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Gadget Ogling: A Mighty Little Amp, a Credit Card-Sized Phone and a Food Tray Keyboard
May 26, 2015
Tinny, terrible laptop speakers may be a relic of the past, but there are still occasions when the built-in audio from your portable computer's speakers or audio jack just doesn't quite cut it. Let's say you're an electronic music luminary traveling the world without the comforts of one's home studio but with an album deadline to meet. You need to hear what's going on. So here's the Apogee Groove.
Apple vs. Lenovo: Lenovo's Coming-Out Party
May 25, 2015
If there is one vendor on the planet that has the capability to fight Apple -- on paper, it is Lenovo. Lenovo this week will hold its annual Lenovo Tech World event in China, showcasing the company's new breadth. While it would be easy to position this as the U.S. against China, Lenovo is actually far more of a multinational company, with executives balanced between the U.S. and China.
The Future According to Qualcomm
May 18, 2015
I was at the Qualcomm Internet of Things event in San Francisco last week during what was a major IoT event in the city. What is kind of amazing is the larger event was just a small part of the applications show that used to go on at the same time. This year it is twice the size of that older show. Companies are flocking to this IoT concept like ducks to water.
Smartphone Makers Play Musical Chairs as China's Mobile Market Matures
May 11, 2015
For the first time in six years, China's massive mobile market saw contraction in its smartphone sector, IDC reported Monday. There were 98.8 million smartphones shipped in China by the end of the first quarter of 2015, down about 4 percent year over year, according to IDC's Trackers. Quarter over quarter, the market's Q1 2015 shipments were down by about 8 percent.
Cyanogen Taps Truecaller in Effort to Build a Better Mobile OS
May 8, 2015
Cyanogen, best known for its FOSS Android-based OS, CyanogenMod, soon will provide caller ID screening and spam blocking directly from the native dialer on Cyanogen OS, the commercial version of its operating system. These capabilities will be provided through the company's global partnership with Truecaller. They will be baked into future smartphone devices preloaded with Cyanogen OS.
Xiaomi's Mi 4i Spreads in Asia
May 7, 2015
Chinese wunderkind smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi is taking its flagship Mi 4i smartphone to Hong Kong and Singapore, with availability slated for next Tuesday. Designed especially for emerging markets, the Mi 4i has been wildly successful in India, where it launched two weeks ago and reportedly sold 40,000 units in less than 15 seconds. The Mi 4i is the first Xiaomi phone to run Android Lollipop.
Can LG's Hot G4 Smoke the Competition?
April 29, 2015
LG on Tuesday unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the G4. The official launch followed weeks of leaks about the device's design and features. The G4 has an f1.8 aperture lens; a new IPS Quantum display, which is generally seen in the latest TVs; a body curved in LG's "Slim Arc" design; and six genuine leather color options. Its rear 16-MP camera has a manual mode and a color spectrum sensor.
Shiny Apple Has a Few Soft Spots
April 29, 2015
Apple on Monday reported another quarter of stellar earnings, detailing its drive to 27 percent revenue growth on the backs of its iPhone, Mac and App Store sales. The company generated $58 billion in revenue in the second quarter -- about a $12 billion increase year over year -- and posted a net profit of $13.6 billion, roughly $3 billion more than the year-ago quarter.
Gadget Ogling: Pretty 3D Printing, an Eye-Catching Engagement Ring Box and a Sturdy Smartphone
April 28, 2015
3D printing is fascinating. It still seems wild to me that you can download schematics for anything and have a plastic version of a physical object in your home a short while later. However, not many printers can switch up the color or the types of filaments you use in your creation. The Pallette could change that, with a peripheral to brighten up that mono-colored trinket you're ready to print.
No More Smartphones, Nokia Vows
April 27, 2015
Nokia has kinda, sorta asserted that it's not returning to the smartphone business, in the wake of persistent reports that it's been eyeing a comeback. Nokia "currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets," reads a company statement. "The reports are false, and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive."
Nokia Scratches Smartphone Itch
April 20, 2015
Nokia reportedly will release a new smartphone by the end of 2016. The company last year announced the N1, its first entry in the mobile market since being gutted by Microsoft's acquisition of its devices and services business unit. The Nokia N1, an Android tablet manufactured by Foxconn, is blessed with Nokia's branding. It may be Nokia's partner in producing the smartphone as well.
Gadget Ogling: A Juicy Wristband, a Gamy Wearable and a Dorky Dongle
April 18, 2015
Asus is taking a common-sense approach to the fitness tracker game by debuting a new watch with a 10-day battery life. Thanks to its square screen, the soon-to-be-released VivoWatch resembles a smartwatch more than, say, a Fitbit. It appears to have a monochrome screen, which must help extend that all-important battery life. It has a stainless-steel build, and dust and water protection.
LG Lends Substance to G4 Rumors
April 16, 2015
LG on Thursday confirmed rumors about the basic look of its upcoming G4 flagship smartphone with a post on its Facebook page. Details about LG's forthcoming G4 flagship smartphone recently were leaked on a Korean microwebsite, generating considerable buzz on the Internet. Photos and other information were published by a number of outlets before the microsite disappeared.
Emojis Get Real in New iOS
April 10, 2015
Apple on Thursday released a new version of iOS that adds racial diversity to its emoji library. In addition to the fair-skinned faces found in prior versions, the new assortment includes brown, black and golden yellow mugs. What's more, there are emojis of same sex couples and families, too. "Emoji have become huge for people," said Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's Carolina Milanesi.
Samsung Galaxy S6: If Looks Could Kill
April 2, 2015
Samsung's upcoming pair of flagship smartphones are distinguished by their form factors. The Galaxy S6 edge is almost identical to the $650 Galaxy S6, but, for an additional $100, users get a display that spills over its sides, allowing notifications to appear along its marquee-like edges, without rousing the handset's display in full. Reviews of the S6 and S6 edge have been warm all around.
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 9, 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 4, 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 4, 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 2, 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 2, 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 2, 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.

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