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26
Jan

Altair Semiconductor purchased by Sony for $212 million


altair_lte_chip

Sony announced today that they reached an agreement to purchase Altair Semiconductor, an Israel-based company that owns and produces LTE modem technology. Sony purchased Altair for $212 million USD with an expected closing date in early February.

With the acquisition, Sony will likely shift to using Altair produced LTE modems in their smartphones as they will be an “in-house” source. Sony notes that the impact on their business will extend well beyond smartphones though. Sony is looking ahead to growth in two big areas – the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables – where they see increasing demand for LTE connectivity.

Sony says Altair’s designs are already low power consumption solutions. Sony hopes to combine their modem designs with Sony sensing technology like GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and their image sensor technology to produce cellular-connected component devices.

Besides incorporating Altair’s technology into their own products, there is a good chance Sony sees an opportunity to produce chips for use by other manufacturers. Sony already has a robust image sensor business and sees their sensors used in cameras by many other companies. They would likely welcome the chance to build a similar business in the market for wireless modem chips.

Altair was founded in 2005 by former Texas Instruments employees. They only produce LTE chips which they say makes their solutions cheaper as they are not burdened with additional costs to support 3G.

source: Sony

Come comment on this article: Altair Semiconductor purchased by Sony for $212 million

26
Jan

Google helps you hear directly from presidential candidates


Trying to understand presidential candidates’ positions through debates can be an exercise in frustration. You might get a sense of where they stand on the issues… or might watch helplessly as their voices are drowned out by boisterous rivals. Google thinks it has a better way to keep tabs on politicans. It’s testing a feature that lets candidates share their views, photos and videos in real-time while you’re searching for a debate. If a would-be leader has smart ideas, you’ll know even when they don’t get a chance to speak up on TV. The feature will first be available during Fox News’ debate on January 28th (at 7PM Eastern), but it’s easy to see this becoming a mainstay for future events.

There’s more. The next debate will also show relevant Google Trends data in real time, such as the candidates that are dominating searches on a minute-by-minute basis (spoiler: probably Trump). You’ll get to answer polls from search, and three YouTube creators will get to ask questions of the candidates. Whether or not you like the positions you hear, this could keep you genuinely informed as you head into voting season.

Source: Google Official Blog

26
Jan

Lyft taps Google’s Waze maps to make rides more efficient


Looking to keep pace with Uber, Lyft set out to improve the overall experience for both drivers and passengers. Today, the transportation service announced a “first-of-its-kind partnership” with Google’s Waze. Using the Waze Transport SDK, Lyft says it’ll make its service more efficient for folks offering rides and eager customers looking to secure one. With Waze’s real-time route updates, drivers will be matched with another pickup on their way to a destination. This should cut own on wait times once you hail a car in the app.

“As the first and only ridesharing company to incorporate Waze’s latest advancements, we can make routing and rides even more efficient, which benefits everyone on the Lyft platform,” said the company’s VP of business development Oliver Hsiang. “Lyft and Waze share a similar vision for a future with less congestion, and we couldn’t be happier to be working with them closely to make that a reality.”

Specifically for drivers, Waze will become the default navigation method with a handy Return to Lyft button for easy access to the app’s controls. Waze’s crowd-sourced traffic updates aim to cut down on congestion, a feature Lyft looks to take full advantage of as it improves its service. The Waze integration is said to happen “in the coming weeks,” so you may notice a difference in wait times with the pink moustache soon enough.

Source: Lyft

26
Jan

‘Five Nights at Freddy’s World’ removed from Steam


Five Nights at Freddy’s, the jump-scare franchise depicted above that YouTubers love to make reaction videos to, has just joined company with Afro Samurai: it’s had a release pulled from Steam due to poor reviews. Developer Scott Cawthon writes on the Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 Steam listing that even though Five Nights at Freddy’s World might have had a “very positive” rating at 87 percent, he’s removing it because he wasn’t happy with the reviews and ratings it’d been garnering. He’s also requested that Steam-owner Valve remove the time limit from purchase refunds, so that no matter how long has passed between purchase and return, customers will get their money back.
Previously, that expired once two weeks had passed. “It may take them awhile to set that up, but it will be in place soon,” Cawthon writes. “I’m still going to work on FNaF World and polish it up.”

Cawthon says he’s polishing the game (Kotaku says that the original version was “kind of terrible”) and will add a 3D overworld to the distinctly light-hearted role-playing game and that once he’s finished, it’ll be free. “I appreciate your support, and I encourage you all to refund your Steam game (even if you enjoyed the game), and download the new version when it becomes available on GameJolt.” he writes. So there you have it: a game developer admits in earnest that he or she released an unfinished product and wants to make it up to the fans immediately. Refreshing, no?

Via: Kotaku

Source: Steam

26
Jan

Apple to Add Support for Subscription Content in Apple News App


Apple News IconApple is planning to add subscription content from publishers with paywalls to its Apple News app, reports Reuters. This will allow sites that require subscriptions or memberships to view content to have more control over who reads their articles, but it will also introduce barriers for readers.

All content on Apple News is available for free with the existing model, but with support for subscriptions, publishers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal could limit the number of free articles Apple News users can access before requiring them to subscribe.

With no support for subscription content, publishers are limited on how they can make money through Apple News. Existing subscriber-only sites currently share their articles for free or offer only an excerpt, directing readers to a website to read the full content. Publishers are said to be unhappy with the information Apple provides them about readers, so this paywall compromise could soothe relationships and give publishers new ways to gain potential subscribers.

“Ensuring subscription mechanisms in our off-platform distribution partnerships is critical,” said Katie Vanneck-Smith, chief customer officer of Dow Jones, which publishes the Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones is working with Apple and others to take advantage of new platforms, she added. She declined to comment on the specifics of conversations with Apple.

Apple’s decision to allow subscription content in the Apple News app may not be popular with Apple News readers, but it’s a feature that will allow Apple to differentiate itself from other news platforms that don’t offer paid content to attract publishers.

Introduced in September, Apple News is said to have somewhere around 40 million users, but it is not clear if that number reflects people who use the Apple News app on a regular basis or those who have accessed the app at one point or another. It’s also not clear if that number is accurate – Apple recently announced that it has been underestimating the number of Apple News readers and providing incorrect usage statistics to publishers.

Discuss this article in our forums

26
Jan

How to Back Up Your Mac Using Time Machine


Time Machine iconFinding a reliable backup solution for the Mac that runs in the background and isn’t a drain on system resources was once considered a challenging prospect.

With the arrival of OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple changed that preconception by introducing its native backup solution, called Time Machine. This article explains the benefits of using Time Machine and runs you through the setup and restore process.

Benefits of Using Time Machine

Time Machine has won over many Mac users due to its automated scheduling and intuitive recovery process, along with its ability to run in the background without affecting overall system performance.

The application achieves this by making an initial full backup of your Mac’s system disk and then stacking subsequent changes to the volume in a chronological hierarchy. Hourly backups, daily backups and weekly backups occur automatically, while the oldest backups are overwritten with new ones as the external backup disk reaches full capacity.

This creates a layered snapshot system that’s reflected in Time Machine’s navigable timeline and makes the recovery of individual files and folders a simple affair.

Read more »

26
Jan

How to speed up charging on any Android device


glowing-green-battery-charging

You wake up in the morning to get ready for work, only to realize that you forgot to plug your smartphone in the charger before bed last night. You have 30 minutes before you have to leave, so you plug it in the charger to get as much juice as possible. On your way out the door, you realize it has barely inched past the 20% marker. How frustrating!

We’ve all been there, and if it weren’t for the invention of car chargers, we’d all have a brick in our hands with friends, family and coworkers having no way to contact us. Thankfully, there are easy and manageable steps to avoid this perilous issue in the future. We’ll walk you through them step-by-step below!

Do you have the right charger?

Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0

There’s a common misconception that any charger will work for your smartphone. And while they may all work, they all won’t provide the most efficient charging speeds for your smartphone, especially with companies pioneering specialized fast charging like Quick Charge 2.0 and other technologies.

Qualcomm’s proprietary Quick Charge 2.0 technology might get you a very nice charge in just 20 minutes, but it certainly won’t do that if you don’t have your smartphone plugged into the right charger. For instance, just any old charger off of Amazon won’t be able to handle Quick Charge 2.0 functionality. In fact, some chargers that come with your smartphone don’t even support it. In most cases, you’ll have to go out and search for a charger that does.

tronsmart_logo_packaging_TA

You can find out if your device supports Quick Charge over on Qualcomm’s website, though while the device might support Quick Charge, it’s up to the manufacturer to enable it or not. However, if you know your device does support that fast charging technology, Qualcomm in that same document keeps a running list of certified accessories. You’re generally safe when buying one of the charging accessories from Qualcomm’s list. In fact, many of the brands and manufacturers Qualcomm recommends has their official certification posted publicly on their website. Tronsmart is one of the brands that does this.

I personally stick to chargers that are either certified by Qualcomm or straight from the manufacturer of my smartphone, even if I don’t have any special charging technology. The reason for this is because it’s a good practice to not purchase strange no-name and cheap brands.

qualcomm_quick_charge_2-0_comparison

Keep in mind that these same rules apply to other manufacturers’ charging technologies as well.

Another good thing to keep in mind is to not use your laptop’s or desktop’s USB port for charging your smartphone. Charging from a computer is slow. The reason for this is because charging from a USB 2.0 port only delivers 2.5 watts and USB 3.0 only 4.5 watts. Most smartphones that have fast charging can get as much as 15 watts from a wall outlet. With that in mind, if you want to keep your charging at top speed, avoid charging from USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports.

Ditch Wireless Charging

choetech_wireless_charger_1_TA

Wireless charging technology might be cool, but it’s certainly not fast! Wireless charging right now just isn’t able to deliver enough power to quickly charge your smartphone. It’s best to stick to a wall outlet if you’re in a hurry.

The exclusion to this is fast wireless charging. A good example of this would be Samsung’s fast wireless charging pad, which is really the only manufacturer right now truly pioneering this technology. However, it’s still not as fast as charging from a wall outlet. Until this technology improves, a wall outlet is truly the fastest way for charging your smartphone.

Software Tweaks

Even without any sort of fast charging technology, there are things you can do to speed up your smartphone’s charging. One time-tested feature is to just turn off your smartphone. When your smartphone is turned off, the only thing the battery is doing is charging. It’s not being drained from other things on your smartphone, such as location services, 3G/4G networks, Wi-Fi, and so on.

Alternatively, if you’d rather keep your smartphone turned on, you can enable Airplane Mode. This will still prevent features like location services and cellular networks from draining your battery. While your smartphone has features that can be a big battery drain, the biggest drain is your device’s display. With that in mind, try not to turn the display on while it’s charging. This will speed up charging quite a bit. Besides, as the old saying goes, a watched pot never boils.

If you truly need to do have your mobile data on, you can still shut off some other features taking up unnecessary power, such as NFC, Bluetooth and other features you aren’t immediately using.

Portable Chargers

Portable chargers won’t necessarily help you charge your smartphone faster, but they’re always handy in keeping your smartphone charged in a pinch. If you’re out a job or at the office and don’t have access to a wall charger, portable chargers will often give you more than enough juice until you can fully charge your smartphone.

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With that in mind, it’s important to buy a good portable charger. Much like wall chargers, it’s a good practice to stay away from strange and cheap no-name brands. That said, some of the portable chargers that have treated me really well in the past are Aukey and TYLT. TLY has been particularly convenient, as many of its portable chargers come with a built-in micro-USB cable so that you don’t have to lug around an extra cable in your pocket or carrying case. The company also recently announced some interesting portable batteries coming up at CES 2016.

Aukey is another good brand, as they produce some good quality wall chargers and portable chargers. Many of them are even Qualcomm-certified.

As an alternative to power banks, considering taking an extra battery with you if you have a smartphone that lets you remove the battery (i.e. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 smartphones have non-removable batteries, but the LG G4 does).

Power Saving Mode

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It’s also worth turning power saving mode on while your smartphone is charging. This will help conserve power while your smartphone is charging by reducing system performance as well as other behind-the-scenes resources.

Closing

All in all, that’s how you can charge your smartphone faster. By following the suggestions and steps outlined above, you should hopefully never run out of juice before having to leave the house for work or some other happening. However, some of these methods to increase charging won’t work if you have an aging or damaged battery.

Lithium-ion batteries are in most of our smartphones, and while they’re a much better technology than other solutions, the type of battery is still subject to aging. In some smartphones, lithium-ion capacity deterioration can be noticeable in as little as one year. It’s worth nothing that they can outright fail after two or three years. That said, it might be worth buying a new battery if your smartphone has a removable one. If your smartphone has a non-removable battery, it’s best to check your warranty, as you can–most of the time–get a smartphone replacement.

What methods do you use to increase the speed of charging on your smartphone?

Come comment on this article: How to speed up charging on any Android device

26
Jan

LG admits to persistent bootloop problem being a hardware issue, will fix defective units


 

LG_G4_Bootloader_issue

LG G4 owners across the globe have been complaining of a persistent issue in which their G4 randomly reboots then gets stuck in an endless bootloop cycle. There has been no official remedy for this problem, that is until now. Today, in an official statement to Android Authority, LG has admitted that the bootloop problem is due to a hardware defect, and it will be repairing all afflicted devices.

Android Authority questioned LG directly to receive an answer to this problem, with LG’s official response reading:

LG Electronics has been made aware of a booting issue with the LG G4 smartphone that has now been identified as resulting from a loose contact between components. Customers who are experiencing booting issues with their LG G4s should contact their local carrier from where the G4 was purchased or a nearby LG Service Center (http://www.lg.com/common) for repair under full warranty.

Customers who purchased their G4 devices from non-carrier retailers should contact an LG Service Center with the understanding that warranty conditions will differ. LG Electronics is committed to providing the highest standards of product quality and customer service and apologizes for the inconvenience caused to some of our customers who initially received incorrect diagnoses.

Prior attempts by LG to remedy this affliction have been confirmed as misdiagnoses, leading to the wrong hardware components being replaced. Now with an official confirmation from LG on the problem, I think those of you with afflicted devices can rest easy knowing that LG has figured out exactly how to fix your device.

Source: Android Authority

Come comment on this article: LG admits to persistent bootloop problem being a hardware issue, will fix defective units

26
Jan

OPPO sold over 50 million units in 2015 demonstrating 67% annual growth


OPPO_R7s_15

2015 was a good year for OPPO. Today they reported that they topped 50 million units over the course of the year, which represents a year-on-year growth of 67 percent. This success is due in part to successful marketing campaigns, particularly in China, as well a few key brand partnerships.

This growth broke the smartphone maker into the top ten smartphone brands globally. They currently stand at number 8 worldwide. In a press release, the company credited much of their increased market share with their boom in China.

Taking China as an example, OPPO accounted for 27.9 percent of the country’s offline sales in the RMB2000-2999 ($300-$450 USD) segment last year, according to independent market research firm SINO MR, positioning OPPO as the most popular choice in this price range in the offline market.

The electronics manufacturer was able to secure this top position in the Chinese market through the use of a highly successful advertising campaign that touted the VOOC Flash Charge quick charging solution. The slogan “Charge for five minutes, talk for two hours” proved simple and effective, and OPPO is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in the country.


oppo-first-lookSee also: Oppo F1 first look and initial impressions5

Going into 2016, the Chinese company is planning on leveraging this momentum into further expansion in non-Chinese markets. The company has set their sights on India as their chief target, and they hope to see a 300 percent increase in the nation by 2017, hopefully propelling them toward their global goal of a 60 percent growth in non-Chinese markets.

OPPO leans hard on bang-per-buck. Although they aren’t known for their high-end devices, the company seeks to provide solid quality-to-price ratios for mid-range and entry-level markets. Their new F series, which is set to launch in India on Thursday with the F1, is very camera-centric and looks like it will be the main line they will be banking on to hit that 300 percent figure in India.

Click the button below to see the full press release, and be sure to let us know what you think of OPPO’s current growth in the comments below!

Show Press Release
Shenzhen, Jan. 26, 2016 – OPPO sold 50 million units in 2015, representing a year-on-year growth of 67 percent. Propelled by this success, OPPO has broken into the top ten smartphone brands worldwide, ranking eighth in global market share, according to a recent report by TrendForce.

OPPO soared in 2015 on its “simple, focused” strategy, which prioritized product quality and user experience above all. Meanwhile, a host of innovative signature technologies, such as the VOOC Flash Charge quick-charging solution and a versatile, feature-packed camera platform, won the favor of consumers around the world.

2015 saw the release of a wide range of new OPPO products, including the R7 series, the Mirror 5 and the Neo 7. The products of the R7 series, featuring VOOC Flash Charge and an outstanding photography experience, made OPPO a commanding force in the mid-range and upper mid-range market segments.

Taking China as an example, OPPO accounted for 27.9 percent of the country’s offline sales in the RMB2000-2999 ($300-$450 USD) segment last year, according to independent market research firm SINO MR, positioning OPPO as the most popular choice in this price range in the offline market. This performance was fueled in part by a successful campaign promoting the VOOC Flash Charge quick-charging solution, which, with the help of the slogan “Charge for five minutes, talk for two hours”, has virtually become a household name in China.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, riding on the success of the R7 series, as well as the attractively priced Mirror 5 and Neo 7, OPPO ranked number two nationally in offline smartphone market share, with 21.9 percent, according to November 2015 data from independent market research firm GfK.

Strategic brand partnerships have also been a contributor to OPPO’s rise in 2015, and are continuing to have a huge impact on the company’s global brand awareness. Among the most high-profile of these is OPPO’s ongoing three-year partnership with FC Barcelona, which has afforded opportunities to connect with the fans and followers of one of the most popular football clubs in the world. Meanwhile, a recently announced partnership with the International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to open up a host of exciting opportunities in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and a range of OPPO’s other cricket-loving markets.

OPPO has also leveraged cross-industry promotions to boost its image. In Australia, OPPO cooperated with the fashion world for Melbourne and Sydney fashion weeks, successfully positioning itself as a vendor of trendy, stylish devices in the mid- and upper-mid range.

2015 also saw big expansions in OPPO’s global markets. While strengthening core markets in China and Southeast Asia, OPPO also opened up business in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Sri Lanka. In hotly contested India, the company invested heavily in a domestic main office. As of December 2015, OPPO had established 11,000 sales outlets across India and entered into cooperation with Foxconn India to assemble phones domestically.

In 2016, OPPO will keep the momentum going, with a goal of 60-percent growth in non-Chinese markets. India will be a chief focus for the company this year, with a planned sales increase of 300 percent by the end of the year.

2016 will also see OPPO strengthen its well-deserved brand image as a provider of superb camera experiences, while at the same time putting an increased emphasis on bringing OPPO phones to a wider range of users, by providing devices that bring phenomenal quality-to-price ratios. The photography-centric F1, the first product in the new F series, is an early step in this direction.

With the F1 set to launch in India on January 28, OPPO is already ramping up to bring its innovative smartphones to even more users this year, and to make 2016 a new high point.

Next: Best cheap Android phones

26
Jan

Nexus 5X price drops again, this time to $300


mid-range smartphone of the year 2015 - lg nexus 5x

If you’re in the market for a new smartphone, and you want a pure Android experience on Marshmallow without breaking the bank, then we’ve got some seriously good news for you. Google just slashed the price of the 16GB Nexus 5X to $299.00 and $349.00 for the 32GB version.

This is an interesting development, because just two weeks ago, Google trimmed $30 off the mid-range Nexus device to bring its price down to $350. Now we’re seeing an even bigger chunk lopped off. For a device running a Snapdragon 808 with 2GB of RAM and a 5.2 inch display, you’re getting a lot of tech-per-dollar here. For its default price, the Nexus 5X is now going for less than it did even on Black Friday.


nexus 5x second opinion aa (6 of 12)See also: 6 common problems with the Nexus 5X and how to fix them23

Technically, there’s still a way to get the smartphone for even cheaper. Right now, BuyDig is running a limited-quantity offer that puts a 16GB version of this device in your hands for $299.99, but they’ll also send you a $20 pre-paid Visa card to boot. When the Nexus 5X originally launched, we were impressed with its specs, but thought the price was perhaps a bit much when compared with competitors like the OnePlus 2 and Moto X Pure. Now it looks like the device is finally dropping to a price range where it’s truly a tempting choice.

REVIEWS OF THE NEXUS 5X

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What are your thoughts on the Nexus 5X? If you own the device, let us know what your experience has been like in the comments. Is this deal worth it, or not? For those still on the fence, check out our full review and decide for yourself if this new price tag compensates for the negatives we mention.

Next: Best cheap Android phones

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