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Brian Cox's Wonders of Life Brings the Universe-Tromping Physicist Back to Earth
March 05, 2014
There are three elements that bring a great nature documentary to life: first, you need great video footage; second, you need to infuse the content with a sense of time, scope, and wonder; and third, you need a cool narrator. Brian Cox's Wonders of Life app delivers all three. I stumbled upon the app after Apple highlighted it as an Editor's Choice.
Federal Agencies Knee-Deep in Mobile Devices
March 05, 2014
U.S. government agencies are moving briskly into the mobile era, spurred by the fast pace of technological change. The scope of the federal mobile market is broad-based, and to some degree depends upon what is meant by such terms as "wireless," "mobility" and "digital." The parameters of that market are coming into focus, with federal agencies recently having created a track record of procurement.
Now Drivers Can Engage Siri in Safe CarPlay
March 04, 2014
Apple on Monday unwrapped its CarPlay auto initiative at the Geneva International Motor Show, less than a month after Google announced its grand plans to bring Android into automobiles with its Open Automotive Alliance. CarPlay will enable iPhone users to make calls, consult maps, play music and receive messages either through the vehicle's native interface or through voice commands.
Zynga Trots Out New Mobile Versions of Old Favorites
March 04, 2014
Zynga COO Clive Downie on Monday announced the early rollout three mobile-first games: FarmVille 2: Country Escape, New Zynga Poker and New Words With Friends. The soft launch is taking place in certain markets before the games' formal debut in June. The release as a key part of Zynga's larger strategy to regain its momentum.
Galaxy S5 Could Win Over Mobile Payment Skeptics
March 04, 2014
Consumers love their smartphones, but a substantial number of them don't love using them to pay for purchases. With Samsung's introduction of its Galaxy S5 phone last week, the company is betting it can change some of those consumers' minds on that subject. Like Apple's iPhone 5s, the S5 has a fingerprint scanner. Unlike the Apple product, though, the S5's scanner can be used to pay for things.
Mobile's Year of Living Big, Strong and Superpowerfully
March 03, 2014
At last week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the major players showed up loaded for bear. Wearable computers became more robust, we got another Android fork, phones acquired superpowers, and it became clear that big -- really big -- is going to be all around us. Oh, and if you are into power and performance, this is the beginning of your era.
Moov Brings Smarts to Fitness Tech
February 28, 2014
There is a new wearable fitness device on the horizon that may take this emerging technology niche to an entirely new level. Moov, developed by former tech specialists from Apple and Microsoft, promises not only to capture data about users' activities, but also to give them performance-improvement tips. A crowdfunding campaign launched Thursday seeks to raise $40,000 for a July release.
Report: Britain Snooped on Yahoo Users' Sexy Times
February 28, 2014
Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, reportedly intercepted and collected millions of images of people via Yahoo webcam chats, some of which were sexually explicit. As part of the surveillance program, dubbed "Optic Nerve," GCHQ saved images from webcams on agency databases regardless of whether or not the individuals were an intelligence target.
All Things Appy: 5 Cool Chrome Desktop Apps
February 28, 2014
Chrome apps are the newest form of extension and helper for the Chrome Desktop environment, and as of late last year, any computer, including Macs, could use them. Here are five recently updated free Chrome apps that are worth a look. All of them can be run offline, outside of the browser, on the desktop. In the top spot, Google's Keep app allows you to take notes in a Post-it note-like UI.
App Converter Bridges Tizen-Android Divide
February 27, 2014
The first Tizen phones may still be on the horizon, but at least one software provider is already planning ahead. Infraware Technology debuted software that can port Android apps to the Tizen mobile OS without additional development or customization. Both Android and Tizen are based on Linux, of course, but that doesn't mean their native apps are compatible.
Boeing Unveils Suicidally Secure Smartphone
February 27, 2014
Boeing this week filed an application with the United States Federal Communications Commission for a secure Android smartphone called the "Black" that will self-destruct if anyone tries to physically open the case. The company will offer it to the U.S. defense and security communities. The Black has endless modularity capabilities, according to Boeing.
Google Issues Clarion Call for Project Ara Devs
February 27, 2014
Google is ramping up its plans to bring the Project Ara modular smartphone to market by scheduling its first developer conference. The company will hold the conference on April 15-16 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. A limited number of developers will be able to attend the conference in person, but anyone can participate online through a live stream and interactive Q&A.
Bear Witness: Street View Heads North for Polar Bears
February 27, 2014
Google's Street View team has captured images of polar bears in northern Canada, a successful end to its first-ever wildlife-specific quest. Google Street View has long been in the business of capturing things other than streets, including, for example, the world's tallest mountains and Antarctica. These photo-mapping quests aren't always without incident.
Cool Running: Gear and Gadgets for Runners
February 27, 2014
You don't need much to become a serious runner. There's no big investment in gear or apparel required. "Running is definitely a low-cost sport, which is why it is so attractive," said certified strength and conditioning specialist Scott Greenberg. "I think it can remain that way," he said. "However, some new tools can and will definitely have an impact on those looking to maximize performance."
LaCie Fuel Is Much More Than a Run-of-the-Mill Portable
February 26, 2014
Cords have been the bane of digital life since the introduction of PCs. As wireless devices proliferated, though, the need for cords has declined, thanks to technologies like Bluetooth and WiFi. One product area where cords have been persistent, however, has been storage. Sure, the cloud has provided some relief, but local storage units often require a cord to tap into a wireless net.
BlackBerry Tries to Bring Back That Lovin' Feelin'
February 25, 2014
BlackBerry has announced new handsets and services aimed at moving the company forward. At the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, CEO John Chen debuted two new phones -- the Q20 and the low-cost Z3. The Q20 offers the classic BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard and experience on BlackBerry 10. It features BlackBerry's physical Menu, Back, Send, and End buttons along with a trackpad.
Windows XP to Live On in China
February 25, 2014
A handful of Chinese Web companies are banding together to provide user support -- system upgrades, security services and the like -- to domestic users after Microsoft turns out the lights on Windows XP. Microsoft announced that it's going to punt on Windows XP in early April. Alas, an estimated 25-plus percent of China's computers run on the operating system. But fear not!
Samsung's 'Meaningful Innovation' Crusade
February 25, 2014
Samsung hinted it wasn't about to rock the mobile world with the choice of the warmup band for its Unpacked 2014 event Monday -- the Barcelona Opera House Chamber Orchestra. At the event, held at the Mobile World Congress in Spain, it announced a new version of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, as well as an upgrade of its smartwatch, the Gear 2, and an advanced fitness band, the Gear Fit.
Security Firms Scour Mobile Apps
February 24, 2014
Security pros weren't very kind to mobile applications last week. A number of firms knocked apps produced for the smartphone market for all kinds of risky behaviors that could lead to trouble not only for mobile device owners, but also for their employers. While Android has been a poster child for misbehaving apps in the past, competitor Apple's apps aren't as pristine as is commonly believed.
Nokia Mixes It Up With New Android X Family
February 24, 2014
Nokia on Monday confirmed months of speculation with the unveiling of its X family of smartphones running Android. The X, X+ and XL are priced at $123, $136 and $150, respectively. Like Nokia's low-end Asha line, the X devices come in bright colors. They borrow some of Asha's other well-received features as well. Unlike Asha, however, the X series will not be available in the U.S.

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