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Gadget Ogling: Cute Robots, Secure Tablets and a Conscientious Can
March 21, 2015
PLEN2 is simply adorable. A robot to seemingly fix all the world's problems, if its Kickstarter project is anything to believe, PLEN2 is possibly the most joyous humanoid machine I've seen in years. Maybe I'm swayed a little by the infectious theme song in the pitch video. The idea is to sell the basic robot and let customers get creative using open source tools and 3D-printed parts.
What Mobile World Congress Delivered Besides Same-Old Smartphones
March 10, 2015
The latest handsets and tablets received their share of headlines at this year's MWC, but their mindshare shrank considerably. Sony unveiled its Xperia Z4 tablet, possibly its last hurrah in the mobile space. Meanwhile, Samsung's Galaxy S6 smartphone stole the spotlight. However, with more than 2,000 tech organizations promoting their wares and services, MWC 2015 offered a fresh set of promises.
Gadget Ogling: Slick, Dull and Outlandish Smartphones, a Powerful Shield and Invisibility Glasses
March 10, 2015
Samsung is trying something a little different while simultaneously positioning its S6 and S6 edge as the market's dominant Android smartphones. Sure, they're faster, smarter, brighter, stronger and more powerful than previous models -- as you might expect in a flagship refresh -- and that's all terribly pedestrian. Still, I love the edge concept. I'm glad to see Samsung continue and expand it.
Mobile Wallets as Credit Card Killers
March 09, 2015
Years have spent trying to oust the credit card as the ultimate payment method. Publications and pundits have been quick to hail new technologies as "credit card-killers," and they're not without justification. The credit card has lost whatever futuristic luster it may have once had. Magnetic stripes wear out, plastic snaps in half, and the incessant manual inputting of 16-digit numbers becomes tiresome.
Apple Pay Cybercrime Burns Banks
March 04, 2015
Identity thieves are using Apple Pay to defraud banks of what could amount to millions of dollars. Due to weak authentication procedures at the institutions issuing the cards, fraudsters are able to use stolen cards to make purchases through Apple Pay. Before cards can be added to Apple Pay, they must be approved by the card issuer. Criminals are finding that process easy to game.
BlackBerry Makes a Leap in the Dark
March 04, 2015
BlackBerry introduced its new Leap smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Equipped with a touchscreen rather than a physical keyboard, the Leap is a successor to BlackBerry's Z3 model. Its enhanced security and performance features are designed to appeal to young professionals and startup companies. BlackBerry is counting on the Leap to help it bounce back.
Samsung's New S6 Line Atones for S5's Plastic Sins
March 02, 2015
Samsung on Monday announced its much-anticipated Galaxy S6 line at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. In the S6, the strongly disliked plastic body of the Galaxy S5 is replaced with a combination of aluminum and Gorilla Glass. The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge both come in white, black and gold. Blue will be available only for the S6, while green will be available only for the S6 edge.
Ericsson Petitions ITC to Ban Infringing iPhones, iPads
March 02, 2015
Ericsson last week filed patent claims against Apple both with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and the U.S. International Trade Commission. "Our suits filed yesterday assert 41 different patents," said Ericsson spokesperson Kathy Egan Wummer. "Of those, 14 are at issue in the ITC and the district court; the other 27 are at issue only in the district court."
Mobile World Congress 2015, or Why Your Smartphone Is Crap
March 02, 2015
Don't you just love big industry events like Mobile World Congress? I mean, you've had whole weeks to enjoy the new phone you got last quarter, and now you'll hear about a bunch of incredibly wonderful stuff that will make that new phone look like your grandmother's favorite car -- you know, the one she fell in love with in the 1960s. Unfortunately, I'm not going to make things better.
Google Pads Its Wallet
February 24, 2015
Google on Monday announced a two-pronged thrust to beef up its efforts in the mobile wallet arena. It has struck agreements with Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile to preinstall the Google Wallet app, including its tap-and-pay functionality, on Android phones the carriers will offer later this year in the United States. The devices must run KitKat or later.
Gadget Ogling: Jewelry Gets Inky, Toys Get Brilliant, Remotes Get Beautiful
February 21, 2015
L!ber8's Tago Arc is aimed at the fashion conscious or those who like to use their jewelry to tell the world a little more about themselves. It has an e-ink screen, which is controlled using an NFC-enabled smartphone -- sorry, iPhone owners -- to let wearers switch up the design on the fly. Ordinary users can purchase a variety of looks, while budding Stella McCartneys can create their own.
How Eroding Trust Hurts Companies
February 12, 2015
I love all the innovation and trends in the wireless, telecom, television, Internet and tech space. However there is also a big warning light flashing ahead that no one is paying attention to...trust is eroding. Trust is a delicate thing and is being ignored. Innovation is great, but if we don't protect the privacy and personal information of users, they will lose trust and that will bite us in the end.
Why RadioShack Fell Flat
February 11, 2015
For years, RadioShack had been the "go to" place for hobbyists, as well as the store where one could find everything from speaker cables to electrical adapters, gizmos to gadgets. It appealed as much to people who wanted to build a computer as use one. In the 1990s it moved away from this market, leaving those hobbyists behind. Looking back, this can be seen as the beginning of its end.
In Search of the Perfect Windows 10 Hardware
February 09, 2015
I'm well into the user testing of the next generation of Microsoft's operating system and things are really looking up. Windows 10 is becoming a blend of the many things we liked about Windows 7, and the things that most folks don't know about that are great about Windows 8. Windows 10 should be like a breath of fresh air for those truly annoyed with Windows 8.
First Ubuntu Smartphone to Arrive in Europe Next Week
February 06, 2015
The first smartphone to be powered by the open source Ubuntu operating system will arrive at retail in Europe beginning on Monday, Feb. 9. The Aquaris E4.5 will be offered to early adopters via a series of "flash sales" across the continent. The unlocked phone will retail for 169.90 euros or roughly US$195, without the need for a contract.
Will Motorola Mobility be a Home Run for Lenovo?
February 06, 2015
Lenovo is one computer maker that seems to be bucking the trend. In recent years they've continued to grow while others struggle. Smartphone growth suddenly seems to be a point of interest for Lenovo, which recently acquired Motorola Mobility from Google. It's still too early to pronounce Lenovo a big winner in smartphones from this acquisition, but to date, things are looking good.
Infected Android Apps From Google Play Affect Millions
February 04, 2015
The malware harbors fake ads that pop up when users unlock their devices, to warn them about nonexistent infections, or that their devices are out of date or have porn. Victims are then asked to take action. If they agree, they are redirected to poisoned Web pages that contain a variety of hazards. Google spokesperson Elizabeth Markman did not confirm how many devices had been hit.
Good and Samsung Partner to Harden Android Security
February 04, 2015
Good Technology on Tuesday announced a merger of its app container and app ecosystem with the Samsung KNOX enterprise security platform for Android. The product merger is aimed at eliminating virus and malware concerns that come with Android adoption in the enterprise. The hardened security for Android targets the OS's deployment with U.S. government and Department of Defense agencies.
A Personal Power Plant in the Palm of Your Hand
February 04, 2015
The problem with most portable battery-based chargers is that you still need to plug them into a wall socket to gain a charge. While some inventors have turned to solar, or even wind power, for off-the-grid power sources, solar and wind power take time and require Mother Nature to provide sun or wind. Enter Kraftwerk, a fuel-based hand-held portable generator that has launched as a Kickstarter project.
Think Different: Apple's 10 Biggest, Riskiest Bets
February 03, 2015
Even the most vociferous Apple haters can surely admit that Apple -- judged upon the evidence of its record-breaking quarterly profit of $18 billion, the most of any public held company ever -- is not only firing on all cylinders but also creating products that consumers around the world are willing to pay a premium for. The sheer scope of Apple's success is mind-boggling.
Verizon Addresses Supercookie Conundrum
February 03, 2015
Users of Verizon Wireless' network and products will find it will be easier to opt out of the carrier's tracking activities. The carrier has been using a "supercookie" identifier to follow smartphone users' mobile Web activity. Verizon has given consumers ways to opt out of various marketing programs, but escaping the reach of supercookies has proven to be elusive for consumers.
Cablevision Freewheels Into WiFi-Only Phone Territory
January 27, 2015
Cablevision on Monday announced plans for Freewheel, an all-WiFi mobile phone service offering unlimited data, talk and text to residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The prepaid service will connect to Cablevision's Optimum Online WiFi network of 1.1 million hotspots. Optimum Online is Cablevision's high-speed Internet service.
China Overtakes US in iPhone Sales
January 27, 2015
Apple is expected this week to report that last year's iPhone sales in China exceeded those in the U.S. Thirty-six percent of iPhone shipments in the most recent quarter reportedly went to China, while just 24 percent went to the U.S. This shift took place over the past year; in the year-ago quarter, the U.S. accounted for 29 percent of all units sold, while 22 percent went to China.
Gadget Ogling: A New Galaxy, Awesome Audio, and One Ring That Doesn't Rule
January 17, 2015
Welcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that takes freshly announced gadgets out for a hypothetical test run, rendering judgement long before they hit the shelves. In the offing this week: Samsung's latest mid-range smartphone, a gesture-based ring, shiny headphones and much more. Samsung has another mid-range smartphone in the Galaxy A7.

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Are you looking forward to self-driving cars?
You bet -- I'd love to have a built-in chauffeur.
Yes -- self-driving cars will save lives.
Kind of -- I'd like some self-driving features, like parking.
No -- self-driving cars are too dangerous.
No -- I don't want to give up another freedom.
Absolutely not -- I saw Terminator and I'm not letting some robot take me for a ride!
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