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Archive for March 8th, 2014

8
Mar
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AT&T Drops Price of Single-Line Data Plans, 2GB Now $65/Month [iOS Blog]


attlogo.pngAT&T will launch a new single-line data plan for smartphone customers on Sunday, bringing it more in-line with the lower-cost family plans that launched at the beginning of February.

The new plan will give users 2GB of data, along with unlimited messaging and calling, for $65 per month, down $15 from the previous plan. Adding additional smartphones to the plan will cost $25 per line per month. AT&T slashed the prices of its Mobile Share family plans at the beginning of last month.

AT&T’s new plans can also be combined with an existing promotion that offers a $100 bill credit to new and existing customers who add a new line of service. That promo runs through 3/31/2014. AT&T also introduced new messaging and calling rates to international countries late last month.

The move comes in the midst of a marketing war between U.S. cellular carriers, with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint all introducing new deals and promotions to keep their current customers and snatch new ones.

Customers can learn more about the new plans on AT&T’s website.

    



8
Mar
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WikiLeaks head doesn’t believe Obama is serious about NSA reform


Julian Assange doesn’t think you should hold your breath for Barack Obama to deliver meaningful NSA reform. The WikiLeaks founder said during a talk at SXSW Interactive that he believes the president is beholden to the American spy agencies and not the public. According to the self-anointed guardian of the world’s conscience Obama has proven that he does not take concerns about the NSA’s over reaching seriously by failing to fire or prosecute people at the agency. But Assange also said that Obama couldn’t push through serious change, even if he wanted to. If the president tried to dismantle the NSA or CIA, Assange is convinced that he would be impeached and the agencies would destroy him because they “have dirt on him.” In fact, he said the NSA “has dirt on all of us,” suggesting that the Government has spent the last several years harvesting information with which to black mail the American public.

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8
Mar
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AT&T reduces 2GB Mobile Share Value plans by $15 per month


Following up on the news that its UnCarrier rival will soon raise the cost of its unlimited data plan, AT&T is making some pricing changes of its own — in the completely opposite direction. The base rate for the company’s 2GB Mobile Share Value plan is currently $55 (that’s the base price, excluding per-smartphone costs), but it just announced that beginning tomorrow customers will be able to grab the same plan for $40 per month instead.

So that’s the monthly base rate, but what about the per-smartphone costs? Those are largely staying the same for new customers — on-contract users pay $40 per line, while off-contract (Next and BYOD) customers get a discounted rate of $25 — but AT&T tells us that existing on-contract customers will be able to take advantage of the discounted rate. This means that everyone who had been forking out $95 for an individual 2GB plan should now find themselves $30 richer each month, while folks with a $135 bill for two lines can whittle their monthly costs down by $45.

The catches? If you’re on a contract and want to upgrade to a new phone later, the only way you can keep the discounted plan is to switch to Next or buy a phone at full retail. The plan is also only offered to customers with one or two lines, so if you need any additional devices you’re out of luck. While there are a couple restrictions, however, this is another in a string of aggressive moves by AT&T, which has been heavily involved in the pricing war currently underway in the US.

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8
Mar
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We kick off SXSW 2014 with some real-life Mario Karting (video)


The first few days of SXSW have brought quite a bit of excitement for our team on the ground. After starting the show with a stun-copter demo, we stopped by the Palmer Events Center to play a little a live-action Mario Kart. Pennzoil has set up a go-kart track here in Austin to promote its new Platinum line of natural gas-based motor oils, though — let’s face it — we were really only here to be Mario (and Luigi, Bowser and Princess Peach) for a day.

Each of the four karts on the track were mounted with a GoPro camera to document each racer’s point of view. In addition to tracking each banana peel and speed booster we ran over, the footage apparently teases some elements from the upcoming Mario Kart 8 title. Our own Joseph Volpe also wore a GoPro of his own, so you can see just how disappointed he was when Terrence O’Brien stole the lead. Check out the video below.

Video note: Unfortunately the Karting team was unable to locate our race footage, so we’ve included a four-panel view from a similar race later in the day, as an example of the video sent to each participant following the competition. Engadget editors appear earlier in the video.

Zach Honig contributed to this report.

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8
Mar
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Samsung’s thing for (faux) leather continues with the ATIV Book 9 Style


SONY DSC

Samsung’s clearly been listening to Venus in Furs a lot recently, which explains why it’s gone a bit crazy on the faux-leather all of a sudden. After covering both the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Tab Pro and Chromebook 2 in the stuff, the company has now sought to do the same to a member of its Windows notebook family. Having taken the recently refreshed ATIV Book 9 that we found at CES, this new model gains the fetish-friendly backing and, erm, not much else. We spent a few seconds with an engineering sample of this unit, and felt compelled to share your impressions with you.

Spec-wise, you’ll find the same 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 display, Haswell Core i5 CPU, 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD that was available in the base model ATIV Book 9. The keyboard was, broadly, the same, although on this model they felt a tad too spongy for our taste, although the issue concerning the lack of travel remains unsolved. We liked the roomy trackpad, and imagine that the jitters we found while mousing around were merely teething troubles associated with the unfinished hardware. One of the things we were impressed with is the Sound Alive speaker tweaks, which made this slender 4.2-pound Ultrabook loud enough to drown out the din of construction that surrounded us. There’s no word on how much this hardware will cost you, or when it’ll arrive, but we’d imagine it’ll be close to the price of the existing ATIV book – after all, that faux-leather can’t be too expensive, can it?

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Via: MobileGeeks

Source: Samsung Germany (Translated)

8
Mar
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Practical Meter review


The Practical Meter by Power Practical is an in-line USB charging gauge to tell you if your device is being charged at its full potential. As one might expect, this is measured by amperage.

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At First Glance

The Practical Meter’s LED Indicators are your way of knowing how fast your device is charging. In today’s world of having USB ports everywhere (computers, AC adapters, etc) we quickly understand that not all ports are created equally. Some will charge your device at a mere 25%, some at 100% strength. The Practical Meter is what will define those differences for you. This way you can toss those slow charging cables and adapters aside for something more efficient.

Function & Fast Charge Cables

No issues to expect or run into as far as functions go, leveling between one and ten watts. The fast charge cables (included) have been exceedingly engaging and definitely speed up the charging process on slower USB connections. Fast Charge cables are equipped with a Micro USB 2.0 cable, Apple iPod 30pin USB cable, and Mini USB cable all fused by a charge-only USB male cable.

Overview

USB Power Meters are a rare gem and the Practical Meter really does the the job well. The device is available in black and white color options and can be purchased at Power Practical for $24.99.

The post Practical Meter review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

8
Mar
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Feedback Loop: Old gadgets, Android tablets, photo management 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

This week, Engadget turned 10 years old! So, we discussed what we were using way back in 2004. Also, we talked about ditching iPhoto, Android tablets and good game controllers for the iPad. Head on past the break and join the conversation.

What gadgets were you using 10 years ago?

It’s crazy to think that Engadget turned 10 years old this week! Frank, one of our product database editors, took to the forums to find out what gadgets you were using 10 years ago. Brace yourselves, there’s a whole lot of flip phones, antiquated game consoles, and devices that use something called physical media. Gross! If you can handle it, take a gander at the thread and share which pieces of technology you used a decade ago.

Ditching iPhoto for OneDrive

Managing our extensive digital photo libraries is a topic that we’ve frequently discussed in the forums. This week, TgD shares his own experience with ditching iPhoto and he’s never felt better. His solution for managing those invaluable digital memories may surprise you. Head over to the forums and tell us how you manage your photo library.

Comparing Android tablets

There’s no denying that the popularity of Android tablets is on the rise and it seems like we see interesting new tablets released every week. Will5204 is in the market for the latest and greatest Android tablet. Between the Sony Xperia Z2, Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, which would you choose? Let him know! Besides, it’s fun to spend other people’s money.

Game controllers for an iPad

Gaming on the go is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives. But sometimes, our grubby fingers get in the way of what we’re trying to do. Dogetag is looking for some advice on iOS gaming controllers that would be perfect for an iPad. Got some ideas that will help him out?

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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8
Mar
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London will test smart crossing system to keep pedestrians safe


Sure, pedestrian detection tech for cars is already in the works, but the city of London wants to keep people even safer by equipping its crossings with a bunch of sensors and devices. London Mayor Boris Johnson just announced that the city will try out a smart crossing system, which he claims has never been tested anywhere in the world before. It uses cameras mounted on traffic lights to detect if pedestrians are piling up, and it automatically adjusts signals to give large crowds longer time to cross the road. In the future, the reverse might also be true: the city’s transportation agency plans to tweak it so that lights change more quickly when everyone’s safely on the other side.

If the concept sounds familiar, it’s because it was inspired by London’s SCOOT system (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique), which automatically changes signals, depending on traffic flow. Unlike SCOOT that’s already active in 3,000 locations, though, this one’s in its early stages. In fact, pilot testing’s only slated to begin this summer outside Balham and Tooting Bec Tube stations, though more locations (along with cyclist detection) will follow if it ends up a success. Considering pedestrian accidents happen everywhere (in 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed in the US), we hope the system makes its way to other countries in the future.

[Image credit: Daniel X. O'Neil]

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Source: London Evening Standard, Transport for London

8
Mar
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MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review: stunning sound and even more stunning Looks


MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewIt’s not often that you find headphones that combine fantastic looks with great sound; fewer still are able to do so at a reasonable price. The new Atlas on-ear headphones from MEElectronics are one set of headphones that I think fits this bill perfectly, utilizing a incredibly intricate design on the exterior and marrying that with premium sound and a tiny price tag of $99.99. But don’t just take my word for it, let’s take a closer look at the MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones.

What’s in the box MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewThe Atlas is a pretty standard affair in terms of box contents with everything you need to immediately start using them ready to go. In the box you get:

  • The Atlas headphones
  • A 1.2m audio cable with in-line mic and controls
  • A carry bag

Time and time again, I’ve said that I’m a sucker for headphones that have a carry bag included and MEElectronics doesn’t disappoint, as usual. Probably the best thing about this bag is while it looks and feels pretty silky, it’s actually made from cloth that’s quite elastic making it perfect for travel, quickly removing or replacing your headphones, and just general daily use.

The headphones MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewIf I said I wasn’t in love with the Atlas’ appearance, I would be telling a big fat lie. The very first thing you will notice about the Atlas headphones, and the thing that is undoubtedly its highlight, are its looks, particularly of the “Orion” themed headphones that we have here. You might be thinking, why did MEElectronics bother with such an intricate design if it’s just going to be rubbed off? Well, MEElectronics has a solution to that, and it has to do with something called IML printing. MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewIML, or in-mold labelling, printing is a process that MEElectronics has employed for the Atlas headphones to give them their striking designs as well as ensuring that these designs don’t degrade over time. The IML process allows designs to be added to the headphones as they are being constructed, allowing the design to go in before layers of gloss are added, allowing the designs to be shown in all their glory. The process does slow manufacturing time down a little, but as you can see, the results might just be worth it. MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewThe result of this is a line of fantastic looking headphones which turn heads for all the right reasons. Apart from the Orion design that we have here, the Atlas also comes in Diamond, Sky, Fantasy and Carbon designs which all look great in their own right. As a tech enthusiast, I can’t help but favour the Orion with its electronics-esque, wire design that is actually somewhat subtle, but very pretty, though I have to say that these press photos somewhat embellish the finish of the Atlas which is far glossier than these pictures might have you believe. MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewAs with many of MEElectronics’ headphones, the Atlas are collapsible making them into a much smaller bundle. This is always convenient for those who travel and have limited space available for storage. In this collapsed state, the Atlas fits perfectly into the provided carry bag, along with the audio cable, and away you go. Thanks to its lightweight, plastic construction, the Atlas is remarkably light, which again adds to the list of benefits when travelling with these headphones. MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewThe Atlas is of course a wired set of headphones with a detachable audio cable provided. The in-line controls on the cable are very basic, but functional, with an answer call button, a volume slider and an embedded mic for your convenience. These are exactly the same in-line controls that were utilized on the MEElectronics M9p earphones (read that review here) and my comments remain the same here as for when I made them earlier; the grooved volume slider is a really nice touch as it makes one-handed operation easy, though I still question the overall size of the remote as a whole given that the mic is painstakingly designed to be tucked away within the volume slider. MEElectronics has again opted to include a flat audio cable with its audio products, with the primary benefits of which include reduced tangling and the reduced risk of wire degradation over time as the cables undergo daily stresses. The two tone effect of the cable is interesting too, whether it is purely aesthetic or functional as well is unclear, but it does make for a nice visual addition.

The comfort MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewI’ve never been a huge fan of on-ear headphones: I feel that it’s generally quite hard to get the right fit depending on your ear shape. My ears are slightly mismatched though, which probably explains my general attitude towards them. Unfortunately, the Atlas doesn’t quite do enough to discourage my perspective of on-ear headphones. As you’ll see, the earcups are shaped in a general ‘ear’ form, which should ideally work, however if your ears aren’t quite the right shape, it becomes a little difficult to get a good fit while wearing them.

MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewWhile the leather-clad cushions are soft and comfortable enough, it’s the earcups as a unit that let down the whole setup as they aren’t as mobile (or articulated) as they need to be. What ends up happening is that because the earcups can’t turn backwards far enough, the earcups press your ears into your head, which is mildly uncomfortable after several hours of listening (about 3-4 hours). I’m not sure if this is a result of my using the highest extension on the headphone arms, but your experience may vary.

MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review The headband is similarly made of foam and soft leather, but as the Atlas is so light overall, you will barely feel the headband there at all. Overall, I would have to say that the Atlas is quite comfortable. While my experience was less than stellar, it is still a very light pair of headphones and as such takes a much longer time for any discomfort to appear, if there is any at all.

The audio

MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewIf the appearance of the Atlas is its definitive highlight, then the audio quality has to be a very close second. MEElectronics has obviously worked very hard to give the Atlas the best quality sound out of its 40mm drivers; for the record, the Beats Solo HD headphones also uses 40mm drivers, which will become important later in the review.

MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewThe best thing about the Atlas’ audio is the fact that it provides a balanced range; playing pop music, the treble and bass ranges sound great and particularly the bass which sounds full without being overpowering. Moving to classical music, everything was sharp and well articulated, with the high pitches coming through really well, something bassier sets of headphones tend to ignore or neglect; whatever you’re listening to, the Atlas will make it sound clear and crisp. Being an on-ear pair of headphones, they still seem to lack the depth that is afforded to over-ear headphones, but as far as I’m concerned, these are the best sounding on-ear headphones I’ve ever tried.

MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewCall quality when using the Atlas as a headset is as good as you can expect, and I didn’t get any complaints about the audio quality. As the inline remote does hang though, if you’re in a particularly noisy environment, you will have to hold the mic closer to your face.  On the topic of noisy environments, the Atlas has no active noisy cancellation, nor does it do a terribly good job of keeping noise out either. Obviously, though, as you turn up your music, you will manage to drown out the outside sound, but some noise leakage will occur.

The verdict

Rating: 4.5/5

MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones ReviewThe MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones are a fantastic all-round set of headphones; great sound and even better looks, they’ve got almost everything you’ll need from a set of headphones, and it comes with mobile capabilities to boot. While your comfort with them may vary, you won’t be disappointed with the overall practicality of them, staying light and portable, making them a great travel companion.

You may recall that I mentioned the Beats Solo HD earlier in the review saying they had the same sized audio drivers. While the Beats may have a little more technical mumbo jumbo going on, I think the Beats and Atlas have almost equivalent audio quality. This makes the MSRP of the Beats at $199 seem ludicrous when you compare it to the Atlas which costs only $99.99 USD. Once again, MEElectronics has done it, combining great sound, great looks and great value.

If you want to take a closer look at the MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones, you can visit the product page here, or if you would like to take a look at MEElectronics’ other products, you can visit their website front page here.

 

Gallery of Photos

MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
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MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review
MEElectronics Atlas IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones Review

8
Mar
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Aereo’s internet TV service in Denver and Salt Lake City shuts down today


Aereo’s streams in Denver and Salt Lake City hung on for a while after the US District Court of Utah granted its opponents a preliminary injunction on February 20th, but today they’re shutting off. Yesterday a panel of federal court judges denied Aereo’s request to stay the injunction while it appeals, claiming “Aereo has not made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal. Nor has Aereo demonstrated that the other factors weigh in its favor.” As a result, the antenna-to-streaming company has informed affected customers service will go dark today at 10am. For now, it’s looking forward to the upcoming Supreme Court case to affirm its belief that the service is legal, and issuing a refund for this month’s service for anyone living in those two markets. Aereo’s hearing is set to take place April 22nd — check out CEO Chet Kanojia’s message to customers after the break.

[Thanks, Marc]

A message from Aereo’s Founder & CEO:

On February 25, the District Court in Utah granted a preliminary injunction against Aereo in the Tenth Circuit of the United States, which includes Utah and Colorado. On March 7, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied, 2:1, Aereo’s request to stay that injunction. This means that for the time being, we will have to cease providing our services to you, our valued customers in the Salt Lake City and Denver markets, beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 8.

We are extremely disappointed that the District Court in Utah has chosen to take a different path than every other Court that has reviewed the Aereo technology.

Consumers have a fundamental right to watch over-the-air broadcast television via a modern antenna and to record copies for their personal use. The Copyright Act provides no justification to curtail that right simply because the consumer is using modern, remotely located equipment.

We are very sorry for the effect that this decision has on you and we look forward to presenting our case to the U.S. Supreme Court and ultimately restoring your ability to use Aereo. In the meantime, we are issuing a full refund for the current month to you, our customers in Salt Lake City and Denver. We commit to letting you know as soon as we have more information about the future of Aereo in your market.

We are unwavering in our belief that Aereo’s technology falls squarely within the law and we look forward to continuing to serve you. This is an ongoing battle, but together we can to protect innovation, progress, and consumer choice.

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Source: Salt Lake Tribune

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