums.

Technology book recommendations

Speaking of New Year’s resolutions, nodramarama wants to read more about technology and the companies behind it. What books would you recommend to someone who wants to learn more about Silicon Valley and the people and companies that live there? Post your favorite reads right here.

Favorite gadgets from 2013 and future predictions

As 2013 came to a close, the Engadget community shared some of their favorite products released during the year. Everything from cameras, to remotes and wearable fitness devices. Tell us your favorite products from 2013 and make your predictions for what 2014 will bring.

That’s all this week! Do you want to talk about your favorite gadget or have a burning question about technology? Register for an Engadget account today, visit the Engadget forums and start a new discussion!

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4
Jan
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Hands-on with Acer’s 2014 Iconia Android tablets


Acer’s been quick to make its immediate plans for the new year known, including the impending release of its refreshed Iconia Android tablets. Today the company’s been kind enough to show the new slates to us, both of which will ship with 4.2 Jelly Bean. The A1-830 is the more premium of the pair, and to give you a quick reminder of the specs, it sports a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (don’t worry, there’s a microSD slot if you need more), and 5-/2-megapixel cameras. With its 4:3 aspect ratio and 1,024 x 768 display, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a iPad mini from afar — the form factor is deceptively similar. It sits at the top of Acer’s tablet range, and fittingly, has an aluminum back to prove it. It doesn’t look half bad, either, although the plastic which encroaches the top edge, framing the camera, kind of ruins the upper-end look. The screen appears to be relatively good quality and it feels solidly built. With a noticeably thin profile, it gives a good first impression. Its specs might be of a mediocre standard, but the price makes up for it. When the tablet hits the North American market in late Q1 2014, it’ll set you back $149, which we wouldn’t say is an unfair ask after out brief flirtation with the hardware.

Acer’s refreshed Iconia B1 tablet (aka the B1-720), which falls in behind the A1, didn’t score nearly as high in our estimation, however. There’s a lot of bezel surrounding its 7-inch, 1,024 x 600 display, making the screen look smaller than it really is. Spec-wise, it’s not all that different from the A1. You’re looking at a 1.3GHz dual-core Mediatek CPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (microSD-expandable), and only a 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera. It’s significantly thicker than the A1 and swaps the aluminum backing for textured plastic. You can squeeze a fair few creaks out of it; in general, it feels leagues behind the build quality of the A1. The screen, too, is of noticeably lower quality, but then again, it’ll only be $130 when launched in black and red hues later this month. If you want 3G connectivity on top of WiFi, a SIM-friendly model (B1-721) will be available soon after, but it’ll arrive for at least a $50 mark-up.

Acer made a last-minute pricing adjustment to the A1, bringing the cost down from $180 to $149. While that’s great for enticing eyes to the A1, it has a completely different impact B1. Given there’s been no price adjustment for the lower-end slate, we’d highly recommend chucking the extra 20 bones down for the altogether better tablet.

Alexis Santos contributed to this report.

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4
Jan
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Acer’s new Liquid Z5 smartphone is more expensive than it should be (hands-on)


Acer didn’t just bring a couple of new tablets to Vegas this year, but something to make calls with, too. The latest addition to its Liquid range after the top-spec S2, the Z5 is very much a “value” proposition, as the raw numbers show. We’re looking at a 5-inch, 854 x 480 display, 1.3GHz dual-core Mediatek processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD), and a 2,000mAh non-removable battery. For cameras, the Z5 has a modest VGA shooter up front, and a 5-megapixel main affair with a 5-lens array and IR sensor that Acer promises will improve focus and low-light performance, respectively.

The Liquid Z5 isn’t revolutionary in design, but at 8.8mm thick with a plastic unibody, it’s not horribly unattractive. Debuting on the Z5, however, is Acer’s new “Rapid” button, which the firm expects to bring to other devices in the future. It sits conveniently under the camera on the back of the device (just where your forefinger would rest), undoubtedly taking inspiration from LG’s G2 array of rear buttons. Pressing it once unlocks the device, and second prod will send you straight into whatever app or menu you assign it to. A long press boots the camera app. To further differentiate itself from phones of similar specs or price point, Acer has added a couple of software features to the Z5′s Android 4.2 build. These include the company’s answer to multitasking, called “float apps,” and various custom skins, including one that simplifies the whole Android experience for newcomers or dumbphone nostalgics. As is the fashion these days, there are white and grey peek covers to match the handset’s two color options, should you want to accessorize.

Its sub-par internals certainly show, as even unlocking the phone generated a little lag. We wouldn’t consider this a massive issue if the Z5 was priced accordingly, but it’ll retail for around 170 euros ($230) when it launches later this month. It’s not destined for North America, mind, and will initially land in select European markets before heading to Asia, the Middle East and Africa in due course. It’s hard to come away feeling positive about this device. When Motorola’s offering the much more capable Moto G at a lower price point — and we expect direct competition in this ultra-affordable space soon — the Liquid Z5 already feels dead in the water.

Alexis Santos contributed to this report.

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4
Jan
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Google acquires Bitspin, makes its stylish Android alarm app free to celebrate


Bitspin is probably most well known for its swish Timely alarm app on Android, and it seems that Google likes how the Swiss team is doing it, because it’s just acquired them. “For new and existing users, Timely will continue to work like it always has,” noted the Bitspin team in their announcement post, adding that it will continue to “build new products.” The more immediate news, however, is that the premium version of the app, sans banner ads, has gone free in the process. If you like the sound of a Swiss-made (digital) alarm clock, you can give it a try right here.

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Source: Bitspin, Timely (Google Play)

4
Jan

Nearly full set of specs detailed for HTC One+ (M8)


It seems that a day can’t go by without even more details about the successor to the HTC One coming out.

The latest in the rumors suggest that the new flagship, supposedly called the HTC One+, will feature a: 5-inch 1080p display covered by Gorilla Glass 3, a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 805 processor, 6 MP or 8 MP rear-facing camera with UltraPixel™ technology and double lens, 2.1 MP front-facing camera, 2 GB of RAM, NFC, 2900mAh battery and a micro-SIM.

Two other rumored features that make this a very interesting device is that HTC may be going with on-screen navigation buttons and it will run Android 4.4 KitKat with HTC Sense™ 6.0.

We previously reported that it’s widely expected to launch sometime in Q1 of 2014, but we may even see this at CES 2014, who knows. If that’s the case, you will see any info here once it’s available.

via Android Revolution HD

The post Nearly full set of specs detailed for HTC One+ (M8) appeared first on AndroidGuys.

4
Jan

Acer’s affordable Liquid Z5 debuts for Europe


Acer will have numerous devices on display at CES 2014 and one of their newest is a smartphone for those on a budget or buying a smartphone for the first time, the Liquid Z5.

Being a budget phone, the device is no game changer, but what you’ll get for your Euros is a device with a 5-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, dual-core 1.3 GHz processor, 4 GB of storage, Wi-Fi, GPS, a 5 MP camera rear-facing camera, front speaker boosted by DTS Sound™ technology and it’s running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean under the hood.

The device is also 8.8 mm thin, weights only 147 grams and has a rounded edge.

Some of the other features Acer mentions about this phone is “AcerRAPID™ design” that acts as a personal control key, bringing even more one-hand control to the user by allowing users to unlock the phone, wake-up the screen, launch the camera, take a picture, launch apps from home screen and pick up phone calls, and “Acer Float™ User Interface” that allows app windows to stay open, so users can multitask without having to back out of one app to work on another. Acer said that with the press of a key, users can brings up the Float Apps shortcut where apps on a translucent screen float over the function being used and it allows access to apps such as the camera, maps, calculator and notes and can be customized with up to 8 app shortcuts.

The camera may also be only 5 MP, but it supports “BSI technology” that enables more light on the sensor than traditional FSI, is said to deliver better low-light sensitivity, and comes with a 5 elements f2.4 lens, instead of traditional 4 elements for sharper images.

Acer’s new Liquid Z5 be available in France, Benelux, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Ukraine and UK around mid-January in two colors, “Essential White and Gentle Grey,” for €169.

via Acer

The post Acer’s affordable Liquid Z5 debuts for Europe appeared first on AndroidGuys.

4
Jan
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Introducing Engadget Mini!


engadget mini for android

CES is about to start, and as usual, we’ll be covering the show wall-to-wall, with liveblogs, hands-ons, news and, of course, Best of CES. One thing we’ll be doing differently this year is providing you with a quick and easy way to access our CES coverage — and more — from your smartphone or computer. Engadget Mini, which is available now for iOS and Android, is an app that features headlines from Engadget; the best of our social media content from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other sources; exclusive headlines, photos, and videos; and our picks for the best tech news from around the web and the social universe. You can also catch the latest updates to Mini right here on Engadget, or on the Mini web site.

Mini is a mix of creation, curation and conversation — think of it as a companion microblog to Engadget — and an experiment to see what a next-generation real-time feed might look like. We’re still kicking the tires on this thing, but we can’t think of a better time than right now, during CES, to share it with you, and we hope you’ll find it to be an exciting new way to keep up with the show. Download it now, bookmark the site and join us in our Mini forum, where you can share your feedback and get more info on this great new addition to Engadget!

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Source: Engadget Mini for Android (Google Play), Engadget Mini for iOS (App Store), Engadget Mini

4
Jan
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Digital Music Sales Decline for First Time Since Opening of iTunes Music Store


music_streaming_logos For the first time since the opening of the iTunes Music Store in 2003, digital music sales have decreased year-over-year, reports Billboard.

In 2013, sales of individual digital tracks declined 5.7% from 1.34 billion units to 1.26 billion units, while digital album sales fell to 117.6 million units from 117.7 million units in 2012. The report notes that industry executives have cited music streaming services for the regression in digital music sales.

While industry executives initially refused to attribute the early signs this year of digital sales weakness to the consumer’s growing appetite for streaming, in the second half of the year many were conceding that ad-supported and paid subscription services were indeed cannibalizing digital sales.

While SoundScan has not yet released its annual streaming numbers numbers, so far industry executives have been reporting that the growth in streaming revenue has been offsetting the decline in digital sales revenue.

Music streaming providers experienced a surge in popularity during 2013, as major services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio announced new free listening tiers for users in the wake of Apple launching iTunes Radio. Apple is also said to be expanding iTunes Radio service to the U.K, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand within the first few months of 2014, ahead of competitor Pandora’s own expansion.

Overall, album sales as a whole declined 8.4% in 2013, dropping to 289.4 units from nearly 316 units in 2012, with physical CD sales declining 14.5% to 165.4 million units from 193.4 million units in the prior year. iTunes also saw its market share rise to account for 40.6% of total U.S. album sales, as Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” became the year’s best selling single with 6.5 million tracks sold.

    



4
Jan
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This activity tracker lives in your shoe’s insole


We’re still several days out from CES, and we’ve already seen previews of a couple of fitness tracking devices. It’s far, far too early to start talking overall trends for the show, but it seems pretty safe to suggest that we’ll be seeing even more before the week is out. At the very least, Footlogger (“-logger,” not “-locker,” mind) offers a bit of an alternative to the standard wristband devices. The insole-based gadget is probably more in-line with those socks we saw the other day, but arguably has the potential to record even more detailed information about things like foot strike position – as for how such a product would stand up to the stress of of daily running, however, we certainly can’t say.

3L Labs is talking up a wide range of potential uses for Footlogger’s three-axis accelerometer and eight pressure sensors, including the standard activity tracking and sports recording fare. The company is also making some interesting healthcare claims here, including rehabilitation monitoring and even potential early disease prediction. You can check out the company’s admittedly dated-looking site in the source link below.

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Source: Footlogger

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