Smartwatches may be the most popular wearable products right now, but facewear is certainly on the up and up. Devices like Samsung's Gear VR and the Epson Moverio glasses are either already on the market or will be coming in the very near future, but what good are these devices if developers have limited access to them? Qualcomm's working on a solution of its own by releasing a developer kit for digital eyewear, and companies like Samsung, Epson and others are on board. The new platform, called the Vuforia SDK for Digital Eyewear, is supposed to aid developers in building hybrid virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) apps that are capable of recognizing objects and images that are within your field of view; the company hopes this ability to lay interactive 3D content over the rest of the world will result in handy apps for gaming, education and shopping. The kit will be available this fall as a beta that will only be available to a small group of developers, and the company hasn't specified when it'll be open to everyone else.
Since EE is somewhat responsible for the reason Phones4u can no longer honour iPhone 6 or 6 Plus preorders, the network's trying to make it right, at least for some of you. The carrier's just told us that when Apple's latest handsets launch tomorrow, anyone that preordered on an EE plan through Phones4u can walk into a store and pick one up. If you're still keen on getting a day-one device, then take along a copy of the Phones4u preorder confirmation to get hooked up. EE's putting aside as many handsets as preorders it received via the troubled retailer, but you'll have to take out one of the network's own contract options, rather than whatever you may've opted for originally. Reserved iPhones will be spread out across the carrier's many stores, however, so there's always a chance you won't be successful at the first location you visit, but we guess that depends on how many went elsewhere when Phones4u folded. Sure, this is a bit of clever PR on EE's part, but if you helps you get the handset you want when you want it, then so be it.
While you might own every single release your favourite band has put out, nothing beats going to see them live. If that's something you do regularly, you know that you'll not only have to fight it out with any number of like-minded fans to get your ticket, but you'll also have to run the gauntlet of booking via one of the major ticketing providers, which often includes submitting captchas, paying any number of booking fees or printing fees and running the risk that you won't come away with what you actually wanted.
It seems like one giant smartphone has been getting all the attention lately, but one of its biggest rivals (literally) is finally set to touch down stateside. Samsung confirmed today that the Galaxy Note 4 will hit the US on October 17, and you can lay claim to yours starting tomorrow from all the usual carrier suspects. We've enjoyed our brief time getting to know the Note 4 and all the little improvements it brings to the table (hello, Quad HD screen!), but here's the thing -- the jury's still out on whether Samsung has done enough with its newest S-Pen experiment to make it worth an immediate upgrade. As always, pricing will vary a bit depending on who you get your service though: a Note 4 with a bog-standard two year AT&T or Verizon contract will set you back $299, while T-Mobile wants nothing upfront and monthly payments of $31.24 for the next 24 months. Alas, our friends across the pond will get a bit of a headstart on us - Notes will drop onto their store shelves a full week earlier.
Filed under: Mobile
Source: Samsung Mobile Press
iOS 8 is finally live for public consumption, which means it's time for all those third-party keyboards to make their App Store debut. Yep, at long last, devotees of Apple's mobile platform can swap out that boring ol' default keyboard for something different -- a neat trick Android users have enjoyed for some time now. Still, it's better late than never, and already there are a slew of alternative keyboards for iOS 8 clamoring for your attention. Here's just a few we think are worth checking out.%Gallery-slideshow223736%
Whatever you think of Apple's commitment to its user's security as of say... two weeks ago, CEO Tim Cook seems to be following up on his promise to bring more clarity to the company's efforts. Tonight he posted a letter to Apple customers on the company's website, launching a new section focused solely on "Apple's commitment to your privacy." There you'll find information information on how to use tools like two-factor authentication, recognize security threats and info on picking a strong password. Also included is the publicly available data on government requests and a little chest thumping on what Apple says it does to protect users that other companies (they mean Google) might not.
[Image credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite]
Well folks, the rumors and leaks were true (as usual): the heated BlackBerry/Porsche Design love affair has once again borne fruit, this in time in the form of the new Porsche Design P'9983. At its core, we're looking at a device running BlackBerry 10.3 along with a few Porsche-produced bits like a custom wallpaper and watchface, but you're not going to buy this thing just for BBMing your dearest pals (did we mention you get a specific BBM PIN perfect for remote flaunting?). No, if anything, you'd buy this thing for its peculiar (some would say silly and overwrought) sense of style.
Filed under: Mobile
You're going to see a lot of apps taking advantage of iOS 8's expanded Touch ID support in the near future, but one of the bigger improvements is already here. Mint has updated its iOS app to let you use your fingerprint to sign in rather than rely on a passcode. While it's a simple step, it means that you can quickly check all your finances on an iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus without compromising security -- you can thwart data thieves with a tough-to-crack code that you'll rarely have to enter yourself. There's no doubt that this safeguard will spread to other financial titles in short order, but it's good to see that an app many use daily is already locked down tight.
Watching Netflix or Plex streams on your Chromecast is great, but what about when the game is on? Sling has enabled its apps on iPhone, iPad and Android phones (Android tablets coming soon) to help with just that situation. Just tap the Cast button in the apps, and you can send video to Google's $35 dongle. Similar to Sling's integration with Apple TV and Roku, once the video is playing, you can use the app as a remote control, or close it and do something else while the video keeps playing. The only bad news? Chromecast support requires one of the company's newer boxes: 350, SlingTV/500 or M1. Still, both devices already make sense for frequent travelers, and now they're better together. The SlingTV is also getting a tweak, as the Android phone and iPhone apps can now control its living room UI directly, without the included remote.
Source: Sling Blog
The FTC is eager to crack down on any perceived online privacy violations, especially when they involve children -- and we just got a good demonstration of that eagerness today. Both Yelp and mobile app developer TinyCo have settled with the FTC over allegations that they knowingly scooped up kids' personal information without permission. Yelp is paying a $450,000 penalty because it didn't have an effective age screen in its apps, letting those under 13 sign up by themselves. TinyCo, meanwhile, is shelling out $300,000 after some of its kid-oriented games asked for email addresses in return for in-game currency. These aren't the biggest settlements we've seen by any stretch, but they'll hopefully serve as warning to any app creator that wants to collect your little ones' data.
We've virtualized much of the rest of the modern life -- why not payments? Plane tickets, banking and many other aspects of our lives now live on our phones. Payments still exist in the world of paper and plastic.
Google has Google Wallet; Visa has payWave; MasterCard has PayPass; and American Express has ExpressPay. Apple just announced its own, with Apple Pay. If you've heard of any of these credit card services other than Apple's recently announced system and maybe Google's long-running program, we're impressed. You're in the minority; heck, one quarter of US citizens don't even own a standard credit card, let alone a virtualized one. But virtual payments are more prevalent by the year, and Apple Pay is giving the concept a much-needed publicity boost. So, all that said, let's talk about the future of payment.
Don't throw away your wallet just yet.
Apple is clearly hoping that its bigger iPhones will tempt you to switch from Android. It just launched a migration guide that helps move your stuff into the iOS universe, whether it's a contact list, internet account or media collection. Some of the advice is fairly self-evident; email and social networks should come across without a hitch, and you'll usually find App Store equivalents to any given Android program. You may find a few useful pointers, however, such as using iCloud as a go-between for your important documents.
It's been a busy month for EE already, with updated pay-as-you-go tariffs and a break-up with Phones4u that's forced the latter to shut-up shop. The bustle continues, however, and today the 4G network's announced revamped SIM-only plans for those who don't need no subsidized handset. On a one-year contract, pricing starts at £10 per month for 250MB of data and goes all the way to £28 per month for 10GB. Committing to only a 30-day plan makes it all a little more expensive at £13 for 250MB and £31 for 10 gigs. The top three data allowances of 2GB, 5GB and 10GB also get access to EE's "double-speed" network, as well as free calls to 080 numbers. They are only transient deals, though, and for new customers those caps will be reduced to 1GB, 3GB and 5GB, respectively, come the end of January next year. We know how much you love tables, so there's a handy one after the break that lays out all the new plans and their prices.
While Opera Max is slowly making official launches around the world, this cloud-based data-compression service has just nabbed another partner -- and it's a pretty big one, too. Today, the Norwegian company announced that MediaTek will be embedding its app in two of its LTE-enabled 64-bit chipsets: the octa-core MT6752 and the quad-core MT6732. What this means is that should manufacturers want to integrate Opera Max into their MediaTek-powered devices (our understanding is that this feature is optional), they wouldn't have to spend time on testing the app, ergo shorter time to market. And of course, the end user gets to load pages, music and video clips faster anywhere on the device (unlike how the Opera browser only compresses data that are loaded within it), while also saving "up to 50 percent" of bandwidth, courtesy of Opera's cloud servers. That said, the service doesn't process encrypted links, for obvious reasons. For those who aren't familiar with Opera Max, feel free to check out the new video after the break.
While Instagram has been monetising its app for nearly a year, UK users have enjoyed scrolling through timelines that are completely free of ads. Until today, that is. The company has taken to the service to share the very first sponsored post with UK users (shown above), letting them know that "over the coming weeks" it will begin displaying paid content their streams, whether they like it or not. Users are invited to tap the "Sponsored" label to learn more about a specific campaign, but the majority are likely to become acquainted with "..." button, which quickly hides them from view. The dream might be over but Instagram says it's starting out with only a "few" businesses, meaning you shouldn't be bombarded with ads when they begin rolling out.
Via: The Next Web
Source: Charlotte Williams
Facebook's megaphone-like approach to sharing makes it less than ideal for more private missives. Sharing private images or jokes with select people is something of a test of nerves. One slip of a drop-down menu, and your intimate photo could go global, rather than just to your "mates" privacy group. But, Facebook wants you to share in anyway, and to anyone you like with confidence it seems. According to TechCrunch, the social network's working on a "Moments" mobile app to help. Once again, Facebook would be taking a single-focused idea out of the main mobile app into a standalone one if sources are correct. The Moments app will reportedly use a visual, tile-based interface for you select the group or sub groups of people you wish to share your -- we assume -- moment with. If this sounds a lot like Google+'s "circles" mechanism, that's because it does. There's no word when Moments could find its way onto phones, so for now, you'll just have to run the gauntlet with current tools to avoid having your mom comment on bachelor(ette?) party photos.
Philips will soon launch a couple of iPhone- and iPad-controlled devices, but they're not the company's usual phone docks or Hue smartlight models -- they're gadgets designed to help suppress persistent pain. The first device (above) called PulseRelief uses Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation or TENS technology, which delivers electric pulses straight to your nerves. That's supposed to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain and to release endorphins, chemicals that make you feel good and happy. There are tons of similar gadgets out there (search for "TENS device" on eBay and Amazon to see what we mean), but Philips' version lets you choose from 60 intensity levels through its smartphone app.
Motorola's new Moto X might not be sale in the UK yet, but that isn't stopping the company from letting customers create their own designs ahead of its release. Today, for the first time, Brits can get to grips with Moto Maker, Motorola's web-based customisation tool, allowing them to choose the finish, colours, cases, storage and even engraving options for their Moto X before putting down (at least) £419.99 to buy one. Moto Maker comes to the UK with a number of additional customisations in tow, including a new leather finish (that'll cost £20 extra and adds to the traditional plastic and wooden options) and a choice to include metal accents on the power and volume buttons, speaker grilles and that big Motorola logo on the back. On the subject of storage, you'll be forced to pay an extra £40 if you want the 32GB model, as the Moto X doesn't come with a microSD slot. Currently, you can only use Moto Maker to create your bespoke design and email it to yourself, allowing you to pick it back up and apply it when the Moto X eventually goes on sale later this month.
Source: Moto Maker
Can't wait for the Xbox One version of Goat Simulator's absolute madness and have an iOS device? (Update: Or an Android one?) Well, then Coffee Stain Studios has you covered. The team's not-at-all serious (or realistic) depiction of goat life is now available for your Apple-branded mobile gizmos, as spotted by the ever vigilant Wario64. A majority of the game's charm comes from how intentionally glitchy and broken it is, so don't be alarmed if, say, your hoofed avatar's head gets stuck inside a wall. Or worse. Depending on where you live, though, it might be cheaper to keep an actual goat that to download this $5 game to your smart device of choice.
Via: Wario64 (Twitter)
Once again recalibrating its bad news for the latest financial quarter, Sony has quadrupled its forecast loss for the financial year and it's down to those Xperia smartphones. The company already cut its forecast for smartphone sales in July, and this latest reassessment - to the sum of a 180 billion yen ($1.7 billion) "impairment" - comes following an internal review of it mobile arm in mid-summer. It found that the mobile arm was focused on "achieving significant sales growth" which apparently is no longer the game plan: the company is now aiming towards reducing risk, volatility and "more stable profits". (Some profit is likely a good place to start.) The revision will also factor new strategies depending on regions, and a focus on its premium smartphones -- and likely a reduction in its midrange devices.
Update: The Wall Street Journal reports that in an analyst meeting in Tokyo, Sony admitted that it won't be a major player in smartphones due to rising competition from Chinese brands and the inability to penetrate the US market. So much so that the company currently has plans to cut about a thousand jobs in its mobile division. Instead, Sony hopes to focus attention on higher-end phones for elite customers and other markets such as wearables.