Here’s comes the second significant price drop to grace our pages today: Amazon has taken a $20 chunk out of the price of its Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite e-readers, meaning you can get them for as little as $49 or $99 respectively. As with similar discounts in the past, this new pricing won’t last forever — it’s presumably timed to attract shoppers looking for Mother’s Day gifts. (What? You hadn’t forgotten, had you?)
Filed under: Amazon
Via: The Digital Reader
Earlier this month, Spotify let it be known that it would be implementing a redesign across its desktop and mobile properties, which it described as being the most dramatic change since 2008. As part of this, those of you with an Android device can now, finally, see what iOS users have been enjoying for the better part of April. Aside from featuring a darker theme, Spotify’s latest redesign is also about putting more content in front of you, meaning that albums and tracks are now better highlighted throughout the application.
Back when it was announced, Spotify said the philosophy behind the cleaner design was about getting it “just right,” so it was important to get a consistent (and flat) look on every platform on which its music service is available. The Android update is said to be rolling out as we speak; if you don’t feel like waiting, however, you can grab it directly from the Spotify website.
Source: Google Play
The patent wars are about to cool down in Europe… a little bit, anyway. The European Commission has revealed measures that prevent both Motorola and Samsung from using lawsuits over standards-based patents as offensive weapons against competitors, rather than last-ditch options when negotiations fail. To start, the regulator has ordered Motorola to cut out any “anticompetitive” terms in patent licensing deals with Apple and other companies. Motorola is allegedly abusing its control of cellular patents by forbidding companies from contesting those patents’ validity; companies and their customers shouldn’t be forced to pay for licenses that might not hold up in court, the Commission says. Motorola won’t pay a fine for the claimed violation since there’s no precedent, but the phone maker now can’t threaten a lawsuit simply because Apple wants to challenge the patents it’s licensing.
Samsung, meanwhile, isn’t waiting for the EU to take unilateral action. The tech giant has made an agreement with the Commission that prevents it from demanding injunctions over standards-essential patents for the next five years, matching a proposal it made in October. Samsung now has to negotiate royalty rates with any would-be licensee for up to a year. If there’s still no deal after that, an arbitrator or court makes the final call.
Neither the Samsung pact nor the Motorola decision will affect European lawsuits over regular patents, including those that arguably prompted the standards-related suits in the first place. They also won’t help with any related claims in the US. However, the EU’s steps should have firms thinking twice before they add more legal disputes to the ever-growing pile — and that’s good news for those of us who’d rather see companies duke it out in the marketplace instead of the courtroom.
[Image credit: European Parliament, Flickr]
Looking for something to replace that faltering Fuelband? Amazon wants you to know it has your back: the online retailer just opened a dedicated wearables portal, filtering all of its smartwatches, fitness trackers and human-mounted camera rigs to one place. It looks like little more than a featured-product splash page, but there’s a more going on under the surface. The Amazon Wearables Technology store has an editor’s corner (with commentary from Gizmodo), brand and product specific description pages, but we found landing page’s “learning center” its most interesting feature. This section is essentially a crash-course in wearable devices, featuring half a dozen videos and several buyers guide’s — all designed to give Amazon’s less gadget-obsessed buyers a reason to shop for wearables. It’s hardly an in-depth study on smartwatches, but if you’re absolutely mystified by the category, it’s a start.
Microsoft vowed that Office for iPad users wouldn’t always have to track down a PC just to print their files, and it’s making good on that promise with a slew of app updates. The tablet-sized versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word now let you make hard copies of documents so long as you have an AirPrint-friendly printer on hand. The move tackles one of the biggest gripes we had with Office when it launched last month; it’s at last possible to skip the computer entirely when producing that class report or family budget.
Printing isn’t the only upgrade in store. Excel now has auto-resizing for columns and rows, while PowerPoint gets Keynote-style guides that help align all the graphics just so for your big presentation. All told, these refinements are huge if the iPad is your productivity center — head over to the App Store source link to start updating.
Since its inception in 2009, that little white payment dongle has snuck into small businesses everywhere, making plastic a less costly proposition for the little guy. Today, it’s taking another step toward small business ubiquity with “Pickup,” which, fittingly, is a service that enables customers to purchase goods online for pickup in stores. The service gives sellers a free online market place and, as with its other products, the barrier to entry is nearly non-existent; the service is free to setup and the fee per purchase is 8 percent. Jack Dorsey’s other baby is also enabling offline purchasing via its Register app for those gasp-inducing moments when the internet goes dead; a welcome addition for anyone who’s ever had their dreams of an artisan cupcake crushed by faulty WiFi.
One of my personal pet peeves, and one that I know plagues many of you, is the constant barrage of white, or light, backgrounds and app UI’s. It is one reason that Team Black Out is such a great themer group as they take those apks and black them out for us all when the app doesn’t give us the option. They always work in free apps and keep their nose clean. It would appear that Spotify is finally jumping on the bandwagon and offering up a dark UI overhaul for the Android app. The update also brings in new fonts, icons and a few tweaked features.
Interestingly enough this news was pushed out back on April 2nd, but was limited to laptops, PC’s and iOS. Now the update is finally making its way to Android users. We will take it none the less. The new darker UI is pretty slick looking. Mixed in with that you will also find a new Your Music section that is aimed at helping you better save, organize and browse all your favorite tunes. To round off the update Spotify is also improving their Browse feature for a better experience in finding exactly what you are really looking for.
Spotify says the update is rolling out now and will complete over the next few weeks. We assume that means they are using the stage roll out option to push the update out to users. The Play Store lists the app for April 29th so we expect it to go out slowly to users to keep tabs on issues.
LastPass is an all in one password managing app that securely syncs all your passwords across all your browsers and devices. I am sure many of you out there have so many accounts set up with so many login details and passwords that you might already have this installed to help you get trough your day. If not, you might want to give it a whirl when you have chance. Especially if you are a Galaxy S5 owner. Today LastPass has announced a new update to the app. They partnered with Samsung to help bring the security of the app to the next level with fingerprint authentication.
The update is out now for users to utilize at their leisure. If you have never used LastPass you get a 14 day free trial to play about and see if it is something you can use in your life for that added bit of security. Once the 14 days expires you will be required to pay $12 a year for the service. That is just $1 a month, not a bad price really.
It seems there is a hefty debate underway around the web about the future of the Android Silver program that is apparently headed our way. The whole concept is to bring premium flagship handsets (insert HTC, Sony, LG, Samsung) to consumers with a pure Android experience and none of the carrier bloat or OEM bloat (with the exception of certain things that are needed for specific hardware to work ie duo-camera) We have been watching that seemingly unfold when the Galaxy S4, HTC One M7 and Sony Z Ultra made their way to the Play Store in Google Play Editions. The concept is good, but it is being met with push back from Nexus lovers everywhere. If the talks aren’t enough to get the juices flowing though, how about this little gem of information. The Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition just went on sale.
The Sony Z Ultra GPE, as you can see, is a pure Android powered device that was sitting pretty hefty at $649. Right now it is only $449. Tie that in with the Android Silver program and you could see how this could really work out for us all.
The Z Ultra is a pretty slick little device too. A 6.4-inch 1920 x 1080 full HD screen, all the best of Sony technology, Snapdragon 800 Quad Core processor at 2.2 GHz, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage and micro SD card slot. Oh, and it is on Android 4.4, of course.
It certainly seems that if Android Silver is what is to come, that Google has more than enough ability to bring it to consumers the right way. $449 isn’t a bad price at all for an unlocked GPE device with these specs. This could just be a way to clear out inventory and make way for something new too though. Perhaps a Xperia Z2 GPE? In my dreams. Either way, check it out in the Play Store.
Bust out the pitch forks gang. That rumor that Google is planning on replacing the Nexus line by 2015 has gathered more steam today. A new report suggests that Google is replacing the Nexus line with what is referred to as the Silver line. Android Police were the first to get the scoop on this new silver line, and the reason for Google partnering up a different phone line, is they want a tighter control on their software, trying to eliminate the bloat as much as possible. The Silver line phones will only sell five devices at a time, and Google wants them to be sold in carrier stores, and not just exclusively in the Play Store.
Google will also implement a 24/7 customer service department, that you can access through Google Hangouts. Added to the mix: a loaner phone program, as well as a lost phone app suite.
The backlash on this idea has already begun, and users out there that are strictly dedicated to Nexus probably feel like they have just got kicked in the face. You would think that these new phones would continue to bring us the stock Android experience, but apparently these phones won’t be fully stock. It will be as close to stock as possible, but sadly, there might be a little bloat. Let us know your thoughts about the Silver line devices.