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The Big Winners at Google I/O 2014
June 30, 2014
At last week's Google I/O, Nvidia was the big winner. It was showcased in TVs, mobile devices and automotive as the supplier of a key technology. Other brands were mentioned in the keynote, but it was Nvidia that was mentioned most consistently -- and its technology apparently was connected to most of the demos. Though it was mentioned only in passing, Lenovo actually was the other big winner.
Google's GAL Makes Glowing I/O Debut
June 27, 2014
One of the many notable things to come out of Google's I/O conference this week was the announcement that 40 new auto industry companies representing 25 brands had joined the Open Automotive Alliance, which Google formed earlier this year. Google also unveiled Google Automotive Link, or GAL, which works like Apple's Carplay, along with an Android Auto software development kit.
The Next iPhone Is a Naming Catastrophe Waiting to Happen
June 27, 2014
I can't help but wonder how the heck Apple is going to name its new iPhone lineup when it debuts this fall. Make no mistake, the naming scheme is due for a change. Last year, the shakeup was two form factors that introduced the plastic body of the iPhone 5c with the clear flagship iPhone 5s model. With the next iPhone, the top-of-line iPhone model won't be clear to consumers at all.
Wall Street Goes Gaga Over GoPro
June 27, 2014
Action camera maker GoPro, which went public Thursday, saw its share prices skyrocket, closing at $31.34, 30 percent over its asking price of $24. That was a rare positive note in an otherwise down market, but it has raised questions. Is the price justified, considering that GoPro has only one product? Can the company meet the challenges of going public? What about the competition?
Barnes & Noble Gives Its Nook the Hook
June 26, 2014
Barnes & Noble finally bit the bullet. The company on Wednesday announced its board of directors had approved a proposal to spin off its Nook e-reader business into a publicly traded company. Both its print and e-book divisions have been struggling financially for several quarters; it has become conventional wisdom that one way B&N could right its ship might be to spin off or sell its Nook line.
No Cellphone Search Without Warrant, Supreme Court Rules
June 26, 2014
Police need a warrant to search the cellphone contents of people they have arrested, the United States Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. Warrantless searches, in essence, would impact privacy to a far greater extent than is acceptable. The ruling also applies to individuals stopped for questioning by the authorities, said Jake LaPerruque of the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Google I/O Offers Devs Big Bonanza
June 25, 2014
Google on Wednesday announced a plethora of opportunities for developers at its I/O conference. The upcoming version of Android, currently known as "L," will have 5,000 new apps. Android L offers a new design language consistent across Android, desktops, tablets and the Web. "It's all about developing the ecosystem," said tech analyst Ronald Gruia.
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.

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