It’s easy to take for granted all of the testing that happens behind closed doors before a smartphone or any other consumers electronics gadget makes its way into our hands. We gave readers an inside look back in 2011 at some of the labs and equipment that Sprint uses when testing devices for its network, and now CNET has posted a similar feature on some of the facilities and equipment Samsung uses to test everything from phones and tablets to refrigerators and washing machines. CNET’s Shara Tibken watched along as Samsung engineers zapped cell phones with stun guns, dropped tablets off of shelves, drenched phones with water, shook washing machines around to simulate a bumpy ride on a delivery truck and even
If you're a karaoke die-hard, you know that half the challenge is finding the right song to sing. Singtrix, a new karaoke system from the creators of "Guitar Hero," seeks to eliminate that challenge once and for all by stripping the vocals out of any recorded song, from any source, such as YouTube. It can also autotune your voice so the experience is fun for your listeners, as well. Replicating a karaoke experience at home is not easy, although you have lots of options. You can play karaoke video games, scour YouTube for vocal-less tracks or pick up a dedicated karaoke machine. The trouble is that each one of these choices confers a relatively limited selection of songs. This is where the $300 Singtrix comes in. Tom's Guide had a chance to go hands-on with the device and see if it could really deliver what it promised. The creators assert that Singtrix can transform even the most tone-deaf singers into rock stars, complete with backing vocals, for any song, using any device. MORE: We Don't Have That Here: Gadgets We Discovered in Asia While the device is not perfect, it generally succeeds. The Singtrix itself is a small box with a number of knobs and buttons to control volume and effects that you can apply to your voice. Although you can activate effects that make you sound like a chamber choir or Barry White, the device's primary draw is its ability to strip vocals out of any song so you can fill in your own voice. Here's how it works: You plug your phone, tablet or computer into the Singtrix device using the headphone jack, which connects to external speakers and a microphone (both included). Press "play" on your device's music player, and the Singtrix handles the rest via a novel algorithm that cuts out frequencies associated with vocals on rock and pop songs. Whether your song comes from your personal MP3 collection, YouTube or streaming services like Spotify, the device mutes the vocals while playing the backing music. Just like with a regular karaoke track, you'll be able to belt out your favorite songs as the lead singer. Furthermore, based on the effects that you choose, the Singtrix can autotune your voice and make you sound more like your preferred band's leading man or lady — even if you're not the same sex. Another unique feature of the device is its "hit" effect. Using a button on the microphone, the Singtrix will listen to the notes you're singing, weigh them against the instrumental music and add three backup vocal tracks to sing in harmony with you. In our experience, we found that the Singtrix was impeccable at removing vocals from songs, but the backup harmonies were hit or miss. During a rendition of "Dead Flowers" by the Rolling Stones from a YouTube video, it was impossible to hear Mick Jagger singing, but the Singtrix harmonized in a minor key when we sang along ("Dead Flowers" is in D Major). The resulting sound was ugly with the harmonies added, but very pleasant without them. Other songs, like Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," harmonized properly. Also available is the free Singtrix app for Android and iOS, called Karaoke Anywhere. This delivers a more traditional karaoke experience, optimized for the Singtrix device, complete with scrolling lyrics (the Singtrix itself does not display lyrics, and requires users to provide their own via smartphone or memory) and song recordings designed without vocals. The service will offer more than 13,000 songs available via subscription or à la carte purchases, and is available for download now. The complete Singtrix package — device, microphone, mic stand, and speaker — retails for $299.99 via the Singtrix website, and can ship in time for Christmas. MORE: Attention Online Shoppers! Your Christmas Shipping Deadlines Singtrix is admittedly expensive, and not for the casual karaoke fan; you could spend a lot of time in karaoke bars for that price, with enough money left over for ample libations. On the other hand, if you want to make your house the new get-together place for karaoke night, you can't find a bigger selection than "every song on the Internet." Follow Marshall Honorof @marshallhonorof and on Google+ . Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+. 10 Best Android Music Players 30 Free Android Apps for New Users 2014 Audio Production Software Product Comparisons Copyright 2013 Toms Guides , a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
HTC is so eager to sell more units of its One that it's practically giving phones away. The Taiwanese manufacturer is now offering a 32GB One for $0 down, with monthly payments in increments as low as $25 during the course of two years. The unlocked handset runs on the newest flavor of Google's mobile OS -- Android 4.4 KitKat, as PhoneScoop reports. The contract-free HTC One is compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile's networks and is only available for what HTC refers to as well-qualified applicants. According to the company's website, this means you'll have to have decent credit history to be eligible for the deal. MORE: 25 Best Android Apps While you'll still end up paying the full $600 retail price during the course of two years, the deal could be appealing for those who want to upgrade their smartphone without severing a service contract before two years is up. You'll have to cough up a $49.99 down payment to get the same deal through T-Mobile, and AT&T is offering the One for free up-front if you agree to a two-year contract. For those who are interested, HTC's deal is valid through Dec. 29. HTC packed a 1.7-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM inside its flagship One -- pitting it directly against the top smartphones on the market. With a premium metal design, captivating 1080p display and speedy quad-core processor, you'd be hard pressed to find a superior smartphone than the HTC One. Best Mobile Products of the Year 6 Hottest Smartphones Right Now Best Gifts Under $50 Copyright 2013 LAPTOP Magazine, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Apple began deploying its iBeacon technology in retail stores last week, but the iPhone maker isn't the only company attempting to make the brick-and-mortar shopping experience more interactive. Qualcomm has just announced that its new Gimbal platform, which utilizes Bluetooth Smart to deliver proximity-based notifications to in-store shoppers, is commercially available starting today. Qualcomm's Gimbal platform is contextually aware, similar to Apple's iBeacon, which means it will only send shoppers relevant information based on where they are in the store. Qualcomm says Gimbal takes various types of information into account, including physical location, activity, time and personal interests in order to filter out the irrelevant. The beacons are accurate down to one foot and work both indoors and outdoors. MORE: Top 10 Holiday Tech Gifts of 2013 Gimbal supports iOS and Android, but will only be available for iOS upon launch according to Qualcomm. The device itself comes in two flavors-- the Series 20 and Series 10 beacons. The larger Series 20 measures 4 x 3.7 x 0.9 inches, while the smaller version is 1.5 x 1.1 x 0.2 inches. The beacons communicate using Bluetooth Smart, giving the Series 10 an estimated battery life of up to a year depending on use cases, while the Series 20 is said to last between one and three years. Qualcomm also says that the Series 10 beacons can cost as little as $5 per unit and the Series 20 could be priced at $10 each, depending on volume. The announcement marks just one of several smart shopping efforts to emerge in recent months. In addition to Apple's iBeacon deployment, Macy's recently announced a partnership with the Shopkick app that uses location services to track your iPhone in-store. For now, shoppers can try the technology out in the retailer's New York City and San Francisco stores. Best Mobile Products of the Year Top Holiday Gift Ideas 2013 Top 10 Smartphones Copyright 2013 LAPTOP Magazine, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Google is developing an "aggressively priced" set top box that will compete directly with the Apple TV. The device will run on Android, of course, stream video content from YouTube, Hulu and Netflix and play video games. According to a new report from The Information, that appears to confirm earlier whispers from the Wall Street Journal, the product was actually demoed, albeit in secret, at the 2013 CES back in January and other core features include Google Hangouts integration for multimedia communication, essentially turning a TV set into a video conferencing system. The box won't be able to stream live TV but, if the unnamed Google employees quoted in the article are correct, it will have an integrated video camera and a motion sensor.
In a bid to increase sales of its flagship handset this Christmas, HTC has kicked off a special promotion in the U.S., offering buyers the option of purchasing an unlocked 32GB HTC One smartphone for $0 down followed by 24 monthly interest-free payments of $25. In two years, buyers qualifying for the offer would only pay for the cost of the handset, whose listed price is $599. However, depending on credit checks, not all applicants will be able to take advantage of the interest-free financing offer and some buyers may end up getting different financing terms, based on their creditworthiness. The promotion is valid when buying the device from the U.S. HTC online store, and it will be good while supplies
Chromecast is a nifty way to get your web browser and other key TV apps onto your big-screen television but Google’s ambitions for the living room apparently go deeper. The Verge relays us the latest report from The Information that claims Google is working on something called Nexus TV, which will be its own Apple TV-style set-top box that it will release sometime in 2014. Like Chromecast, the Android-based set-top box will let users play content from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube and it will also apparently give users access to select video games as well. There’s no information on pricing for the device yet but The Information’s source says that it should be ready for release in the first half of
Whether you're buying a tablet for your 8-year-old or a new smartphone for Mom, you don't want to gift a gadget that's going to end up gathering dust in a closet somewhere. It's easy to get drawn in by a bargain or fall for advertising hype that makes a tech product look a lot more useful than it is in real life. Unfortunately, when Dad discovers that the $300 computer you gave him doesn't run his programs and Junior complains because he can't play the same games as his friends on that console you bought, you'll feel more like the Grinch than Santa Claus. Save yourself from standing in that return line and don't give anyone these five gadget gifts to avoid. Chromebooks At first glance, Chromebooks such as the HP Chromebook 11 and Acer C720 look like a great deal. For under $300, you get a lightweight laptop that's virtually idiot-proof and stays safe from viruses and spyware. The catch is that Chromebooks run Google's Chrome OS, which is little more than a Chrome Web browser floating on top of a desktop. Chromebooks can't run Windows apps, Mac apps or Android apps. All they can run are Web apps, most of which are nothing more than glorified Web pages. Some of the apps in Google's Chrome Web store won't even run on a Chromebook, because they require plugins such that you can't install in Chrome OS. While you can perform many tasks offline on a Chromebook, you often have to jump through some hoops, such as enabling a hidden setting in Google Docs or downloading a special app for offline Gmail. Grandpa may say that he only needs email and "the Internet," but when he finds out that he can't write letters in regular Microsoft Word, listen to his songs in iTunes or play his pals in a Java-based online scrabble game, his Chromebook will take up permanent residence in a drawer somewhere. Get him a low-cost Windows laptop instead. More: Top Laptop Gifts Microsoft Surface 2 Microsoft has some fantastic commercials for its Surface 2 tablet, but don't believe the hype. The Surface 2 may have a gorgeous 1080p screen, an innovative keyboard cover and a neat flip-out stand, but it doesn't actually run Windows. Instead, the tablet uses a hobbled operating system called Windows RT, which can't run standard Windows programs, only new touch-friendly "Modern UI apps" from the new Windows store. Windows RT looks exactly like Windows, which makes it all the more insidious. Your sister will love her new Surface 2 until she tries to install Photoshop Elements, iTunes, "World of Warcraft" or her Printshop card-making software and gets an error message saying that it's incompatible. Meanwhile, you can get a full Windows tablet like the ASUS Transformer Book T100 for $399 with a keyboard dock while the Surface 2 costs $449 plus another $119 for its Touch Cover. iPhone 5C Nothing says "cheap" like buying a rebadged version of last year's phone, particularly when everyone can tell that you spent less just by looking at it. The $99 iPhone 5c has the same specs as last year's iPhone 5, including an outdated processor and a lesser camera than the iPhone 5s, which only costs $100 more. That's a pittance when you consider the cost of phone service over the length of a two-year contract. Worse still, the budget-minded iPhone 5c is made of candy-colored plastic while the mainstream 5s is a classy metal so everyone can tell which one you got. Kids’ Tablets You know what kids like? Adult gadgets. Even a 1-year-old knows the difference between a Fisher-Price phone and a real one. No matter how young she is, your child wants a "real" tablet with access to the top children's websites and the leading kids' games. Child-friendly slates like the Discovery Kids techTab and Oregon Scientific Meep look like they'll make great gifts, because they feature age-appropriate software, parental controls and durable chassis. However, almost all of these tablets for tots suffer from serious performance issues, dim and low-res screens, short battery life and extremely limited software. Your child will thank you for buying a grown-up slate and turning on parental controls like the Restricted Profile feature on the Google Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire HDX's FreeTime, which limits the amount of hours she can spend on the device. More: Gift Ideas for Kids A Wii U If you plan to gift the Nintendo Wii U Game console, make sure you include the receipt. If your friend or family member is into gaming, they want a Sony PlayStation 4 or XBox One, both of which have excellent performance, a bevy of high-end games and huge communities of gamers you can play against. Unfortunately, the $300 Wii U is a waste of metal and plastic, with a lame touch-screen controller, mediocre graphics capability and almost none of the games people actually want to play. Whether your giftee likes racing games, first-person shooters or sports, they won't find what they're looking for in the Wii U's nearly empty library of games. You'd be better off giving a Nintendo DS, because at least that's portable. Top 10 Holiday Tech Gifts of 2013 Worst-Named Gadgets of 2013 10 Dumbest Smartphone Features Copyright 2013 LAPTOP Magazine, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Twitter Inc is tying up with a Singapore-based startup to make its 140-character messaging service available to users in emerging markets who have entry-level mobile phones which cannot access the Internet. U2opia Mobile, which has a similar tie-up with Facebook Inc, will launch its Twitter service in the first quarter of next year, Chief Executive and Co-founder Sumesh Menon told Reuters. Users will need to dial a simple code to get a feed of the popular trending topics on Twitter, he said. More than 11 million people use U2opia's Fonetwish service, which helps access Facebook and Google Talk on mobile without a data connection.
Verizon has been feeling the heat in New York City and other major markets where AT&T offers much faster 4G speeds. But it looks like Big Red just leapfrogged Ma Bell on the third anniversary of its initial LTE rollout, tripling its capacity via the AWS spectrum Verizon acquired from the cable providers. Users could see peak speeds as high as 80 Mbps. The emphasis, though, is not on throughput but on the ability to support multiple connections at once in congested areas. According to Gigaom, which interviewed Verizon's chief network officer, the provider's claimed speeds will not go above 5 to 12 Mbps, even though customers will likely see much faster data rates. MORE: 10 Smartphones with the Longest Battery Life Thus far, Verizon has tripled its capacity in such cities as New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and Washington D.C. Other markets, such as downtown San Francisco and Los Angeles, have received a 150-percent boost. Not every smartphone will be able to take advantage of this 4G LTE upgrade. In fact, only 15 percent of Verizon's devices are AWS capable, including the iPhone 5s and 5c, the Galaxy S4 and the Motorola Droid Maxx, Mini and Ultra. The Galaxy Note 3 will get an over-the-air update. Verizon says about one-fifth of its devices will be able to enjoy its increased capacity by the end of the year. It's not as if other carriers are standing still. Sprint, for example, recently launched its Spark service, enabling a number of tri-band phones to achieve download speeds up to 50 Mbps. In our testing around New York City, Sprint doubled the speeds of AT&T. Meanwhile, T-Mobile says it has doubled its capacity, and AT&T is looking to soup up its already strong network by mining its existing spectrum from its 2G and 3G networks. In the coming days we'll be testing Verizon's upgraded network to see just how much improved it is, but overall we're glad to see the carrier make strides to keep up with our insatiable data appetites. via Gigaom Top Smartphone Gifts 2013 Best & Worst Smartphone Brands 2013 5 Best Verizon Smartphones Copyright 2013 LAPTOP Magazine, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
An Android developer has agreed to settle charges with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over a free flashlight app that has been "deceiving" users. Brightest Flashlight Free, available in the Google Play store, has been downloaded over 50 million times, but a complaint from the FTC reveals that the seemingly innocent app transmits “precise location” data to third-party advertisers alongside a unique device identifier. “When consumers are given a real, informed choice, they can decide for themselves whether the benefit of a service is worth the information they must share to use it,” says Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But this flashlight app left them in the dark about how their information was going to be used.” The FTC’s settlement forces GoldenShores Technologies, the app developer, to provide more control over the location sharing and not misrepresent how the data is being used and shared.
We round up 10 of the most interesting and innovative hi-tech items that found their way onto the market thanks to successful crowd funding campaigns via Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Selfstarter. Just launch the smartphone app and if a tile is within range -- i.e. However, what sets this tracker apart from the competition is that if a missing device is within range of any smartphone, anywhere in the world, that is running the Tile app, it can be found again. Each tile is good for one year before the battery dies but before it does, the company will mail out a new Tile and offer to recycle the old one.
Ryan Seacrest — the brilliant mind behind reality-television peddler Ryan Seacrest Productions, which is responsible for innovative programming such as Kourtney & Kim Take New York and Kourtney & Kim Take Miami — knows an opportunity when he sees it. With BlackBerry imploding like the core of a dying star, the budding technologist thought: Why not combine the physical comfort of a BlackBerry keyboard with the easy-to-use software of an iPhone? After two years of development and a $1 million initial investment, the result is this: The Typo iPhone Keyboard, a $99 peripheral for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S that doubles as a case. It effectively transforms your iPhone into a BlackBerry, and is in many ways the inverse of the wishes expressed by President Obama yesterday.
Introduced at CES in January, the Polaroid iM1836 promised a lot: it was Android-powered, had interchangeable lenses, and carried a brand many of us still associate with fun and effortless photography. The latter has now been affirmed by a US court, which has ruled in favor of Nikon in its patent infringement suit against Sakar, the iM1836's maker. The two companies have agreed that Sakar "will no longer manufacture, import, advertise, promote, offer for sale, sell, or ship the Polaroid iM1836 digital camera in its present configuration." The product page for the camera has now been removed and Sakar's website only lists photography parts it sells under the Vivitar and Kodak brands, there are no Polaroid options at all. It may seem odd that Nikon would go to such lengths to thwart what is an obviously inferior product, but as the court concluded, this is a legitimate case of patent infringment.
Just how deep does the NSA rabbit hole go? The Washington Post reports that the NSA is “gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world.” This enables the agency to track an individual user throughout the day, virtually mapping out every location that the cellphone owner has visited. According to the NSA, the location tracking is an incidental side effect of data collection, although U.S. officials have deemed the practice lawful as the data could assist in the development of the country’s intelligence regarding foreign threats. “here is no element of the intelligence community that under any authority is intentionally collecting bulk cellphone location information about cellphones in the United States,” said Robert Litt, general counsel for
President Obama sat down with passionate fan and MSNBC host Chris Matthews tonight for an interview that was either "crucial" or "fairly insignificant," depending on who you read. Though Matthews said he would ask Obama some "easier questions," he touched on the NSA -- specifically, the latest Washington Post revelation that the agency gathers almost 5 billion records per day to track cell phone locations. No surprise here: Obama defended the NSA's work on the grounds that it'll protect us from "bad actors" and "people who are trying to hurt us." That said, we shouldn't get too upset about the fact that the NSA can access basically all of our electronic communications that we thought were private, because Obama says they don't want to.
Google earmarked around $500 million to market the Moto X and it’s still barely made a dent in the American smartphone market. The latest numbers from comScore show that Motorola’s American smartphone market share ticked up only slightly from 6.9% in July 2013 to 7% in October 2013 even though the company in that time launched several new smartphones including its flagship Moto X. That Google could put so much money into pushing a product and still only nudge the needle forward has to be disappointing, especially since it’s been trying to find a counterweight to keep Samsung’s domination of the Android market in check. That said, things could still be worse for Motorola. For instance, it could be HTC,
BlackBerry CEO John Chen has his work cut out for him. Jackdaw Research chief analyst Jan Dawson has been taking a look at BlackBerry’s recent revenue trends and has concluded that the company will need to shrink itself even further if it plans to stay afloat. The reason, says Dawson, is that its biggest potential revenue streams — from its mobile device management services, its popular BlackBerry Messenger app and its Machine to Machine (M2M) business — won’t make up for the massive revenue losses it will take from its collapsing handset sales. “The last time device shipments and revenues were at current levels (way back in 2007) cost of sales and overall operating expenses were a fraction of what
Why can't President Barack Obama use an iPhone? "I'm not allowed, for security reasons, to have an iPhone," Obama told a White House audience yesterday (Dec. 4), according to Agence France-Presse. Instead, the news agency said, Obama has to stick to his BlackBerry, a valued brand in Washington due to its strict security controls and strong encryption. That's not the entire story, however. BlackBerrys also offer a high level of organizational control and security that few other smartphones can match. MORE: Mobile Security Guide: Everything You Need to Know Command and control Obama's model almost certainly sends and receives all its email and instant messages through a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), an in-house email forwarder controlled by the user's organization. Each BlackBerry-issuing organization can set its own security rules and procedures, and you can assume that the White House's would be pretty tough. Consumer BlackBerrys, in contrast, send and receive messages through the BlackBerry company's own servers, which are fairly secure, but out of the White House and National Security Agency's controls — and, because BlackBerry is a Canadian company, often outside of the United States as well. Most iPhones and Android phones route email and instant messages through each message service's own servers — Apple for iCloud and Messages, Google for Gmail and Google Talk, Yahoo for Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger — rather than through any single central control point. Numerous reports from 2009 indicated that some months after taking office as president, Obama received a customized BlackBerry 8830 World Edition smartphone from BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. (The Waterloo, Ontario, company has since changed its name to BlackBerry.) The handset reportedly incorporated voice-encryption software developed by the National Security Agency. Since Obama's phone is apparently one of a kind, there's a good chance that even more secure hardware-based encryption is also onboard. Between his inauguration and the delivery of his custom BlackBerry, multiple reports indicated Obama may have used the military-grade Sectera Edge smartphone made by General Dynamics, though we couldn't find any photos of him using one. Photo evidence There are, however, dozens of photos from Obama's first term showing him checking email on what appears to be a BlackBerry 8830, and one from a trip abroad that shows him speaking into a BlackBerry Curve 8900. An Associated Press photo from Obama's second inauguration in January 2013 shows him checking messages on what looks like a flatter-bodied, later-model BlackBerry Q10. Obama reportedly uses an email address known only to a dozen or so close aides and family members. Other reports state that each incoming email message is manually screened for malware and malicious links. What few photos show is Obama actually speaking on a BlackBerry. Instead, when the president has been photographed speaking on a cellphone outside the White House or his presidential limousine, he's almost always using a flip or slider feature phone, possibly belonging to an aide or campaign worker. It may be that the president isn't allowed to speak on his BlackBerry outside of controlled environments. BlackBerry voice calls are normally handled by regular cellular carriers, not a BES, but the White House and presidential limousine may have their own cellular networks. As for feature phones, those relatively primitive models are more difficult to infect with malware or spyware than more sophisticated smartphones. While the president may be forbidden from handling an iPhone, he does have an iPad, reportedly given to him personally by then- Apple chief Steve Jobs. It's a safe bet that iPad connects only to the White House Wi-Fi network. Follow Paul Wagenseil at @snd_wagenseil . Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+. Top Holiday Gift Ideas 2013 Senator Wants Cybersecurity Answers from Automakers 9 Best Mobile Security Software Products Copyright 2013 Toms Guides , a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Details are still hazy at best, but Samsung might be preparing to ship a new Windows Phone. A listing for an unannounced Samsung smartphone with model number SM-W750V has appeared on Indian tech company Zauba’s website. According to the listing, the phone will feature a 5-inch display, and as SamMobile has deduced based on its 33,245 rupee ($540 USD) price, it will likely contain high-end specs comparable to Samsung’s other flagship phones. Samsung hasn’t been shy about the fact that it is exploring its options in terms of smartphone operating systems, particularly with the upcoming launch of Tizen. Releasing a Windows Phone would allow Samsung to spread its reach even further, and with Microsoft looming over the Windows Phone business, this
In an Oracle vs. Google appeal case, the judges appear to be siding with Oracle, according to reports from Bloomberg and Reuters, although there isn’t a ruling in the case yet. In the spring of 2012, Google won the trial against Oracle, which sued the company for allegedly copying 37 Java APIs from Oracle-acquired Java in the development of Android. U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled in that case the APIs that were copied by Google were not copyrightable, giving Google the win in a case in which Oracle was seeking $1 billion in damages, down from an initial $6.1 billion estimate. Oracle also had patent claims against Google in that case, which it lost, and which it’s not appealing. During
When BGR published the famous open letter from an anonymous BlackBerry executive back in 2011, it was easy for some of the company’s defenders to brush it off as the bitter ramblings of one disgruntled employee. But now Bloomberg Businessweek has gotten a lot of former BlackBerry executives and partners to go on the record about their time with the company and it turns out that realization of the company’s impending collapse was widespread by the time BGR’s letter posted more than two years ago. The first thing that these interviews confirm is something that was painfully obvious to outside observers for years: Namely, that BlackBerry’s senior management didn’t take the threat of the iPhone at all seriously. “I remember
The majority of mobile gamers are women when it comes to the iPad and Android tablets, according to the third quarter 2013 edition of an ongoing App Annie & IDC Portable Gaming Report. On iOS, the gamer's average age is 42, and on Android devices, it's 41. In terms of system popularity, iOS still rules the roost in North America, and the Kindle Fire has become a more popular gaming device in North America than any other Google Play tablet. Games may comprise around 40% of all downloads in both the iOS App Store and Google Play, but consumer spending on games actually represents aroud 75% of total revenue -- a real moneyspinner for app developers.
President Obama, the most powerful man in the world, is stuck with cumbersome and faulty technology that might have been impressive half-a-decade ago. We're talking about his bulky old BlackBerry jam-packed with extra security measures. Yesterday in a speech at the White House, the President joked that the Secret Service doesn't allow him to use an iPhone — even though his daughters Malia and Sasha are addicted to theirs. "I'm not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone," he told a group of young people.
In our review of the Nexus 5, we found that one of the best Android phones on the market marred by an oddly inconsistent camera. The software was buggy, low-light quality was miserable, and the flash was nothing to call home about. The Verge reports that the first update to Android’s KitKat OS, 4.4.1, aims to fix many of the issues that have plagued the Nexus 5 camera. With the new update, Google has improved autofocus, exposure, white balance, speed, and contrast. It looks to be a major leap over the subpar results currently being delivered by the Nexus 5, although The Verge admits that there are still some very basic features missing, such as a single button or screen press for
Zact became the first wireless service provider to let parents manage their child's phone from their own handset when the company launched in May. Now, the family-friendly carrier is sweetening the deal by adding free Disney apps to its one of its devices, the $99 ZTE Awe. The 4-inch ZTE Awe sports a 5-MP camera and runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The device will come preloaded with titles such as Toy Story: Smash It! and Disney Infinity: Action! as well as Disney Video, Disney Music and the Spanish language Disney Aj!. Zact says the off-contract phone would typically cost $149, but the handset is selling for about $50 less as part of a holiday promotion. MORE: Top 10 Tech Toy Gifts The Awe is one of several phones you can purchase through Zact, along with the $159 Samsung Galaxy Prevail 2, the $325 Samsung Galaxy S3, the $179 Samsung Galaxy Victory and $149 LG Viper LTE. Unlike conventional smartphone data plans, Zact allows subscribers to create custom plans. When signing up for Zact's Sprint-based service, buyers can choose the amount of talk time, text messages and MB of data they would like to pay for each month. After creating a plan that fits, parents have the option of sharing it with others in the household for $4.99 a month directly from his or her phone. If you don't want to opt for MB data plans, users can choose to pay by the app as well. For instance, apps such as Facebook or Instagram would cost $5 each. The service also comes with a robust selection of parental controls, including the ability to control a child's phone remotely.Parents can do this by either purchasing their own Zact phone or downloading an app from the iOS or Android app store. This means you can restrict who your child can contact, which apps he can use, and when he can use the phone. Children can be rewarded with short-term access to games and additional texts as well. Zact hasn't specified how long it's promotional offer on the ZTE Awe will last or what Disney apps we can expect in the future, but more information can be found here. Best Tech Gifts for Mom Top 10 Smartphones Children and Smartphones: What's the Right Age? Copyright 2013 LAPTOP Magazine, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday said during a healthcare-related speech that he’s not allowed to use an iPhone for “security reasons,” with Reuters describing him as a “very loyal” BlackBerry customer. The point Obama made was that iPhone-related bills combined with cable bills may top $100 per month, which is more than what people will pay for health insurance under his new healthcare law. “Now my suspicion is that for a lot of you, between your cable bill and your phone bill, you’re spending more than $100 a month,” Obama said. “The idea that you wouldn’t want to make sure you’ve got the health security and financial security that comes with health insurance for less than that price, you guys
The National Security Agency is collecting billions of records on the location of mobile phones around the world, The Washington Post reported, citing documents from US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. The report comes six months since the first bombshell leaks from Snowden, a former information technology subcontractor for the NSA who says he spilled secrets to spark public debate on the agency's widespread surveillance activities. Of the NSA surveillance programs revealed to date, including spying on foreign leaders and the collection of Internet "meta-data," the geo-location project appears to represent the agency's largest in scale and scope. The NSA declined to comment on the report when contacted by AFP.
The competition between Microsoft and Google is stretching to the North Pole as the Internet search rivals vie to be top Santa tracker this Christmas. Google on Wednesday launched a google.com/santatracker website offering reindeer games, elf antics and updates on beloved gift-giver Kris Kringle as children worldwide count down to Christmas eve. "A team of Google engineers are working hard to track Santa's sleigh with the most advanced maps and holiday technology available," self-titled Elf Creative Director Sandy Russell said in a blog post. Google has crafted software to involve Android-powered devices and its Chrome web browsers in on the Claus tracking action.