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25
Feb

Nominate your favorite gadgets for the 2013 Engadget Awards


No, that 2013 isn’t a typo. With CES 2014 already behind us, it may seem silly to take a look back at the previous year in tech. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves — 2013 brought plenty of innovative products, and we want to hear which were your favorites.

It’s time for the 2013 Engadget Awards, so submit your nominations for the 12 categories below. You don’t need to fill in a pick for each one, but make sure your selections are from the 2013 calendar year. (Helpful hint: just disregard anything from CES 2014, and you’ll be good.) Nominations will be open until 11:59PM ET on Friday, March 7th, and then we’ll narrow down your submissions to the most popular picks for final voting. Now, get to it!

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25
Feb

Samsung unveils Knox 2.0, lets users run Google Play apps even more securely


Exactly a year to the day after it first announced its Knox security solution, Samsung’s returned to Mobile World Congress with news that it’s making it even easier to secure and manage Galaxy devices. With the launch of Knox 2.0 today, Samsung’s changed the way the platform handles Google Play apps, digitally securing their data without the need to run them in a dedicated Knox workspace. Before, personal and work-related apps were separated, but Samsung says “most” Google Play apps can now live in Samsung’s secure world. It’s certainly serious about its new features, as CEO JK Shin popped up at the event to drive home Samsung’s desire to nail the enterprise market.

Samsung wants more secure apps across the board, so it’s also launching Knox Marketplace, a dedicated cloud-based app store that lets tech managers grab apps and install them on all employee phones with a few clicks of a button. Box and GoToMeeting are already on board, and there’s plenty of enterprise companies already working to make their apps available. Samsung tells us that the new features will begin rolling out in the second quarter, and it’ll comes pre-installed on the newly unveiled Galaxy S5. First generation Knox users will get an upgrade to the new version as soon as their device gets an upgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat — whenever that may be.

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25
Feb

Breaking the smartphone mold isn’t easy. Just ask Jolla


Jolla’s got a big problem, and the company knows it. The small Finnish startup has grand plans to upend the smartphone paradigm with its modular phone and unique gesture-based OS, but that foreign approach has left some users confused. The MeeGo-derived Sailfish OS relies entirely on swipe navigation — there are no soft keys onscreen — and the current tutorial does a poor job of explaining how it all works.

“Many people have difficulties because we suck,” said Senior Designer Jaakko Roppola here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “We’re not very good at the first-time user experience.”

That candid admission may ring true for the startup now, but what Jolla is exceedingly good at is listening to and quickly addressing community feedback. That eagerness to please has not only led to recent improvements in battery life and connectivity for the nascent operating system, but also the integration of a user-created WiFi hotspot option.

Marc Dillon, Jolla’s co-founder and an ex-Nokia engineer, paints the operating system’s rough edges as a by-product of getting the first Sailfish device, a modular, two-part design that adds customization via swappable backplates, out to market within six months from announcement. He sees the launch commitment as paramount to the company’s current success and traction with users. That tight turnaround and focus on the core OS experience is mainly why Sailfish’s gesture tutorial left users confused. Although, Dillon’s quick to point out that Jolla’s not entirely to blame for the lack of clarity.

“I did find that a lot of people didn’t go through the tutorial for one reason or other,” he said, adding that the company might just keep the tutorial persistently exposed to alleviate concerns.

“[Jolla’s] ultimate target is to make a device that is powerful enough for a power user, but simple enough that anyone can use it after they learn just a couple of tricks.”

So who is the typical Sailfish user? “They know who they are,” Roppola told me with a big smile; a response that indirectly points to early adopters. Dillon corroborated this take, saying that “[Jolla’s] ultimate target is to make a device that is powerful enough for a power user, but simple enough that anyone can use it after they learn just a couple of tricks. And [for] people that are becoming frustrated with their smartphone ruling their life.” If that sounds like a neat marketing message, it is, but it’s also not entirely off the mark. Though Dillon might want to rethink that latter bit, as Sailfish’s deeply invested community is responsible for some clever software hacks and hardware innovations.

That end-user experimentation has led to the creation of e-ink, wireless charging and physical keyboard covers for its Other Half smartphone, some of which are on prominent display at Jolla’s MWC booth. It’s one of the reasons why future incarnations of Jolla’s Sailfish devices will retain that two-part modular design. As Roppola explained to me, the company wants to avoid the “culture of throwaway devices,” which a shift to a unified design might encourage. He believes that the Other Half’s unique design, which imparts new software functions via swappable backplates, leaves it open to repairs and augmentation not possible on the current crop of smartphones.

Though Jolla is focusing its attention on the existing Other Half smartphone, Dillon assured me there is a device roadmap for Sailfish. New form factors are on the way, but much of the heavy lifting will be done through manufacturer partnerships. “The way that we as a company scale out to lower price points and higher price points is by partnerships,” he explained, hinting that Sailfish could be scaled down to work on a smartwatch. Dillon even took some potshots at manufacturers caught up in Android’s market dominance, saying that those companies have no choice but to compete either “with price or go with flash.” Sailfish, then, offers big-name manufacturers an alternative: uniquely branded Sailfish devices that highlight their content on a dedicated home screen pane.

Jolla’s partnerships with Angry Birds maker Rovio, Finnish clothing company Makia and cloud storage company F-Secure — all announced just this week — are the first concrete examples of these planned partner tie-ins. Dillon wants to position Sailfish as a platform for app integration and cited Facebook and Twitter on iOS and Android as an example of this strategy. Rather than merely host apps, Dillon hopes Sailfish will offer developers a mobile platform that allows for a deeper platform integration, not just a redundant app port.

“What I’m looking for now and what I believe the smartphone world is going to is a level of integration where … [users] can actually have a seamless integration inside of the device so they can go beyond the application,” Dillon said.

New form factors are on the way, but much of the heavy lifting will be done through manufacturer partnerships.

It’s an ambitious strategy that, unfortunately, isn’t bolstered much by the three companies currently on board. Rovio’s back cover prominently features an Angry Birds illustration, and imparts a themed wallpaper, as well as a content stream featuring user comments and photos. It’s not really all that exciting. Makia’s implementation is much the same and comes off as a direct-to-consumer promotional channel. There’s certainly potential for manufacturers and developers to really take advantage of Dillon’s app-integration proposition, but nothing’s achieved that vision yet.

To spread the Sailfish message beyond early adopters, Jolla has an Android launcher in the works. The idea behind this is to encourage users to make a switch by offering a custom Sailfish-like home screen on top of Android. And in the event that hook is enough to convert some users over to Jolla’s side, the company’s also planning to release the entire OS as a free, flashable download for Android devices. Understandably, that option — currently set to release before Q3 — will target more advanced users. And in the interest of avoiding bricked phones and tablets, Dillon said the company’s restricting that rollout to select devices to ensure an optimized experience.

Sailfish is still in its early days and despite talk of future form factors, flashable ROMs and partner tie-ins, Dillon claims its number one priority is the Other Half and “continuing to deliver software updates.” To that end, Jolla’s fourth software update for Sailfish should be hitting devices sometime in the first week of March, bringing with it several UI refinements and stability fixes. Dillon wasn’t able to fully elaborate on just what exactly that entailed, but if the company’s dedication to its vocal user base is any indication, it’s likely the fulfillment of a long wish list.

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25
Feb

MukuLabs Shuttr review


This review was brought to you in part by BiteMyApple.

First Glance & Design

The MukuLabs Shuttr is a Kickstarted Bluetooth connected remote control shutter for your Android or Apple device’s camera app. Compact enough to fit on your key-chain, it allows you to take your favorite pictures without the need of finding the shutter button on your cell. This is great for those who want to take high quality rear facing selfies without a hassle.

For some reason today’s smartphone manufacturers have forgotten about the shutter release button. The Muku Shuttr comes to save the day – right from your keychain. Forget timers and guessing, simply place your phone on a stand and go over to your group and take the picture remotely. You can even start/stop recording videos (in video mode) on most devices.

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Compatibility & Power Source

The Shuttr works with the Apple iPhone, iPad, and most modern Android devices. You can use a simple switch on the side to connect via iOS or Android. The Shuttr is powered by a long lasting coin cell battery, so that means that you won’t have to deal with more wires to recharge. I was able to test the Shuttr on both the Apple iPhone 5 and my Samsung Galaxy S3 without difficulty after connection.

Some older devices that don’t utilize the later versions of iOS and Android may not be compatible (such as the iPhone 3G or Samsung Galaxy S). Battery life an extend up to over a year depending on use.

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Portability

The Shuttr is a bit larger than your standard miniature flash drive. The lanyard hole works great to keep this on your keychain. This allows you to take pictures on the go with ease.

Overview

Android Guys and BiteMyApple are big supporters of crowd-funded projects such as the Shuttr.

The MukuLabs Shuttr is an amazing little gadget! You can pick up yours (in both black and white color variants) with fast shipping directly from BiteMyApple.co, a premium retailer of mobile related products.

The post MukuLabs Shuttr review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

25
Feb

Sony Xperia Z2 gallery


Sony’s got a brand new flagship experience that sounds tremendous on paper. The questions, of course, is what this bad boy looks like. Spoiler alert: it’s sexy as always. Check out the following gallery of images of the upcoming smartphone from a variety of angels.

 

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The post Sony Xperia Z2 gallery appeared first on AndroidGuys.

25
Feb

Lenovo ups the game with the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+


Shortly after CES 2014 we offered up a review of the Yoga 8 and Yoga 10 tablets from Lenovo. They met and exceeded many of my expectations especially in the look, the feel and the performance department. They offered the many things that a lot of tablets currently on the market didn’t. One of the big wins in my opinion was the built-in kickstand with the dual front facing speakers. Being able to prop it up at will and watch a movie with ease and without needing a second accessory to tote around is great.

Lenovo Yoga 10 HD+There was one disappointment in the Yoga 10, the screen resolution. The Yoga 10 offered the same 1280 x 800 resolution as the 8-inch variety. That resolution looks clean and pretty crisp on the Yoga 8, but it is clearly not enough for the Yoga 10. While movie viewing and basic time killing gaming is just fine, those used to high screen resolutions will immediately be irritated.

Lenovo took that to heart and made a number of changes in the new Yoga 10 HD+. Giving the tablet a much needed boost in a few departments that kept this wonder tablet design out of the hands of more people. The Yoga 10 HD+ Kicks up the screen resolution from the fore mentioned 1280 x 800 to 1920 x 1200. That alone makes me smile, but Lenovo kept pushing a little further. They moved the processor from the MediaTek, to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core at 1.6GHz.

Other Specs that are important to know:

  • Android 4.3 at launch with Android 4.4 OTA coming
  • 1920 x 1200 20/20 Vision display
  • 1.6 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 178 Degree Viewing Angle
  • 16GB or 32GB internal storage options
  • Micro SD card support up to 64GB
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 8MP HD+ rear camera 1.6MP front facing camera
  • 9000 mAh Battery up to 18hour rating
  • Dual front facing speakers
  • 10 point multitouch
  • USB port supporting on-the-go technology
  • 10.28 x 7.09 x (.12 – .32) inches (261 x 180 x (3.0-8.1) millimeters)
  • 615 grams

Lenovo really listened and kicked the Yoga 10 HD+ up a notch. It also has a couple great accessories as well, like a Bluetooth Keyboard cover, various colored sleeves and MiraCast Dongle.

Lenovo has also kicked in some “Doit” apps that they have just released and are pre-loaded.

  • SHAREit: Rapidly share photos, apps, contacts, music and more with up to 5 devices with direct P2P transmission. Share files 300MBs+ in size. Is 40X faster than Bluetooth.
  • SECUREit: Anti-Spam, Anti-Virus, Anti-Theft and device optimization.
  • SYNCit: Backup and restore all contacts, SMS,
  • SNAPit: New camera app with various effects, one-touch filters and animated GIF creations.
  • SEEit: A new photo album app that is clean, intuitive and offers one touch photo editing. It also has facial recognition.

The new Lenovo  Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ will become available for purchase in April with a retail price tag of just $349.

25
Feb

Key Benefits of Using HP Laserjet Toners and Cartridges


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In today’s business environment, many businesses are looking for ways to save money and remain in the black. There are quite a few office expenses which can be cut, but others that are best left as-is. One of the regular expenses for many businesses is purchasing printing supplies. Starting a business or running a business can cost a lot of money but things like printing supplies are important to your business. Especially when printing your own checks, you must make sure the right equipment is used and it meets the standards. Should you consider refilling your toner cartridge or should you only use new, genuine HP LaserJet toner cartridges? The answer may surprise you.

There is no denying that purchasing new toner cartridges represents a much higher price when compared to refilled cartridges. When you consider the possibility for cartridge failure and the reduction in print quality, many businesses are recycling the empty cartridges and purchasing new. We are going to take a look at 2 different issues that could occur with toner cartridge refills so you can make an educated decision, according to the needs of your company.

Cartridge Failure – Although the toner can be effectively refilled in many toner cartridges, there are other parts of the cartridge that also need to be considered. For example, the print heads of the cartridge, as well as the nozzles will experience some deterioration after the first run and beyond. (Source: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/126821-should-you-refill-your-printers-ink-cartridges-hp-says-no-of-course) This could result in lower quality printing, and the possibility for related issues in some industries. It is always advisable to buy cartridges from the manufacturers or authorized vendors because you can ensure that it meets the standards. Without using authentic toners and cartridges, it affects the printing quality of the check or sensitive documents.

Print Quality – For many of the same reasons why cartridge failure may be an issue, there is also the possibility for a reduction in print quality. Although this may not be an issue with all businesses, high quality printing is essential for others. This is an especially important issue for financial institutions and other businesses that are printing their own checks. Poor print quality could result in checks that do not clear the central banking system, as well as any associated charges. Furthermore, printing your own checks can be dangerous when it doesn’t meet standard quality. Businesses need fraud prevention to protect sensitive data and documents. When the printing quality doesn’t meet the standards, unauthorized person can alter checks or cash out the check without permission.

After carefully considering the pros and cons of refilling your toner cartridges, you will be able to make a decision that is best for your company. Although some businesses will be able to deal with the issues associated with printer cartridge refills, others will certainly want to avoid the problems. You should not avoid problems like choosing a toner or cartridge for your printer because it can harm your business. Think wisely on areas you can or cannot cut business cost.

About the author:

Corey Rogan has worked in the IT industry for a number of years. To learn more about laserjet toners and cartridges visit,http://www.troygroup.com/cm/documents/cartridgewhitepaperrev2007.pdf. Feel free to connect with him over at Google+.

25
Feb

This is how Xbox One’s game broadcasting works


It’s true: Xbox One is getting its long overdue gameplay broadcasting functionality on March 11th, just in time for the launch of Xbox/PC-exclusive multiplayer blockbuster Titanfall. Some folks will get a chance to try out that functionality early through the beta program, but no one outside of Microsoft and Twitch have ready access to the service just yet. That’s not stopping Microsoft from touting the service as, “the first truly next-gen Twitch experience, one that can’t be matched by any other console.” So, uh, what does that mean?

It boils down to two main aspects of Twitch on Xbox One that aren’t available on PlayStation 4: archiving live feeds and the ability to view all of Twitch (read: any game on any game console). The latter ability already exists on your Xbox One; load up the Twitch app and watch any broadcast you want. When the app gets updated on March 11th (yes, there will be one application — Twitch — that handles broadcasting), it gets the ability to broadcast games out as well. Initial setup requires two basic audio/visual choices: if you’re using video, where do you want the picture-in-picture of your face to show up in the feed? if you’re using audio, there are some “basic levels” to work out. Looking to replicate the ease of use of PlayStation 4′s Share button ability? Say, “Xbox, Broadcast!” and you’re there. If you don’t have/don’t want to use a Kinect? That’s less simple.

Xbox Live program manager Chad Gibson tells Engadget it’s question of completing the following steps (from in-game): pushing the Home button, opening Snap, choosing Twitch and jumping back into the game. Not aggressively complicated, but certainly not as simple as the voice command option (or a Share button, for that matter).

Like Twitch on PS4, you can turn off video/audio capture as you wish and toggle comments. Also like the competition, streaming controls can be left or removed as “snapped” along the right rail — should you choose to unsnap it, a “bug” will let you know that recording’s on. And no, despite the HDMI-in ability (not to mention the myriad other media playing options) on Xbox One, you won’t be able to stream anything other than games to Twitch. All our dreams of a CNN-based Mystery Science Theater 3000 knockoff, dashed in one instant!

It’s not clear if Xbox One’s broadcasting has a similarly adorable standby screen to PS4 if you dump to the Dashboard during a broadcast, but it will outright cut off (read: end, non-restartable) if you attempt to load media in place of a game. The broadcast can be restarted, of course, but anyone watching must rejoin and, well, it sounds like kind of a hassle.

Twitch, like the Xbox One’s other software, will evolve as time goes on. We expect to see far more customization abilities in the future, as neither console is coming anywhere close to the level of support offer on PC. For now, though, we’re glad to see competition between Microsoft and Sony driving innovation in console-based broadcasting.

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25
Feb

Tesla’s feature-packed Model S tops Consumer Reports’ 2014 auto picks


Tesla’s Model S has scored an inordinate amount of coverage since its inception some five years ago, but there’s perhaps no honor greater than landing the premier spot in Consumer ReportsTop Picks. 2014′s award-winning autos also include Toyota’s Prius in the green category and Audi’s A6 in the top luxury slot, but the Tesla Model S scored Best Overall, despite an unfortunate battery fire and that infamous report in The New York Times. Minor setbacks aside, the EV has performed phenomenally in many reviews and safety tests, and with Superchargers now available throughout the US, it’s possible to take the Model S on a cross-country road trip without spending a cent on fuel.

As for this most recent win, Consumer Reports cites the vehicle’s “blistering acceleration, razor-sharp handling, compliant ride, and versatile cabin,” along with its “massive, easy-to-use 17-inch touch screen… totally keyless operation, full Internet access, and ultra-quiet, zero-emission driving experience.” Overall, a very solid achievement for Mr. Musk.

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Source: Consumer Reports

25
Feb

Apple Releases OS X 10.9.2 With Fix for Major SSL Vulnerability, FaceTime Audio


Apple today released OS X 10.9.2, which includes a fix for a major SSL security flaw that first came to light on Friday, after the release of iOS 7.0.6.

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The bug, which was introduced in the form of a single line of errant code that allowed an attacker to bypass SSL/TLS verification routines, left OS X users vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack. Shared wired or wireless networks could allow an attacker to intercept communications on affected machines, acquiring sensitive information like login credentials and passwords, or injecting harmful malware.

While the SSL vulnerability was first introduced to iOS in 2012, it only affects Macs running OS X 10.9. Lion and Mountain Lion users are not affected.

OS X 10.9.2 was first seeded to developers in December and has seen seven beta iterations since that time. Along with an emergency fix for the SSL bug, OS X 10.9.2 also includes FaceTime Audio and new blocking controls for iMessage and FaceTime.

It is recommended that all users running OS X 10.9 Mavericks upgrade to OS X 10.9.2 as soon as possible to disable the vulnerability.

    



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