It seems that Ford, a company that will ditch the BlackBerry and provide iPhones for some of its employees, alongside General Motors who are working on wireless charging capability for its vehicles, are under scrutiny by the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies. Both Ford and GM were named in a class action lawsuit due to the fact that some of their vehicles feature CD-ripping capability, where the music industry group touted that both Ford and GM’s vehicles have violated federal law in such a manner, and are asking compensation to the tune of millions of dollars.
Interestingly enough, a few decades ago, record labels went to Congress with issues of cassette tapes making unauthorized recording of music, resulting in the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) of 1992 that will require both importers and manufacturers to fork out royalties when it comes to “digital audio recording devices”, among others.
Apparently, such legislation would also apply to several newer recording devices, which include CD players – and it is this capability that has landed both Ford and General Motors in the current quagmire, since some of their rides do feature the ability to rip audio CDs into an internal hard drive, and hence, violating copyright law.
It seems that Samsung has settled into a very comfortable pattern, that is, to time the release of its flagship devices during certain times. For instance, Mobile World Congress that happens in Barcelona, Spain, is held every February and that is where the latest Galaxy S model gets announced, while IFA in Berlin, Germany, which happens in September often sees the latest Galaxy Note version arrive. This has certainly led to speculation that the latest Galaxy Note 4 will be announced on the 3rd of September at IFA 2014.
The Korea Times claim that Samsung has set their eyes on the 3rd of September as the announcement date for the Galaxy Note 4, with plans to send out media invites in due time. Other rumors surrounding the Galaxy Note 4 include it rolling out with a metal body as well as sporting a flexible display.
When the Sony PS4 and Xbox One were announced, industry watchers as well as gamers alike were definitely interested in seeing just which of the two consoles would come up tops in due time. The Nintendo Wii U, of course, can be said to be a non-starter in this race if one were to take into consideration the graphical prowess of current generation consoles as a comparison point. Well, Sony has reported some mighty impressive figures from their Q1 2014 financial report, with word that the PlayStation platform has outsold the Xbox platform 3 to 1.
Do bear in mind that when we talk about the PlayStation platform, it points to a combination of both the PS3 as well as the PS4, while the Xbox platform would include the Xbox One and the Xbox 360. A total of 3.5 million PS4 and PS3 consoles were sold in Q1 alone, which was an increase from 1.1 million one year back. As for the PS Vita, PSP and Vita TV sales, those are counted separately, seeing a relatively modest increase to 750,000 this year from last year’s 600,000 figure.
If you happen to live in Zambia, then take note of this – there is the Internet.org app from Facebook that will enable users in Zambia to gain free access to the likes of weather as well as health information, jobs, and Google Search, among others. In other words, free Internet! This is definitely worth an effort from the folks over at Facebook for sure. After all, while over 85% of the world’s population live in areas that do have cellular coverage, only 30% of them happen to have access to the Internet.
The Internet.org app intends to bridge such a gap, and it will be made available to Airtel subscribers in Zambia first. This would provide limited free Internet access. Why limited? Well, it provides access to 13 websites that will include AccuWeather; Google Search; Go Zambia Jobs; Wikipedia (now that’s definitely important!); WRAPP, a women’s rights app; and needless to say, Facebook.
When it comes to our mobile devices these days, we do make sure that our respective devices are fully charged the night before so that we will be able to meet the next day’s challenges head on without having to worry about running low on juice, especially when it comes to a particularly important phone call or email. uNu Electronics, a smartphone accessories manufacturer, has made a name for itself in the world of portable batteries and charging cases, and intends to roll out the new Ultrapak range.
The new Ultrapak range will offer similar qualities of durability and portability as its predecessors, albeit with the improvement of being able to juice up the larger batteries within a short amount of time. Taking advantage of the company’s ULTRA-X technology, it will merge a premium battery which is extremely durable alongside an IC chip, which will manage the process for cells to charge in parallel.
You know what they say – better late than never, but is it a case of being a little bit too late when it comes to BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) for Windows Phone beta? What we do know is this – BBM for Windows Phone beta hit the 10,000 sign up figure in a matter of 24 hours. Having said that, it is finally available for download over at the Windows Phone Store, which means as long as your Windows Phone device runs on Windows Phone 8 or newer, you will be able to get it up and running.
While it might still run in beta mode, this does not mean it will be handicapped upon installation. No sir, it will come with majority of the features that are already available over on the iOS as well as Android versions of the app. This means the likes of BBM Chats, BBM Groups, Find Friends, BBM Feeds, and Pin to Start ought to be available for Windows Phone users.
When it comes to the world of smartwatches, more and more companies do look as though they are about the jump aboard the bandwagon. OnePlus, a company which has been rumored to ditch CyanogenMod for their very own ROM on their smartphone that is known as the OnePlus One, is back in the news with rumors of a possible OnePlus smartwatch that is in the pipeline.
What you see above happens to be one of those design sketches, where the OneWatch (which is what we will call it for now) will deliver some of the most desirable features in the market at the moment – including a circular display that Samsung might look into for their future iteration of smartwatches, and is already present in the likes of the Moto 360 today.
There are plenty of fitness trackers in the market at the moment from manufacturers such as Fitbit, Jawbone, and Samsung, but if you’re looking for another option that you add to your shopping list, perhaps Runtastic’s Orbit could be worth taking a look at. For those unfamiliar with Runtastic, they are a company who has made apps designed for fitness.
These apps includes running apps that can track your distance, pace, and etc., and they have also dabbled in wearables such as GPS watches, armbands, heart rate monitors, and so on. However if you wanted something sleeker and more compact, the Orbit might just do the trick for you.
The Orbit will allow the wearer to track their steps, the amount of calories they’ve burnt, sleep patterns, and is also waterproof up to 300 feet, meaning that if you wanted to count the calories you burnt while diving, the Orbit will be able to do that for you. The Orbit will also come with features that nudges you into activity, like vibrating in the morning and vibrating when it detects you have been inactive for too long.
One of the unique features of the OnePlus One handset is that it comes with CyanogenMod preinstalled. While CyanogenMod has been around for a while, there are only a handful of phones in the world that actually comes with the ROM preinstalled, and given what a huge fanbase the ROM has, safe to say that many flocked to the OnePlus One upon its release.
However according to a report from Sina Tech (via Tech In Asia), it seems that OnePlus is thinking about dropping the use of CyanogenMod and could be thinking about replacing it with their own Android ROM instead. According to the folks at Tech In Asia, they reached out to OnePlus to confirm the rumor.
OnePlus did not comment on the ROM, but they did confirm that their software development team will be moving to Taiwan. Now we’re not sure why OnePlus is thinking about dropping the use of CyanogenMod, but it has been suggested that by developing their own ROM, they could potentially save money that they are spending right now to license the CyanogenMod ROM.
Earlier this year, Sony announced PlayStation Now. For those unfamiliar, PlayStation Now is a game streaming service in which gamers will be able to stream and play games on their Sony PlayStation 4. Well the good news is that if this is a feature you’ve been looking forward to, you’re in luck because Sony has recently announced that PlayStation Now has entered into open beta.
Unfortunately it seems that for now, the open beta will be limited to those living in the US and Canada, so if you’re from a different side of the world, we guess you’ll just have to wait until Sony brings the service over to your shores. Alternatively you could always fire up a VPN and try to get into the beta, although your experience might vary.
That being said, the games available for PlayStation Now are limited to PlayStation 3 games. Sony expects that there will be over 100 titles available during the testing phase, and presumably more will be added in the future once the service has gone live to everyone else. There will be different ways to enjoy the service and gamers can choose between four hours of access, seven days, 30 days, or 90 days.
Sony also confirmed that a subscription plan will be introduced in the future. According to PlayStation Now’s senior director, Jack Buser (via Kotaku), “One thing I wanna stress is that we’re in the early days of the beta. We’re gonna launch in open beta on PlayStation 4, we’re gonna focus on PS3 titles. We believe that the PlayStation 3 has a rich catalogue of titles, and we wanna make sure we make that catalogue available to people who are new to the PlayStation ecosystem via PlayStation 4.”
Will the iPhone 6 sport a sapphire display? Well the latest rumor seems to suggest otherwise and assuming that the report is true, it seems that Vivo could be beating Apple to the market with a sapphire smartphone of their own. According to a recent report from the Chinese media, word has it that Vivo is looking to launch a new smartphone that will sport a sapphire display.
The smartphone is said to feature a 5-inch display made from sapphire and will feature an all-metal frame, giving the handset a somewhat premium feel. The phone is also said to be priced at 3,998 yuan which is about $650 when converted which sounds about right for a high-end smartphone.
Unfortunately the specs of the Vivo handset remain unknown, but with those prices, presumably we are looking at some high-end specs. If this rumor is true, Vivo could be one of the first few companies out the door with a sapphire display. Back in 2013, the company made waves by being the first smartphone OEM to release a handset with a QHD display.
Interestingly enough this particular rumor seems to go against an earlier report in which other smartphone OEMs appeared to be less than enthused about using sapphire. Some OEMs claim that not only is sapphire more expensive, but they claim it is more brittle than glass and would be more prone to cracking if dropped on the floor. The advantage is that it is clearer when treated properly and is pretty hard to scratch.
An earlier report had suggested that the Samsung Galaxy Alpha could be pegged for a launch on the 4th of August, but according to a report from AllAboutSamsung, they claim that the Samsung Galaxy Alpha will instead be launched on the 13th of August which will be a Wednesday two weeks from now.
This also puts the launch of the handset about 3 weeks away from IFA 2014, so perhaps Samsung will have the device on hand with them at the event for people to try out. Of course it remains to be seen if the rumors are true, but we will be keeping our eyes peeled for both the 4th of August and 13th of August just to be sure.
In the meantime for those hearing about the Galaxy Alpha for the first time, the handset appears to be a mid-range smartphone from Samsung, although it is rumored to sport a metal build. This seems to be in line with a recent statement from Samsung who confirmed that they are planning a new smartphone with new materials, which some have taken to mean metal.
While this has apparently been in effect for a while now, it has recently been brought to our attention that the notification icon in Facebook’s website actually differs from country to country! Now most people probably won’t notice the icon because of its color which kind of helps it blend into the background, that and the fact that we probably don’t look at it unless we have a notification.
However according to reports, it seems that the icon will look different depending on which part of the world you are in. For example the folks at TheNextWeb tested it out by accessing Facebook from the US and from Latin America via VPN, and they found that the icon actually does change!
It’s not a groundbreaking feature and it probably doesn’t really affect the way you use Facebook, but sometimes it’s these attention to the smallest details that can make a difference, and can also make the user feel like thought and effort actually went into designing the website, as opposed to just slapping on some icons.
According to an earlier report, it had been revealed that the Xiaomi Redmi Note had been sending user data back to China. Naturally this was a huge cause of worry for users as no one likes having their user data being shared without their permission, right? Well Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra (formerly of Google) has since come forward to answer some questions.
According to Barra, he claims that Xiaomi’s handsets (via the MIUI launcher) requests public data from Xiaomi’s servers from time to time. This data includes “thousands of jokes, holiday greetings and poems” and does not constitute the secret uploading of photos and text messages to Xiaomi’s servers.
Some commenters on Barra’s post have pointed out that there are plenty of other sites and services we use that already collect data on us, such as Facebook and Google, so why should Xiaomi be any different, assuming that they are collecting data (which they claim they don’t, at least not without explicit permission from the user). In any case what do you guys think? Does this help assuage your fears?
If there is one criticism that is constantly being lobbed at Samsung it is the fact that the majority, if not all, of Samsung’s smartphones use plastic in their builds. This by no means affects the handset’s performance, but in terms of looks and feel, well it obviously does not have the same wow factor as the HTC One M8 or the iPhone 5s.
However it seems that Samsung has plans to change that. The South Korean tech giant has recently confirmed during an earnings call in which the company’s SVP of mobile confirmed that Samsung would be releasing a handset made from new materials. This is in response to the company’s falling net profit.
Unfortunately no word on what kind of handsets we can expect, but if the rumors are to be believed, the handset made from new materials is expected to be the Samsung Galaxy Alpha which is said to sport a metal build. The handset, at least based on the rumors, certainly doesn’t sound too high-end with its 720p display, but then again these are only rumors and Samsung could prove us wrong.
Earlier we reported that Verizon had launched the LG G Vista, and it looks like the LG G Vista isn’t the only handset that Verizon is announcing today. Alongside the LG device, Verizon has also launched the Kyocera Brigadier, a handset which was rumored about a couple of days ago. The Kyocera Brigadier, just like the LG G Vista, is priced at $99.99 on a new two-year contract, or it can be bought outright for $399.99.
So what kind of specs are we looking at? Well for those looking for a rugged phone and one that can withstand a fair amount of abuse, then the Kyocera Brigadier could be what the doctor ordered. The handset has been designed to be a rugged phone, partly thanks to its Sapphire Shield which is essentially a layer of synthetic sapphire glass that helps protect it from being scratched.
It seems that over in Japan, Japanese carrier KDDI has announced a new HTC smartphone that they will be adding to their portfolio in the form of the HTC J Butterfly. The handset will feature specs similar to that of the HTC One M8, but with a couple of differences which guess could be good or bad depending on how you look at it.
Most obvious would be the fact that the HTC J Butterfly will sport a plastic build, versus the metal build from on the HTC One M8. However at the same time, the HTC J Butterfly will offer up IPX7 protection, meaning that it will be able to withstand immersions underwater, a feature that is lacking on the current HTC One M8.
Apart from that, interestingly enough the design of the HTC J Butterfly appears to be a lot sleeker and smoother, which we’re guessing is thanks to its plastic build. While HTC has kept the dual camera setup, the rear-facing camera is of the 13MP variety instead of the UltraPixel technology that HTC touts with the HTC One M8.
As we had reported yesterday, it looks like the rumors were true because Verizon has since officially announced the availability of the LG G Vista. The handset will be priced at $99.99 with a new two-year contract, but for those who are unwilling to commit themselves to Verizon for the next two years, the handset will be available off-contract for a more expensive $399.99.
The rumors were also right about the handset’s specs. Verizon has listed the device as sporting a 5.7-inch 720p qHD display. This is compared to the LG G3 who shares the same design, but has a smaller display of 5.5-inches with a QHD display, making it a lot sharper than the LG G Vista. We’re not sure if this will bother some users, but if you’re shopping on a budget then we guess you can’t really complain.
A little over a week ago, Apple issued an EFI update to their mid-2011 MacBook Air models. The update was meant to fix certain issues about the laptop, such as it taking a long time to wake up after going to sleep, and also how the fans of the laptop would suddenly kick into high gear which could end up draining the battery.
However the update itself was flawed and in some cases, caused certain models to experience system crashes, after which the laptop had to be taken back to the Apple store to get it fixed and rolled back to the previous update. Well the good news is that Apple seems to have addressed the issue and has since rolled out a new EFI update.
As expected the new EFI update will still address the problems we mentioned above, but hopefully this time round, the updates will be a lot smoother than the previous update and not cause any problems for its users. According to reports so far, most users have had no problems installing the update.
Assuming the rumors are correct, Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 6 in September, but what about its release? When will that be? Well according to the folks at MacRumors, they claim to have been tipped off by a source who has revealed that the iPhone 6 is expected to see a release on Tuesday, the 14th of October.
What this means is that Apple could be announcing the iPhone 6 towards the end of September. Usually with iPhone releases, Apple takes about a couple of weeks after its announcement before it releases the product, so based on this information, late or early October will most likely be the announcement, although their sources claim September 16, almost a month ahead of its release.
Of course all of this is just speculation for now, so do take it with a grain of salt. At the same time, previous rumors have suggested that Apple could be using October to announce the iWatch, release OS X 10.10 Yosemite, reveal new iPads, as well as new Macs. All of this remains to be seen, but if it is true, then Apple’s announcement in October will be a pretty big one.