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Devs Get to Poke Around With Marshmallow
August 20, 2015
Google on Monday announced the official SDK for Android 6.0, aka "Marshmallow." It also opened Google Play for devs to publish apps that target the new API Level 23 in Marshmallow. Google further updated the Android Support Library to v23, giving devs an easier way to make new platform APIs, such as permissions and fingerprint support, backward compatible.
Say Hello to Google's Kinder, Gentler Router
August 19, 2015
Google has unveiled OnHub -- a router that is not only good looking but also fast, secure and easy-to-use. It developed the router in partnership with TP-Link. "Many of us keep our router on the floor and out of sight, where it doesn't work as well," said Google Group Product Manager Trond Wuellner. "We replaced unruly cords and blinking lights with internal antennas and subtle, useful lighting."
FCC Fine Hints at End to Exorbitant Convention Center WiFi Fees
August 19, 2015
The FCC on Tuesday announced that Smart City Holdings had agreed to pay a $750,000 fine to settle allegations that it blocked personal mobile hotspots in several convention centers, forcing exhibitors and attendees to use its services instead, at $80 a day. Blocking FCC-approved WiFi connections is "patently unlawful," remarked Travis LeBlanc, chief of the commission's enforcement bureau.
One Plus Two Equals Trouble for the iPhone
August 17, 2015
If you thought the iPhone was the most desirable phone in the market you wouldn't be alone, but you likely would be wrong. While we all were snoozing, One Plus emerged. It's a little company out of China that came up with and executed one of the most brilliant low-cost guerilla marketing programs I've ever seen. The end result is that 3.6M people currently are lined up to buy its latest phone.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Rings, Breathalyzing Bike Locks, and Laptop-Sized Transports
August 15, 2015
Please, whatever you do, don't decide with your loved one it would be a good idea to get rings that vibrate only when you're trying to get in touch with one another. Omate and Emanuel Ungaro are offering schmucks the Ungaro ring, which does just that. It buzzes when one designated person, whoever that may be, sends a text message or calls you. It will retail for up to $2,000.
Samsung Doubles Down on Galaxy Phones
August 14, 2015
Samsung on Thursday unveiled two new devices, the Galaxy S6 edge+ and the Galaxy Note5. The smartphones reportedly will be available in the United States starting Aug. 21. Samsung also announced its NFC mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, will launch in the United States Sept. 28. The Note5 reportedly incorporates many of the Galaxy S6's features and design elements.
Fitbit Hooks Up With Windows 10
August 14, 2015
Fitbit on Thursday introduced a new app for Windows 10, Windows 10 mobile and Xbox One, scheduled for availability later this year. The Fitbit for Windows 10 app features an improved design that allows users to personalize the way they utilize Windows devices as part of a fitness routine. It handles traditional fitness tracking and provides the user with advice to help reach overall fitness goals.
Windows 10 FUD Fades Fast
August 14, 2015
Complaints about Windows 10 keep rolling in, but so far none appears to have stuck. The latest brouhaha is over certain privacy settings. Windows 10 gives users many options to disable certain data-gathering and reporting features, but it appears that some communications to Microsoft servers still slip through. So far, there doesn't seem to be anything shifty or harmful about those interactions.
Xiaomi Unveils Redmi Note 2 as US Twinkles in Its Eye
August 13, 2015
Xiaomi has announced its new Redmi Note 2, getting a jump on Samsung's announcement of two new smartphone entries. Xiaomi's Redmi Note 2 comes with a 2-GHz octacore Mediatek Helio X10 CPU and 16 GB of flash memory. The Redmi Note 2 Prime edition comes with a 2.2-GHz octacore MTK Helio X10 CPU and 32 GB of flash memory. The phones will sell in China at price points equivalent to about $125 to $140.
BQ's Ubuntu Bows on World Stage
August 13, 2015
BQ last week opened an Ubuntu global store accessible to anyone who wants to buy an Aquaris Ubuntu Edition handset. BQ recently launched the BQ Aquaris E4.5 and E5 HD Ubuntu Edition smartphones in Europe. Both BQ and Canonical, which provides commercial support for Ubuntu Linux, have acknowledged network frequency and mobile operator compatibility issues in some countries, including the U.S.
Qualcomm Ups the Ante With Next-Gen Processor Innovations
August 12, 2015
Qualcomm on Wednesday unveiled its Adreno 5xx GPU architecture next-generation visual processing technology and its 14-bit Spectra image signal processing unit at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. The first two GPUs to use the new architecture, the Adreno 530 and 510, will be integrated in Qualcomm's forthcoming Snapdragon 820 and 620/618 processors. The Snapdragon 820 also will feature the 14-bit ISP.
Android on BlackBerry Is Looking More Real
August 10, 2015
BlackBerry's upcoming slider handset, aka "Venice," will run on Android and will be available in the coming months for AT&T as well as T-Mobile, according to rumors that picked up steam over the weekend. This is not the first time rumors of a BlackBerry device running on Android have made the rounds. The company earlier this year hinted at the possibility at the Mobile World Congress.
Mozilla Plugs Dangerous Firefox Zero-Day Hole
August 10, 2015
Mozilla on Friday released security updates to fix a zero-day flaw in the Firefox browser. An exploit that searches for sensitive files and uploads them to a server -- possibly somewhere in Ukraine -- has surfaced in an ad on a Russian news site, Mozilla reported last week. The exploit impacts Windows and Linux users. Mac users could be hit by a modified version.
Gadget Ogling: Bacteria-Zapping Toasters, a Clicker for Cortana and Souped-Up Printers
August 8, 2015
In truth, the Nico Gerard Skyview Pinnacle is more an accessory than a gadget, but it's so repugnant and ridiculous that it's impossible not to include it this week. Someway, somehow, watchmaker Nico Gerard found it prudent to create a watch that can accommodate an Apple Watch on its band, mounted where the clasp is located. It starts at $9,300. The Pinnacle is colossally absurd.
Bring On the New Apple TV - Streaming Service or Not
August 5, 2015
I've been waiting for a new Apple TV from Apple for years, and I've been disappointed each time a major Apple event came and went without one. Plus, I've been waiting for Apple to come along and disrupt the cable/satellite TV bundling status quo with some sort of a la carte streaming service, also to no avail. Now I don't think that second wish matters much at all.
Report: Apple Is Kicking the MVNO Tires
August 5, 2015
Apple is in discussions to become a mobile virtual network operator in both Europe and the United States, where it's already running a trial of its service, according to a media report. The MVNO idea may not advance beyond the test phase -- and if it does, it likely won't happen for some time -- at least five years. However, Apple on Tuesday issued a denial that it has held MVNO discussions.
Hey, Siri - Get Out Your Steno Pad
August 4, 2015
Apple reportedly is working on a service that will enlist Siri to transcribe voice mail messages for iPhone users. The service could roll out in 2016, possibly as a new feature in iOS 10. When a call is placed to a phone that has iCloud Voicemail enabled and you don't answer it, Siri will pick it up for you. If your caller leaves a voice message, Siri will notify you and send you a transcription.
AT&T to DirecTV Customers: Let's Stick Together
August 3, 2015
AT&T on Monday announced its first-ever nationwide package of TV and wireless services. The new bundle, which is being offered for US$200 per month, will be available beginning Aug. 10. It will include HD and DVR service for up to four TV receivers, along with unlimited talk and text for four wireless lines. Subscribers to the plan will get 10 GB of shareable wireless data.
Glass Is Back, and This Time It's All Business
August 3, 2015
A reinvigorated and redesigned Glass reportedly has been sighted in the enterprise sector. Google earlier this year closed down the Glass Explorer program, proclaiming that the augmented reality wearable was "graduating" from the company's clandestine Google X labs to a brand-new division of its own. Since then, Google has offered vague reassurances from time to time that the product was not dead.
Windows 10: Changing the Apple vs. Microsoft Dynamic
August 3, 2015
What I find most interesting about Windows 10 is that if Apple wanted to knock Microsoft off the desktop, then it -- not Microsoft -- should have released a product like this. When I say "like this," I mean one that could transform a smartphone into a PC. My reasoning is that Microsoft is relatively weak in smartphones, and Apple currently is kicking Google all over the market.
Gadget Ogling: Useful Smartwatches, Orbital Cameras, and an Un-Procrastinator
August 1, 2015
Dot is a smartwatch that may have life-changing implications. Rather than trying to convey information through tiny text on a small screen, Dot intends to provide visually impaired wearers with notifications through Braille. Four sets of the six dots that signify characters in the Braille system raise and lower as quickly as 100 times per second to denote four characters simultaneously.
Angry Birds 2: Freemium Clips Its Wings
July 31, 2015
Angry Birds 2 -- the 13th installment of Angry Birds and the original game's first proper sequel -- on Thursday became available for iOS and Android. The free-to-play model is a call to players beyond its base. However, those new players may slip through developer Rovio's fingers if the game's features fail to motivate them to play with real money
Consumers Fret Over Health Wearables Security
July 29, 2015
Collecting health and fitness data through wearable devices is raising concerns among consumers about the security of that information. Twenty-five percent of more than 3,500 consumers who participated in a recent survey did not believe their personal health data was safe on fitness trackers or in health-tracking apps, reported Healthline -- and that number could be low.
Motorola Promises Its Smartphones Will Love You Back
July 29, 2015
Motorola, on Tuesday launched three new handsets -- Moto X Style, Moto X Play and a refreshed Moto G -- designed to end the "one-sided relationships" between smartphones and consumers. People have been living with phones that nag during drives, make outbursts during meetings, and run out of juice just when they're most needed, the company said. Motorola promised its new suitors will change that.

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