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27
Feb

Leaked Galaxy S6 apps point to a new, subtler design language


samsung galaxy s6 teaser

It’s not uncommon for upcoming devices to see their wallpapers, apps and other resources leaked to the web ahead of their official launch. With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see that a few leaked apps allegedly from the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have now hit the web, thanks to the machinations of XDA Developer user, Albe95. 

The main thing to note here is the much more simplified, refined presentation given to these applications. The Gear Manager in particular has seen a significant overhaul, to the extent of almost coming across as a totally different product. For comparison, have a look at the new version:

Screenshot_2015_02_26_22_54_21Now take a look at the current build running on compatible Samsung devices, as seen in the image directly below. Notice that everything from the font to the background to the coloring has changed. The new version is relatively subdued, to say the least.

gear-managerSamMobile

This same toned down style is finding its way into the other leaked apps as well. (From left to right the Optical Reader, Kids Mode, and Geo)

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Please note that all of these applications can actually be downloaded via links provided at the XDA Developers source below, however given that we don’t know just where/how Albe95 was able to obtain these, it’s something that is to be done at your own risk. Even device compatibility could be an issue.

Any thoughts? Do you like the new approach to app design, or is there a certain sense of charm lost on this new aesthetic path?

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27
Feb

Youtube app now lets you easily trim your videos


youtube-trimm

In the past, if you had a long video and only wanted part of it to actually go up on YouTube using your Android device, you really had only one option: you had to edit it through a 3rd party app before uploading to the video sharing network. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Starting today, the Android app now supports the ability to quickly trim off parts of your videos that you don’t want to share with the world.

How it works is pretty simple. You start uploading your video and you will be presented with a timeline that lets you set a beginning and end point for a video. The precision here is also pretty amazing, offering 1/30th of a second precision, ensuring only the exact moments you want are captured. Obviously this feature is more aimed at those of us taking quick videos with our phones that we want to share with our friends and family, and not necessarily the pro Youtubers out there. Nonetheless, this is a very welcome feature that could come in handy.

As already mentioned, the new feature is going live today. And no, you don’t need to do anything to enable it. Apparently the feature is enabled through the backend, so no need to update the Youtube app to get in on the action.

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27
Feb

Pebble SDK 3.0 now available with Pebble Time support


pebble-time

Pebble has just announced that the developer preview for the Pebble SDK 3.0 is now available. Developers can now begin crafting their new apps for the Pebble Time with support for new hardware features like a color screen and a built-in microphone. The resolution for the Time hasn’t changed (144×168), though the available app memory has been increased to 64kB in the new SDK.

Here are some additional features Pebble has laid out for us:

  • Support for 64 colors which all have a name!
  • A brand new animation framework
  • PNG and Animated PNG support in the SDK
  • Detecting which platforms you are building for at compile time
  • Much more to come!

The Pebble team has also announced that all current Pebble apps will work on the Time, with only a few minor changes needed.

If you’re just hearing about the Pebble Time for the first time, it’s a new color-screened watch from the makers of the original Pebble that just launched on Kickstarter the other day. At the time of writing this, the Pebble Time has racked up over $11 million with over 50 thousand backers with 28 days to go in their Kickstarter campaign. The Pebble Time features a new color e-paper display, a new version of the Pebble OS, and boasts up to seven days of battery life. For more information on the Kickstarter, head to their official campaign page here.

For those of you who want to take advantage of the new Pebble SDK 3.0, head to the source links below for more information.

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Feb

MWC 2015: What are you most looking forward to?


mwc-2015

Mobile World Congress officially starts this coming Monday, though much of the excitement actually unfolds this Sunday, as the HTC One M9 and Galaxy S6 are expected to be formally announced at their respective press events. There’s certainly a lot to be excited for this year, with HTC and Samsung’s upcoming flagships getting a good share of the media attention so far.

So, let’s get right to it, shall we? What are you most looking forward to at MWC? Are you excited by the leaked devices you’ve seen so far? Following the tradition we started in late 2014, we’ll begin by sharing a few responses from the AA community. For those that would like to participate in next week’s debate and get a chance to possibly be featured in our weekly post, remember that we post up our Friday Debate topic in our forums one to two days ahead of publishing.

As you can imagine, this week’s topic saw a lot of interest, but we’ll feature two of them here and you can read the rest on our forums.

Note: For those that watch the weekly podcast, a special episode recorded on scene in Barcelona should go live sometime this weekend — providing all goes well. It will not be ready today, however.

What the AA community has to say

Mastermuffin

I’m certain that most people are looking forward to the HTC M9 and Galaxy S6 and, surprise surprise, so am I. Leaks can either make the device less appealing before any real info is even out or they can build massive hype, and in this case M9’s leaks have done the former, while S6’s have done the latter and intrigued me a lot.

The conspiracy theorists can say whatever they want, but I believe that the leaked promo material of M9 isn’t some clever fake info fed to us by HTC so that they could surprise us on March 1st. They’re simply doing the Apple/Sony/Samsung aka not updating their flagship’s design. It’s still interesting to see the things we don’t yet know of, like perhaps some neat software feature(s).

Now the S6 is something or rather hopefully will be. First of all I must say that even the leaked pictures of the S6 Edge look extremely good! It may just be a more expensive version of the S6 with limited availability and nothing really significant to add in terms of usage, but the design looks extremely good. Do I need to add “in my opinion” to this? Well IMO, there you go. But there’s more to the S6 than just the Edge; it might just be Samsung’s all-or-nothing flagship. That means that Samsung should have put all they have into it, and judging by the leaks, they mostly have. The arguably overrated metal will make its appearance for the first time in an S phone, the display will be top-of-the-line, the processor will beat the competition at least on paper and there will be a miniscule amount of bloatware, if you don’t count Touchwiz as one (I don’t). So finally a phone from Samsung that’s one of the best no matter how you look at it. There’s a catch though, and it’s a big one for some: expandable storage and removable battery will most likely be gone. Can’t have it all eh? Anyways this isn’t an S6 pre-review, moving on.

Finally, I’m also waiting for the surprises. If I remember correctly, LG will skip MWC and announce the G4 a little later, so it would be a pleasant surprise to see it make an appearance. Also the completely unpredictable devices are always nice, especially when they’re good.

So to sum up what I’m waiting for: M9, S6, surprises!

Dolyak

As much as all the hype and rumors are on the newest flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9, those devices really don’t interest me all that much. The reason being is that those handsets see a new version year after year and with all the publicity surrounding them they’re going to get the most coverage and make all the headlines for articles, that’s just the very nature of the top tier flagships.

What I’m interested in seeing is all the innovations from the lesser known and upstart companies. The “lower tier” manufacturers are the ones that really put pressure to change and shake up the market.

Take for example during CES earlier this year, BLU was out there pushing it’s 5000mAh battery Studio Energy and the 5.1mm thin Vivo Air. Last year OnePlus One took the Nexus spotlight for being affordable with future-proof specs. I’m interested in the devices that actually address our day to day concerns like battery life, durability, network compatibility, and then I want to see the devices that make us say “how” or “why” like the very first Note from Samsung that paved the way for our current generation of large screens.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the top tier flagships are bad in any way (I’ve owned the Galaxy S line from the Vibrant(S1) to the S4) but I don’t feel like they push the boundaries. Some friends of mine actually even go as far as saying every phone taking shelf space in retail stores all look the same. I personally don’t agree but that does reinforce that the most known phones only push the envelope in specs that only the heaviest gamer or multitasker utilizes, not innovations that make us think.

Not to mention that devices from lesser known brands don’t break the bank, and we’re all looking to save money to buy the next device as it is, especially since swapping phones often has become commonplace in this world of developing technology.

What Team AA has to say

Gary Sims

In terms of mobile phones there was only really two interesting announcements at CES 2015: The LG G Flex 2 and the Zenfone 2. The lack of new products at CES means that the expectations, and to some extent the hype, for MWC 2015 is high. However I fear we could be in for some disappointments.

First the obvious stuff. Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S6 and HTC will launch the HTC One M9. These are two very big announcements and they will in some part shape the smartphone landscape for the next 12 months. However, these two companies have a track record of producing “more of the same” when it comes to their flagship devices. All the rumours point to the M9 being just a revision of the M8, and Samsung has fooled us too many times when it comes to “the next big thing.” I hope I am wrong.

Sony isn’t holding any official press events at this year’s show, and LG and Asus have already made their big announcements at CES. This means that besides Samsung and HTC, any other big surprises will have to come from companies like Huawei, Lenovo (including Motorola), and ZTE. I am also looking forward to see what OnePlus and Meizu have to say.

Besides smartphones, we can expect the biggest announcements to be about wearables. The killer wearable device hasn’t yet been invented and I doubt we will see it at MWC 2015, but who knows, maybe we will!

As for non-Android related products, it will be interesting to have a ringside seat as Microsoft manages to destroy any good-will and customer loyalty it had after it bought Nokia’s consumer base. Likewise it will be fascinating to see what Blackberry will try next, to stop itself from sinking completely. Too harsh? Maybe, we will see.

Robert Triggs

Do I need to say it? Ok I’ll say it – the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Perhaps I have fallen prey to the hype this year, but I’m genuinely interested to see if Samsung can pull something interesting out of the bag. Oddly, I’m not really too bothered what the features are, but I really want to see something a bit different from the company, something to demonstrate that Samsung still has what it takes to be a leader in this industry. I could say the same for the HTC One M9 too, but there’s little indication that HTC wants to change its forumula. I hope Samsung hasn’t fooled me again.

There are also plenty of interesting and unique announcement that I’m equally excited about. Kyocera’s solar charging smartphone prototype is a novel potential solution to mediocre battery life, Meizu’s Ubuntu powered MX4 will give us a glimpse at what a high-end smartphone can do with the fledgling rival OS, and the prospect of an Nvidia Tegra X1 powered tablet or renewed SHIELD controller is even more compelling. Oh, LG’s Watch Urbane looks absolutely stunning too. It might actually tempt me with to pick up smartwatch, if the features are right.

MWC 2015 is definitely going to be a memorable one.

Jimmy Westenberg

Of course I’m excited for the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and the HTC One M9. Who wouldn’t be? These are made by some of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in the world, so obviously all eyes are going to be on them this week.

In terms of other mobile phones, the one I’m most excited about came out of left field the other day. Apparently Meizu will show off the MX4 Ubuntu Edition at the trade show. We’ve known Meizu has teamed up with Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, for quite some time now. But the first actual Ubuntu phone that made its way to market was a repurposed Aquaris E4.5, the low-budget BQ-made handset. I was admittedly upset when I heard the first Ubuntu-powered phone would be made by BQ. But now, it looks like we’re getting yet another Ubuntu phone, this time with better hardware, and I couldn’t be happier.

Straying away from mobile phones, I’m really interested in what Sony will bring to MWC. We already know Sony isn’t planning on bringing a ton of new devices, but the ones we know about so far are pretty attractive devices. Specifically, I’m looking forward to the new Xperia Z4 Tablet. It’s the company’s first full-sized tablet refresh in a while, and to me, it’s long overdue. Even if it will be offered at an expensive price point, I don’t think Sony will disappoint with this one.

Matthew Benson

For me, the question of MWC isn’t really what I am expecting, but what I’m not. It feels like with each passing year, the “core” of the convention is in the days/weeks preceding the event, especially given the massive number of leaks or press events that come beforehand (see LG’s four new budget phones). Still, let me break it down:

Samsung: We all know what’s going to be on display here, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Nothing really exciting at this point given that in the past 24 hours, we’ve literally seen both. What I’m more interested in is the potential of the Galaxy Tab S2, especially with the rumored 4:3 aspect ratio. The Nexus 9 was a surprisingly refreshing experience given the “unusual” proportions, and I’d love to see Samsung spin out something with a SAMOLED display. I suppose the smartphones will have to do, however, though I am holding out for tablets.

LG: Considering that LG already released the G Flex 2 (which I have spent time with only to be sorely disappointed) and has gone on-record to state the G4 won’t be present, it would seem as if there is nothing much to see. But how freaking awesome would it be if the company had a brand new product on display which made use of the dual edge concept it showcased during CES last month? Man that would really irk Samsung, given how much money and marketing has inevitably been spent on the Galaxy S6 Edge.

HTC: I really, really hope the company is doing an unprecedented level of trolling and is going to wow the pants off all of us. The “rehashed” M8 is just a potential disaster waiting to happen: why would any casual customer buy the “new” product at $199+ on contract when the “old” model is sitting right next to it, looks the same (save for the camera) and will inevitably be reduced to $0 for a 2-year commitment? It just doesn’t make sense at all. Maybe if HTC hadn’t churned out the M8 in Windows Phone clothing last Fall it would be less egregious, but at this point? Give us something that looks original. The company is promising some major surprises for MWC? As others have said, who cares about accessories? Or is the HTC M9 Max supposed to be a surprise when it’s already been leaked? How about that Nexus 9-type tablet that was rumored?

Motorola: I’d love to see the Moto X Pro at MWC; who wouldn’t love a Nexus 9 with the enhancements Motorola has baked into the X? It might be only for China, but I’m all over it!

Sony: At this point, nothing much from Sony is going to impress me sadly, unless there is a major redesign with both the hardware and software.

If I had to pick one product though, I’d say I’m most excited about the Galaxy S6 Edge. Let’s just hope there are some surprises left in store for us.

Now it’s your turn

You’ve heard from our community members and Team AA, now it’s your turn. What are you most anticipating when it comes to MWC 2015?

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Feb

Sony teases waterproof device, possibly the M4 Aqua?


Sony MWC

Sony has just sent out another teaser for MWC 2015, this time featuring a water-centric vibe. The tweet reads “Get ready to make a splash… All will be revealed 02.03.2015.” The attached image shows a screen covered in water droplets, obviously eluding to some sort of IPxx rating, or even the recently-rumored Xperia M4 Aqua handset.

Just yesterday, a new leak showed us pictures of Sony’s upcoming devices, including the Xperia Z4 Tablet and the Xperia M4 Aqua. Both of these devices are rumored to feature IP68 certification for water resistance, which would fit right in line with this new tease from the company. Furthermore, the M4 Aqua is rumored to feature a 5.2-inch 720p display, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 610 backed by 2GB of RAM. It’s also rumored to have a 13MP rear-facing camera, a 5MP front-facing camera and will run Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box. Of course, none of these specifications are confirmed yet, so we’ll have to wait and see what the company unveils on March 2nd.

A few days ago we saw another leak of the Xperia Z4 Tablet, which unfortunately didn’t tell us too much about the new device. From what we’ve gathered so far, the new tablet will come with a 2K display, and will feature “the latest ultra fast processor” and “industry leading battery performance”.

Android Authority has a team on the floor at MWC 2015, so we’ll be sure to bring you the best coverage of any product announcements from Sony or any other OEMs that will be at the trade show.

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Feb

Google reveals cutting edge plans to revamp their headquarters in Mountain View


Charleston-South_Exterior_Softgrid

Google has just announced their plans to revamp their headquarters in Mountain View into a futuristic wonderland. The company has just submitted their plans to the Mountain View City Council in hopes to significantly increase the overall square footage of the company’s offices. Google built these plans with Bjarke Ingels, architect and founder of BIG, and Thomas Heatherwick, architect and founder of Heatherwick Studios.

The company plans to create lightweight block-like structures that can be moved around easily in order to utilize space more efficiently. Here’s a few more details on what will go into the new headquarters:

The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas. (Our self-driving car team, for example, has very different needs when it comes to office space from our Search engineers.) Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.

Google is taking this opportunity to work with the community by integrating bike paths and retail opportunities, like restaurants for the local community. The company also plans to save as much energy and work with the environment as much as possible by widening creek beds and even enhancing burrowing owl habitats.

Since these plans are still under approval, there is no slated timeframe for when building the new headquarters will start. But for now, take a look at the video below, which explains the new design in greater detail.

What do you think of the new plans?



27
Feb

Great March break projects and apps for the family!


For many families, next week is March break, when the schools close and the kids come home. If they’re coming home to iPhones and iPads, there’s a lot to keep them busy — and learning!

Whether you’re going on vacation or enjoying a much-deserved staycation, there are plenty of apps both built-into the iPhone and iPad and available on the App Store to help pass the time and make the most of it. If you’re looking for some projects to get creative with, we originally filmed these for the summer, but they work just as well for the spring.

If you’re just looking for some great new apps to try, iTunes is currently recommending:

YouTube has also just released a kids version of their video app so, if you’re kids are watching, you can be assured they won’t come across anything inappropriate.

If you’re worried about how your kids are using the iPhone or iPad in general, make sure you check this out as well:

If your kids have March break next week, and you’ve got any fun iPhone or iPad projects planned, or great apps lined up for them let me know which ones!

27
Feb

Motorola shares some back story on development of the new Moto E (2015)


Moto_E_2015_Slanted_Motorola_Logo_Camera_Lens_Featured_Large

Earlier this week when we received the new Moto E (2015), we received a device that was very similar to its predecessor, yet different at the same time. We noted that externally the new Moto E (2015) looked almost identical to the first generation of the device with most of the changes being in software features and internal hardware. Motorola has taken some time on their blog to explain how they ended up incorporating the changes that they did in this latest smartphone. According to Motorola President Rick Osterloh,

“We designed the Moto E with the idea that people shouldn’t have to pay a lot to join the connected world and experience it at its best.”

Probably the biggest thing that Motorola says they learned from customer feedback was how much people enjoy taking pictures, especially selfies. This led to two additions to the Moto E (2015) – the front facing camera and the Quick Capture feature. Both of these features are popular on the high-end Moto X models and were noticeably absent from the Moto E. So Motorola decided to infuse the Moto E with some of their “premium innovation.” That same thinking led to the inclusion of dual accelerometers in the Moto E (2015) so that features like Moto Display and Motorola Assist could be added to the device. Like Quick Capture, these features are popular selling points for the Moto X and Motorola decided it made sense to push these down the chain to make their mid-tier line of smartphones more useful. While Motorola is not to the point where custom designed smartphones are an option for the Moto E (2015) like with the Moto X line, the availability of the colorful Motorola Bands is a way to emulate that kind of customization. The six available colors were designed to be easy to swap out so users could make the device more personal. Motorola points out that the bands have ridges to help provide a better grip as well, so there is a functional element that joins the form element. This focus on the physical presentation of the device extended to other details like the finish around the camera bezel and texture on the buttons. Although the device may be inexpensive, Motorola still wanted users to enjoy a premium experience. source: Motorola

Come comment on this article: Motorola shares some back story on development of the new Moto E (2015)

27
Feb

Sony’s mobile business doesn’t jibe with its quest for profits


 

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact-18

No matter what part of the world you live in, Sony is likely a household name. For the past several decades, the Japanese mega-corporation has dabbled in a variety of talking points ranging from consumer electronics to healthcare and biotechnology. Recently, however, the company has fallen on hard times and in the past few years its leadership has made some radical changes. In 2014, Sony made an exit from the PC business, selling off its well-known VAIO brand to a Japanese investment fund called Japan Industrial Partners.

After pulling the plug on its PC efforts, Sony stated that it would shift its focus towards smartphones and tablets. Here we are a little over 12 months later and the company’s CEO Kazuo Hirai is making even more drastic moves, recently announcing that the company will no longer pursue profits in smartphone sales. A far cry from Sony’s declaration last February, its frontman also said that he’s not ruling out the thought of a possible exit strategy from the mobile phone business.

After pulling the plug on its PC efforts, Sony stated that it would shift its focus towards smartphones and tablets.

So how did this happen? How did one of the most popular companies in the world end up in such a compromising position? Let’s talk about this for bit.

Things Haven’t Been Easy

Sony Smartwatch 3-8

Hirai didn’t just come up with this “everything must go” idea from out of nowhere. Sony has been against the ropes for quite a while now. The outfit currently expects to report a loss of around $2.1 billion for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2015. And despite making some rather exceptional handsets, Sony’s ailing mobile division has been a major contributor to the company’s recent decline. Back in September, the firm noted that it would be taking an “impairment charge” of 180 billion yen (around $1.5 billion) due to its mobile sales being lower than anticipated.

Sony then vowed to make some changes by revising its Mobile Communications segment’s mid-range plan. This meant adjustments in select geographical areas, a renewed focus on its premium product lineup, and a reduction to its mid-range offerings. But despite such practical provisions, the firm is still treading water, resulting in its brass entertaining the thought of completely backing out of longtime staples like TV and mobile.

So What’s the Problem?

Sony Xperia Z3V-37

 

Arguably the biggest cause of Sony’s recent struggles is stern competition in just about every major market. In 2009, the popular electronics maker was recognized as the fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world. However, by 2010, the company dropped down to sixth place. With the exception of Apple, Sony’s smartphone efforts have taken a back seat to other Asia-based competitors like Samsung, Xiaomi, Lenovo and LG. 

With the exception of Apple, Sony’s smartphone efforts have taken a back seat to other Asia-based competitors like Samsung, Xiaomi, Lenovo and LG.

Additionally, Sony doesn’t really have a large presence in important markets. China and the US to be specific. The former is dominated by native companies like Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE and high-profile outsiders like Samsung and Apple, but the key point here is that Sony is practically nowhere to be found.

Not only coming up short in the far east, if you take a look at America’s four major wireless carriers, there’s really not much available from Sony. Meanwhile, flagship devices from Samsung, Apple, HTC and LG can regularly be found across Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. If Sony plans to stay in the smartphone business, it will need to establish itself in these two pivotal markets, as well as other developing territories.

Definitely aware of his company’s tense position, Kazuo Hirai has publicly acknowledged that rival equipment manufacturers have been effectively producing products that bring down costs and drive up innovation. These trends, along with a minuscule market share, are likely a major part of what’s caused Sony to lose faith in its mobile division.

Let it Tank

sony xperia z3 compact review aa (17 of 21)

Sony has reputation for making some of the best smartphones on the market, but as a whole the company is in a very challenging situation. Projected to take its sixth net loss in seven years, the firm’s new recovery strategy bets big on three sectors: video games (PlayStation), movies and camera sensors. You’ll want to dogear that last item.

Despite a less than flattering security breach at the end of 2014, Sony Pictures still manages to churn out profitable films. Also, the studio recently inked a potentially lucrative deal with Marvel Studios that will see the iconic superhero Spider-Man appearing in movies from Sony and the Disney-owned company.

As for the world of video games, Sony’s new PlayStation 4 game console (which actually plays nicely with select Android devices) is currently dominating its immediate competitors in terms of global sales. While the PS4 has only been available to consumers for a little over a year, some analysts predict that it will outsell Microsoft’s new Xbox One by up to 40 percent over the next four years.

This brings us back to image sensors. Sony makes an impressive assortment of cameras, but there’s a bigger picture here. Apple uses the Japanese electronics maker’s hardware in its iPhones. In addition to a deal with the California-based tech giant, Samsung’s forthcoming flagship Galaxy S6 will reportedly feature a Sony-made image sensor. By partnering with the world’s top two smartphone makers, the struggling firm has the potential to earn a lot of cash.

Sony’s grand plan is to return to being profitable in three years.

 Sony’s grand plan is to return to being profitable in three years. This leaves very little room for dead weight. While it may not be an easy decision, I’d say the company should look to unload its mobile division and sell it off to the highest bidder. This approach will help the firm focus on more profitable opportunities, such as the previously mentioned cash-heavy platforms.

If Sony does try to maintain its mobile business, the company will be fighting an expensive uphill battle that could possibly put its recovery strategy in jeopardy. While smartphones might be a lost cause for the once dominant electronics maker, it still has time to take a shot at wearables whenever they officially catch on.

Wrap-up

sony-game-control-mount-4

Make no mistake about it; Sony is at a turning point. The company that used to have its hands in just about everything imaginable, now only has its fingertips on a few key ideas. It’s clear the firm’s management is thinking about mobile and there could very well be an internal debate going on regarding the platform’s future. Whatever the case, when Sony finally decides what to do with its smartphone business, it needs to commit to it and not waffle from one idea to another.

It’s a simple idea for sure, but the company definitely appears to be having trouble making a definitive decision. But if you ask me, Sony needs to ease up on its smartphone development and start focusing on putting together its best sales pitch. What are your thoughts? Should Sony bow out for now, or would simply scaling back the number of phones produced (ie, less models and less frequent release schedules) be enough to help Sony’s ailing mobile division heal its wounds?

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Feb

Buyer’s Guide: Deals on iPad Air, iMac, MacBook Air, and Apple Accessories [iOS Blog]


As we head into March, deals are beginning to pick up a little bit. The iPad Air 2 is still available at discounted prices from B&H Photo, and Best Buy is offering discounts on its stock of original iPad Air tablets.

There are also deals to be had on the iMac, the MacBook Air, and the Retina MacBook Pro, plus, as always, we have a nice selection of Apple accessories that have been discounted this week.

iPad Air 2

B&H Photo is offering up to $60 off its entire stock of iPad Air 2 models, dropping the price of the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad Air 2 to $459. Discounts vary based on model, but the lowest discount is $35 and the highest is $60 off the 128GB Wi-Fi only iPad Air 2.

ipad-air-2-group

iPad Air

Best Buy is discounting its entire stock of original iPad Air tablets by $50 to $100, depending on the model. Wi-Fi only models are discounted by $50, dropping the price of the entry-level 16GB iPad Air to $349.99, and cellular models are discounted by $100, dropping the price of the entry-level 16GB cellular model to $379.99.

Best Buy also has a few now-discontinued higher-capacity iPad Air models available at low prices.

iPad Air Cellular Silver 128GB (AT&T) – $599.99
iPad Air Cellular Space Gray 128GB (AT&T) – $599.99
iPad Air Cellular Silver 64GB (Verizon) – $566.99
iPad Air Cellular Space Gray 64GB (Verizon) – $566.99

iPad mini 3

Best Buy is discounting its stock of 16GB iPad mini 3 models by $50, dropping the price on cellular versions to $479.99 and the price of Wi-Fi only versions to $349.99.

ipadmini3

iPad mini 2

Best Buy still has a few now-discontinued higher-capacity iPad mini 2 models available at low prices.

iPad mini 2 Cellular AT&T Silver 64GB$399.99
iPad mini 2 Cellular AT&T Space Gray 128GB$499.99
iPad mini 2 Cellular AT&T Silver 128GB$499.99
iPad mini 2 Cellular Verizon Silver 64GB$412.99
iPad mini 2 Cellular Verizon Space Gray 128GB$566.99

iMac

– 21.5-inch 2.7GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) – $1,189, $110 off
– 21.5-inch 2.9GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) – $1,389, $100 off
– 27-inch 3.2GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) – $1,689, $110 off
– 27-inch 3.4GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) – $1,794, $205 off
– 27-inch 3.5Ghz/8GB/1TB Retina iMac (Adorama) (B&H Photo) (MacMall) – $2,349, $150 off

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MacBook Air

– 11-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/128GB (Adorama) – $799, $100 off
– 11-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/256GB (B&H Photo) (Adorama) – $999, $100 off
– 13-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/128GB (B&H Photo (Adorama) – $919, $80 off
– 13-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/256GB (B&H Photo) (Adorama) – $1,099, $100 off

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Retina Macbook Pro

– 13-inch 2.6GHz/8GB/128GB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) – $1,189, $100 off
– 13-inch 2.6GHz/8GB/256GB (B&H Photo) (Adorama) – $1,399, $100 off
– 13-inch 2.8GHz/8GB/512GB (Adorama) – $1,599, $200 off
– 15-inch 2.2GHz/16GB/256GB (Best Buy) (Adorama) (B&H Photo) – $1,799.99, $200 off
– 15-inch 2.5GHz/16GB/512GB – (Best Buy) (Adorama) (B&H Photo) – $2,249.99, $200 off

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Apps

There are quite a few apps that are on sale at discounted prices or available for free for a limited time. We’ll highlight a few here, but make sure to check out our sister site AppShopper for a complete list.

Toca Hair Salon, a popular game for children, is available for free this week, down from $2.99. NFL Quarterback 15 is available for free, down from $0.99. Duet Display is half off this week, priced at $7.99 instead of $15.99.

Twisty Hollow is priced at $0.99 this week, down from $2.99. Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure is available for $1.99, down from $3.99. Botanicula is available for $1.99, down from $4.99.

Printer Pro was named Apple’s app of the week this week, and it will be available to download for free for the next six days.

Apple Accessories

The Bolt battery and wall charger is available for $44.99 from StackSocial, a $15 discount off its regular price. The Griffin PowerJolt car charger is available for $24.99 from Groupon, $10 off its normal price. Groupon is also selling the Mophie Powerstation 4,000mAh battery charger for $29.99, down from its original price of $79.95.

boltcharger
The second-generation Jawbone UP fitness tracker is available for $49.99 from LivingSocial, down from its original price of $129.99. The Ion iCade Arcade Bluetooth cabinet is available for $59.99 from Amazon, $70 off its regular price of $129.99. PayPal Digital Gifts on eBay is offering a $100 iTunes gift card for $80.

itunes_gift_cards_2x
The JBL OnBeat Mini Speaker Dock for iPhone 5/5s/6/6 Plus and iPad is available for $39.99 from Groupon, an 80 percent discount off its regular price.LivingSocial is selling the Speck CandyShell Grip case for iPad mini for $14.99, down from $44.95.

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Speck is offering 50 percent off site wide, discounting its entire stock of iPhone cases and accessories. The discount will be available until Saturday and is applied at checkout.

SkinIt, a site that makes custom skins for a wide range of devices from the iPhone to the MacBook, is offering a special deal buy one get one 50 percent off deal for MacRumors readers. With the code MACRUMORS, you can get 50% off a second skin after purchasing one skin.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner of some of these vendors.



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