Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mobile World Congress 2013: best of show

Mobile World Congress 2013 best of show
Another Mobile World Congress has come and gone. While we weren't treated to a mountain of device launches, as seen in previous years, we definitely all came away with some favorites. LG outed a few handsets, HTC's One made its first public appearance and Firefox OS made a grand entrance with additions to the new platform from a few different handset makers. And, on the wireless side, we were treated to what has to have been the biggest NFC love fest we've ever witnessed. Follow on past the break to check out some of our favorites from this year's MWC, then weigh in and let us know what you think about the show.

LG Optimus G Pro Full Review: First look


The newly announced Optimus G Pro books LG a spot in the Android hall of fame. A quad-core Snapdragon 600 chipset, a 5.5" FullHD display and a 13MP camera is the right kind of ammo of a proper flagship. The bar has been consitently raised over the past few months and only this sort of specs can get you a pass into the exclusive club of uberphones.
LG Optimus G Pro official pictures

Groupon Stock Pops 12% In After-Hours Trading On News That CEO Andrew Mason Has Been Fired

Andrew Mason’s loss may just be Groupon’s gain — at least as far as its shareholders are concerned.

Groupon’s stock price got a rapid and marked boost in after-hours trading today in the first minutes after it was announced that longtime CEO Andrew Mason has been ousted from the company. Within the first minutes of the news, Groupon’s stock had shot up as high as 12 percent from the $4.53 per share price at which it closed the official trading day. The stock hit an after-hours high of $5.10 at 4:20pm Eastern Time,according to the NASDAQ.

Responsive Design Framework Foundation 4 Goes Mobile-First, Switches From jQuery To Zepto


Product design company ZURB just launched the fourth version of Foundation, its responsive design framework that directly competes with Bootstrap. The new version, ZURB tells us, has been completely rewritten from a mobile-first perspective. The company says this “empowers a designer to reverse their thinking ” and lets you “design for the mobile experience before you design for the desktop one.”

In addition to a number of other new features, the Foundation team also decided to switch away from jQuery and use the smaller and lighter Zepto.js library instead. ZURB says this is meant to ensure “that pages load quickly and efficiently given our mobile focus.” Given that Zepto is API-compatible with jQuery, developers can always switch back to the jQuery library, too.

John Battelle Returns As CEO At Federated Media, Deanna Brown Steps Down

john battelle
Online advertising company Federated Media justannounced that current CEO Deanna Brown is stepping down, while founder and former CEO John Battelle will be taking on the role again.

The company says that Battelle and Brown will be working together during March “to ensure a seamless transition.”Brown joined Federated in 2009 as president and chief operating officer, and replaced Battelle as CEO a little more than a year later.

Brown said in the press release that she’ll be announcing a new venture in a couple of weeks.

Stitch Fix Gets $4.75M Series A To Scale Out Its Tech-Enabled Personal Shopping Service

Stitch Fix, the San Francisco-based startup that provides a subscription-based personal shopping and delivery service for women’s clothing, has closed on $4.75 million in new funding, the company tells TechCrunch.
The round, which serves as Stitch Fix’s Series A, was co-led by Baseline Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners with the participation of Western Technology Investment.

Sony intros MDR-X05 headphones: massive Simon Cowell-endorsed bass, small footprint

Sony intros MDRX05 headphones massive Simon Cowellendorsed bass, small footprint

Is this really happening, again? Why, yes, it is. Following up on its massive MDR-X10 bass-pumping headphones from last year, Sony and Simon Cowell have introduced the MDR-X05. As you might take from the name, the cans are basically a smaller addition to the series, packing 40MM drivers (down from 50) and a few more color options (red/black, red/red, white/silver, red/silver and black/silver) -- some of which do the headphones more justice than the silver/red colorway we got our mitts on previously. As far as we can tell, by the way, these are very likely a re-badge of the MDR-X400 headphones for the American market. As you'd expect, the cans fold flat for storage and feature an iDevice-compatible inline remote and mic.

Report Says Facebook Gifts Is Struggling With Poor Sales And Revenue

Facebook Gifts Sales

A billion dollar business? Guess not. Despite lofty projections for Facebook Gifts from analysts, reporters, and me, a new report picks apart public statements from the company to suggest it earned a maximum of $1 million in Q4 2012 revenue on Gifts, and maybe a lot less. Sure, it’s early days, but Facebook may need to look elsewhere for a bottom line game changer.

Facebook Confirms It Will Acquire Atlas Advertiser Suite From Microsoft To Close The Ad Spend Loop

Facebook Atlas
After weeks of speculation and leaks, Facebooktoday announced it will buy the AtlasAdvertiser Suite away from Microsoft. The Seattle-based Atlas team will stay put, but Facebook plans to invest in back-end scaling and better measurement to help advertisers “close the loop” and understand how their spend earns them money.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stretchable, serpentine lithium-ion battery works at three times its usual size

While we've seen more than a few flexible batteries in our day, they're not usually that great at withstanding tugs and pulls. A team-up between Northwestern University and the University of Illinois could give lithium-ion batteries that extreme elasticity with few of the drawbacks you'd expect.

Elon Musk says Tesla will repay Department of Energy loan well before 2022 due date

Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, has been the focus of many headlines lately due to a certain, well-documented kerfuffle with The New York Times. Today, however, the automotive company's chief isn't questioning any reviews. Instead, he's taken to the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy summit to share his belief that Tesla Motors will pay off that $465 million loan from the US Department of Energy well ahead of when it's expected to -- in five years, rather than ten, to be precise.

Pandora establishes 40 hour mobile listening cap for free users

Remember the good ol' days of Pandora? Well, it turns out that you were living in it until today. Just this afternoon, the music streaming service revealed that it's become necessary to return to the 40 hour caps from times long ago -- only this time around, it applies only to mobile users.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mystery Nokia Lumia appears with Verizon bands at FCC

Mystery Nokia Lumia appears at FCC with Verizon bands
Can you smell it? Smartphone season is in the air. Along with recent leaks for theLumia 720 and Lumia 520, another handset from Nokia was just tipped -- this time at the FCC. The phone in question is known only as the RM-860, but with support for LTE bands 4 and 13, it carries the telltale marks as a Verizon smartphone. As you may recall, Nokia revealed earlier this year that it aims to bring high-end, mid-range and low-end Lumia smartphones to AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Given the relatively blah Lumia 822 that's already at Big Red, could this be a sign that Verizon is set to gain its own iteration of the Lumia 920? Or, might it be that the carrier is aiming for lower hanging fruit?

ZTE exec: Grand S won't carry a grand price, at least in China

ZTE exec Grand S won't carry a grand price, at least in China
A cursory look at the ZTE Grand S might leave you worrying that it will fetch quite the premium for that 5-inch screen, LTE and quad-core performance. Not so, according to mobile division lead He Shiyou. He estimates that the smartphone's price in mainland China will hover between ¥3,000 to ¥3,500 ($481 to $561), depending on market conditions -- a reasonable bargain for a high-end model expected to ship before the first quarter of the year is out. We're just left wondering whether the value-minded pricing will hold if and when the Grand S goes on a world tour.

Pentagon Grounds Entire F-35 Fleet

Michael Spooneybarger/Reuters

The Pentagon said on Friday that it had grounded all of its stealthy new F-35 fighter jets after an inspection found a crack in a turbine blade in the engine of one of the planes.
The suspension of flights comes at an awkward time for the military, which is facing automatic budget cuts that could slow its purchases of the planes. The Pentagon grounded all three versions of the jets — for the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines — on Thursday while it investigated the problem.

Friday, February 22, 2013

CloudOn does the seemingly impossible. It hosts Microsoft Office in the cloud, then makes it available on your iPhone, iPad, or Android tablet. PC World's Yardena Arar called it her"favorite cloud-hosted virtual Office service."

With version 4.0, CloudOn is now available for Android smartphones as well. And it brings some much-needed new features to the table, while retaining (for the moment, anyway) the best possible price: It's free.
If you've used the app in the past (on another device), you'll be glad to know that version 4.0 supports both portrait and landscape views, the latter a very welcome (and overdue) addition.

Also new: CloudOn FileSpace, a place to add notes and view all activity on a single file, including edits, for real-time updates on documents. As always, you can share and view Office documents directly from email, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive.

If you've used the app in the past (on another device), you'll be glad to know that version 4.0 supports both portrait and landscape views, the latter a very welcome (and overdue) addition.

Office Web Apps update brings web image pasting, PowerPoint slide editing and more

Office Web Apps update lets you copy  paste web pictures and more
Microsoft's Office Web Apps are great for those with a SkyDrive account and any device with an IE, Firefox, Chrome or Safari browser who don't want to lug the fullOffice 365 suite around. Since functionality can be a tad limited, however, Redmond's just added more features with the latest update. For starters, you can now copy and paste pictures from the web into Word, PowerPoint and OneNote Web Apps. Other new functions include cursor-following tools in all the programs, the ability to rearrange slides in PowerPoint Web App along with comment viewing, touch-based chart resizing and more in Excel Web App. Microsoft's posted some sample files that work without a SkyDrive account, so if you want to give it a whirl, hit the source.

Google Glass to arrive in late 2013, cost less than $1500

The fully-polished version of Google Glass will ship in late 2013, and will cost less than $1500, Google said on Friday.

Google still hasn’t named an exact price or release date for Glass, but this is the clearest the company has been on what we can expect for availability of its eyewear computer.

The news, reported by The Verge and confirmed to us by a Google representative, follows Google’s announcement of the feature list for Glass earlier this week, along with an expanded “Glass Explorer” program for people who are willing to apply for a $1,500 prototype. As the company explained in a video, users will be able to activate voice controls by saying “OK Glass,” and then say things like “Hang out with..” to make a video call. Users will also be able to search the web, get directions, take photos and video, get translations and see notifications from Google Now.

Orange unveils its first LTE smartphone under its name

Orange has announced the addition of three smartphones to its device range, including its first LTE smartphone, the Lumo.

The operator has had some success with it own branded phones, including the Monte Carlo, which was Orange's best selling phone throughout 2012 in Spain. The operator is hoping to build on that success with the new line-up. All three devices will also be on display at Mobile World Congress, which starts on February 25 in Barcelona.

8-megapixel camera

In addition to an LTE connection, the Lumo has a 4.5-inch screen with a 960-by-540 pixel resolution and an 8-megapixel camera. It is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor.

The Lumo is one of an increasing number of LTE smartphones that are intended to expand the availability of the 4G technology beyond high-end smartphones. Other products in this growing category include Samsung's Galaxy Express and the Optimus F series from LG Electronics, which was announced on Thursday.

"It is all about the continued democratization on the mobile Internet," said Patrick Remy, vice president of devices at Orange, regarding the Lumo.

Just like LG, Orange didn't announce what its LTE smartphone will cost.
Budget smartphone

Orange is also introducing the San Remo and the Nivo. The latter will be Orange's most affordable smartphone, but it still has a 4-inch screen and a 5-megapixel camera. The San Remo has a 4.7-inch display housed in a shell that is 8.2 millimeters thick. The phone is also equipped with an 8-megapixel camera. All three models are based on Android 4.1, and they also have an 802.11n Wi-Fi connection and A-GPS.

Going forward, Orange will use four-letter words, like the Lumo and Nivo, instead of cities when naming its own-branded phones, according to Remy.

The smartphones will start shipping during the first of the year across a number of Orange markets including Romania, Slovakia and Spain, although not all countries will carry all three devices. Pricing will be announced with local availability, but will be in line with previous Orange smartphone pricing, according to the operator.

How to make Ubuntu Linux look like Windows 7

Creating a Windows 7-style Ubuntu
Ubuntu's default desktop is clean, but not very Windows-like.
To be completely honest, Ubuntu's default Unity desktop may be slick and pretty, but it isn’t the most configurable Linux environment around. The taskbars running the top and left sides of its screen are locked in place and can’t be moved whatsoever. Unity is still fairly flexible, however, and some basic—for Linux—tweaks can give it some of that old Windows 7 charm.

How to Sync Outlook and Google Apps

How to Sync Outlook to Google Apps
Business users have gotten used to Outlook. The email client for the more than one billion Microsoft Office users on the planet has become second nature. But some companies are finding that it saves them money and maintenance to let Google host their email, calendars, and contacts, even though this means a third party will have access to email contents and targeted display ads appear in the inbox. If you could use Outlook with your Google Apps Mail (really just Gmail), you don't have to see these ads, and you get a preview panel, inbox sorting, rich formatting, right-click options, social connector, and most of the other tools Outlook offers.

Ubuntu Touch OS released to Nexus phone, tablet developers

A touch-enabled version of Linux Ubuntu for developers was released for downloadFriday by Canonical.

Daring users are being warned by the authors of Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview that it's an experimental development snapshot that can potentially "brick" their devices.

Windows 8 picture passwords: Their great untapped potential

Love it or hate it, Windows 8 is the bellwether for PCs. Where Microsoft goes, PCs follow. And now Microsoft is making a grab for the mobile market, too. The latest version of Windows is designed with touchscreens in mind, and one bright side of that evolution is the addition of features that make Windows more intuitive and easier to use on all devices.

Apple supplier penalized for polluting nearby river in China

An Apple supplier known for making iPads has been penalized by Chinese authorities for turning a nearby river in Shanghai “white” after dumping pollutants during the nation’s Spring Festival holiday.

The supplier, RiTeng Computer Accessory, had wrongfully dumped waste water used for cleaning processes due to suspected staff negligence, according to a Friday statement from a parent company.

Five quick thoughts on the PlayStation 4


The PlayStation 4 was revealed this week. Sort of. The clouds didn’t part and the system didn’t descend from the heavens promising to cure cancer and end war. Sony did show the new philosophy and some features behind the system. There was a new controller, the DualShock 4, and the most important thing of all games, games, games.

Of course, there were a few disappointments with the news conference. For one, Sony didn’t actually show what the PlayStation 4 would look like. We also don’t know how much it will cost or what the new PlayStation Network may look like. Those details will likely be unveiled at E3, but still, I do need to know if I should start saving up money or consider having a child so I can sell my first-born for a system. I kid. I kid. Besides, I don’t think a baby will come in time for the PlayStation 4′s holiday 2013 launch date.

HTC settles with the FTC over claims of insecurities in logging software

HTC settles with the FTC over claims of insecurities in logging software
Much of the firestorm surrounding remote phone diagnostics in late 2011 ultimately enveloped Carrier IQ and the providers that used it, but HTC was also scorched by accusations that its phones' software flaws (including in HTC Loggers) made privacy breaches possible. The FTC went so far as to level charges against the company for allegedly not doing enough to secure software. That saga may be winding to a close now that HTC's American division has agreed to settle the whole affair. The smartphone designer has to do more than just deliver patches, which it already has -- it's now required to run a "comprehensive" security program to weed out flaws in advance, and it will be the subject of outside assessments every other year for the next 20 years. As tough as those conditions may seem, they're easier than dealing with fines or stiffer penalties. They'll hopefully prevent repeats of any privacy scares as well, even if the real-world risk has been slight.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...