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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.
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.
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.
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.
The 5 Things That Made This Year's WWDC Radical
June 06, 2014
While there were two hours jam-packed with announcements at the keynote presentation kicking off Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference this week, you can count the really important announcements that will create lasting change on one hand. The new programming language, Swift, isn't one of them. Wait, what? Not Swift? Why? There are five bigger deals.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Android Launcher Apps
June 05, 2014
One easy way to refresh an aging Android smartphone phone is to replace the home screen with a Launcher. Launchers are skins with themes and unique behaviors, like transparency and scrolling styles. Our No. 1 pick is Nova launcher, an extremely customizable launcher app designed to speed up performance. Neat tricks include substituting KitKat-styled icons for the aging Ice Cream sandwich versions.
Samsung to Try Out Tizen Smartphone in Russia
June 03, 2014
Samsung this week officially launched its long-anticipated Tizen phone, at the Tizen Developer Conference being held in San Francisco through Wednesday. One description of Tizen is that it's an open source Linux-based operating system from Samsung -- but that might be open to debate. The Samsung Z Tizen phone initially will debut in Russia in the third quarter.
Apple Teases Consumers, Doubles Down With Devs
June 03, 2014
Apple managed to pull off a mean feat on Monday at its WorldWide Developers Conference. Without announcing a single hardware device, it teased consumers with dozens of updated features in iOS 8 and the next version of Mac OS X -- dubbed "Yosemite" -- then doubled-down with app developers by offering tons of new APIs, along with elements of deep integration between apps and devices.
China Calls for Increased Testing of IT Products
May 23, 2014
The ever-testy cyberstandoff between the U.S. and China got a new twist when Beijing announced that it would start "cybersecurity vetting of major IT products and services" used for national security and public interests. The vetting is designed to prevent suppliers from using their products to control, disrupt or shut down clients' systems, or from using the systems to scoop up information.
Iran Releases Fans Detained Over Music Video
May 22, 2014
Iran has released at least some of the people who appeared in a music video for a song by American pop artist Pharrell Williams. The video, set to the Williams tune "Happy," showed people dancing on rooftops of the capital of Tehran. It is not clear if all of the people arrested for making the Tehran-based video have been released or if they later will be put on trial.
Flappy Bird 2 Due in August, Paternity Uncertain
May 16, 2014
Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen this week said that the wildly popular mobile game will return in August and also that he is working on a brand-new offering. After dropping a tantalizing hint back in March, Nguyen on Wednesday told CNBC that the new Flappy Bird will deliver multiplayer capabilities and be "less addictive." On Thursday, however, he said that he was not the one creating the game.
Yahoo Buys Blink Team, App to Go Dark
May 15, 2014
Yahoo has acquired Blink, a mobile app that destroys messages at a predetermined time set by the user. Yahoo intends to shut down both the iOS and Android versions of the app in the coming weeks. Blink made its debut just a year ago. The conventional thinking is that Yahoo acquired Blink largely for its talent, as it seeks to build out a robust portfolio of mobile products.
For Safe, Private Mobile Browsing, Huddle Under F-Secure's Freedome
May 15, 2014
At a meeting with the press earlier this year, F-Secure Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen -- yes, the man who sparked the angry exodus of a small group of malware vendors from the RSA security conference -- mentioned the company would soon unveil Freedome, a cloud-based service that would be pretty much the bees' knees for protecting mobile devices.
Precision Cooking Fires Up the Crowd
May 14, 2014
A new crowdsourced Kickstarter project has blasted out of the gate and racked up more than $1,000,000 in funding -- its goal was a modest $100,000 -- with 34 days to go. The project? The Anova Precision Cooker. At first glance, the Anova Precision Cooker looks like a massive electronic thermometer with a plug-in cord. It's used for the sous-vide style of cooking.
Parrot Uncages New Drone
May 13, 2014
Parrot has added a new model to its line of airborne drones -- the Bebop. The lightweight Bebop includes some snappy features, such as built-in image stabilization, a 14-megapixel camera with a fish-eye lens, and support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Although a price hasn't been announced, the drone is expected to hit a sweet spot between $500 and $1,000.

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