Friday, October 25, 2013

First Tizen tablet launches in Japan, caters exclusively to developers

Despite absorbing MeeGo, learning to run Android apps and pushing through a significant UI overhaul, devices running Tizen are notoriously hard to come by. Developers eyeing the platform in Japan, however, just got one more option: the Tizen build kit, from Systena. It's a package that includes developer tools, manuals and technical and consulting services from Systena, but the real star of the kit is the included 10.1-inch developer tablet. Packing a quad-core 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage underneath a 1,920 x 1,200 display, this slab offers a Tizen 2.1 experience built specifically for app development and product demonstration. The company hasn't publicly posted a price for the kit, but interested developers can request more information through the company's website. The rest of us will have to settle for flashing our own devices.
[Image Credit:]

Source: Systena

HTC One gets bonus Google Drive storage as Sense 5.5 update rolls out abroad

Google is taking a page out of Dropbox's book and offering free extra storage for certain HTC One handsets. The HTC One Max got 50GB of storage space out of the box, but we've been tipped that those with the handset's smaller sibling will net an additional 25GB of room in the cloud,all thanks to the international Sense 5.5 (and Android 4.3) update that readers have already started receiving in Europe. These expansions are in addition to the complimentary 15GB of Drive space available to all Google users, bringing the allotted storage totals to 65GB and 40GB for the One Max and One, respectively. There are a few caveats, though. According to Mountain View, the HTC One Developer Edition isn't eligible for this due to its unlocked bootloader. Furthermore, you can only activate this promo once per Google account, which rules out gaming the offer to get even more space. Got all that? Good -- there's a quiz later. 

Source: Google Support, LlabTooFeR (Twitter)

iFixit tears apart Apple's new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro

It's only been a couple of days since Apple released its shiny new MacBook Pros and iFixit has already torn them apart, in more ways than one. Just like its older sibling, the new 13-inch Retina notebook didn't perform that well on the repairability scale, scoring a one out of 10 -- dropping one point from its predecessor's less than impressive two. That's largely down to the same restrictions as before: a glued battery that has been positioned to cover important screws, a Retina display that is fused inside a whole unit, soldered RAM and a non-standard SSD drive. Apple's also reduced the size of the battery, relying on Intel's Haswell processor and Mavericks' improved power management to boost battery life. The same fate befalls the 15-inch model, meaning it'll be almost impossible to upgrade either of Apple's latest notebooks when they start suffering from the effects of entropy.

Source: iFixit (13-inch MacBook Pro), iFixit (15-inch MacBook Pro)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Automatic Link promises to be personal driving assistant, available now for $100

First Automatic said its driving assistant dongle and related iOS app would be ready in May, and then it said the app needed until August to fully bake. Well, it's now October, and at long last, it appears the San Francisco-based startup is finally ready to launch its connected car platform to the general public. As a reminder, Automatic utilizes a piece of hardware called the Link that attaches to your car's OBD-II port -- most cars built after 1996 have one -- along with an iPhone app that communicates with it via Bluetooth LE and translates that onboard diagnostic information into usable data. For example, the app will monitor your driving habits and let you know when you're riding the gas pedal too hard or hitting the brakes too aggressively. If your car's Check Engine light shows up, it'll give you its best guess as to what caused it and even lets you clear it if you've managed to solve the problem. There are other uses too, like dialing 911 if you've been in an accident or finding a parked car. Have a peek at our hands-on for more info, and if you feel like picking one up yourself, Automatic's Link hardware is on sale for $99.95 on Apple's online store and retail locations starting today.

Source: Automatic, App Store

Aperture 3.5 supports iCloud Photo Sharing, uses Apple Maps for Places

You can add one more thing to Apple's list of new hardware and software upgrade announcements: the latest iteration of Aperture. Version 3.5 brings a handful of new features to the OS X app, including iCloud Photo Sharing support that lets you access (or give access to) shared image or video streams. In addition to that, Aperture's Places feature now uses Apple Maps to pinpoint locations where photos are taken -- not a huge surprise considering OS X Mavericks has Cupertino's map app baked right in. The upgraded app can also recognize and support iOS 7 image filters, upload videos up to three minutes long to Flickr and sync with a SmugMug image hosting account. All these features come free along with a barrel of bug fixes, so long as you have Aperture version 3.0 -- otherwise, the app's available on iTunes for $80.

Source: Mac App Store

LinkedIn unveils new iPad app with a fresh look, improved feed and better search

LinkedIn launched its first iPad app in April of 2012, and today the company has revealed its latest version for Apple slates. The new app's changes revolve mostly around an improved feed interface. Aside from gaining a kind of card interface that's all the rage in mobile UI design these days, the feed now incorporates influencer posts and photos and embedded videos can be viewed in all their glory in the feed. Interacting with individual posts (liking, sharing, etc.) can now all be done directly from the feed via a horizontal swipe within each post, which reveals your options for those interactions. Additionally, search function has improved, so now users can look for jobs, people, groups and companies from one convenient place. The app also brings new top-level navigation in the form of a horizontal scrolling carousel that houses personalized categories and items that populate based upon your usage. Sound good? The new app will be available later today in the App Store, but in the meantime, you can read more about it at the source.

Source: LinkedIn blog

Billboard: YouTube building an on-demand music streaming service with free and paid tiers

The rumor mill's been churning out tales of a forthcoming YouTube music streaming service for months now, and today Billboard published a new story with a startling amount of detail about it. According to unnamed sources, YouTube's working on an on-demand music service with both free and paid tiers. Apparently, the ad-supported free version will provide unlimited, on-demand access to a whole host of tracks on any device, thanks to the licensing agreements Google struck for its Google Play All Access music service. Aside from the obvious -- removing ads from the equation -- it's unclear what folks will get for their money should they choose to opt for the paid version.

This new rumor is lended credence when considered in light of last month's revelation that YouTube will be offering offline access to content next month -- a feature that'll likely be expected from consumers who have grown accustomed to such things from the likes of Spotify, Rhapsody and other subscription music services. According to Billboard, YouTube's service has yet to receive a release date, and given how long these rumors have been floating around, it seems reasonable to expect that we won't see the new service anytime soon. For its part, when we contacted YouTube for comment on this story, we, quite naturally, got the same reply as Billboard did:
We're always working on new and better ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving partners more opportunities to reach their fans. However, we have nothing to announce at this time.
Source: Billboard

Flash Player now sandboxed for Safari users running OS X Mavericks

If you rushed to upgrade your Mac to OS X Mavericks, congratulations -- you've just taken a big step forward in web security. Adobe has confirmed that Flash Player is now sandboxed in Safari for Mavericks users, preventing Flash-based malware from accessing code and resources beyond Apple's browser. The company is taking special advantage of OS X's new app sandboxing feature, which also minimizes the security risks for other plugins and programs. Safari is undoubtedly late to the party when Flash has been sandboxed for a while in both Chrome and Firefox, but we won't knock an upgrade that neuters many potential security exploits.

Source: Adobe

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gmail and Google Docs now support handwriting input, make your Japanese term paper that much easier

Google Translate has supported handwriting input for a while now, and today that functionality arrives on two of Mountain View's biggest products: Gmail and Google Docs. If you've played around with this feature in Translate, the format will look quite familiar; once your language input tool has been enabled (see the source link for the step-by-step instructions), select the pen icon from the toolbar in Docs or your email window, and start writing in the panel with the on-screen pen. As with Translate, the real benefit here is the ability to write several characters at once -- especially useful for languages such as Chinese, Hindi and Japanese -- and it could definitely speed up composing long emails or papers. Currently, Google Docs supports handwriting input for more than 20 languages, while Gmail can manage over 50. Head to the source link for more info.

Amazon increases free shipping minimum order to $35, pushes Prime membership as an alternative

The minimum order amount needed to qualify for free Super Saver Shipping from Amazon has remained set at $25 for US customers for quite some time -- over a decade, actually. Now, the outfit is pushing the requisite cart total to $35. As part of the announcement, the online retailer was quick to point out that Prime members receive unlimited free two-day shipping on any order as part of their annual $79 dues in addition to unlimited streaming of TV and movies through Prime Instant Video and access to the Kindle Lending Library. Of course, you can try it out for 30 days before committing as the outfit makes the push for Prime.

Source: Amazon

Stats suggest plastic iPhone 5c is catching up with its prettier sibling

After a couple of high-profile reports about how the plastic iPhone isn't faring too well in the laser-cut shadow of the iPhone 5s, here's a bit of evidence to the contrary. It comes courtesy of stat collectors at an app marketing platform called Localytics, who claim they've spotted a distinct upwards trend in the number of Americans using a 5c relative to a 5s. Whereas usage of the flagship metal iPhone was 3.4x higher during the launch weekend, this ratio has drifted down to 1.9x one month later, suggesting that a secondary wave of not-so-early adopters is happy to give the cheaper model a bit more consideration. Of course, these ratios don't tell us anything about absolute sales figures for either handset -- we'll have to wait on first-hand info from carriers or from Apple itself (perhaps as part of today's event) before we know those.

Source: Localytics

WSJ: Microsoft prototyping Google Glass-like device

It's pretty clear that wearables, whether they be made for the face or the wrist, are going to be the next big thing in hardware. According to The Wall Street Journal's sources "familiar with the matter," Microsoft doesn't want to be late to the party, and is currently playing with prototypes of "web-connected eyewear similar to Google Glass." This isn't the first time we've heard whispers of such a device, of course: we knew Microsoft's been keen on some form of AR glasses since Project Fortaleza leaked back in June last year. Apparently, Redmond is currently tapping Asian manufacturers for components, such as cameras, for its wearable, but that it "may never reach mass production," suggesting Microsoft hasn't committed to any formal development process yet. That's as far as the rumors go at this point, but it's further evidence Microsoft isn't content with a presence in just our bags and pockets.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Google buys French company FlexyCore to make Android more buttery

Though Google made significant strides in smoothing out Android performance with Project Butter, apparently it's not yet satisfied. According to L'Express, Mountain View has just purchased French firm FlexyCore for €16.9 million ($23.1 million). That company made its name with software like DroidBooster, which improves the speed of apps running Android without increasing battery drain. A Google spokesman in France said that the business is already integrated with its Android teams, and confirmed that the software will "help optimize the performance of (Android) on mobile devices." Whether it'll bear fruit in the soon to be released Android 4.4 KitKat remains to be seen -- but given Google's promise that the new OS will make even low-spec phones sing, we wouldn't be surprised.

Source: L'Express (translated)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nokia bringing RAW photography to the Lumia 1520 and 1020

This latest nugget of news out of Nokia's big event in Abu Dhabi should be of particular interest to mobile photographers. According to @tnkgrl, aka our buddy Myriam Joire, the phone manufacturer will be bringing RAW image support to its flagship Lumia handsets, the 1520 and 1020. This will allow them to take 20MP or 41MP photos (respectively) with zero compression -- allowing far greater control over exposure, color and other settings in your photo editor of choice. The file sizes will no doubt be unwieldy compared to regular JPEGs, especially for 1020 owners who can't expand their storage (the new 1520 fortunately has a microSD slot), but we reckon the extra control ought to be worth it.

HTC reportedly building an Android smartwatch that will be more than 'just a gimmick'

Bloomberg's gotten word from the perennial "people familiar with the matter" that HTC is building an Android-based smartwatch that's set for release in the latter half of 2014. While other features and a price have yet to be set in stone, the outlet's source says the timepiece will sport a camera. Just two days ago, HTC CEO Peter Chou revealed through a Financial Times report that the firm had worked on an intelligent watch with Microsoft, and noted that current high-tech wristwatches are just "gimmick" experiences. "It has to meet a need, otherwise if it's just a gimmick or concept, it's not for people's day-to-day lives," Chou told FT. "That is an opportunity for us."

And if you were only expecting wrist-worn hardware from the outfit, chairwoman Cher Wang hinted that a tablet is in the pipeline as well. "When the [HTC] tablet comes out it will be something nice and disruptive," Wang said. Clearly, slates and futuristic tickers are filling the company's collective mind, and it looks like 2014 will bring more details (and hopefully its fair share of leaks, too).

Source: Bloomberg, Financial Times

HTC One Max with AT&T-friendly LTE sneaks past FCC

HTC's latest supersized handset might be making its way to the land of the supersized meal, if this recent FCC listing is any indication. The documents show a HTC handset that bears the model number OP3P500, a slight variation of the international One Max's OP3P510 model number which you can see here. Further, the OP3P500 appears to support LTE band 17, a clear sign that the phone is compatible with AT&T and could be making its way stateside some time soon. Of course, no pricing or availability information can be gleaned from the filing, but you can check out our full review of the One Max before you decide if you want such a giant phone in your life. At least it's smaller than the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, right?

Source: FCC

Monday, October 21, 2013

Windows 8 apps might sync and run on Xbox One, Dell website claims

The disparate ecosystems of Windows Phone, Microsoft's traditional desktop and the Xbox 360 left a generation of Redmond loyals aching for a more unified front. Now Dell seems convinced that one is on the way: according to a blurb on the company's online store, Windows 8 apps will be capable of being "run on and synced" to the Xbox One. "Now your phone, desktop, tablet and TV can all give you a unified web and entertainment experience," it says. Although this aligns well with some of the company's goals, we'd still take it with a grain of salt -- Microsoft has said in the past that the Windows 8 apps won't be cross-compatible with the Xbox One without extra tweaking. It's not clear if the Dell statement is a misunderstanding, or merely a suggestion that app data will sync across devices to provide a more seamless experience. Still, we've reached out to the company for clarification, and certainly wouldn't scoff better cross-platform support in either form.

Source: Dell

US Cellular finally gets the iPhone 5c and 5s on November 8th

If you've loyally stuck by US Cellular in the hopes of getting an iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s, your patience is about to pay off. On November 8th, the regional carrier will start selling Apple's incredibly popular new phones. The company didn't say for how much or what colors will be available, but we've reached out to the carrier and will of course let you know if we hear back.

Source: US Cellular

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Report: Fat lady already singing for Twitter #Music

Twitter is reportedly planning to kill off its #Music service, just six months after launching it, according to AllThingsD. The #Music mobile app was an iOS hit when it first launched, but download levels are now "abysmal," according to AllThingsD's sources. Although Twitter has continued to add features to the music discovery service, which relies on partners such as Rdio and Spotify to actually play music, its fate may have been sealed by the departure of project head Kevin Thau, who left Twitter shortly after #Music was launched to join Twitter co-founder Biz Stone's Jelly startup. According to AllThingsD, "that left the app, a product some have said felt half-baked, in the wind." Twitter has, apparently, already decided that #Music may not be a great source for direct revenue. In the company's recent IPO filing, Twitter, which makes "the substantial majority" of its revenue from advertising, declared that "we do not currently place, or currently plan to place, ads on #Music."

Source: AllThingsD

Google hints at Chromecast expansion as its apps go international

With all of the focus on the imminent unveiling of a certain next-generation Nexus smartphone, another of Google's bestselling products could soon be set for a wider launch of its own. The company has begun lifting restrictions on the official Chromecast apps and is now allowing iOS and Android users outside of the US to download them for the first time. We've successfully installed the apps on our devices in the UK and Canada, while additional reports lend credibility to complete international rollout. The Chromecast still finds itself geographically challenged, but those who jumped on Amazon's offer of international shipping will welcome Google's decision to extend the availability of the apps. While we're expecting to see the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat launch before the end of the month, we wouldn't be surprised if Google has a Chromecast surprise up its sleeve too.

Via: Android Central
Source: Chromecast (Google Play), Chromecast (App Store)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Yes, Microsoft is working on a Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone

When Microsoft said that it would release its Remote Desktop app for Android and iOS, it left many scratching their heads -- what, no Windows Phone version? There's no need to worry, though, as the company has just promised The Next Web that it's writing a client for its own mobile platform. Redmond can't yet say when it'll release the app, although we wouldn't expect a launch in the near future. Microsoft got a head start on developing for Android and iOS by acquiring technology from HLW Software, which produced Remote Desktop equivalents until this month; there's no such luxury for Windows Phone.

Source: The Next Web
Macworld, iTap Mobile

Lenovo introduces the A10, its first Android-powered convertible laptop

Android has made its share of appearances on laptops before, but today Lenovo announced that it's taking a crack at the idea with the A10, a 10.1-inch notebook with a fold-back touchscreen display. The 2.2-pound convertible, which you can use in laptop or tablet mode, comes with a 1.6GHz quad-core Rockchip RK3188 Cortex-A9 processor, a 1,366 x 768 display, Android 4.2, 2GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage with microSD expansion, VGA webcam, two USB 2.0 ports and one HDMI port. The whole package is 0.69 inch thick, and Lenovo claims it offers nine hours of battery life with continuous video playback. We haven't heard details on pricing or availability -- Lenovo tells us that it'll vary by region -- but earlier rumors pegged it at about $340.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

PSA: Windows 8.1 update is now available as a free download for Windows 8 users

Today's the day: October 17th, the day Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 8.1. And right now, the minute this post first went live, is 7AM ET, the exact minute the OS update will start appearing in the Windows Store as a free download. Don't have a Windows 8 device? You can still install 8.1 on a Win 7 machine; you just won't get the update for free. For folks using Windows 7, you'll pay the same price Microsoft was already charging for Windows 8: $120 for the standard version, and $200 for Windows 8.1 Pro. Additionally, Microsoft will also be selling so-called full-version software, allowing you to install the OS on a machine that isn't already running Windows. At any rate, if you've already got a Windows 8 device in hand, we suggest you hit up the source link below to take advantage of the free download. Or, if you're a weirdo, you can also buy a boxed copy in a retail store. We won't judge.

Amazon's Instant Video apps for iOS improve AirPlay support, let users multitask

Amazon added AirPlay support to its Instant Video (US) and Lovefilm (Europe, iPad only) apps for iOS devices in September, and now it's pushed simultaneous updates to make it better. Both apps now support multitasking (the Instant Video app notes iOS 6+ is required, with AirPlay Mirroring disabled). That should make streaming to Apple TV boxes even easier, although Amazon's lack of a generic app for Android and/or Chromecast support from the Kindle continues to disappoint.

Source: Amazon Instant Video, Lovefilm

Facebook's Windows 8.1 app arrives just in time for launch

Now that Microsoft is finally ready to welcome Windows 8.1 into the world, it seems fitting for a major new app to join the fray. Yep, an official Facebook app has at last arrived for the Microsoft operating system, and it seems to have all the trimmings of what you would normally expect out of the eponymous social network. Indeed, it seems practically identical to the webpage, with status updates, news feeds, messaging and notifications in their familiar places. So far, the sole difference this has from other official Facebook apps appears to be the addition of a Windows Start tile. Don't go hurrying off to the Windows Store to get it just yet however, as it seems only those with the full RTM version of Windows 8.1 can get it for now -- everyone else will have to wait until 8.1 gets official later this morning.

Source: Neowin, Liveside, The Verge

Google Offers Android app gets a new look and simpler redemption process

The Google Offers app for Android has been a bit behind the times when it comes to design, but today's update brings it in line with its brand brethren. The new version offers sidebar navigation and a card-based interface, as well as a few adjustments to the way the app actually works. Now, instead of having to purchase the offer through the app and then redeeming it with the merchant, you can simply save it to the My Offers tab and have the cashier scan the barcode on your phone when you wish to use it. That means you can redeem offers even when you don't have a network connection. Sadly, owners of iOS devices will have to wait their turn for a similar update, but Android users can download it now at the source link below.

Google extends Chrome support for Windows XP until April 2015

If you have to keep using Windows XP for the next couple of years, you won't necessarily be stuck using an outdated web browser. Google now says that Chrome will get XP-compatible updates until "at least" April 2015, one year after Microsoft drops support for its aging OS. The extension should minimize the threat of browser-based exploits for those who can't transition to newer platforms all that quickly. While an OS upgrade would ultimately be the safest move for many users, it's good to see Google offering some love to older PCs.

Source: Google Chrome Blog

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sony preps portable and integrated stereo amps for its High Resolution Audio series

Sony began catering to well-off audiophiles last month with its High Resolution Audio series, but it left out portable music fans and those with existing audio systems. The company is covering those gaps in its lineup this weekend. Its new PHA-2 (shown above) is billed as the first portable amplifier/DAC combo to support "virtually every" studio-grade audio format, including 24-bit/192KHz PCM files; it can handle digital audio from PCs and iOS devices, as well as analog audio for other sources.

Hands-on with GestureWorks' Gameplay virtual controller

With the exception of the Razer Edge, Windows 8 tablets are at a disadvantage when it comes to gaming -- most PC games are built with keyboard, mouse or a gamepad in mind. Although Civilization V and other select titles have special multitouch controls for the Surface Pro enthusiast, the majority of games are simply unplayable without peripherals. The solution? Find a middleman.

Camera showdown: iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 5 tested in the wilds of Patagonia

One of our favorite travel photogs, Austin Mann, snapped up an iPhone 5 and flew to Iceland last year in order to pit Apple's latest flagship against its prior king in a bitterly cold camera test. This year, Mr. Mann hopped a flight down to Patagonia in order to pit the iPhone 5s' sensor against that of the 5. One of the more remarkable findings was the dynamic exposure applied to panoramas with the 5s; in his testing, pans that involved dark and light subjects were accounted for properly without the use of HDR. The result was a far more evenly lit panoramic image, whereas prior iPhone cameras tended to blow out a portion of the image to compensate for another portion.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sprint opens LG G2 pre-orders ahead of November 8th release

Already on sale for more than a month at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, Sprint has finally revealed when you'll be able to get your hands on LG's G2 flagship. The operator today opened pre-orders for the $99 Android phone but doesn't expect deliveries to hit your doorstep until November 8th. To sweeten the deal, Sprint will also provide lazy notification cases (which are actually pretty convenient) to everyone who pre-orders a G2 through its website.
[Thanks, Metayoshi]

Source: Sprint

Three more Android devices now support BBC iPlayer app's offline viewing

Only 11 devices supported BBC iPlayer's offline viewing feature when it arrived on Android, but now three more have passed the network's thorough testing process. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 mini are joining that initial list, thanks to the app's latest update on Google Play. The feature lets you download shows and save episodes for up to 30 days on your phone or tablet, although that timespan shortens to 7 days after the first time you press play. If your gadget still isn't included in that slightly longer roster -- a shame if you've been wanting to watch that particular EastEnders episode -- don't worry. BBC says the app will be able to add offline viewing support to more devices in the future without the need for another update.

Source: Google Play

Instagram for Android update adds photo straightening, enhanced video control

iPhone users with Instagram version 4.1 have had the ability to straighten photos for a couple of months now, but Android smartphone owners are a bit behind the curve when it comes to sorting out crooked pics. Well, no more. The latest Android app update, which should hit Google Play sometime today, brings that much-needed functionality to previously overlooked shooters. Additionally, the refresh enables sound and data usage controls, for folks using the tool to capture video clips as well. The new version hasn't popped up on our devices just yet, but stay tuned to Play to get your hands on the latest variant later today.

Source: Instagram (Twitter), Instagram (Google Play)

Google and NASA make a short film to explain their quantum computing lab

Google and NASA made much ado of their Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab when it launched in May, but they said little about how it works or its long-term goals. The two organizations are shedding a little more light on the subject through a new short film for the Imagine Films Science Festival. As Google and NASA explain, the lab could ultimately solve optimization problems that are beyond the scope of traditional computers. NASA may develop a more holistic model of the universe, for example, while Google could improve medicine. The film also provides a rare peek at the inside of one of D-Wave's second-generation quantum computers -- despite the small size of the circuitry, each system needs a giant enclosure that cools the hardware down to near absolute zero. The film is available to watch through The Verge, but those who want to check out the official screening can pay for a $50 festival pass and visit Google's New York City campus on October 11th at 7PM.

Source: Imagine Science Films

BlackBerry co-founders considering bid for all or part of the company

There were a number of reports last month that RIM/BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis was at least thinking about putting in a bid of his own for the company, and an SEC filing published today has now shed some more light on the matter. While an actual bid remains anything but a sure thing, the filing does confirm that Lazaridis has agreed to partner with fellow co-founder Douglas Fregin on any potential deal, which could be for "all or a portion of the assets or equity interests" of the company, according to the document. The goal of any bid, as outlined in the filing, would be "stabilizing and ultimately reinventing the company based on a plan developed by them."

The filing also confirms that that the pair have enlisted the help of Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners as they explore their options, which they say includes "a potential acquisition of all the outstanding shares of the issuer that they do not currently own, either by themselves or with other interested investors." This news follows the only formal bid for the company that's on the table, a proposed $4.7 billion deal from Fairfax Financial, which many have grown skeptical of despite a so-called letter of intent agreement that was signed by BlackBerry.

Source: SEC, The Globe & Mail

About Us Subscribe Like Engadget @engadget tip us Twitter's tablet-optimized Android app is official, but limited to Samsung devices for now

Do you remember that that previously leaked Twitter app for Android tablets? Yep, it's now official. As expected, the app provides a landscape view that shows both the Twitter timeline and content from expanded tweets; tap on a post and you'll see article previews or media without losing your place in the social stream. There's also a new home screen widget, multi-app viewing support and an illustrator tool for hand-drawn artwork. As good as all that sounds, there's one major catch -- you'll have to buy a Samsung tablet to use Twitter's app in any official capacity. The tablet-optimized Android software is available only for the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) right now, and it's coming to other Samsung slates at an unspecified point in the future. There's no word as to whether or not those using other manufacturers' devices will get their turn.
Update: Twitter has clarified that other Android tablets will get the app by the end of the year.

Source: Twitter Blog

Microsoft reportedly developing cookie alternative to track activity across devices

Last month brought word of Google's AdID effort to replace the aging cookie as a way to track people's activity on the internet, and it looks like Microsoft also has an alternative of its own in the works. According to a report from Ad Age, Microsoft is working on a new system that would let it track users' activity across various Windows and Windows Phone devices. That tracking would also apparently extend to Xbox, although that is said to be "on the latter end of that roadmap," with a rollout to computers, tablets and smartphones expected first (even those plans are reportedly still in the "early stages"). While it didn't directly confirm the news, Microsoft did tell Ad Age in a statement that "we agree that going beyond the cookie is important," adding, "our priority will be to find ways to do this that respect the interests of consumers." Of course, the other priority is being able to offer more targeted ads to advertisers, with your activity on one device affecting the ads you see on another.

Source: Ad Age

Microsoft updates its Android app with server-side search, vacation replies

If you're one of those non-conformists who uses Microsoft's email service on an Android phone, you'll definitely want to hit up the source link at the bottom of this post: Microsoft just updated its Outlook app for Android with a bunch of new features, including some that users have been demanding for almost a year now. Chief among them is server-side search, so that you're not just limited to the emails stored locally on your device. To that end, you can now download all of your mail, though, again, you might not need to now that searching Microsoft's mail servers is an option. Continuing on, you can also set a vacation responder from the app, in case you forgot to do it when you were sitting at your desk. Wrapping up, the Android application supports aliases (finally), and there's now a total of 11 color choices for personalizing your inbox. And that about sums it up: the download link is listed just below. Go nuts, kids.

Pinterest launches an Android widget, but only for Telefonica customers

If you can't stop checking Pinterest while on the road, today's your lucky day... provided that you subscribe to the right cellular carrier, that is. Pinterest has just released an Android widget that's available exclusively to customers on Telefonica's networks, including O2, Movistar and Vivo. The portal shows both personal feeds and popular items, letting users pin their favorite things from the home screen. At present, the Pinterest widget is available only as a download for O2 UK customers. Telefonica will start preloading the software on O2 phones within a few weeks; rollouts to the brand's other carriers are coming "in due course."

Pantech Vega Secret Note includes fingerprint reader, stylus and the kitchen sin

Don't look now, but Pantech just managed to combine five hot smartphone trends in one device. Its new, 5.9-inch Vega Secret Note centers on a fingerprint reader that hides personal info. However, that's just the start of a feature list that includes seemingly every major trick we've seen in the past few months -- there's also pen input, a rear touch sensor, LTE-Advanced data and an optional windowed front cover. It's no slouch in the performance department, either. On top of its big 1080p screen, the Vega Secret Note packs a Snapdragon 800 chip, 3GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front shooter and 32GB of storage with USB host support. Pantech hasn't said when its new flagship arrives, although it should reach all three major South Korean carriers for an estimated 900,000 won ($839) off-contract.

Source: Pantech (translated)

LG unveils the G Pro Lite with 5.5-inch 960 x 540 display and mediocre specs

Remember that supposedly affordable relative of LG's Optimus G Pro that surfaced online at the beginning of the month? Well, it's now official and as suspected, it's called the G Pro Lite. It's no flagship, with a 5.5-inch IPS display at 960 x 540 resolution, dual-core 1GHz Mediatek processor (MT6577), 1GB of RAM, 8GB of on-board storage (expandable via microSD), 8-megapixel main camera (BSI sensor) and 2-megapixel front-facer. An embedded stylus, dual SIM support, stereo speakers, an "ultra-narrow" bezel and removable 3,140mAh battery are among its other features, with 3G HSPA, Bluetooth 3.0 and WiFi for all your connections. LG plans to launch the 161g (5.67 ounce) handset running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean first in Latin America, and later in Asia, Russia and the Middle East. One thing LG hasn't said, however, is how much the G Pro Lite is going to cost, but you can guess from the spec sheet it won't be extortionate.

Source: LG

Nintendo's high-capacity Wii U GamePad battery lands in the UK and Germany

If you spend your days tutting at the Wii U GamePad's underwhelming battery life, then you were probably annoyed to see Nintendo launch a 2,550mAh power pack in Japan. Thankfully, however, that same spare part has now made its way over to Europe, where both UK and German gamers (let's call 'em WiiUsers) can now snag the unit. It'll set you back £25 in Blighty and €37 over in Germany, and should let you play for between five-to-eight hours between charges. Happy gaming!

Source: Amazon UK, Amazon DE

Thursday, October 10, 2013

HTC One Max offers up a spec list, gains Chinese approval

Another downside of the Washington brouhaha is that the FCC is shut down, sending us scouring its foreign equivalents for tidbits about new hardware. The latest concerns HTC's worst-kept secret, the HTC One Max, which has just passed through China's TENAA. The filing reveals that the 6-inch smartphone has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and will measure in at 164.5 x 82.5 x 10.29mm (6.4 x 3.2 x 0.4 in). Oh, and the images do seem to confirm, once and for all, that there is a fingerprint scanner nestled beneath the camera. October 15th can't come fast enough.

Source: TENAA (Translated)

Twitter's Event Parrot claims to be an experiment in breaking news alerts

Wondering what's next for Twitter? TechCrunch points out a mysterious account called @EventParrot that may hold an answer, with its profile promising "direct messages that help you keep up with what's happening in the world." The setup is similar to Twitter's @MagicRecs account which eventually spawned the feature that automatically suggests tweets users might like. Despite a lack of official verification, @EventParrot has snagged a list of followers -- nearly 3,000 strong at the moment -- that includes a large number of Twitter employees and associates. Just this evening it sent out a direct message alerting followers to the kidnapping of Libya's prime minister, although how it will develop remains to be seen. Twitter's looming IPO is turning up the pressure on it to reach even more people, and offering more passively available, personally customized information may be one way to do that.

Source: TechCrunch, Event Parrot (Twitter)

doubleTwist Sync for Windows adds new interface and syncing options

It might not have gotten a Holo makeover, but doubleTwist for Windows has still scored a major update that includes a fresh UI, additional syncing options and a brand new name. Now aptly called doubleTwist Sync, the re-christened app comes with MTP support for quick PC-to-tablet/phone syncing via USB. The service's Android player now also automatically pushes playlist edits, playcounts and ratings to iTunes. Finally, neat freaks will love that they can now sync music previously organized into categories on iTunes or Windows Media Player with their mobile devices. All those still using doubleTwist as a bridge between ecosystems, check out the FAQ links below for more info on the new app.

Source: doubleTwist

NTT Docomo's winter lineup arrives, includes Sony Xperia Z1 mini and Samsung Galaxy J

As is tradition this time of year, NTT Docomo's annual winter/spring lineup has just fallen in our laps, unveiling a slew of devices that includes ten smartphones, a tablet, two feature phones, a photo panel and two mobile WiFi routers. On the smartphone front, several standouts include the new LG G2, the Galaxy Note 3, the Sony Xperia Z1, the Sony Xperia Z1 f and the odd Japan-only Samsung Galaxy J. The latter two are of particular interest, as this marks their first official unveiling. The Xperia Z1 f is essentially a miniaturized Xperia Z1 -- it has a 4.3-inch screen instead of a 5-inch one -- and packs in specs that are similar to its bigger brother, such as a 2.2GHz MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 processor and a 20.7-megapixel camera. The Galaxy J, meanwhile, has a 5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor and a 13.2-megapixel camera.

Synaptics' new acquisition could bring fingerprint readers to most laptops

If you hadn't heard, fingerprint readers are in vogue these days. Synaptics clearly knows it: the company just acquired Validity, a firm that specializes in finger-based authentication. The $92.5 million deal gives Synaptics both access to the biometric market as well as a complement to its existing touch input devices. While the company isn't detailing its plans, it's easy to see the potential impact. When Synaptics makes the majority of laptop trackpads, there's a real chance that fingerprint sign-ins on PCs could become commonplace.

Google Maps preview now handles multi-point routes, upcoming events

When the Google Maps web preview launched, it omitted the previous version's multi-point directions -- a big setback for tourists and other frequent travelers. Much to our relief, the company just brought this navigation back for Americans. Preview users only need to hit a button to add extra destinations to their trip, with details syncing to other devices. On top of this update, Google Maps is now useful for finding local events; search for concerts in a given area and you'll see what's playing nearby. Google hasn't said when its improved routing will reach other parts of the world, but we won't be surprised if it spreads quickly.

Source: Google Lat Long

Lenovo IdeaPad A10 leaks reveal a cheap, convertible Android laptop

If convertible Lenovo PCs like the Yoga 2 Pro are well beyond your price range, we have good news. The company has prematurely uploaded PDF manuals that reveal the IdeaPad A10, a 10.1-inch Android 4.2 laptop with a fold-back display. The device is clearly focused on entry-level users between its quad-core Rockchip processor, 16GB to 32GB of expandable storage and front-facing VGA camera. We don't know the IdeaPad A10's launch details when the company has yet to make an announcement. However, multiple German retail listings suggest that the system could ship within weeks for €250 ($338) -- well below the cost of the cheapest Yoga models. Check out a second image of the A10 after the break.