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26
Mar

BlackBerry CEO promises legal action against product leakers


Leaks are par for the course when you’re a huge company working on a new product, but one BlackBerry leaker seems to have gone too far. At least, CEO John Chen thinks so: today he penned a post on the official Inside BlackBerry blog promising legal action against a leaker who “falsely posed as an employee of one of [BlackBerry’s] carrier partners to obtain access to secured networks.”

Ouch.

Chen didn’t say exactly what has the organization so hot and bothered, but the timing of a recently leaked BlackBerry 10.3 build makes it a likely suspect. Among other things, that early version of Waterloo’s new OS revealed codenames for future devices and the existence of an Intelligent Assistant app that may be meant to rival Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana. (Naturally, BlackBerry declined to comment on the matter.) Chen concedes at least some leaks are driven by fan curiosity, but for now he intends to take “strong action” against those whose zeal for the company ultimately winds up hurting it. BlackBerry is far from the only device maker that’s been burned by leaks lately — HTC’s shiny new One popped up in loads of photos and starred in two in-depth video leaks ahead of its launch yesterday. Surprise, surprise: HTC was not at all pleased with that pre-launch leakfest, but will it have a deleterious effect on sales? That’s the question these companies really need to mull.

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Source: Inside BlackBerry

26
Mar

Benchmarking the new HTC One: less cheating, better performance


Benchmarking the new HTC One: less cheating, better performance

There are actually two “Ones” that launched this week. The star attraction is undoubtedly the HTC One, but let’s not forget the brand-new Snapdragon 801 running under its hood: a cutting-edge processor that will also power the Sony Xperia Z2 and the Samsung Galaxy S5, but which happens to have reached the market first in HTC’s flagship phone. This chip represents a significant upgrade over the Snapdragon 600 in the old One, promising a hat trick of better all-round performance, more fluid gaming and longer battery life, and these are precisely the claims we’re about to explore using a combo of benchmarking apps and real-world tests. At the same time, HTC has suddenly decided to come clean on the issue of benchmark cheating, which makes it a bit easier for us to trust what the numbers are telling us.

Honest cheating

There’s no room here to go back over the whole cheating controversy, but let’s just say it’s been a pretty depressing affair. In fact, if HTC hadn’t made a significant change to the way the new One handles benchmarks, we probably wouldn’t have bothered with this article at all, for fear of leading you astray. Fortunately though, that change has been made.

HTC has acknowledged to us that, in the past, it has forced its devices to run in a so-called High Performance Mode (HPM) whenever a well-known benchmarking app was launched. This mode boosted the processor’s clock speeds to levels that weren’t available to other apps, causing excessive battery drain and temperature increases solely for the purpose of achieving unrealistically high benchmark scores. The company could (and probably should) have put an end to this practice, but instead it has gone the other way: High Performance Mode on the new One is available to anyone who wants it, in any app they like, by means of a tickbox in the Developer Options screen.

High Performance Mode on the new One is available to anyone who wants it

Let’s be clear: There’s still some cheating going on here because you cannot disable High Performance Mode in a benchmarking app in order to measure the One’s regular, non-accelerated behavior. That’s why the numbers in the HPM column below mostly look the same as the non-HPM column. But by making HPM available to everyone, HTC has at least sidestepped the worst allegations against it and made things a little more open.

General performance

HTC One (2014)

HTC One (2014) HPM

HTC One (2013) Galaxy Note 3
Quadrant 2.0 25,548 23,555 11,952 23,278
Vellamo 2.0 1,804 1,668 1,435 2,501
Vellamo 2.0 Metal 1,280 1,269 749 1,194
AnTuTu 3.2 30,100 30,613 26,081 35,340
SunSpider 1.0, stock browser 570 577 940 537
Geekbench 3 single-core 941 989 626 934
Geekbench 3 multi-core 2,595 2,990 1,968 2,928
CF-Bench 38,526 38,489 27,601 33,785

If the table above tells us anything, it’s that a person upgrading to the new One from an old One, or from a 2012 phone like the One X or One X+, should see a solid and noticeable jump in general performance. SunSpider reveals that browser page rendering is almost twice as quick, whether you use the stock browser or Chrome. Benchmarks that test the CPU, memory and a range of other components, such as CF-Bench and AnTuTu, show improvements of between 10 and 50 percent, with Quadrant’s score being around double.

On the other hand, there’s much less to shout about when we stack the HTC phone up against last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which was one of the most popular implementations of the Snapdragon 800. Here we see only marginal gains in the region of 5 to 20 percent, with a couple of tests still putting the older device in the lead. This tallies with the fact that HTC has opted for a 2.3GHz version of the 801, which matches the CPU clock speed of the 800 and only offers a slight boost in memory and GPU speeds.

Graphics and gaming tests

HTC One (2014)

HTC One (2014) HPM

HTC One (2013) Galaxy Note 3
GFX Bench TRex Offscreen 28.2 28.3 N/A 26.3
GFX Bench Manhattan Offscreen 11.1 11.1 N/A 9.3
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 20,440 20,433 10,238 18,828

GameBench fps (Minion Rush)*

28 29 27 28
GameBench % drain per hour (Minion Rush)* 22 25 32 20
*Scores achieved using GameBench beta app, not certified by GameBench itself.

In terms of graphics, based on GFXBench and 3DMark, we’re looking at even bigger gains compared to the old One, as well as a significant step up from the Note 3. The only real-world test in our arsenal, GameBench, shows a small gain of 1 fps in regular mode, or 2 fps in High Performance Mode, which doesn’t seem so impressive. However, this test involves measuring a phone’s performance while an Android game is being played, and in this instance it probably tells us more about the game (Despicable Me: Minion Rush) than it does about the phone. After all, most mainstream Android games are designed to run on a wide range of devices, rather than to exploit the extra power offered by top-end phones.

Even if GameBench doesn’t reveal much change in terms of frame rates, it does show a very healthy improvement in the new One’s gaming stamina. Whereas the Snapdragon 600 was constantly under pressure in Minion Rush, draining a third of its battery each hour, the Snapdragon 801 proved to be capable of delivering slightly smoother graphics alongside a much lower drain rate. This drain rate was almost as low as the Note 3′s, despite the fact that Samsung’s phablet contains a much larger battery (3,200mAh vs. 2,600mAh).

For reference, the new One also produced a great result in the standard battery rundown test for our main review, lasting 11.5 hours (vs. 6.5 hours on the old One and 9.5 hours on the Note 3). So, we can safely say that this phone is very efficient, regardless of whether it’s being stressed or doing something less taxing, like playing a video.

Wrap-up

The conclusion here is simple: The HTC One has a very solid processor, and if you compare it to the old One, then you should see major improvements in both speed and battery life — which is exactly what we all want. But if you stack it up against current Snapdragon 800 phones, the One is only a small step forward — it’s better in a lot of tests, but if you own something like a Galaxy Note 3, then you probably wouldn’t notice much difference. When the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 arrive, both with bigger batteries and, in Samsung’s case, with even higher clock speeds, the One will likely be edged out of the top spot on any benchmarking table. Nevertheless, so long as we don’t pay too much attention to what else lies on the horizon, we reckon HTC has given its latest phone more than enough grunt to satisfy even the most demanding of power users in 2014 and beyond.

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26
Mar

TV Commercials Vault Games to Top Tier of App Store Rankings


Analytics firm App Annie has released its February data (via AppleInsider) on top-performing apps on iOS and Android for the month of February, highlighting how large developers have increasingly been able to leverage television commercials to help boost their rankings. Such tactics are obviously not within financial reach of most developers, but established players such as King and Big Fish Games have the resources to make an impact on television.

In looking at the top App Store games by revenue in February, App Annie notes that King’s Farm Heroes Saga leapt sixteen places from the previous month to land in seventh place, while Big Fish Casino moved up six places to just break into the top ten. Both games have benefited from television advertising in recent months, driving their visibility and user interest.

Farm Heroes Saga made major gains in iOS revenue in February, giving publisher King three of the Top 10 positions. […] Farm Heroes Saga received extensive TV and print campaigns in the United Kingdom and United States, and performed strongly in both markets.

Another app receiving extensive TV commercials in the United States in February was Big Fish Casino, which made significant gains to join the Top 10 games by iOS revenue. It was interesting to note that the commercials for Big Fish Casino targeted female players, a marketing stance that has been adopted by several big game publishers in 2014.

Long-standing top performers Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga have also seen significant television advertising in recent months.


The Flappy Bird phenomenon was obviously strong in the month of February, with developer Dong Nguyen’s .Gears Studio ranking number one in total App Store game downloads in February, despite having only three titles in the store and Flappy Bird itself having been taken down on the 9th of the month. Even so, Flappy Bird ranked as the most downloaded game for the month, while another title, Super Ball Juggling, placed seventh.

And of course the rush of copycats also saw an impact, with a number of Flappy Bird clones seeing substantial success during the month, particularly in the wake of Flappy Bird‘s removal. At one point late last month, one-third of all new App Store games were either clones of Flappy Bird or inspired by the title. Only a small fraction of those titles seeking to ride on the popularity of Flappy Bird experienced success, but those that did saw very high numbers of downloads.

    



26
Mar

More Options for 128 GB Mac Pro RAM Upgrades Now Available [Mac Blog]


mac_pro_ramEarlier this month, Transcend announced the launch of 128 GB RAM kits for the new Mac Pro, offering users willing to spend nearly $2500 the ability to go beyond Apple’s maximum of 64 GB.

Several new options for 128 GB RAM upgrades have launched since that time, offering consumer more choices in sourcing their RAM. Last week, MacMall began selling 32 GB modules from Axiom for $620, thus matching Transcend’s $2480 price for the full 128 GB kit.

And today, OWC announced its own kit, offering the full 128 GB for $2130, a savings of $350 over Transcend and Axiom for the time being.

As with all of the other 128 GB kits, OWC’s will run at 1066 MHz due to limitations in Intel’s chipset for addressing the higher capacity of RAM. Lower-capacity RAM kits can run at faster 1866 MHz speeds, but OWC notes that the performance hit of the 128 GB kit is generally minor compared to the benefit of having much more RAM.

While current DRAM device technology limit 32GB modules to a 1066MHz memory clock in the Apple Mac Pro 2013, due to enhanced CAS Performance of OWC MaxRAM 32GB Modules, actual real-world performance is insignificant in low memory need scenarios while offering incredibly significant performance gains in all cases where application use benefits from greater than 64GB of total memory installed.

In addition to its new kits of 32 GB modules, OWC also offers RAM kits for the Mac Pro using 8 GB and 16 GB modules at much lower pricing than through Apple. As a result, customers may prefer to order their Mac Pro from Apple with a minimum of RAM and save some money by upgrading the RAM through OWC or another vendor offering high-quality RAM for lower prices than at Apple.

    



26
Mar

Organizy App Review: Turn your phone into your grocery shopping Companion [SP]


Organizy App ReviewI’m not huge on grocery lists normally; I like to think that my memory is superior to any sort of written or electronic reminder, though in practice, I almost always forget some small thing. That’s where Organizy comes in; the grocery shopping list app from the developer with the same name that aims to make your shopping experience an easier and more efficient one.

Probably the first thing that you will notice about Organizy after a few minutes navigating yourself through its menus is that it has quite a nice user interface; menus slide in and out when required and it works smoothly. It’s not quite ‘Google Cards’-nice, but it does the job and looks great doing it. There are also alternate themes to use depending on your preference and Organizy also supports 6 other languages besides English (Russia, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, German and French).

Organizy App ReviewWhile Organizy is a simple app, the developers have still been thoughtful enough to include a help file that goes through all the different functions and interactions you will have with the Organizy app.

Organizy App ReviewTo start a shopping list, all you need to do is press the add list symbol in the top right and enter a shopping list name. Once that is done, you can add items one by one. The process for this is surprisingly easy as Organizy has a existing library of groceries you might be looking for; start typing apples and Organizy will suggest all the options it has with the word “apple” in it. While the lists aren’t exhaustive, it’s a nice touch, and you can always enter custom items yourself.

Organizy App ReviewYou can also define the quantity of that item you wish to buy as well as the standard grouping term you want to use, such as “packet” or “item”. Again, the list isn’t exhaustive, though I was surprised there’s no option to add denominations of your own. There is also a space to add a comment for that item, and a chance to put the item into a specific category (the significance of this will be clear later). The nice thing about selecting on of Organizy’s existing groceries is that it will automatically assign that grocery a preset category, though of course you can set this yourself. Again though, I was disappointed there is no option to add your own category.

Organizy App ReviewOnce your shopping list is complete, you will be able to see it in all its colour-coded glory. When using the list itself at the shops, marking off an item is as simple as swiping right which will strike-out the text. If however you realize you don’t actually need a particular item, getting rid of that entry is as easy as swiping left; if you do this by mistake, recovering the deleted item is as easy as giving your device a shake. If your list is cluttered with already found items, you can also remove them all in one fell swoop with the option at the bottom of the menu.

Organizy App ReviewYou will remember I said to keep the specific categories in mind from earlier; there is one other function you can perform with your shopping list and that is to send or share it via another app. Using Google Keep as an example (you could easily do this with email, Facebook, etc. as well), Organizy will export the list as text with your shopping items organized by your categories including names and quantities. It’s not rocket science, but the formatting and the ability to do this is a nice touch.

Organizy App ReviewI like the Organizy app; it’s simple, but functional, which is pretty much everything you need from an app like this. You could argue that it needs, or would be better with additional features, but for what it is (a $0.99 app), it does exactly what you need it to and looks good doing it.

You can pick Organizy up for $0.99 on the Google Play Store now (link below). There is also a free version in which you’ll have to suffer the presence of ads.

Application: Organizy Pro – Shopping List

Play Store Link

Price: $0.99

Application: Organizy free – Shopping List

Play Store Link

Price: Free / with Ads

Official Website at Organizy.com

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26
Mar

Toshiba 128GB Flash Drive Has the Speed and the Security in One Device


At the end of February Toshiba announced a new line of TransMemory Pro EX II USB Flash Drives to the world. The announcement brought along two new devices, a 64GB version and a 128GB version. The big to do about the thumb drives were the transfer speed read/writes and the added security functionality. Needless to say, it all sounded to good to be true, so we needed to find out for ourselves.

Toshiba TransMemory 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review

What’s in the box

  • 128GB USB 3.0 TransMemory Pro EX II Flash Drive
  • Warranty information

The Toshiba TransMemory Pro Flash Drive measures in at 2.2 x 0.8 x 0.4 – inches ( 55.88 x 20.32 x 10.16 mm) and weighs in at 0.5 ounces.

Toshiba TransMemory 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive ReviewThe flash drives casing is solid aluminum that helps make it more durable and not to mention looks and feels pretty good.

It does have a set of holes in the rear to thread a wrist strap, like from a camera, or a keychain ring through for safer travels. You will also find that the cap that covers the front USB plug has a safe home on the rear, kind of like a pen cap.

Toshiba TransMemory 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review Toshiba TransMemory 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive ReviewLike every other storage solution out there, you don’t actually get 128GBs of free space. There is approximately 119GBs of actually user storage available on the one we have right now, but the Toshiba says there is around 115GBs of user storage. The reasoning is that a portion of the memory is locked up for software and functionality.

The new TransMemory Pro has two primary selling points of interest. The first being the theoretical speeds. According to Toshiba, the drive will read at up to 222 MB/s and write at up to 205 MB/s. Compared to the Sandisk Connect Wireless and previous SD card tests, that is approximately 13 times faster. Those numbers are dictated only if your current connected device uses USB 3.0 and not USB 2.0.

The second major selling point is the EX II Pad Locker software that is included on the drive.

Toshiba EX II Pad Locker Securoty AppThis handy little application is where you can create a protected partition that can be password protected. This can be a small portion of the drive, or the whole thing. It will accept up to 21-single spaced characters which include numbers, letters and symbols. You can add a password hint if you would like as well.

EX II Pad Locker P{ad locker Flash Drive 

The real kicker though, if you forget that password, there is no recovering it. You can only format the drive to wipe the block. Don’t forget to copy it off the drive before you set up the or remove any restriction blocks also as it wipes the drive. If you happen to forget though you can get the software again from Toshiba.

The flash Drive is also Microsoft ReadyBoost Ready as well.

How does the Toshiba 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Perform?

Desktop PC

The first thing I did to test the drive was connect to a USB 2.0 port on an older PC and then ran CrystalDiskMark.

Toshiba DriveSecond, I connected the drive to a USB 3.0 port on a newer computer and ran the same software.

Toshiba Drive USB 3.0 Port testingAs you can see in the images above, there is a huge difference. We know that a USB 3.0 port and compatible hardware will much faster, but sometimes seeing the proof is better than reading reading about it on a package. Interestingly enough, this is slightly faster than what Toshiba has listed of 222MB/s read and 205MS/s write.

I wanted to give the numbers a test in a real world condition too. To do that I just grabbed my phone and opened up the stop watch. Then I transferred a 1.0GB movie file from my PC desktop to the drive, once on the USB 2.0 port and once on the USB 3.0 port.

USB 2.0 – File transfer to the drive took approximately 35 seconds from the time I dropped the file and the transfer window closed.

USB 3.0 – File transfer to the drive took approximately 6.5 seconds from the time I dropped the file and the transfer window closed.

Not an exact science, but in the real world every users file size will vary and so will their computer equipment. In the end, it shows that the speed between 2.0 and 3.0 with a 3.0 flash drive does make a world of difference if you have a patience issue.

OTG Cable to a Moto X

The next thing I did was use a USB OTG cable and connect the drive to a Moto X.

Toshiba 128GB TransMemoryPro USB 3.0 Flash Drive Moto X USB OTG Cable 

You can see the drive appearing in the list with ES File Explorer. I easily accessed it and played the movie file on board. However, once I set up a protected area that was password protected, I wasn’t able to view or access any files on either the ‘public’ side or the ‘protected’ side. I fully expected to have access to the ‘public’ side of the drive and just not see the ‘private’ side at all.  I had to reformat back to a full drive for the Moto X.

Google Chromebook (Acer)

The final device available to me to connect the drive to is our Acer C710 Chromebook. That is their first Chromebook. The Acer quickly and easily accessed the drive without the ‘private’ section set up. When I connected the drive with both a ‘public’ and a ‘private’ partition set up, it was able to access the ‘public’ side without issue. The ‘private’ side didn’t appear at all, which is good, but you can’t run a .exe program that is required to access the program to input the password to access the ‘private’ side.

What I like about the TransMemory Pro 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive 

What isn’t to like? Even on a USB 2.0 port the speeds were double that of the SanDisk Connect Wireless, which topped out at about 17.6 MB/s. While the SanDisk drive isn’t necessarily relevant, it is a reference that we have covered. The aluminum housing is well crafted. The lid fits securely on both sides. There is nothing more annoying than losing the lid to your drive.

What I don’t like about the TransMemory Pro 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

While I understand the OS and compatibility issues, I would have liked to find a way to access the ‘private’ side of the drive with an Android app and a Chrome app. I am sure they are capable of creating one. It is a minor issue, but considering the amount of users who use Chromebooks and Android devices as their primary work device, having access to the added security would make these appeal a little more.

Overall thoughts

Even with the restriction of not being able to access the ‘private’ section on Chromebook or Android at all, the drive is still worth your time. It is very possible that Toshiba will look into support for them, but I wouldn’t bank on it in the near future. The storage size and the speed is fantastic. If you need a fast large storage USB drive and primarily work with Mac and Windows, then you can’t go wrong with this little guy. Adding in that app and the ‘private’ section with an encrypted password, and you have a real winner.

The new drives come in the 128GB version that we just reviewed, as well as a smaller 64GB version. The 128GB will set you back $199.99 on Amazon, but the 64GB isn’t making an appearance yet. Toshiba on the other hand has them both available and for a slightly lower price tag at the moment. The 128GB is listed for $169.99 and the 64Gb is listed for $99.99. Limited time offer through March 31st 2014  though, so order fast.

 

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26
Mar

HTC BlinkFeed looks to be coming to other Android devices



Rather unsurprisingly, following the announcement of the new HTC One M8 device yesterday, HTC are planning on opening up their BlinkFeed home screen launcher to other Android devices.

Included in the press release,HTC highlight their plans for the launcher:

Following its popularity with HTC users, HTC will now make HTC BlinkFeed available to other Android devices, launching on the Google Play store soon.

HTC listed their new Sense 6.0 apps in the Play Store prematurely before the release, but as of now they still are only compatible with HTC branded devices.

Opening up their software to a broader Android audience will be a fantastic move and one that is likely to see the uptake of BlinkFeed accelerated.

The post HTC BlinkFeed looks to be coming to other Android devices appeared first on AndroidGuys.

26
Mar

New Xbox One notifications let you know when other gamers think you’re being a jerk


The Xbox One’s simplified Reputation system aims to keep like-minded gamers playing together, and now the folks in Redmond plan to notify you if you fall of out the community’s good graces. Are you the sort of player who doesn’t ruffle too many feathers? You’ll be just fine — the occasional bad report won’t do much harm. Starting this month though, Microsoft will reach out to trollish gamers when negative feedback from fellow players drags their reputations down into “needs work” territory. Prolonged abrasiveness will ultimately land them in the red “avoid me” zone, where matchmaking for games becomes more difficult and certain features like Twitch livestreaming could be restricted. Seems like a pretty big price to pay when the alternative is to behave like a civilized human being, doesn’t it?

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Source: Microsoft

26
Mar

Inside the Room Where Apple Developed the Original iPhone Software [iOS Blog]


With permission from Apple, senior software engineer Greg Christie recently spoke with The Wall Street Journal about the development of the original iPhone, disclosing some details ahead of a new patent trial involving Samsung. The original article focused on the iPhone’s software features, while a follow-up report highlights the environment and hardware that was used in this software development process.

apple-iphone-roomApple’s hardware setup for testing early prototype iPhone software
According to Christie, design decisions on early versions of Apple’s iPhone OS were made in a drab, windowless room with Mac hardware running the software and a large touchscreen device, “Wallaby”, simulating the screen of the mobile device. The room is also where Christie met with Steve Jobs to present the iPhone team’s work.

It doesn’t mean that the windowless room, lit by fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling, looked like anything special. Christie recalled the walls had signs of water damage from a flood in an adjacent bathroom. A few images covered the walls including one of Apple’s “Think Different” posters of famous graphic designer Paul Rand and another of a large chicken running around without its head.

These details on the development of the iPhone were released in advance of a second U.S. patent infringement trial between Apple and Samsung that is set to begin March 31. Apple prevailed in the first trial and was awarded a judgement of $890 million. This upcoming trial targets more recent products such the Galaxy Note II, the Galaxy S III, the iPhone 5, and the iPad 4.

    



26
Mar

Drobo Announces New 4-Bay Gen3 with USB 3.0, Enhanced Time Machine Support [Mac Blog]


Connected Data today announced the Drobo Gen3, the next generation of its popular 4-bay storage array. The Gen3 is faster and cheaper than previous Drobo models. It also features enhanced support for Apple’s Time Machine backups.

drobo-gen3

This third generation Drobo is more affordable, three times faster than the previous release and includes new features such as USB 3.0, significantly faster rebuild times and enhanced support for Apple’s Time Machine®.

Mac owners will be interested in the improved Time Machine support now available in the Drobo Gen3. Instead of using an entire drive for Time Machine, users can maximize their data storage space by allocating a fixed amount of capacity for their Time Machine-derived backups.

Drobo is accepting pre-orders for the Drobo Gen3, which is priced at $349 for the base model without pre-installed hard drives. Through June 9th, select existing Drobo customers are eligible for a $50 discount on the Gen3 when they purchase the new Drobo through the company’s online store. Shipments of the Gen3 are expected to begin in late April.

    



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