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Lollipop soak test begins for first-generation Moto X

Seemingly ages after its successor got an update to Lollipop, the original Moto X is poised to do the same with a soak test under way right now.

The soak test — a selection of users that receive the update to give it a proper spin before a wider release, just to make sure everything’s okay — would bring the 2013 Moto X up to Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. This comes months after the newer 2014 Moto X, even including carrier editions, received its own update to Lollipop.


Gazzet is a beautiful social feed & news reader and we’ve got 1,000 free copies!

Looking for a new way to keep up to date on your social feeds and news? If so, Gazzet might be the app for you. We’ve featured Gazzet before here on CrackBerry but since then it has gone through many changes and improvements from its early release stages and is now a pretty solid app that’s not only great looking but incredibly useful as well thanks to the Feedly, Twitter and Reddit integration.

Although I really hate to compare Gazzet to an already existing app, if you’re familiar with Flipboard you’ll notice the resemblance here. The difference, of course, is that Gazzet is a native BlackBerry 10 app that feels right at home on any BlackBerry 10 smartphone. Gazzet essentially takes everything from whatever accounts you tie in, be it Feedly, Twitter or Reddit and presents it to you in a magazine style that you can interact with.

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Windows 10 looks to have built-in peer-to-peer OS and app updating support

A leaked build of Windows 10 is showing an interesting new feature: support for peer-to-peer updating of apps and the OS.

The leak of Windows 10 build 10036 (the current version is build 9926) includes a settings option that allows you download app and OS updates from Microsoft as well as PCs on your local network and PCs on the internet. Yep, P2P OS and app updates.


Tech Origin Stories | The Friday Debate Podcast 008


Andrew Grush picks a pretty light topic for our first podcast back from MWC 2015 – our tech origin stories. Josh is joined by the usual co-hosts to talk about how they all started in the world of tech. Andrew Grush, Joseph Hindy, and Jonathan Feist all share precious memories and then Josh circles it back by connecting those upbringings to where they are today.

Grab your tissues (not really) and reminisce with some tech origin stories on this episode of the Friday Debate Podcast.

The Friday Debate Podcast by Android Authority – discussing topics in Android every week.

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The Friday Debate – Tech Origin Stories

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Joshua Vergara
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Joseph Hindy
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Andrew Grush


Jonathan Feist
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Recorded on March 14, 2015 – Hosted and Produced by Joshua Vergara


Upgrading my living room with the Sonos Playbar and Sub

Upgrading my living room with the Sonos Playbar and Sub

For a long time now, I’ve been reading (and writing) about Sonos’ audio devices, filled with jealousy toward anyone who could afford to spend more than just a few minutes with them. Sure, I’ve briefly tried them at trade shows, but to really judge the merits of audio gear like the Playbar and Sub, you need the proper amount of soak-time. Well, I finally got my chance. Over the last two months, I’ve been using the basically $1,400 pair ($699 each) in my living room to handle audio from my TV and also play a little music. With an easy setup and stellar sound quality, it’s easy to become smitten with Sonos. Indeed, it didn’t take long before I was hooked.

I knew this already, but once the Playbar and Sub arrived, reality set in: These guys take up a considerable amount of room. When dealing with home theatre tech, that probably goes without saying, but I’m mentioning it, if for no other reason than to remind you to plan ahead. The good news is that if you have a wall-mounted flat-screen, you can also mount Sonos’ soundbar directly underneath. I don’t, so the Playbar sat flat in front of my 42-inch Panasonic TV with the Sub on the floor just to the side. Is there a difference in performance with the two different positions? Treble projects better when mounted flat on a wall, but honestly, it sounds great either way.

Getting the pair up and running took about five minutes. It’s amazing, really. If you’re not into reading a page of directions, the Sonos app guides you through configuring the speakers for the first time, as well as adding new devices to your existing setup. For the Playbar, it’s a matter of hooking up the optical output from your TV and plugging into a router. An update several months ago actually dropped the required Hub, so you only need to connect to your internet source for Sonos devices to work. The same goes for the Sub: Plug it into the Playbar via an Ethernet cable and you’re up and running in a flash. Once the two were paired, I unplugged the Sub and it remained in sync with its audio companion, which is nice because it allowed me to easily try a few different positions to get the most bass.

Inside Sonos’ Controller app, you can input all of your streaming service info, or access a library of purchased music. I favor Spotify and my wife prefers Rdio, but we’re able to access each other’s saved tracks inside the Sonos app at any time. If she really wants to get at my “Whiskey Time” playlist via Spotify, she can with this companion software. It’s really quite handy. When music is paused on a speaker, hitting the play/pause button will resume from where you left off. I currently have a Play:1 in my son’s nursery so that when he heads off to sleep, we can make sure the lullaby versions of some Beatles songs are playing softly in the background — controlled from our mobile devices, of course. Pairing all of the speakers together requires only a few taps, as does beaming different songs to different devices. Again, this gear is very easy to use.

So, how’s the sound quality? It’s really good. Sonos’ audio gadgets, especially these two, aren’t cheap, so you expect the sound (and other features) to be on point. And it really is stellar. From the car chases in Fast & Furious 6 to all of the wizardry of the Harry Potter series and the scheming of House of Cards, this set is more than capable of filling your living room with whatever you’re watching on TV. It handles music like a champ, too. The Sub hits just as hard as one you’d put in your car — if you cue up the right music. Even though it offers a load of bass for bumping Run the Jewels or Schoolboy Q, this Sonos duo lends a balanced sound to bluegrass, blues, jazz, rock and more, all with remarkable clarity.

If it sounds like I’m gushing, well, I am. I’m completely sold, even with the combined $1,400 price that these two command. While the Sub and Playbar will certainly upgrade the audio in your favorite viewing area, I’d recommend splurging for a couple of Play:1 speakers to round out your surround-sound setup. And heck, when you’re not using them to power through full seasons on Netflix, positioning them around the house is pretty nice, too. Sonos told me back at CES that it’s committed to making sure customers don’t feel like its technology ages quickly, so investing in the audio gear means added software features will help keep the gadgets feeling and sounding fresh. A welcome promise, if you ask me.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD



The best photo sync services for Android

There’s more than one way to make sure you never lose a photo again. And these are some of the best.

It’s 2015. There’s absolutely no reason to ever lose a photo that you’ve taken on your smartphone. If anything, the bigger problem should be that you’re saving too many pictures and have to cull them from time to time. (That’s another post for another day, though.)

Then question, then, is how to best sync your pictures from your phone to ze olde cloud. And forget plugging in. This is the future, folks.

So here, now, is our take on the best photo sync services for Android. We’re not talking social sharing, we’re talking shoot, upload and worry no more.


Microsoft’s apparently passing on $110 million Cyanogen funding round

Alternative Android OS developer Cyanogen is poised to raise around $110 million in a funding round, but contrary to earlier reports, Microsoft might not be chipping in.

Several weeks ago brought the news that Microsoft was considering investing in Cyanogen and their customized Android system CyanogenMod. That OS is installed on a few retail devices, including the OnePlus One and the Alcatel OneTouch Hero 2+, as well as being freely available to download and install on a wide range of Android devices. But it seems that the Microsoft’s opting not to take part in this funding round.


Bringing empathy to the Middle East through gaming

Navit Keren grew up in Israel. She’s lived through the signing of historic peace treaties, and horrific terrorist attacks. Just as important though, she’s witness to the dramatic deterioration of the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. The biggest problem she sees, is a lack of empathy. Those living on the other side of the divide are not people, but enemies. “Others” to be feared and hated. Her effort to bridge the gap between the two sides is a pretty novel one: a location-based game. Welcome to the West Bank is merely a working title, but it gets right to the heart of the game. Israeli citizens, primarily teenagers, would play as Palestinian teenagers living in the West Bank. Basically she’s asking people to walk a mile in someone else’s virtual shoes.

Right now, there is no prototype, only screen mockups and ideas about game mechanics. The most important part is creating a “sincere and appealing narrative” that will help someone understand the experience of being on the other side of this seemingly intractable conflict. A lot of that means lifting directly from the personal stories of Palestinian youth. As you move through the world you’re offered information about the city you’re virtually visiting, landmarks and historical figures. But eventually you’ll be presented with a choice. Like this passage ripped straight from one Palestinian teen’s personal experience:

You are interrogated because of a suspicion of teaching boys in your village how to build Molotov Cocktails, which you deny. During the interrogation you are kept in a room that stinks of feces and rotten food. You are hit with a chair and threatened with a knife. You are also told that if you did not admit to the charges against you that you would be “taken to an electric chair to help you.”

You’ve already been held for 30 days, and your options are falsely confess and be released, or deny the charges and be held for 10 more days. And your choice will impact future events. If you admit guilt you’ll be placed under house arrest, be unable to attend school and therefore won’t graduate.

While these tales ripped from the newspaper are certainly compelling, Keren views cold hard data as the key component. She sees Welcome to the West Bank as a way to tell story of numbers. A count of the checkpoints in the tiny, Delaware-sized West Bank may be alarming, but a number on a page doesn’t necessarily illicit an strong emotional response. Instead that number has to be part of bigger story and its direct impact on daily life told through a narrative you can become absorbed in. So as players wander through these very real cities in the virtual world they’ll have to pass through checkpoints, and experience the impact it has on daily life.

Keren is very open in asking for feedback and suggestions. She freely admits to not knowing much about gaming or game development. And she doesn’t subscribe to what she calls “magical thinking” — she has no illusions about single-handedly bringing peace to the Middle East through a mobile game. But she does see it as a valuable educational tool that can spark dialog and perhaps humanize people who are increasingly spoken of in dehumanizing terms.

Filed under: Gaming, Mobile



Live video streaming app Meerkat gets kneecapped by Twitter

Meerkat, a new live video streaming app, has been hobbled by the ever-frustrating Twitter. It launched just 2 weeks ago and has risen in prominence thanks to exposure at SXSW.

Meerkat works simply: log in with your Twitter account, hit the stream button, and it immediately starts broadcasting video from your iPhone onto the web and posts a link onto Twitter. The stream is only available while it’s live — once you stop, it’s gone. Ephemeral live video, if you will. It’s a straightforward service, and while it’s not yet widely used, the exposure it’s seen at SXSW Interactive has dramatically raised its profile. While you might question the value of live video streaming from anybody’s phone, it’s worth noting that the value of 140-character messages was questioned as well, and Twitter gained traction under similar circumstances at SXSW in 2007.

But Twitter didn’t rely on another service to propagate it’s own. Apparently Twitter’s not to keen on Meerkat using their service to vault into the public consciousness, and their taking steps to reign in just how much exposure Meerkat’s going to get through Twitter. According to BuzzFeed:

Twitter is cutting off Meerkat’s ability to port people’s social networks over from Twitter to its own service—the so-called social graph. That means when new users come on board, they will no longer be automatically connected to the other people they are already following on Twitter.

It’s not surprising to see Twitter doing this, even if it is disheartening. Twitter recently purchased a different live streaming startup Periscope (only available via invite right now), and has an understandable business interest in protecting their own assets and not offering a service like Meerkat free and unfettered access to everything Twitter APIs have to offer.

That’s not likely to significantly hamper Meerkat, however, as the functions to start streaming and send out tweets about your stream are not tied to “social graph” access. If anything, doing so has generated more press for Meerkat — and positive press at that, while Twitter’s bearing the brunt of the negative side of the story (just like in this very post). It remains to be seen whether or not Meerkat will see longer term success or be something of a flash in the pan.

Source: BuzzFeed


Star Wars: Commander gets rare update, now supports 512 MB phones, new features

Back in September of last year, we saw the release of Star Wars: Commander, one of the many game franchises trying to cash in on the Clash of Clans phenomenon. Since then, we have seen much in the way of updates, unlike Age of Empires: Castle Siege.

However, today a nice update has gone out. Besides adding new features, those with 512 MB phones can now get in on the action too as the game has been optimized for low memory devices.

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