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Bright and Shiny Fire Phone: Amazon Delivers
June 18, 2014
Despite entering the smartphone world late, Amazon managed to double down with a user-focused infusion of technical innovation to deliver a compelling new device: the Amazon Fire Phone. The most head-turning feature is its ability to track your face and create a three-dimensional effect on the home screen and in apps, which makes it seem as if you're peering into a lavishly illustrated diorama.
BlackBerry Unveils BBM Protected to, Ahem, Protect Market Share
June 18, 2014
BlackBerry, whose share of the mobile phone market has been on a downward spiral, this week launched BBM Protected, the first in its planned eBBM Suite of secure enterprise-class messaging products. BBM Protected targets regulated industries. It's claimed to be the only secure mobile instant messaging app that uses a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic library.
Facebook's Slingshot Draws a Bead on Snapchat
June 18, 2014
I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours. That's the idea behind a new photo-sharing app Facebook released Tuesday for Android and iOS devices. Slingshot lets you send an image or video to a group of friends. However, they can't view what you've sent until they first send you something. After that, they can view what you sent them and either respond to it or swipe it into oblivion.
Spire Breath Tracker Helps Users Chillax
June 18, 2014
Spire on Tuesday kicked off preorders for its namesake new wearable device dedicated to promoting health by monitoring the wearer's breathing. Billed as "the first wearable that tracks both physical movement and state of mind," Spire is the first activity tracker to measure breathing patterns, the company said, thereby offering new insights into periods of tension, relaxation and focus.
If Amazon Builds It, Will They Come?
June 17, 2014
Amazon is poised to reveal its very first smartphone, and the rumor mill is in full swing. It's expected to include a 3D display, utilizing sensors or retina-tracking technology in four front-facing cameras to detect eye positioning and movement in order to project a 3D image without the need for 3D glasses. It reportedly will be available exclusively from AT&T.
Facebook Aims to Blaze New Gaming Trail on iPads
June 17, 2014
Facebook on Monday unveiled an iPad app update designed to make the site a hub for game, video and content discovery. A new panel appears on the right-hand side of the iPad providing news and entertainment. Games are heavily featured. More than 70 percent of Facebook for iPad users played a Facebook-connected game in the past 90 days, the company noted.
Flying Drone Buddies Can Capture Your Amazing Exploits
June 17, 2014
There are two new crowdfunded projects that are building self-flying drones to follow you around and video your awesomeness. Geared for adventure sports like skiing, biking or motorcycle riding, these two drones will follow you at high-speed, capturing high-flying jumps and steep dives from angles previously available only to professional filmmakers with powerful cameras and helicopters.
Rumor: Amazon's About to Spring a 3D Smartphone
June 16, 2014
Amazon reportedly is adding an important new tributary to its river of products this week: a smartphone line. The company has a media event scheduled for Wednesday and expectations are high that it's about to reveal its first mobile device. "Amazon has already seen some success in the tablet space as well as the home entertainment space," said Frost & Sullivan analyst Todd Day.
Godzilla Foreshadows Trouble for Internet of Things
June 16, 2014
The Internet of Things has come under attack by pranksters in recent days. The events could signal tumultuous things to come as more and more everyday objects connect to the Internet. Homeland Security has advised the customers of digital sign maker Daktronics to "take defensive measures" following a series of cyberpranks on the company's traffic signs.
How Can a 'Tech President' Be So Tech-Backward?
June 16, 2014
Like a lot of people in tech, I was really excited to see President Obama get elected. It seemed like he got technology, and he used it brilliantly in two campaigns. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to use it well in actually running the government. From the Affordable Health Care Act to the Veterans Administration, the Obama presidency has been a tale of dumb and dumber when it comes to tech.
Wearable Tech's Steep Learning Curve
June 13, 2014
Google may be feared and secretly envied throughout tech circles for its industry-disruption track record, but in at least one respect, companies are grateful for Google's propensity to plow the road. The Google Glass experiment has provided some very public lessons about what consumers are willing to accept in wearable tech and what they positively will not stand for -- at least at this point.
Samsung Debuts Thin New Tablets With Killer Screens
June 13, 2014
Samsung this week unveiled two new additions to its Galaxy Tab line of tablets, the S series. The Galaxy Tab S devices are its thinnest and lightest tablets, with very high-resolution screens, tons of content from third parties, and a high degree of connectivity, all of which make them strong contenders as the fourth screen. The Galaxy Tab S devices use WQXGA Super AMOLED displays.
Next iPad May Be Loaded With iPhone Hand-Me-Downs
June 13, 2014
In large families, it's common to pass on an older child's clothes to a younger one. The same is true in the Apple product family. It's common to pass on features introduced in the big brother iPhone to the little brother iPad. That appears to be the case with the next-generation iPad Air -- if the latest gaggle of rumors are to be believed. That could affect the product's greeting in the market.
Beats Debuts Brawn-Friendly Bluetooth Earphones
June 12, 2014
To stay in tune with new owner Apple's frequent product updates, Beats is expanding its line of audio devices. Powerbeats 2 Wireless is the company's first set of wireless earphones. Designed with athletes in mind, they offer the signature Beats audio quality that fans have come to expect. Miami Heat basketball player LeBron James was involved in developing the Powerbeats 2 Wireless earphones.
D'oh! Apple's New iCloud and iPhoto Will Cost Me Big Bucks
June 12, 2014
I just had a disappointing palm-to-forehead realization: Apple's iCloud investments will reduce the pressure for Apple to increase the storage space on the iPhone 6. I no longer have hope that the next entry-level iPhone 6 will start at $199 for 32 GB of storage. I'm afraid we'll be stuck yet another year with an entry-model iPhone 6 that will start at the $199 price point with a paltry 16 GB.
What Salesforce Has Up Its Sleeve
June 11, 2014
Wearable computing hove into view in a big way this week when Salesforce.com announced Salesforce Wear, which enables developers to build new apps for teeny-tiny screens and devices that you, well, wear. Wearables is a market poised for takeoff. Last year, for instance, Apple cornered the world markets capturing all the copyrights to "iWatch," which I think was not a coincidence.
Mozilla Trumpets Firefox Smartphone Progress
June 11, 2014
Mozilla showcased the latest developments in its plan to offer inexpensive smartphones running the open source Firefox OS at the Mobile Asia Expo this week in Shanghai. Although Mozilla has announced plans to sell Firefox smartphones for less than $25 and has teamed with Chinese fabless semiconductor firm Spreadtrum to create reference designs, it did not mention pricing in its expo announcements.
Europe's Cab Drivers Rally Against Uber
June 11, 2014
Cab drivers throughout Europe clogged city streets as they protested the rise of Uber in their locales. Thousands of drivers blocked roads and participated in rallies to decry the service, which links users to drivers through a smartphone application. Residents in London, Paris, Berlin, Lisbon, Milan and Madrid all faced a day when regular cabs were not making pickups due to the drivers' strike.
Honeywell's Lyric May Disturb Google's Nest
June 10, 2014
Honeywell has launched its Lyric smart thermostat, a device widely seen as a challenge to Google's Nest product. Like Nest, the Lyric can be controlled by a smartphone app; however, it uses geolocation to turn home heating and cooling systems on or off when the consumer's smartphone is within a specified distance. Apart from that, the two devices generally appear to have fairly similar features.
Coupang's on Fire in Korea's Hot M-Commerce Climate
June 09, 2014
Sequoia Capital recently led a US$100 million round of funding for South Korean retailer Coupang, suggesting that the rapidly growing Korean e-commerce market is the hot new scene for investors looking to capitalize on a country full of mobile shoppers. Founded and run by the Korean-born, Harvard-educated Bon Kim, the site has grown to become Korea's leading online retailer.

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