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11
Sep

Six models in a year: Samsung’s struggle to perfect the smartwatch


Can you name them all? It’s been merely a year since Samsung revealed its first smartwatch to the tech press crowds in IFA, Berlin. Then, roughly six months later, the company switched software — and, ugh, gear — with three new wearable models, the Gear 2, the (possibly most forgotten) Gear Neo and the fitness-oriented Gear Fit wearable. Now Apple’s shown off its (already divisive) offering, the race towards the definitive wearable is on. To its credit, Samsung continues to tweak, bend and experiment on each subsequent smartwatch, and appears to be taking on customer (and reviewer) feedback along the way. However, you’re likely still pissed if you were one of the few to plunk down cash for the company’s first attempt. Let’s start there. `

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11
Sep

Why T-Mobile wants to give you a wireless router for free


T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling

If you’re a T-Mobile customer, your company just gave you a very unexpected gift at yesterday’s UnCarrier event: a wireless router. Yes, a fully functioning, magenta-branded, ASUS-built router, which can do essentially everything your current router can do — and if yours is old, this will likely do even more. The device, which would cost roughly $200 if you purchased it on Amazon without T-Mobile’s tweaks, only requires a $25 deposit, which gets returned to you once you’re done using it. The company is going all-in on its commitment to providing every subscriber and every carrier-branded smartphone with free WiFi calling, and the router — called the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot — is the icing on the cake. But, you may ask, why is this a thing that’s happening in the year 2014, especially when most of us already have access to a router (and thus, WiFi calling) nearly everywhere we go?

It’s a very good question, because the CellSpot isn’t a necessity if you want to take advantage of WiFi calling at home, work or the local Starbucks. Chances are you already have a router that can handle that, but CMO Mike Sievert believes customers will enjoy it because it’s a portable device that’s easy to set up wherever you go. “Your office, home, man cave, cabin, any place you get broadband, you can now get T-Mobile coverage,” he said. More importantly — especially for those who still use their phones as, y’know, phones it also prioritizes your HD-quality calls over any other activity on the network; on most routers, your call might get dropped when your significant other starts binge-watching Breaking Bad, whereas the CellSpot ensures that your call gets saved at the expense of your family’s Netflix marathon.

TMO media event SF

Of course, there are enough benefits on T-Mobile’s side to justify the new program. At yesterday’s event, CTO Neville Ray mentioned that the carrier’s traffic has grown by more than 10 times from three years ago, and given the company’s recent growth (it added nearly 3 million new subscribers in August alone, which is a record for T-Mobile), it makes sense to find alternative methods of alleviating the additional burden that comes with it. Thus, when you use the CellSpot (or any WiFi calling, for that matter), everybody wins: The network is less saturated for customers who aren’t in the vicinity of a WiFi hotspot, and subscribers get themselves a brand-new router and full bars of service.

The idea of loaning out equipment to help subscribers improve their coverage isn’t new. Microsites (also known as femtocells) have been around for a while; AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have all offered the tech as the 3G MicroCell, Verizon 3G Network Extender and AiRave, respectively. These devices used your home’s landline or broadband service to offer more bars of coverage in your home or office, which came in especially handy if your abode or workspace fell smack-dab in the middle of a network dead zone. However, these could only be used as peripherals to your WiFi router, instead of replacements. T-Mobile’s new option hits two birds with one stone, providing you with a fresh ASUS 802.11ac router that also happens to boost your signal.

That said, there’s one tiny misnomer in T-Mobile’s marketing efforts: Throughout yesterday’s event and on the company’s website, the company said that the CellSpot program is “like adding millions of towers to your network every single day.” That may technically be accurate, but it’s misleading because you don’t have open access to all of those towers; T-Mobile customers won’t be able to use everyone else’s CellSpots for service as they walk down the sidewalk. CEO John Legere says that such a concept isn’t completely out of the question in the future, but it just wasn’t feasible for UnCarrier 7.

“Do those CellSpots become T-Mobile-ubiquitous sites? Not yet, but we’re going to try to solve that as the industry moves,” he said. “That’s the start of WiFi being a tied-in component to the network. At some point, I wouldn’t rule out every personal CellSpot becoming a tower, but we couldn’t get there yet.” It’s certainly food for thought for upcoming UnCarrier moves (though Legere says there are plenty of ideas in the funnels for 8.0, 9.0 and 10.0 already, and this item likely isn’t on the agenda), as long as T-Mobile can find a way to do it without jeopardizing the privacy of its CellSpot owners. If any John Doe can come along and hook up to your network, it would raise a whole new set of concerns.

Sure, handing out routers seems like a random move for even T-Mobile, but it’s a solid one. And if you’re a customer (or are thinking of making the switch), it’s hard to say no to a free wireless router. It’ll be available in stores beginning September 17th.

[Image credits: Associated Press (router, Neville Ray), T-Mobile (last image)]

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11
Sep

Ricoh’s WG-M1 is an action camera from the people that make Pentax


Dizzying first-person footage? Check. Skate/parkour/longboard adrenaline ride? Check. Ricoh (perhaps better known for its Pentax brand) knows what action camera buyers want. Or at least the category’s marketing staples. Its latest cam is the Ricoh WG-M1, and it’s aimed squarely at the Blanchards and Bruscos of this world. It shoots full HD, takes 14-megapixel stills, has WiFi, is waterproof to over 30 feet and sports an LCD display — all good stuff. But there’s one big question — does it come with a carabiner-equipped strap for easy carrying? Glad you asked, the press materials say yes. The camera will cost $300 when it shoulders its way onto shelves in October, so plenty of time to look up what a carabiner is.

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Source: Ricoh

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11
Sep

SlingTV arrives with an update for Slingbox 500 set-top boxes in tow


Back in July, Sling announced that one of its first new offerings in almost two years would largely be a software refresh. The out-of-home TV-streaming outfit revealed that, in addition to a new $150 WiFi-equipped M1 option, the familiar-looking SlingTV would replace the pricier Slingbox 500. Well, the time has come, and the new wedge-shaped set-top box that’s nearly identical to the 500 on the outside delivers that retooled UI as it goes on sale today. If you’ll recall, part of the redesign includes “excitement ratings” from Thuuz that let you know when you should switch over to the big game based on score changes, momentum swings and analysis of the matchup. In addition to the new $300 device, folks who have already splurged for the Slingbox 500 will be privy to a software update that will bring all of the new features to their living rooms — which includes a remote refresh that’s coming to iPhone and Android apps next week.

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11
Sep

EU court rules libraries can digitize books without permission


books in public library ...

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that libraries have the right to digitize books and distribute them to dedicated reading terminals without first obtaining the publisher’s permission. The decision rests on exceptions built into the EU Copyright Directive for reproducing and communicating intellectual property. Specifically it says that publicly accessible libraries may make works available at “dedicated terminals… for the purpose of research or private study.” German publisher Eugen Ulmer, which filed the suit in question against the Technical University of Darmstadt, can’t be happy with the result. But, the court didn’t hand libraries a blank check to freely pass around digitized content either. The law still prevents these digitized copies from being stored on USB keys or printed out. Under the Copyright Directive, the act of printing or storing the files would mean the individual, not the library, was making the copy — which would violate the law.

The decision is sure to generate plenty of controversy. In fact, the issue of digitizing books has had a long history of stirring up trouble. In the US Google ran afoul of publishers and authors when it attempted to put digitally scanned versions of books online and make them searchable. And publishers have been trying to milk every dollar they can out of libraries that “lend” ebooks. This is probably not the last time that a publishing company is going to drag a library or educational organization in front of a judge, either. But at least in Europe there’s now a slightly clearer precedent for dealing with such conflicts.

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Via: PCWorld

Source: CJEU (PDF)

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11
Sep

Sony bids adiós to future updates for the Xperia L, M, C and SP



Android Update

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”


The above line is just a hint about the news we want to present to you i.e.: Sony has reached the end on updating the Xperia L, M, C, and SP. The end to software update is indeed a bad news, We simply tried to ease the hard blow by reminding you that there is no certainty with end. Did it help? We hope it helped.

Anyway, all of these Xperia devices are presently running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and that’s the highest they will ever go. Sony confirmed this earlier today when it updated each device’s respective software update page with an end-affirming “Latest and final version” tag. Ah! That hurts.So now, let’s take a look at the lighter side: Our lives are still updating and (as of now) there is no end to it. Deep insight. Period.

Feel free to check out each devices update page at Sony.


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The post Sony bids adiós to future updates for the Xperia L, M, C and SP appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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11
Sep

Google brings Android apps to Chrome OS, starts off slow



At Google I/O the Android and Google community were in awe at Google’s plans for the future. We saw Android L, Material Design, screen mirroring for Chromecast, Android TV and Android Auto. Something else that came out of the Google I/O conference was the long-awaited hope and dream of Android apps on Chrome OS, Chromebooks to be more precise.

Android apps on Chome OS

After just a few months, Google has started to make that a public reality. The flood gates aren’t opening just yet, but Google is making a select number of apps available. Those apps are  Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words, and Vine. Oddly enough Flipboard was mentioned during Google I/O but didn’t make the initial cut. Moving forward Google will be working with a handful of developers to start moving their apps over and making sure they work as they are supposed too.

 “Over the coming months, we’ll be working with a select group of Android developers to add more of your favorite apps so you’ll have a more seamless experience across your Android phone and Chromebook.”

So, does this mean you need some sort of new install, or a special emulator of sorts installed? Nope. Ars Technica plugged Google for a little more detail in terms of how it all runs.


The app code is all running on top of the Chrome platform, specifically inside of Native Client. In this way the ARC (Android Runtime for Chrome) apps run in the same environment as other apps you can download from the Chrome Web Store, even though they are written on top of standard Android APIs. The developers do not need to port or modify their code, though they often choose to improve it to work well with the Chromebook form factor (keyboard, touchpad, optional touchscreen, etc).  

Quick and simple. You don’t need anything nor do you need to do anything. All you need to do is grab the app from the Chrome Web Store and use it. You do need to be on Chrome OS version 37 though. Hit up the links below to go grab each of the specific apps from the Chrome Web Store mentioned and let us know what you think.

Duolingo | Evernote | Sight Words | Vine 

Source: Chrome Blog Via: Ars Technica

 


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The post Google brings Android apps to Chrome OS, starts off slow appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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11
Sep

Trade-In Options for iPhone 6 Buyers With Old Devices


After purchasing an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 Plus, many upgraders will be left with old iPhones or Android phones that can be worth quite a bit of money. There are several options for trading in old devices that can significantly cut down on the cost of purchasing a new device, and most of the trade-in options are entirely hassle free. Some carriers are even offering trade-in bonuses in order to entice users to upgrade to an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.

Verizon, for example, is offering a free 16GB iPhone 6 with the trade-in of an iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5c, or 5s in good working condition with the renewal of a two-year contract, a $199 value. That’s not a great deal for users that have a mint-condition iPhone 5s (which is generally worth more than $199), but it is a pretty solid option for former 4, 4s, 5, or 5c users.

T-Mobile has guaranteed the best trade-in values on used devices, promising to meet the best trade-in prices of other major carriers. If a customer finds a better trade-in price than what T-Mobile is offering, T-Mobile will meet the price and pay an additional $50.

tmobiletradein
Sprint has also offered to match the trade-in policies of other carriers, and will beat buyback pricing on trade-ins for new lines of service. Under the terms of the new trade-in policy, Sprint is offering up to $300 for older devices towards a new iPhone purchase.

Like other carriers, AT&T is planning to offer up to $300 to customers trading in an old device to purchase a new iPhone 6. AT&T is also offering a $100 credit for customers that add a new line to their Next accounts.

Apple has an in-store trade-in program and an online program, with the online trade-in program offering up to $310 for a 32GB iPhone 5s in good condition. Apple’s in-store program offers an immediate gift card for an old device that can be put towards the purchase of a new device.

Retailers like Target and Best Buy also have trade-in programs. Best Buy currently offers $310 for a 32GB iPhone 5s in good working condition, while Target offers $247.50 for the same device.

Along with immediate trade-ins from carrier stores, Apple retail locations, and electronic retailers, there are also countless vendors that accept trade-ins via mail. Popular trade-in site Gazelle, for example, is offering $275 for a locked 32GB iPhone 5s in “flawless” condition, or $300 for the same phone unlocked.

Amazon has a trade-in program that often offers some of the best trade-in values, but maximum value comes from accepting an Amazon gift card rather than cash. The company offers up to $347.50 for a 32GB iPhone 5s from AT&T, or up to $400 for an unlocked version of the same phone.

amazontradein
Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available for pre-order tonight at 12:01 AM PT. Prices for the smaller 4.7-inch iPhone 6 begin at $199 with a two year contract, while prices for the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus begin at $299 on contract.




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11
Sep

Panic’s ‘Transmit’ File Management App Coming to iOS 8 With App Extension Support [iOS Blog]


Panic, the company behind the popular file management app Transmit for Mac, has plans to bring Transmit to iOS in the near future, taking advantage of several new features introduced with iOS 8. Currently in beta, the Transmit iOS app offers a look at some of the impressive things both developers and end users will be able to do with Apple’s new operating system.

Aside from offering access to files on servers, Transmit also serves as a local file repository that can be accessed by other iOS apps.

transmit3Transmit iOS’s interface
Transmit iOS also takes full advantage of the “Extensibility” options bundled into iOS 8, especially the “Share” extension that allows apps to easily share content with other apps. When installed, Transmit iOS can be accessed in any share sheet in iOS, and used to save any type of file directly to an FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, or Amazon S3 server or to local storage within the app.

For example, selecting Transmit iOS from the Share sheet in Safari lets an HTML page be saved to a server. Selecting Transmit iOS in an app like Evernote or Byword will allow a text file to be uploaded, while selecting the upload option in a photo app like Snapseed lets users save a photo directly to their personal servers using Transmit iOS.

transmitSaving a photo from Snapseed directly to an FTP server using Transmit
With share sheet support, uploading a file to a server via Transmit iOS is as easy as uploading a file to a cloud storage service like Dropbox, and it works in quite a few third-party apps in addition to pre-installed apps.

Transmit iOS also serves as a “Document Picker,” which means that it can be used in supported apps to open files stored directly off of a server. For instance, a Pages document stored on a server can be opened directly in the Pages app on iOS through Transmit iOS, and any changes made in iOS to that document will be saved to the original file in Transmit iOS.

transmit2Pages document on server with option to open in Pages app
Transmit iOS, like Transmit for Mac, is a full featured file management app. Users can connect to multiple servers, save favorite servers, upload files using drag and drop, delete content, move content, duplicate files, and easily transition files between local storage and an available server. The app’s local storage option also allows it to store documents from other apps directly on the device.

Transmit iOS includes support for Touch ID, allowing users to secure the app with a fingerprint. A passcode lock is also available on devices that do not have access to Touch ID, ensuring that all content remains safe and access to servers is restricted.

As can be seen in Transmit iOS, iOS 8 is going to enable a slew of useful features that have not previously been possible with iOS, and thus far, we’re only scratching the surface of what developers are going to bring to the operating system with the new APIs.

Panic plans to release Transmit for iOS 8 after iOS 8 becomes available to the public on September 17.




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11
Sep

Sapphire Displays for iPhone 6 Missed by ‘Weeks’ Due to Yield Issues


iphone_6_front_panel_weiboOne of the biggest rumors for the iPhone 6 was a new sapphire display cover courtesy of Apple’s partnership with GT Advanced Technologies. Some rumors had suggested sapphire might be limited to high-end models, but at the device’s unveiling earlier this week the feature was nowhere to be found on any of the new models.

GT’s stock took a significant hit as it became clear the iPhone 6 was not using a sapphire display, and analyst Matt Margolis has issued a new report based on supply chain sources claiming sapphire displays missed being included in the iPhone 6 by just “weeks”.

According to Margolis’ sources, the issue was not GT’s production, as the company is said to have been steadily shipping out sapphire from its factory in Mesa, Arizona. The issue appears to have occurred in the next step in the supply chain, where finishers in China struggled with yield issues turning the sapphire into display covers.

The issue that emerged is that the finishers were still having trouble creating the sapphire edges and yields were only at 25% or less. I am under the impression that GT’s management knew about this last minute shift away from sapphire screens prior to the August 5th conference call and it may have resulted in lower guidance for 2014 by $100m.

Margolis reports the sapphire supplies have been diverted for the Apple Watch for the time being as the finishing yield issues on the iPhone displays is resolved, and GT continues to manufacture sapphire as rapidly as it can.

What is unclear is how the omission of sapphire displays from the iPhone 6 will affect GT’s deal with Apple, which involves certain milestone payments from Apple to GT. It appears unlikely that Apple would bring sapphire to the iPhone until it unveils an “iPhone 6s” a year from now, so it is not entirely clear whether it needs or wants to stockpile GT’s output for an entire year or if it has other nearer-term plans for the material beyond the Apple Watch.

I believe GT and Apple still have very big plans for sapphire as a cover screen on mobile devices. Apple may pay continue to pay GT for sapphire bricks that they ship even though the iPhone is not covered up by a sapphire cover screen. Another option thrown on the table is that Apple could even push back the Apple prepayment requirements until the finishing yields are addressed. One item that remains clear is that GT will continue to push out as much sapphire as humanly possible from Mesa.

Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus without sapphire display covers will see pre-orders launch in a number of countries at 12:01 AM Pacific Time tonight, with availability coming on September 19.




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