A couple of conflicting reports have come up today regarding the Surface tablet. First it was said that Microsoft is going to kill its tablet lineup completely but the company responded that it is committed to Surface Pro and that there will be a next-generation model. Now a new report has been published online which claims that while the Pro tablets will continue to exist, Microsoft may do away with ARM-based Surface tablets once and for all.
This latest report is from Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet and her sources have been accurate multiple times in the past. Sources claim, contradicting an earlier report, that Microsoft does not have any plans of releasing a new Surface 3 or a Surface mini, the latter was reportedly shelved earlier this year even before it was announced.
Based on one source only, Foley reports that Microsoft’s Surface strategy for the future could entail ceasing production of any ARM-based Surface tablets and focus on ones powered by Intel.
Microsoft has not yet confirmed or denied this but the assumption is that if the company wanted to release an ARM-based tablet it would have done so by now to target the holiday shopping season. Perhaps this goes to show that the company is really shifting focus from ARM to Intel.
The world’s biggest online retailer will soon be opening its very first physical store. Amazon already has countless gigantic warehouses where products are stored but it has never actually operated an actual brick and mortar store. The company says this is an experiment, a physical store that is going to be based in midtown Manhattan, on 34th Street between the Empire State Building and Macy’s flagship store. Folks who live in the Big Apple know that this is one of the most central locations in New York City.
Amazon’s physical store will also function as a small warehouse of sorts. It will be possible to pick up products ordered online at the store so customers will be able to get them even faster. Products stocked in the store would be sent out quickly thus bringing same-day delivery option.
Returns will also be accepted at the store so it will be easier for people to drop off products they need to return at the store whenever they go into the city. The Wall Street Journal also points to the possibility that Amazon might use the store to highlight its own hardware which includes tablets, a smartphone and a set-top box, but apparently this is under consideration.
This is not your average tech-related leak but its one that many Minecraft fans are going to appreciate. We already know that new Lego Minecraft kits are going to be released next month but courtesy of Mir Kubikov, a franchise Lego retailer based in Russia, photos of these new sets have been leaked online.
Mojang’s popular sandbox game Minecraft is available across many platforms and happens to be one of the most addictive games out there. It also has a dedicated community which is very loyal to the game. Just recently Microsoft purchased Mojang for $2.5 billion.
Lego and Minecraft have much more in common than you think. The basic idea is the same, you can build stuff. The only major difference is that Minecraft is a digital game whereas Legos are physical objects that you can touch, feel and step on in the dark.
Now that Apple has confirmed its October 16th event there are a lot of rumors about the products that it is expected to unveil. Apart from the new iPads it is expected that the company is going to show off the new iMacs and perhaps even the 12-inch MacBook with Retina display that we have heard so much about over the past few months. A new report suggests that this notebook will enter production in December which means that it may not hit the market until early next year.
Citing people familiar with the matter The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple’s suppliers are ramping up work to mass produce the 12-inch Macbook with Retina display. This notebook is expected to have a fanless design which would make it thinner and lighter than existing MacBooks. It would be a new addition to Apple’s MacBook lineup which consists of 11-inch and 13-inch Air models apart from several Pro models.
Even though the MacBook Air lineup has been around for quite a while now it has not been refreshed with a Retina display. It is believed that instead of upgrading the Air lineup Apple would release a completely new notebook which brings the Retina display, but so far the company has not revealed any such plans.
Feel like asking your friends about their opinion on a couple of topics? Google has added a new feature to its social network which is going to make that task quite easy. Google+ may not be as popular as Twitter or Facebook but its still hanging around even though there have been rumors that the company is moving away from it. For now it has added a new feature which shows that some work is still being done behind the scenes. It is now possible for Google+ users to insert polls into their posts.
Polls are an easy way of finding out what your friends think about a particular topic. For example you can ask them about the best pizza joint in the city and give them a few options to choose from.
In Google+ polls can be created with up to five choices. You can use photos to make them look pretty and not boring, so there’s actually a chance that your friends may want to spend their time taking the poll. Initially the feature is only available on Android and the web but will soon be rolled out to iOS as well.
Sony’s Xperia Z series smartphones have garnered plenty of critical acclaim. The only problem Sony takes forever to release them in the U.S., or just never at all. Partnering with Verizon Wireless, Sony’s created the Z3v, a variant on the flagship Z3 that was announced at IFA last month. We got spend some quick hands-on time with the upcoming Android handset. Here’s our first impressions.
- Display: 5.2-inch (1920 x 1080 resolution)
- Processor: Quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor
- Internal storage: 32GB (expandable via microSD card to 128GB)
- Cameras: 20.7-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
- Battery: 3200 MAh
- Wireless charging: Qi
Sony’s slim Z3v is as good-looking as ever. The front and back are both glass panels and the circle power button the right side just feels right. The Z3v is waterproof, like its previous Z smartphones. Sony says it’s their best waterproof smartphone to date.
Big screens are here to stay and Sony has to roll with it. The Z3v has a 5.2-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. It includes all of the usual Triluminous and X-reality display tech to automatically and intelligently adjust brightness and contrast for great viewing outside. It’s a tack-sharp display.
It’s no secret Sony makes the best mobile camera sensors for smartphones. That incredible iPhone camera? It’s made by Sony. The Z3v carries on that tradition with a 20.7-megapixel rear camera, which is powered by an Exmore RS G lens and Bionz processor. Like many other flagship smartphones, the Z3v can record 4K resolution video, too.
There are also a couple of new software additions, including “Face In”, an app that lets you simultaneously take photos with the front and back camera, a live stream app that lets you broadcast 15 minutes of video to YouTube, and a multi-camera app that captures moments from multiple angles at the same time and collages them together on the display.
Although apps have largely overtaken digital music sales, Sony’s music heritage lives on. The Z3v has digital noise cancellation and plays DSEE HX high-res music. Sony says it’s the best audio in a smartphone it’s ever created.
PlayStation 4 Remote Play
The PlayStation 4 has been a huge success since its launch last year. Sony’s sold over 10 million consoles and now it’s planning to bring the power of its next-gen console to mobile devices. With PS4 Remote Play, gamers can pause their game on PS4 and then resume on the Xperia Z3v via Wi-Fi streaming. The Z3v joins the PlayStation TV and PS Vita as PS4 Remote Play-ready devices.
Pricing and Availability: Verizon Only
The Xperia Z3v will be available on October 23 for $199.99 with a two-year contract in black or white on Verizon Wireless.
Samsung has confirmed that it has delayed the launch of its upcoming flagship device in at least one market. The company confirmed via Twitter that the Galaxy Note 4 UK release has been delayed. Initially it was supposed to go on sale across the pond on October 10th but now it will be out on the same day the device starts shipping in the U.S. and other markets.
The company says that this decision has been made owing to the “amazing interest and demand” for the Galaxy Note 4. It was a response to a query on Twitter and the official Samsung Mobile UK account replied saying that the Galaxy Note 4 will now go on sale in the UK on October 17th.
It is a bit disappointing for the people who had already placed pre-orders for this device as they would have been expecting it to start shipping on October 10th. They’ve had to wait for a considerably long time already given the fact that pre-orders went live on September 19th.
There has been a lot of speculation recently about the future of Microsoft’s tablet business. We covered a rumor earlier today which claimed that Microsoft was actually thinking about giving up on this business altogether. The company was rumored to be not interested in developing a successor to the Surface Pro 3 owing to lackluster sales of the existing models. Microsoft’s official response has come up now and it has reiterated ”full and sustained support” for the Surface program.
In a blog post on the official Surface Blog Microsoft talks about how this tablet is built for work and how it can provide be a laptop replacement for businesses both big and small. The post also contains a comment from CEO Satya Nadella which reads that “Microsoft is putting its full and sustained support behind the ongoing Surface program.”
While the company hasn’t revealed any details about the next generation Surface models that might be in the pipeline right now it has made one commitment. Surface Pro 3 accessories, which include the docking station, Type Covers, power and Ethernet adapters and more, have been designed with the future roadmap in mind. Microsoft confirms that all of these accessories are going to work with “the next generation of the Pro line of Surface.”
Its safe to say that most of us have unintentionally damaged our smartphones at least once in our lives. An accidental drop is enough to shatter the screen in most cases and there are countless instances when a device might find itself submerged in water or have some liquid spilled on it. The Samsung Protection Plus Mobile Elite warranty program for customers in the U.S. is going to offer replacements for damaged devices, but its going to cost you.
Basically what this program does is extend warranty of supported Samsung devices by two years. So under the program devices damaged through drops, spills and with cracked screens or those that have mechanical and electrical failures will be covered. Samsung promises to have a replacement on its way within two business days or less.
During the coverage period up to three claims are allowed so if you have a habit of damaging your devices more than three times in less than two years you should probably look elsewhere. Once a replacement unit has been shipped and received only then are you required to send your damaged unit back to Samsung.
Samsung Protection Plus Mobile Elite program does come at a cost, $99.99 up front. Plus there is a service fee for each claim, $95 for Note series and $75 for Galaxy series.
The country’s largest carrier announced a new partnership with Slacker Radio today through which its subscribers can decide to use streaming music as their ringtone. Its a good option for those who like to frequently change their ringtone while keeping up with the latest trends in music. There’s a small subscription charge but it will give you access to the music service through which you can either select a song or an entire station.
For $2 per month Verizon subscribers can now sign up for Slacker Radio Tones. This service is not just limited to ringtones, users can select ringback tones as well. A ringback tone is what a caller hears when he or she is calling you and many like to go for custom options as opposed to the conventional tone which simply lets you know that the phone is ringing on the other end.
Folks who subscribe to this new service will have to download the Slacker Radio application to their device, keep in mind that it works on Android only. The app will have a Slacker Tones section from where the music can be selected for ringtones and ringback tones. Users can select one ringback tone for all contacts or use different tones for different contacts.
There is no shortage of apps these days that promise to provide a personalized experience to those who want to stay on top of news every single day. News Republic wants to go beyond that level of personalization and for that it has introduced My News Digest, a curated news feed that will provide individual readers with what they need to read in just three minutes every single day.
The My News Digest feed is built around the user, backed by an algorithm with semantic and learning intelligence, that takes countless items into consideration before recommending stories to the user based on a variety of topics which include Technology, Politics, National News, Sports, Entertainment and more. The feed updates in real time with breaking news so users are always up to date.
There is some good news today for folks who use Google Hangouts. The company today released a new update which aims to make it much more easier for users to access Hangouts on their desktop computers. This update has been developed keeping one aim in mind which is to ensure that conversations are not buried in browser windows and instead they’re easily accessible. Which is why today the Hangouts Chrome App has been released for Windows and Chrome OS.
The new application has a streamlined design which keeps chats front and center without blocking anything else. One toggle window contains the entire contact list and all of the chats. Integration notifications will alert users when there’s a new message so that they can quickly locate that particular conversation.
Chrome doesn’t necessarily have to be open in order for this application to work, as long as the app is running users will receive any and all messages, and the chats will sync across Hangouts on all devices.
The video and voice features of Hangouts are all available and so is the ability to make phone calls to any number in the world through Hangouts dialer. Users can now make voice calls straight from their desktop courtesy of the new Hangouts application.
Quite a few months back Facebook had announced its intention to purchase WhatsApp, one of the most popular cross-platform messaging service used by hundreds of millions of people around the world. A couple of days ago this acquisition was finally completed after review by regulators and now WhatsApp is officially owned by Facebook. Does the world’s largest social network have any plans of monetizing its new property? Apparently not in the near future.
Reuters reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made this clear today that the company has no near-term plan to make money through WhatsApp. However he didn’t reveal any plans about the future of WhatsApp and what strategy Facebook can adopt to make money off of it.
Even before it was acquired by Facebook WhatsApp had a simple business model. The app is available for free and so is the first year of service after which it just costs $1 per year to use the service which is available across a wide variety of platforms. One of the reasons why users prefer WhatsApp is because it doesn’t have in-app purchases, advertisements or sponsored deals which one can find in its rivals.
There has been much speculation about the revenue streams that Snapchat will open up in order to capitalize on its huge user base and for now the company is going with a tried and tested method: advertisements. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel confirmed at a Vanity Fair event in San Francisco that the ephemeral messaging service will soon be getting its first ads. They won’t be targeted so don’t expect these ads to be similar to the ones you might see on Google or Facebook.
One of the reasons why ads on Snapchat won’t be targeted is because this service doesn’t collect as much information about its users which can then be used to target ads at them.
One might ask the question why advertisers would want to spend money on a platform that doesn’t allow targeted advertisements? Snapchat will be an appealing medium for advertisers because of its reach particularly with younger demographics, with 50 percent of all users being under the age of 25.
So how will the ads be served? According to Spiegel they will be displayed in Snapchat’s new “Stories” feature which lets users create a feed of countless snaps which can be viewed multiple times over 24 hours.
Spiegel however did not confirm exactly when the ads will be rolling out and which brands will be allowed to advertise their products initially.
A rather interesting rumor has come up today regarding Microsoft’s Surface tablet business. Apparently the company is not very “aggressive” about developing a next-generation Surface tablet because sales of existing models, including the Surface Pro 3, have been lower than expected. The rumor claims that Microsoft may even be mulling over existing the tablet business altogether.
The rumor comes via Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes which claims to have heard this from sources in the upstream supply chain. The sources reportedly claimed that the first and second generation Surface tablets have ended up costing Microsoft roughly $1.7 billion in losses which is probably why the company isn’t too interested in developing a successor.
It is further claimed that there’s concern about upcoming demand for the Surface Pro 3 because smartphones with large displays are impacting tablet demand. This may be why the sources don’t expect sales of Surface Pro 3 to pass one million units.
Microsoft today launched Skype for Mac 7.0 and also unveiled a preview for the new Skype for Windows. The company says that both desktop clients have been redesigned in order to make it easier for users to chat and share with their contacts. Those who have already been using Skype on mobile will recognize some of the changes that have been made to the desktop clients. The aim was to make the user experience consistent across both mobile and desktop.
On desktop users will now see thumbnail pictures of their contacts, consistent icons for chat, video and audio calls and a new “bubble style” chat design. There’s additional spacing between contacts and chats, making it easier for users to follow conversations.
Multi-tasking gets a huge improvement in Skype for desktop. The new side-by-side design now allows users to multi-task even when they’re on a video or voice call, share photos and files without ever having to leave the call. Skype had already announced free group video calls for desktop clients and now they’re claimed to work better than ever before on the new and improved Skype for Windows and Mac.
Netvibes touts its technology to be the “Dashboard of Everything” that delivers brand monitoring, data analytics and reporting across large corporations. “Big data” and “IoT” are the most trending keywords in the Silicon Valley, right now, and, as a matter of fact, we have seen an exponential growth in the amount of data that any business needs to collect and process in order to remain competitive in today’s tough economy.
Netvibes delivers comprehensive dashboard intelligence to three types of audiences: Netvibes Basic for consumers enables people to aggregate easily their favorite content in a single custom dashboard, , Netvibes for your Agency offers custom social dashboards to monitor social ROI for any campaign, and Netvibes for Enterprise connects all internal systems and the social web together on a real-time dashboard intelligence portal.
Today, the company launched its new Hierarchical Dashboarding feature that optimizes data visualization and sharing across large enterprises and small teams. This innovative feature aims to improve horizontal collaboration for processing and analyzing data more efficiently and with better results.
The screenshots provided by Netvibes show how Hierarchical Dashboarding works for Acme Shoes team:
“The VP of Marketing for ACME Shoes and his team share a dashboard that listens to all media and social mentions about ACME shoes. They also monitor competitor mentions and emerging industry trends in shoes.”
“The VP of Marketing for ACME Smartwatches and her team share a dashboard that listens to the online conversation about smartwatches and wearable technology.”
“The CMO’s dashboard uses Hierarchical Dashboarding to monitor key charts from the Shoes dashboard, the Smartwatches dashboard and other supporting teams.”
All these charts displayed above can be dragged-and-dropped on each other to create instant comparison in a compelling visual interface. For example, it can rapidly show how Twitter mentions are related to sales numbers or if web traffic is related to media coverage. Team mebers can share easily all the dashbaords in a few clicks via email:
Please note that I have not tested Netvibes for Enterprise, however , from the screen shots I have received and my past experience with the consumer dashboard, I can tell that the service is highly user friendly and efficient for accessing the most relevant information you need in a single dashboard.
The iPhone’s speaker is decent. It’s not as loud as some phones out there, but neither it is too soft where it becomes hard to hear. However if you plan to use your phone as your primary entertainment device and you don’t want to use headphones, then perhaps the Amp iPhone speaker case might be for you
As you can see in the image above, Amp is a case for the iPhone that basically adds stereo speakers to your device. It places one at the top and one at the bottom, essentially lengthening your phone. To top things off, it also adds a small battery which should be good enough for a 25% bump in battery for the iPhone 5s.
Now it should be pointed out that Amp isn’t your traditional speaker case. It actually personalizes the sound coming from its speakers according to your preference, which involves more than just fiddling with the EQ. To set up the case, users will have to plug a pair of headphones in which will then playback high, medium, and low frequency tones to help calibrate the sound.
Of course you can still tweak the sound further depending on your preference. The case right now plugs into the headphone jack, as expected, but SoundFocus is working with Apple to get it certified so that it will be able to use the Lightning port instead, like some headphones that have been released rather recently.
As it stands, there are many out there who aren’t happy when an app is trying to determine their location as they feel that this might be an invasion of their privacy. Now imagine if you weren’t willing to give up your location, as innocent as it might, imagine how you will feel if a developer has been recording videos of you and uploading them without your knowledge or permission.
You would be outraged, right? Well that’s exactly what one developer has done. According to a report from the South China Morning Post (via Eurogamer), a Chinese developer for the game Fengkuang, which is essentially a game of charades, has landed themselves in hot water after it was discovered that they had uploaded videos onto Youku (China’s version of YouTube) of players playing their game.
The game is like charades which means that gamers have to act out their words to let their friends guess. While this might seem harmless, it seems that some players weren’t fully clothed during their gaming sessions. We can’t blame them for being so as some might be playing from the comfort of their own home, or they might be playing it with their partner.
According to the developers, the reason for uploading the videos was for storage purposes and so that they can be shared with friends. The developers have since apologized to players and have removed all the videos, although given that this is the internet, chances are some of them could have been saved already. What do you guys think? Is this a flagrant disregard for privacy or what?
If the rumors are to be believed, Apple could be working on a larger iPad called the iPad Pro. The tablet is rumored to feature a 12.9-inch display which would be a reversal on the iPad mini which features a smaller display. According to the rumors, Apple had reportedly planned for an unveiling in December, but it looks like that could change.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple is said to have delayed the mass production of the iPad Pro in order to keep up with the demand for the iPhone 6 Plus. This seems to be in line with a report from a couple of days ago in which it was suggested that Apple could also be shifting focus away from the iPhone 6 in order to ramp up iPhone 6 Plus production.
Their source at a supplier was quoted as saying, “The top priority for the supply chain is to meet the overwhelming demand for the larger screen iPhones. The output of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus remains unsatisfactory. It would be challenging for display makers to split resources and spend a few months to ramp up production for a new larger screen iPad now.”