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Sunday fun: Watch Microsoft’s Ben Rudolph teach me Krav Maga at CES

CES is both astonishing and exhausting. As such, lots of interesting things happen on and off camera during our coverage and one of them makes good Sunday fodder.

Ben Rudolph (@BenThePCGuy) should be no stranger to Windows Central readers. As director of Worldwide Retail Sales Evangelism at Microsoft, Rudolph plays a significant role in retail for software and hardware company.


AC editors’ apps of the week: Trivia Crack, Destiny Public Events, Crossy Road and more

These apps help make the most of your Android

Happy App Day (Sunday) everyone!

We’re back with another week’s worth of applications we think are excellent enough to get our seal of approval, and here’s where we share them with the class. We’ve got games, apps to make other games better (for real, Fallen Walkers stand no chance when Russell’s around), utilities to brighten your life and even an app you probably forgot all about.

Have a look, then be sure to share your favorite app of the week in the comments!


Animagic iPads take over Apple Retail

Apple Retail often puts up clever, imaginative displays to show off their products, and this “animagic” iPad display is one of the cleverest and most imaginative yet. It features five iPad Air 2 tablets, each with a distinctively colored Smart Cover — blue, green, pink, red, and yellow — that open and close all on their own. The mystery of how their do it is intriguing, as are the glimpses of apps shown running when they do. They highlight all the creativity that’s available to you at the touch of a finger.

Next time you’re at Apple Retail, check them out. And if you have any ideas on how Apple is doing it — no wires or moving magnets were easily visible — let me know!


Electric scooters and fiber-optic shirts land on Engadget’s CES stage

From one angle, there are so many similarities between Gogoro and Cambridge Consultants that it’s hard to tell them apart. For instance, both are visionary companies that seek to redefine an existing market and both come out with innovative technology that no-one seen before. Another similarity between the two, of course, is that they joined us on the Engadget stage as our editor’s choice.

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First up, we have Gogoro, a business founded by former HTC executives that aims to revolutionize the world of electric transport. Firstly, consumers would buy a high speed scooter, and then would subscribe to a network of stations where the battery could be swapped in and out when it was out of juice. It sufficiently intrigued our Nicole Lee that she had to get its CEO Horace Luke onto the stage to learn more about it.

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Shortly afterward, a forgetful Dan Cooper invited Cambridge Consultants on to demonstrate XelfleX, a fiber optic exercise shirt that, unlike the OMSignal and Hexoskin, could provide pin-point accurate body movement tracking for a future generation of fitness clothes. While the company isn’t ready to bring the outfit to the market, it’s certainly an exciting prospect for our next workout top.

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Panasonic introduces Toughpad FZ-R1 mobile point of sale tablet

Panasonic has introduced a new, all-in-one mobile point of sale tablet, the Toughpad FZ-R1. It’s a 7-inch tablet running Windows 8.1. It features an integrated PIN pad, a magnetic stripe reader, and support for EMV and NFC payment methods.


AT&T joins Verizon in claiming Title II status when it helps them financially

AT&T Trottles Unlimited Data Plans nbcbayarea

As we have discussed on a number of different occasions, broadband companies (wired and wireless) continue to publicly blast the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for trying to classify their companies under the umbrella of Title II. Meanwhile, all Title II does is simply give the FCC power to actually help consumers against blatant violations by those broadband companies.

Speaking of blatant violations, AT&T is in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over their promise to give customers “unlimited data” only to then throttle those customers whenever they reached an unknown and rather random amount of data every month. In some cases, customers saw their speeds drop by nearly 90 percent.

As the FTC noted in their original complaint against AT&T, customers on tiered data plans were using significantly larger amounts of data than unlimited data customers yet saw no drop in speeds.

“AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise. The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited.” – FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez

Another big complaint against AT&T by the FTC was that the throttling language was hidden in the contracts from those on unlimited data plans so when those customers would cancel their contracts because of the throttling, AT&T would then hit them with significant early termination fees.

But AT&T has an answer for the FTC. According to AT&T, the FTC doesn’t have the jurisdiction to regulate their company. Why? Because AT&T is a “common carrier” internet provider under Title II.


AT&T is essentially admitting that they will use their Title II status to simply dodge charges of throttling customer data. As Engadget notes, AT&T is claiming that since it is a common carrier company that provides voice services, it is exempt from the FTC’s jurisdiction over data and that the FCC has the actual jurisdiction.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Oh, that’s right. Verizon also invoked Title II classification when it allowed them to make billions in Washington DC, New Jersey and other states. By some reports, Verizon made as much as $4.4 billion in additional revenue from this classification.

VerizonTitleIIDocuments The Verge

What makes this case even more odd is that, as Ars Technica reports, didn’t AT&T just settle with the FTC over mobile cramming charges? AT&T agreed to pay $80 million for violations that did involve data.

Either way, it looks as if AT&T will get hit with a fine by the FCC if they somehow get themselves out of trouble with the FTC.


Get this soft yet durable Lumia Icon skin case on sale today for only $4.95

Made from multiple thermoacrylics, this Lumia Icon skin case is highly elastic and resistant to oils. Say goodbye to annoying fingerprints! The back features a matte finish with a glossy edging that enhances the grip around your device.


Samsung reportedly looking to build more Windows Phones, if Microsoft settles legal battle

Samsung may well be looking to produce more Windows Phones, should Microsoft settle the royalties legal battle on Android products. According to the report on Korea Times, the manufacturing giant that is Samsung has been reported to be at least considering the Windows Phone platform to launch more affordable hardware.


Siri Control of HomeKit Devices While On the Go Requires Apple TV as Hub

HomeKit-iconOne of the major focuses at CES this year was home automation, with a number of vendors announcing their plans for devices integrating with Apple’s new HomeKit ecosystem. One of the key features of these HomeKit devices has been the ability to control them from iOS devices via Siri, allowing users to turn lights on or off, close garage doors, and more with just their voices.

As noted by The Verge, however, users hoping to accomplish such tasks while away from home will need to have an Apple TV on their home network to serve as the hub for these devices.

So, while commands like “Siri, turn off the lights in the living room” will always work while connected to your home Wi-Fi network, they won’t from the airport unless you have an Apple TV. But that’s it — you can still switch off the lights with an app, no Apple TV required. This behavior has been confirmed by a source close to HomeKit’s development as well as two launch partners who wish to remain anonymous. Only third-generation or later Apple TVs running software 7.0 or later will support HomeKit.

Apple has quietly included HomeKit in the Apple TV’s software, but The Verge notes Apple will not be marketing the set-top box specifically as a home automation hub.

Many of the home automation vendors have been fairly vague about launch plans for their devices, and sources indicate that uncertainty is due in large part to the need to wait for Apple to finish polishing its HomeKit tools to ensure proper functionality. With HomeKit-enabled chips only recently beginning to ship to vendors and Apple’s vendor licensing program still getting underway, most of these companies still have a few hurdles to cross before they can make their products available for sale.


New Baldur’s Gate game due in 2015, with a storyline set between first two games

Beamdog, the development team behind the popular enhanced versions of the classic role playing games Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 for Mac and the iPad, have announced plans to release an all new Baldur’s Gate game sometime in 2015. Its storyline will be set in between the events of the first two games and will use the Infinity Engine that was also used for those titles.

Other than that, Beamdog has revealed little about what they have planned for this new Baldur’s Gate game, but they did say that more information will be revealed in the spring of 2015. It added, “We have an exciting release planned for this game, something bigger than we’ve ever done before.” The blog post did include a link to some blurry screenshots of the game, taken from a smartphone.

Beamdog also has a second game in the works for 2015, saying only that “it’s a departure for us in terms of what we’ve done in the past.” However, they also confirmed that they don’t currently have any plans to make a Baldur’s Gate III.

Source: Beamdog

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