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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Edges Out iPhone 6 Plus: Reviewers
October 15, 2014
The first reviews are out on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, unveiled last month in Berlin, and they're generally positive. "The best big-screen phone you can buy right now," screams one headline. "A phablet that can teach Apple a few things," says another. "The best Android phablet rules with a pen," declares a third. "I'm not sure where the good story is on this," said tech analyst Jeff Orr.
Lollipop Could Make Android Stickier
October 15, 2014
Google on Wednesday unwrapped Android 5.0 Lollipop, officially replacing the "Android L" code name by which the latest version of its mobile platform previously had been known. "Lollipop is our largest, most ambitious release on Android, with over 5,000 new APIs for developers," wrote Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president for Android, Chrome & Apps, in a blog post.
Skype Qik Video Chat: Shoot, Send, Vaporize
October 15, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday released Skype Qik, a new mobile chat app that features short, self-destructing video messages that automatically self-destruct in two weeks -- or sooner if set to do so. Skype need not be installed on a mobile to use Qik, which runs on Android, iOS and Windows phones and is available for free from the Google Play, the iTunes App Store and the Windows Phone Store.
August Smart Lock Gets Key Exposure in Apple Stores
October 14, 2014
The August Smart Lock will become available for purchase at Apple retail stores in the U.S. starting this week, the company announced on Tuesday. Priced at $249.99, the smart device uses Bluetooth and a mobile app to create a virtual key. It has been shipping since late August in limited quantities to those who ordered it online, but it currently is backordered, with delivery expected in 90 days.
Wireless Carriers Could Take a Shine to Ad-Blocking
October 14, 2014
Shine Technologies may well upend the Net neutrality issue with the launch of AdSight, an ad-tracking product in development. AdSight reportedly will allow carriers to monitor the ads being delivered over their pipes. The data provided will be very granular, including who the ads are from and the level of individual ad impressions. The technology also will be able to block ads selectively.
Salesforce Gives Devs a Burst of Lightning
October 14, 2014
Salesforce.com on Tuesday unveiled Salesforce1 Lightning, a new Platform as a Service for developers to build mobile apps. Salesforce1 Lightning lets developers build apps for devices with screens of any size or format -- from the desktop to laptops, tablets, phablets, smartphones and wearables. It uses Force.com and Heroku to offer developers a streamlined user interface.
Lenovo Gives Yoga Tablets a New Twist
October 14, 2014
Lenovo last week announced five new models in its Yoga product line, some running Windows and the others Android. Three are tablets -- the Tablet 2 Pro and the Tablet 2 running Android, and the Tablet 2 running Windows. The others are the Yoga 3 Pro and the Thinkpad Yoga 14 laptops. The Tablet 2 comes in 8- and 10-inch models, running Android or Windows. The Tablet 2 Pro runs Android.
Samsung Plots Foray Into Speedy 60-GHz WiFi Market
October 14, 2014
Samsung on Sunday announced that it has resolved issues hindering the commercialization of 802.11ad standard 60-GHz WiFi technology. The company's solution maintains maximum speed by eliminating co-channel interference regardless of the number of devices on the network, using what it claims is the world's first method that allows multiple devices to connect simultaneously to a network.
Apple Faithful Prepare to Not Be Dazzled
October 13, 2014
If you're looking for an extravaganza on the scale of last month's new iPhone unveiling, chances are you won't find it at Apple's "Way Too Long" event to be held Thursday at its Cupertino headquarters. "This will be a very low-key event," said Gartner analyst Van L. Baker. The consensus is that Apple will be refreshing its tablet and PC lines, and releasing the prime-time version of OS X Yosemite.
When Computers Get a Right Brain
October 13, 2014
IBM is massively increasing its commitment to Watson, which was evident at last week's IBM Think Forum. IBM recognizes that if it can get a product that thinks first, then it can again take absolute control over the technology market, and every other company will be chasing it again. It is making some impressive headway, and the firm that succeeds at this will change the world.
Ephemeral Apps May Have a Place in the Enterprise
October 13, 2014
One of the hardest-to-decipher trends of the Internet and app world today is what's known as "ephemeral software." Epitomized by popular apps like Snapchat, Frankly and Confide, ephemeral programs revolve around bite-sized, self-destructing user interactions. Since its inception, ephemeral software has baffled many industries, with marketers struggling to develop cohesive campaigns.
Gadget Ogling: Strange Cameras, Fast Charges, Racing Robots
October 10, 2014
HTC is stepping so far out of the box with the RE Camera, it's almost as if there was never a box to begin with. Instead of making us stare through a viewfinder, this minimalist device almost demands a return to older forms of photography, while still taking advantage of modern technology. It looks like a cross between a periscope and an asthma inhaler, neither of which scream style.
HTC Breaks From Pack With Selfie Phone, Blind Cam
October 10, 2014
HTC on Thursday debuted two new products for photography fans. One offering, the RE, is an L-shaped camera that doesn't have a viewfinder. The other is a new smartphone, the Desire Eye, which boasts a 13-megapixel front-facing camera for high-resolution selfies. With RE, HTC appears to be targeting the action set that has created a lucrative market for point-of-view camera makers like GoPro.
Don't Look Now, but Ads Are Coming to Snapchat
October 09, 2014
Ads soon will arrive on Snapchat. However, they will not target individual users. Rather, they'll appear in a more generalized fashion within the service's Snapchat Stories feature among shared photos and videos, CEO Evan Spiegel said Wednesday. A new service for disappearing content and ads, called "Snapchat Discovery," reportedly also is in the works for launch this year.
Apple's 'Way Too Long' Invite Lands With a Thud
October 09, 2014
Apple's pretty much annual October new product media event usually is preceded by a cute invitation sent to journalists. The invitation typically includes a phrase or graphic element that provides a vague clue to the secret agenda of the event. Presumably, this is to drum up excitement and speculation, in addition to creating an ah-ha moment.
Look, Ma! No Hands... Crunch!
October 08, 2014
Those wonderful hands-free communications capabilities now available in automobiles may carry the promise of making driving safer, but they're not fulfilling it, according to two studies conducted jointly by the University of Utah and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. And forget about using your iPhone's Siri in the car, even hands-free -- it might endanger your life.
Highfive Offers Easy, Breezy Videoconferencing Handoffs
October 08, 2014
Highfive on Tuesday released a product priced to put high-quality videoconferencing in any room in any company. The product, also named "Highfive," is a $799 device that connects to a TV and the Internet and can create video conferences in HD with high-fidelity sound. What separates Highfive from other videoconferencing products is the seamless way it integrates mobile devices with conferences.
Bezos to Set The Washington Post on Fire
October 07, 2014
Jeff Bezos is planning to bring together two separate but equally important projects under his control: the Amazon Kindle Fire and The Washington Post. The Amazon CEO bought the paper slightly more than a year ago as a personal investment. Now the twain shall meet in Project Rainbow, a pilot project that has been under way at the Post for the past few months, according to reports.
GT Files for Chap 11 After Apple's Sapphire Interest Wanes
October 07, 2014
GT Advanced Technologies and seven of its direct and indirect subsidiaries on Monday announced they had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. GT, which makes sapphire components used in the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, expects the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Hampshire to authorize the company to conduct business as usual while it attempts to resolve its current financial issues.
Dell OEM: The Magic Is in the Mystery
October 06, 2014
I had a chance last week to talk with the most secretive group inside Dell. They are kind of like the Q Division in the James Bond movies. These folks are pretty much unique in the industry, in that they build PCs and servers that are highly customized for firms that then place them into unusual solutions. This is the kind of machine that might go into a unique military vehicle.
Next Fashion Trend: Phabulous Phony Pockets?
October 04, 2014
"Is that a phablet in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" That may be the modern-day equivalent of the famous quip, thanks to the arrival of Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. With its increased size and flexibility, the device not only has kicked off the "Bendgate" scandal, but also may be helping to start a new fashion trend. Several major brands have admitted they're rethinking pockets.
Evernote Aims to Bring All the Loose Bits Together
October 03, 2014
Evernote CEO Phil Libin on Thursday announced major expansions of the company's note-taking application. The new features are designed to build Evernote's business presence and keep users connected to its services. Some of the best business-oriented and social media features will roll out as premium buy-ins. Other product tweaks will give users more efficient note-taking and organizational tools.
Gadget Ogling: Jump Starts, Wearable Drones, Smarter Yoga and Safer Food
October 03, 2014
Welcome, dear readers, to a new installment of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares. On the docket this time around are a motivational wearable device, a smart yoga mat, a golfer-focused smartwatch, a drone with a difference, and a way to stop food from going bad. As always, these aren't reviews -- the ratings denote only my interest in actually using them.
The One Apple Watch Thing That Really Matters
October 03, 2014
While the cellphone nearly killed the wristwatch, the Apple Watch gizmo actually will revive it. In fact, I think the attention that the Apple Watch will bring to our wrists will spark sales of traditional watches. Why? I believe there is a latent desire to have a wristwatch -- to have the convenience of the time on your wrist without the need to pull out your smartphone.

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