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Moment Goes Big on Smartphone Camera Magnification
January 21, 2014
We love the functionality that comes with smartphone cameras, including inherent portability, powerful processors, and imaginative post-processing app solutions. However, what we supremely dislike -- with a vengeance -- are the little software-driven lenses that phone makers see fit to slap on the devices. Those horrible cheap lenses can in no way replicate larger precision ground-glass optics.
The Blackphone vs. the NSA
January 20, 2014
Well Linux bloggers have made it plain from the get-go that privacy is among their top concerns for 2014, and recent events have done nothing to shift that focus. President Obama's momentous speech proposing NSA reforms wasn't the only clarion call last week. We also heard from Mozilla, which appealed to security researchers to help keep Firefox source code unadulterated and backdoor-free.
HP Seeks Indian Route to Mobile Market
January 16, 2014
HP unveiled two new mobile devices that are set to launch in India as it attempts to gain traction in the global mobile market. The 6-inch HP Slate6 VoiceTab and the 7-inch HP Slate7 Voice Tab are considered phablets -- that is, hybrids that combine smartphone and tablet features. Both will run on Android 4.2, and both have HD front and rear cameras, stereo speakers, and 16 GB of storage.
Blackphone Aims to Keep Spooks in the Dark
January 15, 2014
Silent Circle and Geeksphone have teamed up to create the Blackphone -- a smartphone designed to truly protect users' privacy. Carrier- and vendor-independent, the Blackphone allows users to make and receive phone calls securely, as well as transfer and store files, swap secure text messages, and conduct video chats without compromising their privacy, the companies claim.
Facebook to Share User Data With Russian Search Engine
January 15, 2014
Facebook will start peddling user data to Yandex, Russia's top search engine, as part of a deal between the two tech giants. Yandex will get full access to public data from users in Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Yandex will use the data in question -- which includes posts and comments that have not been classified as "private" -- to enhance its search results.
What's Up With Tizen?
January 15, 2014
Consumers might soon have access to cheaper, more talented smartphones that could challenge the market dominance of Android and iOS. At least that is the promise from the Tizen Association. The growing group of phone makers and application developers recently launched a partner program with 36 companies from all segments of the mobile and connected device ecosystems.
French Cabbies Attack Uber Vehicles
January 14, 2014
French taxi drivers reportedly attacked vehicles linked to Uber, a smartphone app that helps people find shared rides and drivers-for-hire -- or, from cabbies' perspective, erodes a time-honored business model. Protestors blocked traffic and went after the service's vehicles, reported one Uber-using witness, Kat Borlongan. The vehicle she was in suffered significant damage, including a flat tire.
With Nova Launcher Prime, the Problem Is Too Many Options
January 10, 2014
Here's a simple way to refresh the look and functionality of your newer Android device without going to the trouble of rooting, bootloader-unlocking or installing a customized ROM. It's by using a home screen replacement app called a launcher, which is essentially a super-customizable home screen with themes. The one I'm looking at this week -- Nova Launcher Prime -- is one of the most popular.
New Case Lets iPhones See the Heat
January 09, 2014
Flir Systems this week unveiled an iPhone case with a difference. The Flir One lets consumers view heat signatures through a thermal imaging camera attachment to the phone. It works by focusing the camera's attention on a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum than human eyes can see using Flir's new Lepton camera core.
All Eyes May Be on Security in Samsung's S5
January 09, 2014
Rumors that Samsung will include iris-recognition technology in its forthcoming Galaxy S5 smartphone, widely expected to be launched in April, were given a boost on Thursday through an interview with Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung Mobile. People are "fanatical" about iris recognition technology and Samsung is "studying the possibility," Lee said.
How to Speed Up a Sluggish Android Smartphone
January 09, 2014
One of the disadvantages of retaining a phone after the expiration of a two-year contract -- as many of us do -- is that those older phones have accumulated a few years' worth of digital gunk. They're clogged up like an aging sewer on the wrong side of town. Just like on a PC, bits of app and OS code become discombobulated -- orphaned from the parent program.
How an Aging Sprint Device Can Reduce Your Android Phone Bill
January 08, 2014
In case you hadn't noticed while wandering the aisles of your local consumer electronics big-box retailer, there is an explosion of mobile virtual network operators hitting the marketplace. MVNOs are telcos that buy capacity from major operators like T-Mobile or AT&T, for example, and sell it on to you. Walmart and América Móvil's Straight Talk calling product is an example.
Apple's YOY Sales Sag
January 07, 2014
Apple's month-to-month smartphone sales appear healthy, according to data covering September to November 2013 from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. However, the bigger picture is less encouraging. Year-over-year figures indicate Apple is at best treading water, with its share having declined in most major markets. The release of the iPhone 5s and 5c gave a nice boost to Apple's monthly sales.
So Now China IS Lifting Videogame Console Ban
January 07, 2014
China reportedly will temporarily lift a sales ban on foreign videogame consoles, reversing a 14-year prohibition. Companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo -- which long have salivated over the heretofore obstructed gold mine of Chinese videogamedom -- will be allowed to make game consoles in Shanghai's free trade zone and then sell them in China.
Canon's PowerShot N100 Puts the Photographer in the Picture
January 06, 2014
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That seems to be what Canon is saying with its announcement Monday of a new PowerShot camera model, the N100, which includes several features popular on smartphones. For example, the shooter has front and rear cameras. A picture-in-picture effect can be created with the image from the rear-facing camera being incorporated automatically into the main image.
Setup's Sharp Edges Don't Mar TinCan's Network-Free Messaging Potential
January 03, 2014
One lesson that's easy to learn if you've been through any natural disaster is that you shouldn't rely on classic means of communications like land lines, cellphones or Internet. Capacity gets challenged; infrastructure gets destroyed. Where I live, neighbors have developed ham radio-based communications plans geared solely towards communicating in a disaster.
A World of Skins Add Beauty to the Joy of ExDialer Pro
December 27, 2013
I was banging my head against the wall the other day because the dialer on my aging Motorola Photon 4G stopped working. Normally what I'd do -- and recommend doing -- is upgrade the OS to a later version while at the same time doing a hard reset on the device. However, you need an unlocked bootloader to do that, and Motorola has locked the bootloader on that model.
Nintendo Toys With Mobile-App Possibilities
December 21, 2013
Nintendo's Wii U hasn't exactly been the smash hit that the company had surely hoped, and a year after the console's debut Nintendo is reportedly exploring a future that could include mobile apps. With Angry Birds, Temple Run and other casual games dominating tablets and mobile phones, Nintendo faces increased competition in the mobile gaming space.
BlackBerry CEO Delivers Never-Say-Die Message
December 20, 2013
BlackBerry has announced dismal quarterly results, but its new CEO, John Chen, still believes there's cause for optimism as the company strides into a new future. The firm posted a loss of $4.4 billion, compared with a profit of $9 million in the same quarter ending Nov. 30 last year, on revenue of $1.19 billion. Excluding one-time items, however, the loss was $354 million, or 67 cents a share.
Startup Manager Renews Shine on Android's Boot
December 20, 2013
For some inexplicable reason, probably related to egocentric human nature, software developers can't seem to resist designing their programs as if they were default services: always on and ready. If you're familiar with maintaining a PC and like tinkering with programs, you'll know that you need to periodically disable or get rid of accumulating programs that automatically run processes.

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