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Nokia X2 Mixes and Matches Android Apps, Windows Phone Services
June 25, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced the launch of the Nokia X2, the first device to come out in Nokia's Android-based X line since Microsoft acquired the company earlier this year. The Nokia X series targets emerging markets with a low-cost family of smartphones offering access to Android apps and Microsoft services. However, the new Nokia X2 offers an enhanced experience.
Verizon Flips Off Chromebook Pixel Customers
June 24, 2014
Though early purchasers of the LTE model of Google's Chromebook Pixel were promised two years of limited data, it appears Verizon has reneged on those assurances. The WiFi-only Pixel cost $1,299 while the LTE model set back consumers an extra $150. Those who bought the system through the Google Play Store when it went on sale last April were offered 100 MB of free Verizon data every month.
All Things Appy: Top 5 iOS Utilities and Tools
June 24, 2014
While Apple's mobile operating system does hold users' hands when it comes to device management more so than competitor Android, there are additional steps you can take to optimize your iOS device. Free third-party utilities are available in app form to beef up battery management, cloud storage and camera backup, as well as to find lost phones, among other things.
Microsoft Aims to Put Some MacBook Airs Out of Circulation
June 24, 2014
Microsoft is offering up to $650 worth of in-store credit to MacBook Air owners who are willing to trade them in and purchase a Surface Pro 3. The campaign runs until July 31. All models of MacBook Air are eligible for the deal, though the value given in the trade will vary, depending on the specific model and its condition. The offer is an extension of the company's "Recycle for Rewards Program."
HTC May Trot Out Nexus 9 Before the Brand Is X'ed Out
June 23, 2014
Specifications for HTC's 8.9-inch Volantis tablet, which may be renamed "Nexus 9," have surfaced. The device reportedly will ship with a 2048 x 1440 display, a Tegra K1 Nvidia Logan 64-bit processor, and 2 GB RAM. It can have either 16 GB or 32 GB of storage, and will come with 8 MP rear-facing and 3 MP front-facing cameras. It may prove both thicker and heavier than Samsung's Galaxy Tab 8.4.
Tide Turns in Favor of Crime-Fighting Smartphone Kill Switches
June 23, 2014
In the wake of overwhelming evidence that the kill switch Apple introduced in iOS 7 last year has reduced iPhone thefts, Google and Microsoft have agreed to follow suit. SF D.A. George Gascon and NY A.G. Eric Schneiderman, who have spearheaded the battle to implement smartphone kill switches, last week announced that the next versions of Android and Windows Phone will include a kill switch.
Path Adds Another Avenue for Mobile Gabfest
June 23, 2014
Path has hived off its mobile-only messaging service as a standalone app named "Talk," it announced Friday. It also ended limits on the number of friends users can communicate with, and announced its purchase of place messaging pioneer TalkTo as it sets itself for growth. The Talk app has a new feature, Ambient Status, that shows users' current status at a glance.
How Amazon's Fire Phone Will Beat the iPhone in 3 Years
June 23, 2014
Amazon launched its rather impressive Fire Phone last week, and it has a number of things that make it interesting -- but just as the iPhone improved massively by the third version, I expect this phone will as well, as a result of users providing feedback on what they want. Ironically, if the iPhone fails against the Fire Phone, it will be because Jeff Bezos is executing Steve Jobs' old strategy.
Apple Gets Ready to Tell Consumers Why They Want a Smartwatch
June 20, 2014
Apple reportedly is preparing to ship multiple versions of a smartwatch this coming fall, as competition increases in the wearable technology space. Its long-rumored smartwatch reportedly will be available in multiple screen sizes and will include more than 10 sensors that will allow it to track the wearer's health and fitness metrics, among other information.
The Amazon Fire Phone's Mayday Effect
June 20, 2014
Amazon unveiled its Fire Phone this week, sparking wide interest, if not acclaim. The Fire Phone comes with some innovative features: a dynamic perspective display made possible by six cameras that track the user's head and eye movements; and Firefly, an intelligent assistant that can give Apple's Siri a serious run for its money. Then there is Mayday, a support service feature.
Intel (?) Gets Chat-Appy With Mood-Mimicking Avatars
June 20, 2014
Best known for its computer chips, Intel this week ventured into new territory with Pocket Avatars, a mobile messaging app that uses animated icons to mimic users' facial expressions. Now available for both Android and iOS, the free app can be used to create, send and receive personalized 3D video animated messages designed to convey emotions and mood.
Lego Fuses Physical and Virtual Gameplay
June 19, 2014
Lego fans are about to experience a new way to play with their favorite plastic bricks, both in the physical and virtual worlds. The company's line of Fusion playsets will become available in August. The sets combine traditional brick construction play with video games. The goal is to allow people -- especially children -- to engage with Legos both physically and virtually.
Amazon's Fire Phone May Fizzle
June 19, 2014
Amazon's share prices shot up by nearly $10 on Wednesday after the company announced its Fire Phone, but by press time Thursday they had fallen by $5.76 to $328.62. That might be a pretty solid indicator of the device's chances in the market. "Why would consumers give up their tried-and-tested iPhones or Android smartphones for something that's unknown and untried?" asked IDC analyst Ramon Llamas.
Researchers Find Android Security on Par With iOS
June 18, 2014
The open source mobile operating system Android long has been considered by security experts to be the mobile OS most vulnerable to security threats, but iOS is just as vulnerable. However, the two OSes expose users to different types of threats. The perceived greater security of iOS rests on Apple's control of app distribution rather than on any inherent superiority of the OS over Android.
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.
BlackBerry Unveils BBM Protected to, Ahem, Protect Market Share
June 18, 2014
BlackBerry, whose share of the mobile phone market has been on a downward spiral, this week launched BBM Protected, the first in its planned eBBM Suite of secure enterprise-class messaging products. BBM Protected targets regulated industries. It's claimed to be the only secure mobile instant messaging app that uses a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic library.
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.
If Amazon Builds It, Will They Come?
June 17, 2014
Amazon is poised to reveal its very first smartphone, and the rumor mill is in full swing. It's expected to include a 3D display, utilizing sensors or retina-tracking technology in four front-facing cameras to detect eye positioning and movement in order to project a 3D image without the need for 3D glasses. It reportedly will be available exclusively from AT&T.
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.

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