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17
Jun
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Zolo: The New ‘Smarter-Together’ Protection and Charging System with a Price Tag you will Love



Beyond the world of phones and apps, there are accessories. Cases to protect your phone, screen protectors to protect you glass, battery banks to power-up on the go and cables to charge with. The market is fairly saturated with a plethora of options to choose from, but few have approached the needs of the smartphone community in a single packed offering. That is what Zolo was seeing and so the ‘Smarter-Together’ community was born.

Before I share with you this rather interesting and unique product, I have to toss out a little back story. Zolo is a new brand name that you have never heard of before. That can be intimidating. However, the people behind Zolo are from a more familiar brand that we have shared with you for a number of years, Anker.  That is one you should know. I am sure plenty of you have purchased battery banks and other products from them in the past. Their goal with Zolo is to bring a premium product to consumers that look great, function well and cut out the premium price tags associated with mark ups from manufacturer to OEM’s to the stores.

“Crowdfunding our campaign helps us quickly introduce Zolo to a broader community in a more meaningful way than we could have done alone,” said Steven Yang, CEO of Zolo and former Google engineer. “We’re reimagining how community, manufacturing and distribution can work better together for a smarter life for all.”

Zolo ImageBefore you go all “But, it’s an iPhone. I hate you. This is stupid.” Let’s take a quick look at what they are doing. While you are right, it is an iPhone, it isn’t and won’t be limited to iOS users. Right now the kit options are for iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Pretty cool right? I think so anyways. I spoke with the Senior Marketing Director yesterday, Jason Lin, who you saw in the video. We talked about the magnets a little bit and I was assured that they have tested the magnets extensively and, like they said in the video, they 100% confirm that the magnets won’t harm your device or its operations in any way. I also asked why not go with a Qi charging style operation and cut out the cables entirely. The simple answer was more that Zolo is aiming to bring the ecosystem that all general users out there know and use by making it simple and affordable. That answer was good to me. Seeing as how a minority of users out there use wireless charging now, or even know what it is. Also, I am sure it is quite a bit more efficient to charge with a cable.

There is one other thing that got me to like it all. You aren’t bound by ‘their’ cable to have the magnetic cable system. They also have cable clips with magnets in them that you can attach to any round cable of your choosing. It frees you up a bit to use that long cable you love vs. a short cable you hate. It also lets you swap out 30-pin, lightning and micro USB so the whole house can use it all simply.

The final thing that really pushed this over the top as a superb offering, is the price. On the campaign you can grab a variety of kits that won’t break the bank. Here is the break down:

  • Power Pack: Zolo battery, Short Cable , 2 cable clips – $13
  • Power + Protection Pack: Zolo battery, Tough case for iPhone 5s/5 or Galaxy S5, short cable, 2 cable clips – $18
  • Power Pack X2: 2 Zolo batteries, 2 Short Cables , 4 cable clips – $25
  • Power + Protection Pack X2: 2 Zolo batteries, 2 Short Cables , 4 cable clips, 1 Tough case – $35

There are two more above it of course, like the $1,000 Zolo lifer which gets you a free Zolo product every time one is released. That is kind of confusing I suppose, Zolo is the brand name and like he said in the video, there are going to be wall chargers and plenty of other magnetic accessories you can grab later on that will all work together.

Actual specs of the products:

Zolo 1X Battery

Colors: Carbon, Ash, Navy, Poppy
Capacity: 3000 mAh
Ports: 1
Output: 1 Amp
Input: 1 Amp
Size: 3.0 inches x 2.1 inches x 0.5 inches
Weight: 3.2 Oz
Charging time: 4 Hours
Certifications: CE, FCC, RoHS, PSE (Japan)

Zolo Tough Case


Colors: Carbon, Ash

Drop-test standard:

o Military Standard 810F-516
o Dropped 26 times from a height of 4 feet; pass criteria: no obvious damage

Durability:

o 100 insertion test
o Environmental test ( Temperature cycling from -20 C to 40 C; 70% relative humidity)
o Abrasion testing
Certifications: RoHS, Proposition 65

Zolo Impact Screen Protector *

Hardness: 4H
Drop-test standard: 225 Gram steel ball dropped from 1.5 meters
Finish: Glossy

Zolo Short Cable

Colors: Carbon, Poppy, Ash
Length: 7 inches
Type: Micro USB at launch

Zolo Cable clips

Colors: Carbon, Ash, Poppy
Certifications: RoHS

All orders will get free shipping when they launch the product in September. Go take a closer look at their Zolo IndieGoGo page and feel free to back them.


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17
Jun
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iOS 8 Beta 2 Tidbits: Permanent Podcasts App, QuickType Keyboard for iPad, and More


Apple today released the second beta of iOS 8, which brings a number of improvements, changes, and bug fixes to the beta software that was introduced on June 2.

iOS 8 beta 2 also includes several minor interface tweaks and modifications that make the beta feel both faster and more polished. We’ve gathered a list of the enhancements that have been bundled into the release below.

Podcasts: Following iOS 8 beta 2, the Podcasts app is a default iOS app that comes pre-installed on iOS devices. This means it can no longer be deleted.

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Safari: According to the release notes, Safari will now block ads from automatically redirecting to the App Store without user interaction. Safari also includes a new pinch to tab view.

App Store Purchases: Apps in the App Store’s purchased tab are once again sorted by purchase date. In iOS 8 beta 1, they were sorted alphabetically. It’s also possible to leave reviews in the App Store again, a feature unavailable in beta 1 due to a bug, and the App Store now displays Family Purchases.

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QuickType Keyboard: Apple’s QuickType keyboard is now available on the iPad as well as the iPhone, but does not appear to be available on the iPad 2.

Brightness: In beta 1, the Brightness toggle in the Settings menu under Wallpaper and Brightness was broken. It is now functional again.

Messages: Icons for the camera and the microphone in Messages are now gray rather than blue and there’s a new setting to mark all messages read.

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Settings: There’s a new “Raise to Listen” setting for Messages.

Privacy: There’s a new Home Data section within the Privacy menu of the Settings app.

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iCloud Photos: When entering the Photos app, there’s a new “iCloud Photos” popup that activates Apple’s new iCloud Photos feature, replacing a user’s existing Photo Stream settings.

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Additional features in iOS 8 beta 2 will be added here as they are discovered. Apple is likely to continue pushing regular updates to iOS 8, bringing minor performance boosts and changes ahead of the operating system’s public release, which is expected to come in the fall. For more information on iOS 8′s features, big and small, make sure to check out our roundups.



17
Jun
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Apple Offers Discounts on Hachette Pre-Orders Amid Publisher’s Dispute With Amazon


Apple is offering discounts on several popular e-books from Hachette Book Group, the publisher currently embroiled in a dispute with Amazon. As noted by Re/code, Apple is promoting a sale on several Hachette titles under a “Popular Pre-Orders: $9.99 or Less” section in the book section of the iTunes Store, which includes upcoming titles from major authors like James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and J.K. Rowling (under pen name Robert Galbraith).

While Apple does not specifically mention the books on sale are published by Hachette, every book in the 26-book section is indeed a Hachette title. An Apple PR representative confirmed the promotion to Re/code, but declined to discuss pricing or other details.

hachette
For those unfamiliar with the dispute, Amazon and Hachette have been at war for the last month, after negotiations over profit-sharing failed. Amazon has since refused to take pre-order sales of Hachette books and has also ceased discounting existing Hachette titles, leading to much higher prices, in an effort to get Hachette to agree to better terms.

An Apple PR rep confirmed the promotion, but wouldn’t discuss the pricing or any other details. So we have to assume that either Hachette is lowering wholesale prices on its own titles to help Apple tweak Amazon, or Apple is lowering the retail price on its own, and losing margin in order to tweak Amazon.

Amazon released a public statement in May, noting that it was not optimistic about resolving the disagreement with Hachette in the near future. That means Amazon customers must pay more for Hachette books and must wait for books to be launched to make a purchase, a situation that benefits Apple as it is still able to offer customers pre-orders on popular titles.



17
Jun
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T-Mobile’s Un-carrier 5.0 could reveal simplified pricing and unlocking options


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T-Mobile’s next Un-Carrier announcement, set for June 18, could usher in simplified pricing for rate plans, suggests TmoNews. Instead of a $49.99 rate plan with fees and taxes, T-Mobile customers might instead see a flat $50 sticker. You know, not unlike MetroPCS’s Period Power ads and initiative.

Additionally, T-Mobile could make it much easier to unlock their smartphones. According to a source close to the blog, an upcoming smartphone was found to have a preloaded app for unlocking.

We only have one day to go before T-Mobile unleashes its next round of announcements; is there something you’re hoping to see?

TmoNews

The post T-Mobile’s Un-carrier 5.0 could reveal simplified pricing and unlocking options appeared first on AndroidGuys.

17
Jun
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Nokia Lumia 630 review: An affordable phone you can live without


The Nokia we used to know is no longer. In late April, the handset maker was finally folded into Microsoft’s Devices and Services business after more than six months of courtship. Nokia wasn’t ready to be assimilated without once last hurrah, however: It announced a trio of new devices at its new owner’s developer conference, Build. The Finnish company had always tried to cater to every demographic, so it was fitting that its last in-house handsets were the top-end Lumia 930 (a global version of the Icon) and the entry-level Lumia 630/635.

The 630 and 635, 3G and 4G variants of the same device, are joining an already-crowded lineup of affordable Lumias. They’re distinguished somewhat by launching with Windows Phone 8.1, the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile OS, but in the coming months, other WP8 handsets will catch up. That’s if curiosity hasn’t already driven you to update manually using the developer-account loophole. The 635 is yet to be released, but for now we have the almost identical Lumia 630. Other than offering the newest software, then, is the 630 Nokia’s best budget device? A worthy sendoff for the company? A save-the-best-’til-last-type deal? Spoiler’s in the headline.

Hardware

You’d be forgiven for confusing the Lumia 630 with the iPhone 5c. They’re similar in size and shape, although it might seem a crooked comparison considering Nokia’s been doing colorful plastic for much longer than Apple. Up close, the 630 is more like a mash-up of the 620 and 520 that came before it. Slightly larger than both, it combines the rounded corners of the 620 with the more sharply tapered back panel of the 520. It’s blockier than both, however, with the flat edges meeting a flat back.

Nokia really hit a sweet spot with the size and weight here: 129.5 x 66.7 x 9.2mm and 134g. Those are agreeable numbers for anyone, and with sides that angle inward from the display, it rests nicely in the hand. None of the sharp edges dig in where they shouldn’t. The build quality might not look like much given the majority of the handset is covered in plastic, with a sheet of glass covering the face as the only other material. It creaks under pressure, but given its weight and the thickness of polycarbonate that fits snugly to its back, it doesn’t feel like a toy even if it looks a little like one.

The device itself is pretty plain apart from the colorful mass of plastic, though for the moment, you only have the choice of green, orange or black. You’ll eventually be able to buy additional shells, and when the Lumia 635 launches, the dual-color covers we first saw on the 620 will be making an appearance. Since the 635 is identical in design, you’ll be able to commandeer those for the 630, too. The back of the device is home to a small Nokia logo, rear camera lens up top and tiny loudspeaker grille in the bottom right-hand corner. On the top and bottom edges are the headphone jack and micro-USB charging/data transfer port, respectively, and the right edge carries the volume rocker and power button. There’s no dedicated camera shutter key on this device; Microsoft removed that requirement in 8.1.

Another major difference from other Windows Phones can be found on the face of the device. WP 8.1 no longer demands capacitive keys on the bezel, and the Lumia 630 is the first handset to scrap these in favor of on-screen navigation buttons. Indeed, it looks plain, with the earpiece and Nokia logo up top, display in the center and a small hole for the mic on the bottom edge. The effect is a design that’s slightly unique and a little less cluttered.

Display

Like other budget Lumias, the 630 doesn’t have a whole lot of pixels to play with. Its 4.5-inch display sports the rare FWVGA resolution (854 x 480), which is essentially 800 x 480 with a little extra length to accommodate the on-screen navigation keys. I’ve never cared too much about pixel density on affordable handsets (if your’e curious, the 630 works out to 221 ppi). The Lumia 625 pushed even my tolerance boundaries, but even then, I’m more interested in the quality of the panel than the quantity of pixels. Alas, the 630 has little to offer in either respect.

Nokia incorporated its ClearBlack technology into the LCD display; not that the term really means anything here. In fact, the display has a lovely color temperature, with excellent whites, but it’s let down by the black range. They’re almost fake, like smothering a lamp with black fabric and calling it darkness. Along the same lines (but not as noticeable), the display on my device is unevenly lit along the top edge, with alternating patches of light and dark as if a row of tiny spotlights was hidden under the bezel.

Despite its failings, the display is guarded well by a sheet of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3. Unfortunately, Nokia seemed unable to afford the final coat, as it’s very sticky and a serves as a magnet for all the oil and grime you wouldn’t believe came from your fingertips. Aside from the Xperia SP, it’s the worst I’ve seen on this front. Whatever’s not quite right with the glass, it has additional side effects, including hampering sunlight readability. Assuming you can actually see through the layer of skin on top of the glass, there’s a nice helping of glare that’ll have you squinting at the display on a bright day. Its reflectiveness significantly reduces viewing angles, too.

Luckily, the panel can kick out a lot of light, meaning the 630 isn’t completely useless when the sun’s about. Strangely, there’s no auto-brightness setting, so it’s good that Windows Phone 8.1′s new “Action Center” offers a quick way to make changes. Despite these issues, the display still works. That said, the 630 is definitely not for videophiles. The Lumia 620 came out well over a year ago, so the fact that the 630 has a worse panel is disappointing.

Software

The Lumia 630, 635 and 930 are the official Windows Phone 8.1 launch devices, not that it’s hard to install the developer preview of the new OS on older models. Several of the most important changes in the latest version have little to do with the immediate user experience (think: wider support for different hardware configurations). In the same vein, Microsoft’s also relaxed its handset design requirements. Capacitive navigation keys and a dedicated camera button are no longer mandatory, for example, and indeed, the 630 has neither.

There are plenty of pre-installed apps on the Lumia 630, but PayPal, Skype and Line are the only ones you’d call bloatware. In addition to these, you’ll find a slew of apps that aggregate news, track stocks, check the weather, recommend places to eat and drink, keep you up to date on the world of sports and so on. Luckily, all nonessential apps can be uninstalled if you want to trim the fat. Nokia and Microsoft have cooked in some of their own software, of course, like the global satnav app Here Drive+, and productivity tools like Office, OneDrive and OneNote.

I’ve always been a fan of Windows Phone’s Live Tile UI, in terms of both looks and functionality. In the latest OS release, you can now set a background image for this home screen, which is essentially invisible. Tiles for many of the stock apps, however, act as a transparent window, which is a nice visual touch that also allows for deeper personalization. Additionally, you can add another column of Live Tiles to the home screen by shrinking their footprint, but I found that bigger was better on the 630′s 4.5-inch display. The keyboard now supports swipe-based typing, and apps can be installed to SD cards for the first time — an important change for handsets without much internal storage. WP 8.1 also grants users better access to their storage with a new file manager available on the app store.

The big changes in Windows Phone 8.1 are the addition of a notification drawer and the virtual assistant, Cortana. Through the Action Center, as it’s called, you view notifications and access them within their respective apps, as you’d expect. There are also four slots to customize with quick access to settings (WiFi, etc.) and apps, like the camera. It’s certainly a welcome addition to Windows Phone, but it still feels like a poor imitation of the same feature on Android. Cortana isn’t supposed to be available in the UK until later this year, but you can access it by changing your region and language settings to trick the phone into thinking it’s American. Once Cortana was up and running, I spent a few minutes asking it silly questions and a few more testing the limits of its contextual responses. Since then, I’ve been using it just as much as I do any other voice-controlled assistant: Never.

Overall, I’m underwhelmed by Windows Phone 8.1. If anything, the new version highlights how behind other mobile platforms it still is. Some really simple things still don’t work the way they should. The screen-timeout setting, for example, will ignore most apps, leading to frustrating situations where the phone locks up and kills the current process because you weren’t paying attention for 30 seconds. Also, the automatic time setting is as broken as it’s ever been, so you’ll have to set it manually (and again every time you run out of battery). Seeing as email syncing is linked with the internal clock, you’ll stop receiving new messages if the time is set incorrectly. Even when it comes to the bigger new features, Cortana and a notification center do not a good OS make.

Camera

There’s not much to say about the front-facing camera on the Lumia 630 because, as with the 520, there isn’t one. The only camera is a modest five megapixels with no companion flash. Thankfully, Nokia knows a thing or two about imaging, and the 630′s camera is one of its redeeming features. You have two options when it comes to stock camera apps, and not much separates them. Microsoft’s offering loads up instantly, with normal camera, video and a low-resolution burst-capture mode to choose from. You can also select different Lenses straight from the viewfinder, but all the finer settings like white balance and exposure compensation are buried in the full menu.

In contrast, these settings are accessible from the viewfinder in Nokia’s camera app, albeit using a small, fiddly toolbar. Lenses, on the other hand, are found in the deeper menu, and Nokia’s app takes a few seconds to boot up, so not the best choice for opportunistic shots. The burst-capture mode of Microsoft’s app is replaced by “Smart Sequence,” which is more or less the same thing, but with the option to select your favorite shots after the fact.

On full auto, the 5MP camera does its best work in sunny conditions. No surprise there. Color temperature is spot-on and the focal range is broad. I’ve also nothing to complain about when it comes to focus and shutter speeds, although manually tapping to focus on different areas of the viewfinder was sometimes required to get the correct exposure. As lighting conditions worsened, I was impressed by how the camera held up. I did notice that pictures tended to adopt the hue of artificial lighting, so the auto-white balance setting isn’t as good as it could be. I’d say better an image look the same as it does through the human eye, however, than one that’s been crudely adjusted. Low-light performance is better than I expected, too, with snaps coming out considerably lighter than you’d think they would.

Video performance at 720p is much the same, although audio quality isn’t a highlight. The camera is my favorite thing about the Lumia 630, mainly because it’s above acceptable considering the price point. I’m only talking about the normal camera modes, as well, so there’s even more fun to be had with Nokia’s extra Lenses, such as Cinemagraph, Blink and Refocus.

Performance and battery life

Like earlier, lower-end Lumias, the 630′s spec sheet is no trump card, but at least it’s working with the current generation of Qualcomm chips. That would be a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400, to be exact, paired with a miserly 512MB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Finding enough space for all your apps and media is no trouble, as the handset’s microSD slot supports cards of up to 128GB — and remember that WP 8.1 now allows apps to be installed onto expandable storage. That Snapdragon 400 SoC is by far the stand-out spec from that selection, and I’ve seen it ace performance tests on several Android smartphones of late, such as the Moto G and UK-only EE Kestrel.

I find myself questioning its place inside the Lumia 630, though. One of the pros of Windows Phone as a platform is that it’s not resource hungry, which has meant Nokia could produce phones like the Lumia 520 and 620 at such compelling price points without sacrificing much in the way of user experience. The Lumia 630, as you’d imagine, feels just as slick as either of those handsets do. Popping in and out of menus or core apps happens as fast as you’d ever need it to, but it’s the lack of improvement in performance that stands out.

The difference in app-loading speeds on the 630, compared with older Lumias, is negligible. Only when you put them side by side to test the disparity will you notice the 630 is a millisecond quicker. Asphalt 8: Airborne is one of the most graphically intensive mobile games on any platform, but the problem is that it’s scaled to be friendly to all Windows Phone hardware. On Android handsets with a quad-core Snapdragon 400, you can see how capable the chipset is by pumping up the graphics settings to max. You can’t change such settings on the Windows Phone version, but even at a low visual standard, I experienced dropped frames and jittery music. I can’t remember the last time I noticed a phone’s temperature rising, other than when using the 630. Anything you would consider hardware-intensive, from gaming to streaming video, quickly drove the thermostat up to alarming levels.

Having been impressed with the same SoC on Android devices, I imagine it’s a case of poor optimization. While the processor upgrade doesn’t seem to have made much of an impact on performance, it’s a burden on the 630′s 1,830mAh battery. With fairly moderate use, I could barely get through half a day on a charge. If you want to do something a little more processor-intensive than checking your emails, be prepared to watch the charge melt away before your eyes. When I wasn’t out or using the handset, it was permanently on charge. That’s no way to live. Annoyingly, the battery indicator is misleading, too — the icon will have you believe you have around three quarters left, but if you look in the notification tray, you’ll find it hovering just above 50 percent.

Internet Explorer is your window to the web, and it’s not the fastest mobile browser. Regardless of your connection, sites can take a good few seconds to pull up (they load completely, rather than piecemeal). After they’ve loaded, the only other curiosity is some tiling, which can be caused by rapidly zooming in and out. For connections, you’ve got WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and HSDPA 3G (21.1 Mbps max download speeds). WiFi connects quickly, but doesn’t hold a consistently strong pairing, at least according to the signal icon. The speed and accuracy of GPS location is superb, and a nice companion to Windows Phone’s excellent mapping options.

Audio quality is also worth a mention. Through headphones, the range is better than quite a few smartphones, but that’s let down by kind of a vapid, clinical tone to the sound. Under the polycarbonate shell of the 630 sits an abnormally large loudspeaker that pumps through an abnormally small grille. Realistically, this is for making hands-free calls, not getting the party started. It’s just strange that audio quality through this speaker is actually better with the case off. Reverberations inside the cover give a greater sense of bass, but really it’s just distortion from the grille bottleneck.

The competition

Normally this section would be about comparing the smartphone to what else is out there. This time, though, it’s an exercise in proving why there is no need for the Lumia 630. Let’s start with the price. We know the 630 and 635 are expected to cost under $200 in the US, with the single-SIM 630 said to be $159, assuming it’ll even launch there — the 635 will definitely have some presence on T-Mobile, possibly in July if everything plays out as planned.

I’m not sure where the price of the 630 was lost in translation, but Nokia’s UK press release that pre-empted the device’s launch said it would be available for £90 unlocked. In reality, the cheapest you can get it for is £99 on a locked, pay-as-you-go basis. SIM-free, that rises to £109 from one retailer, and Microsoft’s even selling the handset through its online store for an insulting £129. Last year’s Lumia 620 may have a lesser processor, but it’s a better phone in every other respect. Also, given its age, it’s comparable on price at £100 on pay-as-you-go or £110 unlocked. Even the Lumia 520 is a better option at £60 on pay-as-you-go or £85 unlocked.

If you’re dead-set on Windows Phone, the Lumia 630 is not the right decision. That’s if you would even consider any of the handsets I’ve mentioned over affordable Android offerings from the likes of Motorola. The amazing Moto G is £110 on pay-as-you-go or £130 unlocked, whereas the Moto E is even cheaper at £79 on pay-as-you-go or £89 unlocked. Better handsets, better mobile platform — better forget about the Lumia 630.

The Lumia 635 will be more relevant when it launches, thanks to that LTE radio, and the only other affordable Lumia with 4G is the depressing 625. I dread to think what a 4G radio will do to the already-poor battery life, and the 635 will still have to face off against the LTE version of the Moto G (not yet released). Unless Microsoft intends to give the 635 away for free, I don’t see my opinion being any different with the addition of LTE.

Wrap-up

I can’t help but feel that the Lumia 630 was thrown together to be a Windows Phone 8.1 demo device, and then someone decided it was suitable for a retail release. I couldn’t disagree more. Forget that Microsoft still has come catching up to do before its mobile OS is considered on par with others; the hardware itself is lacking. The display is poor, and even the glass covering it is missing whatever coating most other handsets have to repel fingertip grime. There’s no noticeable performance improvement over previous budget Lumia devices despite a newer, more capable chipset, and battery life is nothing short of atrocious. It’s even missing basics like a front-facing camera or HSPA+ 3G radio.

To its credit, the 5-megapixel camera is better than you might suspect, and it has the Lumia line’s signature fun, colorful stylings. If the handset cost £50, I’d probably feel differently about its shortcomings, but the truth is there are better and comparable phones available for less. I have no choice but to issue a stern warning to avoid it, as there are several attractive and more affordable alternatives.

Daniel Orren and Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.

Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, Microsoft, Nokia

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17
Jun
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White House helps tech startups make advanced parts


TechShop milling machine

It’s one thing to come up with a clever product idea, but it’s something else to actually build it; it can be tough to find the materials you need, let alone the tools to put everything together. That’s where a new round of White House initiatives might just lend a helping hand. As part of its open data efforts, the administration is upgrading its research data site so that startups can easily find government manufacturing and research facilities; the Department of Energy and NASA have outlets dedicated to working on clean energy and aeronautics, for example. The project will eventually surface government-backed patents and other manufacturing info that’s frequently tough to track down.

The government is also expanding the research behind its Materials Genome Initiative, which helps American companies make their own advanced parts. More than $150 million is going toward public-private partnerships that help companies build everything from relatively ordinary electronics to exotic alloys and biomaterials. It’s too soon to know whether the open data or extra funding will pay dividends, but we suspect that fledgling tech firms won’t mind getting some help in making their dreams a reality.

[Image credit: TechShop, Flickr]

Filed under: Internet

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Source: Data.gov

17
Jun
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4oD catch-up apps now support mobile streaming


While Channel 4′s catch-up service 4oD has been available on mobile for a number of years, viewers were always limited to streaming their favourite shows over a Wi-Fi connection. That changed at the start of the month when the broadcaster updated its iOS app to deliver streams over 3G and 4G connections. It took a couple of weeks, but it’s now equipped its Android app with the same capability. That means you can now stream full Channel 4, E4 and More4 programmes when you’re on the move and enjoy “4Shorts,” hundreds of clips, extras and trailers from your favourite shows. If you wanted to stream Countdown while on your daily commute, you can now do so on either your iOS or Android device.

Filed under: Internet, Software

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Via: The Digital Lifestyle

Source: 4oD (App Store), (Google Play)

17
Jun
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The Department of Energy’s ESnet brings blinding speeds to big thinkers


Sure, you might be paying your cable company for premium internet performance, but you don’t know speed. Research scientists who have access to the Department of Energy’s ESnet (or Energy Sciences Network for those in the know) sure do, though. You see, ESnet is capable handling data transfers at a staggering 91 gigabits per second over some seriously long distances — think between Denver and Maryland, and that’s without a direct connection between the two. That’s more than nine times faster than what Google hopes to deliver with Google Fiber, and (sigh) over nine thousand times faster than the US’ average broadband internet speed as of late 2013. And that’s just the start. ESnet director Gregory Bell told that a 400 gigabit network is in the works, and the organization ultimate hopes to fire up a terabyte-per-second network… someday.

That’s not to say that all those academic types are downloading movies faster than they can blink — getting disk-to-disk transfer speeds that high required a specific setup of off-the-shelf parts and management to keep potential data bottlenecks at bay. What it does mean, though, is that it’s more possible than ever to share gobs and gobs of scientific data without having to shell out pricey, highly specialized lines and equipment. Given the state of internet providers here in the States, it’ll be ages before we get speeds even remotely close to what ESnet can deliver in our homes. Still, the rising tide of internet infrastucture lifts all ships, and Wired’s Klint Finley points out that some ISPs are bulking up their networks to better serve us all.

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Source: Wired

17
Jun
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Apple Releases iOS 8 Beta 2 to Developers


Apple today released the second beta of iOS 8 to developers, just over two weeks after unveiling the new operating system at its Worldwide Developers Conference. The update, build number 12A4297e, is available through Apple’s over-the-air updating system on iOS devices and will also be available via the iOS Dev Center.

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Apple has also released Xcode 6 beta 2, new beta software for the Apple TV, and OS X Yosemite Update 1.0.

iOS 8 introduces a range of new features, including improved integration with OS X through Continuity, a Health app, Family Sharing features, interactive notifications, a new QuickType Keyboard and improvements to several apps like Safari, Mail, and Messages.

iOS 8 is only available to developers at the current point in time, but it is expected to be released to the public this fall after several additional beta iterations. Based on past history, iOS 8 will likely be released alongside new iPhones, and possibly the much-rumored iWatch.



17
Jun
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Apple Releases OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 2


Alongside iOS 8 beta 2, Apple today released a new version of OS X Yosemite, just over two weeks after initially introducing the operating system at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

The update, Developer Preview 2, has a build number of 14A261i, and can be downloaded from the Mac App Store or the Mac Dev Center.

osxyosemite
OS X Yosemite brings a flatter, more modern look to OS X, with an emphasis on translucency, along with a slew of new features, including improved integration with iOS 8 through Continuity.



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