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Samsung's New S6 Line Atones for S5's Plastic Sins
March 02, 2015
Samsung on Monday announced its much-anticipated Galaxy S6 line at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. In the S6, the strongly disliked plastic body of the Galaxy S5 is replaced with a combination of aluminum and Gorilla Glass. The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge both come in white, black and gold. Blue will be available only for the S6, while green will be available only for the S6 edge.
Pebble Makes Big Ripples on Kickstarter
February 24, 2015
The money is pouring into Pebble's Kickstarter campaign for its new smartwatch, Pebble Time. Within hours, upwards of 27,000 supporters had pledged more than $5.6 million. The project's goal was to raise a mere $500,000. The strength of the response highlights the enthusiastic fan base Pebble has built. "Pebble Time appears to be yet another blockbuster," said tech analyst Ryan Martin.
Yandex Asks Russian Authorities to Drop the Hammer on Google
February 18, 2015
Yandex has asked Russia's antitrust authorities to look into whether Google is breaking the country's laws by not allowing preinstallation of third-party services on Android devices. Three smartphone vendors told Yandex last year that they couldn't install its search engine as the default, the company claimed. Yandex is seeking to have the Android OS unbundled from Google Search.
Sony Gets Glassy-Eyed
February 17, 2015
Sony's SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 will be available generally next month in the United States, the UK, Germany and Japan. The smart glasses -- Sony's first -- also will be released in March to business customers in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden. Sony's SmartEyeglass, priced at $840, resembles a regular pair of eyeglasses with a sporty black frame design.
First Ubuntu Smartphone to Arrive in Europe Next Week
February 06, 2015
The first smartphone to be powered by the open source Ubuntu operating system will arrive at retail in Europe beginning on Monday, Feb. 9. The Aquaris E4.5 will be offered to early adopters via a series of "flash sales" across the continent. The unlocked phone will retail for 169.90 euros or roughly US$195, without the need for a contract.
Infected Android Apps From Google Play Affect Millions
February 04, 2015
The malware harbors fake ads that pop up when users unlock their devices, to warn them about nonexistent infections, or that their devices are out of date or have porn. Victims are then asked to take action. If they agree, they are redirected to poisoned Web pages that contain a variety of hazards. Google spokesperson Elizabeth Markman did not confirm how many devices had been hit.
A Personal Power Plant in the Palm of Your Hand
February 04, 2015
The problem with most portable battery-based chargers is that you still need to plug them into a wall socket to gain a charge. While some inventors have turned to solar, or even wind power, for off-the-grid power sources, solar and wind power take time and require Mother Nature to provide sun or wind. Enter Kraftwerk, a fuel-based hand-held portable generator that has launched as a Kickstarter project.
Google Expands Bug Bounty Program
February 02, 2015
Since 2010, when it began paying security researchers to find flaws in its programs, Google has paid more than US$4 million to bug hunters. Now it's prepared to pay even more. The company announced Friday that it's expanding its Security Rewards Programs to include payments to researchers before they find bugs in Google's software. It's also broadening the reach of its Vulnerability Reward Program.
Google Gives WebView the Cold Shoulder
January 30, 2015
Google has decided not to fix vulnerabilities in WebView for Android 4.3 and older, sparking heated discussions among developers. Those versions of WebView run on the WebKit browser. Fixing them "required changes to significant portions of the code and was no longer practical to do so safely," explained Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security.
Acer Designs Chromebooks for Students' Rough Handling
January 22, 2015
Acer on Wednesday announced two new ruggedized Chromebooks geared for classroom use. Both will go on sale in February. The Acer Chromebook C910 and C740 have a durable design built around reinforced covers and hinges. The new models support multiple user sign-ons and offline file access. Security features include a Kensington lock to secure the laptop to a wireless cart or lab station.
FreedomPop's $5 WiFi Plan Whittles Wireless Bills
January 22, 2015
FreedomPop on Wednesday announced a new plan that provides Android smartphone users with access to 10 million WiFi hotspots across the U.S. for $5 a month. That sum will give any smartphone or tablet -- regardless of any carrier service it might have -- unlimited talk, text and data on FreedomPop's WiFi hotspot network. Users will have to download FreedomPop's Android app.
Ubuntu Aims to Make the IoT Snappy
January 21, 2015
Canonical on Tuesday unveiled Snappy Ubuntu Core, a new rendition of Ubuntu targeting the Internet of Things. Snappy Ubuntu Core offers a minimal server image with the same libraries as "traditional" Ubuntu, but Snappy apps and Ubuntu Core can be upgraded automatically and rolled back if necessary. Snappy runs on any device with an ARMv7 or Intel x86 processor and at least 256 MB of RAM.
HP Goes Pro With Mobile Business Strategy
January 21, 2015
HP has unveiled eight new business-focused mobile products: six specialized tablets, a 2-in-1 device and a tablet case. The company also announced new relationships with partners and independent software vendors, and a slew of accessories. HP is "very cautious these days about the types of products they release," said Susan Schreiner, senior editor and analyst at C4 Trends.
Businesses Waste Big Bucks Fighting Phantom Cyberattacks
January 21, 2015
Businesses spend an average of $1.27 million a year chasing cyberthreats that turn out to be dead ends. That is one of the findings in a report released last week on the cost of containing malware. In a typical week, an organization can receive nearly 17,000 malware alerts, although only 19 percent of them are considered reliable, the researchers found.
Adobe Opens Lightroom's Door to Android
January 19, 2015
Adobe last week released an Android mobile app as a companion to its Lightroom desktop application and cloud service. Adobe released a mobile app for iOS last year. The new app will include all of the functionality of the iOS mobile app -- but refined to take advantage of the Android platform, according to Shared Mangalick, senior product manager for photography at Adobe.
Xiaomi Launches Galaxy Note Killers in China
January 16, 2015
Xiaomi on Wednesday announced two new flagship smartphones in Beijing, the Mi Note and the Mi Note Pro. The Mi Note has a metal frame and is protected on the front and back with 3D curved Gorilla Glass 3, which apparently makes it highly resistant to scratches and shattering. Xiaomi compared the Mi Note to the iPhone 6 Plus, but it appears that Samsung's Galaxy Note is its real target.
Samsung Tries Out Tizen in India
January 14, 2015
Samsung has released the first Tizen-powered smartphone for India, the Samsung Z1. The Tizen phone offers localized entertainment apps and a simpler user interface than Android, the company said. Tizen is an open source platform that Samsung has taken the lead in developing. It is an offshoot of the Linux OS. Tizen OS 2.3 enables faster boot time and quicker access to apps than other mobile OSes.
Google Translate App Gets Silver Tongue
January 14, 2015
Google has released a new version of its Translate app for Android and iOS. It now lets users instantly translate text in foreign languages using their smartphone cameras. The translation will appear overlaid on the smartphone screen. Translate app features available on iOS for the first time are camera mode, including Word Lens; and conversational mode, said Google spokesperson Roya Soleimani.
Google's Project Ara Smartphone Puzzle Is Coming Together
January 14, 2015
Google on Wednesday shed fresh light on Project Ara, its modular Android smartphone initiative, including plans to pilot the project in Puerto Rico through food truck-style stores. Project Ara will offer a smartphone endoskeleton; users will be able to add the functionality they want piece by piece, rather than being confined by the hardware configurations determined by operators and providers.
Loving Linux in a Touchscreen World
January 13, 2015
Well it was a fairly quiet week here in the Linux blogosphere, as much of the mainstream tech world staggered directly out of their New Year's revelries and into the halls of CES. Not that Linux didn't have a presence at the gargantuan show, mind you. It was there, all right -- not just in phones but in TVs, smartwatches and cars, to name just a few examples.
Samsung, Apple Kick Off Round Eleventy in Patent Fight
December 10, 2014
Apple and Samsung last week squared off again in court over their long-running patent dispute. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard Samsung's appeal of the $930 million in damages a district court awarded to Apple for patent infringement, following a trial in 2012 and a retrial in 2013. "Samsung never wanted this fight," said Fosspatents' Florian Mueller.
Lollipop's Encryption Takes a Hefty Toll
November 24, 2014
The new full-disk encryption feature that's enabled by default in Android 5.0 Lollipop comes at a hefty price in terms of performance, according to a recent benchmark report. In fact, when full-disk encryption is enabled, random read performance drops by 62.9 percent, while random write performance falls by 50.5 percent, AnandTech reported late last week.
Jolla's Open Source Tablet Gets Crazy Crowd Love
November 19, 2014
Jolla, the company set up by former Nokia executives to keep the Meego operating system alive, raised more than $841,000 on Wednesday, the first day of its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. That's 221 percent of its goal of $380,000 -- and the campaign has 21 days to go, closing Dec. 9. Nearly 5,325 people have contributed to the campaign, although only about 3,800 actually purchased the tablets.
Nokia Hits the Comeback Trail With N1 Tablet
November 18, 2014
Nokia on Tuesday announced the N1 Android tablet, the first offering under its own brand since Microsoft's acquisition of its mobile phone business. The N1, slated for Q1 2015 release in China, will be made by Foxconn. Microsoft also offers a tablet under the "Nokia" brand -- the Nokia Lumia 2520 -- which raises the question of whether perhaps this might cause confusion among consumers.

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