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Nokia X, We Hardly Knew Ye
July 21, 2014
"I told you so" is a refrain that's oft-heard here in the Linux blogosphere, and more often than not it refers to some fleeting Microsoft tie with FOSS that subsequently goes wrong. The latest example? It's a doozy. Redmond not only is laying off many, many thousands -- most of them in its ill-fated Nokia unit -- but also abandoning its short-lived support of Android through the Nokia X line.
Amazon Unlocks Vast E-Book Library for $10 a Month
July 18, 2014
Amazon on Friday introduced Kindle Unlimited, a new subscription service for e-books. It allows customers to download and read as many books as they want from a list of 600,000-plus Kindle books for a monthly fee of $9.99. Amazon is making a number of popular titles available under the program, including The Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Lord of the Rings.
The Big Honking Business-as-Usual IBM-Apple Deal
July 17, 2014
The news that Apple and IBM have joined forces sent a shockwave through the Apple-focused world this week, and I admit it, I was surprised. At first glance, the deal seems to be this big group hug with the two companies becoming inextricably entwined. Yeah, it's not that. In fact, this is the biggest deal that really isn't all that "BIG" that I've seen in a long time.
Android Sets iPhone Cloning Factory in Motion
July 16, 2014
Chinese company Wico has cloned the yet-to-be-released iPhone 6, if a pair of videos can be believed. "The similarities are eerily close," said IDC Research Manager Ramon Llamas, to the extent that the casual observer "may just simply accept this as an iPhone." There are slight differences on the sides, such as the volume and power buttons and the headphone jacks, as well as the chassis overall.
Google, Novartis Team on 'Invisible' Health Monitor
July 16, 2014
Novartis' Alcon eye care division has entered an in-license agreement governing all ocular medical uses for Google's smart contact lenses, it announced Tuesday. Google unveiled a prototype of its glucose-monitoring lens in January. Novartis is aiming to expand its healthcare horizons. There are 382 million diabetics around the world today and that number is expected to grow to 582 million by 2035.
Apple, IBM Bond Over Big Business
July 16, 2014
Apple and IBM have teamed up on enterprise mobility in an exclusive partnership that will create iPhone and iPad business apps incorporating IBM's Big Data and analytics capabilities. "Mobility has been very much a catch-as-catch-can solution in most businesses," noted Yankee Group Research Vice President Carl Howe, with enterprises having to consider a variety of vendors.
Sprint Launches the Swiss Army Knife of Mobile Hotspots
July 14, 2014
Sprint last week unveiled a mobile hotspot designed to satisfy all the wireless needs of a consumer in one 4.7 x 4.7-inch device. Sprint LivePro is a multifunctional device that acts as both a mobile hotspot and a mini projector. Users connect via Sprint's 4G LTE Spark network -- the company's enhanced LTE service that launched last October -- or through its WiFi network.
Amazon Risks Customer Loyalty in Fight Over Kids' In-App Purchases
July 11, 2014
Amazon's reputation for stellar customer service could become tarnished if its current flap with the FTC gets out of hand. The FTC is suing Amazon for permitting children to make millions of dollars in unauthorized purchases through its Appstore. Similar accusations have been circulating for years. Other companies, including Apple, have been targeted, said Strategic Vision CEO David Johnson.
FTC Goes After Amazon for Fleecing Kids
July 11, 2014
The FTC has filed suit against Amazon over billing kids for unauthorized in-app purchases that in many cases they did not know they had made. The suit accuses Amazon of violating Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce. The FTC is seeking a court order requiring Amazon to refund victims for the unauthorized charges.
New IoT Group to Get Devices Talking Among Themselves
July 11, 2014
Half a dozen companies this week launched the Open Interconnect Consortium to define the connectivity requirements and improve the interoperability of the 200 billion devices that will make up the Internet of Things by 2020. The consortium aims to define a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.
Apple Fails to Get Little I Robot Off Siri's Back
July 09, 2014
The Beijing First Intermediate Court ruled against Apple in a case that pitted it against a Shanghai-based firm and the country's State Intellectual Property Office's Patent Review Committee. The court found that the intellectual property rights of Zhizhen Internet Technology, a company that holds a patent for a voice-controlled digital concierge called "Little I Robot," were valid.
Your Abandoned Smartphone May Betray You
July 09, 2014
Doing a factory reset to wipe the data off smartphones does not work, and the data can be recovered, warned Avast. The company recovered tons of data, including more than 40,000 stored photographs, from 20 used Android phones purchased from eBay. Device owners need to overwrite their files to make them irretrievable, Avast said, touting one of the applications it offers.
BlackBerry Squares Up for a Fight
July 09, 2014
BlackBerry's upcoming Passport smartphone is creating a buzz because of its shape. The Passport is square, unlike the rectangular form of conventional smartphones. Its 4.5-inch screen offer the same viewing space as a rectangular 5-inch screen, but the greater width allows a better experience, according to the company. BlackBerry is positioning the device's shape as a break from convention.
LG G Watch Rides In on 1st Android Wear Wave
July 08, 2014
LG has launched its Android Wear-powered G Watch around the world. It can be ordered from Google Play and purchased at retailers in the United States, Canada, France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Japan and South Korea. In 15 other countries -- including Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Singapore and New Zealand -- the device will be available only from retailers.
TSA Kills Dead Devices' Ticket to Ride
July 08, 2014
In a move that's bound to raise the power management consciousness of air travelers, the TSA on Sunday announced a ban on electronic devices that won't power up before they're carried onto a plane. During the security examination conducted by TSA officers before passengers board a plane, travelers may be asked to power up some electronic devices, the agency said.
Tiny Spectrometer Tells You Exactly What You're Eating
July 08, 2014
For all those who have wondered about the ingredients in their lunchtime burrito, Consumer Physics is gearing up to release a handheld device designed to provide the answer. Dubbed "SCiO," the device is a tiny spectrometer that can scan food, medicines and plants to determine their molecular composition. SCiO can deliver nutrient values and evaluate ripeness and spoilage levels.
Reading Rainbow Finds Pot of Gold
July 07, 2014
Reading Rainbow's Kickstarter campaign hit a significant milestone last week: It not only raised the $1 million it originally sought to create a Web version of the popular children's television show within the first 24 hours of the campaign, but also wrapped the 35-day effort with an additional $4.4 million for a grand total of $5,408,916 in donations. The project was organized by LeVar Burton.
Microsoft Paddles Nokia Lumia 635 Downstream
July 07, 2014
Microsoft-owned Nokia created some fireworks over the holiday weekend by making the Lumia 635, sporting Windows Phone 8.1 , available with T-Mobile's Simple Choice prepaid plan over the Home Shopping Network. The first device to feature personal digital assistant Cortana, it will be available directly from T-Mobile this Wednesday and from its MetroPCS subsidiary later this month.
Rumor: Microsoft's Smart Band Will Play Well With Others
July 03, 2014
Microsoft is said to be preparing the launch of a wearable fitness device that will be compatible with the iOS and Android platforms, as well as Windows Phone. While the device likely will display the time, along with notifications from the user's smartphone, the form factor is expected to be a wristband rather than a smartwatch. The band reportedly will function mainly as a fitness tracker.
Despite Apple's Aperture Fumble, the Photos for OS X End Goal Could Win It All
July 03, 2014
There's a lot riding on Apple's new Photos for Mac OS X app. At WWDC, Apple briefly showed off an early version of its upcoming Photos app, which will integrate with iCloud and the iOS 8-based Photos app with the iCloud Photo Library service. Naturally, this plan raised some questions, and late last week, Apple revealed that it has stopped developing new features for Aperture and iPhoto.

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