tech

Uber vs. Ola: How fight for Indian taxi market ended up in court

Uber vs. Ola: How fight for Indian taxi market ended up in court

By Aditi Shah and Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A flurry of complaints from Uber drivers about an unusually high number of canceled bookings was the spark that ignited a bitter legal fight with Ola, Uber's rival for dominance of India's $12 billion taxi market, according to court documents and a source with direct knowledge of Uber's case. A seven-member internal team was set up to investigate the drivers' complaints in November, and its findings are the basis of a lawsuit filed by Uber accusing Ola of a campaign to disrupt its business and poach its drivers, said the source. Ola, an Indian company backed by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp , denies any wrongdoing.

Amazon profit crushes estimates as cloud-service revenue soars

Amazon profit crushes estimates as cloud-service revenue soars

Amazon.com Inc on Thursday reported profit and revenue that blew past analysts' expectations, sending its shares soaring in after-hours trading and demonstrating the growing market power of its core retail business and new cloud services division. The results draw a sharp contrast to the disappointing fourth quarter Amazon reported in January, which renewed worries among some shareholders about the company's comparatively thin profit margins. Amazon's performance also assuaged concerns about a broader slowdown among tech and internet companies after Apple , Microsoft and Intel all reported disappointing earnings.

U.S. high court approves rule change to expand FBI hacking power

U.S. high court approves rule change to expand FBI hacking power

By Dustin Volz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Thursday approved a rule change that would let U.S. judges issue search warrants for access to computers located in any jurisdiction despite opposition from civil liberties groups who say it will greatly expand the FBI's hacking authority. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts transmitted the rules to Congress, which will have until Dec. 1 to reject or modify the changes to the federal rules of criminal procedure.

Rovi to buy DVR maker TiVo for $1.1 billion

Rovi to buy DVR maker TiVo for $1.1 billion

(Reuters) - Rovi Corp, a provider of digital entertainment guides, said on Friday it would buy digital-video recorder pioneer TiVo Inc in a deal valued at about $1.1 billion. The $10.70 per-share cash-and-stock offer represents a premium of 13.6 percent to TiVo's Thursday closing. TiVo's shares, which have shot up about 23 percent since the New York Times first reported about a potential deal on March 24, were trading at $9.74 before the opening bell on Friday.

FBI paid under $1 million to unlock San Bernardino iPhone: sources

FBI paid under $1 million to unlock San Bernardino iPhone: sources

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI paid under $1 million for the technique used to unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters - a figure smaller than the $1.3 million the agency's chief initially indicated the hack cost, several U.S. government sources said on Thursday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation will be able to use the technique to unlock other iPhone 5C models running iOS 9 - the specifications of the shooter's phone - without additional payment to the contractor who provided it, these people added. FBI Director James Comey last week said the agency paid more to get into the iPhone than he will make in the remaining seven years and four months he has in his job, suggesting the hack cost over $1.3 billion, based on his annual salary.

Carl Icahn says he sold entire Apple stake on China woes: CNBC

Carl Icahn says he sold entire Apple stake on China woes: CNBC

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said Thursday he had sold his entire stake in Apple Inc , citing the risk of China's influence on the stock. Icahn, in an interview with cable television network CNBC, also said he was "still very cautious" on the U.S. stock market and there would be a "day of reckoning" unless there was some sort of fiscal stimulus. Icahn had been a huge cheerleader of Apple, acquiring a stake in the company almost three years ago, repeatedly calling the investment a "no brainer." In an open letter to Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook in May 2015, Icahn had argued that shares of the iPhone maker were worth $240, about 90 percent more than they had been trading.

First Click: Have we reached peak Apple?

First Click: Have we reached peak Apple?

Apple’s incredible growth that saw the company report record quarterly earnings over a span of 13 years was untenable. Any one company would be thrilled by the success brought by the Apple II, the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, or even the iPad. It makes me wonder: have we reached peak Apple?

Fairphone's Google-free open source OS is now available to download

Fairphone's Google-free open source OS is now available to download

This includes trying to find conflict-free minerals for use in their phones' construction, but also the software that lives on these devices. This means users will have to find their own apps for email, maps, and a browser, but in exchange they get more control over their software. For most of us on Android, Google's services are just too integral to give up, and the benefits of an open source mobile OS are a bit niche.

Will.i.am’s smartphone-free smartwatch is available to preorder in the UK

Will.i.am’s smartphone-free smartwatch is available to preorder in the UK

Will.i.am's standalone smartwatch, the Dial, is now available to preorder in the UK. This means you need to buy your own contract for it, though, and UK mobile operator Three is offering the Dial on a two-year contract from £24 a month with a £49 upfront payment. Buyers will also get access to an free music streaming service.

Jazz drumming to Super Smash Bros. is better than any commentary

Jazz drumming to Super Smash Bros. is better than any commentary

I usually have a hard time following competitive Super Smash Bros. matches, but honestly, they make so much more sense when accompanied by some freeform jazz drumming. The video above shows what a perfect pairing this is — with drummer Caleb Goss providing a soundtrack to a January 2015 bout between players Armada_UGS and L3ff3n.

Elon Musk now has a heavy metal tribute band

Elon Musk now has a heavy metal tribute band

What sort of music do you imagine Elon Musk listens to when he's looking over SpaceX rocket designs at home? No. When Musk is hanging out in his secret lair with his secret robot butlers he turns to one genre: power metal.

Microsoft has created its own IFTTT tool called Flow

Microsoft has created its own IFTTT tool called Flow

If This Then That (IFTTT) is an incredibly popular tool that enables features for web services like Twitter to generate an email through automation and lots more. Microsoft appears to be working on a similar tool for businesses to create automated workflows. Twitter user h0x0d discovered Microsoft Flow, a preview service that connects a number of cloud services together.

Google will livestream the Republican convention, despite anti-Trump protests

Google will livestream the Republican convention, despite anti-Trump protests

Google will be the official livestream provider at the Republican National Convention, the company confirmed to Politico this week. The search giant will also provide virtual reality tools and real-time data on election trends during the GOP convention, though rights groups have called on the company to withdraw from the event due to the "hateful rhetoric" of frontrunner Donald Trump. Activists have organized protests and petitions urging Google, Microsoft, and other companies to not sponsor the convention, which will be held this July in Cleveland.

Mesmerizing drone footage of world’s highest waterfall must be seen to be believed

We've seen drones capture all sorts of interesting footage over the past 12 months, including a peculiar and mildly disturbing video of a man sunbathing on top of a wind turbine, more than 200 feet up in the air. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we recently stumbled across drone footage of the Santo Angel waterfall in Venezuela, otherwise known as Angel Falls. Though Angel Falls may not be as widely known as Niagra Falls, at least in the United States, Angel Falls has the distinction of being the world's highest waterfall on the planet. From top to bottom, water tumbles down more than 2,600 feet. DON'T MISS:  What’s the purpose of the iPhone 7’s most puzzling new feature? While video of Angel Falls is plentiful, we can guarantee that you've never seen Angel Falls quite like this. https://youtu.be/6tJjfLxx4NY

FCC approves real-time text proposal to aid people with disabilities

FCC approves real-time text proposal to aid people with disabilities

The FCC has approved a proposal to help people with disabilities use telephone services more easily through real-time text technology. RTT is designed for wireless networks. Text is sent as soon as it's typed without the need for a separate "send" command, which the FCC says lends a more conversational rhythm and also allows for at least some information to get through if it's not possible to complete the message.

How to Raise Capital as a Solo Founder

How to Raise Capital as a Solo Founder

I've played a role in founding three startups, but I'd never tackled the trials of fundraising until Roomi. Within a year, I raised $2 million.Convincing someone to invest in your brainchild is one of the biggest challenges a founder faces, and solo founders are often perceived by investors as an unsafe bet. In theory, a co-founder doubles your...

Chinese search leader Baidu's profits sink to four-year low

Chinese search leader Baidu's profits sink to four-year low

By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese search leader Baidu Inc's first-quarter net income fell to its lowest level since 2012 and revenue grew at its slowest pace in more than seven years, as its long decline from previously heady growth continued. The Chinese Internet stalwart said it now expected revenue growth to slip even further in the April-June quarter, to 21.3-24.2 percent, once again underscoring the importance of its ongoing efforts to diversify away from its core search business. Net income fell 19 percent to 1.99 billion yuan ($307.41 million) in the January-March quarter from 2.45 billion yuan a year earlier, Baidu said.

LG Display says to invest almost $400 million in South Korea for OLED capacity

LG Display says to invest almost $400 million in South Korea for OLED capacity

SEOUL (Reuters) - LG Display Co said on Friday it plans to invest 450 billion won ($395.99 million) in South Korea to build production capacity for flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays and OLED lighting panels. An LG Display spokeswoman told Reuters the company would invest 310 billion won to boost flexible OLED capacity and 140 billion won to build a dedicated OLED lighting production line. The investment adds to the 1. ...

New report sheds light on Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One hardware updates

Following countless rumors of an upgraded Xbox One console set to be introduced later this year, a new report from Thurrott is the latest to lend credence to the idea. According to the report, inside sources say that Microsoft will bring both a new Xbox One console and a new standard controller to E3 2016 in June. DON'T MISS:  Next ‘Call of Duty’ game gets revealed next week – here’s what we know so far This is the first we're hearing about a new controller, but Thurrott's Brad Sims says that it will feature a similar design to the current controller, but will be available in a new color. There doesn't seem to be any hard evidence to support this theory, but it wouldn't be surprising to see a default white controller added to the lineup. Earlier this month, Sony brought PS4 Remote Play to PC , which took away one of the Xbox One's advantages over the PS4. Thurrott's sources claim that Microsoft is also working to support new interactions between the Xbox One and the PC in order to further differentiate the two consoles from one another. Finally, Sims leaves us with an extraordinarily vague update, saying that the company has "something else up its sleeve that I still don’t have all the details on, but it’s a much bigger deal than an updated standard controller." Could this be the Xbox One.5 that's set to take on Sony's PS4K console ? It's still too early to tell, but don't be surprised if Microsoft introduces a 4K-capable console at E3 this year.

4 Business Process Reengineering Questions Your Business Should Be Asking

4 Business Process Reengineering Questions Your Business Should Be Asking

Every business employs some sort of process for defining its objectives and executing on initiatives.Depending on the vertical, your business might also employ automation tools to some degree in order to help you visualize where you can optimize inefficiencies, and create better engagement with your target audience. Whether it's an automatic...

Google is trying to take its self-driving cars to the next level

Google’s self-driving cars  might be ready for mass consumption, a pair of reports this week have suggested. After Alphabet execs hinted that their autonomous driving technology is approaching its graduation from Google's X “moonshots” division, a new rumor says that Google might already be in late-stage talks with Fiat Chrysler. DON’T MISS: Apple issues statement following apparent suicide at Cupertino headquarters Google is one of several tech companies that’s strategically placed at the forefront of this new trend in the car business. Google’s self-driving cars have logged millions of miles of test driving in anticipation of a commercial roll out. On the other hand, while Google might be ready to deploy self-driving cars on regular streets, the legislation needed to regulate this new type of vehicle is not yet here. https://twitter.com/CNBCnow/status/725714461051510784 A partnership between Google and Fiat Chrysler would benefit both parties. Google has developed the smart cars of the future while Fiat Chrysler already knows how to build cars that appeal to buyers. A few months ago, Google and Ford were supposedly negotiating such a deal. In fact, partnering with an established carmaker might be the quickest way for Google to get its technology out in the streets. There is obviously some pressure to see a Google car on the road, considering Apple is also reportedly developing a similar vehicle and might also ink a deal with an established carmaker. There’s also Tesla, which has smart electric cars that already come with some interesting autonomous features. The talks have been ongoing for several months, The Wall Street Journal says . Apparently, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has been looking for partners to help offset production and development costs, or to merge. The CEO also made several nasty remarks aimed at new competitors, including Apple and Tesla. He said that Apple’s interest in an electric car is an “illness,” and that electric cars are “obscene” when talking about a Tesla . Neither company commented on the rumored partnership, the Journal said.

internet

Facebook in class of its own as ad revenue soars

Facebook in class of its own as ad revenue soars

Wow. After underwhelming results from Apple Inc, Google Inc and other big tech names, investors finally found a friend in Facebook Inc after the company shredded Wall Street's forecasts for revenue, profit and user growth. Facebook's shares, which touched a record high of $120.79 on Thursday, closed up 7.2 percent at $116.73, giving a $22 billion boost to the social networking company's market value.

Hackers leak stolen Kenyan foreign ministry documents

Hackers leak stolen Kenyan foreign ministry documents

By George Obulutsa NAIROBI (Reuters) - Online activists who claim ties to Anonymous said on Thursday they had begun to leak documents from Kenya's foreign ministry as part of a campaign to expose government and corporate corruption across Africa. HackRead, a cyber security news site, reported that a hacker affiliated with "Operation Africa" had told it: "In (a) few days you will receive full disclosure of the data – We the Anonymous will stand against corruption, child abuse, and child labor!" A link to a sample of 95 documents was published to a widely known Anonymous Twitter account, part of what it claimed was a one-terabyte stash of date from Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The documents, viewed by Reuters, appear to consist of mostly routine correspondence between Kenyan foreign ministry officials and other diplomatic missions, trade partners and international companies around the world.

Valuation worries weigh on Rocket Internet

Valuation worries weigh on Rocket Internet

By Emma Thomasson and Mia Shanley BERLIN/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Shares in German ecommerce investor Rocket Internet took another tumble on Thursday as concerns grew over the value of its portfolio and after a downgrade by the bank that worked on the company's 2014 stock market debut. Rocket and co-investor Kinnevik said on Wednesday a new fundraising at online emerging markets player Global Fashion Group (GFG) valued it at 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), a third of the figure put on the business when it last raised funds in August. Rocket valued its portfolio of start-ups at 6 billion euros at March 31, including 680 million for its 22.5 percent stake in GFG.

Cyber bullying delivers a punch to consumer wallets

Cyber bullying delivers a punch to consumer wallets

By Amy Tennery NEW YORK (Reuters) - Anyone who has had embarrassing photos posted on social media or been deluged with angry messages can attest to the high emotional cost of cyber bullying. For the 40 percent of adult Internet users who are dealing with this issue, according to 2014 Pew Research Center data, and numerous school-age children, there is a new insurance policy to help mitigate the financial repercussions. Chubb Ltd recently began offering optional cyber bullying coverage for its homeowners insurance clients.

U.S. university head sent on leave over claim she quashed bad publicity

U.S. university head sent on leave over claim she quashed bad publicity

University of California president Janet Napolitano said she would investigate whether the chancellor, Linda Katehi, violated school policies. Katehi, who has not commented on the newspaper report, has also faced questions over her acceptance of paid seats on the boards of DeVry Education Group and textbook publisher John Wiley & Sons. "The serious and troubling nature of these questions, as well as the initial evidence, requires a rigorous and transparent investigation," Napolitano said.

Philippine central bank says foiled attempts to hack its website

Philippine central bank says foiled attempts to hack its website

By Karen Lema MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine central bank has foiled attempts to hack its website, its governor said on Thursday amid a warning from global financial network SWIFT about recent multiple cyber fraud incidents targeting its system. SWIFT'S disclosure came as law enforcement authorities in Bangladesh and elsewhere investigated the February cyber theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. "There were attempts, and I think this is a fact of life, but we have been able to turn them back," Amando Tetangco told reporters.

Facebook revenue smashes expectations as mobile ad sales surge

Facebook revenue smashes expectations as mobile ad sales surge

Facebook Inc's quarterly revenue rose more than 50 percent, handily beating Wall Street expectations as its wildly popular mobile app and a push into live video lured new advertisers and encouraged existing ones to boost spending. Facebook also announced it will create a new class of non-voting shares in a move aimed at letting Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg give away his wealth without relinquishing control of the social media juggernaut he founded. The company plans to create a new class of non-voting shares, which would be given as a dividend to existing shareholders.

Carly's croon sparks bewilderment, criticism on social media

Carly Fiorina was so happy to be named U.S. presidential hopeful Ted Cruz's running mate, she broke into song during her acceptance speech. Cruz announced at a rally on Wednesday in Indianapolis that the former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard would join his ticket. "I know two girls that I just adore," crooned Fiorina, in reference to Cruz's two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.

Email privacy bill unanimously passes U.S. House

Email privacy bill unanimously passes U.S. House

By Dustin Volz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously on Wednesday to require law enforcement authorities to get a search warrant before asking technology companies to hand over old emails. The bill's prospects in the Senate remain unclear, though the 419-0 vote in the House was likely to put pressure on the upper chamber to approve it. Under the Email Privacy Act, which updates a decades-old law, authorities would have to get a warrant to access emails or other digital communications more than 180 days old.

AT&T exec says Internet of Things is a top priority

AT&T exec says Internet of Things is a top priority

By Georgina Prodhan HANOVER, Germany (Reuters) - U.S. telecoms provider AT&T is betting it can carve out a significant business in connecting objects with one another, the head of that unit told Reuters in an interview, as it seeks new revenue sources in an oversaturated wireless market. The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) is a fast-growing area where industrial and consumer firms and software providers are teaming up to offer smarter ways of doing things such as predicting mechanical problems before they arise, controlling machines at home remotely or integrating municipal services. AT&T already has a strong position in the automotive industry, where it has 10 major carmakers using a platform it has developed to deliver services such as roadside assistance, weather reports or Internet radio to cars on the road.

Social media users upbeat on Facebook; gloomy on Apple, Twitter

Social media users upbeat on Facebook; gloomy on Apple, Twitter

Social media sentiment for Apple Inc and Twitter Inc dropped sharply on Wednesday, a day after the companies reported disappointing quarterly earnings, while online circles remained confident about Facebook Inc , which is scheduled to post results after the market closes. Twitter's stock plunged 15 percent at midday, after dropping nearly 14 percent late Tuesday on news that revenue growth at the microblogging service was stagnant. Apple shares were down 6 percent, after Tuesday's 8 percent drop to below $100 for the first time since February.

U.S. keeps China, India on intellectual property shame list

U.S. keeps China, India on intellectual property shame list

By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Wednesday kept China, Russia and India on its annual list of countries with the worst records of preventing the theft of intellectual property and cited Switzerland for failing to curb online copyright infringements. "Intellectual property is a critical source of economic growth and high-quality jobs for the United States, and it is more important than ever to prevent foreign governments and competitors from ripping off United States innovators who are trying to support high-paying jobs by exporting their goods and services to consumers around the world,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement. The trade agency said that the value added of U.S.-held intellectual property was approximately $5 trillion in 2010, contributing 34 percent to U.S. gross domestic product that year and supporting 40 million jobs in IP-intensive industries.

German nuclear plant infected with computer viruses, operator says

German nuclear plant infected with computer viruses, operator says

By Christoph Steitz and Eric Auchard FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A nuclear power plant in Germany has been found to be infected with computer viruses, but they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility's operations because it is isolated from the Internet, the station's operator said on Tuesday. The Gundremmingen plant, located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility RWE . The viruses, which include "W32.Ramnit" and "Conficker", were discovered at Gundremmingen's B unit in a computer system retrofitted in 2008 with data visualization software associated with equipment for moving nuclear fuel rods, RWE said.

Thailand's Central Group buying e-commerce site Zalora's Thai business

Thailand's Central Group buying e-commerce site Zalora's Thai business

Thailand's Central Group is buying the Thai business of fashioned-focused e-commerce site Zalora, a unit of the group said on Wednesday. "Central Group Online .... has studied the deal and signed the agreement to acquire Zalora business in Thailand," Narumon Wipajaroen, company secretary for Central Group Online , said in a statement. Zalora Group said in a statement that it was also selling its Vietnam business.

As iPhone sales slump, Apple bets on services from apps to music

As iPhone sales slump, Apple bets on services from apps to music

By Julia Love SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc's first-ever drop in quarterly iPhone sales has spurred Chief Executive Tim Cook to turn the spotlight on prospects for its services business, but the field is rife with competition and may prove challenging for a brand based on gadgets. Second-quarter earnings saw services emerge as Apple's second-largest business after the iPhone for the first time, topping iPad and Mac sales, which both fell. The App Store, Apple Music, storage center iCloud and mobile wallet Apple Pay and other services generated nearly $6 billion in revenue, up 20 percent from the previous year.

Traffic to Wikipedia terrorism entries plunged after Snowden revelations, study finds

Traffic to Wikipedia terrorism entries plunged after Snowden revelations, study finds

By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Internet traffic to Wikipedia pages summarizing knowledge about terror groups and their tools plunged nearly 30 percent after revelations of widespread Web monitoring by the U.S. National Security Agency, suggesting that concerns about government snooping are hurting the ordinary pursuit of information. A forthcoming paper in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal analyzes the fall in traffic, arguing that it provides the most direct evidence to date of a so-called “chilling effect,” or negative impact on legal conduct, from the intelligence practices disclosed by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Author Jonathon Penney, a fellow at the University of Toronto’s interdisciplinary Citizen Lab, examined monthly views of Wikipedia articles on 48 topics identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as subjects that they track on social media, including Al Qaeda, dirty bombs and jihad.

House passes bill seeking to counter extremists' recruiting pitches

By Julia Harte WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a measure that would for the first time require the Homeland Security department to use testimonials from former extremists to counter recruiting messages from militant groups. “Terrorists are radicalizing our citizens online and across borders, which is why we need this legislation," said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul. International allies of the United States such as Britain have long used testimony by disillusioned former extremists to discourage young people from joining militant groups.

Estonian sentenced in U.S. to seven years in prison for cyber fraud

By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Estonian man who authorities said ran a cyber criminal enterprise that infected more than four million computers worldwide with malware to carry out a lucrative click fraud scheme was sentenced by a U.S. judge on Tuesday to 7-1/4 years in prison. Vladimir Tsastsin, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan after pleading guilty in July to charges that he engaged in wire fraud and computer intrusion conspiracies in a scheme that caused $14 million in losses. Tsastsin was extradited in October 2014 from Estonia, where he was arrested in 2011 and separately tried and convicted in a court in Estonia on related money-laundering charges.

Twitter stock plunges after revenue misses estimates

Twitter stock plunges after revenue misses estimates

Twitter Inc disappointed investors yet again with first-quarter results that showed stagnant revenue growth as the microblogging service struggles to grab new users amid efforts to improve its complicated interface with several new features. Twitter shares plunged 13.6 percent to $15.34 in late trade on Tuesday after reporting lower-than-expected revenue, hurt by weaker than expected spending by big advertisers, and providing a current-quarter revenue forecast well below analysts' expectations. Twitter's user base grew modestly to 310 million monthly active users in the quarter ended March 31 from 305 million in the fourth quarter, above analysts' expectations.

Akamai's revenue beat estimates on higher cloud service demand

(Reuters) - Akamai Technologies Inc, a provider of services that speed up delivery of content over the internet, reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit, helped by higher demand for its cloud security services. Revenue from Akamai's cloud security business, which protects websites and data centers from cyber attacks, rose 46 percent to $80.7 million for the first quarter. Akamai Chief Executive Tom Leighton said he expected the Olympics and U.S. presidential elections to lead to a sharp rise in Internet traffic this year.

Special Report: Inside Google's quest to shape the rules of the driverless road

Special Report: Inside Google's quest to shape the rules of the driverless road

A small convoy of its driverless cars cruised into the fading asphalt parking lot to give test drives – test rides, actually – to American mayors visiting Austin’s annual South by Southwest tech-and-culture festival. Sam Liccardo, mayor of San Jose, California, right in Google’s backyard, was impressed that he got to see the cars at all. “This is going to change cities.” But before that happens, Google needs to change regulations – the federal, state and local edicts that cover everything from whether cars must have steering wheels to who's at fault if a driverless car hits another vehicle.

Exclusive: SWIFT warns customers of multiple cyber fraud cases

Exclusive: SWIFT warns customers of multiple cyber fraud cases

The disclosure came as law enforcement authorities in Bangladesh and elsewhere investigated the February cyber theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. SWIFT has acknowledged that the scheme involved altering SWIFT software on Bangladesh Bank's computers to hide evidence of fraudulent transfers. Monday's statement from SWIFT marked the first acknowledgement that the Bangladesh Bank attack was not an isolated incident but one of several recent criminal schemes that aimed to take advantage of the global messaging platform used by some 11,000 financial institutions.

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial closes $4.5 billion funding round

China's biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's affiliate Ant Financial Services Group has closed a $4.5 billion funding round, paving the way for a long-expected initial public offering (IPO). China Investment Corp Capital and CCB Trust, a subsidiary of China Construction Bank Corp , participated in the Series B fundraising, Ant Financial said in a statement on Tuesday. Ant Financial did not disclose what its valuation was after the round closed, but a person familiar with the fundraising said it is now valued at close to $60 billion.

Exclusive: SWIFT network says aware of multiple cyber fraud incidents

Exclusive: SWIFT network says aware of multiple cyber fraud incidents

The disclosure came as law enforcement authorities in Bangladesh and elsewhere investigated the February cyber theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. SWIFT has acknowledged that the scheme involved altering SWIFT software on Bangladesh Bank's computers to hide evidence of fraudulent transfers. Monday's statement from SWIFT marked the first acknowledgement that the Bangladesh Bank attack was not an isolated incident but one of several recent criminal schemes that aimed to take advantage of the global messaging platform used by some 11,000 financial institutions.

Facebook developing camera app similar to Snapchat: WSJ

Facebook developing camera app similar to Snapchat: WSJ

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc is developing a stand-alone camera app, similar to disappearing photo app Snapchat, to increase user engagement, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The app, being developed by Facebook's "friend-sharing" team in London, is in its early stages and may never come to fruition, according to the report. Facebook declined to comment on the report.

U.S. exploring ways to disclose number of Americans caught in data grabs: spy chief

U.S. exploring ways to disclose number of Americans caught in data grabs: spy chief

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Monday his office was looking at “several options” to publicly disclose an estimate of the number of U.S. persons caught incidentally in Internet surveillance intended for foreign targets. “We are looking at several options right now, none of which are optimal,” Clapper told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor news organization, though he cautioned the task would be difficult and potentially run afoul of privacy considerations. Clapper’s comments came in response to a letter sent last week by 14 bipartisan lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, pressing the country’s top spy to provide a public estimate of the number of Americans ensnared in data grabs of foreign Internet communications traffic.

Armenian migrants in Turkey live in shadow of century-old massacre

Armenian migrants in Turkey live in shadow of century-old massacre

By Ayla Jean Yackley ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A century after her forebears fled massacres in Turkey for Armenia, Alla has gone the other way, hoping to win Turkish citizenship after leaving her impoverished homeland. The conflict dates back to the killings of up to 1.5 million Christian Armenians by Ottoman Muslims, which was commemorated on Sunday, with tensions between Armenia and its Turkey-backed neighbour, Azerbaijan, especially amplified this year. "We live in fear they (the Turkish authorities) can kick us out if something happens," said Alla, who did not want her full name published because of her illegal status in Turkey.

Alphabet drops most in three years after first quarter but analysts upbeat

Alphabet drops most in three years after first quarter but analysts upbeat

(Reuters) - Ruth Porat couldn't have been clearer: Alphabet Inc's chief financial officer said on Thursday that Google's parent needed to step up investment to boost traffic. Analysts agreed. The search giant's first-quarter earnings fell short of estimates, largely because it spent more to build traffic for its mobile advertising services.

Microsoft revenue, profit miss estimates

Microsoft revenue, profit miss estimates

(This April 21 story fixes the headline to "miss" from"misses") (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp reported results that fell short of analysts' expectations, showing its high-profile cloud business cannot quite make up for a slowing personal-computer market. Two of Microsoft's three major businesses showed lower operating profits, led by what Microsoft calls its intelligent cloud division, which includes its Azure cloud-services business as well as traditional server software. "We would have liked to have seen 7 to 9 percent growth," Dan Morgan, a portfolio manager at Synovus Trust who holds Microsoft shares, said of intelligent cloud revenue.

Intel and Microsoft face different challenges in shifts to cloud

Intel and Microsoft face different challenges in shifts to cloud

By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Financial results from Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp this week brought into sharp relief the challenges the onetime PC partners face as they shift more of their emphasis to cloud computing. Microsoft has seen strong long-term growth in parts of its cloud business, a combination of services and software catering to corporations moving computing functions to remote data centers run by outside providers. While revenue for its flagship cloud services business Azure more than doubled last quarter, the company said in Thursday’s earning report, the “intelligent cloud” division that includes it saw just 3 percent revenue growth in the period.

Social media explodes as Prince tributes mark death of music icon

Social media explodes as Prince tributes mark death of music icon

The sudden death of music legend Prince sent shockwaves through social media on Thursday, as masses of Twitter users flooded the site to express their heart-felt emotions. Actors, musicians and celebrities quickly jumped on social media, sending tributes and messages of sadness as news of the singer's death hit media outlets. "'A strong spirit transcends rules,' Prince once said—and nobody's spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative," tweeted President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) on Thursday.

Google's parent Alphabet results hit by rising traffic costs, strong dollar

Google's parent Alphabet results hit by rising traffic costs, strong dollar

Google's parent Alphabet Inc missed Wall Street targets for first-quarter profit and revenue on Thursday as it spent more money to build traffic for its mobile advertising services. The results, which were also hit by the strong dollar, drove shares of the Web search company down 6 percent in late trading Thursday. Alphabet's consolidated revenue rose to $20.26 billion from $17.26 billion, slightly below the $20.37 billion analyst consensus, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Non-GAAP earnings per share of $7.50, excluding one-time items, missed analysts' expectations of $7.97.

Starbucks cafe sales growth falls short, shares fall

Starbucks is one of the industry's best performers, delivering steady growth by entering new markets and finding diverse ways to boost revenue. Starbucks, which is investing in mobile ordering and payments to win more business, recently irked some customers by tweaking its popular loyalty program to give rewards based on dollars spent rather than number of purchases. "We may see some noise in Q3 comps as customers react to the new changes of the program," Starbucks Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson told analysts on a conference call after earnings were released.

Microsoft revenue, profit misses estimates

Microsoft revenue, profit misses estimates

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp reported results that fell short of analysts' expectations, showing its high-profile cloud business cannot quite make up for weakness in its core PC market. Two categories showed lower operating profits, led by what Microsoft calls its intelligent cloud division, which includes its Azure cloud-services business as well as traditional server software. Despite revenue at Azure more than doubling, operating profits at the division shrank 14 percent while revenue grew 3 percent.

Google's parent Alphabet misses Wall Street view, hit by strong dollar

Google's parent Alphabet misses Wall Street view, hit by strong dollar

Google's parent Alphabet Inc missed Wall Street targets for first-quarter profit and revenue on Thursday, driving shares of the Web search company down 6 percent in late trading on Thursday. Rosenblatt Securities analyst Martin Pyykkonen said the effect of foreign currency was worse for Alphabet than expected.

Milwaukee school aide may be fired for shoving student to floor

A 39-year-old teacher's aide at Bay View High School was arrested on Wednesday for physical abuse of a child after the incident with the 14-year-old student, Milwaukee police said in a statement. The video does not show what occurred before the incident but Milwaukee CBS television affiliate WDJT reported, citing witnesses, that the student and the aide had been arguing. The teacher's aide has not been identified because he has not been charged.

Florida man indicted for bribery in case tied to JPMorgan hacking

A Florida man was arrested on Thursday for participating in a bribery scheme aimed at supporting an illegal bitcoin exchange operated by his son and owned by an Israeli behind a series of hacking attacks on organizations such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. Michael Murgio, who serves on a school board in Palm Beach County, was charged in an indictment filed in federal court in Manhattan for participating in a scheme to pay bribes to let the bitcoin exchange's operators gain control of a credit union. Murgio, 65, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday.

Ashley Madison plaintiffs cannot sue anonymously over hack, judge says

Ashley Madison plaintiffs cannot sue anonymously over hack, judge says

Plaintiffs leading a lawsuit against online dating website Ashley Madison over a security breach that exposed the personal data of customers must publicly identify themselves to proceed with the case, a U.S. judge has ruled. Forty-two plaintiffs, seeking to represent users of the website who had their information compromised, had proceeded anonymously against Ashley Madison's Toronto-based parent company Avid Life Media, the ruling released on April 6 showed. The plaintiffs are suing Ashley Madison, a website that facilitates extramarital affairs, for failing to adequately secure their information, marketing a “Full Delete Removal” service that did not work, and using fake female accounts to lure male customers, according to the ruling.

Chinese takeover target Opera Software embeds browser security tool

BEIJING/OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian online browser and advertising firm Opera Software , the takeover target of a Chinese consortium of Internet firms, has embedded a tool in its latest desktop app that can be used to circumvent censorship. Opera said on its blog on Thursday that the newest version of its desktop Internet browser, which is targeted at developers, includes a free built-in Virtual Private Network (VPN), which can be used for getting round online censorship. "Regarding China we already have servers in China and are running this through a Chinese IT company which is in compliance with Chinese laws," Opera CEO Lars Boilesen told Reuters.

Factbox: EU charges Google with abusing Android's market dominance

, (Reuters) - The European Union charged Google on Wednesday with abusing its position as the dominant supplier of Android software for phones, opening a second front against the U.S. technology giant that could lead to large fines. The Commission alleges that Google imposes unfair licensing conditions on device makers wanting to pre-install the Google Play Store, its app store for Android, which include making Google Search the default search engine. It also alleged that Google required pre-installing its Chrome mobile browser in return for licensing Play Store or Google Search.

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It makes much more sense for Apple to compete with Netflix than to buy it

With iPhone sales down, perhaps temporarily, Apple CEO Tim Cook indicated during the company's earnings conference call this week that Apple is always on the look out for exciting new technologies and companies to acquire. Not only that, Cook suggested that Apple would be willing to shell out big bucks for a blockbuster acquisition if the right opportunity arose. We’re always looking in the market about things that could complement things that we do today, become features in something we do, or allow us to accelerate entry into a category that we’re excited about,” Cook explained. Later on, Cook added that Apple "would definitely buy something larger than we bought thus far.” DON'T MISS:  Completely change the look of your iPhone with round folder icons, no jailbreak needed Of course, Apple's acquisition to date was its $3 billion purchase of Beats, a shrewd move considering that its off-shoot - Apple Music - already boasts more than 13 million subscribers. With Apple apparently eager, or at the very least open to the idea of on opening up its wallet and making a huge acquisition, we've already started to see pundits chime in about potential acquisition targets. And one name which not surprisingly seems to be coming up, and has come up before in the past, is Netflix. From a business standpoint, Apple would love to have Netflix under its umbrella. Not only would it provide an incredible way for Apple to get into the TV business, it would also fit in nicely with Apple's existing products. Imagine, for instance, every new iPhone, iPad and Apple TV coming with a Netflix app pre-installed. In turn, imagine Apple leveraging its expansive iOS user base to really drive the number of Netflix subscribers higher. The business synergy - for lack of a better word - is undoubtedly there. The financials, however, don't make a whole a lot of sense from Apple's perspective. Truth be told, it makes more economic sense for Apple to compete with Netflix than to buy Netflix. Sure, the idea of a blockbuster acquisition is fun to think about, but Apple can tend to be stingy and they're not going to make a play for a company if the financials don't make sense. As it stands today, Netflix's market cap is $38.9 billion. Even if Apple tosses on a meager 10% premium, we're looking at a purchase price of about $41 billion. That's a huge chunk of change, but certainly something Apple could afford. The return on investment from such a purchase, however, would be laughably low. For all of 2015, Netflix's revenue was $6.7 billion. In fact, all of the revenue Netflix has ever earned combined, going all the way back to 2002, doesn't even reach $32 billion. Put simply, Apple acquiring Netflix would require vast amounts of money for relatively little revenue in return. Instead, Apple can simply try to create its own line of programming, something it's reportedly already trying to do. Not only does Apple already have a six-episode series in the works starring Dr. Dre, it recently released a series called The Score which focuses on various local music scenes around the world. Furthermore, recent reports indicate that Apple is hoping to get into the original content business in a major way. A Fast Company report from a few weeks ago notes: The second lane—which for now is more deeply undercover—is an effort to do what Amazon and Netflix have done for their tens of millions of users: offer its own original TV-style entertainment. Apple being Apple, though, it not only wants to find its own House of Cards, but it wants several of them at once. An ambitious goal, but certainly one within the realm of possibility. And more importantly, competing with Netflix, rather than buying them out, would be drastically cheaper. As we've noted previously, it would cost Apple $538.5 million to come up with 10 quality TV programs. As a few quick illustrative examples, here's how much it costs to produce one season of the following shows: Game of Thrones - $60 million House of Cards - $50 million Mad Men - $39 million Breaking Bad - $39 million The only question, I think, is how fast Apple can manage to get into the TV content business. The longer it waits, the more challenging it will be for them to jump right in and make a splash. At the same time, if Apple opts to make its potential TV offerings a package deal under Apple Music, which is to say unlimited streaming music and TV content all for $10, that's a compelling value proposition right there.

What’s the purpose of the iPhone 7’s most puzzling new feature?

I know, I know, it’ll be a few more months before  Apple reveals the secrets behind the brand new  iPhone 7 . But there have already been plenty of leaks that give us a boatload of information about the upcoming handset, with multiple reports agreeing on certain new features. Aside from the iPhone 6s-like design, redesigned rear antennas, dual lens camera for the 5.5-inch “Pro” version and absence of the headphone jack, there’s one mysterious iPhone 7 feature that no one has gotten to the bottom of at this point. DON’T MISS: Amazon's 10 best daily deals: Fire TV Stick, $4 iPhone screen protector, Nexus 6P and more Why is there a Smart Connector port on the back of the iPhone 7 Plus , as seen in schematics that hit the web yesterday? The port is used on both new iPad Pro models to connect a keyboard accessory. But it’s one thing to hook up a keyboard to a tablet and quite another to do it with a smartphone. Even the 5.5-inch iPhone doesn’t really need a keyboard, right? On the other hand, as Logitech recently proved , the Smart Connector can also be used to power a tablet. If Logitech is allowed to do it, then it could open the door for some exciting new accessories for the next-generation iPhones. Could it be that the iPhone 7’s Smart Connector will be used for wireless charging? Looking at these schematics, Daring Fireball ’s John Gruber also said he became more interested in the connector, which keeps popping up in leaks. Others have joined in, coming up with various ways that the Smart Connector might be used. One idea Apple might be toying with is to let users choose how they want to charge the iPhone, either via the Lightning port or using a magnetic connector. In such a case, the Lightning port would be free to use with Lightning headphones – remember, Apple is rumored to be ditching the 3.5mm audio jack on the iPhone 7, and will instead bundle the phone with new Lightning headphones. The port could also be used to charge wireless headphones by connecting them to the iPhone. Apple is also rumored to be developing truly wireless Beats headphones for release alongside the iPhone 7. https://twitter.com/IronicPants/status/725492512480092160 The Smart Connector could let case makers come up with slicker battery cases – Apple included – which would use the port to charge the phone wirelessly. https://twitter.com/robfottf/status/725493072298012672 Finally, one user believes the Smart Connector could be paired with other peripherals, including external microphones, lenses and camera cases – or whatever accessory makers can come up with, as long as they stay within Apple’s guidelines. https://twitter.com/marksremark/status/725489300263981056 Whatever the case, if the Smart Connector is indeed in the picture for the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 "Pro," then we might see it become a little more than just a port you can use to connect an external keyboard.

15 paid iPhone apps on sale for free right now

Welcome to our biggest list of the week of paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free. This isn't just the best list of the week because it has the most apps — 15 in total, if you're counting. It also has a fantastic variety of high-quality apps and games that will keep you entertained. There's even a special surprise at the end that might change your life... or at least make you laugh. Be sure to check out yesterday's post as well, where you'll find a few remaining free downloads. MUST SEE:  Completely change the look of your iPhone with round folder icons, no jailbreak needed These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. If you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. The sale has ended. If you download the app, you will be charged. Camera7 Normally $0.99. Camera7 is an amazing camera app that offers the same effects of the reported dual-lens camera of the upcoming iPhone 7. With this app, you can add impressive new features to your older generation iPhone’s camera and take stunning pictures. Why wait for iPhone 7 to get a brand new experience of mobile photography? - Use two varied focal lengths simultaneously and capture striking photos or videos. - Focus area can be enlarged by dragging. - Easily adjust the focal length with just a pinch from 2x to 4x. - Ability to individually customize the display size of all parts. - Works fine on all iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Download Camera7 OftenType Normally $1.99. Use quick keys to avoid repeated typing of email, surname, signature and many more! Featured in "Best Apps" list by AntyApps.pl Appadvice.com: "It’s the perfect app for users who need access to snippets of content over and over." OftenType is a custom keyboard app which expands iPhone keyboard with additional quick keys keypad. You can easily increase your productivity by optimizing repeated typing. After set up you’ll only need one tap to type email, surname, address and other thing you have to type over and over again. FEATURES: - unlimited keys quantity - easy to set up and use - secure information storage - icons set for all your needs - extensions to store up to 4 snippets in one key - multiple lines of text in one key - clear iOS style interface IMPORTANT: Your data is securely stored on your iPhone, we don’t spy on what you are typing. OftenType PRIVACY POLICY: - We do not collect any data you enter inside your custom quick keys. It is stored locally on your device. - We do not record your login information, IDs, addresses, e-mails etc. that you store in the app. - We need Full Access to load your data from application to quick keys outside the app. It's the only way in iOS design to use quick keys for custom information. - We do not use internet connection to copy or view the data inside your quick keys. Default keys set includes email, name, address, phone, phrases to texting, signature, company name & security ID. All titles are customizable, you can use them for any other texts you have to type often. Please, mind that password form fields usually disable third party keyboards. It’s beyond our power to fix this, though it’s more secure not to store your password inside an app. Download OftenType Wakeupper Normally $0.99. Stress-free and positive wake up with a new video every morning. Choose from various topics, including girls, boys, vacation, nature, lifestyle, sports, humor, cats and dogs. New video will surprise you every morning We deliver you only the best shots from the best videos every time It is much easier to pull yourself out from the bed when you open your eyes and watch an interesting video for a couple minutes Our mission is to bring positive feelings of happiness in your early morning and charge you with a good mood for all further day! Download Wakeupper Wonderland Saga In-app purchase of Jango character free, normally $3. Wonderland Saga is a casual side-way fantasy MOBA sling-shot game. With real-time battle against players from around the world, easy control mechanics suitable for all ages, and easy to learn strategies, Wonderland allow players to enjoy the fun of teaming up and fight against other real player. Each hero have their unique outfit and skills waiting for players to explore and master, improving their MOBA experience and possibly compete in tournaments in the near future! The game is Free-to-play, providing in-app purchase to skip waiting time only, while remaining fair fight with our tracking ladder rank system so players only fight opponents near the same experience. Game Features First instant battle side view battle MOBA unlike any other game, battle with enemy towards victory, strategies and skills are the key to concur the battlefield. Easy to learn, hard to master, instant battle with real player provides a different experience everytime. Multiple hero to choose from and outfits to your liking, unique skills that allows player to form different strategies with each hero. Complete ranking system to show your skills and power. Design with Unity engine, detailed battle map, explosive effects! Download Wonderland Saga FrameLapse Normally $1.99. Make every moment of your life an instant moving picture. Create stunning time-lapses and stop motion videos, and share them with your friends. - Change the frame interval - Set a timer - Front and back camera support - Video frame rate - Custom video duration - Add text or stickers - Stunning filters - Stop motion with onion skin - Import image sequences - Import videos - Use any song from your library as sound track of your video - Share on Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, Twitter and many others - Create MP4 or GIF animation - Intuitive interface You can create back-and-forth looped videos/gifs, stop-motion videos/gifs, jitter/wiggle videos/gifs, time lapse videos/gifs, slideshow videos/gifs Download FrameLapse Huerons Normally $1.99. Huerons are tiny circles arranged on grid. What do you have to do? You have to combine all the Huerons into each other leaving only one in the end. Sounds simple? You bet! Huerons is a challenging puzzle game that will make you think hard and long. The rush of solving a puzzle after bending your mind a million times around it is what will keep you pushing forward. With more than 100 levels, you are looking at days spent in the pursuit of perfection. And it all works with simplest of rules: “Adjacent Huerons merge at empty cells between them”. That’s it! During this journey, you will meet 9 more Huerons that change the way you think about spaces and grids. CAUTION: This game is not for the faint of heart. Enter this adventure only when puzzles are all you care for. FEATURES - Simple intuitive gameplay based on simplest of rules - 125 levels all unlocked (and more as free updates) - 2 game modes, Zen and Time Trial - Hints for all levels (but they only hint at the solution, not solve it for you) - 9 types of Huerons like Portals, Blenders, Black Holes, Chameleons etc. - Visual accessibility: support for Color Blind mode Download Huerons SNAPPTiON Normally $0.99. We set out with one goal when building this app… We wanted to make it as simple as possible to add text quickly to our photo’s and be able to share it immediately onto any social network possible. Yes we added all the good features from other camera apps, and made something this unreal. Full Screen camera Tap to add a SNAPPTiON Simple drawing ability 10 Second video clip capture 20 awesome fonts Share to anywhere from within the app. Download SNAPPTiON Fake Call Pro Normally $0.99. Fake an incoming call from your boss, your wife, or a celebrity at the tap of an app! Get out of bad dates, impress your friends, and prank your enemies! Import your favorite audio as ringtone! Fake Call at the press of a button, or have it delay and call you at a specified time! Record your own voices to start talking to you when you answer the fake call. Just ad lib your end of the conversation for an ultra realistic fake call! This app is intended for entertainment purposes only and does not provide true calling functionality. Enjoy yourself! Download Fake Call Pro PhotoVault Normally $2.99. No one likes someone else being able to accidentally or intentionally view your private photos & videos and so on. With PhotoVault you can easily organize and protect your private albums, photos, videos and accounts! Accessing the application content is protected by your own password to keep your privacy hidden from other eyes. √ Safety: • No networking function(In addition to connect Apple), bring you a sense of security! • Smart Lock technology: if you forget to turn off the software, it auto-lock your privacy √ photos / video • Import photos / videos from your iPhone / iPod touch • Import photo album directly • Do not change photo format or resolution, Do not change video format (Perfect lossless storage) • Photos/videos taken from the camera are stored into the app only, not into the iPhone / iPod touch's library • Export photos to your iPhone / iPod touch • Create custom albums for your photos • Photo slide show, video preview • Multi-touch gestures: zoom and swipe photo • Batch Export, Batch Delete, Batch Move, Batch Copy functions For 'Privacy Photo' • Batch select and save videos, Add Video From Wifi. • Add info for photos or videos • easy to use interface and operation, superior user experience √ Other • Quick response to user feedback (via e-mail feedback from privacy setting) Download PhotoVault Extreme Week Calendar Normally $1.99. Light version of the popular Extreme Agenda organizer app. It gives you a 7 day week view and inline day view to add great features not found in the default calendar. Use it as a great week calendar, or as a trial to see the quality of our advanced Extreme Calendar and Extreme Agenda solutions. Once you are ready you can easily upgrade to the more advanced products from within the app. Features Include: Great Calendaring • Powerful Week and Timeline Day with inline editing. • Uses and expands on your native calendar data. • Sync like you would with the default calendar(Google, iCloud, Exchange). • Advanced repeating event options. • Move/Copy Events • Event Templates • Email Events • Show events on Facebook • Military time, ISO week, and week start options. • Uses time bars and icons to keep you informed at a glance • Filter events based on iCal calendars. • Almost 200 professional icons to mark your events Power and Flexibility • Universal Support • TextExpander Support • Portrait and Landscape Support. • Retina Display Support. • Background and color theme choices. • Help System • Easily upgraded to Extreme Calendar or Extreme Agenda Planner Download Extreme Week Calendar Micro for Yahoo Normally $0.99. # Very light App for Yahoo with Lock Feature # Use Yahoo in private mode . # Keep your Yahoo data private ** It is just not only yahoo lock , it is also a very light version of yahoo Note - Please write in review about your need , we will definitely add those feature in next version. Key Feature - * Lock Yahoo Automatically When App enter in background * You can Lock App By Lock Button in the App * Navigation Button to Use Yahoo in very easy way * Manage Contact * Manage Folder * Basically All the feature of Yahoo # Don't drain your battery so fast and don't full up your device with junks ! # It is useful if you are running out of memory . # Useful for the user who want to keep their Yahoo data private # Once Install Log in and have Fun ! # Lock your yahoo in case any other family member want to use your phone . # Lock Yahoo in case many people access your phone . # It also fast and take less running memory . Download Micro for Yahoo My Things Normally $6.99. A super simple way to remember things in your personal life. We help you to remember things like: - a new restaurant you want to try - an idea you just had - a new song you want to listen to - key summaries of a book you just read - birthday of your friends Features: • a complete planner and organizer • comes with template checklists • save all kind of notes quickly and painlessly (including checklist, photo, audio note, geo-location note) Download My Things Alien Sky Normally $2.99. Reality is boring! Create fantastic and futuristic visions with the power of Alien Sky. With Alien Sky, you can customize your sky with an amazing collection of high resolution space objects. Alien Sky also includes a set of futuristic lens flares optimized for your space explorations. Featured on ProductHunt.com Apple Watch App Included! Get your daily dose of inspiration with our featured photo app, AlienSky for the Apple Watch. As a bonus, we've added a cool Solar Flare animation to show off the amazing Apple Watch display. Alien Sky gives you complete control over sky customization, allowing you create fantastic visions and otherworldly photos. Why settle for a boring sky? There is simply nothing else like this in the app store. USER REVIEWS "Amazing app for creating cosmic creations and stellar sky scenes." "Fantastic app, create epic space images, just brilliant!" "This is an amazing photography app! There isn't another one in its class when it comes to photo FX!!! It allows you to take your images and give them a true SciFi feel. I love it and use it often!!!!" FEATURES - Space Objects such as Planets, Moons, and Galaxies - Bright Suns and Distant Stars - Futuristic Lens Flares Turn your everday photos into fantastic visions with Alien Sky. Tag your photos with #AlienSky for a chance to be featured! Download Alien Sky SelfiEmoji Normally $0.99. You know what your emoji keyboard is missing? ... You! With Selfiemoji you can create your own library of emojis so that you can use as a keyboard on your iPhone and use wherever you can insert pictures. There is no login required. No connecting with facebook before you can do anything. Just get in and start making your own set of emoji! Download SelfiEmoji Luxy Pro Normally $19.99. Luxy Pro is the special version of the only millionaire dating app that finds you millionaire match based on what you really care about-Luxy. Luxy is the leading luxury millionaire dating app for the the wealthy singles. That’s why Luxy is the most popular Millionaire Match maker app in most of the millionaire cities! And Luxy Pro offers you free access to 400 Luxy coins (worth $40) in the first 3 months! Plus some other privileges. Featured on Jimmy Kimmel, CNN, ABC, CNBC, CBS, Huffington Post, Business Insider and The New York Times, to name a few. Luxy caters to the worlds elite 1%, almost half of them earn $1M+, members include CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, beauty queens, super models, celebrities, pro athletes, doctors, lawyers and other elites, cause Luxy is a luxury dating club. Just like Tinder: -Browse and connect with millionaires nearby. -Anonymously Swipe Right to Like other users or Swipe Left to Pass. -Send and receive unlimited messages to your millionaire match. Enhance your Luxy experience by joining Luxy BLACK: -Browse profiles invisibly - only those who you have ‘liked’ will see your profile -Get more cards each day - match with even more wealthy singles! -Enjoy advanced search options and filters, such as search by location -Send messages freely to the most beautiful women and the most wealthy men. -Receives messages from the world’s most wealthy men and women, verified millionaires. NOT A MILLIONAIRE? Don’t worry! Real Luxy users will vote you in based on your profile, once you’re in you can mingle will REAL Millionaires. Download Luxy Pro

Completely change the look of your iPhone with round folder icons, no jailbreak needed

This has got to be one of the coolest iOS bugs we've seen in a long time, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that Apple doesn't fix it anytime soon. Little glitches are common to find here and there in iOS, as is the case with any other software platform. Sometimes they're serious bugs that compromise the security of your iPhone or iPad , but sometimes they're harmless little glitches that offer some unexpected side effects. The latest bug found in the iOS platform thankfully falls into the latter category, and it gives your iPhone or iPad an awesome new look typically reserved only for people who jailbreak their phones. MUST READ:  Making sense of Apple now that everything has changed Apple's iOS platform doesn't support very many customization options in terms of the appearance of the user interface. Apple loves nothing more than simplicity and consistency, so it doesn't support any kind of themes on the iPhone or iPad. Android, meanwhile, lets the user manipulate the UI in any number of ways. You can even install a third-party launcher and change everything about your phone's interface. On the iPhone... you can change the wallpaper. Users looking for a bit more freedom often jailbreak their phones, which allows them to install third-party apps with far more capability than the apps in Apple's official App Store. This way, they can install theming apps that can change an iPhone's layout, icons and more. But now, thanks to a glitch discovered by YouTube user "videosdebarraquito" (via Cult of Mac ), anyone can give their iPhone or iPad a quick visual overhaul in just a few seconds. Here's how it works: Visit this webpage and download one or more of the tiny wallpapers seen there To save them, simply tap and hold on any image, then choose to save it In the Settings app, navigate to Wallpaper > Choose a New Wallpaper > Camera Roll and choose one of the new photos you downloaded That's it — you're done. You'll now find that some or all of your folders will display nifty round icons instead of the slightly rounded squares you're accustomed to. If some icons remain square, you can often manipulate them by rearranging your home screen. Check out the video below to see how it works.

All the panic surrounding Apple’s declining iPhone sales is way overblown

For the first time in company history, Apple recently posted a year-over-year drop in iPhone sales. During the March 2016 quarter, Apple sold 51.1 million iPhones compared to 61.2 million iPhones sold during the same quarter a year-ago. And seeing as how the iPhone is Apple's primary revenue driver, Apple's earnings also took a hit, with the company posting EPS of $1.90, down from $2.33 during the year-ago quarter. Not surprisingly, shares of Apple opened up 8% lower when trading began earlier this morning. And while shares have since climbed back up from a low of $95.98 to about $98, the stock is still down more than 6% as fears of 'peak iPhone' continue to grow. DON'T MISS:  The iPhone 7 might cost you money even if you don’t buy one While there's no denying that iPhone sales this past quarter took a hit, I think people overlooking the fact that there's no way iPhone sales could have even come close to what Apple achieved during its second fiscal quarter of 2015. In other words, the 'doom and gloom' scenarios that many are now associating with Apple are a bit premature. The sky isn't falling nor is the iPhone about to embark on a multi-year decline a'la the iPad, a likelihood an analyst alluded to on Apple's earnings conference call. If we take a step back and look at why iPhone sales checked in lower this year than last, I think it becomes clear that the iPhone is still doing remarkably well. Here's why. For starters, we have to examine why iPhone sales during the year-ago quarter were so high. Remember, the 61.2 million iPhones Apple sold during Q2 2015 were 40% higher than what they sold in Q2 2014. The reasons behind the impressive increase are three-fold. One, last year marked the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. For the first time in company history, Apple was selling two new iPhone models with distinct form factors. What's more, Apple's iPhone 6 lineup marked Apple's first foray into the realm of larger-sized smartphones. That being the case, the iPhone 6 release prompted a unique and unprecedented upgrade cycle that Apple couldn't replicate with the iPhone 6s. To this point, Tim Cook explained: First, from an upgrade perspective, during the first half of this year the upgrade rate for the iPhone 6s cycle has been slightly higher than what we experienced in the iPhone 5s cycle two years ago, but it is lower than the accelerated upgrade rate we saw with iPhone 6, which as you know was a big contributor to our phenomenal revenue growth a year ago. Two, iPhone sales during Q2 2015 were artificially higher due to supply constraints during the holiday quarter. Consequently, many individuals who were eager to pick up a new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus last year had to wait until early 2015 before being able to purchase an iPhone. This year, Apple got a handle on supply and there was no delayed iPhone supply to provide a boost to quarterly sales. Three, it's not entirely fair to compare iPhone sales figures from one generation to the next. Remember, S-cycle refreshes have historically performed worse than numbered upgrades. Again, the upgrade rate to the iPhone 6s was higher than what Apple saw with the 5s, yet lower than what they experienced with the iPhone 6. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Looking ahead, it stands to reason that the iPhone 7 will go on to shatter all previous iPhone sales records. Now if iPhone 7 sales turn out to be disappointing, well, then it's more than fair to declare that we've reached peak iPhone. But until then, such proclamations are far too premature. Touching on the same points, Brian Nichols over at Seeking Alpha astutely points out : Yes, Apple's earnings look bad, with a 12.8% decline in revenue, but investors must remember the comps and how big of a success the iPhone 6 was. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch included two phones versus just one the year before. The product launched to a more developed 4G network in China, and it marked the beginning of annual upgrades on installment plans here in the U.S. In other words, even iPhone 5s owners were able to upgrade and buy a 6 or 6 Plus, rather than waiting two years. ... Furthermore, this is an "s" year for the iPhone, which means mostly software changes. Historically, it is the big hardware changes, with software, and iPhone 5, 6, 6 Plus that really perform well for Apple, not the updates it does between launches. Put simply, let's see what the iPhone 7 brings to the table and how that device sells before categorizing Apple as a company on the downward trend.

Ultimate iPad speed shootout pits all 12 iPad models against each other

Since the release of the original iPad back in 2010, Apple's famed tablet has taken on a number of varied form factors; it's gotten smaller (iPad Mini), unbelievably thin (iPad Air), and more recently, it's gotten a whole lot bigger thanks to the iPad Pro. And much like we've seen with the iPhone, Apple has, more often than not, improved the iPad's hardware consistently year after year, with the iPad 3 perhaps being the lone outlier. In an interesting effort to see how performance varies across every iPad model ever released - an astounding 12 devices in total - the YouTube channel EverythingApplePro recently dusted off Apple's older iPads and put together a well-done video comparison. Suffice it to say, Apple's hardware has improved tremendously over the last six years. DON'T MISS:  Making sense of Apple now that everything has changed First up, EverythingApplePro decided to test startup times across devices. Notably, each device was connected to the same power bank as to ensure a fair fight. The winner? Not surprisingly, the iPad Pro that came out ahead. Following that, the next devices to start up were the iPad Air 2, the original iPad, the iPad Mini 4 and the original iPad Air. Following that, Apple's impressive lineup of iPads engaged in a number of performance tests, including Geekbench testing, Wi-Fi speed tests, webpage loading, operating temperatures when under heavy load, camera performance, and even sound quality. Not surprisingly, the iPad Pro emerged victorious more often than not. Nonetheless, a few older iPad models had curiously strong showings in a few of the tests. You can check out the entire video below for the full results. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvcrmcfgcew

12 paid iPhone apps on sale for free today

Welcome to what is unquestionably our best list so far this week of paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free. We've got 12 fresh new apps for you today that have all gone on sale for free for a limited time, and they span a very wide range of genres. This list also includes a few apps that we really love, including what is easily one of the most innovative apps ever. There's even an app that's perfect for anyone who loves burgers — and who doesn't love burgers? You'll also find a few additional freebies in yesterday's post so be sure to check those apps out as well. DON'T MISS:  Making sense of Apple now that everything has changed These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. If you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. The sale has ended. If you download the app, you will be charged. Cycloramic Normally $1.99. As Seen on SHARKTANK! ▶▶ The Handsfree mode only works with the iPhone 5/5S/SE and must be used on a polished level surface (granite or marble counter top). Cycloramic Revolutionizes the way you take panoramic photos and videos! Handsfree! - Steve Wozniak: ”Unexpected, fanciful and useful all at the same time!” - TechCrunch: "The Best iOS And Android Apps Of 2013" - The New York Times: “Pogie Award for Brightest Ideas of 2012” - Gizmodo: “Coolest thing we’ve seen an app do in a while.” 20 Million total downloads worldwide. ▶ GUIDED Mode (All iPhones and iPads): The easiest, fastest panorama taking app. Just follow the guided system to take the perfect panorama photo every time. Now with HD resolution up to 42MP ▶ HANDSFREE Mode (iPhone 5/5s and iPhone SE ONLY): This revolutionary, fully automated mode lets your phone do all the work. Just put your phone on a smooth, level surface and it will automatically rotates 360 degrees using the phone's internal vibration motor. As it rotates, the phone takes multiple photos, instantaneously stitches them together, and generates a panoramic photo viewable in our immersive viewer. ###NEW CLAP/WHISTLE ACTIVATION in the HANDSFREE Photo Mode ### ▶ CYCLORAMIC UNIQUE FEATURES: - The easiest panorama guidance system. - The fastest panorama capture (less than 5 sec for 180 degree panorama with the iPhone 5S) - Stitching powered by Dermandar. - up to 360-degree panoramas. - Immersive viewer. - Video Conversion: Convert any photo into a video (240p, 360p, 480p, 720p or 1080p resolutions). - Panorama Photo to INSTAGRAM Video converter. - Share to Facebook, Twitter, INSTAGRAM (photo and video), email, sms and camera roll. - ... And for the iPhone 5/5S/SE, the revolutionary Handsfree Mode. Download Cycloramic Gestrument LE Normally $0.99. Gestrument LE - the revolutionary gesture instrument! Swipe your finger to play - it has never been easier to make music! Gestrument received the Innovation Prize in culture 2012 from the City of Stockholm. Excerpts from AppStore reviews of the full version of Gestrument: "Wonderful stuff" ***** "Best musical app ever" ***** "Brilliant! Simple AND Deep" ***** "Génial. Tout simplement génial !" ***** "Thanks for releasing this fantastic instrument." ***** "In love with Gestrument since my first touch. Endless possibilities." ***** "Play with it for just a few minutes and your mind is already racing with inspiration" ***** "This is a totally original well thought out and beautifully constructed music making app." ***** "If you like to play with sound this is your app. Simply that. It is what you have to have." ***** "What a wonderfully creative new way to make music!" ***** "Herzlichen Dank dem Entwickler, ein geniales App." ***** "Wow! This is a wonderful way to create music." ***** "Instant gratification, can't wait to dig in more!" ***** "Vom einem Komponisten für Komponisten." ***** "Rivoluzionario! Bellissima!" ***** "Total Creativity" ***** See videos and read more about Gestrument on www.gestrument.com Developed by Jesper Nordin (www.jespernordin.com) and Jonatan Liljedahl (www.kymatica.com) • Play and compose music with the swipe of your finger • Generate music within defined scales and rhythms • Play with the internal GM sound bank, to use costum soundfonts or to control other MIDI devices or Apps, you can buy the full version of Gestrument • Download new presets from www.gestrument.com or buy the full version of Gestrument to make your own • Record what you play to audio and MIDI file • Export recordings to AudioShare - audio document manager • Copy recordings with AudioCopy • Play back previous recordings, optionally looping • Use Gestrument as a source synth in Audiobus • Allow mixing with other apps, for example play a track in the Music app and play along with it in Gestrument. • Hold (sustain) toggle let you play on other apps while Gestrument is still playing in the background Improvise or compose within predefined scales and rhythms. Use parameters like pulse density, scale morphing, rhythm randomness or pitch fluctuation to find new paths for your musical expression and creativity. Use the tutorials and presets to fit the musical style you want to play and compose in. Play on up to eight instruments at once - all with different individual settings. Gestrument works equally well for rhythmic music or sweeping soundscapes, for solo melodies or chord blocks, for long lines or short staccatos. It can help you make music in whichever genre you can imagine. Download Gestrument LE Live Wallpapers Normally $0.99. *** Live Wallpapers only work on iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s+ *** Get access to custom Live Wallpapers that will animate your lock screen and bring it to life! Select a Live Wallpaper from our catalog, and when you 3D Touch your screen it will start animating. Show it off to your friends! Right now there are more than 100 Live Wallpapers you can choose from. We are working to add more Live Wallpapers as time goes on. To set the Live Wallpaper on your lock screen: 1) Make sure Low Power Mode is OFF 2) Save a Live Wallpaper from the app 3) Open Settings > Wallpaper > Choose a New Wallpaper 4) Select the Live Wallpaper you saved 5) Go to your lock screen, and 3D Touch the screen. Download Live Wallpapers Huerons Normally $1.99. Huerons are tiny circles arranged on grid. What do you have to do? You have to combine all the Huerons into each other leaving only one in the end. Sounds simple? You bet! Huerons is a challenging puzzle game that will make you think hard and long. The rush of solving a puzzle after bending your mind a million times around it is what will keep you pushing forward. With more than 100 levels, you are looking at days spent in the pursuit of perfection. And it all works with simplest of rules: “Adjacent Huerons merge at empty cells between them”. That’s it! During this journey, you will meet 9 more Huerons that change the way you think about spaces and grids. CAUTION: This game is not for the faint of heart. Enter this adventure only when puzzles are all you care for. FEATURES - Simple intuitive gameplay based on simplest of rules - 125 levels all unlocked (and more as free updates) - 2 game modes, Zen and Time Trial - Hints for all levels (but they only hint at the solution, not solve it for you) - 9 types of Huerons like Portals, Blenders, Black Holes, Chameleons etc. - Visual accessibility: support for Color Blind mode Download Huerons Super Calendar Normally $4.99. iOS Premium Calendar Most versatile calendar app and widget in the app store! - day view, list or time view for day events - customize list view for day events - turn on/off month view in the widget - choose from one of 10 styles for month view in the widget - more customization options Also the most customizable calendar app in the app store! - 6 different views easily accessible through swipe. - Light, dark, color or picture theme! - Search your events. - Customize day, week, month, agenda views with templates/styles. - Table style or list for day view - 11 different styles for week view - 11 different styles for month view, 11 different styles for its agenda view - 13 different styles for agenda view including a countdown mode - 3 useful year view styles allowing easy navigation to any day, week or month - 11 different styles for agenda view including a countdown mode - 8 different styles for Reminders - Adjust font size for events, choose font - Choose from 100+ different colors for individual calendars - Easy settings - Option to choose default view - And so much more - Optimized for iPhone 5S, 6, and 6 Plus - This has not been tested with iPhone 5 and below, so it may not work with these older iPhones. Download Super Calendar Dragon Hills Normally $1.99. Are all Princesses really waiting for Princes to come and save them? Not this time! Take control of a very dangerous Dragon in this action-packed adventure and help the furious princess on her revenge mission. Slide down the hills jumping into and out of the ground, crashing and destroying everything on your way. Chase down the knights, conquer new castles and discover new lands! Awesome FEATURES: • Super fun, fast and furious gameplay • Fully destructible terrain • Epic boss battles • Upgradeable weapons, armor and explosive power-ups available for unlocking • Easy to learn, intuitive one-touch controls combined with innovative gameplay • Game Center achievements and leaderboards to compete with friends • iCloud Support Get ready for crazy adventures with this instantly playable and simple to control game! Download Dragon Hills Shake for Cocktail Normally $0.99. Shake! for Cocktail is the ultimate cocktail suggester in the whole App Store. Just select the drinks you have, shake your device and see what you can pour with what you have. The App includes ingredient list, preparation details, standard drink-ware information and tips for 120 International Bartender Association cocktails. Download Shake for Cocktail AnyScan Normally $0.99. AnyScan gives your iphone the ability of scanning any type of documents you want into one single pdf, all kinds of papers, receipts, notes, whiteboards, tax forms, all of them can be put in the light and portable scanner! AnyScan takes fast and optimal algorithms to process the scanned documents, auto detect document edges, correct perspective, eliminate shadows, and set the grayscale with inside 6-levels adjustments. AnyScan has a wonderful workflow, which makes the whole scanning process clearly and precisely, never lost in the stack of operations. You can adjust the brightness and contrast, ratate the document, switch the color mode within just a few taps. AnyScan builds in a predicate seach, you can get your seach result instantly by evaluating a predicate, then get into the document you want. AnyScan builds with a powerful document explorer, looking through your scanned documents is a just pleasure of journey, panning, scaling, paging, switching, all before your fingers. And the clouds support, of course , you can upload the scanned documents to all kinds of online storages, google drive, dropbox, evernote,.etc, then you can share them in anytime, anywhere, any devices. MAIN FEATURES: 1 Share the scanned documents to Email, GoogleDrive, Dropbox,Evernote.,etc. 2 Fully preview and adjust the pdf scan results before you share them out including the file name, page size, file size.,etc. 3 Support any type of documents, all kinds of paper works, receipt, whiteboards, notes, cheque, tax forms .,etc. 4 Optimal algorithm for shadow eliminating, correcting perspective, auto edge detecting, get clear, sharp scan results both in grey and color mode . 5 Fully multiple pages organizing, renaming, sorting, adding, deleting before incorporate them to one pdf. 6 Email documents with pdf, jpg format, or save to local camera roll. 7 Sort documents by name and date, build in a powerful ducuments explorer. 8 Build in a predicate search, search your documents by evaluating a predicate. 9 Steady and fast yet low-memory usage. TIPS ON GOOD SCANNING 1 Make the lighting in the room is good. 2 Keep your hands steady and make the camera focus. 3 Place a dark background under your document to make the auto edge detection work better . This app is still evolving, and your idea is precious, if any advice, please send feedback, it could be a new feature in the next release. Download AnyScan Summize Pro Normally $2.99. 1- Snap a pic of any text 2- Read its summary Special Features: - Key Topic Extraction & Analysis - Categories - Entities Extraction & Analysis Find long text very boring ? Now you can summarise anything on the go... No need to read everything anymore, only the important part! Download Summize Pro Mini for Twitter Normally $0.99. # A lite Version of Twitter with Lock Feature . # Keep Your Twitter profile Safe ,Keep it private . # Use Twitter in private mode . # Keep your Twitter data safe even if someone access your phone . # Small App 3.5 MB only , Very less compare to official Twitter App 65 MB * It is not just only Twitter lock , it is also a very light version of Twitter . Note - This is the Twitter Version of our popular App "Mini for Facebook " Key Feature - * Lock Twitter Automatically When App enter in background * You can also Lock it By Lock Button in the App * Navigation Button to Use Twitter in very easy way * Home button to easily move on profile page * Change Password Anytime * Tweet to your follower easily * Only one time login needed * Basically All the feature of Twitter # Don't drain your battery so fast and don't full up your device with junks ! # It is useful if you are running out of memory . # Useful for the user who want to keep their Twitter data private # useful for the time when some of your friend access your phone then he will not be able to see your Twitter data . # Once Install ,Log in and Enjoy ! # Lock your Twitter in case any other family member want to use your phone . # It is also fast and take less running phone memory . Thank you ! Download Mini for Twitter Text Panther Normally $2.99. Text Panther makes it easy and cost effective to send mass messages delivered to each recipient on an individual basis. Separate your business contacts from your personal contacts. * Schedule text messages to be sent at a later date *Send a mass text message to many recipients, but each message is delivered individually *Text message archiving for safety (password protected) *Create text message distribution lists *Design and send your virtual business card via text message or email *Referral notification, share your contact with someone and let your contact know you just referred them TextPanther is the app that uses automation to enhance your relationships. • Personal- TextPanther makes it easy to always remember holidays, birthdays, anniversary’s, or special events. Schedule the message to be sent as far in advance as you choose. • Business- TextPanther will make connecting with clients and prospects simple and efficient with automation. "Text for a purpose" was designed to be a socially conscious and is a proud supporter of The Cure Cancer Foundation. You can learn more by visiting thecurecancerfoundation.org TextPanther is essential in the 5 keys to a successful business. • Segmentation- Grouping contacts based on a connecting fact. • Automation- Schedule messages to be sent automatically to stay in front of the people you need to. • Variation- Schedule a variety of messages to be sent. • Information- Provide good information to your contacts to increase your value and importance to them. • Repetition- Repeat your message for the ultimate impact. TextPanther allows you to craft a message and schedule it to be sent at a future time that you choose. This feature enables you to automatically stay in touch with anyone you want to. TextPanther helps you organize your contacts into custom groups for an easy way to blast out messages to many contacts at once. Although you are sending to an entire group, the message is delivered as it was just sent to that person. Individualized messaging for a personal feel. TextPanther will archive text messages securely in the cloud for easy password protected retrieval at anytime. No need to worry about your iPhone’s memory either. The archived messages use our memory not yours. TextPanther’s referral exchange function is a breakthrough way of effectively connecting one of your contacts with another one. The user sends a contact’s information to another person and TextPanther simultaneously sends a text to the referred contact so they know who and when their information was shared. Now you are facilitating a seamless connection of your personal network. TextPanther’s wallet is the easiest most professional way to design and share your virtual business cards (unlimited). Input a photo, your company logo, your contact information and all social media profiles. Do you act in various capacities with different roles depending on the circumstances? Then share the virtual business card the matches your role to that situation with one click. If you believe that text is the easiest way to e-communicate with friends, family, business partners and prospects then you need to download TextPanther. Smart texting will increase your sales and enhance your relationships. Imagine combining the functionality of email, contact management and a referral system all into one application. "Paid Tier" Auto-Renewable Subscription Information: * $4.99 USD / Month * Payment will be charged to your iTunes Account at confirmation of purchase * Your iTunes Account will be charged $4.99 for renewal within 24-hours prior to the end of the current period * Subscriptions may be managed and auto-renewal may be turned off by going to the your Account Settings after purchase * No cancellation of the current subscription is allowed during active subscription period Privacy Policy - http://textpanther.com/privacy/ Download Text Panther BurgerNerd Normally $0.99. An app for burger lovers and aficionados to document delicious burgers across the country! Swipe through recent burger uploads, double-click for burger details, rate burgers, take your own burger cam photos and share via Facebook, Twitter or email! Download BurgerNerd

As iPhone sales slump, Apple bets on services from apps to music

As iPhone sales slump, Apple bets on services from apps to music

By Julia Love SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc's first-ever drop in quarterly iPhone sales has spurred Chief Executive Tim Cook to turn the spotlight on prospects for its services business, but the field is rife with competition and may prove challenging for a brand based on gadgets. Second-quarter earnings saw services emerge as Apple's second-largest business after the iPhone for the first time, topping iPad and Mac sales, which both fell. The App Store, Apple Music, storage center iCloud and mobile wallet Apple Pay and other services generated nearly $6 billion in revenue, up 20 percent from the previous year.

Apple reports Q2 earnings: Revenue drops, iPhone sales sink for first time ever

Apple's second-quarter earnings report for fiscal 2016 is historic for all the wrong reasons. The iPhone has driven growth at a breakneck pace for nearly a decade now, and has helped Apple consistently post on-year sales and profit growth in every quarter. But in the March quarter this year, Apple's revenue declined for the first time in 13 years as the pillar on which Apple has stood since 2007 finally began to crack. For the first time ever, Apple's iPhone sales declined, dropping significantly in fiscal Q2 2016 compared to the same period a year ago. MUST SEE: 20 apps that hardcore iPhone fans can't live without No one was surprised on Tuesday afternoon when Apple reported declines in both revenue and iPhone units sales. The company's second-quarter guidance issued alongside its record-breaking first quarter report  called for revenue to fall between $50 billion and $53 billion last quarter, down from just over $58 billion in the fiscal second quarter last year. But, about that first-quarter record... In the fiscal first quarter of 2016, Apple managed to narrowly top the prior year's profit, revenue and iPhone sales records — but it took a bit of craftiness to get the job done. I explained it in an article back in January . Pent up demand for iPhones with larger displays sent holiday sales soaring when the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were released back in 2014. In 2015 demand wasn't quite as high, so Apple had to double the preorder period and launch the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in China much earlier than it did the prior year in order to show iPhone sales growth. https://twitter.com/zacharye/status/643408535452274688 Even then, Apple only managed to sell 2 million more iPhones in Q1 2016 than it did in Q1 2015. It was good thinking and it worked well at the time, but iPhone demand was already slowing. By piling all those sales into the fiscal first quarter, Apple was left wide open to decline in the second quarter. And that's exactly what happened. Apple on Tuesday reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of $1.90 per share on revenue totaling $50.56 billion. Those figures compare to a profit of $2.33 per share and $58.01 billion in sales during the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, Wall Street was expecting EPS to come in at $2.00 on revenue totaling $51.97 billion. Apple shares immediately fell more than 4.5% on the news. Where the crown jewel of Apple's product lineup is concerned, iPhone sales slowed in the second quarter just as we all knew they would. Analysts were expecting iPhone sales totaling 51.53 million units, and actual Q2 2016 sales came in at 51.2 million iPhones. In the second quarter last year, Apple sold 61.17 million iPhones. Elsewhere in Apple's lineup, iPad sales came in at 10.2 million units and Mac sales totaled 4 million units for the second quarter. Analysts were expecting sales to total 9.95 million iPads and 4.53 million Mac computers. iPad sales in the year-ago quarter were 12.62 million units, and 4.56 million Macs were sold during that period. Here is Apple's guidance for the fiscal third quarter: revenue between $41 billion and $43 billion gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38 percent operating expenses between $6 billion and $6.1 billion other income/(expense) of $300 million tax rate of 25.5 percent Now, despite all the doom and gloom you've been reading recently and all the doom and gloom to come following Tuesday's report, this is hardly where the iPhone story turns south for good. Apple is set to launch completely redesigned iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets this September, and the company has even more exciting things coming down the road. In fact, an upcoming new generation of iPhones might change the game more than you can even imagine . Apple's iPhone business won't continue to grow forever, but it's certainly not finished yet.

Kindle Oasis review roundup: Here’s what critics are saying

Earlier this month, Amazon unveiled the brand new, surprisingly pricey Kindle Oasis . Although the eReader doesn't release until the 27th, critics have already gotten their hands on the Oasis, and their reviews are beginning to trickle in. READ MORE:  20 apps that hardcore iPhone fans can’t live without Every review we found was generally positive, but The Huffington Post did have some harsh words regarding the existence of the Oasis. Basically, despite its sleek design and top-of-the-line display, it's just not enough of an upgrade: "But somehow, our appetite for new gadgets means Amazon and companies like it will continue to iterate and release mildly upgraded new hardware to seize our money and eventually get tossed out. The innovations are slowing: Kindle Oasis is likely the best eReader you can buy, but it is mostly a new shell for existing technology. In all likelihood, you can make do without it." Pocket-lint was a bit more enthusiastic, but was still unimpressed with the lack of new features available on a device that costs significantly more than its predecessors: "And therein lies the biggest problem with the Kindle Oasis: it doesn't do anything different. The Paperwhite is £109.99, a full £160 cheaper than the Oasis. Sure, the lighting isn't quite as even, and it's bulkier and heavier, but the feature set is the same. If you asked us which Kindle to buy, we'd point to thePaperwhite and tell you that that's the hero, because the Kindle Paperwhite is just too damn good to ignore." But in spite of any issues regarding the cost or the lack of upgrades, The Guardian gave a beaming review to Amazon's new tablet: "The Amazon Kindle Oasis is the best e-reader available at the moment. Others may be waterproof, or have more advanced features, but the Oasis is just a nicer reading experience, from the way the software works to the way the device feels in your hand." We'll update this post as additional reviews are published, and you can  preorder the Kindle Oasis now at Amazon for $289.99.

10 paid iPhone apps on sale for free for a limited time

If you think high-quality paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free are easy to come by, think again. Hundreds of iOS apps go on sale each day and it takes a whole lot of time to dig through them and come out with the best apps of the bunch each day. But we fight through the pain for you, our readers, because we know how much you love them. Today's list includes 10 paid iOS apps on sale for free, and you'll find another handful that are still free downloads in yesterday's post as well. DON’T MISS:  20 apps that hardcore iPhone fans can't live without These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. If you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. The sale has ended. If you download the app, you will be charged. Secret Calculator Plus Normally $0.99. A normal calculator until you type in your secret password. It then turns into a private storage place where you can hide all your secret photos, videos, notes, files, and bookmarks. You can also use a private internet browser! Features: Calculator • Fully functional calculator • Discrete app icon Photos & Videos • Create private albums • Save your secret photos and videos • Take private photos/videos from within the app! Private Browser • Browse the internet without leaving any traces • Secret Bookmark manager support. Secret Notes • Write and store secret notes Files Viewer • Wi-Fi transfer syncing files without USB • and view top-secret files (.doc,.ppt,pdf,mp3,mp4,gif,png,jpg,html,.xls,etc.) from your computer Photo Viewer • Zoom in and zoom out • Support thumbnail view • Full iOS9, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Support! • And much more! Download Secret Calculator Plus Splashtop 2 Normally $2.99. "Both a breakthrough and a bargain." – NY Times "Splashtop -- Meet the most popular app on iTunes." – USA Today “Apple’s Top 25 best-selling iPad app of All-Time” -- iTunes #1 iPhone business app in 62 countries Over 20 Million Users -- #1 Remote Desktop App for iPhone & iPod! Splashtop is the easiest and fastest way to access your Mac or Windows PC from your iPhone & iPod! Use Splashtop to access your computer on the local network with best-in-class video streaming performance. View and edit Microsoft Office and PDF files. Browse the web using IE, Chrome, and Firefox with full Flash and Java support. Play 3D PC and Mac games. Access your entire media library and documents. Put your PC or Mac in your pocket! To access your computer from across the Internet, subscribe to Anywhere Access Pack via In-App Purchase. * Use your iPhone or iPod to access all of the programs and files on your computer with 100% compatibility, including PowerPoint, Keynote, Word, Excel, Outlook, Quicken, IE, Chrome, Safari, and all other PC/Mac applications * Use your full desktop browser (IE, Chrome, Firefox) with Flash and Java support, with all of your bookmarks and your favorite plug-ins * Enjoy the full video and music libraries that are playable only on your computer, whatever formats they’re in * Play all the 3D games (World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Skyrim, Diablo III, etc.) and all the Flash games (FarmVille, CityVille, etc.) * Enjoy the most vibrant experience with Apple Retina display support (when using native resolution) Download Splashtop 2 Ray Detect Normally $2.99. Discover and surprise! “Ray Detect” is the fast and easy way to detect radiation. So, whether you fly and get your luggage X-rayed, own glazed pottery and other radioactive objects, or fear nuclear mishaps and terrorism, you can now test for unexpected radiation. “Ray Detect” has been professionally tested under strict scientific laboratory conditions. The app does not require any calibration and even works offline. There is no account setup and it does not require any external device. • Reliable, accurate testing in a matter of seconds. Just cover the phone’s camera to reduce light interference and you are ready for testing! • Easy-to-browse calendar and map views for all your measurement records, without limit. • Outstanding representations of your current and past monitoring results for your friends and family to see and become aware without causing them to panic. “Ray Detect” uses the camera sensor to measure the exposure to gamma radiation and X-rays in the context of its effects on human health. It is meant to provide preliminary data and an early warning when dedicated detection devices are out of reach, but it is no substitute for them. “Ray Detect” is designed for relatively low radiation levels, up to 20 µSv / hr or 2,500 CPM. Download Ray Detect Ark Journal Normally $2.99. Ark is an elegant and simple personal journal. The app is designed as a clean and light-weight way to keep track of your thoughts and experiences. All your content is synced across your devices in real-time, and is available offline for continuous use. Download Ark Journal PhotoWidget and Viewer Normally $0.99. Photo widget for iOS 8 and later. Let's put your favorite photo into the widget . The Animated GIF supported :) *If the GIF is not animation in preview, it is not a animated GIF. Please check how to save the image into photos. Save the animated GIF that is displayed in Safari with long-tap. Download PhotoWidget and Viewer Browser and File Manager for Documents Normally $4.99. Download and browse files on your iPhone, iPod or iPad like on your computer. No limits on storage or downloads! √ Full-featured Download Manager Auto-correct file name, fast speed, safe pause and resume downloads. Background mode support. √ Web-browser like Safari with bookmarks Tap and hold to start download, or simply click the link. Private browsing by default. √ File Manager Edit files, organize in folders. Extract zip and rar archives. Work with doc xls pdf ppt txt html rtf and 100+ formats. √ iTunes file sharing support √ Open In files in other apps! ** WARNING: This app does not include any audio or video download feature or any related functionality. The downloadable content must be NON-audiovisual which includes pdfs, docs, xlsxs etc. Download Browser and File Manager for Documents Rabbit Normally $0.99. PageSpeed analyzes and mobile optimization of all URL you want to Rabbit. It is essential to know the value of a web tool PageSpeed. Rabbit get a list with analyzing all relevant parameters in loading a web. Also in that list, we can access a resource link where we advise how to improve the section penalizes the web. You can also analyze the PageSpeed of the websites that you browse through Safari, with the extension of the application for the browser, without having to copy and paste the URL. User Interface: - Adapted to iOS 9 and optimized for all iPhone design. - Easy and intuitive to use. - Refined typography. Future versions: - History URLs - Graphic with URL's evolution - More languages and more surprises ... Download Rabbit Super Calendar Normally $4.99. iOS Premium Calendar Most versatile calendar app and widget in the app store! - day view, list or time view for day events - customize list view for day events - turn on/off month view in the widget - choose from one of 10 styles for month view in the widget - more customization options Also the most customizable calendar app in the app store! - 6 different views easily accessible through swipe. - Light, dark, color or picture theme! - Search your events. - Customize day, week, month, agenda views with templates/styles. - Table style or list for day view - 11 different styles for week view - 11 different styles for month view, 11 different styles for its agenda view - 13 different styles for agenda view including a countdown mode - 3 useful year view styles allowing easy navigation to any day, week or month - 11 different styles for agenda view including a countdown mode - 8 different styles for Reminders - Adjust font size for events, choose font - Choose from 100+ different colors for individual calendars - Easy settings - Option to choose default view - And so much more - Optimized for iPhone 5S, 6, and 6 Plus - This has not been tested with iPhone 5 and below, so it may not work with these older iPhones. Download Super Calendar Monster Stunts Normally $1.99. ***** Support Challenge Mode! Challenge with the best player all over the world! ***** Monster Stunts – A stunt monster truck racing game. Drive the monster truck through the tracks as fast as you can to get rewards. Rotate 360 degrees to get more coins. Please be careful, don’t hit the ground, then would crash the monster trucks. Get more rewards to earn more coins. Unlock more monster trucks in shop. How to play: * Drive by pressing on the right or left side of the screen. * Tilt the device to control the monster trucks. Features: * Extremely fast and addictive gameplay * 70 levels with more to come * 10 monster trucks with more to come * Game Center support * Rotate 360 degrees to get more coins * Universal (support all iOS devices) Download Monster Stunts Mods for minecraft Normally $0.99. Well now you can! We have over 215 mods!! With this app you learn exactly how to mod the game. Also you get to choose which Mods you would like to install and learn about them In great detail, so you can put them in your game!* What are you waiting for? Download this app today & learn how to mod the game Pocket Mine! Download Mods for minecraft

These are the apps hardcore iPhone fans can’t live without

Apple's iPhone had a huge impact on the industry right out of the gate since it prompted a shift toward the touch-centric smartphone experience we all enjoy today, but the iPhone's real game-changer came a year later courtesy of the App Store. By moving app portals off of the web and onto the device itself, Apple brought apps to the masses, allowing users to completely alter the iPhone's capabilities with just a few quick taps. The app market took off from there, and it has since grown into a multibillion dollar business as well as the most important part of the smartphone experience. As big as mobile apps have become though, the App Store is flooded to the point where finding great apps is quite difficult. We do our best to help by drawing attention to the top apps we come across and by publishing a very popular series on paid apps that go on sale for free . Now, it's time to see which apps hardcore iPhone fans say they can't live without. MUST SEE:  My iPhone screen is bigger than your HDTV, but it still fits in my pocket In a thread on Reddit in the iPhone subreddit, user Lev-J asked other redditors a simple question: "What apps can't you live without?" Every iPhone and iPad user has different wants and needs, but it's always a good idea to pay attention to threads like this, especially when they garner a healthy number of responses. In this case, there were more than 370 responses at the time of this writing. I dug through as many of the responses as I could, and I've compiled the 20 app suggestions with the most up-votes here in this post. You'll find them listed below along with links to download each one. 1Password (free): Create complex passwords, store them securely, and sync them across devices. Airmail ($4.99): The most full-featured iOS email client ever. Spark (free): Another extremely capable iOS email app. MacID ($3.99): Lock and unlock your Mac computer using TouchID on your iPhone or even using your Apple Watch. ProTube for YouTube ($2.99): A great YouTube client. MyFitnessPal (free): Track calorie intake and calorie burn. Waze (free): Crowd-sourced navigation owned by Google. Sweep (free): A sleek app that helps you stick to your budget. Tweetbot 4 ($9.99): Widely regarded as the best Twitter app ever. WolframAlpha ($2.99): Portal into all the data on the Wolfram|Alpha website. VLC Remote Free (free): Remotely control your VLC Media Player on your Mac or PC. 2Do ($14.99): A to-do app on steroids. Due ($4.99): Much better reminders app than the one that ships on the iPhone. Workflow ($2.99): Automate... everything. Pocket Casts ($3.99): A very well-made podcast player. Calendars 5 (free): Great full-featured calendar app that's on sale for free this week. Scanner Pro 7 ($3.99): Document scanner that converts words to text. Friendly (free): Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger in one app. Afterlight ($0.99): A simple but capable photo editor. Dark Sky ($3.99): Hyperlocal weather app with alerts when it's about to start raining or snowing. Looking for a few more app suggestions? Check out our recent post on 5 free iPhone apps that will actually change your life .

Microsoft is bringing my favorite iPhone and Mac feature to Windows 10

It's incredible how quickly the tide can turn on the internet. It seems like just yesterday that hordes of angry Windows users were banding together and vowing in unison that they would never patronize Microsoft again because of its shoddy Windows 8 platform. Now, it's almost as though Windows 8 never existed — apparently skipping 9 and jumping directly to 10 worked pretty well indeed. But Windows 10 isn't just a marketing trick, it's a well-crafted desktop platform that doesn't overcompensate for Microsoft's shortcomings in mobile, which is why the Windows 8 experience was so terrible. The best part is that Microsoft continues to make important improvements to its Windows 10 platform, and it looks like the next big addition to Windows will be one of my favorite features from iOS and OS X. DON'T MISS:  My iPhone screen is bigger than your HDTV, but it still fits in my pocket Desktop and smartphone user experiences were entirely separate for a period of time, but Apple and Google have made great strides to better link them. Email protocols like Exchange and IMAP allowed changes made on one device to be reflected on the other, so why couldn't this same concept extend to other areas as well? Apple's Handoff feature suite was introduced as a way to make that happen. Using Handoff, users can switch seamlessly from an iPhone to a MacBook to an iPad without skipping a beat. Web pages you were browsing on your iPhone are instantly available on your MacBook. Documents you were editing on your MacBook open in the blink of an eye on your iPad. Now, it looks like Microsoft is getting ready to bake a similar feature set into Windows 10. As noted by a user on Reddit , a new option appeared for some users in the latest Windows 10 update that refers to Microsoft's upcoming handoff feature. It's not yet fully implemented so it cannot be tested, but this falls in line with earlier reports suggesting that Microsoft is working on functionality similar to handoff. It's important to note that this functionality, once launched, will not be limited to users with Windows smartphones. As reiterated by MSpoweruser , the handoff feature in Windows 10 will be cloud based and will work with third-party apps on the iOS and Android platforms.

iPhone 7 could be more exciting than we thought if this rumor pans out

iPhone 7 reports were bound to start flying at this time of year, with most of them agreeing on the phone’s most important features. Far from being confirmed, the iPhone 7 is supposed to be thinner than predecessors, featuring a redesigned antenna system and no standard headphone jack. A premium iPhone 7 Plus model is expected to have a dual lens camera, and this year’s high-end iPhone is also rumored to pack a keyboard-friendly Smart Connector just like the iPad Pros. But a new report also suggests another key feature is getting a makeover, and it could pave the way for a future major iPhone redesign. SEE ALSO:  My iPhone screen is bigger than your HDTV, but it still fits in my pocket The home button on the iPhone 7 might be touch-sensitive, according to Digitimes . That means the button might be flush with the rest of the phone’s face. This might not seem like a significant upgrade, but it most certainly would be. This type of home button design might be a transition from the standard home button available in current iPhone and iPad models to a buttonless design in the future. The features offered by the home button could be replaced by a combination of touch actions, including 3D Touch gestures, as soon as Apple integrates the Touch ID fingerprint sensor with the screen. The fingerprint sensor is a core iPhone feature that won’t go away anytime soon — Touch ID lets you unlock the iPhone, purchase items Apple Pay and more. That said, there’s no confirmation Apple is indeed going to modify the home button design in the iPhone 7, but we have every indication that the company intends to ditch it entirely in the future. As MacRumors points out , a patent awarded last month indicates that Apple might already be working on such technology. By using a Liquidmetal mechanism , the home button could depress when touched, then revert to normal shape – which would be flush with the rest of the handset's face.

11 paid iPhone apps on sale for free right now

We've got one week left in April and we plan on closing this month out with a bang. That means you can expect a solid week packed with more paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free than you know what to do with. To start things off, we've dug up 11 premium iOS apps that are all free downloads for a limited time, and you'll find them all laid out below. DON’T MISS:  Guess which ‘flop’ sold twice as well as the iPhone in its first year These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. If you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. The sale has ended. If you download the app, you will be charged. Data Widget Normally $1.99. Apple Watch is supported now! The first iOS data widget, a single swipe is all! It takes a creative design named double progress, which brings time and data in one simple diagram. You can see all at a glance . Compatible with all carrier networks! Real-time monitoring,history. Green App: no consumption data, no GPS, no ads Download Data Widget Remote Pro Normally $1.99. Remote is swiss army knife of remote apps - allowing you to control volume, use your iPhone or iPad as trackpad and keyboard, and launch apps on your Mac, without moving from your couch. FEATURES: • Have control of your Mac at your finger tips, relaxing on your couch while watching favorite movie or TV show • Remote turns your iPhone or iPad into a Wi-Fi keyboard and trackpad, making it a perfect controller for a living room, controlling your HTPC • Control volume during music or movie playback, or mute it entirely • Launch or quit any app installed on your Mac (Kodi, Plex and etc.) • Using Wi-Fi it has superior range and performance compared to other wireless technologies without extra dongles or expensive adapters Want to try the features before paying for them, free ads supported version is available here: https://itunes.apple.com/app/remote-free/id629019487?mt=8 REQUIREMENTS: OS X 10.7 or newer iOS 8.0 or newer Download Remote Pro Tasker Normally $0.99. Always be prepared for the task at hand with Tasker! Take your to-do list and project manager app wherever you go. Tasker is a beautifully designed to do list app that makes you more organized and productive. Tasker helps simplify your to-do list and makes getting things done a breeze with its highly customizable features. Start managing your schedule now! Seamlessly sync across all your devices, no registration required! Keep track of your projects and tasks with the “Today” widget, and with the Apple Watch companion app you can review and create tasks on the go. Include contacts, maps, photos, links, due dates, and even connect to Facebook and Twitter with just a simple tap. Organize your tasks into projects, or prioritize tasks by their importance. Make every day a success with Tasker! TASKER KEY FEATURES: GET ORGANIZED - Highly customizable with categories, colors, tags, and contexts for quick & easy organizing - Manage your tasks for anywhere - Create individual tasks or combine them under a project - Filter your tasks by any field - Sort tasks and projects by due date to help you prioritize USE “ACTIONS” TO GET EVEN MORE DONE - Link tasks to contacts, photos, maps, or links - Instant and easy Facebook and/or Twitter sharing - Option to repeat tasks you need to do more than once DON’T BE LATE - “Today” widget for the tasks and projects at hand - Automatic reminders by time or location - View and add tasks directly from your Apple Watch Download Tasker One Wiki A Day Normally $0.99. One Wiki A Day - or OWAD for short - gives you a random and interesting Wikipedia article every day (or whenever you feel like it)! Learn about new things and broaden your horizon one article at a time. > Share the most interesting articles with your friends through iMessage, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and more. > Save your articles for later with Safari's Reading List, Pocket, Readability and more. Currently supported languages: English, Deutsch, Français, Italiano, 普通话, Español, العربية, Pусский, Português, 日本語. If you want to suggest new features or need any help, feel free to contact me through the support button inside the app! Download One Wiki A Day InstaTrend Normally $2.99. -The most recent data about your Instagram activity is read and saved by the app every time you ask to do it (* a limited number of updates by day is allowed to each user: 2 (included) or 100(purchased option) ) -Ultra-fast connection: Connection time is very short, can be done using 3G or Wi-Fi -Confidential login: Login is done using Instagram services, the app doesn't store your credentials (Please, note that the app can only store data for one user. If you log with a new user, information of previous one will be deleted after confirmation). Followers' tracking over time ---------------------------------------------- -Guess if you're seducing new followers or loosing them -Visualize followers' progression in graphic or table format. Data is available for the period between first and last update. -Trend calculation: know if you're attracting (or loosing) more followers than yesterday -No data gaps: Estimations are made for dates where update hasn't been done. These data are clearly identified in the views. -No connection required: Data are stored in the smartphone, then you can explore them without being connected to Internet. Connection is only required to update. Support to increase followers (*Only available as purchased option) ---------------------------------------------- -You choose the target (number of followers) to be reached in 15 days -The app will create the planning for this period -Planning is visualized graphically -Daily target is also shown in the dashboard Share ---------------------------------------------- -Graphics and data can be shared in Facebook with a simple click -Sharing your stats can help you to attract new followers among your friends Data export ---------------------------------------------- -The Database with your data can be saved for backup purposes or to be used externally (ex: reports tool). To do it, you'll need iTunes. Select the app and download to your PC the file ".sqlite" BEFORE YOU DOWNLOAD/BUY ============== -This app has no function to automatically increase your followers just "pushing a button". If you expect this, please don't buy. -The functions not included by default are the following: 100 updates/day (2 in default version) and Target setting -This app acts like a coach with one goal: boost your followers. It guides you to reach a target and telling you each day how far your real results are from the expected ones. -This app uses services for reading the main data that are provided by Instagram. They're essential for the app's correct operation. The publisher of the app (Flyerlake) is not responsible neither for the quality nor the availability in the future of these services. On the other hand and to avoid an overload of Instagram system, the quantity of access by day to this service is limited for each user and could be modified depending on the total demand rate. Download InstaTrend Zombie Hunter Normally $1.99. ARCADE SYLE ZOMBIE SHOOTING RAMPAGE… Want some? Get some… We’re gonna be doin’ one thing and one thing only: Killin’ Zombies. Blast these zombies back to the deep depths of hell and save the human race as we know it. The ladies will love you forever, but heck, you’re just doing it cuz you need to kick your Saturday morning hangover. Yeah, you have that cool looking suit, but that’s just because there was a sale at the local thrift shop. The guns are just a perk of the job. And OH, did we mention wolverine blades and deadly grenades... things are gettin’ interesting. If you’re looking for a traditional, run of the mill zombie shooter, then this ain’t your game, but if you want a retro-styled, zombie-crushin’ experience, look no further. THIS GAME HAS GOT U COVERED. Game Features: Dope arsenal of weapons to upgrade and choose from. Why stick with a pistol when you got a flamethrower?! We got more levels than wrinkles on your grandpa’s face. Talk about some good content. A plane full of snakes sounds pretty ridiculous, but you got a laboratory of nurses stabbing with their tongues, egg-dropping zombie birds, and knife wielding butchers to name a few. In case that isn’t enough, good luck with those 8 bosses. And if you’re one of those “go-getters”, we have that late night lovin’ you be lookin’ for with missions, achievements, and leaderboards galore. Download Zombie Hunter Cloudy Normally $2.99. Cloudy is a file manager for your cloud services. We support GDrive, Box, Dropbox accounts You can view and share your files. It's super easy to use. *****CLOUDY SUPPORTS OFFLINE FILE MANAGEMENT***** You can save your files and view them offline anywhere, anytime. In Cloudy. Download Cloudy PDF Converter Normally $0.99. Simple and easy to use! Convert your images to a single PDF file with this app. Straight foward. - Support for iPhone, Ipad, optimization iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. - Press on the Camera icon on your Home screen and get access to Scan with Camera. - Press on the "+" icon on your Home screen and get photos to pdf. - Photo editor with features (filter, crop, focus, ...) - Pdf viewer gridview - Export your scans to iMessages, Email, Google Driver, Dropbox, ... (under Other Apps). Download PDF Converter Multiple Exposure Normally $1.99. Shoot multiple exposures with your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch! Whether you're a seasoned photographer or a hobbyist looking to learn a new technique, Multiple Exposure provides the tools to give you an authentic experience shooting full resolution multiple exposures on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. How do I use it? • Press the little button to expose a photo. • Press the big button to expose a photo and save your photo to the photo library. It's that simple! Specifically tailored for shooting multiple exposures: • Live Preview • Exposure Compensation • Touch Focus • Front Facing Camera • Filters • Full Editing Suite for Photos From Library You'll be shooting great multiple exposures in no time! Keep up with the latest news, techniques and more at www.facebook.com/MultipleExposureApp. Show off your creations with the hashtag #MultipleExposureApp. Good or bad, your reviews help to improve the app and bring you the features you need to take the best multiple exposures. Feel free to leave a review and let us know what you think. Download Multiple Exposure Training Zones for Cyclists Normally $1.99. Training Zones: The ultimate training zone calculator for cyclists. Create power or heart rate zones and find out valuable information about them. Training Zones creates 7 different scientifically proven training zones for you: - Active Recovery - Endurance - Tempo - Lactate Threshold - VO2 Max - Anaerobic Capacity - Neuromuscular Power These can be calculated from your Functional Threshold Power, your Maximal Heart Rate or heart rate from an FTP test. Not only are the zones clearly defined, Training Zones also provides a raft of information detailing the physiological benefits of training at these different zones. These zones have been proven in the field, put together by cycle coaches studying cutting edge scientific research and working with Elite level riders. Please consult a physician or doctor before engaging in any strenuous activity. This application is intended to help you train within your perscribed safe limits given to you by a qualified member of the medical profession. Download Training Zones for Cyclists EverFont PRO Normally $6.99. Thousands of custom fo nts ready for use on your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch! EverFont is not only a sampling tool for developers and designers, but also for anyone who wants to use beautiful fonts in other applications, such as Pages and Keynote. All fonts are handpicked by our designers and packaged into themes for different situations. Don't forget to join EverFont Club so you can enjoy all the fonts selected everyday by our designers! Features: - Browse every beautiful font - Install fonts to your iOS device - Manage and favorite the fonts you like - Use installed fonts in other apps like Pages, Keynote, and other apps - Put all the fonts you like into a PDF for sharing Download EverFont PRO

Astronaut runs marathon in space -- but slower than on earth

Astronaut runs marathon in space -- but slower than on earth

(Reuters) - British astronaut Tim Peake became the first man to complete a marathon in space on Sunday, running the classic 26.2 mile distance while strapped to a treadmill aboard the International Space Station. As part of the London Marathon, Britain's biggest mass participation race, the 44-year-old spaceman saw London's roads under his feet in real time on an iPad as, 250 miles below him, more than 37,000 runners simultaneously pounded the streets. Peake covered the distance in three hours 35 minutes 21 seconds, which was a world away from the time recorded by the real race winner, Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, whose 2:03:05 was the second fastest ever recorded.

Someone found a way to recharge batteries hundreds of thousands of times

One of the worst things about batteries may soon be fixed thanks to a new innovation from the University of California. Scientists studying battery materials have invented a nanowire that can be used to create batteries that can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times, potentially fixing one of the most annoying things about batteries. DON’T MISS: Huge sale drops price of Google Nexus 6P to under $400 Regardless of how sophisticated a gadget is, it’s only as good as its battery. Batteries degrade over time, and the older they get, the less of a charge they can hold, requiring more frequent recharging. But scientists have now devised a way to protect nanowires in batteries from degradation. They did it by coating a gold nanowire in a manganese dioxide shell, and then encasing the entire assembly in an electrolyte that’s made of Plexiglass-like gel, according to Phys.org . The electrode was cycled up to 200,000 times over the course of three months without showing any loss of capacity and without fracturing the nanowires. Comparatively, a laptop or smartphone battery can be recharged a few hundred times before losing the maximum charge it can hold. "The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option," UCI doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai said. "This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality." It’s not clear when this battery breakthrough will be used in commercial products, but the full study is available in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters .

11 paid iPhone apps on sale for free today

Our list of paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free is coming in a little behind schedule today, but we've done our best to make sure that it was worth the wait. We've got 11 apps in total today that span a number of categories, and there are also still a whole bunch of freebies in yesterday's post if you want to head back there to grab them. DON'T MISS:  This tiny device might be every iPhone owner’s new best friend These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. If you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. The sale has ended. If you download the app, you will be charged. Camera Complete Normally $1.99. The very first camera app with truly handy controls, truly focus peaking mode (like professional video camcorders), truly fast continuous shooting and truly manual control from your Apple Watch. HANDY MANUAL CONTROLS Manual camera controls are one hand reachable in the any device orientation. Even on the iPad. PRO FOCUS PEAKING* You can easily spot a focus area and setup focus area spot color, gain and noise reduction. SMART CONTINUOUS SHOOTING** Camera complete automatically set exposure duration for the best continuous shooting speed. Also it works, when you want to make a series of the quick single photos. APPLE WATCH You can control exposure, focus and white balance from you Apple Watch. * Feature is available on the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and higher device versions. ** 8-10 fps average on iPhone 6 and 20-25 fps on iPad Air Download Camera Complete Calendars 5 Normally $6.99. Calendars 5 is complete re-imagining of what the best mobile calendar experience should be. Calendars 5 is smart, excels in both tasks and events and runs on any iOS device you might have. It's the calendar app you have been looking for. Three things you'll love about Calendars 5: ◆ Natural Language Input ◆ Just enter "Meet John at Starbucks on Sunday" and Calendars 5 will create the event for you. ◆ Task Manager ◆ Easy to use task manager that has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos. ◆ First-class iPad calendar ◆ The first smart calendar for the iPad. Its large screen is great for managing your daily schedule and enables richer interaction with your calendar. What makes Calendars 5 great in use: ◆ Interface focused on events Elegant and easy to use interface makes it super simple to get a quick overview of the upcoming events and tasks. You always keep your focus on what's important; there is nothing to distract you. ◆ Day, Week, Month and List views of your events. Calendars 5 illustrates your Day, Week and Month on a small iPhone screen the best possible way. Depending on the situation, select the view that conveniently unveils your schedule. ◆ Works online and offline Create, edit and delete events or tasks whenever you need it. All changes will be synced back to your account once you are online. ◆ All the features you love Create custom recurring events (yoga every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday), get reminders or set custom alerts, invite people to your events and more. ◆ Act as you feel it Intuitively create events with just one tap in your calendar. Drag and Drop tasks and events, swipe to switch between days and weeks, return to your ‘Today’ schedule with one tap. Download Calendars 5 Photo Flashback Normally $0.99. A simple app that shows all the photos on your iPhone, iPad and your iCloud Photo Library that were taken on this day throughout the years. *** MacStories.net: Once you’ve put all your photos together you deserve an app to easily relive all your memories and discover old pictures again. Photo Flashback does exactly this. AppAdvice: It’s a simple but smart app, and one users will enjoy. Now, however, Photo Flashback is even better. *** Be surprised every day! You can also look up any day of the year, perfect for special occasion days like birthdays and anniversaries! Features: - Notifications for when you have Flashback photos - Notification Center Today widget - Apple Watch app, Glance and custom Notification - Favorite or delete a photo from within the app - Include or exclude this years photos - Share a photo using the build-in system share sheet - Your privacy is important, especially regarding your photos. All of the functionality of the app is done locally on your device, even notifications. When downloading a photo from iCloud, the app asks iOS to do it. Sharing is done only when the user chooses to do it. A note on notifications: They are not enabled by default and you can enable them in the settings menu (the icon on the top left corner). You can choose what time to receive the notifications. Download Photo Flashback Camera Unleashed pro Normally $0.99. Camera Unleashed is about one thing - shooting unlimited photos ! Camera Unleashed is the first-ever camera application with free, unlimited cloud space, allowing you to shoot unlimited photos & videos without taking any phone storage. Featured Highlights: ** Shoot unlimited photos without taking phone storage** Do you always run out of storage on your phone? This is where Camera Unleashed steps in! The app automatically and safely upload all of your photos to the cloud as soon as you shoot them, so that you can share or view them later. No more worrying about running out of space for your private photos and videos! **Secure & Reliable cloud storage with AWS** Camera Unleashed integrates Amazon Web Service, one of the safest cloud services in the market. Help to keep your precious memories safe by backing up your photos to the cloud, protecting them even if your phone takes a dip in the ocean! **Multi-device support, never lose your photos** Manage billions of photos on one account. You can view iPhone photos on any other device in real time. No need to transfer photos every time you switch devices, and no more worrying about losing photos if your phone is lost or stolen. **One-tap beautify & Unique live filters** Get rid of fake looking photos? Want to put some magic in your picture? It won't take more than 1 second with one-tap beautify function of Camera Unleashed; You can also snap photos with quality effects and stickers applied in real time. **Share precious moments in less than a moment** No more 'Send me photos later'! Take a great group selfie at a party? Camera Unleashed 's Shared Album features make all photos instantly available to the right group members - with you at the party or anywhere else on the planet! No need for Bluetooth or slower file transferring options. Download Camera Unleashed pro My Files Normally $0.99. iFileExpress is a powerful tool to manage,protect files and transfer local storage such as pictures,music,videos and documents between Apple mobile device and PC/Mac.Best used together with iFunbox for fast file transferring from PC/Mac. With iFileExpress you can -Passcode Lock with Touch ID to protect your private photosideos and confidential documents -View verieties of file types like JPG,PDF,Office documents,even some video types like RMVB,AVI and etc. -Creat and edit texts to deal with your personal notes easily and safely on your Apple mobile device -Sharing texts,photos,videos,webpages,even locations with iFileExpress can help you keep enternal records. -Share photos,videos or other files in iFileExpress with other apps Key Features: -Privacy protection Are you afraid of others' peeking? iFileExpress helps you out!Fingerprint authentication via Touch ID helps you protect your privacy perfectly. -Transfer files fastly,conveniently and reliablely Transfer local storage between Apple mobile device and PC/Mac.How convenient it will be with 1 minute for a full HD movie, 10 seconds for a music album and 1 second for a PDF report, a Word document, an XLS spreadsheet or a PPT slide desk. -Intelligent file manager Automatically recognise the veriety of file type and support most common file types -Support two-way transmission via Share -Support 3D Touch-enabled actions:more convenient way to view documents and photos. New features will be coming soon.Stay tuned! Download My Files Cards for Reddit Normally $8.99. Cards for Reddit is a simple, beautiful way to browse reddit. Designed in the familiar “cards” UI that will make viewing content seamless on your iPhone. • Browse the front page and log in to view all of your favorite subreddits • All photos and videos appear inline with touch to preview functionality • Tap on comments to expand and collapse all replies • Upvote/downvote any post • Access your reddit inbox and comment or direct message with the chat bubble style Download Cards for Reddit Universal Movie Player Normally $0.99. Universal Movie Player is the universal mediaplayer for your iPhone and iPad Main features: • Support 3D Touch (only for iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus) • The huge amount of supported video formats • Enabled video search via Spotlight (iOS 9 or above) • Touch ID or password protection • Sync videos via Wi-Fi or USB using iTunes for Mac, PC • Built-in Search • Access to the camera roll for video import • Sort by: name, date, type • Support folders, rename it, move or delete video/ folder • Marks for the new video • "Open in" function from Mail attachments • Favorites Video Player features: • Save the last played position • Support gestures. Swipe left/ right - rewind back/ forth. Swipe up/ down - change the brightness. Swipe right up/ down - change the volume • Support subtittles, support availible external subtitles • Support audio tracks • Support hardware acceleration H.264 • Playback speed: 0.5X to 2.0X • Aspect ratio: standart, 4:3, 5:4, 16:9, 16:10, 2.21:1, others • Ability to set up brightness, contrast and saturation. • Video streaming Network Services: • Cloud services: iCloud Drive, Google Drive • Network services: WebDAV/ Windows SMB/ uPnP/ DLNA Other: • Step-by-step user guide Download Universal Movie Player iSchool Normally $2.99. iSchool is a study organizer and Timetable Schedule Planner, both for schools and universities. Very minimalistic but has everything you need. Convenient study-schedule, notes are attached to classes, homework with notifications, grades, grade's analytic. Take a pictures or use voice recording as a note. Very simple. Very useful. With iSchool you can: - Keep track of your study Timetable Schedule, make notes during your classes - Track your tasks - homework, assignments, get notified in advance about deadlines - Keep your grades, compute a grade average by semesters and overall - Share you homework through the social networks or bluetooth interface Download iSchool Ananda Normally $4.99. Ananda helps you meditate, focus and relax with progressive binaural tones and high quality peaceful sounds. -Enhance your brainwaves Choose from one of Ananda’s numerous binaural programs to focus, relax, meditate, or even to get the most out of a nap. Each program comes with binaural beats designed to help you reach a specific mood or state of mind. -Discover a new ambiance every time Each session provides a subtly fresh, new ambiance. A unique combination of nature sounds, chants, mantras and peaceful bells is generated on top of binaural tones every time you start Ananda. -Recharge and feel good Take a break at home, at the office, or in the subway. Even a few minutes of Ananda will get you refreshed and ready to deliver your best while staying calm and zen. Main Features - 13 Binaural programs - Conscious Thinking - Focus & Concentration - Increased Attention - Learn & Memorize - Creativity - Energize - Deep Meditation - Lucid Dreaming - Intuition - Relaxation - Restorative Sleep - Power Nap - Wake Up - Short description and benefits of every binaural program - High quality nature and peaceful sounds - Choose the sounds you prefer - Sounds are mixed together in a new way for every session - Simple and minimalist design - Information on brainwaves and binaural tones included in the app Download now and let us know how Ananda Meditate, Focus and Relax helps you in your daily activities. Download Ananda BrainWave Tuner Normally $3.99. ***26 + preset brainwave patterns. Nominated as ‘Best Healthcare and Fitness App’ by Handango. *** You must have heard about brainwave test in medical field. Doctors can detect people’s mood condition according to the brainwave frequency. Since you know it, have you ever hear the sound of brainwave in reality? Maybe not. Now BrainWave Tuner can help you experience the wave sound with your earphones on your iPhone. BrainWave Tuner is an integration of advanced Electroencephalography theory and considerate humane operating design. The most distinctive feature of BrainWave Tuner is that the wave sound is specially designed to cater users’ unique needs. With different wave patterns, user can relax his body and mind and stimulate his thought. Once tuned in, the brain will be closed into a quiet status and become calm. The wave strength can be changed from weak to strong to achieve best effect. *Distinguished Features - Easy-to-use user interface - Advanced Electroencephalography theory fully employed - 26 professionally built brainwave patterns with more to come - Pleasant ambient nature sounds to accompany the brainwave session - Adjustable volume/strength for both brainwave and ambient sounds - Configurable duration for your brainwave sessions *26 Brainwave Entrainment Programs - Headache Treatment Ⅰ(steady 10/5) - Headache Treatment Ⅱ(steady 10/5, circular) - Headache Treatment Ⅲ(varying 10/5) - Pain Relief - Meditation - Schumann Resonance - Dreamy - Sleep Induction - Relaxation - De-Stress - Self-hypnosis - Attention Increase - Creativity EnhancingⅠ(steady) - Creativity Enhancing Ⅱ (quavering) - IQ Increase - Memory Boost - The Awakened Mind - Quick Mental Refresher - Energy Boost - Confidence Boost - Learning Aid Ⅰ(for subliminal) - Learning Aid Ⅱ(for studying) - White Noise of Ocean Waves - White Noise of Shoveling Sand - White Noise of Rain and Windshield - High Frequencies *Here Are Recent Feedbacks From Brainwave Tuner Users "I bought Brainwave Tuner just to try it out and have some fun with this "brain stimulator". I never really believed in it. But then I noticed it really did work!" "The Brainwave Tuner has helped me to regularize disrupted sleep and waking cycles in a very short time. The headache treatment is very efficient.” Note: Don't exercise while listening to Delta. Don't sleep while listening to Beta. And never operate anything dangerous when listening. *Disclaimer People with seizure disorders and other health issues should consult their doctor before using any binaural brainwave entrainment app. Download BrainWave Tuner instag Free Normally $0.99. Tag your pics like never before ! Want more likes to your photos now ? Download INSTAG immediately it helps you to add hashtags to your Instagram photos easily ,You MIGHT get more likes and followers. INSTAG provides best hashtags for your precious pics just copy the tags and paste it in Instagram ! ## FEATURES ## ● 1 Tap to Copy Hashtags ! ● Find the most popular Users of instagram ● Get More Instagram Likes and Followers ● Tag @instag or #instag on Instagram for a shoutout or to featured in our next post! ● Find the most popular hashtags ● Simple and easy-to-use layout. ● Easily request for a new category by sending a mail ## How To Use ## ● Simply select a category, click on COPY button, and Paste into your Instagram photos ! ● Add categories to favorites by tapping the star on the top right! ● Create your own custom categories with hashtags of your choice and use them later or whenever you want just click on custom button and add your tags with # sign and then click on save button that’s it ! ## INSTAG Lite VS Pro ## ● Unlimited Custom Category slots! ● No Ads! ● Access to all 100 top Instagram hashtags Download instag Free

This tiny device might be every iPhone owner’s new best friend

The iPhone's lack of expandable storage has created an entirely new breed of services and accessories aimed specifically at iPhone users. $650-$750 is a huge amount of money to pay for a smartphone with just 16GB of storage, and that 16GB of space always seems to vanish in a matter of weeks considering how big games and video files are these days. Even users with 64GB or 128GB iPhones often end up filling their handsets with data, and then the dreaded errors like "cannot capture video" begin to appear. Several solutions exist for this problem. You can use a service like Google Photos to back up your images and videos, or you can use a device like the Lyve Home Photo and Video Manager . Personally, I like the simplicity and efficiency of a simple iPhone-compatible flash drive, and I may have just found my new favorite one. DON'T MISS:  5 hidden Galaxy S7 features I wish my iPhone had Flash drives compatible with Apple's iPhone come in all shapes and sizes. There are even storage drives that are built into charging cables , and wireless flash drives that don't need to be plugged in. I happen to be a fan of keeping things as simple as possible, so devices like SanDisk's iXpand mobile flash drives have always appealed to me. And when SanDisk reached out with news of an updated model, I was happy to check out a review unit. This is a pretty significant update. First, the hardware — SanDisk has completely revamped its design with the latest iXpand flash drives. Here's what the old one looked like: And here's the new one: The new model features a Lightning connector on one end for your iPhone or iPad, and a standard USB 3.0 port on the other end to connect to your Windows or Mac PC. That's basically it — this new design is about as compact as it gets, which makes carrying the device in a purse or laptop bag a no-brainer. That way anytime you need to move files off of your phone or tablet, your flash drive is ready to go. On the flip side, you also always have your photos and videos on hand to share with people, even though they're not taking up space on your phone. SanDisk's new iXpand models also ship alongside an updated companion app with a sleek design and a simple interface. Navigation is easy and the app can be used to move files off of your device or to view files stored on the drive. You can even store music on the iXpand drive and use the app as a player if you want to. And finally, my favorite setting lets the app automatically transfer any new photos and videos to the drive as soon as it's connected to the phone. The new iXpand drive comes with 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of storage with prices ranging from $49.99 to $129.99, and they're available for purchase beginning today .

Fed should better safeguard economic data, internal watchdog says

Fed should better safeguard economic data, internal watchdog says

The Fed provides on embargo its most market-sensitive information - ranging from the Federal Open Market Committee's statement on monetary policy and policy meeting minutes to monthly data on industrial production and consumer credit - to vetted members of the press, including Reuters journalists, in a secured room on Fed premises. Reporters must surrender cell phones and other electronics and pass through a metal detector before entry to the room, where they can write news stories for publication when the embargo is lifted and the Fed restores communications to the outside world.

5 hidden Galaxy S7 features I wish my iPhone had

So many people have iPhones these days, but precious few people actually know about all of the useful features hiding inside iOS. That's why we regularly publish articles covering iPhone and iPad features that aren't well-known — like this post on  25 hidden iPhone features that are really, truly hidden . By bringing these features to light, we help iOS device users get the most out of their smartphones and tablets, and we get emails all the time from people thanking us for helping them learn something new. Unfortunately, today we're going to focus on a bunch of great features that aren't hiding in your iPhone or iPad. DON’T MISS:  How to tell if all those glowing reviews on an Amazon product listing are fake I've been spending a lot of time lately with Samsung's Galaxy S7 edge . In fact, I recently  tried to switch to Samsung's latest flagship phablet  from my iPhone 6s, and I really wish I could have. As far as smartphone design and hardware goes, the Galaxy S7 line outshines Apple's iPhones and everything else out there right now. Add in a class-leading display and the best smartphone camera the world has ever seen, and you can see why I tried my best to make the jump. But alas, iOS is just too good. I summed it up in an earlier post covering  8 reasons I still can’t leave the iPhone and switch to Android . I still carry the Galaxy S7 edge with me quite often though — I just can't seem to leave it behind. And while I've been spending so much time with the phone, I've discovered a number of terrific lesser-known features. Here are some of my favorites that I wish were also hiding in my iPhone: Rearrange/replace shortcuts in settings pane : Apple's iOS devices have a Control Center that can be accessed by swiping up, and it provides shortcuts to a bunch of features and settings. It's a nifty tool that I use all the time, but why can't I customize it? I rarely use the calculator and timer on my phone, for example, so those slots could point to things I actually do use. On the Galaxy S7, users can swipe down from the top of the phone twice to access a settings pane with far more shortcuts, and then tap the edit button to rearrange them so that the most used items are listed first. Two power-saving modes : Apple's iPhone is best-in-class in a lot of ways, but battery life definitely isn't one of them. There is finally a power saving mode now in iOS, but it doesn't really do all that much in practice. Meanwhile on the Galaxy S7, there's a standard power saving mode and an "ultra" power saving mode that cuts all non-essential functions and lets hour phone last for hours on just a charge of just a few percent. Screen recording : Apple's iPhone lets you take a still screenshot, but I can't tell you how much easier my life would be if I could record videos of my screen to help friends and family members with their iPhone problems. On the Galaxy S7, you just go to Settings > Advanced features > Games > Game Tools to enable the feature, and then a single tap on a floating button lets you record a video of your screen. Reminder notifications : My most important notifications appear on my Mac in addition to my iPhone, but there are some notifications from third-party apps that don't. Sometimes I see something but I'm busy at work so I forget to come back to it. On the Galaxy S7 you can go to Settings > Accessibility > Notification reminder and set an interval so the phone will remind you of unread notifications. One-handed operation : This is a huge one for me — probably the biggest. I really don't like how small the display is on my iPhone 6s, but I can't switch to the iPhone 6s Plus . It's just too gigantic to use comfortably with one hand. Reachability (double-touch on the home button) helps you reach things at the top of the screen momentarily, but it obviously does nothing to make typing with one hand easier. On the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, you can go to Settings > Advanced Features and enable the "one-handed operation" feature. Once enabled, a triple-tap on the home button will shrink the entire screen and place it in the bottom left or right corner of the display like this: It seems odd at first, but I find myself using it all the time. The feature makes one-handed use not just possible, but actually comfortable.

Echo is our favorite Amazon product ever, and it’s on sale for one day only

Amazon's lineup of Kindle eBook readers and tablets is by far the company's best selling hardware product line, and for good reason. Amazon has come a very long way in the eReader market and there's little question that its devices are best in class. The brand new Kindle Oasis shows that Amazon has no plans to let go of its lead anytime soon, and we can't wait to get our hands on one after preordering ours recently . But there's a different Amazon hardware product out there that is easily our favorite of all time. It's the Amazon Echo , and it's on sale right now for one day only. Discounts on the Echo are very rare so we definitely had to tell you about this one, which is available on Tuesday only. The 15% price drop brings Amazon's Echo down to under $154, and of course that includes free Prime shipping. Here are some key details about the Echo: Plays all your music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio Allows hands-free convenience with voice-control Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing Answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and more using the Alexa Voice Service Controls lights, switches, and thermostats with compatible WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, Nest, and ecobee smart home devices Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills--over 100 added since launch, including Domino's and Uber Also on sale today only is the Amazon Tap , which is a newer portable version of the Amazon Echo that's even more affordable. Amazon Echo : $153.71 with free Prime shipping Amazon Tap : $111.01 with free Prime shipping

Blackberry CEO says tech firms should comply with lawful access requests

Blackberry CEO says tech firms should comply with lawful access requests

Tech companies should comply with lawful requests to access protected data, BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen said on Monday, in thinly veiled criticism of rival Apple Inc for its recent standoff with the FBI. Chen made the comment in a blog posting after reports by Vice and Motherboard last week that threw a spotlight on a 2014 case in which Canadian law enforcement authorities used intercepted messages between some BlackBerry devices to unravel an organized crime network. The devices were consumer phones that were not protected by BlackBerry's BES server, which helps secure any devices running within corporate networks.

How to tell if all those glowing reviews on an Amazon product listing are fake

Look at this product on Amazon . Look at all those crazy reviews. Seriously, look at them! Can they possibly be real? No way... right? Product reviews are a key component when you're shopping, especially on a site like Amazon. Since the popular online retailer has such a wide reach, customer reviews are often a very good tool to use when you're shopping for something. Of course, retailers know that as well as you do, and less scrupulous vendors can sometimes take advantage of that by creating fake reviews for their products in an effort to make them look better than they actually are. As it turns out, however, there are tools you can use to figure out when you're being had. DON'T MISS:  How to get 2GB of free data from Verizon in just a few seconds Don't leave things to chance when you're researching products to purchase. Is this sleek 65-inch 4K Ultra HD TV really as good as the reviews make it out to be? Maybe you'd be better off with this hot 55-inch model , which is on sale right now for under $900. And will this cool-looking little drone really last or are all those positive reviews disingenuous? First of all, use common sense. If a product has dozens of similar reviews in broken English that were all published around the same time, that's a reasonably good sign that the reviews are fake. Unfortunately though, fake reviews aren't always that easy to spot because not all vendors are that stupid. Some do a good job of covering their tracks and that's where third-party tools come into play. There are a few different options out there that will help you spot products with fake reviews, but we've found Fakespot to be one of the best available. The website couldn't be easier to use — simply paste an Amazon URL into the search bar and Fakespot will analyze the reviews on the page. After the analysis is complete, the site will return a grade between "F," which means that the product listing is littered with fake reviews, and an "A," which means it's 100% genuine. Want to see some Amazon products that Fakespot has determined to be littered with fake reviews? Check out these  mini inflatable beach balls , these stylish iPhone and iPad charging cables , this decent-looking iPhone 6/6s case or this Qi wireless smartphone charger . Would you have knows those reviews were fake if we hadn't told you?

Today’s best paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free

We've been on a roll this week and yesterday's post covering paid  iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free for a limited time might have been the best so far... until now. We've got nine fresh apps for you today, including some fun games and a few neat utilities as well. There are also still a few remaining sales going in yesterday's post, so head back to that one if you want even more freebies. DON’T MISS:  The stupidest thing Sprint has done in a long, long time These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. If you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. The sale has ended. If you download the app, you will be charged. Secret Flip Normally $0.99. Secretly send email and text messages with the flip of your iPhone. ● It works even when Secret Flip app is in background or when iPhone is asleep. ● Send messages to multiple emails and phone numbers at once. ● Worldwide instant text message delivery included. Ideal for: ● Business Deals ● Personal Security ● Emergency Situation ● Spying (Serious & Fun) ● Law-Enforcement ● Sting Operations ● Plain Fun Download Secret Flip AllPass Pro Normally $2.99. AllPass is an app that keeps all your vital information in one secure vault. • Quick opening of data using Touch ID • Store your logins, credit cards, identities, and secure notes • Log in to websites without having to remember any of your passwords • Fill credit cards and identities without typing • Quickly access your most used items using Favorites and History • Fast search to find what you need • Support Folders for better file organization.You can select a template for any folder to create records as fast as possible • Unlimited number of databases • Encrypts all your data using best and most reliable AES 256-bit encryption • All protection mechanism is offline on your device only • Auto-lock protects your vault even if your device is lost or stolen • Syncs securely with your other iOS devices • Backup & Restore your data via iCloud, Mail or iTunes • Export and import via Mail, iTunes and CSV text files • 180 icons to personalize your records • 5 standard templates for fast data entry with the ability to create or edit custom templates with unlimited fields • Integration with iOS • Optimized for all types of devices and screen resolutions Choose the AllPass for storing important information and your digital life will become more comfortable and safe. Download AllPass Pro Heavy Blade Normally $0.99. Heavy Blade is a 3D hack and slash dungeon crawler with gorgeous visuals and a heavy rock soundtrack. FEATURES: - 30 dungeons filled with monsters to explore - (NEW) 5 collectible weapons each with a unique spell, including fireballs, magic missile, electricity, and ice shards - Spend your gold to upgrade your character and weapons - State of the art console quality graphics with unified lighting and shadows never seen before on an IOS device. - Listen for whispers to locate secret doors and hidden areas - Gather loot from dead enemies or barrels and replenish health and mana with potions. - Playable with the touch screen or third party game controller (recommended). SUPPORTS: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 3rd gen and later MFI Controllers Download Heavy Blade Netcasts Normally $0.99. Netcasts is a simple but powerful all-in-one audio & video podcast and streaming internet radio / tv player and has been created as a personal media app which I wanted for myself. Here are some of the key features:- 1) Podcasts, Radio & TV Stations - Supports podcasts, streaming radio and TV stations with excellent support for recovering from network interruptions in poor network conditions (e.g. while driving). You can also stream podcasts without downloading. 2) Simple - A very simple UI designed for the best podcasting & radio experience. Subscribing to a podcast or radio/tv station is super simple and can be done in a few seconds by browsing the store, searching or by specifying a feed url. 3) Dynamic Playlists - Supports dynamic playlists on a range of criteria including deep textual search e.g. you can create a dynamic playlist which will show all episodes which have reference to a keyword like "Apple" in addition to other date and download status related criteria etc in title or show notes. 4) MiniPlayer Support - The app has a mini player like the new Apple Music App which can be used to control playback from anywhere in the app. In addition the mini player also supports gestures to skip forward and backward. 5) Background Playback - Supports background playback for both audio and video podcasts. For video podcast you can have audio only playing in the background. 6) Automatic Downloads & Archiving - The app supports automatic downloads of new episodes. It also supports automatic archiving as per the criteria defined by you. 7) Sleep Timer - The application support sleep timer so you can set a sleep timer and the playback will stop after a specified time. This is useful if you are like me and go to sleep with music playing. Download Netcasts PhoneBook Pro Normally $1.99. PhoneBook Pro - it is an application to manage your contacts, that will make your address book neat and easy to use. MAIN FEATURES • Remove duplicates and merge contacts • Backup and restore contacts • Group messages and emails • Filter contacts by any conditions • Favorite contacts in the app and in the Notification Center CLEANING THE CONTACTS The app will find all the duplicate contacts, contacts with the same phone numbers or email and similar names. Before clearing you can preview result of the merging and manually select the contacts. BACKUP Backups can be sent by email or transferred to your computer via iTunes. You can restore all the contacts at once, or manually selected contacts. You can connect your Dropbox account and automatically save contacts on a schedule. FAVORITE CONTACTS You can bookmark the phone numbers or emails. Available the appropriate action: call, send a message or email, call by Facetime or send a message in WhatsApp. + Widget with your favorite contacts in Notification Center. CONTACT MANAGEMENT • Instantly send group text & email • Filtering contact with any conditions • Export contacts by Mail or in a message • Create, edit, delete and batch delete contacts, groups and filters • Handy organization of contacts • Quick search • Quick access to your own contact • View the links and addresses on the map Download PhoneBook Pro Remote File Manager Normally $4.99. Remote File Manager allows you to directly access your files on remote computers (Mac, Windows, Linux), NAS and cloud storages (Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive etc). What's the major difference between Remote File Manager and other file apps? * Streams remote files(docs, photos, movies and music) to your iDevice without doing file transfer. * Manage your remote files right on your iPhone/iPad. * Use CIFS/SMB protocol to access network shares. It doesn't require any additional software running on the server side. Access Network Shares Supported OS and devices: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme and NAS. Access network shares by CIFS/SMB protocol. Manage (copy/move/rename/delete) your remote files from iPhone/iPad. Stream movies and music from network shares to iPhone/iPad. Transfer files between network shares and iPhone/iPad. Search remote files by filename. Support network discovery and make connection setup easily. Support VPN and port forward(139 and 445 port) to connect your computer/NAS over Internet. Access Cloud Storages Supported Cloud Storages: Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and Box. Access and manage your files on Cloud Storage. Stream movies and musics to iPhone/iPad Transfer files between Cloud Storage and iPhone/iPad. Supported File Types Photos: Support JPG, PNG, TIFF Play Slideshow Transfer photos between iOS Photo Library and network shares/cloud storages. Share photos on Twitter, Facebook, Email etc. Videos: Support majority video formats: MOV,MP4,M4V,MPV,AVI,XVID,MKV,RMVB,WMV,FLV etc. Play Up to HD quality (1920 x 1080 pixels) for Quick Time media files (MP4, MOV, M4V, MPV) Play up to DV quality (720 x 576 pixels) for other media files (AVI,XVID,MKV,RMVB,WMV,FLV etc.) Music: Support MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV Background, shuffle, Repeat play PDF: Fast open large pdf file. Support Outline, Bookmark, page thumbnails, annotation link etc. Documents: MS Office: Word, Excel, Powerpoint iWork: Pages, Numbers, Keynote And more doc formats: plain text, RTF(Rich Text Format), HTML and Web Archives Download Remote File Manager My Fonts Normally $0.99. Bored with standard fonts in your messages? Get My Fonts - a cool collection of hand-picked fonts for your messages. Use them in all your favorite apps! Features: - Collection of unicode fonts - use them right from the keyboard in any app - Font stickers - create your own font stickers and share them with friends - Customize both color and size of font stickers - Deep integration with Color Keyboard Maker: add color keyboards to My Fonts, just open the app to have all your themes in the app! - Super easy to use - no need to figure out where to find a font - you get straight to the font gallery - Lots of cool style to choose from - Standard emoji keyboard included - Regular updates - always something new to enjoy Note: make sure to add My Fonts to the keyboard list in order to have it handy in every app. Go to Settings/General/Keyboard/Keyboards/Add new keyboard. The app works without Full Access. Spice up your messages now with My Fonts! Download My Fonts Cucalu Normally $1.99. **Rediscover reality with your iPhone** Cucalu lures you into looking at the ordinary with a new perspective. As a smartphone game it's quite atypical: it invites you to explore reality, rather than your screen. Through all levels your creativity is challenged to spot or create what is to be found square, triangular or round. Play with reality and rediscover what is right in front of you. Share your discoveries by releasing them into a pool of new friends. Praise what others see and work on your creative skills. It doesn’t matter where you play, but what you see. With Cucalu, you treat yourself to a new pair of eyes. What's more: • Train your creative skills • Adventurous stamp-size expeditions • Receive a personal card when you are one of the first 1000 to complete all missions • You take part in an interactive art project • Instantly share your discoveries with friends • And so much more Download Cucalu InstaTrend Normally $2.99. The app for tracking and increasing your list of followers. Created for users of Instagram social network. REQUIREMENTS ============== IOS v5.0 or upper FEATURES ============== Fresh data from Instagram server ---------------------------------------------- -The most recent data about your Instagram activity is read and saved by the app every time you ask to do it (* a limited number of updates by day is allowed to each user: 2 (included) or 100(purchased option) ) -Ultra-fast connection: Connection time is very short, can be done using 3G or Wi-Fi -Confidential login: Login is done using Instagram services, the app doesn't store your credentials (Please, note that the app can only store data for one user. If you log with a new user, information of previous one will be deleted after confirmation). Followers' tracking over time ---------------------------------------------- -Guess if you're seducing new followers or loosing them -Visualize followers' progression in graphic or table format. Data is available for the period between first and last update. -Trend calculation: know if you're attracting (or loosing) more followers than yesterday -No data gaps: Estimations are made for dates where update hasn't been done. These data are clearly identified in the views. -No connection required: Data are stored in the smartphone, then you can explore them without being connected to Internet. Connection is only required to update. Support to increase followers (*Only available as purchased option) ---------------------------------------------- -You choose the target (number of followers) to be reached in 15 days -The app will create the planning for this period -Planning is visualized graphically -Daily target is also shown in the dashboard Share ---------------------------------------------- -Graphics and data can be shared in Facebook with a simple click -Sharing your stats can help you to attract new followers among your friends Data export ---------------------------------------------- -The Database with your data can be saved for backup purposes or to be used externally (ex: reports tool). To do it, you'll need iTunes. Select the app and download to your PC the file ".sqlite" BEFORE YOU DOWNLOAD/BUY ============== -This app has no function to automatically increase your followers just "pushing a button". If you expect this, please don't buy. -The functions not included by default are the following: 100 updates/day (2 in default version) and Target setting -This app acts like a coach with one goal: boost your followers. It guides you to reach a target and telling you each day how far your real results are from the expected ones. -This app uses services for reading the main data that are provided by Instagram. They're essential for the app's correct operation. The publisher of the app (Flyerlake) is not responsible neither for the quality nor the availability in the future of these services. On the other hand and to avoid an overload of Instagram system, the quantity of access by day to this service is limited for each user and could be modified depending on the total demand rate. Download InstaTrend

iOS 10 concept imagines exciting new iPhone features we’ve been dying for

Apple has made significant strides over the years when it comes to the usability and sleekness of its mobile operating system, but sometimes even the most successful designers would be wise to listen to criticism from fans. In a new video, YouTube user Ralph Theodory has taken a stab at his own conceptual design for iOS 10 , and it's quite the improvement over iOS 9. DON'T MISS:  The phone everyone thought was the iPhone 7 was just unveiled (yes, it’s a shameless iPhone copy) There's no point in detailing every change that Theodory implemented into his concept, but a few are definitely worth discussing. For example, why isn't the Smart Info Cam he shows off at the beginning of the video already a thing? The fact that you need to download separate apps to do something the camera should be able to do on its own is patently silly. The best parts of these concept videos are when the artists make something look just as simple to implement as the average user would expect it to be. For example: why isn't there an option to remove the system apps that we never use ? Add a separate screen in the Settings menu and we'd always be able to restore them if we decided we needed them back somewhere down the line. You don't have to look very hard to find iPhone and iPad users unsatisfied with the user interface of Apple Music . It's one of the least pleasant first-party experiences on iOS, but the proposed quick reach menu could work wonders. And those are just (some of) the iPhone alternations. The entire second half of the video is focused on the iPad, with suggestions to improve multitasking, create new virtual buttons in Control Center and more. Watch the full video of the iOS 10 concept below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQx-qDFaq2w

Will this fall’s iPhone have the big redesign we’ve been waiting for?

A few weeks ago, a photo that supposedly showed Apple's upcoming iPhone 7 Plus case suggested the upcoming phablet will indeed have a dual camera setup on the back , along with redesigned antennas and a Smart Connector that would let you connect the phone to a keyboard. The most annoying detail about that leak concerned the dual camera, which had a protruding configuration that might be even uglier than the one on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s . A second leak in mid-March also showed an iPhone 7 design render, supposedly originating from Apple supplier Catcher . Now, a new report seems to corroborate parts of these leaks and point to a pretty significant redesign — but maybe not the big one we've been waiting for. DON’T MISS: First photo samples show why the HTC 10 is the best new camera in town While no new imagery is available to highlight the iPhone 7 design, Japanese Apple blog Macotakara  has a decent track record and says that the “possibility is great” that both those leaks show “the real thing” – both images follow below. The iPhone 7 Plus is expected to feature a dual camera and a Smart Connector on the back. The iPhone 7 should be similar to the iPhone 6s when it comes to overall design, and there will be little difference in size between this year and last year’s iPhones, according to the report. The headphone jack is going away from both iPhone 7 models, but Apple won’t replace it with a second speaker, as some people have speculated. Furthermore, the iPhone will ship with Bluetooth-enabled EarPods that connect to the iPhone to charge just like the Apple Pencil. Since the headphone jack is going away, this could be an awesome new feature. Finally, the iPhone 7 supposedly packs two new sensors at the top of the device. Their functionality is unknown, but they could be used to improve the display performance in a manner suggested by DisplayMate recently – the iPhone 7 could get the same True Tone display as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Update your iPhone now or a new Wi-Fi bug could brick your phone

Looking for a good reason to update to the latest version of iOS? Over at Krebs on Security this week , Brian Krebs has reported that two security researchers have found a new way to automatically brick a stranger's iPhone by forcing them to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot that can change the date without their knowledge. DON'T MISS:  The stupidest thing Sprint has done in a long, long time Before we go any further, it's important that you understand the 1970 date change bug that swept through the internet earlier this year. Basically, if you manually set the date on an iPhone or iPad to January 1st, 1970, you'd brick it. Apple issued a fix for the bug in iOS 9.3.1 , but not everyone has updated their devices yet. Fortunately, millions of users are at least aware of the bug at this point, but what if a hacker could change the date without the user's permission? That's what security researchers Patrick Kelley and Matt Harrigan wanted to find out, so they built a hostile Wi-Fi network that would take advantage of the fact that iOS devices are constantly checking network time protocol (NTP) servers to sync up the time and forced the phone or tablet to to download data from its own malicious NTP server instead. "By spoofing time.apple.com, we were able to roll back the time and have it hand out to all Apple clients on the network," the researchers told Krebs. "All test devices took the update without question and rolled back to 1970." It's a terrifying development, but one that you can avoid altogether by simply keeping your iOS device update. Here's a video explaining the exploit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zivWTwOjEME

GoPro names Apple designer as VP of design

GoPro names Apple designer as VP of design

(Reuters) - Wearable camera maker GoPro Inc named Apple Inc designer Daniel Coster as vice president of design, effective the end of April. Coster was a core member of Apple's industrial design team for more than 20 years and is credited with contributing to devices such as iPhone 4 and iPad wireless keyboard, the company said in a statement. GoPro has faced increasing competition from enhanced video-shooting capabilities of Apple's iPhone 6 range. GoPro shares rose 16.3 percent to 13.58 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. (Reporting by Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)

The 10 best paid iPhone apps on sale for free today

Happy hump day! We're celebrating with a fresh list of paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free, and there are 10 in total in today's post. More? You want more? Well you're in luck because there are still a whole bunch of freebies still available in yesterday's post, so be sure to check them out ! DON'T MISS:  The stupidest thing Sprint has done in a long, long time These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. If you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. The sale has ended. If you download the app, you will be charged. myTranslator.io Normally $1.99. Just speak into your phone and it immediately replies in one of our 80 languages. VOICE INPUT & OUTPUT Speak instead of type. No training needed. Just start speaking and we recognise your voice, transform it into text and translate it into another language. EDIT & SHARE Tap our translation to edit and make changes, without having to speak again. Send translations to your friends via Email, SMS, Facebook or Twitter or simply copy a translation and use it in any App you like. UNIVERSAL APP This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad. Translations between the following languages are supported: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Basque, Bengali, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Belgian (Dutch), Catalan, Chinese(Simplified), Chinese(Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English US, English UK, English AU, Esperanto, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, French CA, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese BR, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Spanish MX, Spanish US, Swahili, Swedish, Taiwanese, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish Languages & Dialects with Speech Recognition: - Arabic - English (United States) - English (United Kingdom) - English (Australia) - Spanish (Spain) - Spanish (United States) - Spanish (Mexico) - French (France) - French (Canada) - Croatian - Catalan - Hebrew - Romanian - Ukrainian - Czech - German - Italian - Japanese - Finnish - Greek - Mandarin (China) - Mandarin (Taiwan) - Korean - Dutch - Norwegian - Swedish - Danish - Portuguese (Portugal) - Portuguese (Brazil) - Polish - Russian - Indonesian - Malay - Romanian - Slovak - Vietnamese Download myTranslator.io FreeUpSpace Normally $4.99. ***The First All-in-One Space Saving Suite!*** *** Get the most powerful photos management app without any cost*** FreeUpSpace is a slick and polished space saving app for your iOS device that can resize photos, clean duplicates and compress photos & videos. It’s aimed at recovering wasted space of your device so that you can save more. This app gives you control on how you release space on your device. Use any or all of the 3 power packed modules to put your photos of your digital drawer on a diet: 1) Find duplicate photos: If you love clicking photos and selfies endlessly, you should use this feature very often. This helps you find duplicate photos of all levels ranging from least similar to exact duplicates. You have the control to set the duplicity level. Even better, you can adjust and set time and gps criteria for high accuracy. 2) Resize Photos: This is the best when you want to reduce the frame size of a photo you clicked from your iOS device. You can save a significant amount of space by resizing large sized photos. Quality is maintained while reducing the size. And even more, to make a photo fit perfectly on another device’s screen, you can simply resize it by setting a smaller width. 3) Compress Photos & Videos: You can save chunks of storage space by compressing large photos & videos. So if you’ve shot a lot of videos & photos with your iOS device, don’t forget to compress them when you’re running out of storage space. And once you’ve compressed them, you can easily share them with your friends via attachments, messaging apps etc. This app works best if: 1) You’ve clicked photos using burst mode 2) You need to release storage space to save more photos & videos 3) You’re using a 16GB iOS device. 4) You’re lazy finding duplicates manually. 5) You’re unable to attach a photo or video because it’s too large. 6) You’re running out of storage space on a holiday! Get rid of the frequent message ”Your iPhone’s storage is almost full" World’s first iOS app that can recover more free space on your iOS device so that you can click and snap more and more photos & videos! Download FreeUpSpace HOOK Normally $0.99. "Hook" is a relaxing, minimal, puzzle game. I love creating puzzle games. This one is more of a game-like experience than a challenge. No menus, no achievements, just you and a puzzle. Calming sounds and music were made by Wojciech Wasiak. It has 50 levels and its about hour long. Thanks for playing and supporting me!! Download HOOK Clippo Normally $1.99. Quickly share and manage your texts, images, links and clips across Mac and iOS. Clippo is the ultimate time saver for your daily work. Share and manage clipboards between your devices with no drawbacks. Save text, links and images that you have copied to your clipboard from any app. Quickly access your saved clips from the Today Widget and copy them back to your clipboard in its original format. Have you ever wondered for a quick way to store your clips and share them across your devices for access later? Clippo is the app that you are waiting for. Just select your clip and copy it into your clipboard. Clippo will sync, save and categorize your clips for you, automagically and across all of your devices. Clippo is not only an awesome clipboard manager. Thanks to its smart engine, your clips will be categorized and for each of them you will have the corresponding quick actions available with just a swipe. Open in Safari, Call a number, Save to Camera Roll and Open in Maps are only an example of the incredible potential available at your finger. Features: - Simple and polite UI designed exclusively for iOS9 - Automatically sync your clips across all your devices with iCloud support - Smart contextual actions for your clips - Today widget for quick access and managing - Support for iOS9: 3D Touch, Quick Actions, Peek and Pop, Multitasking and Spotlight integration Download Clippo Pure Flickr Normally $3.99. Pure Flickr brings Flickr photo sharing on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Designed to bring a pure and simple Flickr experience, you can BROWSE photos in the Flickr universe. UPLOAD photos, and TAKE & EDIT your photos with our powerful editing engine. A simple and Clean User Interface with even simpler ease of use. We have removed most navigation buttons and invite you to use left, right, up and down swipe gestures to navigate the app. Most SIMPLE and BEAUTIFUL Flickr app on the AppStore. Follow us on facebook.com/PureFlickr. Please use the Facebook page for any feedback. We can't respond to reviews in the AppStore. We listen and answer back. Our aim is to continuously update the app to suit your needs. Ideas are always welcomed. Key Features : === BROWSING === - Universal app compatible with iPhone, iPod and iPad. - Retina support for iPhone4/4S and new iPad. - Browse your own photos, your favorites, your friends feeds, what is interesting and the most recent photos in a easy to browse way. - Pure gesture based app. Double tap images to favorite/un-favorite. Swipe left/right to navigate. Tap image to isolate for scaling. - Support for viewing random Flickr users photos and discussions. - Full screen photo viewing (Landscape and Portrait). - Search function by keyword. Great to get direct to the source. === UPLOAD/EDITING === - Upload photos directly from your iPod/iPhone/iPad. Use the device's photo library as source or simply use the device camera to shoot your own awesome photos. - During upload you can specify title, description and privacy settings. - Edit your photos with our powerful editor. Our editor has the following features: - Basic: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation & Sharpness. - Scenes: Original, Backlit, Darken, Cloudy, Shade, Sunset, Night, Flash, Flourescent, Portrait, Sand/Snow, Landscape, Theatre & Food. - Rotate: Left, Right, Flip Horizontal, Flip Vertical. - Crop: Custom, Original, 1:1, 3:4, 4:6, 5:7, 8:10, 9:16. - Enhance: Low Pass, Medium Pass, High Pass. - Tilt Shift: Circular, Linear, Ellipse/Oval. - Advanced: Vignette, Shadows, Highlights, Temperature, Tint, RGB Sliders, Curves. - Frames: Various frames to choose from that are great for finding that perfect fit for your photos. - Stickers: Want to add love hearts, moustaches and many more fun stickers? Then this feature is for you! - Effects: Add various effects such as Analog, Lomo, Light Leaks and various other effects that enhance your photos stylistically. - Text: Add your own typography, choose from a wide range of fonts. Rotate, Outline, Change Color and give your photos that personal touch with messages or add your own graphic design style. - Pixelate: Rub your images to set areas of pixelation. Adjust the pixel size. Great feature for all pixel fans out there. All editing features can be stored in history to allow you to undo your edits. It also comes with a store attached which allows you download more freebies or upgrade to some premium editing features. All of the above features are instantly free to use :) === SHARING === - Share photos with friends via Facebook,Twitter or simply download to your photo stream. === ACCOUNT === - Support for having multiple Flickr accounts active. This is ideal for households sharing an iPad or for people with multiple identities online. - A flickr account is NOT required. Pure Flickr can be used by people who just want to explore flickr. - Supports all iPod, iPhone and iPad screen orientations. - As a universal application, Pure Flickr can be enjoyed on your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Download Pure Flickr Phone Drive Normally $1.99. You can now use your iOS device as a portable Wireless Flash Drive. Introducing Phone Drive - File Manager. Phone Drive allows you to store, view and manage files on your iPhone or iPad. You can connect to Phone Drive from any Mac or PC over the Wi-Fi network and transfer files by drag & drop files straight from the Finder or Windows Explorer. Phone Drive features document viewer, PDF reader, music player, image viewer, voice recorder, text editor, file manager and support most of the file operations: like delete, move, copy, email, share, zip, unzip and more. -- KEY FEATURES -- - SUPPORT CLOUD STORAGE: (in-app purchase) Support Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud Drive, Box and Yandex.Disk storage. - PDF READER: Support fast PDF reader with thumbnails and bookmarks features. - MULTIMEDIA PLAYER: An ability to in app create your own audio playlist with repeat, shuffle, background playback and remote control from multitask. - DOCUMENT READER: Support MS Office, iWork, Text & HTML - HTTP/FTP PASSWORD PROTECTED: Files transfer between PC/Mac with password protected. - FILE OPERATION: Move, Copy, Rename, Delete, Zip, Unzip, UnRAR, Create File and Folder. - FILE SHARING: File sharing with other iPhone/iPad devices via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection with automatic search of nearest available devices around you. - EASY FILE UPLOAD: Drag and drop files upload via your PC/Mac web browser or USB via iTunes. - TEXT EDITOR: Built-in text editor that allows you to edit your text files or source codes on your iOS device. - IMPORT/ FILES CREATION: An ability to create text files, image captures, video records, voice recordings and import pictures from photo library. - PASSCODE LOCK: An ability to protect your files from viewing by others. Option for use your fingerprint to unlock Phone Drive with TouchID support. (iOS 8 only) - UNIVERSALITY: This app is developed for both iPhone and iPad, you need to purchase only once. -- AUDIO PLAYER -- - Able to in app create audio playlist. - Plays all MP3 files from a folder as a playlist. - Repeats and shuffles songs. - Supports background audio playback. - Supports Audio Remote Control from multitask. -- VIEWABLE FORMATS -- - Audio (WAV, MP3, M4A, CAF, AIF, AIFF, AAC) - Images (JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIF, TIFF, ICO) - Movies (MP4, MOV, MPV, M4V) - iWorks (Pages, numbers, and Keynote) - Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) - RTF (Rich Text Format) - RTFD (TextEdit with embedded images) - PDF Documents - Plain text - Source code - HTML web pages - Web archives Download Phone Drive Online Wallet Normally $1.99. Online Wallet Wallet is a full-featured finance software that you can carry in your pocket. It is a powerful and easy to use program that will help you track and understand your personal finance. Online Wallet Wallet brings all your financial accounts together, categorizes your transactions, tracks all your bills, lets you set budgets and helps you achieve your savings goals. In just minutes, you’ll see where your money is going and where you could save money. TRACK YOUR ACCOUNTS You can easily input and manage your accounts. All your accounts will be displayed in one place. You are supplied with a set of icons for your accounts. All transactions related to the same account will be displayed in one page so that you can manage them easily. √ Support multiple account and account type √ Statistic for daily/weekly/monthly/yearly overall √ Track balance of each account BUDGET MANAGEMENT Stay in control and monitor your spending with the help of this budget tracker feature. Set yourself a limit and debit all your payments. You can always see how much money is left until your budget is gone and whether you might better postpone a purchase. Over time this should help to save some money instead of going into debt. √ Support multiple budgets √ See your income and expenses of one budget through charts √ At the end of each cycle, all information for a budget is archived and can be easily viewed for comparative purpose Other Key features: - Password protection - Simple, attractive interface - Category management - Powerful statistics and reports of all your transactions - Quickly search for transactions and edit from the same screen - Backup and restore all your data over WiFi, access from all of your devices Download Online Wallet Running Music Trainer Normally $3.99. Running Music Trainer is a collection of high quality music scientifically engineered at the most ideal BPM & speed to help you stay motivated & excited to run. Download Running Music Trainer Space Marshals Normally $4.99. ABOUT THE GAME Space Marshals is a Sci-fi Wild West adventure taking place in outer space! This tactical top-down shooter puts you in the shoes of specialist Burton in his hunt for dangerous fugitives after a disastrous prison break. TACTICAL COMBAT Use the environment to your advantage. Avoid attacks by taking cover. Flank enemies for extra efficiency, but avoid getting flanked yourself! Use the tools of the trade to gain an edge - frag grenades, flash bangs, distractions, personal shields, proximity mines and more. STEALTH Choose your approach with care. Some say running into the fray guns blazing isn’t always the best option. Use distractions to single out opponents. Use disguises and covers to sneak past irrelevant guards. Use silenced weapons to covertly reduce the enemy numbers. LOAD-OUTS & GEAR Choosing your load-out is a big part of your tactics. In addition to body armor and grenades you can carry one two-handed and one single-handed weapon in each mission - and there’s something for everyone. Shotguns, handguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, crossbows, energy weapons, throwing axes and more. ### IMPORTANT ### Please note that iPhone 4 is not supported. • Tactical top-down shooter • Episodic storyline in three chapters - ALL chapters out now! • Gorgeous stylistic HD graphics rendered in Retina resolution (full Retina not supported on iPad 3) • Optimized for iOS 8 and Metal graphics! • Wide range of weapons and gear • Performance based mission rewards • Multiple factions to fight with or against – or pitch against each other • Dual stick controls with a set of different options • MFi controller support (requires extended layout) • iCloud save game support • GameCenter achievements Download Space Marshals Anchor Pointer Normally $3.99. Anchor Pointer is an iPhone app, that allows you to store GPS positions and find those back using a compass. Use it to re-find your car wherever it was that you parked it. This application also allows you to meet up with friends in open areas, such as large parks without using maps, moreover it will help you to find your car at a parking lot. ——————————————————————————————— "Anchor Pointer is beautifully designed and works like a charm." — Paul Sawers, The Next Web. "Anchor Point is a handy tool for adventures and travelers." — John-Michael Bond, TUAW. "Anchor Pointer doesn’t bother with mapping facilities, it just works as a compass for locations that one wants to go to." — Jennifer Allen, 148apps.com ——————————————————————————————— FUNCTIONS · Keep any GPS coordinates without reference to a map · Drop anchor on map and follow by compass · Use a compass which indicates the direction to your GPS point, distance, and the difference in altitude · Use the function "meet a friend" in the park or any public place. Required Facebook account. · Park and find car with one tap · Automatic night-time interface · Metric and imperial system for measures A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES 1. Add an anchor. By adding a GPS anchor, you can set the name of the current location and assign an icon to it from the predefined set of icons. 2. Favorite locations list. While accessing the list you will see all the previously saved anchors and those ones that are within 55 yd will appear in green. 3. The function "meet a friend". If you need to meet someone in a large open space, activate "meet a friend" and establish communication with the one friend. When the connection is established, both your compasses will point at each other. The odometer you will show you how far away you are from each other. 4. Using Anchor Pointer you can save your parking position and later find your car by following the compass arrow, there is no easier or faster solution on the market! EXAMPLES OF USAGE Walking outdoors. Anchor Pointer allows you to save the location of places where no man has gone before, even where no detailed maps exist. For example, you can save the coordinates of the most remote location in a beautiful forest, snow-covered mountain peaks with a magnificent view, an oasis in the desert or your favorite place in the national park. Use Anchor Pointer at sea! If you like fishing or sailing, you can save your location and come back later to the exact same point. Anchor Pointer stores the current latitude, longitude and altitude. Anchor Pointer is also convenient in the city: save the location of favorite cafes, restaurants, hot dog shop, favorite places in parks or friends homes. Your imagination is the limit! AUTOMATIC NIGHT MODE Human eyes don't see well when it's dark around you. Blinding them with bright screen of the phone makes it hard to see the road ahead. Instead of making you decrease the brightness of the screen - we've created night mode in Anchor Pointer, which automatically switches to dark theme at night time. ATTENTION: Apple Watch users keep in mind that because of Apple Watch limitation we don't able to show compass with direction and distance on the Apple Watch. Such feature can be added to the app only when digital compass will be added to the Apple Watch. Compass doesn't work? Please make sure that your GPS calibration turned on in the iOS Settings / Privacy / Location Services / System Services / Compass calibration. Dear car owners, please keep in mind that because of GPS technology limitation you don't able to find your car on underground parking. Please use the app only in an outdoor parking lot. Download Anchor Pointer

Meet the Kindle Oasis, Amazon’s most exciting new eReader ever

As expected, Amazon took the wraps off its new Kindle Oasis eReader and it looks like the hottest eReader the company has ever made, with a price to match of $290. That said, if you're in the market for a high-end eReader with great features, this slate looks like the one to get.  MUST READ:  40 of the first Facebook chat bots in the world All versions of the Kindle Oasis weigh in at 133 grams or fewer, thus making it the lightest Kindle yet released. It also features a 6-inch display with a resolution of 300 pixels per inch, so you should have no trouble seeing what you're reading. In terms of battery power, Amazon says the Kindle Oasis lasts eight weeks on a single charge "based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless off and the light setting at 10." The device will also fully charge within three hours. Other specs for the new eReaders include 4GB of internal storage, as well as support for 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n Wi-Fi standards. The Wi-Fi-only version of the  Kindle Oasis is on sale right now for $290 while the Wi-Fi and 3G-equipped version of the Kindle Oasis is on sale for $360 . Incidentally, you won't have to pay anything for 3G connectivity on the 3G Kindle Oasis, as Amazon is picking up the tab.

wireless

Hurray! There’s another Will.i.am-designed smartwatch not to buy

Hurray! There’s another Will.i.am-designed smartwatch not to buy

Not put off by no-one wanting to wear the Puls smart “cuff;” musician, television personality, tech visionary, and entrepreneur Will.i.am is back with another wearable device. It’s called the i.am+ Dial, and so far it’s an exclusive to the U.K. phone network Three, and it works completely independently of your phone, because it has its own SIM card. Due to its independence, the Dial has its own operating system, rather than using something sensible like Android Wear. However, Will.i.am doesn’t want you touching the 1.63-inch AMOLED screen, he wants you to talk to the Dial. AneedA is the name of the voice-activated operating system installed on the watch, and you must bark orders at your wrist like a mad person to get it doing what you want. Related: In the future, you’ll be able to print your own Will.i.am, says Will.i.am For example, saying “dial,” and the name of the person you’d like to contact will start a phone call, while adding “play” before the song or artist of your choice will start the music app. There’s 32GB of internal storage to fill, but more interestingly, the Dial includes access to an i.am+-backed ad-free music streaming service with no additional cost. A pair of Will.i.am’s EP Bluetooth earphones will be packed with the Dial, for easy hands-free listening. The Dial also has GPS for navigation, a Snapdragon 400 processor with 2GB of RAM, an IP54 water resistance rating, plus a 2-megapixel camera. Yes, you can even tell AneedA to take a selfie. An 800mAh battery will keep the Dial operational, but it’s not mentioned for how long. With GPS, an always-listening assistant, and 3G connectivity, more than a day may be very optimistic. How much is the Dial? It’s quite a lot, thanks to that SIM card inside. Three’s only offering it with a contract, therefore pushing it as a phone replacement rather than an accessory. It’s £50 (about $73) with a two-year plan that varies from £24 ($35) to £50 ($73) each month, depending on your data needs. That means the Dial may end up costing £1,250, or approximately $1,820 in total. It’s up for pre-order now with a delivery date of May 13, if square, expensive wearables with proprietary software that you’ll look stupid using is your thing.

NY Times to send out 300,000 Cardboard VR viewers in second giveaway

NY Times to send out 300,000 Cardboard VR viewers in second giveaway

The New York Times is hooking up with Google again to give away 300,000 Cardboard virtual reality (VR) viewers to many of the news outlet’s subscribers. Last November the Times handed out a million of the viewers to print subscribers, while the latest giveaway sees the $15 gadget going to its “most loyal” digital subscribers. It’s all part of the Times’ continued push into VR, which so far includes six mainly news-focused productions for its iOS and Android NYT VR app, which launched last year alongside that first Cardboard giveaway. Related: Now you can try Street View in VR using Google Cardboard Digital subscribers – or at least, the really loyal ones – can expect to receive their free viewer in time for the news outlet’s May 19 launch of its latest VR film, the intriguingly titled Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart . No, it’s not an immersive examination of possible emotional issues affecting one of Disney’s most famous and adored characters, but instead a close-up look at the planet Pluto that’ll allow viewers to “soar above never-before-seen rugged mountains and bright plains, and stand on Pluto’s unique surface as its largest moon hovers over the horizon,” the Times teased in a release. Related: NY Times starts fighting ad blockers with a plea to users The iconic news publication collaborated with the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the Universities Space Research Association to create accurate three-dimensional virtual worlds from data gathered in 2015 by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. Google’s cheap-as-chips VR viewer, which launched in 2014, works with a wide range of smartphones. If you’re not a Times subscriber but want to try Cardboard or an alternative, this page offers a range of (mostly) low-cost viewers, which you can quickly filter by price, smartphone, and material. Cardboard users looking to try VR content other than that offered by the Times can choose from a range of apps by visiting the Play Store’s dedicated section here.

Apple Music for Android now plays music videos

Apple Music for Android now plays music videos

Apple is rolling out an update to its android version of Apple Music, in which the app receives support for music video, and a family billing plan. Apple music first came to Android in November 2015, providing an alternative to streaming music from Spotify and Pandora. With version 0.9.8, Apple Music for Android gives users access to thousands of music videos from the Apple servers which were previously exclusive to iOS users.

Ads begone! The Google Play Store will now warn you if an app has ads

Ads begone! The Google Play Store will now warn you if an app has ads

In-app ads can be pretty annoying. Sometimes all you want to do is go to the next level of your game  without having to endure another Game of War ad. Starting today though, you only have yourself to blame for downloading an app with ads. Google has made a change to the Play Store that will include a label for apps that contain ads. The label will appear right next to the separate label that says whether or not an app has in-app purchases. Related:  Open-source code leaks indicate arrival of Google Play Store on Chromebooks The new change was first reported by Android Authority. Of course, the change could have a big impact on app developers, many of whom rely on ads to make money from their apps. This is because customers will be more likely to avoid apps with ads if they’re aware of the ads ahead of time, especially when there are non-ad alternatives. Interestingly enough, the change could also affect Google in a negative way — Google makes a ton of its money from ads, some of which reside in apps. It’s nice to see Google putting customers first despite this. Sure, in-app ads can help developers make money, but they’re usually seen by customers as annoying. And depending on how they are implemented, ads can even impact how an app is used, for example by getting in the user’s way in order to try and cause accidental clicks. So the new Google policy is likely to be applauded, and perhaps its biggest advantage is that the new labels will allow users to see which paid apps still have advertisements before they pay for the app. Google has been working on the change for a while now — it began by asking developers in late 2015 to submit a response about whether or not their apps contained ads, and indicated at the time that its goal was to provide more transparency. Google has been separately working to promote higher quality apps in the app store, both by vetting apps manually and by launching app awards for some of the Play Store’s biggest app developers.

Glassouse lets users control a mouse cursor with their eyes — and mouth

Glassouse lets users control a mouse cursor with their eyes — and mouth

A new wearable may soon help people engage with electronics without having to use their hands. Users don the Glassouse like they would a pair of glasses. The device connects to electronics via Bluetooth and responds to head movements to manipulate a cursor around the screen. The mouth piece – which curves in front of the face like a headset microphone – functions as a button. Users can bite or click the button to select items on the screen. The simple looking device was created by Mehmet Nemo, a young electrical engineer who was inspired by his handicapped friend’s difficulty using technology. After positive feedback to the prototype, Nemo and his team decided to launch an Indiegogo campaign to promote their product. The first 100 devices are available at $149 plus $30 shipping – about half the price of the proposed eventual sale price. And people who don’t need a Glassouse but want to contribute to the cause can purchase “non-profit” perks. Through these donations, Nemo and his team hope to maintain an affordable price for their device while giving away one Glassouse for every $70 donated. Related : Brilliant hands-free wheelchair translates body motions into directional input At just 1.6 ounces, the Glassouse is remarkably light and can apparently work for fifteen hours off a single charge. It’s currently compatible with Apple computers and most Android, Windows, and Linux devices, including TVs. Recognizing the wear and tear that the mouthpiece would experience, Nemo and his team subjected the button to 50,000 “clicks” and imply it was still operational. Related Offer: Want hands free mouse navigation? Check out the SmartNav 4 here The Glassouse is one of many assistive technology devices available for people with disabilities. For example, SmartNav is a popular device that attaches to the top of a computer monitor or laptop screen and uses an infrared camera to track head movements. These head movements allow for hands-free control of a cursor. However, SmartNav users still need to engage with keyboard hotkeys to select options on the screen. That’s where the Glassouse bite and click button really stands out.

BlackBerry 'Hamburg' and 'Rome' rumors, news, price, release date, and more

BlackBerry 'Hamburg' and 'Rome' rumors, news, price, release date, and more

BlackBerry is still hoping to turn its bad luck around in the smartphone business, and it’s been rumored that the company plans to release two more Android phones later this year. CEO John Chen seems to have finally kicked BlackBerry OS to the curb, and it looks like Android phones may be BlackBerry’s future. So what will these two new smartphones look like? Here’s everything we know about BlackBerry’s next Android phones. Right now, we only have one rumor from a relatively unknown source called BerryLink to go by, so take these rumors with a grain of salt. Related:  BlackBerry CEO addresses story that Canadian police have its global encryption key Hamburg The first device is reportedly codenamed Hamburg, in keeping with BlackBerry’s long-standing tradition of code-naming devices after cities. Hamburg may deviate a little from BlackBerry’s most iconic tradition — the QWERTY keyboard. According to a leaked picture from BerryLink, there’s no physical keyboard on this device, but rather a full-size touchscreen. Of course, it’s also quite possible that there’s a physical keyboard hidden under the screen, as is the case with the BlackBerry Priv. BerryLink The photo hints that the device measures 146mm x 78mm, making it a fairly large device. It seems like the Hamburg could have a metal body and a speaker grill under the screen. We can also see the power button on the left, as well as volume buttons and another extra button on the right. It is rumored that the Hamburg will be priced at less than $400, making it quite a bit cheaper than the BlackBerry Priv, which runs for $650. If that’s true, the specs of the device may be more mid-range than flagship-quality. Rome BerryLink The second rumored device is codenamed Rome, and unlike its sibling, it does in fact appear to offer a physical keyboard. Its design is very similar to the BlackBerry Passport, except that it’s rectangular instead of square. The Rome looks very similar to previous leaks for a device codenamed Vienna — in fact they look so similar that it’s entirely possible they’re the same device. Still, some of the colors are a little different, and the keyboard on Rome looks slightly sleeker. Perhaps BlackBerry ditched Vienna in favor of Rome. There’s no word on what’s under the hood for this device, but stay tuned! We’ll update this story with more news as we hear of it. Also watch: Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Google is building a hardware division under former Motorola CEO

Google is building a hardware division under former Motorola CEO

When Google bought Motorola in 2011, it was widely known that it was to gather up important patents regarding Android. Many believed, however, that Google would use Motorola’s manufacturing capabilities to build a new hardware division. That all went out the window when Google sold Motorola to Lenovo just three years later. But after Google lost one of its hardware chiefs, Regina Dugan, to Facebook, the company began seriously thinking about a shake-up in its hardware division. Re/code has learned that the search giant has hired former Motorola President Rick Osterloh as a senior vice president who will report directly to CEO Sundar Pichai. Related:  How to get the best out of Google Now Osterloh hasn’t been unemployed for too long, as he only left his previous position last month. He will now run the new hardware product line, overseeing Google’s Nexus devices, according to a Google representative that confirmed the news to Re/code. Android Senior Vice President Hiroshi Lockheimer will now work more on the software and platform development side, and Osterloh will take over the hardware development aspect, as well as maintaining the company’s OEM partnerships. A lot the hardware-related projects Lockheimer oversaw are being pushed towardsOsterloh. The hardware division Osterloh will lead also includes products under the “living room” category, which shows how serious Google is about improving its connected devices for a smarter home. Osterloh will also oversee the Chromecast streaming stick; consumer hardware like Chromebooks and the Pixel C; Google’s wireless router, OnHub; Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division, which includes Project Ara; and Google Glass, which also includes Project Aura (the next iteration of the headgear). Related:  ¡Felicidades! Glückwünsche! Congrats! Google Translate turns 10 years old Nest, the smart thermostat — and its CEO, Tony Fadel — is staying separate from Google. We have reached out to Google for comment and will update this post when we hear back. Also watch: 10 Google Maps Tips & Tricks For Faster Navigation, Exploring Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Philips turns to its Hue 2.0 user base before rolling out a much-needed app update

Philips turns to its Hue 2.0 user base before rolling out a much-needed app update

Much to the delight of anyone using its Hue 2.0 smart lighting system, Dutch tech company Philips announced this week a complete overhaul to its maligned smartphone application. Whereas the initial app caused more than its share of headaches, it appears the company’s second attempt at properly functioning software could be a massive hit. By keenly listening to its users, Philips dramatically upgraded the iOS- and Android-compatible app’s user interface while also adding a suite of new features and benefits geared toward pleasing its loyal owner base. Among the slew of innovation native to the Hue 2.o’s app overhaul is a feature Philips has dubbed “Rooms.” With Rooms, users have the ability to control all the lights in a single room (or area of their home) at the same time — an add-on Philips claims was the most popular new feature when the company tested the updates with consumers. Additionally, this function also allows for the controlling of lights through voice commands such as “dim the living room lights” or “set relax in the bedroom.” Philips “Philips Hue was the world’s first connected lighting system for the home a little over three years ago, and since then it has become the system of choice for consumers,” says Philips Lighting Connected Home Systems business leader Sridhar Kumaraswamy. “As the Philips Hue ecosystem has grown with products, apps and partnerships with leading smart home platforms, so have our consumers. They want to do so much more with our connected lights, and with the new Philips Hue gen 2 app they can.” Related:  The OaSense smart shower head uses presence-sensing detectors to conserve water Along with Rooms, Philips also added two other features called “Routines” and “Scenes.” When using routines, Hue owners can easily coordinate different lights to their day-to-day schedules. For instance, Philips’ white light recipes are designed to help people naturally wake up and feel energized in the morning while a new Nightlight recipe delivers low lighting to help relaxation in the evening. Moreover, Scenes gives users the chance to create their own personal lighting scenes. By extracting color palettes from selected pictures, Scenes chooses the five best colors to produce a vibrant feel for any room. Users even have the ability to create their own unique scenes to suit their own moods. “It was designed for them, tested by them, taking their feedback onboard, and today’s new app gives them more control and creative freedom than ever before,” Kumaraswamy adds. In addition to the new features, Philips also added widget functionality that’s easily accessible via the drop-down menu on the home screen, the ability to access lights whether a user is at home or away, as well as a new location setting that knows when an owner’s phone is close and automatically turns on lights. The Philips Hue 2.0 smart light system works seamlessly with Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, and a bevy of other smart home-related devices. Also watch: iRobot Roomba 980 Review Please enable Javascript to watch this video

In Their Own Words: Former Prisoners on What They Need to Succeed

In Their Own Words: Former Prisoners on What They Need to Succeed

When Samuel Hamilton got his first cell phone at age 53, he didn’t know how to turn it on. “The only concept of cell phones I had came from magazines or TV,” said Hamilton. It was the fall of 2014, and Hamilton had just been released from prison in upstate New York.

Busted? 'Textalyzer' device could detect texting and driving

Texting and driving is illegal in many states, but so far that's done little to keep people from doing it. In fact, the number of people texting – and using Facebook and Snapchat and taking selfies – behind the wheel seems to have increased. According to the National Safety Council, collisions involving cell phone use have risen for three consecutive years and account for more than 25 percent of all car accidents in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that distracted drivers kill more than 3,000 people each year.

Xiaomi Mi Smartwatch news and rumors

Xiaomi Mi Smartwatch news and rumors

Looking to buy your first smartwatch? Another option may be on its way! Xiaomi is set to take the wraps off of its first real smartwatch, which is rumored to be called the Mi Smartwatch or the Mi Watch. To date we’ve only heard whispers about the device, and it really wasn’t even certain that Xiaomi was indeed releasing a smartwatch. That all changed in late April, though, when Liu De, the co-founder and VP of Xiaomi, revealed that the company was in fact working on a smartwatch and that it will be released sometime in the second quarter of 2016 after May. Related:  Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch may come in September, luxury version to follow in 2017 Unfortunately, the announcement that the smartwatch exists is basically all we know about it, although it was reported last year that the watch would include a brushed metal design and a large round dial. Given that plans for the watch have been confirmed, however, we can expect to hear more about it in the near future. If it’s going to compete with Android Wear watches like the Moto 360, Huawei Watch, and the LG Watch Urbane; it has to look spectacular. It will also be interesting to see which operating system the watch runs and how it handles apps. While Xiaomi’s smartphones run Android, they generally don’t feature the Google Play Store, so it’s unclear whether the watch will run Android Wear or a proprietary OS. Regardless, it looks like Xiaomi is serious about entering the world of smartwatches. It recently unveiled a smartwatch for kids priced at just 300 Yuan, or around $46. Of course, it’s also known for devices like the Mi Band, which is a fitness tracker that has been doing quite well since it was released. We’ll update this article when we get more details about the Xiaomi smartwatch, so stay tuned! Also watch: Xiaomi Mi5 Pro Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Disney poised to make virtual reality history at the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards

Disney poised to make virtual reality history at the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards

Virtual reality is not killing the television star, but it sure is bringing them a lot closer to fans. Today, Radio Disney announced it has partnered with virtual reality company IM360 to live-stream the red carpet of the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards in virtual reality before its live broadcast. The 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards is set to air on the Disney Channel at 7 p.m. EST on Sunday. The show will be filmed Saturday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Fans who can not wait until Sunday to see what Sabrina Carpenter will wear on the red carpet will be able to live-stream it in 360-degree VR on the Radio Disney YouTube channel and website. The VR content will be viewable on tablets, computers, and mobile devices. Related:  HTC’s $100 million accelerator program geared toward virtual reality startups While you watch the brightest teen stars strut around the red carpet, you’ll also be watching history. The live-stream of the red carpet in VR prior to the TV broadcast is a first for award shows. IM360 also handled the VR streaming of the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, the first awards show red carpet to be simultaneously broadcast in VR and TV. This is not IM360’s first collaboration with Disney, as the VR company worked with Disney-affiliate ABC’s Good Morning America for its GMA on Safari: Tanzania. That was the first network television program to be simultaneously broadcast in VR. The home of Mickey Mouse also recently signed a deal with Nokia to use its OZO virtual reality camera and software for future Disney films, so award show red carpets may be the proverbial toe in the VR waters before the deep dive. Radio Disney personalities Brooke Taylor and Alex Aiono will host the VR red carpet.  The VR stream of the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards’ red carpet will air from 4 to 6 p.m. EST.

Oppo F1 review

Oppo F1 review

If a selfie stick never leaves your side, and your Instagram feed is filled with pictures of your own face, then a smartphone with an excellent front-facing camera will be high on your to-buy list. What was once a niche requirement is way more sought after today, and almost every smartphone will take decent selfies. Oppo says its new F1 phone is a selfie expert and its face-snapping abilities are the main reason to pick up the sleek device. With so many great selfie-focused smartphones out there, the Oppo F1’s camera needs to be pretty amazing to standout, and you’ll want to know if the device is worth buying in the first place. We have spent time with the phone to see if it’s up to snuff. Make yourself beautiful Front-facing cameras on smartphones used to be an after thought, but now that selfies are in vogue, the front shooter is equally important. Oppo focused on making the best selfie camera in the world, and that effort shows. Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends The F1’s 8-megapixel front camera does an amazing job of making you look prettier, younger, and like you’ve had a full night’s sleep. The camera has a typical beautify mode with three different settings — weak, medium, and strong. The midway point produces the best effect, in our opinion. It smooths everything out, balances skin tone, brightens eyes, and minimizes shadow to create a selfie that’s still you — not some alien imposter pretending to be you. The result is just a bit more attractive than how you actually look in real life. Oppo borrows gesture controls from other smartphones, so that you can snap a selfie with a gesture instead of tapping a button, or activate the shutter by saying “cheese.” The gesture was much more useful, and it actually worked nearly every time we tried it, but the voice activation didn’t activate the camera consistently. The large quarter-inch sensor and f/2.0 aperture help suck in more light and detail, and there’s a screen flash mode that cleverly assesses the amount of available light, then adjusts the brightness of the screen accordingly. It works surprisingly well. You’re just going to have to trust me, because the selfies I’ve taken to test the F1 (and it’s more than I’ve taken in my whole life up to this point combined) aren’t going to be published without a fight. Sorry. Rear cam can’t keep up If the front camera is the F1’s big feature, its back camera should be just as good. On paper, it certainly sounds like a strong performer. The back camera on the F1 sports a 13-megapixel sensor, phase-detection autofocus, some anti-shake trickery, and a host of Oppo features. However, the f/2.2 aperture makes it less capable in low light than the front camera, and it’s not as great as the selfie cam in other respects, either. It’s not that the camera takes bad photos, but it struggles in certain situations. It’s prone to washing images out, and that aperture size means pictures taken on overcast days came out poorly. Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends The HDR mode doesn’t cope well, either, and while it balances shadow well, it takes away much of the color and beauty from the rest of the shot. It’s probably nothing a software tweak wouldn’t cure, but it’s a shame. Other features include a panorama mode, an Ultra HD picture mode, live filters, and a manual-style slow shutter mode that operates between 1/4 and 16 seconds. Related: The next Oppo phone may end camera shake, and fully charge in 15 minutes Perhaps the most irritating thing about the F1’s camera experience is the lack of a shortcut to open the camera app from the lock screen. There’s usually one in a corner somewhere, but on the F1 Oppo wants you to use a gesture, which involves tracing the letter O on the locked screen with your finger. We had an 80 percent success rate with the gesture, which is very inconvenient when you need to capture a moment in a flash. It’s also far slower and less reliable than simply tapping a button would be. Speed is important for a camera shortcut on a phone, and the F1’s gesture is not nearly as fast as the phone’s name may suggest. Oppo means what it says about the F1, it’s a real selfie expert. It’s just a shame the expertise didn’t continue over to the rear camera. Oppo’s Android user interface disappoints The unfortunate situation with the camera shortcut button is one of several annoyances with Oppo’s ColorOS user interface, which is painted on top of Google’s Android 5.1.1 operating system. Oppo adds its own look and features to Android, in an effort to differentiate it from other Android phones, but we usually prefer to use Google’s unfiltered edition, as found on Nexus and some Motorola devices. There’s no app tray on the F1, which is bearable, but the pre-installed apps are far less acceptable. There’s the usual calendar, email, weather, contacts, and messaging client, plus a calculator, a backup and restore app, a file manager, a video player, a download manager, a compass, and so on. Right at the bottom of the usefulness list is one called Lock Now. What does it do? It locks the screen. Yes, it performs the exact same action that happens when you press the sleep/wake key on the side of the device itself. None of the pre-installed apps can be uninstalled, either, which is a real crime. The odd decisions continue when you want to close some running apps. Tap the usual menu button under the screen, and there’s a helicopter view of all the homescreens and the option to add widgets or change themes. If you want to close apps, you must long press the button. Why? At least put the expected feature first, Oppo, then correspond your own feature with the long press. What’s worse is the helicopter view still activates when you long press the home screen, just like you’d expect. It’s such a waste of time and duplicating features is unnecessary. There’s an extensive choice of themes available for the F1, and Color OS is perfectly smooth and fast to use under normal circumstances. However, swapping it out for Google’s own Launcher is a wise step, if you’re used to a more standard Android experience without the extra fuss. There are also concerns over the version of Android that’s on the F1.After all, Android 5.1.1 is already a year old. There’s no indication of any software updates coming to bring the F1 up to date, which may leave it vulnerable to security problems in the future. Now that major hacks like Stagefright and Heartbleed have hit, it’s especially important to get timely OS updates. Although no Android phone maker is really that reliable with updates, Oppo’s record isn’t very encouraging. Beautiful metal body The phone itself is an utter joy to hold. The body is made from metal apart from two plastic end caps for the antenna array, and a 2.5D piece of Gorilla Glass over the screen. The curved glass and the metal chassis blend together smoothly, resulting in supreme in-hand comfort. Oppo F1 Compared To Apple iPhone SE LG G5 Nextbit Robin Blu Pure XL Huawei Mate 8 Motorola Droid Turbo 2 Sony Xperia Z5 Huawei Nexus 6P ZTE Axon Elite OnePlus X LG V10 BlackBerry Priv HTC One A9 Lenovo ZUK Z1 Motorola Moto X Style Pure Edition The F1’s 5-inch screen makes for a compact phone, and it weighs just 134 grams. Although the back is metal, there’s enough texture to it that it doesn’t feel too slippery in your hands. The iPhone 6S is considerably smoother, and therefore more slippery, than the F1. We’d argue that the Oppo F1 is just as nice to hold as the iPhone. High performance It’s important to point out that the unlocked, contract-free Oppo F1 costs just £170/$250. Although the spec sheet isn’t mind blowing, the F1 is a desirable budget phone. Thankfully, Oppo didn’t hamper the F1 with a low-power chip. Instead, it chose an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor and 3GB of RAM. Related: 10 charming Chinese Android phones that are worth the hassle to import With that kind of power inside, the F1 is a surprisingly capable phone for mobile games. Bullet-hell shooter Danmaku Unlimited often flummoxes MediaTek phones, but it played superbly in HD mode on the F1 — even on the devilishly difficult expert mode. While playing Riptide GP 2 , the F1 didn’t stutter when we turned up graphics and shadows to maximum. That’s impressive for a phone at this price point. Putting the phone through a few benchmark tests reveals what we already know. It’s no screaming flagship phone, but offers strong performance at a sensible cost. AnTuTu gives it 36,520, 3DMark’s Slingshot ES 3.0 scores 431, and Geekbench 3 has a single core score of 604, and a multi-core of 2,621. AnTuTu’s score is considerably more than the average 26,000 for the 3rd generation Moto G, but slightly lower than the OnePlus X, which should be considered a close contender. The 5-inch screen only has a 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution, and unfortunately, it’s not all that bright. Only increasing the brightness to above 80 percent revealed much-needed detail, but jacking up the brightness had an adverse effect on the battery life. This is a slim phone, and the battery isn’t massive. The longest we ever got out of the F1 on a single charge was just over a day of use. There’s no sign of Oppo’s VOOC fast charging system — which returns a 75 percent battery charge in just 30 minutes — on this phone, either. Warranty In the U.K., Oppo provides a one-year warranty on the phone, but restricts it to six-months for the battery, and it covers normal usage. Plunge it in the bath or drop it on the street, and you’ll be out of luck. Conclusion The DT Accessory Pack OPPO Flip Cover Case $15.00 Pebble Smartwatch $77.29 Mpow iSnap X Selfie Stick $13.97 It was a refreshing change to carry around a sensibly sized, low-weight Android phone, especially when that Android phone has head-turning looks without the wallet-emptying price. The Oppo F1’s performance is first rate, it’s got a MicroSD card slot to add internal storage space, and the selfie cam is superb. However, the average rear camera, pointless software alterations, needless pre-installed apps, and mediocre battery life hold it back from being a truly great budget phone. It’s also a shame there’s no fingerprint sensor, although the new, more expensive Oppo F1 Plus adds this feature, so the F1 won’t ever support mobile payment systems like Android Pay. Related: Oppo’s F1 Plus wants to be generation selfie’s dream phone, has a 16-megapixel front cam Perhaps the most annoying aspect of all is that the Oppo F1 isn’t setup for U.S. networks. Just like the OnePlus X, the F1 has bands for the U.K. and European 4G networks, but it’s more or less unusable in North America. As such, U.S. bargain phone hunters should consider the Moto G, or the Huawei Honor 5X, which also has an excellent selfie camera and a fingerprint sensor. Both cost around $200 without a contract. For European and U.K. buyers, the slightly more expensive OnePlus X is the better choice. Perfection is unlikely for a phone with a $250 price tag, and although selfie fans may be tempted, we really can’t recommend the Oppo F1.

Google’s 2016 Nexus phones are probably going to be unbeatable

Multiple reports have said that Google is already working hard on a couple of new Nexus handsets, undoubtedly the successors of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P . But rather than have LG and Huawei make them, Google supposedly hired HTC, the same company that made the iconic Nexus One. A pair of new reports bring further evidence that Google may indeed partner with HTC for the 2016 Nexus handsets – yes, two devices are supposedly in the works. DON’T MISS:  How Snapchat and stupidity almost left five people dead First off, not only is HTC capable of making some impressive Android handsets – just look at this year’s HTC 10 – but the rumors come from sources who’re generally in the know about these type of things. https://twitter.com/evleaks/status/725395035022319616 Evan Blass and Android Police independently came out with details about the new Nexus handsets. Blass found out from his sources that HTC is making a pair of Android N handsets for Google, dubbed M1 and S1 internally. Meanwhile, a source told Android Police that Marlin and Sailfish are Google’s internal codenames for the new Nexus phones. The blog also dug through the available code to uncover evidence of one of the two names: Marlin. Sailfish is a weird choice for Google considering that it happens to be the name of a rival mobile operating system, but the company is known for using fish names for its Nexus devices. Furthermore, Blass and Android Police ’s reports certainly align: M1 might be the Marlin while S1 could stand for Sailfish. What about the numbers you ask? Neither source explains the detail. But an earlier report suggested that HTC may have inked a three-year Nexus exclusivity deal . So there’s that. It’s too early for specs, features or pictures. But the possibility of seeing HTC 10 variations turned into Nexus handsets is exciting. The HTC 10 is the most powerful smartphone ever and HTC'c hardware designs are always best-in-class. Add in stock Android and immediate access to software updates and you've got a pair of phones that might be unbeatable.

How to get the best out of Google Now

How to get the best out of Google Now

There’s been a fair bit of confusion about what Google Now really is. It’s easy to describe it as Google’s version of Siri, but it’s actually a lot more ambitious than that. Sure, you can use it to set reminders to buy milk or have dinner with friends, and you can ask it basic questions about the weather tomorrow or who directed The Shining , but the real attraction lies in its abilities to preempt your desires and needs. If you let Google Now learn about you and your habits, then it can throw up information that it thinks you might be interested in. News, sports scores, weather, and traffic information is served up in real time based on your previous movements and searches. Information is served up in the form of cards, which you can tap for more detail or swipe away to ignore. When it works, Google Now can give you what you want before you even know you want it. The set up You won’t get great results unless you set Google Now up with all the information it needs. This will involve some trust on your part. For heavy users of Google services it won’t be an issue, but anyone with privacy concerns is liable to think twice. Google Now is built into Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and above, and you can also now get it as a free iOS app (it’s part of the Google Search app). It’s worth spending some time in the settings before you start to use Google Now. On Android, you’ll probably have a Google search bar on your home screen and you can tap it to bring up Google Now, or you can select Google from the app drawer. You’ll also be able to hold down the Home button or swipe up from the Home button to quickly select Google Now. If you have a stock Android phone or you install the Google Now Launcher then you can simply say, “Ok Google,” on your home screen to bring it to life, or swipe from left to right. Related: 10 awesome Android 5.0 Lollipop tips On iOS, you’ll want to open the Google Search app. You should be asked to set it up the first time you use it, but you can return to the app and enter settings whenever you like, in order to tweak things. Bring Google Now to life, and you’ll find the menu at the top left. Tap the three horizontal lines and choose Settings . You can turn Google Now on and off in here, and you can fine tune how it behaves. The more data you allow it to access, the better it will perform. In Accounts & privacy, you can set nicknames, web history, and more. You can decide how the Voice settings should work, including the “Ok Google” hotword detection. You have the option to dictate what Phone search covers. In Now cards, you can check your card history, delete your preferences, decide if you want notification alerts, and define what you want to be notified about. If you choose Now on Tap and toggle it on, you can hold down the Home button on any screen and Google will search it and return potentially useful related information. Customizing Google Now Open up the menu, via the three horizontal lines at the top left, and choose Customize , which is accompanied by the magic wand icon. Start in Apps & websites to decide whether you want to get cards from supported apps and websites and to choose which ones. In Places you can set locations, such as your home and workplace. The Sports and Stocks sections let you choose sports teams and stocks that you are interested in. In Transport,  you can tell Google how you usually get around and whether you drive or walk to work everyday. If you live in a supported country, then you can choose TV & Video to set your TV and Video on demand providers, and get recommendations about movies and TV shows. If you go into Everything Else you’ll find options about website updates, preferences for units of temperature, weather updates, and a few other bits and pieces. The data contained in Google Now will be collected automatically as you use your various Google services. A quicker way to edit your Google Now preferences is to tap the menu icon (three vertical dots) at the top right of every card that appears and choose your preferences from the drop down menu. If you want to check up on any reminders you have set, then open the menu again and choose Reminders at the top. It’s marked by an icon of an outstretched finger. You can add details to reminders here, delete old ones, or add new ones. When you add a new reminder you can choose to be reminded at a specific time, or you can choose to be reminded when you reach a specific location. Pre-emptive Google Now If you really want to get a feel for what Google Now can do, then you have to let it run for an extended period of time. It needs at least a week to start to get a handle on your movements and the kind of information that you are interested in. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t turn GPS on to get your location, and it shouldn’t be a major drain on your battery life. Just let it to gather intel in the background, and you’ll reap the rewards over time. The more Google Now learns about you, the more useful it potentially becomes. Being able to tie together the fact that you have an appointment across town, with real-time traffic conditions, to give you a reminder about when you need to leave and what route to take to get there on time is impressive, but it obviously won’t be useful for everyone. Much depends on the way you use your phone and what your habits are. As cards pop up, you can swipe them away to the right or left to get rid of them, tap on them to get more detailed information, or tap the menu icon at the top right to tell Google Now whether you like these kinds of updates and want to continue getting them. There’s an undo option that pops up briefly after you swipe a card away, and you can tap it to bring that card back. You can also scroll down to the bottom to request that it show More cards. You’ll tend to find it doesn’t show much at first, but over time it should display more and more interesting and relevant cards. Voice commands When it’s not gazing into its crystal ball to bring you nuggets of potentially useful information, you can also use Google Now as a good old-fashioned assistant. Think of it as the personal assistant you can’t afford. Since release, Google has been adding a steady stream of voice commands and new functions, so you might be surprised at what’s on offer. You can type traditional searches into the search box as normal, but if you tap the microphone you’ll unlock truly convenient voice search and commands. Here’s a small sample list of potential questions and commands: Who is the CEO of Google? What is the meaning of smartphone? Show me the stocks for Sony. What time is it in New York? Will it rain tomorrow? Show all hotels near me. Go to Digital Trends. What is 13 stones in kilograms? Premier league table. Play Blue Monday. Wake me up in an hour. Call Jenny. Images of the Empire State Building. When will BA 2215 land? When is my next appointment? Remind me to take out the trash when I get home. Launch Google Plus. Take a picture. What’s this song? A lot of questions Google Now will reply to out loud. When you order it to perform an action, such as calling someone, or launching an app, it will show a loading bar, so you have time to quit if it misinterpreted your request. When you ask, “What’s this song?” it will listen for a moment, and then tell you, as well as provide a link to buy it in Google Play. The voice input is generally solid, but much depends on your accent. Background noise can also cause a problem with it interpreting your speech. However, even with a retry, it’s often faster than typing, and Google is improving it with each new iteration. Now on Tap Now on Tap is an important update to Google Search that landed as part of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It enables you to dip into Google Now without leaving the app you’re in. Simply tap and hold the Home button, and the service will deliver help based on what you’re doing. You can also use the “Ok Google” voice command from any screen, or in any app. In addition to the usual array of commands, there are various contextual things it can do to help you. For example, you might get an email about seeing a movie, in which case Google Now will offer ratings, a trailer, and a link to buy tickets. Google is able to pull data from whatever you’re doing, in order to deliver relevant help. It will take an educated guess about what you want, so in most circumstances you’ll get what you need just by bringing a card up. But it understands context for follow up questions, too. So, if you’re listening to Pearl Jam on Spotify, and you say, “Ok Google, who is the lead singer?” Google Now will tell you, Eddie Vedder. What else can it do? There are lots of other features in Google Now waiting to be discovered. You can tell it to fire up the music app, play a specific track, or even choose a playlist based on your tastes. It will suggest good stories to read based on your search history, and remember where you parked the car, too. If you have a habit of falling asleep on the early morning commute, then you can employ Google Now to wake you up at the right stop. Tell it where and when you want to get off and fall asleep worry-free, secure in the knowledge that Google will wake you in time to get off. A lot of the best features come through apps that work with Google Now. The number of apps that can plug into it has been steadily increasing, and there are many different possible cards. You could have an e-ticket for your movie through Fandango, pay your bill at a restaurant via OpenTable, or a get a reminder from RunKeeper to burn off that cake you ate. Head over to Google for a look at the full range of possible cards. If you like Google Now on your Android phone or tablet, you may be pleased to learn that you can get cards in the Chrome browser, too. Sign in with your Google ID, and they’ll appear at the bottom right in the system tray for Windows users, and top right in the menu bar on Macs. Just click on the small bell icon to review your cards. We don’t know what’s in store for Google Now next, but we’ll keep you posted on anything new that emerges. Remember, half-hearted use of Google Now will not impress, it’s an all or nothing deal, if you really want to feel the benefits. Let us know how you use Google Now, and if you have any tips or questions, then post a comment. Updated on 4-27-2016 by Simon Hill : Updated for Marshmallow and refreshed text, added new screenshots, and Now on Tap section. Article originally published 5-22-2013.

Motorola Moto G 2016 news and rumors

Motorola Moto G 2016 news and rumors

The Moto G has been Motorola’s most popular phone with good reason. It features top-quality specs at a competitive price. However, it was unclear if the Moto G would continue now that Lenovo has taken over reigns of the company. The latest rumors say yes, which would put the phone in its fourth generation. As noted by an Ars Technica report, because of the way that smartphone cycles work, this will likely be the first Moto G release that Lenovo has actually had a say in. Lenovo purchased Motorola back in January 2014, but didn’t take control of the company until October 2014. Products made by those at Lenovo didn’t instantly start being sold with the Motorola brand though — it would have taken a few months for Lenovo-designed products to start being sold with the Motorola name, and the 2016 Moto G was likely well in development by that time. Here’s everything we know so far about the 2016 Moto G. Related:  Motorola Moto G (2015) review Release date and pricing Motorola has just sent out invites for an event on May 17 in New Delhi, India. It could likely be for the rumored Moto G4 and G4 Plus, but the company hasn’t offered any additional details. Previously, when Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing spoke at Lenovo Zuk Z2 Pro in Beijing, he said Motorola will hold an event on June 9, but did not divulge exactly what Motorola will show off. He did mention the new product will be “exciting.” So it’s unclear what exactly Motorola will be showing off on each respective date. According to Roland Quandt, the Moto G will cost 240 euros and the Moto G Plus will be 280 euros — that’s around $270 and $315, respectively. If true, that would be a pretty significant price jump over last year’s Moto G, which starts at $180. Will there be two versions? Based on the most recent rumors, it seems likely that Motorola will release two versions of the Moto G called the Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus. Of course, this may change before the release, especially considering the fact that LG already has a smartphone called the G4. It’s possible that G4 is an internal name that refers to the fact that it’s the fourth iteration of the Moto G. A newer design The best look we’ve gotten at the device so far comes in the form of a render from notorious leakster Evan Blass in mid-April. If accurate, the render shows a pretty drastic design change for the Moto G, showing off a square-shaped home button, which would replace the bottom speaker. Some rumors suggest that it will also function as a fingerprint scanner, similar to the Touch ID button in recent iPhones. It has also been rumored that this home button will only be available on the Plus version of the device. Agreed. https://t.co/yBX6xW1AOC pic.twitter.com/rw8dhBYHxK — Evan Blass (@evleaks) April 19, 2016 A video that reportedly shows off the new Moto G was uploaded to YouTube in mid-April. Interestingly enough, the device in the video does  not include the square home button, suggesting that perhaps it’s the standard version of the Moto G rather than the Plus version. The device has well-rounded edges and is quite a bit larger than what looks to be a Moto X. The leak appears to confirm reports that the screen size of the device will be around 5.5 inches. The video also seems to answer some questions we have about the software on the phone. While it was all but certain that it would run Android, many worried that Lenovo would depart from the near-stock version of Android Motorola devices have favored in the past. It seems as though the next Moto G will stick with nearly stock Android, if the brief glimpse we got of the home screen on the device in the video is anything to go by. A few pictures that supposedly show the next-generation Moto G have also been leaked on French site NoWhereElse. On the back of the phone we can see a camera array that looks similar to previous versions of the Moto G, but has two extra holes that must be for camera sensors of some kind. NoWhereElse Related: A smartwatch that does more than tell time. See the Moto 36o here. Processor and specs Some specs for the device were leaked in mid-April, thanks to Twitter user Roland Quandt. According to Quandt, the “Plus” in the name will refer to a higher spec device rather than a larger one — both the Moto G and Moto G Plus will feature a 5.5-inch display. Quandt also says that the Moto G Plus will feature a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera. However, the Moto G will only have a 13-megapixel sensor. According to Quandt, the devices will start with 16GB of storage, and will be available in either black or white — it’s not known if customers will be able to use Moto Maker to create their own color variation. Of course, these are just rumors for now, so keep in mind that none of this is official yet. We’ll keep you updated here with news and rumors about the Moto G as they break. Updates: Updated on 04-28-2016 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added in May 17, 2016, as a possible announcement date for the Moto G. Updated on 04-21-2016 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in June 9, 2016, as the possible release date for the Moto G. Updated on 04-20-2016 by Christian de Looper:  Added info about leaked video and render from Evan Blass. Also watch: Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Zuck’s security team costs $5M a year, VW used PowerPoint to cheat

Zuck’s security team costs $5M a year, VW used PowerPoint to cheat

If you’re the fourth richest person in the world, it’s safe to say you’re probably not taking the bus, and more likely to have a security detail. Right? So how much does it cost to keep that person – actually Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – safe? According to C/Net, it’s about $5 million per year. Pocket lint when your net worth is almost $ 48 billion , and hey, it seems kind of like a bargain that the five mil includes your own private jet. And if it makes you feel any better, Zuck took a page out of Steve Job’s CEO book and has an annual salary of just one dollar. Investigators continue to dig into Volkswagen’s files to see who knew what and when about the company’s massive emissions cheating scandal, and they’ve made a significant discovery. Seems like the plans to actively deceive diesel emissions testing equipment got rolling in 2006. How do they know? Well, because a higher-up at VW put together a PowerPoint presentation on how to do it. According to the New York Times, an as-yet unnamed exec showed the presentation to management peoples and the green light was given to install software that could detect when the cars were being tested and automatically bring emissions results into line. Once back out on the road, the cars reverted to pollute mode, emitting 40 times more exhaust than the legal limit. In fact, even when regulators started sniffing around in 2014, VW kept installing the software for another year . The scandal cost CEO Martin Winterkorn his job and VW is facing fines and repair fees that could top $ 18 billion . Just last week, they offered to buy back half a million cars in the U.S., and the investigation is just getting started. The hottest thing in tech today is VR, and during a developer’s conference yesterday in San Francisco, Samsung’s R&D chief said a stand-alone VR headset is on the way. Samsung already makes the $99 Gear VR, which requires a Samsung smartphone to complete the package. But according to Variety, Samsung says the next iteration will be an all-in-the-headset solution, instead of having to be tethered to a PC like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Timeline on the next generation of Gear VR? Let’s just say not this year, but given how hard companies are working to improve VR and untether it from bulky PC’s, we’d say it’ll be here sooner than later.

Suffering from app drawer withdrawal on your LG G5? Here’s how to get it back

Suffering from app drawer withdrawal on your LG G5? Here’s how to get it back

The LG G5 is a unique smartphone indeed. No other phone sports an all metal unibody with the ability to swap the battery, but with every step forward, there must be a step backward. LG decided to remove the app drawer from the G5 to make the software appear more iPhone-like, but that decision left a lot of unsatisfied customers. Good news! LG heard your cries and brought it back. The app drawer, which is the circle icon with 6 dots within it at the bottom of each home screen, shows all your apps in one place without cluttering all your screens. It’s been a mainstay on Android for many years and one of the biggest reasons why people love Android. Related: LG G5 review LG most likely opted to eliminate the app drawer because it wanted to simplify things for people switching over from iOS. Without an app drawer, all your app icons appear on the home screens, and it’s up to you to organize them. If you want the app drawer back, open Settings > About phone > Update Center > App Updates . You should hopefully see an option to download updates for both the Home & App Drawer and Home Selector . You will need both. Droid Life is reporting that international unlocked and T-Mobile models are showing the updates already. After you have downloaded the updates, just tap on the Home button. You’ll see a popup asking what you want to use as your default home launcher. Assuming you want the app drawer back, select Home & App Drawer . If you don’t want the app drawer, then select Home . If you want to change it again later, open Settings > Applications > Default Applications . Now select Home and select the launcher of your choice. You may have read earlier this month that LG already brought back the app launcher, but it wasn’t for the same software the LG G5 runs. The G5 runs UX 5.0 over Android Marshmallow, but the app launcher released earlier was for UX 4.0 devices. You could get it to work, but the update described in this post is the official version for the G5. Related: 5 annoying LG G5 problems, and how to fix them Whether you love or hate the app drawer, one thing we can all agree on is that it’s better to have a choice. So kudos to LG for letting its customers decide on whether they want it or not. Also watch: Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Take an incredible 360-degree VR tour of the abandoned city of Chernobyl

On the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, intrepid video game developer The Farm 51 has released a stunning 360-degree trailer for a VR project that will allow viewers to explore the abandoned city without ever leaving their homes. MUST SEE:  Completely change the look of your iPhone with round folder icons, no jailbreak needed Founded in 2005, The Farm 51 is a Polish game developer that has worked on projects such as  Painkiller: Hell & Damnation , The Witcher and Two Worlds II . In 2015, a separate team known as Reality 51 was established, with the intent of taking virtual reality beyond gaming, with projects such as the Chernobyl VR Project. "Chernobyl VR Project is a unique project by The Farm 51, as it combines video games with educational and movie narrative software," explains the team. "It is the very first virtual tour around the Chernobyl and Pripyat area, compatible with multiple VR headsets, such as Oculus and PlayStation VR and HTC Vive." You can watch the trailer below in a browser with Flash enabled, but the best way to watch is on your phone so you can get the full VR effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrivExmHYxM The Farm 51 is planning to release the movie/game/experiment in June, but you can preorder  Chernobyl VR Project now through online retailer G2A . There are several different payment options, and depending on how much you're willing to spend, you can contribute up to 60% of your purchase to foundations which help victims of the disaster in the continued recovery efforts.

9 sound bars perfect for any home theater setup, from minimalist to all-out

9 sound bars perfect for any home theater setup, from minimalist to all-out

The speakers in flat-panel TVs today are far better than they were in years past, but for all that’s been done to improve the audio systems built into TVs, they still pale in comparison to even the most basic sound bar. A purpose-built sound solution, the sound bar is the sleekest, least-obtrusive way to get sound that’s as impactful as the premium picture on your TV. Related: Our comprehensive sound bar reviews and sound bar shopping guide The best sound bars today offer a minimalist style, dynamic power, and many of them will even let you stream audio via Bluetooth — no need to carve out room for a receiver or tower speakers. Below are a few of our current favorites that will ramp up your sound without cramping your style. The Best Yamaha YAS-203 ($350) The Yamaha YAS-203 is the perfect embodiment of a high-value sound bar. Highlight include excellent sound and a commendable feature set for the price, allowing you to experience balanced bass and fleecy treble with a pair of 2 ⅛-inch drivers and a single 6 ½-inch driver housed in the bundled subwoofer. It excels beautifully when it comes to subtle nuances and dialog, rendering it as apt for music as it is movies, and features a built-in IR repeater to compensate for its taller build — one that has an unwanted tendency to block the IR sensor on the front of your TV. Furthermore, the accompanying mobile app for iOS and Android allows you to make sound adjustments if you prefer your smartphone over the included, shortcut-clad remote.  Read our full review here. Buy one now from:  Amazon B&H Best Buy The Rest The mad scientist – Yamaha YSP-2500 ($1,000) The Yamaha YSP-2500 showcases an exterior design that’s as sleek as it is inconspicuous, but its true talent lies in its ability to forge very convincing virtual surround sound. The sixteen individual 1.125-inch “beam” drivers and dual 4-inch woofers allow you to differentiate sound locations with a surprising amount of ease, peppering the room with powerful bass and clear treble from every corner. Other features include DTS-HD and Dolby True HD decoding, 4K passthrough at 60 fps, and dynamic range control, which compresses audio and aids with abrupt spikes in volume. The versatile settings, accessible via onscreen menu and included remote, push the device’s capabilities even further, letting you adjust the complex layers of virtual surround sound and implement audio syncing.  Read our full review here. Buy one now from: Amazon Best Buy The minimalist – Klipsch R-10B ($600) The Klipsch Reference R-10B revels in its own simplicity. The sound bar’s minimalist design is attractive — even if does take the form of a tall, plastic cabinet — and the robust MDF-enclosed subwoofer is a powerhouse of awesome all to itself. The resulting sound stage is engaging and detailed, flanked with explosive bass and pristine treble that fully capitalizes on the system’s solid stereo spacing. The R-10B doesn’t showcase much in the way of extras, but it does offer Bluetooth connection with aptX for CD-quality sound from compatible devices, and its sonic talents are well suited to a range of musical genres. The aforementioned size of the sound bar begs for mounting rather than sitting, yet, given its accurate performance and dead-simple navigation, we can overlook that.  Read our full review here. Buy one now from: Amazon Best Buy The mighty mouse – Definitive Technology W Studio Micro ($800) Those looking for a bar that sounds far bigger than its ultra-slim profile suggests will want to check out Definitive Technology’s W Studio Micro. Measuring just under 2-inches tall and 3-inches thick, the Micro far exceeds expectations of a bar its size, offering thunderous sound with a smooth and supple touch that delivers the finest details with ease. And while this bar is definitely on the pricier side, Def Tech doesn’t stop there, tacking on Play-Fi wireless technology to make the Micro a perfect hub to build out a multi-room home audio solution, as well as allowing for true wireless surround sound with additional Play-Fi components. Add in a handsome design, and the Micro makes for an excellent addition to your compact TV room.  Read our full review here. Buy one now from: Amazon Best Buy The whole shebang – Vizio S5451W-C2  ($300) Virtual surround sound is all well and good, but even in this brave new world, nothing beats the real thing. That’s where Vizio’s S5451W-C2 comes in. The name might not be much, but this system makes up for Vizio’s lack of inspiration in nomenclature with rich and full 5.1 surround sound thanks to dual satellite speakers that plug into the sub. Adding those pieces to the three channel setup up front, the bar provides plenty of detail to spice up movies and music, while surrounding you in sweet, room engulfing action. Bluetooth wireless connection, HDMI inputs, and an intuitive interface shore up the feature set to make this 5.1 system-on-the-cheap an enticing proposition.  Read our full review here. Buy one now from: Amazon The Rest The hammer – Denon DHT-S514 ($550) The Denon DHT-S514 is a behemoth, in both size and sound. The sound bar’s simple, rectangular chassis houses a compelling arsenal of components inside, including two ½-inch tweeters buoyed by dual 2 x 5-inch drivers. A whopping 175 watts of digital amplification power the system, allowing for an accurate sound signature across the entire spectrum, one highlighted by a comprehensive upper register and sweet-sounding bass. The device lacks a traditional display, offering only basic LEDs, though it still manages to showcase a swift setup process and an array of fine-tuned listening modes for music, movies, and dialogue, as well as Dolby and DTS decoding, and Bluetooth streaming with aptX support. It also touts a variety of connection options, including optical and coaxial digital audio inputs, and an ARC-enabled HDMI output.  Read our full review here. Buy one now from: Amazon The acrobat – Sony HT-CT770 ($450) Sony’s HT-CT770 is a smartly-sculpted piece of versatile technology, enveloped in a diamond-shaped design with sleek silver accents. The bevy of inputs, which includes three HDMI inputs and an ARC-enabled HDMI out, give it an upper hand over many comparable competitors, while 4K pass-through, virtual surround sound, and Bluetooth wireless connection add to a laundry list of enticing features. Moreover, the 110 watts of digital amplification and the four-pack of drivers housed beneath the mesh exterior let it achieve impressive, full-bodied sound and a sprawling stereo image that owes much to its taut upper register, subtle midrange, and ample bass response. Most interestingly, thanks to an on board gyroscope, the bar can even adjust the sound to sit up, or lay back flat to fit your setup needs (hence the acrobat title). Combine the aforementioned features with the sound bar’s appealing price tag, and you get a sweet bar for a nice price.  Read our full review here. Buy one now from: Frys The aristocrat – Definitive Technology SoloCinema Studio ($1,299) The Def Tech SoloCinema Studio doesn’t come cheap, nor is it quite as impressive for music as it is for movies — but that’s really splitting hairs. The 43-inch-long bar and accompanying subwoofer make a brilliant duo, delivering powerful and refined audio that easily belie their premium construction. The system showcases excellent dynamic range and provides rich, detailed sound — particularly in regards to dialog — filling the room with thumping low-end and an upper register awash with vivid nuances. Although it lacks the ARC HDMI connection of many of its peers, the boxy package still brims with tempting features, offering everything from an intuitive interface, DTS and Dolby decoding, Bluetooth with aptX, and 5.1 virtual surround features with wild titles like Active Vector Response Curves. The price of the package will scare some away, but top-notch sound and performance beg a premium fee.  Read our full review here. Buy one now from: Amazon The ringer – Pioneer SP-SB23W ($450) One of  the best products of Pioneer’s collaboration with its former Chief Design Engineer Andrew Jones is this potent and musical sound bar. The SP-SB23W is a fantastic sound — err, “speaker”— bar, founded on a six pack of individually amplified drivers and a very capable wireless subwoofer. The stubby, yet high-riding bar rests in a handsome MDF cabinet lined with wood grain ripples, complementing the cubed subwoofer with a smart design. More importantly, the cabinet helps the system integrate beautifully with a host of content, producing a smooth and natural sound signature built on creamy mids, musical bass, and richly-drawn dialog. The system sets up in minutes, including analog, digital optical, and Bluetooth connection, and though the tall design might get in the way of your TV’s IR sensor, the overall performance and shoestring price justify a bit of furniture rearrangement.  Read our full review here. Buy one now from: Amazon

Hands on: HP Chromebook 13

Hands on: HP Chromebook 13

Chromebooks are known for their affordability and lightweight, cloud-based operating system, Chrome OS. Because most Chromebooks were made of plastic and not exactly sexy, Google wanted to prove that it could build a high-end Chromebook. The result was the gorgeous, all-metal Pixel, but seeing as it costs nearly $1,000 (and more than that, when it first debuted), the Pixel didn’t sell to many would-be buyers. Now, Google has turned to HP to build a Chromebook that offers a top-of-the-line feel, but at a much lower cost. HP.com Offer: Save 25% off select configurable laptops $999 or more at HP.com We had a chance to check out the new HP Chromebook 13 at an event in New York and test out its powers. Here are all the specs you need to know and our initial hands-on impressions. Gorgeous design and lots of power The business-targeted HP Chromebook 13 was designed in collaboration with Google,and it is beautiful. It has an all-metal build, with a anodized brushed aluminum texture. The hinge is shiny to add contrast, as is the HP logo in the center of the device, and there’s light chrome beveling around the trackpad. When you flip the device over, you’ll see a black grippy surface that ensures your shiny new Chromebook won’t go slipping out of your grip. Related:  Open-source code leaks indicate arrival of Google Play Store on Chromebooks It’s quite thin at 0.50 inches, which is even thinner than Apple’s 0.65-inch thick MacBook Air. It also beats out the 2.96-pound MacBook Air in weight, coming in at 2.86 pounds. The Chromebook is absolutely stunning to behold, and it feels super light. It looks quite a bit like a MacBook, which is hardly a bad thing. It’s one of the nicest Chromebooks we’ve ever seen. As the name suggests, the Chromebook has a 13.3-inch IPS display. The model we looked offered a resolution of  3,200 x 1,800 pixels, which is excellent, but is models have a more mundane 1080p screen. Both look remarkably sharp and crisp, with rich colors. You can even get a matte finish on the display if glare is a problem. You’ll get several options on what you want powering the Chromebook, ranging up to Intel’s 6th generation Core M7 processor, paired with 16GB of RAM. HP says this is the first Chromebook to use Intel’s 6th generation Core M7 processor. In our brief hands-on time, the device felt super speedy and quick. Google showed us a demo of the Chromebook running Skype, Excel, Powerpoint, Evernote, Chrome, and a handful of other programs at the same time, while powering two HD displays via HP’s Elite USB-C Docking Station, which offers 3 additional USB ports. You could also power one 4K display with it if you so chose.  The programs ran without a hitch during our demo, which was pretty impressive for a Chromebook. Attention to details The Chromebook 13 doesn’t skimp on battery life. HP claims the laptop will last a whopping 11.5 hours, and thanks to a USB-Type C port, it won’t take as long to charge. We couldn’t verify HP’s numbers during our short time with the device, of course. Manufacturers usually over-estimate, so we think battery life of seven to eight hours is more likely in typical use. Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends Unfortunately, if you’re using the Quad HD display variant, your webcam will feel lackluster, as the Chromebook 13 is outfitted with a 720p one. The audio, on the other hand, is powered by Bang & Olufsen Play. The B&O branding adds some flash to the device’s design, and it ups the audio quality for listening to audio or holding a video conference. Chrome OS is better than ever Of course, the Chromebook 13 is running Chrome OS, which is built around Google’s Chrome browser. You’re limited to cloud-based apps like Gmail, but Google has been increasing the amount of offline features available. Thanks to the Chrome Web Store, you’ll also get access to apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Microsoft Office. Google’s spent a lot of time working on great apps for its Chromebooks, and you can run many Android apps on it, too. We saw the Android version of Evernote running during our demo. Related:  Chromebook for Work, liquid-cooled 2-in-1 steal the show at Acer’s New York PC refresh For businesses, Citrix has also announced a new version of Receiver for Chrome. The service lets users remotely use apps from other platforms, but the 2.0 version of Receiver now “ensures Windows apps work like native Chrome apps.” There’s also a new connection center and a slicker-looking toolbar. Google demoed the Chromebook running a full version of Excel and Powerpoint at the event. Pricing and availability The HP Chromebook 13 will cost $500 in the U.S. and will launch towards the end of April. Pre-orders start now. You can check the device out on Google’s website here. Highs Beautiful design Excellent hardware options Up to 3,200 x 1,800 display Lows Chrome OS still limiting Webcam is only 720p

Everything you need to know about Samsung Pay

Everything you need to know about Samsung Pay

Mobile payments have come a long way after Apple made a huge push into the space with Apple Pay in 2014. Google introduced Android Pay last year, and Samsung has joined the fray with its own mobile payment system called Samsung Pay. Here’s what you need to know. What can you do with Samsung Pay? Samsung Pay isn’t just for typical transactions at your local grocery store or pharmacy. The Korean company continues to add new forms of payment, including everything from online payments and gift cards to taking cash out at ATMs. Of course, some of these features are only available in select countries. ATMs Sadly, American ATMs aren’t high-tech enough yet to work with Samsung Pay, but in South Korea, you can use the service at select ATMs to take out cash. At the moment, only Samsung users who have accounts at the following banks can use the service, according to the Korea IT Times: Woori Bank, KB Kookmin Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK), NH Nonghyup Bank, and Shinhan Bank. Related:  Samsung Galaxy S7 review | Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review The Times stated that Samsung pay works at 40,000 ATMs in the country, and Samsung has plans to bring its service to more ATMs in the future. You can even watch a transaction occur in the CNet video above. Online payments Samsung’s Thomas Ko, co-general manager for Samsung Pay, has said the mobile payment service will be updated to cover online payments in the U.S. in 2016. In an interview with Reuters, Ko said online Samsung Pay payments were coming to the U.S. soon, but didn’t provide an exact date outside of 2016, or mention any other countries expected to receive the new feature. Apple Pay operates online through supporting apps, while PayPal and Visa provide a more widespread online payment system already. Gift cards Thanks to a partnership with Blackhawk Network, a pioneer of prepaid gift cards, Samsung announced gift card support for Samsung Pay from 50 retailers including Babies”R”Us, Toys”R”Us, Domino’s, and Nike. The app also features a gift card store that allows users to buy gift cards from merchants either for themselves (which seems odd) or to be gifted to friends and family directly from the app. It’s a neat addition that certainly removes the need to carry multiple cards. In a nutshell, Samsung Pay allows you to purchase, store, pay with, and share gift cards. Related:  Tap to buy: A complete guide to Android Pay Paying with a gift card doesn’t utilize the MST technology that paying with credit or debit cards uses. Instead, as with Apple Pay or Android Pay, it provides a code that retailers can scan or type in. The company indicated that more gift card options will be added in the coming months. Which countries support Samsung Pay? Galaxy S7 Edge Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends Samsung Pay is currently available in the U.S. on all major carriers’ networks, as well as in South Korea and China. However, the service will expand to Spain, Brazil, the U.K., Australia, and Canada sometime this year. At the end of April, Samsung formally confirmed that Singapore would soon get Samsung Pay, but didn’t give an exact date, only that it would be before the summer. The announcement came quickly after Apple Pay launched in Singapore, but only for American Express card holders. Samsung will support MasterCard an Visa, and plans to make the mobile payment service available to customers of the DBS Bank, Standard Chartered, and Oversea-China Banking Corporation. On March 29, Samsung Pay went live in China through Samsung’s previously announced partnership with China UnionPay. The deal, announced in December 2015, is crucial, as UnionPay is China’s main credit provider. Driving these international launches forward is Samsung’s extended partnership with MasterCard overseas, helping Samsung Pay break into Europe, and for people to activate debit, credit, and reloadable prepaid cards. It will also support Visa and American Express, along with other major payment networks. The full list can be found here. Samsung has also signed a partnership with point of sale equipment company Verifone, helping adoption in the U.S. and internationally. Related: Read our review of the Galaxy Note 5, and the Galaxy S6 Edge here Which banks and stores support Samsung Pay? Since Samsung Pay works in different countries, the company has had to work with banks and credit card providers to ensure that the service is accessible to its users. Here’s a breakdown of the banks and card issuers that are onboard for each country. Samsung Pay in the U.S. Samsung Pay works on most major U.S. credit cards, and the company is always adding more to the mix. Samsung added 19 new issuers of U.S. credit and debit cards in December, including Visa issuers PNC, TCF Bank, CFE Federal Credit Union, Financial Center FCU, Greater Kinston Credit Union, Keypoint Credit Union, Numerica Credit Union, Utah Community Credit Union, Amegy Bank, California Bank & Trust, PenFed; and MasterCard issuers KeyBank, AchievaCU, Associated Bank, Bayport Credit Union, Bethpage Credit Union, Cambridge Savings, USCCU, and Navy Federal Credit Union.  Related:  Which Android heavyweight should you bet on? HTC 10 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge It comes two months after Samsung added 14 banks in October, including: Citizens Equity First Credit Union, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union, SunTrust, Virginia Credit Union, and Navy Federal Credit Union Visa. The company also announced that Discover Cards will be supported early next year. Samsung announced that you can now use “eligible” Wells Fargo credit and debit cards with Samsung Pay — bringing its number of supported banks and credit unions up to 70. Recently, the Korean giant said its mobile payment service hit 5 million registered users and processed around 500 million dollars in its first six months of existence. The MST technology ensures that Samsung Pay supports private label credit cards (PLCC), thanks to partnerships with Synchrony Financial, Blackhawk Network, and First Data Corporation. The company also joined forces with the two biggest credit card providers, the aforementioned MasterCard and Visa, in making Samsung Pay a reality. In the United States, Samsung Pay is supported by American Express, Bank of America, Citi, and U.S. Bank, and JPMorgan Chase credit cards. The company estimates that some 30 million merchant locations worldwide will accept Samsung Pay at launch. In other words, Samsung believes that it has come up with the only mobile payment system that is universally accepted. In contrast, both Apple Pay and Google Wallet only work at select locations where NFC is accepted. Samsung Pay won’t work everywhere — credit card readers that require a physical trigger, like U.S. ATMs and gas pumps, aren’t compatible. But Samsung says the Samsung Pay will work at 80 percent of point-of-sale systems when it debuts. Samsung Pay will be secured with Samsung’s own Knox security software, which is widely regarded as one of the best security systems for mobile devices, as well as ARM TrustZone. Just like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay doesn’t store personal account numbers on the user’s device, and uses tokenization to protect your credit card information whenever you make a purchase. If you should lose your phone, you can lock and disable the device remotely to turn off access to Samsung Pay, thanks to Samsung’s Find My Mobile feature. Samsung Pay in China Samsung Pay launched in China with a healthy list of supporting banks and credit card providers in China. These include, China CITIC Bank, China Construction Bank, China Everbright Bank, China Guangfa Bank, China Minsheng Banking Corp., China Merchants Bank, Hua Xia Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Ping An Bank. The complete list can be found on Samsung’s website here, and future compatibility with Bank of China, Bank of Beijing, and others is promised soon. Which devices support Samsung Pay? Samsung Pay is currently limited to the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge Plus, and Note 5, but in the near future we will see further support for Samsung devices and perhaps others. Non-flagship phones will get it soon Samsung chief executive officer of Samsung’s mobile division, JK Shin, confirmed that Samsung pay could reach non-flagship phones soon. Executive vice president Injong Rhee, who’s in charge of Samsung Pay, followed up in a November 2015 interview with ZDNet, saying: “Despite the strong push from headquarters, and high expectations for it to become a big business, our sales team initially had its doubts. But when Samsung Pay rolled out here, handset sales rose concurrently, and the sales team saw the benefits first-hand. Now our sales teams in other regions all want to do the same.” Rhee didn’t confirm any of the devices set to receive Samsung Pay support, but did confirm that the update is coming in a few months to “non-flagship” devices. Samsung’s Thomas Ko, an executive working on Samsung Pay, told Reuters in late December “low priced Samsung phones” will have Samsung Pay support in the next year, but didn’t offer any precise dates. In mid-November, a report in the Korea Herald quotes a Samsung analyst, who states Samsung Pay may come to low and mid-range phones in the first half of 2016. Additionally, an industry source says Samsung will add fingerprint sensors to some of its ‘budget smartphone models,’ an essential part of Samsung Pay integration. Related:  Samsung Pay wasn’t breached in state-sponsored LoopPay hack, executives say The next Gear smartwatch may have Samsung Pay, too Samsung may not limit Samsung Pay to its Android phones, and the Korea Herald report mentions the possibility the feature may be added to Samsung’s Tizen smartphones, although the aforementioned analyst says this “would have little impact on the market,” given Tizen’s limited market reach. Returning to Samsung’s VP Injong Rhee’s comments, he also confirmed the next Gear smartwatch will feature full Samsung Pay support. Currently, the Gear S2 supports Samsung Pay in a limited capacity. It works at NFC-enabled terminals, but not at regular terminals. As such, the application of Samsung Pay with the Gear S2 is less widespread than it is with compatible Samsung phones, which have MST technology that enables mobile payments at non-NFC terminals. The next Samsung smartwatch would, in theory, have MST and work at ordinary registers, too — just like the phones do now. Samsung Pay might also be supported by other manufacturers in the future, with Rhee claiming there were internal talks on working with partners to push the payments service onto Android. That might disrupt the peace with Google — the creator of Android Pay — but would be a good way for Samsung to attain more users in the mobile payments market. Rhee followed up saying “right now global expansion is happening so quickly for Samsung Pay that we are focusing all our energy on deployment,” which means it is unlikely we will see any partnerships in the near future. It won’t work on rooted devices Now that the service is live, there is evidence that rooting your Galaxy phone will disable Samsung Pay. This isn’t surprising since a rooted device is less secure. If a user tries to use Samsung Pay on a rooted phone, they will will be prompted with a message saying, “Samsung Pay has been locked due to unauthorized modification.” Related: How to root your Android phone or tablet in 2015 (and unroot it) Rooting a device is the process of obtaining complete administrative control of the operating system, which can make it more susceptible to hacking, and less secure. There are some advantages to rooting, but the security concerns more than outweigh them for the average person. If you’re wondering if your Galaxy phone is rooted, it most likely isn’t. Samsung (and most other) phones aren’t rooted out of the box, and you would have needed to go through many complicated steps in order to achieve root, of which you would probably remember. Will it work on Smart TVs? Samsung’s positioning Samsung Pay as a platform , not purely contactless forms of payment. To that end, the company has announced Samsung Pay on TV, a feature coming to select Samsung smart TVs that’ll expedite the process of paying for content. Samsung The service, which Samsung said was developed in partnership with PayPal, ties your credit cards, debit cards, PayPal account and other billing options to a personal identification number. After you complete an “initial registration setup,” Samsung says buying a TV show, movie, or app on your TV is as easy as entering your PIN and hitting the “Pay Now” button that subsequently appears. That first-time setup could be a headache. (You’ll have to add each funding source individually to Samsung Pay on TV.) If you’ve got a Samsung mobile account with saved billing details, though, they’ll transfer automatically. Owners of the electronics giant’s 2014 and 2015 smart TVs will begin to see games that integrate Pay on TV. The list of supported titles will be quite small initially — about seven — but Samsung says it’ll add content “within new and world-renowned games” in the near future. How do you set it up? Samsung Pay first became available on the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge Plus, and Note 5 devices, and required an over-the-air update to work. In 2016, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge were added to the list. Once you’ve added credit, debit, and loyalty cards, you open the Samsung Pay app with a swipe, choose the card you want to use, and authenticate the purchase with your fingerprint. Just like most forms of mobile payments, Samsung Pay will use Near Field Communications (NFC) to make payments at point-of-sale systems that accept tap-to-pay. However, unlike Apple Pay and Google Wallet, Samsung Pay will leverage the same technology standard credit cards use, called Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), which will let the system work at most cash registers, regardless of whether or not they accept NFC payments. So long as the register accepts mag-stripe credit cards, which is something that nearly every single cash register can do, Samsung Pay should work. Our article changelog: Updated on 4-27-2016 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Samsung pay works at ATMs in Korea0. Updated on 04-22-2016 by Andy Boxall:  Added that Samsung Pay will launch in Singapore.  Updated on 03-29-2016 by Andy Boxall:  Added news Samsung Pay has launched in China.  Updated on 03-01-2016 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added news of Samsung Pay adding support for Wells Fargo customers.  Updated on 02-20-2016 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added news of Samsung Pay hitting about 5 million registered users.  Updated on 01-05-2016 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added news of Samsung bringing Samsung Pay to Australia, Brazil, and Singapore, in addition to Spain, China, and the United Kingdom. Updated on 12-29-2015 by Andy Boxall:  Added news Samsung intends to add U.S. online payment support to Samsung Pay in 2016. Updated on 12-18-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Samsung struck a deal with UnionPay to bring its mobile payment service to China in early 2016. Updated on 12-15-2015 by David Curry:  Added news that 19 new Mastercard and VISA issuers are now supported.  Updated on 12-10-2015 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added in news that Samsung Pay now supports gift cards. Updated on 11-23-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added in news that Samsung Pay now supports Chase cards and cards from a number of credit unions.Jump to the list of supported banks for more. Updated on 11-18-2015 by David Curry and Malarie Gokey:  Added in news that Samsung Pay might launch in China, Spain, and the U.K. Also updated formatting and added a table on contents. Updated on 11-18-2015 by Andy Boxall:  Added further rumors Samsung will add Samsung Pay support to low and mid-range devices, and its Tizen phones Updated on 11-09-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Corrected post with info about the Gear S2 smartwatch’s support for Samsung Pay. The Gear S2 smartwatch does support Samsung Pay in a limited capacity — It offers NFC-based payments, but not MST -based payments. Ergo, it will work at terminals that support NFC payments, but not at normal registers in the same way that a Galaxy S6 smartphone with Samsung Pay would. Updated on 11-05-2015 by David Curry:  Added in news that Samsung plans to support payments on low and mid-range devices.  Updated on 10-27-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added news that Samsung Pay added 14 new banks and gift card support is coming soon. Updated on 10-21-2015 by Andy Boxall:  Added news Samsung Pay will fully launch for Verizon phones on October 21.  Updated on 10-19-2015 by Andy Boxall:  Added news Verizon may have started to send out its Samsung Pay update.  Updated on 10-07-2015 by David Curry:  Added Verizon Wireless support announcement. Updated on 09-28-2015 by David Curry:  Added news about the official launch in the United States and bank/carrier partners. Updated on 08-27-2015 by Andy Boxall:  Added in Samsung Pay Beta program news, and information on how you can join in. Updated on 08-13-2015 by Kyle Wiggers:  Added launch dates for the U.S. and South Korea.  Updated on 08-05-2015 by Kyle Wiggers:  Added details of Samsung Pay for TV.  Updated on 07-30-2015 by Kyle Wiggers:  Added news of a Samsung partnership with MasterCard in Europe. Updated on 07-24-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in news that rooting may disable Samsung Pay. Updated on 07-16-2015 by Williams Pelegrin: Added details of Samsung Pay trial program in South Korea. Update on 06-03-2015 by Kyle Wiggers:  Added details of Samsung Pay’s delay until September.

Why pay for apps? Nab these 10 paid iPhone apps on sale now

Why pay for apps? Nab these 10 paid iPhone apps on sale now

Everyone likes free apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers put paid apps on sale for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up while you have the chance. Here are the latest and greatest apps on sale in the iOS App Store. These apps normally cost money and this sale lasts for a limited time only. If you go to the App Store and it says the app costs money, that means the deal has expired and you will be charged.  Related:  200 Awesome iPhone Apps | The best Android apps for almost any occasion Blocky Basketball You may not be on the court, but you can still be a basketball star with this fun iPhone game. Available on: iOS Raider Pheasant Destroy the aliens in this fast paced, beautiful, and futuristic game. Available on: iOS Pythagorea Explore the wonders of geometry with this game that invites you to connect various points with straight lines. Available on: iOS Fitunes Listen to the five latest Les Mills releases (the mind behind fitness crazes like Bodypump, Bodycombat, and more) in a very simple and clean app. Available on: iOS FrameLapse Turn your life into a series of moving pictures with this time-lapse-creating app. Available on: iOS The Party Light Your phone will react to different music with different lights with this party-centric app. Available on: iOS Gestrument LE Just swipe your finger across your iPhone screen to play music. Available on: iOS Braintoss Toss whatever’s in your brain into Braintoss, the ultimate note-taking app. Available on: iOS Also watch: Best DSLR Cameras Under $1,000 Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Completely change the look of your iPhone with round folder icons, no jailbreak needed

This has got to be one of the coolest iOS bugs we've seen in a long time, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that Apple doesn't fix it anytime soon. Little glitches are common to find here and there in iOS, as is the case with any other software platform. Sometimes they're serious bugs that compromise the security of your iPhone or iPad , but sometimes they're harmless little glitches that offer some unexpected side effects. The latest bug found in the iOS platform thankfully falls into the latter category, and it gives your iPhone or iPad an awesome new look typically reserved only for people who jailbreak their phones. MUST READ:  Making sense of Apple now that everything has changed Apple's iOS platform doesn't support very many customization options in terms of the appearance of the user interface. Apple loves nothing more than simplicity and consistency, so it doesn't support any kind of themes on the iPhone or iPad. Android, meanwhile, lets the user manipulate the UI in any number of ways. You can even install a third-party launcher and change everything about your phone's interface. On the iPhone... you can change the wallpaper. Users looking for a bit more freedom often jailbreak their phones, which allows them to install third-party apps with far more capability than the apps in Apple's official App Store. This way, they can install theming apps that can change an iPhone's layout, icons and more. But now, thanks to a glitch discovered by YouTube user "videosdebarraquito" (via Cult of Mac ), anyone can give their iPhone or iPad a quick visual overhaul in just a few seconds. Here's how it works: Visit this webpage and download one or more of the tiny wallpapers seen there To save them, simply tap and hold on any image, then choose to save it In the Settings app, navigate to Wallpaper > Choose a New Wallpaper > Camera Roll and choose one of the new photos you downloaded That's it — you're done. You'll now find that some or all of your folders will display nifty round icons instead of the slightly rounded squares you're accustomed to. If some icons remain square, you can often manipulate them by rearranging your home screen. Check out the video below to see how it works.

With Tile integration, your Jag or Land Rover can find those lost sunglasses

With Tile integration, your Jag or Land Rover can find those lost sunglasses

Have you ever gotten in your car only to realize you’ve forgotten something? That’s the kind of inconvenience Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) just won’t stand for. The British carmaker is adding Tile integration to its InControl Apps app suite, letting owners track items from their vehicles. Lots of car companies are adding third-party apps to their infotainment systems, but JLR says it’s the first to include Tile. The app lets users tag items with Bluetooth trackers, which makes finding easily lost things a bit less difficult. The average person spends 15 minutes a day searching for lost items, JLR claims. Like other app integrations, using Tile with InControl Apps is meant to be as close as possible to using it on a smartphone. Instead of a phone, though, drivers use the central touchscreens and built-in controls so they can leave their phones stowed while on the move. JLR owners can create an “Essentials” list that is automatically checked when the app is activated. If an item is in the car, they can sound an alarm on the Tile tag to locate it. Related: Jaguar Land Rover launches a new tech subsidiary called InMotion There is no limit to the number of items that can be tracked, provided you have enough Tile tags. The total number of tags in circulation increased from two million to five million over the last six months, Tile CEO Mike Farley said in a statement announcing the tie-in with JLR. The Tile app is available for download now, and is compatible with all Jaguar and Land Rover models equipped with InControl apps. Users still need an Apple or Android smartphone capable of running Tile too, of course. So far, automotive app integration has mainly focused on apps that are specifically relevant to driving, like music services. But in their quest to turn cars into four-wheeled smartphones to meet apparent customer demand, automakers are looking farther afield. Mercedes-Benz has a partnership with Nest, and Ford is preparing to add Amazon Echo smart-home compatibility to its Sync infotainment systems. Also watch: Goqii Fitness App Comes With A Personal Trainer Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Meet Triby, a kid-friendly fridge speaker with Alexa inside (but no Amazon badge)

Meet Triby, a kid-friendly fridge speaker with Alexa inside (but no Amazon badge)

Nearly a year ago, Amazon opened its SDK to developers, allowing them to put Alexa’s AI into their own devices. That means you’ll someday be able to ask Alexa the weather on your non-Amazon alarm clock, instead of through an Echo speaker. The family-oriented speaker Triby is the first device not made by the retail giant to incorporate Alexa. Related: See here for more about Alexa on Amazon Echo The portable, magnetic speaker, made by Invoxia, is meant to live on your fridge and has big, child-friendly buttons. One of its main functions is its ability to let kids call their parents using voice-over-IP with the push of a button, as long as said adults have the iOS app (Android is available in beta starting today) installed. It can also stream internet radio from Prime Music, iHeartRadio, or TuneIn. Now with the addition of Alexa, it can also tell you how tall the Empire State Building is, what the weather will be like, and when Bran’s next violin lesson is. After spending a couple days with Alexa on Triby, I’m not sure it’s a total Echo replacement. It has four microphones to the Echo’s seven. And while its 15-foot range (Echo’s is 25) should work in most mortal-sized kitchens, I still found myself occasionally having to say “Alexa” over and over, like I was disturbing a sleeping child. Alexa was able to turn off my SmartThings-connected lights, tell me the number of ounces of in a cup, and set a 10-minute timer. These were all useful things to have in the kitchen. The Triby also used the voice assistant to play me NPR and the latest episode of RadioLab. But when I asked Alexa to play my Kevin Devine Spotify playlist, she told me, “Spotify is not supported for this device.” Now, I was able to pull up Spotify on my phone and because my phone was paired with the Triby, I could play the music through the device’s speakers. I could also say, “Play Kevin Devine” and get some songs through Amazon Prime. However, Spotify is supported through the Echo, so this could be one very convincing argument as to why the Triby isn’t for you. Related: Amazon voice assistant Alexa moves beyond Echo And if you’re listening to more than “The Wheels on the Bus,” you might find the sound-quality lacking. “The Triby is a shallow device with relatively little space for speakers, and that makes achieving robust sound a significant challenge,” Digital Trends senior editor and A/V expert Caleb Denison told me after giving the Triby a listen. It doesn’t hold up to many $100 Bluetooth speakers he’s tested. “At first, the speaker’s overall volume of sound is surprising; robust, even. But it doesn’t take an audiophile to quickly learn the Triby lacks clarity and definition. I think a little too much emphasis was put on the midbass region for the sake of getting that ‘big’ sound from a small device. And the tradeoff is vocals that sound a little recessed, and treble that fails to shine. There also seems to be a ‘click’ around bass drum hits that sounds artificial,” he adds. While it’s not a terrible experience, it’s just not going to do your Mariah Carey playlist any justice. Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Bill Roberson/Digital Trends The Triby has some adorable features. You can make little doodles or notes in the app and send them to the speaker’s e-Ink screen. When you do, a plastic yellow rectangle pops out from the side of the device. Your kid can pop it back in, so you’ll know your message was received. They can also hold down a button below the rectangle scroll through some emojis to let you know how they feel about your work of art. The Triby feels like what it is: a speaker made for communicating with smartphone-less kids and providing some entertainment — and now it has some Alexa functionality tacked on. If you already had a $199 Triby, then the new voice assistance will be a welcome upgrade, but if you care about using your speaker to actually play music, you may want to look elsewhere. Updated 4/28/2016: Updated to include the news that the Android app is available in beta today.

Samsung’s working on another VR headset, and we can’t wait to see it

Samsung’s working on another VR headset, and we can’t wait to see it

The Samsung Gear VR headset is an excellent early introduction to the wonderful world of VR. Provided you own a compatible Samsung smartphone, it’s incredibly good value, and will provide hours of fun. Except you do need the phone, and the most immersive VR experiences are provided by those that don’t, like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Is Samsung happy to remain top of the smartphone-paired VR headsets? No, it’s not. Related: Read our review of the Oculus Rift Samsung’s working on dedicated, wireless virtual reality devices that may not require one of its smartphones to act as a screen, according to Injong Rhee, Samsung’s head of software and services R&D department. Speaking at a developer conference in San Francisco, it was also revealed these future VR products may feature positional, hand, and gesture tracking. This would see the resulting device compete with the Vive and Rift. This raises an interesting question. Samsung collaborates with Oculus on the Gear VR, a partnership that has helped greatly with its success, not least because of the lens quality, but also because of the packed application store. Will Samsung continue this relationship with any standalone headset, or go it alone? After all, a Samsung headset that works without a phone as the screen would be a direct competitor to the Oculus Rift. Related: Read our review of the HTC Vive Sadly, the answer is unlikely to come very soon. Rhee is quoted as saying, “VR is amazing, but the industry is still at its infancy,” and said that any Samsung VR headset with all the cool tracking and positional features may still be years away from release. The Gear VR is of such good quality, and the VR experience it provides is so strong, that it makes us genuinely excited to see a full, wireless, standalone headset from the manufacturer. Even if it’s not going to happen very soon. Also watch: Oculus Rift Review Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Georgia inmate in historic death penalty case gains perspective

Georgia inmate in historic death penalty case gains perspective

William Henry Furman, a convicted murderer whose objections to the death penalty once suspended executions across the United States, is finally a free man. The 73-year-old has been living in a Salvation Army shelter in Macon, Georgia since late last month, when he was released from state prison after a quarter century behind bars. Without a cell phone, and limited access to news, Furman spoke tersely about capital punishment that is most actively applied today in the U.S. South, while 31 states still have a death penalty on the books.

This app lets you test out tattoos before you commit to permanent ink

Virtual reality has (justifiably) been the biggest story in the tech world over the past few weeks. Oculus launched the Rift , HTC launched the Vive and gamers are finally getting the chance to see how much potential VR has. But you don't have to spend $600 on a headset to digitally alter the world around you. DON'T MISS:  Police are investigating a death at Apple’s headquarters this morning Augmented reality (AR) has been around in various forms for years, allowing consumers to see what furniture might look like in their homes, or to bring virtual figures into the real world, where they can interact with the environment. Not long ago, an app called INK HUNTER launched on the App Store. Using AR technology, the app allows users to see what a tattoo would look like on their body before they actually make the decision to get inked. You can choose from dozens of premade tattoos in the gallery or upload your own sketches. In order to make the tattoo appear on your body, you simply need to draw a smiley face on yourself where you want to see the tattoo. Once the app detects the smile, it'll digitally place the tattoo on you, at which point you can take a picture and see how the tattoo looks. Simple, yet effective. If you want to try it out for yourself, INK HUNTER is free on the App Store .

2016 HTC Nexus news and rumors

2016 HTC Nexus news and rumors

Last year, Google chose LG and Huawei to make the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, moving away from only having one new Nexus phone in the range. This year, it may repeat the same strategy, but HTC might be in charge of the entire production. Here’s what we think we know about the 2016 Nexus smartphones. Nexus c ode names New code names have been leaked for the two alleged Nexus devices HTC is rumored to build — the M1 and the S1. The names, leaked by Evan Blass, better known as @evleaks, seem to match with HTC’s typical naming strategy. We can’t confirm this information, and it’s still just a leak, so we advise you to take it with a grain of salt. HTC is building a pair of Android N devices for Google internally dubbed M1 and S1 #nexus — Evan Blass (@evleaks) April 27, 2016 Android Police followed up with more information saying that according to their source, M1 and S1 accurately match the code names they received — Marlin and Sailfish.  Google typically uses code names for its Nexus devices based on aquatic life — the 5X was Bullhead, and the 6P was Angler. The use of Marlin and Sailfish gives more credence to reports that HTC is indeed the company behind both of these Nexus devices. Related Offer: Built to inspire envy, see more from HTC here Android Police also pointed to the Android Open Source Project’s Gerrit,  a code review tool, which shows a Qualcomm engineer directly mentioning Marlin. Previously, reliable HTC leaker @LlabTooFeR said the internal code names for the two devices are T50 and T55, which may refer to the rumored 5-inch and 5.5-inch display sizes for the two Nexus devices. HTC has used similar names before. The 5.9-inch HTC One Max was code-named T6, for example. Allegedly related to HTC Nexus devices codenames are:T50T55 — LlabTooFeR (@LlabTooFeR) January 19, 2016 Sadly, that leak doesn’t provide any further information on the two devices. It’s also unknown whether these phones are destined for production, or are simply test devices. Specs There isn’t much known about the two devices’ specifications, but Roland Quandt, WinFuture.de blogger, spotted some benchmark results, which also hinted that one of the devices is a Nexus 6P refresh with 4GB of RAM. You can check out the benchmark results here. We can’t verify if this information is accurate, so be wary. @evleaks @AndroidPolice so is this the “HTC” Nexus 6P “Marlin” with SD820 you’re talking about? https://t.co/2nS5Gj01AZ — Roland Quandt (@rquandt) April 27, 2016 Pressure-sensitive display Apple may have been first to make a big deal over a pressure-sensitive touchscreen, but the tech had already been — and continues to be  — demonstrated on Android devices, though its usefulness has yet to be realized. A rumor found on the Weibo social network says HTC is working with Google to add a pressure-sensitive screen to the next Nexus phones, and that the feature may become standard in Android. Nexus phones herald the arrival of new Android software, so pressure sensitivity may be part of Android N. This would help developers adopt and build apps that utilize the feature. Related:  Set the date! Google I/O runs from May 18-20 in Mountain View, California Is Google definitely going with HTC for its Nexus contract? News that HTC had won the contract to manufacture two Nexus devices for Google came from a 2015 rumor. If it’s correct, it wouldn’t be HTC’s first time in the Nexus program. The company last worked with Google on the Nexus 9 tablet in 2014, and even though it was well-received by reviewers, it failed to reach the same sales figures as previous Nexus tablets. HTC earlier worked on the original Google Nexus One, the first mobile in the Nexus program, launched six years ago. It’s been claimed that Huawei was also in the running for the 2016 Nexus contract, but Google decided to work with HTC instead. This is surprising, considering Huawei’s meteoric rise in the sales charts over the past 12 months, compared to HTC’s downfall over the same time period. The Weibo poster who made these claims is @Mocha RQ, an avid commenter on all mobile rumors in China. This is one of the few times he has posted a rumor on a company outside of China, after apparently receiving the information from contacts in Hong Kong. The post said there could be two devices coming, with smaller 5-inch and 5.5-inch displays, compared to the 5.2-inch and 5.7-inch displays on the Nexus 5X and 6P. Again, like all rumors, we should take this news with a large pinch of salt. There’s a long time before the new Nexus phones will be officially revealed, and we could see drastic alterations to HTC over the coming months, so plenty could change. However, we’ll keep you up to date with any more on HTC’s possible Nexus device plans right here. Updated on 04-27-2016 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added in new codenames for the Nexus devices. Previous updates: Updated on 03-04-2016 by Andy Boxall:  Added in rumors the HTC Nexus phone will have a pressure sensitive display Updated on 01-20-2016 by David Curry:  Added in news of the alleged HTC Nexus codenames.  Also watch: Google brings spatial audio to Cardboard for 360-degree sound Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Oculus Home is sabotaging the Rift while HTC’s Vive steams ahead

Oculus Home is sabotaging the Rift while HTC’s Vive steams ahead

As we spend more time playing with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift it’s becoming clear that the hardware that powers each device is remarkably similar. There are definitely small differnces, like the fit, control method, and tracking systems, but that’s not what really sets the two devices apart. Instead, the big difference between the devices are the games offered, and the software supporting them. Where the HTC Vive uses the tried and true Steam platform, with newfound support for VR games, Oculus has gone its own way with Home. Like Steam, Home is part game launcher, part community, and part digital store. Unlike Valve’s popular game management offering, Home is missing some key features that users have come to expect. It’s still somehow in beta, even though it theoretically could have been developed independently from the headset, and Home is the only official store for the now-released Rift headset. But its problems aren’t the kind software updates will solve. Oculus needs to update its philosophy too. Real friends I don’t mean to brag, but I have a lot of friends on Steam. It’s easy to add someone who pulled off four saves in Rocket League , or team up to learn some new skills from a player who crushed you in Dirty Bomb . Once you’re friends, you can also see which games you both have, and what games they play the most. You can compare achievements, swap trading cards, sell extra items, and so on. Many gamers treat Steam as a metagame, chasing badges and achievements. There’s also a unique community aspect. Workshop and GreenLight help modders and developers put their creations in front of millions of users. Oculus Home isn’t totally lacking in features, in that it also has a friends list, but there’s no chat or easy way to join a game in progress. All the list shows is if a friend is online, or offline. Oculus could patch in more community-focused features, but there’s a problem there, too. Gamers don’t want to chase down achievements and share games in a second ecosystem. They’ve shown this time and time again with disdain for publisher-developed platforms like Origin and UPlay. Review: Trash your Rift: HTC’s Vive is the true leader of the VR revolution Indeed, developer platforms provide Oculus a potential business model. The company could sell titles on Steam, and still maintain control over updates and distribution. That might help alleviate some of the pressure to create a platform of its own, an area where Oculus will be hard-pressed to keep up. Finding a game shouldn’t be this hard Home offers a limited selection of games and experiences, which is to be expected, but there’s still no way to filter the games down by genre or comfort level. Browsing is limited to all games or all experiences, plus a search option that only culls titles – you have to know the name of the game you’re looking for. Valve, on the other hand, has been fine tuned into more of a video game vending machine than a shopping mall. With constant recommendations, frequent sales, user-suggested categories and reviews, wishlists, bundles. I could go on, but the point is that when it comes to browsing and buying, the Oculus Store doesn’t hold a candle to Steam. That’s not the only issue. Where Steam allows acute control of downloads, bandwidth, updates, and priorities, Oculus’ options aren’t quite so extensive. New games and experiences won’t download at all if the headset is in use, and there’s limited information during download and install even when a game isn’t active. The hardware that divides It’s easy to see the difference between the two stores when it comes to hardware. Steam was quick to update store pages to feature clear device support. Whether that’s the Rift or the Vive, or the controllers, it’s immediately obvious whether your hardware is supported. Oculus Home But when Oculus found out that a group of coders had built an interface for Vive players to play games from the Oculus store, it immediately insisted future updates would prevent this sort of “hacking” and possibly break existing solutions. Review: The Oculus Rift is an overwhelming disappointment, and might make you hurl It’s a shame, because the hardware really isn’t all that different, at least in the headset. The Vive’s tracking includes the motion controllers and 360-degree movement, but there are workarounds there, too. Oculus could cooperate more readily, but has decided not to. Why is it so important? The audience for VR, especially in this first run, is the PC gaming community. The reason the cost of a PC is often overlooked in VR discussions is that a lot of us already have capable systems sitting on our desks. It’s also, importantly, a community of builders, tinkerers, modders, and users who, in general, prefer ecosystems open, and hardware that’s versatile. Which is why Oculus’ whole approach to building a community seems ass-backwards. Allowing users who shell out for any VR device to run Rift games is a boon to Oculus, and allowing the Rift to go places Oculus never imagined is a solid way to encourage sales. Money aside, Oculus set out to promote VR as an idea, not just as its own product, right? I always try and keep in mind that this is first-generation, early adopter hardware. Both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are very much works in progress, but their success will determine whether this technology is the next big thing, or another mediocre trend. The Rift has been in development for four years, and is marketed as a premium gaming product, so asking for in-game chat or store filters doesn’t seem like much of a stretch. Oculus’ decision to build its own, exclusive platform seems meant to please Facebook shareholders, not the PC gaming community. Ultimately, Oculus Home will leave both worse off. Also watch: Oculus Rift Review Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Apple, ANZ Bank strike deal to bring Apple Pay to Australia

Apple, ANZ Bank strike deal to bring Apple Pay to Australia

By Matt Siegel and Swati Pandey SYDNEY (Reuters) - Apple Inc expanded its Apple Pay digital wallet in Australia on Thursday after ANZ became the country's first bank to support the mobile payment service, executives at the pair told Reuters. Apple Pay allows users to register credit cards on devices such as iPhones, and pay for goods and services by swiping the devices over contactless payment terminals. Apple charges card providers for transactions via the service, which it introduced to Australia last year with American Express Co. The latest partnership extends the service to ANZ customers and represents the culmination of months of talks with the bank and three bigger peers, all of which had already agreed to support rival Android Pay from Alphabet Inc unit Google.

50 startups go to bat (and one walks home with cash) in the first-ever PitchfestNW

50 startups go to bat (and one walks home with cash) in the first-ever PitchfestNW

What could be more terrifying than subjecting your fledgling startup idea to the scrutiny of a panel of ice-blooded venture capitalists? Doing it on stage, in front of other entrepreneurs hungry for the same money. Yet 50 eager startups stepped up to the plate at the much-anticipated debut of PitchfestNW, the entrepreneurial arm of Portland’s annual TechfestNW festival. Pitting 50 different startups from the United States, Europe, and Canada against each other, Pitchfest gave these exclusive companies the tremendous opportunity to quickly pitch their business plans to a panel of experienced venture capitalists. Think of it like a marathon episode of ABC’s Shark Tank with a lot less Mark Cuban — in fact, no Mark Cuban. Over the course of the two-day conference, each startup applicant had five minutes to essentially sell their companies to seasoned venture capitalists like Maveron investor Anarghya Vardhana and Horan Mediatech Advisors venture capitalist Peter Horan. In addition to getting a few minutes of valuable facetime with a who’s who of VCs, the 50 startups were vying for PitchfestNW’s ultimate prize: a one-hour consultation with a VC, exclusive media coverage, a strategic consulation meeting with the AKQA advertising agency, a stay at a three-bedroom vacation home of their choosing, $120,000 in no-strings-attached cloud credits from IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program, plus $2,016 in cash to commemorate the year. After a grueling first round for both the presenters and judges, just five startups were selected to square off during Day 2’s PitchfestNW finals. The judging panel also narrowed to just five panelists: Elevate Capital’s Nitin Rai, Voyager’s Diane Fraiman, Portland Seed Fund’s Angela Jackson, Phoenix Venture Partners’ Zach Jonasson, and Madrona’s Tim Porter. So who made the cut? Before we reveal the winner, here are the five startups from five wildly different industries, and a little about each of their pitches. TripGrid TripGrid co-founder Jake Hoskins explained how his app can simplify travel booking for small to mid-size businesses. Instead of fumbling through email chains or handfuls of website tabs, TripGrid allows businesses to centralize each step of the planning process into one application. Booking flights and hotels, building itineraries, and keeping in touch with traveling employees is all done via easily organizable cards. The employee even has the ability to peek at their complete itinerary via a clearly laid out smartphone application. Hoskins’ goal in the first year is to have roughly 166 small to mid-size businesses (those with 25 to 500 employees) using TripGrid for all their travel needs. StandTall LLC Launched by three high school students, StandTall is a company that hopes to bring the standing desk phenomenon to the classroom. In an effort to help improve the health and learning efficiency of students who potentially sit upwards of 10 hours per day, StandTall has developed an inexpensive, lightweight standing desk module capable of converting typical desks to standing desks in a matter of seconds. Standing in front of the Pitchfest NW judges, Catlin Gabel junior Angela Liu (StandTall’s COO) said the modules would cost schools just $50 per unit, which is a far cry from the hundreds — and sometimes thousands — of dollars standard lifting desks often cost. Citing no direct competition and an intent to go after the financially flexible private-school sector first, the 17-year-old Liu appeared incredibly confident not just in her pitch delivery, but in the future success of StandTall. Cartogram Like Google Maps for indoor navigation, Cartogram is an indoor location service for businesses boasting large venues. Founder and CEO Will Clausen said his company’s next step is to go after businesses and show them  exactly how they can help customers find specific products in their stores. Cartogram can continuously update a businesses indoor map, because as Clausen explained, an out of date map would be “completely useless.” During his pitch, Clausen also detailed a few of the unique features native to Cartogram like multi-venue wayfinding, Another feature, NearView, changes a user’s ads based on their personal data, and Indoor Delivery allows someone to have products and services delivered to them while actually inside one of the venues supported by the app. Despite its startup status, Clausen did say the Sacramento Kings have decided to use Cartogram in their new stadium, which is no doubt a massive win for the company. Chroma Fund As Chroma Fund CEO Marcus Estes took to the PitchfestNW stage, he shared a bit of investment information much of the audience had likely never heard of. As of May 16, 2016, people investing into a 401k can legally invest in privately held companies for the first time. In light of this, Chroma Fund has set out to help create a new stock market for the small business economy. Basically, the company helps connect people with resources (and brokers) that will help them make smart local investments. Once the new regulations kick in, anyone investing into a retirement account has the ability to invest up to $2,000 into local businesses. If they choose to work with Chroma Fund, the startup will automatically diversify that money over many vetted investment strategies. So why go local? Instead of funneling money into Wall Street, Estes says investing into one’s local economy can help change the type of access to capital in the U.S. If this sounds confusing, Estes’ site Chroma.Fund plans to teach people about the new small business economy it’s planning. Poda Foods Poda Foods is a Portland, Oregon-based startup that raises and harvests crickets to create a cricket-based protein powder. Yes, you read that correctly, a cricket-based protein powder. While certainly odd, Poda Foods co-founder and CEO Yesenia Gallardo shared with the PitchfestNW judges just how beneficial crickets are to the food industry. After citing the many downsides of the meat industry — like methane production and excessive water consumption — Gallardo pointed to crickets as a reasonable solution. Not only do they require little food to stay alive, but crickets quickly convert their food into mass, allowing them to boast a higher protein value than chicken, eggs, salmon, or beef jerky. We know what you’re thinking, but how does it taste? According to Gallardo, crickets are delicious. Tasting slightly nutty, she said many people believe crickets to almost have a dark toast-like flavor. If you’d believe it, many food manufacturers already use cricket protein to produce chips, bars, and even cookies. To Poda Foods’ credit, it’s currently the only supplier of cricket protein on the West Coast, but due to rising demand, it’s looking to increase its warehouse space and needs capital for better machinery — hence the PitchfestNW showing. And the winner is… After deliberating for nearly an hour, the five judges emerged from backstage with an overall winner: Yesenia Gallardo’s Poda Foods. Along with co-founder and COO Kenny Cloft, Gallardo (grinning from ear-to-ear) accepted the victor’s spoils as PitchfestNW’s inaugural grand prize winner. Now $120,000 richer — in IBM Global Entrepreneur Program cloud credits, that is — and promised an hour with a venture capitalist, Gallardo and Cloft looked every bit the part of humble winners. “It’s incredible to see support like this in a tech-heavy place like Portland,” Cloft tells Digital Trends. “Getting recognition in an area where you don’t expect it is what’s really great about this competition.” Yesenia Gallardo and Kenny Cloft Rick Stella/Digital Trends According to Gallardo, the inspiration to create Poda Foods came from her mother. While visiting Oaxaca, Mexico one summer, Gallardo recalls eating small grasshoppers called chapulines and says she was immediately drawn to their inherent nutritional benefits. After seeing the kind of health benefits her mother enjoyed by eating chapulines, Gallardo thought extensive research on eating insects would be a perfect project to undertake during her time at Yale. “My mother ate them to help with her anemia and I thought ‘why not bring this idea back to Yale?'” Gallardo explains. “I partnered with Kenny and we decided to concentrate on manufacturing cricket protein. From there, Poda Foods was born.” So what’s next for Gallardo, Cloft, and Poda Foods? With demand for cricket protein continuing to rise, a bigger production facility and superior machinery is the first priority. Cloft acknowledges that while the edible insect business is still in its infancy, it’s a “growing industry” and the company is keenly focused on meeting the increasing demand. Now, with a PitchfestNW victory under their belts and the sky seemingly the limit, Poda Foods is poised to bring its cricket protein powder to the masses.

You can now ‘find a time’ that works for everyone with Google Calendar for Android

You can now ‘find a time’ that works for everyone with Google Calendar for Android

Scheduling meetings can be a real pain, especially if you’re on the go and only have access to your calendar on your phone. If you use Google Calendar on Android, however, scheduling meetings is about to get a little easier, thanks to the new “find a time” tool. The tool essentially looks at the calendars for each participant of the meeting, and gives a few possible meeting times, ranking them by how convenient it thinks they’ll be for those involved. Related:  Google Calendar wants to help you make time for yourself for a change To be clear, this feature is already available on desktop, but it’s now available on Android as well. Similar to the desktop version, Google says the feature will work across time zones, and if it can’t find a time to schedule the meeting, it will figure out which of the conflicting meetings could be most easily rescheduled. “‘Find a time’ makes suggestions, but you’re still in control. You can tap to see everyone’s schedule at a glance — perfect for making sure the timing works for all,” wrote product manager Stella Schieffer, in a blog post. “And if you manage someone else’s calendar, you can use the feature to schedule meetings on their behalf as well.” It’s also important to note that the feature is only available to Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Education users, so unfortunately, casual users of Calendar won’t be able to take advantage of the feature just yet. Of course, this does make sense — the feature will obviously only work in organizations where employees share their calendars with each other. While it’s currently only available on Android, Google says it will be available to iOS soon. Of course, bringing this feature to mobile certainly makes sense. People are increasingly using their smartphones as a way to organize their day, and features like this make it easier and easier.

Judge sides with FTC, finds Amazon liable for in-app charges made by kids

Judge sides with FTC, finds Amazon liable for in-app charges made by kids

A judge has decided that Amazon is responsible for letting children make in-app purchases without any constraints, which racked up bills for their parents. If the case sounds familiar, that’s because it first began in July of 2014, when the Federal Trade Commission sued Amazon for its in-app purchases. Parents typically leave their credit card information stored in app stores, which lets them make purchases quickly. The lawsuit targeted the fact that kids could make such purchases without parental consent. The only restriction was for payments over $20, which then required a password. Related:  FTC is continuing its probe into Google’s dominant Android OS Amazon isn’t the only company to have faced this complaint from consumers and the FTC. The commission reached settlements with Apple and Google — Apple gave back more than $32 million, and Google returned $19 million to customers with app-hungry kids. Google also altered its process of getting free apps, making it harder for children to do so without a Google account password. Amazon previously rejected the FTC’s claims, and the company and the commission decided to duke it out in court. Now, the federal court presiding over the case has ruled that the steps Amazon took to inform its customers about in-app charges in free apps were “not sufficient.” “We are pleased the federal judge found Amazon liable for unfairly billing consumers for unauthorized in-app purchases by children,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a blog post. “We look forward to making a case for full refunds to consumers as a result of Amazon’s actions.” Related:  Amazon continues battle to rid site of fake reviews While the court ruled in favor of the FTC, Amazon and the commission still have to respond to related court orders to provide further information. The court will then make a “determination as to the appropriate remedy.” Also watch: Apple appeals judge’s iPhone unlocking order, FBI error locked the device Please enable Javascript to watch this video

First Cell trailer pits John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson against cell phone zombies

First Cell trailer pits John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson against cell phone zombies

Just when you thought it was safe to take that call, the first trailer for  Cell arrives — and it will make you reconsider your attachment to one of the most ubiquitous devices in the modern age of communication. Based on the novel of the same name by horror maestro Stephen King,  Cell stars Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson ( Django Unchained ,  Pulp Fiction ) and Golden Globe nominee John Cusack ( High Fidelity ,  Say Anything ) as two survivors of an apocalyptic event where a mysterious cell phone signal has turned people into bloodthirsty, savage animals. Related: Watch Cusack and Paul Dano play Beach Boy Brian Wilson in the Love & Mercy trailer Directed by Tod Williams ( Paranormal Activity 2 ),  Cell casts Cusack as Clay Riddell, a man determined to cross the country in search of his son after the bizarre event turns nearly everyone around him into killers. He’s joined by Jackson and Isabelle Fuhrman ( Orphan , The Hunger Games ) on his journey. The film is based on a script co-written by King and Adam Alleca (the 2009 version of  The Last House on the Left ), which was inspired by King’s 2006 novel. “I enjoyed working on Cell and love the way it turned out,” said King in a statement accompanying the initial announcement of the project. “Kip Williams has made a scary and thoroughly entertaining movie. But you may want to put your cell phone in the freezer after seeing it.” Cell is a reunion of sorts for Cusack, Jackson, and King, who previously collaborated on the 2007 film  1408 , which was also based on a story penned by King and starred both Cusack and Jackson in the lead roles. That film cast Cusack as the author of a series of books that debunked haunted house myths, only to discover that the hotel he’s currently investigating might indeed be home to some supernatural — and deadly — phenomena. The film is scheduled to have a limited theatrical release July 8, simultaneous with a release via Video On-Demand that same day.

Ubuntu's $70 computing stick could fit nicely behind your TV

Ubuntu's $70 computing stick could fit nicely behind your TV

Want to turn a TV into a Ubuntu computer? The very orange MeLE PCG02U just might be what you’re looking for. This tiny stick computer costs only $70, meaning you can add a desktop to any TV for very little money. It’s the first Ubuntu device from Mele, a Chinese manufacturer that until now has focused on Android and Windows devices. Of course, $70 doesn’t go far, so you can’t expect premium performance. This fanless PC stick features an Intel BayTrail Z3735F processor, which is outdated and not exactly zippy. There’s only 2GB of memory and 32GB of internal storage, so don’t expect to multitask much or store your video collection. Even compared to the Intel Compute Stick, there’s not a lot of power to be found. Related : Intel Compute Stick (Cherry Trail 2016) review But the Compute Stick costs $160 in its cheapest Windows 10 configuration, so that’s not entirely a fair comparison. And there are some features offered by Mele that Intel doesn’t bother with: an external antenna for Wi-Fi 802.11n/g/b connections, and a 10/100 ethernet port for wired connections. Unfortunately, there are other downsides. There’s only one USB port, meaning plugging a separate keyboard and mouse in at once is impossible. Even worse: the USB port is 2.0, not 3.0, so file transfers to external drives will be really slow. Related:  Ditch the desktop and hit the couch with our favorite stick PCs But maybe the weirdest thing here is the choice of operating system. Ubuntu 16.04 just came out last week, and is a long-term support release. Why is this computer shipping with the two-year-old Ubuntu 14.04? Users can easily upgrade, sure, but it seems like an oversight given the timing. Overall, the Mele isn’t a powerhouse, but at $70, it doesn’t need to be. We’re sure many Linux users will be excited to see more devices shipping with their OS of choice, and a few other potential buyers might want something they can quickly install media center software on. For those people, this could be an interesting little buy.

Before you resort to MS Paint or piracy, give these free image-editing tools a shot

Before you resort to MS Paint or piracy, give these free image-editing tools a shot

There’s no argument about it — Adobe Photoshop remains, hands down, the best photo-editing software on the market. But unless you’ve undergone formal training, Photoshop proves a difficult program to master, and is expensive to use. Related: Adobe brings new Lightroom features to Android in version 2.0 For the home user, Photoshop isn’t necessary for basic and semi-advanced tasks, such as resizing, cropping, and exposure correction. Downloadable photo editing tools have advanced way past MS Paint, and you really can do almost anything you could do in Photoshop–and sometimes more. The best part? Many of them are completely free. Desktop options GIMP Often heralded as the best free alternative to Photoshop, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open-source application that relies on a community of volunteer developers who maintain and improve the product. Available for Mac and PC, you get a lot of professional-level editing and retouching tools – perfect for designers who can’t or won’t shell out hundreds of dollars to Adobe. Once you launch the program, you’ll find a dedicated window that displays the image, and separate windows to organize the toolbox and layers.When using a large display, or two displays, you have a nice, big workspace to play with your images. Icons in the toolbox represent actions such as the crop, lasso, paint and brush tools, and you can apply various effects to your photos. It may seem like Photoshop, but GIMP has its own look and feel. Download it now for: Windows Mac OS X Linux PhotoScape Besides image editing, PhotoScape also lets you create slideshows and animated GIFs, capture screenshots, and combine and split images. You can customize your toolbar, so you can organize the features you use most, and then revert to the default toolbar when you want to dig deeper into the software’s offerings. Free comes with a price, however. PhotoScape software is free to download. But it’s part of the Open Candy network, and runs ads for other “recommended” software. This is isolated to PhotoScape, and won’t infiltrate the rest of your computer with adware, but worth noting. Download it now for: Windows Mac OS X The Nik Collection The Nik Collection is a full image-editing suite offered by Google… and it’s now totally free. This is one of the most powerful and complete online photo tools at the moment, and Google providing it all for free was pretty big news. The Collection includes seven total plugins, each with a different focus. Analog Efex Pro focuses on effects that produce vintage looks or make digital photos appear more natural, while Color Efex Pro provides a ton of filters. Silver Efex Pro, on the other hand, is tailored for black-and-white images, while Viveza allows you to alter specific colors in the photo without using filters. Sharpener Pro allows you to improve clarity and Dfine gives you noise reduction capabilities, and so on. This allows you to either download whatever tool you need at the time, or download them all and use them interchangeably. The tools may take a little time to learn, but by separating out the different functions, the software makes it easier for people to pick and choose what they need in any given moment. Related:  Google’s advanced desktop photo editing software are now free downloads The only downside here is that the Nik Collection is basically one-and-done. It doesn’t look like Google will be offering patches or updates to these tools, so they may not have much longevity. Get them while they still work! Download it now for: Windows Mac OS X Paint.NET This is a case where the apprentice becomes the master. Paint.NET was originally developed as an college undergraduate senior design project mentored by Microsoft and it continues to be maintained by alumni of the program. It was originally developed as a free replacement for Microsoft Paint, which comes as part of Windows. Paint.NET has surpassed Microsoft Paint in functionality and has some advanced features. Paint.NET features an intuitive user interface that supports layers, an “unlimited undo” to back out of any mistake no matter how disastrous, various special effects, and other tools. Where Microsoft Paint was able to do little more than resize images, Paint.NET is able to handle more advanced photo editing that you’d expect from Photoshop and other paid programs.  Download it now for: Windows Serif PhotoPlus Starter Edition Serif created Photo Plus Starter Edition as a free version of its paid software suite to give users elementary tools for editing photos. The software has the basics covered, with tools that let you re-size, apply filters and effects, and reduce red eye, among other functions. Because it lacks certain features of the paid version — the goal is to entice enough that you’ll upgrade — it will only get you so far in your photo editing. It does however, provide tools in an easy-to-use format that allows you to polish photos for your albums. Take note of Cutout Studio, in particular, which is a toolset designed to help create collages and similar scrapbook-style products. Download it now for: Windows Online alternatives Don’t want to download and install software on your computer? If you have a reliable connection, here are a few Web-based programs that will never see the spinning the disc of your hard drive. Pixlr.com Pixlr.com has a tiered offering that is entirely free. The site separates its photo editing into Pixlr Editor (advanced) and Pixlr Express (efficient). The site also offers a mobile suite so you can edit photos on a smartphone or tablet – both iOS and Android versions are available.  The Pixlr Editor is more like Photoshop: It’s a straightforward photo-editing tool that lets you crop, size, and tweak the image. It has a red eye tool that eliminates those devil eyes that appear when the flash goes off. Express, on the other hand, lets you put creative overlays on your images – this is really for playing with your photos. You can put a stain on a picture to make it look like you rested a coffee mug on the photo, for example. Note that Pixlr straddles the line between Web-based and desktop image editors: There are both mobile and desktop versions of the software that you can download. However, it’s usually easier to just pop open a browser tab and load up the online version. Try it now, courtesy of: Pixlr Sumopaint Sumopaint is one of those “Photoshop lite” image editors that has sprung up in recent years – but it stands out by being truly good at what it does. This web-based software (there’s a download option as well) has a layout very familiar for Adobe users, a tool set that’s easy enough to understand and use, and a minimalistic feel that concentrates on getting the job done. This option is better suited to more serious photographers who don’t want to give up any editing options…but also don’t want to pay for their editing software. Try it now, courtesy of: Sumopaint iPiccy If you use Microsoft Paint rather than Photoshop, iPiccy might be for you. The site lets you edit photos with an automated process. Rather than using wands and tools to actively edit photos, the effects are applied to the whole photo in most cases. Click a button to fix images, resize, crop, rotate, flip, change the exposure, and other settings. While iPiccy may sound like a simplified app, there is complexity in its wide offering of editing options. Many settings have a slide rule that let you adjust brightness, contrast, and other functions. The one complaint might be that there is no undo button. What we would like to see is a reset-to-zero button on the slide rule, because it’s difficult to get the bar back to the beginning if you decide you want to return to the starting point. Several tools including a blemish and wrinkle remover help clean up photos. Then you can do a few cosmetic fixes like apply a sun tan, blush, or mascara. Try it now, courtesy of: iPiccy PicMonkey PicMonkey is a favorite editing tool for amateur photographers who want to quickly edit their images and turn them into mini-masterpieces. There are four primary tools in the PicMonkey holster: Editing, Touch Up, Design, and Collage. Editing probably provides the most functionality, allowing you to apply effects, advanced filters, spot correction, and so on. However, Touch Up is also a popular choice for selfies, profile pics, event photos, and so on. As you can see, this suite is designed more for the average person, or those who want the best picture possible for social media or sharing and aren’t afraid to work on it with more advanced tools. There are ads in the free version, though, so get ready to ignore them. Try it now, courtesy of: PicMonkey This article was originally published on April 16, 2015, and updated on April 27, 2016, by Tyler Locoma to include the Nik Collection, PicMonkey, and other offerings.

Deadliest Catch gives fans a chance to experience life as a crab in VR

Deadliest Catch gives fans a chance to experience life as a crab in VR

While life isn’t easy aboard the fishing vessels featured on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch , many fans of the show are still eager for a closer look at exactly what the boats look like in action. Thanks to VR, those fans are getting their wish, though it may not be from the point of view they expected. “Experience Life as a Crab on the Wizard” delivers exactly what the title promises, placing viewers in the middle of a pile of crabs while the crew sorts them. Wizard captain Keith Colburn narrates the experience, giving viewers an idea of what exactly is happening around them. Related:  Discovery’s new VR site shows off its first immersive videos This is only the first in a series of VR experiences to be released during this season of the long-running series. Three more will be added with the first coming on April 29, while the other two content offerings are set to be released sometime in May. These will include a look inside the captain’s wheelhouse, a look at the deck as the crab pots are secured, and a peek at a conversation with the crew. Each of these experiences was shot over the winter on either The Wizard or the Brenna A — a newcomer to the series as of this season. A weatherproof 6-camera GoPro VR setup was used, but while the results seem impressive, it wasn’t a cakewalk for the camera crew. “We have certainly had our challenges with camera rigs breaking and incorrect set ups, but I think the most challenging thing when working with these on the boats is having them right in the action,” the series’ director of photography David Reichart told the Hollywood Reporter. Plans for next year are even bigger still. “We now are even working to get some shots underwater. Next year we will take what we have learned this year to do a much bigger VR effort,” he said. Related:  5 new and upcoming TV series spinoffs that could be your next binge fix The first video in the series is available now via the Discovery Channel Facebook page as well as the Discovery VR iOS and Android apps. To get started, head to the Discovery VR website. Also watch: Deadliest Warrior: Vamps vs Zombie video Please enable Javascript to watch this video

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About 20 demonstrators arrested outside of Trump rally in California

About 20 demonstrators arrested outside of Trump rally in California

By Brendan O'Brien (Reuters) - Some 20 demonstrators were arrested on Thursday outside a Donald Trump campaign rally in southern California, where the Republican presidential front-runner vowed to his supporters to get tough on illegal immigration if elected. Demonstrators smashed the window of a police squad car, marched in protest and blocked traffic as police in riot gear tried to disperse the crowd outside of the county fair grounds in Costa Mesa, California, according to local media and the Twitter account of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The department said on its Twitter account that about 20 arrests were made and that no major injuries were reported.

North Korea sentences Korean American to 10 years hard labor

North Korea sentences Korean American to 10 years hard labor

By Jack Kim SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea's Supreme Court on Friday sentenced a Korean American man to 10 years of hard labor for subversion, North Korean media reported, in the latest conviction of a foreigner for crimes against the isolated state. Kim Dong Chul, 62, was arrested in North Korea in October and had admitted to committing "unpardonable espionage" including stealing military secrets, the North's official KCNA news agency reported earlier. North Korea, which has been criticized over its human rights record for years, has used detained Americans in the past to extract high-profile visits from the United States, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations.

Death raises questions: Did Prince die of an overdose?

Death raises questions: Did Prince die of an overdose?

CHICAGO (AP) — Prince's final days and unexpected death at age 57 raise questions among experts familiar with prescription painkiller overdoses. It's possible the innovative musician's demise represents one of the most public tragedies in an overdose crisis now gripping America.

Graffiti at Utah's Arches National Park may be irreparable

Graffiti at Utah's Arches National Park may be irreparable

(Reuters) - Graffiti etched into one of the popular red rock arches in Utah's Arches National Park may be too deep to be repaired, the park's superintendent said on Thursday. The site of the graffiti is near a hiking trail to one of the park's main attractions, Delicate Arch, a 64-feet high sandstone structure that has been known to draw hundreds of visitors at a time. Defacing a national park can lead to a sentence of six months in prison and a $500 fine, according to the website for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Vanuatu tsunami threat over after big quake: scientists

Vanuatu tsunami threat over after big quake: scientists

A major earthquake hit the Pacific nation of Vanuatu early Friday, briefly prompting a tsunami warning that was cancelled after locals reported no significant damage. The United States Geological Survey said the 7.0-magnitude quake -- originally reported as 7.3 -- struck at a relatively shallow depth of 35 kilometres (21 miles) some 209 kilometres from the capital Port Vila. The National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) initially warned the quake, which hit at 1933 Thursday GMT, could generate waves of up to three metres (10 feet) on parts of the Vanuatu coast.

Trump’s ‘America First’ neo-isolationism

Trump’s ‘America First’ neo-isolationism

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., April 27, 2016. After rolling over its opponents in all five Eastern seaboard primaries, the Trump juggernaut entered Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, where the victorious candidate gave a speech intended to add gravitas to his scattershot positions on foreign policy and national security. “The direction I’m outlining will return us to a timeless principle — always putting the interests of the American people and American security above all else.

Air strikes on Aleppo hospital kill doctors and children

Air strikes on Aleppo hospital kill doctors and children

By Lisa Barrington and Stephanie Nebehay BEIRUT/GENEVA (Reuters) - Air strikes destroyed a hospital and killed dozens of people in rebel-held areas of Aleppo, including children and doctors, in an attack that a U.S. official said appeared to be solely the work of the Syrian government. The city of Aleppo is at the center of a military escalation that has undermined peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the five-year-old war. U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura appealed to the presidents of the United States and Russia to intervene to salvage a ceasefire that was "barely alive".

'Bomb' hooked to man in animal suit really flotation device

'Bomb' hooked to man in animal suit really flotation device

BALTIMORE (AP) — A young man in an animal costume and surgical mask who walked into a Baltimore TV station Thursday claiming to have a bomb was shot and wounded by police, who determined that his alleged explosive consisted of aluminum-wrapped chocolate bars duct-taped to a flotation device.

South Korea: Suspected midrange North Korean missiles fail

South Korea: Suspected midrange North Korean missiles fail

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea attempted unsuccessfully to launch two suspected powerful intermediate-range missiles on Thursday, South Korean defense officials said, bringing the number of apparent failures in recent weeks to three.

A failed pact tells you why Trump is winning

A failed pact tells you why Trump is winning

Like Stalin and Churchill huddled over a map of Europe in 1944, Ted Cruz and John Kasich began a very odd week by announcing — publicly, for reasons known only to them — that they were divvying up the remaining primary states in order to maintain individual spheres of influence. Cruz would get Indiana (which is next to Ohio), while Kasich would get New Mexico (which shares a border with Texas). Of course, primary voters — unlike, say, Polish peasants — tend to do whatever they want, so all this plotting didn’t exactly make Cruz and Kasich grandmasters of global domination.

Prescription Drugs Found With Prince at the Time of His Death

Prescription Drugs Found With Prince at the Time of His Death

Two law enforcement sources told CBS News on Wednesday that prescription drugs were found in Prince’s possession and at his home at the time of the music icon’s death. The sources also said that the local sheriff’s department has contacted the DEA about assisting with the investigation into the singer’s death.

Ted Cruz picks Carly Fiorina as running mate in a highly unusual move

Ted Cruz picks Carly Fiorina as running mate in a highly unusual move

During a rally Wednesday afternoon in Indianapolis, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz announced that he had selected former Hewlett-Packard CEO and unsuccessful 2016 GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina as his running mate. “After a great deal of time and thought, after a great deal of consideration and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be the president of the United States, I will run on a ticket with my vice presidential nominee Carly Fiorina,” Cruz told hundreds of flag-waving supporters gathered at the Pavilion at Pan Am Plaza. “Over and over again, Carly has shattered glass ceilings,” Cruz said.

Sanders says to lay off hundreds of campaign workers: NY Times

Sanders says to lay off hundreds of campaign workers: NY Times

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said on Wednesday he is planning to lay off hundreds of campaign workers nationwide and focus on winning in California, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, told the Times in an interview he planned to remain in the race despite losing four of five states in primary voting on Tuesday, putting him further behind rival Hillary Clinton. (http://nyti. ...

Obama to visit water crisis-hit Flint

Obama to visit water crisis-hit Flint

President Barack Obama will next week travel to Flint, Michigan, where a crisis over tainted water has become a focus of the 2016 election campaign, the White House said Wednesday. Responding to a letter from eight-year-old Flint resident Mari Copeny, Obama said he would visit the majority African American northern city on May 4. "I want to make sure people like you and your family are receiving the help you need and deserve," Obama wrote.

Ex-House Speaker Hastert gets 15 months, admits sex abuse

Ex-House Speaker Hastert gets 15 months, admits sex abuse

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, once one of the country's most powerful politicians, was sentenced on Wednesday to 15 months in federal prison for a financial crime related to sexual abuse of high school wrestlers he coached decades ago. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert a serial sex abuser in handing down the sentence, which was longer than the zero to six months recommended by federal prosecutors. Durkin said the sentence would have been even longer if it weren't for Hastert's age, 74, and poor health.

Tennessee law to allow counselors to deny service based on beliefs

Tennessee law to allow counselors to deny service based on beliefs

Tennessee's Republican governor on Wednesday signed a law allowing mental health counselors to refuse service to patients on "sincerely held principles," the latest in a string of U.S. state measures criticized as discriminatory against the gay community. Governor Bill Haslam signed the bill into law three weeks after it was approved by the legislature. "The substance of this bill doesn't address a group, issue or belief system," Haslam said in a statement.

‘The Jinx’ Subject Robert Durst Gets 7-Year Prison Sentence in Plea Deal

Real estate heir Robert Durst will serve seven years and one month in prison on a weapons charge after a federal judge approved a plea deal on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt approved the sentence, which Durst accepted, in New Orleans. The maximum penalty that Durst could have faced was... Read more »

social-media

Shay Mitchell has some crucial social media survival tips for moms

Shay Mitchell has some crucial social media survival tips for moms

Anyone who do not realize moms are built to be social media queens are in denial. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter — these are tools for sharing pictures and distributing unsolicited advice.  So Mashable asked Pretty Little Liars actress and all-around social media superstar Shay Mitchell to help us teach moms how to be the fiercest smartphone-carrying, oversharing warriors they can be.  SEE ALSO: Who runs Instagram? Girls. Your mom might not have 11 million Instagram followers yet — or ever. But she probably only cares about your faves, anyway.  You can currently catch Mitchell in Mother's Day alongside Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston. Maybe your mom shared the trailer on your Facebook wall.

Woman uses Facebook to search for Rodney, the father of her 13-year-old daughter

Woman uses Facebook to search for Rodney, the father of her 13-year-old daughter

An Australian woman is attempting to use the power of Facebook to locate her daughter's father. The woman, who is using the name Kerryn Leigh, posted on Facebook on April 22 that she is looking for the dad of her 13-year-old daughter Imi, who she claims was born after a holiday fling in New Zealand.  The only things she says she knows about the mystery man: his name is Rodney, he was an Australian with long curly hair that was reddish in colour, he had a pale complexion, is of average height and would now be in his late to mid-40s. He was possibly into surfing.  SEE ALSO: Tinder Social: What the new group dating feature is really like Leigh explains that 13 years and nine months ago she was on a holiday in the snow village of Queenstown when she met Rodney and the two hooked up. She said he was there with two friends, both named John and he had just split with his partner, who he had a 2-year-old daughter with.  When she returned home, to her shock, she discovered she was pregnant and gave birth to her daughter a week before her 40th birthday, according to WA Today . Leigh said she did what she had to do to cope with the unexpected pregnancy and felt there was no way to find Rodney.  "I was (almost) 40 years old with a baby in my arms with a man I didn't know," she told the publication. "I was coping with what I had. I would have let him know. He deserved to know." Image: facebook The years went by, technology developed, and recently her friends encouraged her to reach out to her Facebook network.  Imi had been asking more and more about her father, and Leigh believed it was only right she should try to find him with whatever means possible.  So she uploaded two photos to Facebook — one of herself and one of Imi — with a plea for the people of the Internet to help her find the mystery man. She also made it clear she wasn't wanting anything from Rodney, other than to communicate and maybe a photograph to show Imi. Obviously, with such social media posts there is always negativity attached and the possibility Rodney will struggle with the news. "It's overwhelming for me and I'm pretty sure it's going to be overwhelming at the other end," Leigh told WA Today.   So far, she said she hasn't found a match but has had a lot of people messaging with tip offs and possible Rodneys. "There's nothing that's come through of any real confirmation, there are a couple of possibilities, but I just need to know that these people were in Queenstown at that time," Leigh said. "I think I've been given every Rodney in Queensland... Poor Rodneys!"  Leigh has been contacted for comment. Her claims have not been independently verified. 

Facebook in class of its own as ad revenue soars

Facebook in class of its own as ad revenue soars

Wow. After underwhelming results from Apple Inc, Google Inc and other big tech names, investors finally found a friend in Facebook Inc after the company shredded Wall Street's forecasts for revenue, profit and user growth. Facebook's shares, which touched a record high of $120.79 on Thursday, closed up 7.2 percent at $116.73, giving a $22 billion boost to the social networking company's market value.

Facebook says government data queries up 13 percent

Facebook says government data queries up 13 percent

Facebook said Thursday it had received 13 percent more government requests for user data in the second half of 2015, with more than 46,000 requests worldwide. "Overall, we continue to see an increase globally in government requests for user data and content restrictions pursuant to local law," Facebook deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby said. The details come as the technology industry is embroiled in debate on how governments should gain access to user data, and how the requests should be disclosed to users and the public.

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps hit Windows 10

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps hit Windows 10

Fresh from reporting stellar earnings, Facebook on Thursday rolled out applications tailored to Microsoft's latest operating system for the social network as well as its Messenger and Instagram services. "There are many people using Facebook, Messenger and Instagram on Windows, so today we're excited to roll out Windows 10 apps for Facebook and Messenger on desktop and Instagram on mobile," product manager Davis Fields said in a blog post at the leading social network. Free Facebook and Messenger programs for Windows 10 were hitting virtual shelves at the Windows desktop app store, and an Instagram application that runs on mobile devices powered by the Microsoft operating system hit the Windows Phone Store.

On Facebook a lot? Average users around the world spend more than 50 minutes on website, related apps

On Facebook a lot? Average users around the world spend more than 50 minutes on website, related apps

Neither users nor investors can get enough of Facebook. Following a hugely successful first-quarter earnings report, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to center stage to expound upon the success of his social media company, revealing that “people around the world spend, on average, more than 50 minutes a day using Facebook, Instagram and Messenger — and that doesn’t count WhatsApp.” That’s up an average of 10 minutes from the 40-minute per-day mark Facebook reached in July 2014, when Facebook was a largely American enterprise. But now that the network has expanded its reach across the globe, more people are spending more time online — or rather, on Facebook. Facebook’s empire extends far beyond its original web platform, now encompassing a whole family of apps and experiences. From photo editing to virtual reality, it seems as though the 12-year-old company has its hands in all sorts of cookie jars. But chief to its success remains its dominance on mobile. Those 50 minutes a day users spend on its various apps translate to ever-burgeoning ad revenue numbers. According to the recent earnings report, ad revenue rose 56.8 percent to $5.2 billion, and mobile ad revenue accounted for 82 percent of total ad revenue. That’s up 9 percent from last year’s 73 percent.  Related : Facebook smashes estimates to post blockbuster first-quarter earnings While there may be some competition in the video space from players like Snapchat, which recently reported that its 100 million daily users watch 10 billion videos a day, Facebook still looks dominant in most sectors across the board. “The company consistently ‘warns’ about higher spending, but they consistently manage their spending to deliver earnings upside. They’re an impressive company, and they leave very little room for criticism,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. Despite disappointing numbers from other players in the industry — Apple recently saw its 13-year winning streak end in terms of its own revenue — Facebook is giving investors something to “like.” Also watch: South Park The Fractured but Whole E3 2015 Announce Trailer [US] – YouTube.mp4 Please enable Javascript to watch this video

'Happy Ed Balls Day': Brits are celebrating the nation's favourite Twitter fail

'Happy Ed Balls Day': Brits are celebrating the nation's favourite Twitter fail

LONDON — Today is a very, very special day. SEE ALSO: 23 times British tweets ruled Twitter Not only is 28 April Ed Balls Day, but this year it's a big one — the five year anniversary of the date on which former MP Ed Balls sent the following, brilliant tweet. It's a powerful, important moment in the history of British Twitter, and not one the nation plans to forget anytime soon. On the morning of 28 April 2016, people could hardly contain their excitement. Although some people were equally frustrated. For most, though, it was day to remember the good times. There were snacks. And, of course, photoshops and memes aplenty. Mostly, though, there was the constant reminder that the Internet never forgets. Ever.

Eight charged with sedition in Thailand over Facebook criticism of draft charter

Eight charged with sedition in Thailand over Facebook criticism of draft charter

Thai police charged eight people with sedition and computer crimes on Thursday, part of fresh wave of arrests as Thailand cracks down on online dissent before a referendum on a military-backed draft constitution. The eight were detained by troops on Wednesday over Facebook comments criticizing the draft, which has been denounced by groups on both sides of Thailand's political divide ahead of the Aug. 7 referendum. The charges follow arrests over the past week of anti-junta activists who have held gatherings around the Thai capital amid growing criticism of the draft charter.

Why Facebook Is A Screaming Buy

Facebook -- in which I have no financial interest -- has definitively overcome the biggest risk in its 2012 IPO prospectus -- its lack of mobile advertising revenue. And it has a bright decade ahead. By ...

Zuckerberg tightens grip as Facebook profit soars

Zuckerberg tightens grip as Facebook profit soars

Facebook fielded a plan to tighten Mark Zuckerberg's grip on the helm as the booming social network reported stellar profit. "We had a great start to the year," said Facebook co-founder and chief executive Zuckerberg. The report shows Facebook is using its dominant position in social media to boost advertising revenues as it connects more people with new services such as live video.

Facebook smashes estimates to post blockbuster first-quarter earnings

Facebook smashes estimates to post blockbuster first-quarter earnings

Facebook has bucked the tech earnings slump currently plaguing the likes of Apple, Alphabet, and Twitter, and could be set to reach an all-time high share price thanks to a stellar first quarter. The company beat analysts’ expectations by posting revenue of $5.38 billion (up 52 percent year-over-year), with most predictions expecting a total of $5.26 billion. Additionally, Facebook’s net income almost tripled in comparison to the first quarter of last year to hit $1.51 billion. Crucially, the world’s biggest social network continues to attract more users, its overall user base reaching 1.65 billion in the quarter, compared to 1.44 billion a year ago. Not only that, people are also using Facebook more, with the company reporting that 66 percent of monthly active users (MAU) logged on to the platform daily, an increase of 1 percent from the same period last year. CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that people were spending more than 50 minutes per day across the company’s suite of apps, including Facebook itself, Messenger, and Instagram. Related: Facebook developing standalone camera app with live-streaming capabilities The revenue Facebook derives from each user (that’s you and your friends) has also risen to an average of $3.32, from $2.50 a year earlier. Amid all the glowing statistics, one important factor kept popping up; mobile. Facebook noted that its mobile MAUs grew 21 percent year-over-year to reach 1.51 billion. Alongside that jaw-dropping growth came an increase in lucrative mobile ad spend. The company reportedly made 82 percent of its $5.2 billion in ad revenue from mobile this quarter. Compare that to the soft brand spending power reported by rival Twitter, and you begin to get an idea of who really rules the roost in the smartphone sphere. On the topic of rulers, its seems Facebook’s founder and CEO wants even more control over his company. In a note posted on the Facebook Newsroom, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the company is planning to create a new class of non-voting shares. Meaning Zuckerberg can still give away 99 percent of his wealth using non-voting shares, and continue to retain a tight grip over Facebook with his voting stock. After hearing the first-quarter figures, investors will likely back the move. After all, Zuckerberg’s aggressive pursuit of advertising has evidently reaped massive rewards for Facebook. Despite all the good news, there was no mention of Oculus Rift’s impact on revenue. The VR headset’s recent launch was plagued with mishaps, mainly due to shipping delays, and its lack of presence during the earnings call will do little to alleviate concerns about its future. Nonetheless, Facebook did emphasize that the Oculus acquisition was a long-term investment that would not significantly impact its 2016 revenue. Also watch: Top Tech Stories of the Week |Facebook F8, Tax Filing Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Facebook revenue smashes expectations as mobile ad sales surge

Facebook revenue smashes expectations as mobile ad sales surge

Facebook Inc's quarterly revenue rose more than 50 percent, handily beating Wall Street expectations as its wildly popular mobile app and a push into live video lured new advertisers and encouraged existing ones to boost spending. Facebook also announced it will create a new class of non-voting shares in a move aimed at letting Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg give away his wealth without relinquishing control of the social media juggernaut he founded. The company plans to create a new class of non-voting shares, which would be given as a dividend to existing shareholders.

Carly's croon sparks bewilderment, criticism on social media

Carly Fiorina was so happy to be named U.S. presidential hopeful Ted Cruz's running mate, she broke into song during her acceptance speech. Cruz announced at a rally on Wednesday in Indianapolis that the former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard would join his ticket. "I know two girls that I just adore," crooned Fiorina, in reference to Cruz's two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.

Facebook plans new non-voting shares to keep Zuckerberg at helm

Facebook plans new non-voting shares to keep Zuckerberg at helm

By Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook announced on Wednesday it will create a new class of non-voting shares in a move aimed at letting Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg give away his wealth without relinquishing control of the social media juggernaut he founded. The rejiggering of Facebook's share structure, effectively a 3-for-1 stock split, follows the 31 year-old's announcement last December that he intends to put 99 percent of his Facebook shares into a new philanthropy project focusing on human potential and equality. Also on Wednesday, Facebook's stock jumped 9 percent in extended trade after the company's first-quarter revenue smashed Wall Street's expectations.

Facebook earnings poised to blow past estimates

Stocks shake off a big Apple drop as the Fed paves the way for a rate hike. And Facebook earnings are almost here. Catch The Final Round at 4 p.m. ET with Jen Rogers and Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer.

UK Labour suspends MP over 'anti-semitic' Facebook posts

UK Labour suspends MP over 'anti-semitic' Facebook posts

Britain's Labour Party on Wednesday suspended one of its own parliamentarians pending an investigation into allegations she shared anti-semitic posts on social media. Bradford West MP Naz Shah told the House of Commons she "profoundly" regretted the posts made in 2014, before she became an MP. Shah and party leader Jeremy Corbyn had "mutually agreed that she is administratively suspended from the Labour Party," a party spokesman said.

Social media users upbeat on Facebook; gloomy on Apple, Twitter

Social media users upbeat on Facebook; gloomy on Apple, Twitter

Social media sentiment for Apple Inc and Twitter Inc dropped sharply on Wednesday, a day after the companies reported disappointing quarterly earnings, while online circles remained confident about Facebook Inc , which is scheduled to post results after the market closes. Twitter's stock plunged 15 percent at midday, after dropping nearly 14 percent late Tuesday on news that revenue growth at the microblogging service was stagnant. Apple shares were down 6 percent, after Tuesday's 8 percent drop to below $100 for the first time since February.

Why Facebook is the new Apple

Why Facebook is the new Apple

Yahoo Finance's Midday Movers streams live each day at 12 p.m. Today we discuss Facebook earnings, Yahoo's board shakeup, and Alibaba's investments.

Crunch time for Twitter as ad dollars remain elusive

Crunch time for Twitter as ad dollars remain elusive

Twitter Inc's race against the clock is intensifying. The company is trying hard to improve its much-criticized interface, but analysts said the challenge was to do that before more users and advertisers defect to Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google. Twitter, led by co-founder Jack Dorsey, said on Tuesday monthly active users ticked up to 310 million in the March quarter, but revenue fell short of expectations.

Thai Facebook group charged over 'foul language' about draft constitution

Thai Facebook group charged over 'foul language' about draft constitution

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Panarat Thepgumpanat BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's election commission on Wednesday filed charges against a group for posting "foul and strong" comments online criticizing a military-backed draft constitution, the first case filed under a law that prohibits campaigning on the charter. Groups on both sides of Thailand's political divide have denounced the draft constitution as undemocratic. Election commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn filed the charges against members of a Facebook group based in Thailand's northeastern province of Khon Kaen.

Twitter results disappoint as advertisers abandon the platform

Twitter results disappoint as advertisers abandon the platform

Twitter’s share price plummeted by more than 13 percent after the social media giant reported yet another round of disappointing quarterly results on Tuesday. Despite little investor excitement in the run-up to its first quarter earnings statement, many were taken by surprise by the company’s worrying slump in ad sales. Overall, the microblogging platform saw its revenue climb 36 percent from a year earlier to reach $594.5 million for the quarter. The final numbers fell below analysts’ expectations of $607.8 million, as reported by Thomson Reuters. Consequently, Twitter’s second quarter revenue forecast took a hit, with the company now predicting between $590 million and $610 million, which is significantly below Wall Street estimates of $677 million. Related:  Twitter makes it easier to report multiple abusive tweets “Brand spend didn’t grow as quickly as expected,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Fretting over a 37-percent growth in year-on-year advertising revenue may seem a tad overly self-critical, but it appears that Twitter’s advertising options are no longer a draw for big brands. Promoted tweets, Twitter’s targeted ad placement feature, is reportedly under-performing, with brands instead opting to use videos, due to their higher rate of engagement. Brands have held back their spending on traditional advertising options — which include call-to-action buttons that encourage users to click through to a website — and are blaming Twitter’s lack of targeting functions, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company’s financial chief, Anthony Noto, has promised that advertising improvements are scheduled for this fall. There was, however, a small glimmer of hope for the company. During the first quarter, Twitter gained a respectable increase in its monthly active users, adding five million to its total, which stood at 310 million for the period — up from 302 million users a year ago. Speaking to analysts via Periscope, Dorsey commented that the platform remains committed to making the Twitter experience “easy to use.” Since retaking the reins at the company last year, Dorsey has pushed to make Twitter more accessible through the addition of controversial new features, including an algorithmic timeline and Moments, an editorial-style, trending news feed. At the very least, the growth in total users hints the gambles may be paying off. Twitter also has the advantage of its NFL streaming partnership, which will see it broadcast ten Thursday Night Football games over the coming months. Dorsey hinted that the deal could be one of many, claiming that once it was announced almost every major sports league in the world reached out to the platform with similar initiatives. The CEO previously revealed that live chat during major events is an integral part of its strategy, and it will be hoping that the NFL livestream will encourage even more users, and advertisers, to join the Twitter conversation. Also watch: Apple’s Beats by Dre Super Bowl Commercial Debuts on Twitter Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Jurors caught checking Facebook may face a $1,500 fine

Jurors caught checking Facebook may face a $1,500 fine

In an attempt to keep jurors from researching a case online or chatting about a trial on any social media network, proposed legislation in California would give judges the power to fine a juror up to $1,500. This fine would be in the form of a citation, a less severe punishment compared to being held in contempt of court. Prior to this point, jurors have been dismissed from a trial for researching details online, potentially leading to a mistrial. Hypothetically, this new law could reduce the number of mistrials attributed to juror issues. The severity of the fine would likely be up to the judge, perhaps based on the extent of the offense. Someone opening up the Twitter app to check out random posts from their friends would likely be fined far less than someone that posted extensive details of the trial on their Facebook account. Prior to the majority of trials, judges will warn jurors not to research the case online or post about the events of the trial on social networks. Speaking about the natural tendency to break these rules, Assemblyman Rich Gordon of the 24th California Assembly District said “ We are all on our cellphones and iPads all the time. The problem with that is that it can lead to a mistrial. We’ve seen that happen across the country where verdicts have been tossed out, trial have had to be redone .” According to the details of the legislation, California will hold a pilot program of this new fining system starting on or before July 1, 2017 and run for approximately five years in a number of unnamed California courts. If the system is successful, state officials would likely expand out to all courts in California. It’s also possible it could spread to other states if these types of juror incidents fall dramatically over the five year time period.

Twitter stung by stall in user growth

Twitter stung by stall in user growth

Twitter shares slid after a quarterly update worsened investor fears that the one-to-many messaging service can win enough users to be a lucrative, mainstream hit. Twitter posted a loss for the first quarter of 2016 of $80 million, compared with a loss of $162 million in the same period a year ago. Wall Street had expected even better revenue, and the Twitter financial forecast for the current quarter did not inspire visions of better days.

Twitter stock plunges after revenue misses estimates

Twitter stock plunges after revenue misses estimates

Twitter Inc disappointed investors yet again with first-quarter results that showed stagnant revenue growth as the microblogging service struggles to grab new users amid efforts to improve its complicated interface with several new features. Twitter shares plunged 13.6 percent to $15.34 in late trade on Tuesday after reporting lower-than-expected revenue, hurt by weaker than expected spending by big advertisers, and providing a current-quarter revenue forecast well below analysts' expectations. Twitter's user base grew modestly to 310 million monthly active users in the quarter ended March 31 from 305 million in the fourth quarter, above analysts' expectations.

Twitter reports 1Q loss

On a per-share basis, the San Francisco-based company said it had a loss of 12 cents. Earnings, adjusted for stock option expense and non-recurring costs, were 15 cents per share. The results exceeded ...

Here comes Apple, Twitter, and Chipotle

Stocks are on edge as huge after-hours earnings are coming our way - with all eyes on Apple, Twitter, and Chipotle. Catch The Final Round at 4 p.m. ET with Jen Rogers and markets correspondent Nicole Sinclair.

security

U.S. high court approves rule change to expand FBI hacking power

U.S. high court approves rule change to expand FBI hacking power

By Dustin Volz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Thursday approved a rule change that would let U.S. judges issue search warrants for access to computers located in any jurisdiction despite opposition from civil liberties groups who say it will greatly expand the FBI's hacking authority. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts transmitted the rules to Congress, which will have until Dec. 1 to reject or modify the changes to the federal rules of criminal procedure.

Hackers leak stolen Kenyan foreign ministry documents

By George Obulutsa NAIROBI (Reuters) - Online activists who claim ties to Anonymous said on Thursday they had begun to leak documents from Kenya's foreign ministry as part of a campaign to expose government and corporate corruption across Africa. HackRead, a cyber security news site, reported that a hacker affiliated with "Operation Africa" had told it: "In (a) few days you will receive full disclosure of the data – We the Anonymous will stand against corruption, child abuse, and child labour!" A link to a sample of 95 documents was published to a widely known Anonymous Twitter account, part of what it claimed was a one-terabyte stash of date from Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The documents, viewed by Reuters, appear to consist of mostly routine correspondence between Kenyan foreign ministry officials and other diplomatic missions, trade partners and international companies around the world.

Vasco posts 1Q profit

The Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois-based company said it had net income of 6 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for amortization costs and non-recurring costs, were 14 cents per share. The Internet security ...

Canada's Goldcorp says computer network hacked

Canada's Goldcorp says computer network hacked

By Susan Taylor TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's Goldcorp Inc on Thursday said its computer network had been compromised and the gold mining company was working to determine the scope and impact of the data breach. Vancouver-based Goldcorp's internal security team and independent technology security firms are gathering facts and informing affected employees, but Chief Executive David Garofalo said he was not overly worried. "The extent of the data breach is not of significant concern for us because we're a public company and anything of a material nature has to be in the public domain by law anyways.

ISIS is assembling a cyber army

Following the deadly assaults on Europe in late 2015 and early 2016, reports emerged suggesting that ISIS has an army of organized hackers  who can provide consistent, round the clock  support to foot soldiers. However, new information on the matter seems to suggest that ISIS’s remaining hacking arm is nothing more than a propaganda machine capable of dealing minor hits, if any, to enemies. But ISIS is showing more interest in expanding its hacking capabilities. The news comes at a time when the U.S. government has declared cyber war on the Islamic paramilitary organization. DON’T MISS:  Apple issues statement following apparent suicide at Cupertino headquarters A report from Flashpoint called Hacking for ISIS: The Emergent Cyber Threat Landscape , first seen by Ars Technica , says that ISIS in April merged four independent pro-ISIS cyber teams into a single group called the United Cyber Caliphate. The group is made of the Sons Caliphate Army, the Caliphate Cyber Army, the Ghost Caliphate Section and Kalashnikov E-Security Team. These sound like rather scary organizations, but Flashpoint says they can’t do that much harm as they lack the expertise to conduct sophisticated digital assaults. “Until recently, our analysis of the group's overall capabilities indicated that they were neither advanced nor did they demonstrate sophisticated targeting,” Flashpoint co-founder and Director of Research & Analysis for the Middle East and North Africa Laith Alkhouri said. “With the latest unification of multiple pro-ISIS cyber groups under one umbrella, there now appears to be a higher interest and willingness amongst ISIS supporters in coordinating and elevating cyber attacks against governments and companies.” The report reveals that British citizen Junaid Hussain, who was killed in a raid in August 2015 , was the leader of ISIS's former Cyber Caliphate Army. Known as TriCK and part of a well-known black hat hackers group called TeaMp0isoN, Hussain joined ISIS in the summer of 2014. Since then, he has tried to recruit other colleagues into his team, but he hasn't been very successful. ISIS was able to take over social media accounts, defame websites (including CENTCOM and Newsweek), and attack the sites of certain cities, although it hasn't accomplished any major hack. Rather than coming up with its own hacks, the unified UCC group – not to be confused with the US Cyber Command fighting ISIS hackers – is likely going to employ “malware as a service” exploit sites and other tools that can be purchased off hacker forums. The UCC would still be able to conduct propaganda operations and cause damage to “soft” targets. So their capabilities, while limited, shouldn’t be completely ignored.

Google’s 2016 Nexus phones are probably going to be unbeatable

Multiple reports have said that Google is already working hard on a couple of new Nexus handsets, undoubtedly the successors of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P . But rather than have LG and Huawei make them, Google supposedly hired HTC, the same company that made the iconic Nexus One. A pair of new reports bring further evidence that Google may indeed partner with HTC for the 2016 Nexus handsets – yes, two devices are supposedly in the works. DON’T MISS:  How Snapchat and stupidity almost left five people dead First off, not only is HTC capable of making some impressive Android handsets – just look at this year’s HTC 10 – but the rumors come from sources who’re generally in the know about these type of things. https://twitter.com/evleaks/status/725395035022319616 Evan Blass and Android Police independently came out with details about the new Nexus handsets. Blass found out from his sources that HTC is making a pair of Android N handsets for Google, dubbed M1 and S1 internally. Meanwhile, a source told Android Police that Marlin and Sailfish are Google’s internal codenames for the new Nexus phones. The blog also dug through the available code to uncover evidence of one of the two names: Marlin. Sailfish is a weird choice for Google considering that it happens to be the name of a rival mobile operating system, but the company is known for using fish names for its Nexus devices. Furthermore, Blass and Android Police ’s reports certainly align: M1 might be the Marlin while S1 could stand for Sailfish. What about the numbers you ask? Neither source explains the detail. But an earlier report suggested that HTC may have inked a three-year Nexus exclusivity deal . So there’s that. It’s too early for specs, features or pictures. But the possibility of seeing HTC 10 variations turned into Nexus handsets is exciting. The HTC 10 is the most powerful smartphone ever and HTC'c hardware designs are always best-in-class. Add in stock Android and immediate access to software updates and you've got a pair of phones that might be unbeatable.

That time a Windows 10 update alert ruined a live TV broadcast

How annoyed do you get each and every time a little alert pops up on your Windows computer insisting that you install the latest available platform updates? Do you keep your cool and just dismiss it? Do you get a little miffed and take your frustrations out on your mouse? Or maybe you're so tired of seeing these notifications that your blood begins to boil and you have to fight back the urge to break something. Now imagine you're reporting a weather forecast in the middle of a live TV broadcast when an alert pops up asking you to update... DON'T MISS:  Making sense of Apple now that everything has changed Via BetaNews , KCCI 8's meteorologist Metinka Slater was reporting the weather on live television when the Windows-powered computer her station uses to power weather graphics took an unplanned detour. Just as she was discussing heavy amounts of rainfall across southwest Iowa, an alert popped up saying that the channel's Windows computer wanted to install Windows 10. In the process, it covered her handy weather map graphics. To Slater's credit, she handled the curveball quite well. "Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10... what should I do?" she asked sarcastically. "Ahhhh don't you love when that pops up, huh?" Microsoft has been pushing PC users with earlier Windows versions to update to Windows 10 in the hopes that they'll forget the Windows 8 debacle ever happened, and it has been doing so using annoying pop-up alerts like this one. Windows 10 is a huge improvement and we certainly recommend the free update, but don't worry, there's a way to stop those bothersome upgrade alerts if you're not quite ready to pull the trigger.  Here you go , Metinka. A video showing the blooper is embedded below.

Philippine anti-money laundering body says remittance firm a 'cleaning house' in heist

Philippine anti-money laundering body says remittance firm a 'cleaning house' in heist

A Philippine anti-money laundering body has lodged a complaint against owners of a remittance firm it called a "cleaning house" to hide the trail of $81 million looted from a Bangladesh bank, in one of the biggest cyber heists in history. Philrem Service Corporation muddied the process and washed the stolen funds via a web of transfers and currency conversions around Philippine bank accounts, before moving it into Manila casinos and junket operators, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) said in the filing dated Wednesday. Unidentified hackers infiltrated the computers at Bangladesh Bank, the central bank, in early February and tried to transfer some $951 million from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

FBI says it won't disclose how it accessed locked iPhone

FBI says it won't disclose how it accessed locked iPhone

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI said Wednesday that it will not publicly disclose the method that allowed it to access a locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, saying it lacks enough "technical information" about the software vulnerability that was exploited.

Philippine central bank says foiled attempts to hack its website

Philippine central bank says foiled attempts to hack its website

By Karen Lema MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine central bank has foiled attempts to hack its website, its governor said on Thursday amid a warning from global financial network SWIFT about recent multiple cyber fraud incidents targeting its system. SWIFT'S disclosure came as law enforcement authorities in Bangladesh and elsewhere investigated the February cyber theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. "There were attempts, and I think this is a fact of life, but we have been able to turn them back," Amando Tetangco told reporters.

Wall Street watchdog has unfinished business with bad brokers

Wall Street watchdog has unfinished business with bad brokers

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Richard Ketchum, chairman and chief executive of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), mentioned several ways data should be better collected and used by regulators and investors. "There's no doubt in my mind that the future of regulation is going to be about data analytics," said Ketchum. A top priority is getting more and better information onto FINRA's BrokerCheck website, a free database where investors can research professional histories of brokers and firms.

Qatar's largest bank investigating alleged data breach

Qatar's largest bank investigating alleged data breach

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar's largest bank is investigating a security breach that appears to have exposed sensitive personal data for what could be hundreds of customers, including employees of international broadcaster Al-Jazeera and potentially senior government officials.

Qatar National Bank investigating alleged data hack

Qatar National Bank investigating alleged data hack

By Tom Finn DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar National Bank, the largest lender in the Middle East and Africa by assets, is investigating an alleged security breach of data posted online this week that revealed the names and passwords of a large number of customers. QNB said it was investigating "social media speculation in regard to an alleged data breach" and would not comment on reports circulated via social media. One file contained information on what appeared to be 465,437 QNB accounts, although only a fraction of these accounts had anything resembling full account details.

The FBI’s Most-Wanted Cybercriminals

For more than 60 years, the FBI has kept a list of its top ten most wanted fugitives. The idea took root in the bureau when a reporter asked the FBI in 1949 for a list of the “toughest guys” it was looking for, and published the list in the Washington Daily News, according to the agency. The article captured so much interest that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover institutionalized the most-wanted list the very next year.

German nuclear plant infected with computer viruses, operator says

German nuclear plant infected with computer viruses, operator says

By Christoph Steitz and Eric Auchard FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A nuclear power plant in Germany has been found to be infected with computer viruses, but they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility's operations because it is isolated from the Internet, the station's operator said on Tuesday. The Gundremmingen plant, located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility RWE . The viruses, which include "W32.Ramnit" and "Conficker", were discovered at Gundremmingen's B unit in a computer system retrofitted in 2008 with data visualization software associated with equipment for moving nuclear fuel rods, RWE said.

Apple upbeat on iPhone SE demand but some Asian retailers, suppliers less cheery

Apple upbeat on iPhone SE demand but some Asian retailers, suppliers less cheery

By Yimou Lee HONG KONG (Reuters) - After announcing its first-ever drop in iPhone sales on Tuesday, Apple Inc sought to reassure investors by saying its latest and cheapest model was in strong demand after being launched in late March. In a Reuters survey of 10 retailers in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, seven - including four Apple Stores - reported solid early demand, but three third-party retailers said sales were weak. Two suppliers of components for Apple phones, including the new iPhone SE, said they were seeing lower orders.

Apple says FBI gave it first vulnerability tip on April 14

Apple says FBI gave it first vulnerability tip on April 14

The FBI informed Apple Inc of a vulnerability in its iPhone and Mac software on April 14, the first time it had told the company about a flaw in Apple products under a controversial White House process for sharing such information, the company told Reuters on Tuesday. The FBI told the company that the disclosure resulted from the so-called Vulnerability Equities Process for deciding what to do with information about security holes, Apple said. The vulnerability that was disclosed to Apple involved older versions of the iPhone and the Mac, Apple said.

Estonian sentenced in U.S. to seven years in prison for cyber fraud

By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Estonian man who authorities said ran a cyber criminal enterprise that infected more than four million computers worldwide with malware to carry out a lucrative click fraud scheme was sentenced by a U.S. judge on Tuesday to 7-1/4 years in prison. Vladimir Tsastsin, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan after pleading guilty in July to charges that he engaged in wire fraud and computer intrusion conspiracies in a scheme that caused $14 million in losses. Tsastsin was extradited in October 2014 from Estonia, where he was arrested in 2011 and separately tried and convicted in a court in Estonia on related money-laundering charges.

Microsoft is bringing my favorite iPhone and Mac feature to Windows 10

It's incredible how quickly the tide can turn on the internet. It seems like just yesterday that hordes of angry Windows users were banding together and vowing in unison that they would never patronize Microsoft again because of its shoddy Windows 8 platform. Now, it's almost as though Windows 8 never existed — apparently skipping 9 and jumping directly to 10 worked pretty well indeed. But Windows 10 isn't just a marketing trick, it's a well-crafted desktop platform that doesn't overcompensate for Microsoft's shortcomings in mobile, which is why the Windows 8 experience was so terrible. The best part is that Microsoft continues to make important improvements to its Windows 10 platform, and it looks like the next big addition to Windows will be one of my favorite features from iOS and OS X. DON'T MISS:  My iPhone screen is bigger than your HDTV, but it still fits in my pocket Desktop and smartphone user experiences were entirely separate for a period of time, but Apple and Google have made great strides to better link them. Email protocols like Exchange and IMAP allowed changes made on one device to be reflected on the other, so why couldn't this same concept extend to other areas as well? Apple's Handoff feature suite was introduced as a way to make that happen. Using Handoff, users can switch seamlessly from an iPhone to a MacBook to an iPad without skipping a beat. Web pages you were browsing on your iPhone are instantly available on your MacBook. Documents you were editing on your MacBook open in the blink of an eye on your iPad. Now, it looks like Microsoft is getting ready to bake a similar feature set into Windows 10. As noted by a user on Reddit , a new option appeared for some users in the latest Windows 10 update that refers to Microsoft's upcoming handoff feature. It's not yet fully implemented so it cannot be tested, but this falls in line with earlier reports suggesting that Microsoft is working on functionality similar to handoff. It's important to note that this functionality, once launched, will not be limited to users with Windows smartphones. As reiterated by MSpoweruser , the handoff feature in Windows 10 will be cloud based and will work with third-party apps on the iOS and Android platforms.

Exclusive: SWIFT warns customers of multiple cyber fraud cases

Exclusive: SWIFT warns customers of multiple cyber fraud cases

The disclosure came as law enforcement authorities in Bangladesh and elsewhere investigated the February cyber theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. SWIFT has acknowledged that the scheme involved altering SWIFT software on Bangladesh Bank's computers to hide evidence of fraudulent transfers. Monday's statement from SWIFT marked the first acknowledgement that the Bangladesh Bank attack was not an isolated incident but one of several recent criminal schemes that aimed to take advantage of the global messaging platform used by some 11,000 financial institutions.

Dangerous Windows 10 flaw lets hackers secretly run any app on your PC

A newly identified Windows 10 security flaw lets  hackers install malicious apps on any machine, without business owners being made aware anything out of the ordinary is happening. The issue lets anyone familiar with Windows security bypass its defenses without leaving any trace on the machine. Discovered accidentally, the issue is significant, and Microsoft is yet to issue a patch. DON’T MISS:  My iPhone screen is bigger than your HDTV, but it still fits in my pocket Found by Casey Smith , the Windows vulnerability doesn’t affect only Windows 10 machines. Malicious hackers could take advantage of the security flaw on enterprise versions of Windows dating back to Windows 7. The issue concerns a program called Regsvr32 (and Regsvr64 for 64-bit machines), which lets anyone execute code on a Windows computer from remote network locations. The flaw doesn’t trigger the AppLocker security software, which is supposed to only let users run apps from trusted sources, and it doesn’t leave any traces in the registry, as it doesn’t need administrator access. In other words, pretty much anyone could use it to install and run any application on an unsuspecting employee’s Windows machine. Microsoft has not yet provided a fix for the issue, but users can disable the Regsvr program using Windows Firewall. More details on Smith’s findings are available at the source links, including proof of concept scripts to demonstrate the security issue.

2nd security firm raises concerns about Cruz and Kasich apps

WASHINGTON (AP) — Another computer-security firm raised concerns Monday about the potential for hackers to glean users' personal data from phone apps released by the campaigns of Republican presidential contenders Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

Exclusive: SWIFT network says aware of multiple cyber fraud incidents

Exclusive: SWIFT network says aware of multiple cyber fraud incidents

The disclosure came as law enforcement authorities in Bangladesh and elsewhere investigated the February cyber theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. SWIFT has acknowledged that the scheme involved altering SWIFT software on Bangladesh Bank's computers to hide evidence of fraudulent transfers. Monday's statement from SWIFT marked the first acknowledgement that the Bangladesh Bank attack was not an isolated incident but one of several recent criminal schemes that aimed to take advantage of the global messaging platform used by some 11,000 financial institutions.

Bangladesh Bank hackers compromised SWIFT software, warning issued

Bangladesh Bank hackers compromised SWIFT software, warning issued

SWIFT, a cooperative owned by 3,000 financial institutions, confirmed to Reuters that it was aware of malware targeting its client software. Its spokeswoman Natasha Deteran said SWIFT on Monday released a software update to thwart the malware, along with a special warning for financial institutions to scrutinize their security procedures.

The iPhone 7 is going to be ‘boring’

Will the iPhone 7 be “boring” in terms of novel new features? A new report from a reputable insider seems to suggest that the new smartphone won’t have alluring features that will convince masses of buyers to purchase it. On the contrary, the iPhone 7 might hurt Apple's bottom line this year and the company might sell fewer iPhones this year than it did in 2014. DON’T MISS: Guess which 'flop' sold twice as well as the iPhone in its first year KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been very accurate with iPhone predictions in the past, says that in a worst case scenario, Apple will sell 190 million iPhones in 2016, 3 million short of the 193 million units it sold in 2014. In a best case scenario, Apple is seen selling 205 million handsets, which is still much lower than the general Wall Street consensus – analysts think Apple will sell between 210 million and 230 million iPhones in 2016. Kuo says that Apple might be the only smartphone maker from the top five smartphone brands that sees shipments decline year over year. That list includes Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. The insider says the new iPhone SE will have little impact on overall iPhone sales, though he raised his SE sales estimates  from 12 million to 18 million shipments for the year. "While we believe the high-end smartphone market still has room for growth, the development of a newer, more innovative user experience is a prerequisite for growth," Kuo said, according to MacRumors. "We believe only iPhone will see shipments fall YoY in 2016, for three reasons: (1) intensification of market competition; (2) time needed for commercialization of new user experience technologies; and (3) iPhone needs a makeover (e.g. form factor design) to keep attracting consumers." Kuo said that the iPhone 7 doesn’t have “attractive selling points,” without elaborating on exactly what that means. Presumably, Kuo is suggesting that the new features Apple intends to introduce won't be exciting enough to draw the types of crowds Apple's iPhones have drawn in the past. Earlier rumors suggest the iPhone 7 will be similar to the iPhone 6s when it comes to overall design, though it might be thinner thanks to the removal of the headphone jack. It will supposedly also feature a redesigned antenna assembly on the back, which some versions of the Plus model are expected to pack a dual lens camera. Other reports have suggested that the iPhone 7 will also be waterproof.

Two-thirds of German industry hit by digital crime, survey finds

More than two-thirds of German industrial companies have been victims of digital crime in the past two years, according to a survey carried out by Bitkom, Germany's IT, telecoms and new media industry association. Such crimes cost German manufacturing industry more than 22 billion euros ($25 billion) a year, Bitkom estimated following its survey of 504 German manufacturing companies with at least 10 employees. "German industry, with its numerous hidden champions, is an attractive target for cybercriminals and foreign intelligence services," he added.

Can Veep Keep Up With the 2016 Election?

In the new season of Veep, President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) battles for reelection after an electoral college tie. She gets a new boyfriend, a rich Wall Street lobbyist, and weathers public scrutiny over his influence in the Oval Office; she has a Twitter mishap where she sends the whole world a message intended to be private; there’s some business with a poor makeup job for a stress pimple. It’s the same brand of political farce the HBO show has excelled at for five years, but the jokes feel a little off, the verbal barbs tamer than before. Which prompts the quest: Is Veep losing its edge? Or has the world of politics just gotten too crazy for the spoof version to keep up?

U.S. drops New York fight with Apple after gaining access to iPhone

U.S. drops New York fight with Apple after gaining access to iPhone

The U.S. Justice Department on Friday dropped its effort to force Apple Inc to help unlock an iPhone in a drug case in New York after someone provided authorities the passcode to access the device. The letter marked a sudden end to a closely watched case, in which the Justice Department had been appealing a ruling by a federal magistrate judge holding that he could not force Apple to assist authorities.

Thrifty bank’s $10 routers lead to $81 million heist

This past February, some clever hackers pulled off a daring bank heist that was aided by a Bangladeshi bank's decision to buy cheap second-hand $10 routers. In fact, the cheap routers let hackers get away with $81 million by giving them access to the secure computers that handle SWIFT monetary transactions and helping them hide their tracks. DON’T MISS: How do planes fly? This animation explains everything you need to know Some 20 individuals who received payments from hackers have been identified so far but the masterminds of the attack have yet to be discovered. Even worse is the fact that most of the funds, which were routed to accounts in the Philippines and diverted to a local casino, are still missing. According to Reuters , the head of the Forensic Training Institute of the Bangladesh police’s criminal investigation department revealed that security oversights from the bank helped hackers steal the money. Hackers took advantage of the $10 routers that had no firewalls to get into the bank’s system and were aided by the fact that the bank's switches weren't sophisticated enough to trace the hackers' steps. "You are talking about an organization that has access to billions of dollars and they are not taking even the most basic security precautions," cyber firm Optiv consultant Jeff Wichman told Reuters . Furthermore, the SWIFT servers inside the bank were on the same network with the rest of the banks’ 5,000 computers, rather than being on a walled, secondary one. Furthermore, the room that houses the SWIFT computers isn’t monitored by a bank employee at all times in spite of the sensitive nature of the activity that goes on in it. Instead, all transactions are automatically printed on a printer in the room. Police believe that both the bank and SWIFT should take blame for the heist. The Belgian banking authority said that the heist only breached the Bangladesh Bank and not its secure messaging services. The bank stated that SWIFT officials only advised that a router upgrade is in order after the heist.

Philippine voter data hacked but polls to go ahead

Philippine voter data hacked but polls to go ahead

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The hacking of a Philippine election database may have exposed the personal information of all 55 million registered voters, but will not undermine May 9 national elections, officials said Friday, in the latest hacking scandal to hit the Southeast Asian nation.

Australian Rules-AFL teams seek deals in China foray

The Gold Coast Suns are set to take on Port Adelaide in an Australian Football League championship match in China next year as the high-contact indigenous sport seeks a toe-hold in the world's second-largest economy. Top-flight Australian Rules football is embraced with religious fervour in Australia's southern states but in overseas markets remains a fringe sport confined to obscure time-slots on cable TV channels.

Bangladesh Bank exposed to hackers by cheap switches, no firewall: police

Bangladesh Bank exposed to hackers by cheap switches, no firewall: police

By Serajul Quadir DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh's central bank was vulnerable to hackers because it did not have a firewall and used second-hand, $10 switches to network computers connected to the SWIFT global payment network, an investigator into one of the world's biggest cyber heists said. The shortcomings made it easier for hackers to break into the Bangladesh Bank system earlier this year and attempt to siphon off nearly $1 billion using the bank's SWIFT credentials, said Mohammad Shah Alam, head of the Forensic Training Institute of the Bangladesh police's criminal investigation department. The lack of sophisticated switches, which can cost several hundred dollars or more, also means it is difficult for investigators to figure out what the hackers did and where they might have been based, he added.

Is Apple’s new iPhone SE making the impossible possible?

At the high end of the smartphone market, Apple and Samsung continue to dominate as other global brands fight for scraps. This has been the case in the industry for quite some time now, and at this rate it's not likely to change anytime soon. At the low end of the market though, something curious has happened over the past few years. A wave of China-based companies has stormed the market with surprisingly capable smartphones being sold at incredibly low prices, and they have stolen a massive chunk of business from established players like Samsung, LG and HTC. Of all the companies analysts thought might be able to fight back against these budget brands, Apple certainly wasn't at the top of any lists — but it looks like that's exactly what's happening. MUST SEE: 5 hidden Galaxy S7 features I wish my iPhone had In the grand scheme of things, Apple's new iPhone SE isn't terribly affordable. The $399 to $499 price range is a bargain compared to other iPhones, but perfectly capable handsets can be purchased from Chinese Android phone vendors for half the price. One such company called Xiaomi has built a massive business worth billions by copying Apple's playbook but selling low-cost smartphones instead of high-end handsets. Samsung in particular has had a great deal of trouble with these budget brands in recent years. The company's profits slid for seven consecutive quarters at one point thanks largely to pressure from these Chinese companies. Apple, on the other hand, has never fought at the low end of the market, so the impact felt from these brands hasn't been anywhere near as powerful. Interestingly, a new report claims it's now Apple that is stealing market share away from more aggressive Chinese brands thanks to the lower-cost iPhone SE. "The launch of relatively low-priced iPhone SE in China has squeezed market share from local brands, including Huawei, Xiaomi Technology, Vivo and Oppo, affecting the earning performance of these brands," Digitimes said in a new report. Of note, the site's supply chain sources have been hit or miss in the past. But other reports have also suggested the iPhone SE has been a strong performer in the region, with preorders at third-party retailers alone said to have reached 3.4 million units ahead of launch.

U.S. says child porn case shows need for new data search rules

The U.S. Justice Department said it was "disappointed" on Thursday that evidence against a Massachusetts man charged in a sweeping FBI child pornography sting had been thrown out, saying the ruling highlighted the need to clarify how search warrants for electronic data could be issued in some cases. U.S. District Judge William Young in Boston ruled on Wednesday that a federal magistrate in Virginia had no jurisdiction to issue a search warrant used to gather evidence in the case against Alex Levin, of Norwood, Massachusetts. Levin was arrested for possession of child pornography as part of an investigation in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation secretly ran one of the largest child pornography websites on the Internet in order to catch users.

Ashley Madison plaintiffs cannot sue anonymously over hack, judge says

Ashley Madison plaintiffs cannot sue anonymously over hack, judge says

Plaintiffs leading a lawsuit against online dating website Ashley Madison over a security breach that exposed the personal data of customers must publicly identify themselves to proceed with the case, a U.S. judge has ruled. Forty-two plaintiffs, seeking to represent users of the website who had their information compromised, had proceeded anonymously against Ashley Madison's Toronto-based parent company Avid Life Media, the ruling released on April 6 showed. The plaintiffs are suing Ashley Madison, a website that facilitates extramarital affairs, for failing to adequately secure their information, marketing a “Full Delete Removal” service that did not work, and using fake female accounts to lure male customers, according to the ruling.

How to add unlimited free VPN to Google’s Chrome browser

Opera made a big announcement on Thursday morning that was widely covered by tech blogs. In the latest developer preview build of its web browser for Windows and OS X, Opera has baked in unlimited free VPN service. VPN, or Virtual Private Networking, allows users to route their internet traffic through third-party servers in order to mask their actual IP addresses and increase privacy. VPN services also let users access region-blocked content, and they're very popular among Netflix subscribers outside the United States. This is a great feature for current Opera users and once it's released in a public Opera build, it might even attract some new users. But you can already get unlimited free VPN service in the Chrome browser, and we'll show you how in this post. DON'T MISS:  You’ll believe in magic after watching this street magician’s latest video In an age where your private browsing data is being hunted down by everyone from advertisers to hackers, VPN service is becoming more and more of a necessity. And no, the private browsing mode baked into your web browser isn't the same thing at all. VPN services can completely hide your identity from companies that try to track you and prevent them from building the online profile they so desperately want. Of course, some people don't mind companies tracking them  and for those people, VPN services aren't quite as essential most of the time. Whether or not you want to guard your browsing with a VPN service all the time or only when the need arises, there's an easy way to add unlimited free VPN capabilities to Chrome. And the best part is that it's not complicated or convoluted at all. There are a few services that offer free VPN using a couple of different models, and our favorite among them is Betternet. So how does it work? Simply visit this link from your Chrome browser and install Betternet's Chrome extension. That's it. You're done. You don't even have to register an account. How is it possible that Betternet offers free VPN service while other companies charge for it? Check out this page on the company's site, which explains how it makes money. In a nutshell, Betternet offers an optional premium version and monetizes its mobile apps for iOS and Android , and that covers the company's operational costs. It's not trying to turn a profit with this service, so it hopes to maintain the same model indefinitely. If you're not happy with Chrome and unlimited free VPN appeals to you, definitely give Opera a try. But if you'd rather stick with Chrome, Betternet is the way to go.

open-source

Fairphone's Google-free open source OS is now available to download

Fairphone's Google-free open source OS is now available to download

This includes trying to find conflict-free minerals for use in their phones' construction, but also the software that lives on these devices. This means users will have to find their own apps for email, maps, and a browser, but in exchange they get more control over their software. For most of us on Android, Google's services are just too integral to give up, and the benefits of an open source mobile OS are a bit niche.

Ads begone! The Google Play Store will now warn you if an app has ads

Ads begone! The Google Play Store will now warn you if an app has ads

In-app ads can be pretty annoying. Sometimes all you want to do is go to the next level of your game  without having to endure another Game of War ad. Starting today though, you only have yourself to blame for downloading an app with ads. Google has made a change to the Play Store that will include a label for apps that contain ads. The label will appear right next to the separate label that says whether or not an app has in-app purchases. Related:  Open-source code leaks indicate arrival of Google Play Store on Chromebooks The new change was first reported by Android Authority. Of course, the change could have a big impact on app developers, many of whom rely on ads to make money from their apps. This is because customers will be more likely to avoid apps with ads if they’re aware of the ads ahead of time, especially when there are non-ad alternatives. Interestingly enough, the change could also affect Google in a negative way — Google makes a ton of its money from ads, some of which reside in apps. It’s nice to see Google putting customers first despite this. Sure, in-app ads can help developers make money, but they’re usually seen by customers as annoying. And depending on how they are implemented, ads can even impact how an app is used, for example by getting in the user’s way in order to try and cause accidental clicks. So the new Google policy is likely to be applauded, and perhaps its biggest advantage is that the new labels will allow users to see which paid apps still have advertisements before they pay for the app. Google has been working on the change for a while now — it began by asking developers in late 2015 to submit a response about whether or not their apps contained ads, and indicated at the time that its goal was to provide more transparency. Google has been separately working to promote higher quality apps in the app store, both by vetting apps manually and by launching app awards for some of the Play Store’s biggest app developers.

Glassouse lets users control a mouse cursor with their eyes — and mouth

Glassouse lets users control a mouse cursor with their eyes — and mouth

A new wearable may soon help people engage with electronics without having to use their hands. Users don the Glassouse like they would a pair of glasses. The device connects to electronics via Bluetooth and responds to head movements to manipulate a cursor around the screen. The mouth piece – which curves in front of the face like a headset microphone – functions as a button. Users can bite or click the button to select items on the screen. The simple looking device was created by Mehmet Nemo, a young electrical engineer who was inspired by his handicapped friend’s difficulty using technology. After positive feedback to the prototype, Nemo and his team decided to launch an Indiegogo campaign to promote their product. The first 100 devices are available at $149 plus $30 shipping – about half the price of the proposed eventual sale price. And people who don’t need a Glassouse but want to contribute to the cause can purchase “non-profit” perks. Through these donations, Nemo and his team hope to maintain an affordable price for their device while giving away one Glassouse for every $70 donated. Related : Brilliant hands-free wheelchair translates body motions into directional input At just 1.6 ounces, the Glassouse is remarkably light and can apparently work for fifteen hours off a single charge. It’s currently compatible with Apple computers and most Android, Windows, and Linux devices, including TVs. Recognizing the wear and tear that the mouthpiece would experience, Nemo and his team subjected the button to 50,000 “clicks” and imply it was still operational. Related Offer: Want hands free mouse navigation? Check out the SmartNav 4 here The Glassouse is one of many assistive technology devices available for people with disabilities. For example, SmartNav is a popular device that attaches to the top of a computer monitor or laptop screen and uses an infrared camera to track head movements. These head movements allow for hands-free control of a cursor. However, SmartNav users still need to engage with keyboard hotkeys to select options on the screen. That’s where the Glassouse bite and click button really stands out.

How Hyperconnected Cities Are Taking Over the World

How Hyperconnected Cities Are Taking Over the World

In the medieval period, empires battled and colluded with each other in the quest for land. The resulting system, in which nations became the main actors on the global stage, is perhaps the one most of us know best. But it’s changing.

Hands on: HP Chromebook 13

Hands on: HP Chromebook 13

Chromebooks are known for their affordability and lightweight, cloud-based operating system, Chrome OS. Because most Chromebooks were made of plastic and not exactly sexy, Google wanted to prove that it could build a high-end Chromebook. The result was the gorgeous, all-metal Pixel, but seeing as it costs nearly $1,000 (and more than that, when it first debuted), the Pixel didn’t sell to many would-be buyers. Now, Google has turned to HP to build a Chromebook that offers a top-of-the-line feel, but at a much lower cost. HP.com Offer: Save 25% off select configurable laptops $999 or more at HP.com We had a chance to check out the new HP Chromebook 13 at an event in New York and test out its powers. Here are all the specs you need to know and our initial hands-on impressions. Gorgeous design and lots of power The business-targeted HP Chromebook 13 was designed in collaboration with Google,and it is beautiful. It has an all-metal build, with a anodized brushed aluminum texture. The hinge is shiny to add contrast, as is the HP logo in the center of the device, and there’s light chrome beveling around the trackpad. When you flip the device over, you’ll see a black grippy surface that ensures your shiny new Chromebook won’t go slipping out of your grip. Related:  Open-source code leaks indicate arrival of Google Play Store on Chromebooks It’s quite thin at 0.50 inches, which is even thinner than Apple’s 0.65-inch thick MacBook Air. It also beats out the 2.96-pound MacBook Air in weight, coming in at 2.86 pounds. The Chromebook is absolutely stunning to behold, and it feels super light. It looks quite a bit like a MacBook, which is hardly a bad thing. It’s one of the nicest Chromebooks we’ve ever seen. As the name suggests, the Chromebook has a 13.3-inch IPS display. The model we looked offered a resolution of  3,200 x 1,800 pixels, which is excellent, but is models have a more mundane 1080p screen. Both look remarkably sharp and crisp, with rich colors. You can even get a matte finish on the display if glare is a problem. You’ll get several options on what you want powering the Chromebook, ranging up to Intel’s 6th generation Core M7 processor, paired with 16GB of RAM. HP says this is the first Chromebook to use Intel’s 6th generation Core M7 processor. In our brief hands-on time, the device felt super speedy and quick. Google showed us a demo of the Chromebook running Skype, Excel, Powerpoint, Evernote, Chrome, and a handful of other programs at the same time, while powering two HD displays via HP’s Elite USB-C Docking Station, which offers 3 additional USB ports. You could also power one 4K display with it if you so chose.  The programs ran without a hitch during our demo, which was pretty impressive for a Chromebook. Attention to details The Chromebook 13 doesn’t skimp on battery life. HP claims the laptop will last a whopping 11.5 hours, and thanks to a USB-Type C port, it won’t take as long to charge. We couldn’t verify HP’s numbers during our short time with the device, of course. Manufacturers usually over-estimate, so we think battery life of seven to eight hours is more likely in typical use. Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends Unfortunately, if you’re using the Quad HD display variant, your webcam will feel lackluster, as the Chromebook 13 is outfitted with a 720p one. The audio, on the other hand, is powered by Bang & Olufsen Play. The B&O branding adds some flash to the device’s design, and it ups the audio quality for listening to audio or holding a video conference. Chrome OS is better than ever Of course, the Chromebook 13 is running Chrome OS, which is built around Google’s Chrome browser. You’re limited to cloud-based apps like Gmail, but Google has been increasing the amount of offline features available. Thanks to the Chrome Web Store, you’ll also get access to apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Microsoft Office. Google’s spent a lot of time working on great apps for its Chromebooks, and you can run many Android apps on it, too. We saw the Android version of Evernote running during our demo. Related:  Chromebook for Work, liquid-cooled 2-in-1 steal the show at Acer’s New York PC refresh For businesses, Citrix has also announced a new version of Receiver for Chrome. The service lets users remotely use apps from other platforms, but the 2.0 version of Receiver now “ensures Windows apps work like native Chrome apps.” There’s also a new connection center and a slicker-looking toolbar. Google demoed the Chromebook running a full version of Excel and Powerpoint at the event. Pricing and availability The HP Chromebook 13 will cost $500 in the U.S. and will launch towards the end of April. Pre-orders start now. You can check the device out on Google’s website here. Highs Beautiful design Excellent hardware options Up to 3,200 x 1,800 display Lows Chrome OS still limiting Webcam is only 720p

7 Things That Will Soon Disappear Forever

7 Things That Will Soon Disappear Forever

Ten years ago, thousands of Blockbuster Video stores occupied buildings like this all over the country, renting DVDs and selling popcorn. Now Blockbuster is a penny stock. Obsolescence isn't always so quick or so complete, but emerging technologies and changing practices are sounding the death knell for other familiar items.

Elon Musk's non-profit wants AIs to compete for Atari high scores

Elon Musk's non-profit wants AIs to compete for Atari high scores

Today, Elon Musk and Sam Altman's OpenAI non-profit published its first batch of open-source code, aimed at making AI programs smarter, more diverse, and less murderous. Called "OpenAI Gym," the new code consists of a series of "environments" designed to test and improve various machine learning systems. Most of those environments are standard tasks like completing algorithms, managing physics simulators, or playing Go against a fixed opponent.

2016 HTC Nexus news and rumors

2016 HTC Nexus news and rumors

Last year, Google chose LG and Huawei to make the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, moving away from only having one new Nexus phone in the range. This year, it may repeat the same strategy, but HTC might be in charge of the entire production. Here’s what we think we know about the 2016 Nexus smartphones. Nexus c ode names New code names have been leaked for the two alleged Nexus devices HTC is rumored to build — the M1 and the S1. The names, leaked by Evan Blass, better known as @evleaks, seem to match with HTC’s typical naming strategy. We can’t confirm this information, and it’s still just a leak, so we advise you to take it with a grain of salt. HTC is building a pair of Android N devices for Google internally dubbed M1 and S1 #nexus — Evan Blass (@evleaks) April 27, 2016 Android Police followed up with more information saying that according to their source, M1 and S1 accurately match the code names they received — Marlin and Sailfish.  Google typically uses code names for its Nexus devices based on aquatic life — the 5X was Bullhead, and the 6P was Angler. The use of Marlin and Sailfish gives more credence to reports that HTC is indeed the company behind both of these Nexus devices. Related Offer: Built to inspire envy, see more from HTC here Android Police also pointed to the Android Open Source Project’s Gerrit,  a code review tool, which shows a Qualcomm engineer directly mentioning Marlin. Previously, reliable HTC leaker @LlabTooFeR said the internal code names for the two devices are T50 and T55, which may refer to the rumored 5-inch and 5.5-inch display sizes for the two Nexus devices. HTC has used similar names before. The 5.9-inch HTC One Max was code-named T6, for example. Allegedly related to HTC Nexus devices codenames are:T50T55 — LlabTooFeR (@LlabTooFeR) January 19, 2016 Sadly, that leak doesn’t provide any further information on the two devices. It’s also unknown whether these phones are destined for production, or are simply test devices. Specs There isn’t much known about the two devices’ specifications, but Roland Quandt, WinFuture.de blogger, spotted some benchmark results, which also hinted that one of the devices is a Nexus 6P refresh with 4GB of RAM. You can check out the benchmark results here. We can’t verify if this information is accurate, so be wary. @evleaks @AndroidPolice so is this the “HTC” Nexus 6P “Marlin” with SD820 you’re talking about? https://t.co/2nS5Gj01AZ — Roland Quandt (@rquandt) April 27, 2016 Pressure-sensitive display Apple may have been first to make a big deal over a pressure-sensitive touchscreen, but the tech had already been — and continues to be  — demonstrated on Android devices, though its usefulness has yet to be realized. A rumor found on the Weibo social network says HTC is working with Google to add a pressure-sensitive screen to the next Nexus phones, and that the feature may become standard in Android. Nexus phones herald the arrival of new Android software, so pressure sensitivity may be part of Android N. This would help developers adopt and build apps that utilize the feature. Related:  Set the date! Google I/O runs from May 18-20 in Mountain View, California Is Google definitely going with HTC for its Nexus contract? News that HTC had won the contract to manufacture two Nexus devices for Google came from a 2015 rumor. If it’s correct, it wouldn’t be HTC’s first time in the Nexus program. The company last worked with Google on the Nexus 9 tablet in 2014, and even though it was well-received by reviewers, it failed to reach the same sales figures as previous Nexus tablets. HTC earlier worked on the original Google Nexus One, the first mobile in the Nexus program, launched six years ago. It’s been claimed that Huawei was also in the running for the 2016 Nexus contract, but Google decided to work with HTC instead. This is surprising, considering Huawei’s meteoric rise in the sales charts over the past 12 months, compared to HTC’s downfall over the same time period. The Weibo poster who made these claims is @Mocha RQ, an avid commenter on all mobile rumors in China. This is one of the few times he has posted a rumor on a company outside of China, after apparently receiving the information from contacts in Hong Kong. The post said there could be two devices coming, with smaller 5-inch and 5.5-inch displays, compared to the 5.2-inch and 5.7-inch displays on the Nexus 5X and 6P. Again, like all rumors, we should take this news with a large pinch of salt. There’s a long time before the new Nexus phones will be officially revealed, and we could see drastic alterations to HTC over the coming months, so plenty could change. However, we’ll keep you up to date with any more on HTC’s possible Nexus device plans right here. Updated on 04-27-2016 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added in new codenames for the Nexus devices. Previous updates: Updated on 03-04-2016 by Andy Boxall:  Added in rumors the HTC Nexus phone will have a pressure sensitive display Updated on 01-20-2016 by David Curry:  Added in news of the alleged HTC Nexus codenames.  Also watch: Google brings spatial audio to Cardboard for 360-degree sound Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Rubber ducky, you’re the one … to test self-driving technology at MIT

Rubber ducky, you’re the one … to test self-driving technology at MIT

In order to make self-driving cars viable, the automotive industry has recruited some of the best software developers, hardware engineers, and mobility analysts humanity has to offer. There’s a new community working to push autonomous technology forward, but these researchers aren’t human at all. Buried deep within the halls of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) lies a small suburb called Duckietown, a mock-up municipality used to test and develop driverless technology. Populated entirely by rubber ducks riding on autonomous robo-taxis, Duckietown is the culmination of a graduate-level class that could prove invaluable to automakers in the future. “We believe a tool like this will help create a common platform and language for researchers to build on,” said CSAIL postdoctoral associate Liam Paull, who co-leads the Duckietown course. “We hope this will make it easier for computer scientists to continue to work together to bring autonomous vehicles into the real world.” To bring us closer to the driverless future, 50 “Duckiebots” wander the colorful foam streets of Duckietown, using a single onboard camera to track road markings, monitor their fellow Duckiebots, and even read street signs. It’s not quite the real thing — there are no worn lane markings or inclement weather to deal with — but according to Andrea Censi, an MIT researcher who also leads the class, that isn’t really the goal. “We thought about key problems like integration and co-design,” said Censi. “How do we make sure that systems developed separately will work together? How do we design systems that maximize performance while sharing resources? It’s a delicate balancing act in weighing the relative importance of different infrastructure elements.” Related: Elon Musk is looking into self-driving buses If you’re looking to build a Duckiebot, Doggiebot, or G.I. Joe action-figurebot for yourself, there is good news — the robo-taxi platform and the attached teaching materials are free and open-source. That means someday soon, you could have your very own autonomous community in your basement, albeit a small one. To stay up to date on all the happenings in Duckietown, check out the team’s Facebook page.

The Android rumor mill has decided: HTC will make the next Nexus phones

The Android rumor mill has decided: HTC will make the next Nexus phones

If you've been paying attention to Android rumors for the past month or so, you know that at this point it's a fait accompli that HTC will make two Android Nexus phones this year. It started (as it usually does) with some Chinese sites, was further confirmed (as it usually is) by Evan Blass, and finally today Android Police (which has been on fire with accurate Android leaks for some time now) has weighed in with some codenames and informed speculation. Here's what's most solid: Blass says that two Nexus phones, "internally dubbed M1 and S1," will be made by HTC this year.

Wolfram Research turns your Ubuntu phone into an IoT sensor

Wolfram Research turns your Ubuntu phone into an IoT sensor

Wolfram Research has teamed up with open-source software maker Canonical to bring its data collection services to Ubuntu-powered mobile devices. The new application gives Ubuntu phones the ability to send location, acceleration, rotation, and brightness data directly to Wolfram's cloud-based data repository called Data Drop. It effectively turns any Ubuntu phone into an Internet of Things device, creating data that can be utilized like any other data source in Wolfram's system.

Ubuntu's $70 computing stick could fit nicely behind your TV

Ubuntu's $70 computing stick could fit nicely behind your TV

Want to turn a TV into a Ubuntu computer? The very orange MeLE PCG02U just might be what you’re looking for. This tiny stick computer costs only $70, meaning you can add a desktop to any TV for very little money. It’s the first Ubuntu device from Mele, a Chinese manufacturer that until now has focused on Android and Windows devices. Of course, $70 doesn’t go far, so you can’t expect premium performance. This fanless PC stick features an Intel BayTrail Z3735F processor, which is outdated and not exactly zippy. There’s only 2GB of memory and 32GB of internal storage, so don’t expect to multitask much or store your video collection. Even compared to the Intel Compute Stick, there’s not a lot of power to be found. Related : Intel Compute Stick (Cherry Trail 2016) review But the Compute Stick costs $160 in its cheapest Windows 10 configuration, so that’s not entirely a fair comparison. And there are some features offered by Mele that Intel doesn’t bother with: an external antenna for Wi-Fi 802.11n/g/b connections, and a 10/100 ethernet port for wired connections. Unfortunately, there are other downsides. There’s only one USB port, meaning plugging a separate keyboard and mouse in at once is impossible. Even worse: the USB port is 2.0, not 3.0, so file transfers to external drives will be really slow. Related:  Ditch the desktop and hit the couch with our favorite stick PCs But maybe the weirdest thing here is the choice of operating system. Ubuntu 16.04 just came out last week, and is a long-term support release. Why is this computer shipping with the two-year-old Ubuntu 14.04? Users can easily upgrade, sure, but it seems like an oversight given the timing. Overall, the Mele isn’t a powerhouse, but at $70, it doesn’t need to be. We’re sure many Linux users will be excited to see more devices shipping with their OS of choice, and a few other potential buyers might want something they can quickly install media center software on. For those people, this could be an interesting little buy.

Before you resort to MS Paint or piracy, give these free image-editing tools a shot

Before you resort to MS Paint or piracy, give these free image-editing tools a shot

There’s no argument about it — Adobe Photoshop remains, hands down, the best photo-editing software on the market. But unless you’ve undergone formal training, Photoshop proves a difficult program to master, and is expensive to use. Related: Adobe brings new Lightroom features to Android in version 2.0 For the home user, Photoshop isn’t necessary for basic and semi-advanced tasks, such as resizing, cropping, and exposure correction. Downloadable photo editing tools have advanced way past MS Paint, and you really can do almost anything you could do in Photoshop–and sometimes more. The best part? Many of them are completely free. Desktop options GIMP Often heralded as the best free alternative to Photoshop, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open-source application that relies on a community of volunteer developers who maintain and improve the product. Available for Mac and PC, you get a lot of professional-level editing and retouching tools – perfect for designers who can’t or won’t shell out hundreds of dollars to Adobe. Once you launch the program, you’ll find a dedicated window that displays the image, and separate windows to organize the toolbox and layers.When using a large display, or two displays, you have a nice, big workspace to play with your images. Icons in the toolbox represent actions such as the crop, lasso, paint and brush tools, and you can apply various effects to your photos. It may seem like Photoshop, but GIMP has its own look and feel. Download it now for: Windows Mac OS X Linux PhotoScape Besides image editing, PhotoScape also lets you create slideshows and animated GIFs, capture screenshots, and combine and split images. You can customize your toolbar, so you can organize the features you use most, and then revert to the default toolbar when you want to dig deeper into the software’s offerings. Free comes with a price, however. PhotoScape software is free to download. But it’s part of the Open Candy network, and runs ads for other “recommended” software. This is isolated to PhotoScape, and won’t infiltrate the rest of your computer with adware, but worth noting. Download it now for: Windows Mac OS X The Nik Collection The Nik Collection is a full image-editing suite offered by Google… and it’s now totally free. This is one of the most powerful and complete online photo tools at the moment, and Google providing it all for free was pretty big news. The Collection includes seven total plugins, each with a different focus. Analog Efex Pro focuses on effects that produce vintage looks or make digital photos appear more natural, while Color Efex Pro provides a ton of filters. Silver Efex Pro, on the other hand, is tailored for black-and-white images, while Viveza allows you to alter specific colors in the photo without using filters. Sharpener Pro allows you to improve clarity and Dfine gives you noise reduction capabilities, and so on. This allows you to either download whatever tool you need at the time, or download them all and use them interchangeably. The tools may take a little time to learn, but by separating out the different functions, the software makes it easier for people to pick and choose what they need in any given moment. Related:  Google’s advanced desktop photo editing software are now free downloads The only downside here is that the Nik Collection is basically one-and-done. It doesn’t look like Google will be offering patches or updates to these tools, so they may not have much longevity. Get them while they still work! Download it now for: Windows Mac OS X Paint.NET This is a case where the apprentice becomes the master. Paint.NET was originally developed as an college undergraduate senior design project mentored by Microsoft and it continues to be maintained by alumni of the program. It was originally developed as a free replacement for Microsoft Paint, which comes as part of Windows. Paint.NET has surpassed Microsoft Paint in functionality and has some advanced features. Paint.NET features an intuitive user interface that supports layers, an “unlimited undo” to back out of any mistake no matter how disastrous, various special effects, and other tools. Where Microsoft Paint was able to do little more than resize images, Paint.NET is able to handle more advanced photo editing that you’d expect from Photoshop and other paid programs.  Download it now for: Windows Serif PhotoPlus Starter Edition Serif created Photo Plus Starter Edition as a free version of its paid software suite to give users elementary tools for editing photos. The software has the basics covered, with tools that let you re-size, apply filters and effects, and reduce red eye, among other functions. Because it lacks certain features of the paid version — the goal is to entice enough that you’ll upgrade — it will only get you so far in your photo editing. It does however, provide tools in an easy-to-use format that allows you to polish photos for your albums. Take note of Cutout Studio, in particular, which is a toolset designed to help create collages and similar scrapbook-style products. Download it now for: Windows Online alternatives Don’t want to download and install software on your computer? If you have a reliable connection, here are a few Web-based programs that will never see the spinning the disc of your hard drive. Pixlr.com Pixlr.com has a tiered offering that is entirely free. The site separates its photo editing into Pixlr Editor (advanced) and Pixlr Express (efficient). The site also offers a mobile suite so you can edit photos on a smartphone or tablet – both iOS and Android versions are available.  The Pixlr Editor is more like Photoshop: It’s a straightforward photo-editing tool that lets you crop, size, and tweak the image. It has a red eye tool that eliminates those devil eyes that appear when the flash goes off. Express, on the other hand, lets you put creative overlays on your images – this is really for playing with your photos. You can put a stain on a picture to make it look like you rested a coffee mug on the photo, for example. Note that Pixlr straddles the line between Web-based and desktop image editors: There are both mobile and desktop versions of the software that you can download. However, it’s usually easier to just pop open a browser tab and load up the online version. Try it now, courtesy of: Pixlr Sumopaint Sumopaint is one of those “Photoshop lite” image editors that has sprung up in recent years – but it stands out by being truly good at what it does. This web-based software (there’s a download option as well) has a layout very familiar for Adobe users, a tool set that’s easy enough to understand and use, and a minimalistic feel that concentrates on getting the job done. This option is better suited to more serious photographers who don’t want to give up any editing options…but also don’t want to pay for their editing software. Try it now, courtesy of: Sumopaint iPiccy If you use Microsoft Paint rather than Photoshop, iPiccy might be for you. The site lets you edit photos with an automated process. Rather than using wands and tools to actively edit photos, the effects are applied to the whole photo in most cases. Click a button to fix images, resize, crop, rotate, flip, change the exposure, and other settings. While iPiccy may sound like a simplified app, there is complexity in its wide offering of editing options. Many settings have a slide rule that let you adjust brightness, contrast, and other functions. The one complaint might be that there is no undo button. What we would like to see is a reset-to-zero button on the slide rule, because it’s difficult to get the bar back to the beginning if you decide you want to return to the starting point. Several tools including a blemish and wrinkle remover help clean up photos. Then you can do a few cosmetic fixes like apply a sun tan, blush, or mascara. Try it now, courtesy of: iPiccy PicMonkey PicMonkey is a favorite editing tool for amateur photographers who want to quickly edit their images and turn them into mini-masterpieces. There are four primary tools in the PicMonkey holster: Editing, Touch Up, Design, and Collage. Editing probably provides the most functionality, allowing you to apply effects, advanced filters, spot correction, and so on. However, Touch Up is also a popular choice for selfies, profile pics, event photos, and so on. As you can see, this suite is designed more for the average person, or those who want the best picture possible for social media or sharing and aren’t afraid to work on it with more advanced tools. There are ads in the free version, though, so get ready to ignore them. Try it now, courtesy of: PicMonkey This article was originally published on April 16, 2015, and updated on April 27, 2016, by Tyler Locoma to include the Nik Collection, PicMonkey, and other offerings.

3DR Solo Drone review

3DR Solo Drone review

Drones have made aerial photography and videography more accessible than ever before, but getting professional-looking shots is still fairly tricky. Unless you’ve had years of practice, it’s pretty difficult to fly a drone and control a camera at the same time. That’s where the Solo comes in. 3DRobotics designed this $800 bird specifically for shooting aerial video, and equipped it with a range of autonomous flight modes that make it easier to capture those smooth, sexy, professional-looking cinematic shots. We took it for a spin to find out if it can compete with DJI’s Phantom 4 as the beginner’s drone of choice. Features This drone has a lot going on under the hood, so let’s start with what sets it apart from other drones on the market. For starters, the Solo is the only drone on the market right now that boasts not one, but two dedicated 1GHz Cortex-A9 Linux computers. There’s one in the controller, and one onboard the drone itself that handles all high-level flight scripting, freeing Solo’s Pixhawk 2 autopilot to focus solely on keeping the copter in the air. This configuration makes the drone incredibly reliable, as there’s a much lower chance of a firmware freeze. Second of all, you won’t find a camera on this drone. You’ll need to bring your own GoPro to the party, and it’s only compatible with Hero models 3, 3+ and 4. Obviously, the downside of this is that if you don’t already own a GoPro, you’ll need to drop an extra $400 or $500 before you can film anything from the air. The upside? You’re not married to the same camera forever, and can upgrade to a nicer model when better tech becomes available. And if you’ve already got a GoPro handy, you’re golden. 3DR didn’t just bolt a GoPro mount on the bottom of the drone and call it good — the company actually worked with GoPro to build a custom drone integration. Once your camera is plugged in, you can control all its settings during flight, right from the 3DR controller. The two might be sold separately, but they work together like a team. Third, this drone can fly like a bat out of hell. 3DR doesn’t boast about it very much, but Solo can hit over 55 MPH if you take the training wheels off. That’s 10 MPH faster that DJI’s new Phantom 4, and it’ll go even faster with a good tailwind behind it. If you need a drone that can keep up with a car, motorcycle, snowboard, mountain bike, or anything else that moves fast, Solo would be a fantastic choice. Solo’s autonomous flight modes, which include Selfie, Cable Cam, Orbit, and Follow, are designed to make it easier to get professional-looking aerial video. The drone handles all the flight, which allows you to focus solely on capturing a great shot. Cable Cam mode, for example, allows you to choose two different points for the drone to fly between, like it’s zipping down an invisible cable. Along the way, you have full manual control over where the camera is pointing. There’s also Orbit Mode, which tells the drone to fly in a wide circle around the point of your choosing; Follow Me, which is self-explanatory; and even a Selfie mode, in which the drone will focus the camera on you, then fly up and back to create a dramatic reveal shot. Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Bill Roberson/Digital Trends That’s not all. In addition to these autonomous flight modes, Solo also has a number of flight modes that provide advanced pilots with full (or only slightly assisted) manual control over the drone’s flight. We’ll spare you the gory details on all that — all you really need to know is that Solo basically offers a full spectrum of flight options. It’s got everything from fully unrestricted manual control, all the way up to totally autonomous, push-of-a-button flight — and everything in between. Oh, and if you’re worried about crashing and ruining your GoPro, don’t be. If the 3DR Solo crashes at any time, and it’s the fault of the drone itself (mechanical failure, not pilot error), 3DR will replace the drone for free, and give you a voucher to get a brand new GoPro (if you had one attached, that is). All flight data is recorded in Solo’s onboard black box, so any malfunctions will be automatically logged for proof. Build quality and durability The Solo is one of the most well-built drones we’ve encountered thus far. The arms are very strong, the props are made from glass-reinforced nylon, and the legs are rigid with just a little bit of give to help them rebound from hard landings. They also jut out in such a way that they protect the gimbal (and your GoPro) from taking the brunt of the impact during a crash. We know for a fact that this drone take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. Why? Because we inadvertently crashed it into trees on more than one occasion, and in every instance, the quad took it like a champ. During the first incident (an encounter with two burly deciduous trees in Portland’s beautiful Waterfront Park), the drone broke all four props, but sustained no other damage after tumbling roughly 40 feet to the ground. On the second occasion (this time involving a surly coniferous monster), the Solo bashed through a couple branches, did some pruning, and even did a couple flips — but somehow managed to right itself and regain its hovering abilities just a few feet before the ground. This time, the props weren’t even chipped, and the same rotors served us for the remainder of our review. After these unintentionally brutal tests, it’s abundantly clear that the Solo is a tough little toy. Battery life, range, and charge time As for the battery, 3DR equipped this badboy with a rechargeable 5,200 mAh 14.8Vdc lithium ion battery, which allegedly gives it 25 minutes of flight time without the camera, and about 20 minutes with it. In our tests, we found that this 20-minute estimate is actually a bit modest if you don’t fly the drone very hard. We managed to keep our fully-loaded Solo in the air for nearly 22 minutes while keeping it at just a plain ‘ol hover, but when you fly with a bit more gusto, you can expect to get anywhere from 15 to 18 minutes of flight time. After that, it takes roughly 1 hour and 35 minutes to recharge each battery — so we highly recommend buying a few of them if you plan to use Solo for any kind of serious videography. Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Bill Roberson/Digital Trends As for range, Solo has a max distance of about a half mile. That’s definitely not huge (less than half of what the Phantom 4 can do), but it was more than enough for our needs. The drone becomes difficult to see after about a quarter mile, but the live 720p HD video feed will stay intact on the controller for double that distance if you’re flying out in the open. If you don’t have line of sight, however, the feed gets choppy and cuts out much sooner. The good news is that if you ever lose contact, the drone will automatically fly back to its home position, and you’ll regain control as soon as it comes back within range. Piloting, control, and autonomy When it comes to flying, Solo boasts one of the easiest, most straightforward piloting experiences we’ve ever encountered. There are two reasons for this. First, the controller was built from the ground up to look, feel, and operate more like a video game controller, which makes piloting feel very familiar and intuitive for users that are new to hobby aircraft. Second, the drone’s numerous autonomous flight modes allow you to perform maneuvers that would otherwise take lots of practice and skill. Let’s start with the controller. Unlike traditional controllers that feature a dizzying array of buttons, knobs, and switches; Solo is stripped down to the bare essentials. There are two joysticks for controlling roll, pitch, yaw, and acceleration; a “Fly” button for automated takeoff and landing; a “Return to Home” button; a small screen for battery and telemetry data, and a knob for controlling the camera angle. There are also two customizable buttons that can be used to activate Autonomous Flight modes like Cable Cam or Orbit, and my personal favorite: the pause button, which acts like an air brake and will stop the drone dead in its tracks. All the other settings and controls (including GoPro settings) are handled inside the accompanying mobile app, which keeps the main controller interface very uncluttered and easy to navigate. The only downside? You can only fly if you’re connected to a smartphone or tablet, which is yet another thing that you have to worry about keeping charged up. The fact that you typically need to keep the screen on full brightness only exacerbates the problem. A couple of our flying expeditions were cut short due to a rapidly-drained smartphone battery, but so long as you’ve got everything charged up and running smoothly, the Solo is a breeze to fly. Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Cable Cam, Selfie, and Follow mode were all pretty simple to get the hang of, but we honestly had a little bit of trouble getting used to Orbit, and we nearly crashed Solo a handful of times because of it. On more than one occasion, we set the radius too wide (and the altitude too low), causing the drone to unwittingly fly into a grove of nearby trees. Obviously this was a perfect example of pilot error — but even though these incidents were completely our fault and totally preventable, we still found ourselves wishing that Solo had some sense-and-avoid technology baked in, like the DJI Phantom 4 or Yuneec Typhoon H do. That’s really the only piece of the puzzle that’s missing here. Camera, accessories, and upgradability As mentioned before, you’ll have to bring your own camera to the party on this drone — but 3DR doesn’t totally leave you out to dry. Solo comes with a range of different attachments for your GoPro — including a fixed mount that’s compatible with any GoPro case, a vibration dampener attachment, and if you shell out an extra $299, a three-axis gimbal for stabilization. Related: Hands on: DJI Phantom 4 For the time being, that’s all you can get — but 3DR allegedly has a lot more in the pipeline. An open SDK allows third-party developers to design custom apps and integrations for the drone. And it’s not just open to new software either — Solo is also equipped with an open accessory bay, which allows users to attach aftermarket hardware onto the drone as well. To be fair, there aren’t really any software or hardware upgrades available right now (unless you build one yourself), but even so, the Solo scores high marks for upgradability. This is arguably one of the most “future proof” drones on the market right now, which gives it a huge leg up on the competition. Conclusion While it’s definitely not perfect, the Solo’s positives far outweigh its negatives. The drone itself is very well-built and reliable during flight, the learning curve for piloting is fairly mild, and the craft is designed to accommodate a wide range of upgrades. The GPS connectivity and maximum range could be better, but these issues aren’t really a huge hindrance to usability, and 3DR’s fantastic autonomous flight modes make you forget about them in hurry. The DT Accessory Pack 3DR Backpack for Solo $132.57 3DR Solo Smart Battery $137 3DR Solo Propeller Set $15 Simply put, this is a drone for everybody. Beginner pilots will appreciate the simple controller layout and mild learning curve, whereas more skilled users will be able to execute more technical maneuvers with Solo’s numerous advanced piloting modes. And of course, for those simply looking to capture stunning aerial footage, 3DR’s fantastic autonomous flight modes make shooting video a snap. No matter who you are or the reasons you might want a drone, Solo should definitely be on your list of contenders. Whether or not Solo is the right choice for you will ultimately depend on whether or not you already own a GoPro. If you do, this is a no-brainer — for just $1,000, you can get your hands on one of the most capable, durable, and future-proof drones on the market. But if you don’t have a GoPro, the decision becomes a bit more complicated. Related: Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K review For $1,400 (that’s $100 less than the cost of Solo and a brand new GoPro) you can get your hands on a Phantom 4 from DJI. For $1,300, you can pre-order the new Yuneec Typhoon H. Both of these drones boast similar autonomous flight modes, have built-in 4K cameras, and come with built-in sense-and-avoid technology. As such, if you don’t already have a GoPro at your disposal, it might be wise to explore these other options.

Asus' Zenbook UX501 is the budget alternative to Apple's MacBook Pro, but is it better?

Asus' Zenbook UX501 is the budget alternative to Apple's MacBook Pro, but is it better?

Premium, 15-inch laptops are the standard for professionals. They’re big enough to handle most workloads and feature large batteries for longevity, yet they’re also small enough to travel with. The 15-inch version of the MacBook Pro is something of a gold standard in this category — even those who work exclusively with Windows or Linux have been known to prefer to use one with Bootcamp. Related: Apple aficionado? Here’s a detailed breakdown of which MacBook you should buy But a new MacBook Pro will cost you around $2,000 in the United States, and better-equipped models are even more expensive. That’s made a sizeable opening for manufacturers to offer more budget-oriented options, ones containing all-metal bodies and high-end components. The Asus Zenbook Pro UX501 is one such machine, with a similar hardware configuration as the MacBook Pro, and a starting price of just $1,500. So which laptop should get your hard-earned cash? That mostly depends upon how much of it you’re willing to part with. If you happen to be comparing these models, we’ll assume that you’re contrasting the $1,500 Asus laptop with the base model MacBook Pro. Zenbook Pro UX501 MacBook Pro (2015)   Dimensions 15.1 x 10.0 x 0.8 (in) 14.13 x 9.73 x 0.71 (in) Weight 5.0 pounds 4.49 pounds Keyboard Full size (with tenkey) backlit keyboard Full size backlit keyboard Processor Intel Core i7-6700HQ  (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz) Core i7 4770HQ RAM 16GB of 2133MHz DDR4 16GB of 1600MHz DDR3 Graphics GeForce GTX960M (2GB) Intel Iris Pro 5200 (optional AMD graphics) Display 15.6-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology 15.4-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology Resolution 3,840 x 2,160 touchscreen 2,880 x 1,800 Storage 512GB SSD 256GB SSD (optional up to 1TB) Networking 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 Ports USB 3.0 (3), USB Type-C/Thunderbolt, SDXC card reader, HDMI USB 3.0 (2), Thunderbolt 2 (2), Mini DisplayPort, SDXC card reader, HDMI Webcam 1.2 megapixels 720p Operating System Windows 10 OS X El Capitan (Bootcamp for Windows support) Battery 96-watt-hour 99.5-watt-hour Price $1,500+ $2,000 Availability Now Now Review 3.5 out of 5 Coming soon Specifications Despite its industry-leading reputation, the latest refresh of the MacBook Pro (mid-2015) left Apple fans with a sour taste in their mouths. The processor options were limited to the Core i7 4000-series, which is two years behind the latest machines on the market. There’s nothing wrong with the 2.2GHz quad-core Core i7-4770HQ in the base model, but its speed and efficiency are well behind the Core i7-6700HQ that powers the Zenbook Pro UX501. Likewise, both machines include 16GB of RAM, considerably more than most laptops, but the Asus model uses faster DDR4 memory with a speed of 2133MHz. The Zenbook Pro uses a 512GB SSD drive, which is generous for its price point. Even on a more expensive machine, the MacBook Pro gets only 256GB in its SSD. The Zenbook Pro’s discrete GeForce GTX 960M graphics card is capable of handling mid-range PC games easily and granting an advantage for professional graphics programs, something that the MacBook Pro’s integrated Iris Pro 5200 chip can’t boast. Users will have to upgrade to the $2,500 model to gain access to AMD graphics. Apple loves to tout the superiority of its high-resolution “Retina” displays, and indeed, without a little poking from Cupertino other manufacturers might still be marketing 720P panels as “HD.” But Asus has met and surpassed the challenge with the Zenbook. The display on the latter machine is slightly larger than the one on the MacBook, and features a full 4K resolution and touchscreen capabilities. The Zenbook Pro also wins a narrow victory in the webcam department, with a 1.2MP camera, versus a 720p version. Related : Benchmarks show new 12-inch MacBook isn’t much more capable than old model Ports on both machines are surprisingly comparable, however, given each has USB 3.0 ports — three on the Zenbook, two on the MacBook — an SD card reader, and HDMI. But whereas the MacBook options for two Thunderbolt 2 ports and a Mini DisplayPort for further external monitor support, the Zenbook Pro has a combined USB Type-C port for access to newer devices and monitors. In short, if you want easy access to a wider variety of monitors, the MacBook is the answer, but for access to the USB-C port, the Zenbook is the right choice. USB-C will likely be available in the next MacBook Pro revision. Although both laptops offer similar battery sizes — 96-watt-hour on the Zenbook Pro, 99.5 on the MacBook Pro — Apple’s offering will likely last a bit longer on a single charge given it lacks a touchscreen and utilizes less powerful hardware. For hardware that outpaces the Apple machine at nearly every turn, the Zenbook Pro easily wins the round. Winner:  Zenbook Pro UX501 Design The MacBook Pro hasn’t received a significant design update in almost four years, since the Retina upgrade dropped dedicated disc drives and Ethernet ports. But it can be argued that an update isn’t necessary when you consider that Apple’s minimalist styling is timeless and undeniably appealing. That’s probably one of the reasons the MacBook Pro remains one of the best-selling laptops on the market. Its design is certainly an inspiration for some of its competitors like the Zenbook Pro, which adopts a similar aluminum unibody. The ASUS machine distinguishes itself with an etched metal lid, but it’s impossible to deny the similarities. The Apple machine is smaller and lighter than the Zenbook Pro, and its longest edge is almost an inch longer than the MacBook Pro. With a screen that’s only 0.2 inches smaller, the MacBook Pro makes a much better use of its space, and it’s also half a pound lighter. But the Zenbook has an ace up its sleeve. Both machines offer full-sized keyboards, but Asus’ model includes a 10-key area that’s better for rapid data entry. Despite its lower resolution and lack of touchscreen capabilities, the MacBook Pro’s display is superior thanks to Apple’s slavish dedication to image quality. The Zenbook Pro’s screen isn’t terrible, but an extremely glossy coating and middling scores for color accuracy, gamma, and contrast means that images and text will generally look better on the MacBook. Apple wins the touchpad fight as well. The large and accurate pad on the MacBook Pro would be superior even without its “Force Touch” pressure sensitivity. The Zenbook Pro’s touchpad has been reported to be slow and register errant clicks from palms. Despite somewhat dated design language, Apple’s machine wins out for both finish and usability. It’s clear why even Windows users like the MacBook Pro. Winner:  MacBook Pro Availability and price The Zenbook Pro UX501 is available in a single model, the $,1500 machine with the top-of-the-line specifications listed above. While we’d prefer the option for a larger hard drive or SSD and perhaps a non-touch display, it’s impossible to deny that Asus offers an admirable machine at a pretty good value. It’s just as impossible to deny that Apple doesn’t. The $2,000, 15-inch entry MacBook Pro uses two-year-old processor architecture, a lower-resolution screen, integrated graphics, a smaller SSD drive, and lacks a USB Type-C port. Users who want faster a processor, a larger SSD, or discrete graphics will have to pay even more… starting with the $2,500 model and going up. Related : The 5 best solid state drives money can buy You pay more for the Mac, obviously. On the other hand, its higher price gives you the opportunity to select hardware more to your liking. The well-configured Zenbook either works for you, if it doesn’t. And if it doesn’t, you don’t have the choice of a different configuration. Both machines come with a standard one-year warranty, but the Asus laptop offers so much more bang for the buck. For high-end hardware on a slim budget, the Zenbook Pro wins by a landslide. It’s also worth noting that running Windows on a MacBook Pro will cost you even more. Winner:  MacBook Pro Conclusion The MacBook Pro’s reputation isn’t unearned: if you ignore part lists and spec sheets, it’s clearly the superior machine here. Between its lighter body, high-quality display, terrific touchpad, and the general fit and finish, this 15-inch machine has usability and quality that are second to none. Apple offers the cream of the crop — at least until you start looking underneath the hood. If high-end specs and value are of more interest to you than general quality, the Zenbook Pro UX501 is hard to ignore. Discreet graphics, a 4K display, a newer processor, and a larger SSD drive give the machine an advantage over the entry-level MacBook, even at the same price. The Zenbook Pro is the easy choice for penny-pinchers. But the Zenbook Pro’s flaws, like its too-glossy screen, bulkier body, and lack of customization, make it harder to recommend. There’s definitely reason to buy the Asus over the Apple, but we think most users will still be happier with Mac. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Fallout 4 mods coming to consoles in June, PC beta out now

Fallout 4 mods coming to consoles in June, PC beta out now

Fallout 4 players on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will be able to build and add mods to their games in the next couple of months, Bethesda Softworks announced Thursday. The developer announced that its open source Creation Kit modding tools and curation system, which will be used to add mods to console save files, will go live on Xbox One in May, and PlayStation 4 in June. The Creation Kit , a version of the same software Bethesda used to make Fallout 4 , will be integrated directly into the game, in the hopes of making it easier to add, remove, and share mods. The tools will allow players to make weapons, environments, and creatures. They will also be able to create quests and write dialogue. Related: Bethesda’s been hard at work on their own tweaks to Fallout 4 . Originally announced when the game was unveiled at E3 2015, Bethesda said in February that its official mod creation tools would be available on PC this month, and that consoles would see mod support shortly after. As Fallout 4  director Todd Howard explained in past interviews, console mods will be more restricted on the PC: Game-breaking bugs will not be allowed on Creation Kit; neither will nudity or any mod with assets made for another game. PC Players can actually access and browse mods on the service during its open beta, which begins today. PC-based vault dwellers can download the beta through the Bethesda launcher, or by selecting it from the betas menu on the Fallout 4 Steam page. Bethesda wrote some more specific instructions on how to find it: Log into Steam Right Click on Fallout 4 in your Library Select Properties Select Betas A drop down menu will appear. Select beta Wait a few minutes and Fallout 4 should update When done, Fallout 4 should appear as Fallout 4 [Beta] in your Library If you run into problem or are looking for more information on how Creation Kit works, Bethesda has made a lot more information about the beta available through its Creation Kit wiki.

Firefox 46 is here, here's the complete list of new features

Firefox 46 is here, here's the complete list of new features

Firefox 46 has officially arrived. This release is focused on security and stability on the desktop side, meaning you’re not really going to find new features for computer users. Mobile users, meanwhile, can read cached sites offline for the first time, and unauthorized add-ons will no longer work on Android. It’s not the most exciting release to be sure, but everyone should still make sure they’re up to date. Head to “About Firefox” on your computer to see what version you’re using, or to your app store on mobile. If there’s an update available, it will download automatically, and all you’ll need to do is restart your browser. Related : Battle of the best browsers: Edge vs. Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Safari vs. Opera vs. IE So what’s in the release? Check out the release notes, but here’s a quick list for desktop users with a little bit of extra context: Improved security for the JavaScrip Just-In-Time compiler. GTK3 integration, something certain Linux users will be very happy about. Correction of the blank spaces that caused problems for the screen reader in Google Docs. Correct rendering for scaled SVGs that use a clip and mask. Security and performance fixes for WebRTC, which powers video conferencing and P2P file sharing in the browser. Support for developers to display dominator trees in memory. Support for documents.elementsFromPoint. Addition of allocation and garbage collection pause profiling to the performance panel. HKDF support for Web Crypto API, improving the encryption Web applications can use to keep users safe. If you’re not excited about any of this, maybe the mobile features will be more interesting: they’re a lot more user-facing. Here’s what’s new in Android: Notifications about tabs opened in the background will now include the URL, making it easier to remember what it was you opened earlier. You’ll be asked about new permissions when you first start Firefox, instead of when you install the app. Cached pages will work when you’re offline, meaning you can load up your Web history while your train goes through a tunnel. Unverified add-ons will no longer install. History and bookmarks now show up in the menu, where they should have been all along. The homescreen was cleaned up a little. Firefox Sync 1.1 is gone; Firefox Accounts are now required for syncing. Support for Android Honeycomb is gone. Related:  Eight months of ads in Firefox are coming to an end Finally, iOS got just a few changes. Better handling of links to third-party apps, like Apple Maps and Twitter. You can now delete the default suggested sites, if you want. Alexa’s top five sites are now the default suggested sites (no more ads!). TouchID support added for the password manager. Danish language support. Overall, it’s an incremental update, but it’s still worth installing. Update now and stay secure. Also watch: Firefox for iOS finally shows up Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Magic happens with the Ubuntu tablet

Magic happens with the Ubuntu tablet

Jack Wallen reviews the bq Aquaris M10 tablet and he's impressed. If you've been on the fence about Ubuntu Touch, this might just assuage those unpleasant feelings.

Hover is a book-shaped selfie drone you just unfold and toss in the air

Hover is a book-shaped selfie drone you just unfold and toss in the air

Drones are popular, but learning to pilot an unwieldy and unpredictable device can be intimidating. If you’re more interested in aerial videos than Top Gun  fantasies, what you want is something that can fly itself, like the Hover, the latest in autonomous flying cameras. The Hover looks nothing like a traditional quadcopter. Roughly the size of a thick book – it even looks like one – the Hover unfolds to reveal the wings – two panels, each containing two propellers in a metal caging. Made with carbon fiber, it’s incredibly lightweight, yet sturdy; in fact, it comes in just under 0.55 pounds (0.53 pounds or 8.5 ounces, to be exact), which exempts it from the Federal Aviation Administration’s registration requirement. When folded, the Hover can be easily stashed in a backpack or in the provided carrying case, and it’s less likely to draw attention like most quadcopters would. But unlike most drone cameras, the Hover isn’t designed for faraway travel (there’s no GPS or any sort of built-in tracking sensor) or high-altitude aerial videography. As its name would suggest, the Hover is meant to be your own personal selfie cameraman. Using face-detection and other computer vision technologies, as well as sonar and a ground-facing camera, the Hover effortlessly maintains flight and follows the user at a safe distance. Because the propellers are in a metal housing, you can grab it with your hand or push it around while it’s in flight. You can throw the Hover for takeoff, and initiate a safe landing. Even if it crashes to the ground, the carbon-fiber construction provides strength against impacts. If a propeller is damaged, it’s easily replaceable. Related: Aerotain’s blimp-inspired Skye drone won’t injure people if it crash lands As a camera, the Hover is built around a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset with a camera that’s capable of shooting 13-megapixel photos and 4K video at 30 frames-per-second. In addition to a single-axis gimbal, the Hover uses electronic image stabilization to keep image quality steady. But the Hover needs the processing power because of the complex algorithms required to keep the Hover afloat (since it doesn’t rely on human controls), and to accurately track faces, bodies, and surroundings; it uses Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, or SLAM, to perceive and map an unknown environment, which is used in other unmanned vehicles. It doesn’t require any learning or training – Hover will go to work when it’s turned on. Hover is the launch product of Zero Zero Robotics, a firm based in Beijing, China, with an office in San Francisco. The company, which raised $25 million in private funding, had been working in secrecy since it was founded in 2014, by two Stanford engineering grads. One of the founders, M.Q. Wang, who demoed the Hover for us, said the eight-person company wanted to wait until the Hover was nearly complete before revealing it. Zero Zero had wanted to announce the product last year, but development issues pushed things back. The product, Wang said, had to meet three things: It had to be portable, safe, and, user friendly. The Hover seems simple, but to make it do what it does, Wang said it couldn’t rely on open-source software. The company developed all of its proprietary technologies, from face detection to flight-control algorithms. The unique design also required the algorithms to be tuned up to a higher level, in order to make it fly. When Hover is in motion, it’s using all four cores of the CPU and the GPU at 100 percent, which created a thermal issue. To compensate, the team developed a way to funnel the air generated by the propellers, back to the central unit. It’s so complex that “Qualcomm was surprised by what we managed to achieve with the Snapdragon 801,” Wang said. (The startup is currently doing R&D work with the Snapdragon 820, which would add obstacle avoidance to the features). Wang confidently claimed the Hover has some of the best computer-vision technologies in a drone. There’s still work to be done, however, which is why there isn’t an availability date (it will list for $600; not exactly cheap). But Wang said the hardware is essentially complete, and the company is now fine-tuning the software, like lowering the RPM of the propellers so that it isn’t so loud (it is really noisy). With over-the-air upgrades, Wang said the Hover will continue to get smarter. One limitation is battery life: The Hover will stay active for only 8 minutes, but Zero Zero plans to supply four batteries with the unit. Wang says it’s a physics issue that’s associated with lithium-ion. As is, we thought the Hover’s face detection and tracking capabilities were effective during the demo. As the camera naturally followed us around, we realized it was the one of the better examples of computer vision-based drones we’ve seen. With minimal controls from Wang’s iPhone 6, he pushed a 360-panorama button and the Hover automatically flew around us to shoot a video. Wang threw the Hover into the air and it quickly stabilized itself in-flight, and safely landed itself when the kill switch was pressed. The Hover is extremely light, yet super-rigid when we tried pushing down on the metal. The Hover is a fun action camera for recording videos of you in front of the lens, or group activities like parties, weddings, festivals, etc. It’s not cumbersome like, say, the Lily, an autonomous flying camera that’s larger and heavier, and it’s easy to control. Compared to an aerial camera drone like the DJI Phantom 4 or 3DR Solo, the Hover’s capabilities are a bit more limited. But the Hover is designed to be personal, and from what we’ve seen, it’s one of the few that seems to have gotten it right. Related: Australia Post is set to test mail delivery by quadcopters There remain questions that need answering, like how well would it perform when there are lots of people in the frame, and how sharp the video looks. But the computer vision tech is impressive, and the Hover is a promising twist on a familiar concept that we can’t wait to see in action.

The ‘Year of the Linux desktop’ never came, and it never will

The ‘Year of the Linux desktop’ never came, and it never will

Every culture has its myths and prophecies. For Linux users, it was “The Year Of The Linux Desktop.” The idea: someday in the future, likely soon, everyone is going to notice how great Linux is and just switch over, en masse. After all, the thinking went, why would people keep using expensive operating systems like Windows, when Linux is free? Why would OEMs keep paying Microsoft, when the community can hook them up? Why would users put up with Windows, when Linux is clearly superior? The community just needed to spread the good news, and install Linux on the computers of our friends and family. They’d see the light, and the revolution would begin. Related : Here’s the best Linux distributions you can install right now Like most myths, this idea was built on a combination of truths, half-truths, and confirmation bias. And like most prophecies, it hasn’t come true. While Linux inspires the kind of loyalty other brands would kill for, companies that once released Linux versions are now concluding it’s not worth maintaining them. The year of the Linux desktop never came. Developers bailed. And some apps are starting to break for lack of maintenance. Spotify for Linux is no longer actively maintained Spotify has become the dominant force in music. Investment money keeps flooding in, and an IPO is near. But according to OMG Ubuntu, none of that funding is going toward the Linux Spotify client “Nobody is working on Linux specific features,” a community rep told users in response to a bug. “So even though I have now added this to our internal bug tracker of things to fix, nobody is going through that list.” Spotify is still offering regular updates, a port of the shared code base. But Linux-specific features like the tray icon are gone. There are serious dependency issues. And sometimes the app simply crashes while playing music. No one is actively working to fix any of this. “Most new Linux releases will have no Linux specific changes,” said the company rep. Related : Spotify raises $1 billion ahead of IPO, investors get a screaming deal Users have other options: there’s a web version of the service. But anyone hoping for a Linux client with native features is going to be disappointed. Skype on Linux is rotting from lack of updates Microsoft announced all kinds of new features for Skype last month, including a far-too-long demonstration of a potential pizza bot. Skype, apparently, is the future. Unless you’re a Linux user; then using Skype feels like a trip to the past. The most recent Linux version of the app you can download is labeled as being for “Ubuntu 10.04,” a six-year-old release. And anyone who has used a recent Skype version on Windows will be forgiven if they think this screenshot is from 2009. It’s from today. My colleague Chris Hoffman went through all of the missing features over at PC World, and they’re extensive. Joining ongoing calls frequently does not work. Sending and receiving photos and videos is unsupported. Even worse, if someone on another platform tries to send you a photo or video, there’s no indication it ever happened. You’ll only ever know if you check Skype on another device. If you’re talking with a Windows or Mac user, they might see a note informing them that your Skype client is outdated. Related : Skype now has the smarts to book your trip, order pizza, and more with Cortana The last Skype update for Linux was June 0f 2014. Microsoft hasn’t said whether an update is coming, only that there is no news. Linux users hoping to order pizza from a bot probably shouldn’t wait for Skype, because it’ll take way longer than 30 minutes for this to be fixed. Flash for Linux will soon stop seeing security updates outside of Chrome If you want the latest version of Adobe Flash in Linux, you have to install Google Chrome. Linux users who prefer Firefox, or any other browser, have access only to an ancient plugin from 2011. This isn’t a new development. Adobe announced this way back in 2011, saying version 11.2 of the NPAPI Flash plugin for Linux will be the final version, only receiving security updates. Those patches were only supposed to be offered for five years, which suggests that May 4 2016 is the end of the line. This means that if you’re using Firefox on Linux, the only version of Flash you can install — already ancient — will stop getting even security updates next month. Seeing how common security problems with Flash are, it’s probably a good idea to uninstall the plugin entirely. Related : Adobe kills Flash for mobile Honestly, this is less of a loss than the other applications. The iPhone and iPad never supported Flash, Android’s brief support ended quickly, and much of the web has moved on entirely in favor of HTML5 protocols for media. But considering that Adobe is supporting Flash outside of Chrome on Windows and Mac, this remains disappointing. Steam is still supported, but AAA games remain elusive Gaming on Linux used to be a joke, but that’s changed in the past few years. A good chunk of the credit goes to Valve, and their game store Steam. Valve takes Linux seriously. Worried that the Microsofts and Apples of the world will someday lock out third-party software vendors entirely, the company has put considerable effort into developing SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system. A few SteamOS devices have already come to market, but the reaction has been mixed at best. But consumers aren’t sure what to make of them. Steam Boxes are not quite as simple as a console, but also not quite as customizable as a full-fledged gaming PC. For this and other reasons, Steam’s efforts have not brought a massive flood of AAA games to Linux. Browse Steam’s list of Linux-compatable games and you’ll mostly see indie titles, with just a few AAA titles ported to Linux — only after they found success on Windows. There’s no incentive for this to change. According to Steam’s own hardware survey, less than one percent of Steam users are on Linux, and usage share has been on a steady downward trend over the last year. Why put developer effort into a small platform? Related : Facebook’s head of security wants an ‘end-of-life’ date for Flash Unlike the other apps listed here, Valve hasn’t abandoned Linux, and is actively promoting their Steam Machines. And certainly there are more great games available now than ever before, something longtime Linux users can be happy about right now. But for the average Windows Steam user, switching to Linux, means leaving a lot of games behind. Linux will grow, but not on the desktop For over two decades a geographically scattered combination of volunteers, for-profit companies, and nonprofits have built and maintained an ecosystem used by millions. The Linux desktop was, and is, an impressive feat. It’s a great hobby for curious users, and a great tool for power users. But “the year of the Linux desktop” is mostly an in-joke at this point, even among Linux diehards. Beyond the desktop ecosystem, Linux is thriving. Thanks to Android and ChromeOS, the Linux kernel is in more consumer hands than ever before. Millions of Linux servers power the web, and the Internet of Things trend means the Linux kernel is destined to spread to fridges, washing machines, and literal windows. That’s probably little comfort to true believers, who still wish their OS of choice would replace Windows on PCs sold in stores. That’s not going to happen. But prophecies rarely come true exactly how they’re supposed to, and myths that last need to evolve in order to stay relevant. Related : Why Valve’s Steam Machines are in big trouble right now If desktop Linux is going to be relevant, it needs a radical re-imagining. The old strategy of trying to replace Windows clearly isn’t working, and developers are noticing. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

MakerBot will no longer make its own 3D printers

MakerBot will no longer make its own 3D printers

MakerBot has announced that it will no longer manufacture its own hardware. As a result, the company will shut down its manufacturing operations in the Industry City complex in Brooklyn, NY, and will part ways with an undisclosed number of staffers. MakerBot's headquarters and its other teams — namely design, engineering, logistics, and repairs — will remain in Brooklyn.

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Sony sends 17.7m PlayStation 4s to retail in a year

Sony sends 17.7m PlayStation 4s to retail in a year

Sony's latest financial briefing has offered an insight into the PlayStation 4's strength, as the company said it had shipped 17.7 million consoles over the 12 month period ending March 31, 2016. The number puts the total amount of PlayStation 4 shipments at 40 million. Japanese entertainment giant Sony had previously disclosed total sales at the end of 2015, with these shipment figures providing an additional but more approximate yardstick by which to measure the games machine's popularity.

Explore your home city like it's a Nintendo game

Explore your home city like it's a Nintendo game

Who needs super accurate Google Maps or perfectly handy physical maps when you can have Nintendo? A new interactive map designed by Brett Camper allows you to explore the city of San Francisco as if it's a Nintendo game. Zoom in and see your favorite neighborhoods and landmarks in perfectly pixelated form. Enjoy nostalgic Nintendo iconography without pesky unidentified mushrooms getting in your way. SEE ALSO: What could Nintendo do with its suddenly empty 2016? Tour your home neighborhood in glorious 8-bit style. San Francisco is the latest in Camper's Nintendo-inspired maps. Non-Bay area residents can also enjoy Camper's models of New York, Washington D.C., London, Kyoto, Seattle, and others. "The 8-Bit Cities project, which started with 8-Bit NYC, is an attempt to to make the city feel foreign yet familiar, smashing together two culturally common models of space: the lo-fi overhead world maps of 1980s role playing and adventure games, and the geographically accurate data that drives today's web maps and GPS navigation," Camper writes on his website.  It's nostalgic, it's imaginative, and strangest of all: it's accurate. WTF. Check out more of Camper's awesome maps here on his website. 

New report sheds light on Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One hardware updates

Following countless rumors of an upgraded Xbox One console set to be introduced later this year, a new report from Thurrott is the latest to lend credence to the idea. According to the report, inside sources say that Microsoft will bring both a new Xbox One console and a new standard controller to E3 2016 in June. DON'T MISS:  Next ‘Call of Duty’ game gets revealed next week – here’s what we know so far This is the first we're hearing about a new controller, but Thurrott's Brad Sims says that it will feature a similar design to the current controller, but will be available in a new color. There doesn't seem to be any hard evidence to support this theory, but it wouldn't be surprising to see a default white controller added to the lineup. Earlier this month, Sony brought PS4 Remote Play to PC , which took away one of the Xbox One's advantages over the PS4. Thurrott's sources claim that Microsoft is also working to support new interactions between the Xbox One and the PC in order to further differentiate the two consoles from one another. Finally, Sims leaves us with an extraordinarily vague update, saying that the company has "something else up its sleeve that I still don’t have all the details on, but it’s a much bigger deal than an updated standard controller." Could this be the Xbox One.5 that's set to take on Sony's PS4K console ? It's still too early to tell, but don't be surprised if Microsoft introduces a 4K-capable console at E3 this year.

PSN made more revenue than all of Nintendo in most recent financial year

PSN made more revenue than all of Nintendo in most recent financial year

Turns out Nintendo isn’t in as good financial shape as Sony’s PlayStation Network, which outperformed the entire company this past financial year. The PSN made 529.1bn yen, or nearly $4.9 billion U.S., which is notably more than Nintendo’s 504.4bn yen, or roughly $4.66 billion U.S.. This fact came to light thanks to Twitter user ZhugeEX. Sony's PlayStation Network sales hit 529,000m yen which means that PSN generated more revenue than the whole of Nintendo (504,000m yen). — ZhugeEX (@ZhugeEX) April 28, 2016 Related:  Two-factor authentication is finally coming to PlayStation Network While it’s significant that one company’s online storefront made more than the entirety of one of its biggest competitors, it’s none too surprising. Nintendo’s Wii U has been struggling since launch. Even with its bevy of quality titles, consumers haven’t been too attracted to the touchscreen-controlled console. Compare that to Sony, whose PlayStation 4 has sold phenomenally well. According to VGChartz, the PS4 has sold a whopping 39.81 million units in the two-and-a-half years it’s been out. That completely destroys the Wii U’s 12.98 million. With an install base as high as Sony’s, it’s hard to compete. But even then, it probably wasn’t digital sales alone that accounted for Sony’s massive online success. Much of it probably also has to do with its PlayStation Plus subscription service. Once a voluntary program that gave gamers free goodies and discounts, it’s now all but mandatory. With the release of the PS4, Sony made the $50 a year PS+ subscription a requirement to play games online. As for Nintendo, its 3DS is selling well; currently it’s at 59.11 million units sold globally. But with the influx of mobile, a slice of the handheld pie isn’t as big as it used to be. Nintendo recognizes this and is already moving forward by bringing games to mobile and is developing a new console, cod-enamed the NX. It will be launching in March 2017 with a brand new Legend of Zelda game in toe. This means that Nintendo will not be showing off its new system at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, leaving many fans in the dark for the time being. H/T Eurogamer | Photo via Toshiyuki IMAI/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell turns to mobile with Spil Games

Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell turns to mobile with Spil Games

Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell has signed a three-game deal with Dutch developer Spil Games to make his “mobile-first” game debut, the studio announced Wednesday. Bushnell, who had a hand in publishing many of gaming’s early classics, including  Pong , Breakout , and Adventure, will hand over his ideas to Spil, who will bring the games to life, serving as both developer and publisher. Spil will definitely make at least three games with Bushnell, which the studio said will focus on “innovation,” but the deal keeps the door open for a longer partnership. According to Venturebeat, there may be extensions for as many as eight titles. Bushnell said he chose to work with Spil, a large, but relatively unknown company in mobile game development, because they had the “right and unique combination of technical prowess, creative skill sets, and distribution know-how.” “The future of gaming has a very strong mobile component,” Bushnell said in a prepared statement. “It’s where most people play games and it’s where the technology and ideas are developing most quickly.” Related: Halo: Spartan Assault developer goes all in on VR and AR entertainment The Hilversum, Netherlands-based company has made a big push towards pulling together top talent for mobile game development. According to a report from GamesIndustry International, the studio has filled senior positions in publishing and mobile monetization with former staffers from Ubisoft and mobile publisher Bigpoint in the last year. Spil CEO Tung Nguyen-Khac called the opportunity to work with Bushnell “a huge validation” of his company’s work. “The timing of our partnership is perfect,” Tung said. “Spil Games has entered a period of astonishing creativity and innovation when it comes to mobile gaming and working with Nolan, we believe will help us amplify that success.” Bushnell’s first game published by Spil is expected to launch in early 2017. Also watch: Arcade Game- Breakout (1976 Atari).mp4 Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Time-warping FPS Superhot coming to Xbox One in May

Time-warping FPS Superhot coming to Xbox One in May

Time-bending first-person shooter Superhot will make its Xbox One debut on May 3rd, following up on its February launch for the PlayStation 4 and PC platforms via Steam. The Xbox One edition of Superhot was recently the focal point of Team Superhot’s development efforts, and the studio will move on to experimenting within the realm of VR following next week’s release. Related:   Superhot is coming to PC in February, but we’re still waiting to hear about the VR version Superhot is a uniquely themed first-person shooter in which time flows only while the player is in motion. Players can remain stationary in order to freeze time at any point during gameplay, immobilizing enemy attackers and freezing their bullets in mid-air. While time is frozen, players can formulate an alternate plan of attack to catch their pursuers off-guard. Superhot ‘s levels are also filled with environmental objects and weapons that can be chained together for a series of fluid, stylish kills. While Superhot ‘s gameplay encourages careful thought, experienced players can blaze through each of its included levels in record time and show off their best efforts via the replay-sharing site Killstagram. Recorded replays eliminate segments in which players stop time, with cinematic results. In addition to its core single-player campaign, Superhot also includes a survival-based Endless mode and a Challenge mode in which players must rely entirely on hand-to-hand combat. Additional modes and features will roll out as free updates in the coming months. Superhot was initially funded via Kickstarter, where it earned over $250,000 in backer pledges after fans embraced the prototype. After spending more than 30 months in development, the finished product debuted for the PlayStation 4 and PCs in February. Developer Superhot Team recently confirmed that a VR version of Superhot is in the works. Other than vaguely outlining its “grand VR plans,” however, the studio has not revealed details or target platforms for Superhot ‘s upcoming VR debut.

Want to shape the future of PlayStation Vue? Try canceling your subscription

Want to shape the future of PlayStation Vue? Try canceling your subscription

Last month, Sony’s PlayStation Vue Internet TV streaming service finally became available nationwide — something cord-cutters located outside of a handful of major metropolitan areas had been anxiously awaiting since the service’s introduction last year. While the service is now available to all, it’s still got a long way to go, and now it seems we might have an idea as to where it is headed next. PlayStation Vue customers trying to cancel their subscription are presented with a survey asking what might change their mind, and this survey was recently shared on Reddit, and spotted by Exstreamist. Some of the options are commonly seen on exit surveys, but others could point to planned additions to the service. Related:  Playstation Vue goes nationwide with over 50 channels for just $30/month First, customers are asked if lowering the subscription price by $5, $10, or $15 dollars would be enough to change their mind. The service currently starts at either $30 or $40 per month, depending on whether or not the customer is located in an area where local channels are offered. The lower-priced Core Slim package was introduced last month when the service expanded nationwide. The more interesting questions come in the form of whether additional channels would be enough to woo customers. League sports networks like the NFL Network, local sports networks like MSG, and Spanish-language networks are listed as options, while A&E, History Channel, Lifetime, and FYI are presented together as a single option. Interestingly, ABC is also an option, but ABC, ESPN, Disney and more were added to the channel lineup shortly ahead of the nationwide launch. This is no guarantee, but it could point to Sony already being in talks to add the other programming options listed in the survey. Related:  PlayStation Vue cuts the price and amps up the content with ESPN, ABC, and more One factor that the survey doesn’t address could be one of the most important, at least according to several Reddit commenters: availability. PlayStation Vue is available on PS4 and PS3 consoles, Amazon Fire TV devices, ChromeCast, and iOS devices. This leaves out Apple TV users, but also Roku users who already have access to another similar service. During the long period when PlayStation Vue was only available in limited cities, Sling TV offered fewer channels, but at least was able to offer them everywhere, and on more devices, including the Roku. The contractual deals required to offer so many channels on PlayStation Vue may have hamstrung Sony, but if device compatibility remains limited, the service could have a hard time increasing its user base. Also watch: DoBox Wants to Be Your All-In-One Apple Accessory Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Sony swings to $1.4 bn full-year profit as PlayStation sales soar

Sony swings to $1.4 bn full-year profit as PlayStation sales soar

Sony posted a $1.4 billion annual profit Thursday, boosted by strong sales of its PlayStation console, but analysts warned that slowing smartphone demand could hit a lucrative business that makes key parts for mobile devices. The company's full-year profit -- only its second since the 2008 global financial crisis preceded years of eye-watering losses -- may be a sign that things have finally turned around for Sony. Sony, along with rivals Panasonic and Sharp, has struggled in the consumer electronics business that built its global brand, including losing billions of dollars in televisions over the past decade as it was hammered by competition from lower-cost rivals.

Nintendo puts shares in Seattle Mariners up for sale

Nintendo puts shares in Seattle Mariners up for sale

Nintendo said Thursday it has put some of its stake in the Seattle Mariners baseball team up for sale, as the struggling Japanese videogame giant looks to repair its finances. The firm's US unit "has started negotiations to sell a portion of its ownership in First Avenue Entertainment", which operates the Mariners, Nintendo said in a statement. Nintendo's late president Hiroshi Yamauchi bought shares in the team's operator in December 1992 when they were under threat to be relocated from Seattle.

Nintendo plans sale of Mariners' majority stake

Nintendo plans sale of Mariners' majority stake

Nintendo of America plans to sell its controlling stake in the Seattle Mariners to a group of minority owners led by John Stanton, who would become the team's chairman and chief executive officer. Current ...

Here is every rumor we’ve heard about the Nintendo NX

Here is every rumor we’ve heard about the Nintendo NX

Sony and Microsoft have been in an arms race for whose gaming console can squeeze in the most graphical muscle, but for two consoles now Nintendo has taken a more creative approach to its hardware. Unfortunately, the Wii U has struggled to sell. After the breakout success of the Wii, the Wii U has had a tough time competing with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, despite a generous lead time on its release. Even so, Nintendo’s announcement that it would reveal a brand new console in 2016 came as a surprise to many. At this point, we don’t know a lot, for certain. Late Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata revealed the NX’s existence at a March 2015 press conference, alongside the announcement of its mobile game licensing deal with DeNA. Iwata described the project, code-named “NX” as “a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept.” Nintendo confirmed in April 2016 that the NX will launch in March 2017, though it would not appear at the intervening E3. Related:  Mum’s the word: Nintendo won’t talk NX or smartphone games at this year’s E3 That is the sum total of what Nintendo has officially revealed about the project so far. Below are the major rumors and our hopes and educated guess on what the NX will be. March 2017 release According to a recent earnings report, Nintendo will launch the NX console in March 2017. The long-anticipated Zelda game, which was originally slated for 2016, has been pushed back to release alongside the NX in 2017. It will also be available for the Wii U and will feature prominently at E3 2016, according to a tweet from Nintendo of America, much like how  Twilight Princess was delayed to straddle the console generation between the GameCube and the Wii. Despite its impending arrival, however, the NX will not debut at E3, as confirmed by Tokyo tech reporter Takashi Mochizuki. Smash Bros. launch title Other than early rumors of the long-delayed upcoming Zelda game coming to NX, there have been no leaks yet about what games we should expect to launch with the console. According to Kantan Games CEO Serkan Toto, fans may be treated to one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises: Smash Bros. Bandai Namco is currently developing several NX titles. Smash Bros is planned to be a launch title. I am not sure about the date – yet ;). — Dr. Serkan Toto (@serkantoto) January 28, 2016 In a follow-up tweet, Serkan suggested that it would be a new  Smash , and not a port of the current version, but that is not certain. He would not name his source. Serkan has a good track record with Nintendo rumors, breaking the company’s plans to develop mobile games before the official announcement. (via Techno Buffalo) Many consider the prolonged lack of core Nintendo franchises on Wii U to be one of the most important factors in that system’s weak reception, so leading with  Smash  would go a long way to reassuring fans that Nintendo is serious about the NX. Graphics and Streaming A slide from a market research survey gauging interest in Nintendo NX was posted on NeoGAF January 20, 2016, providing some potential insight to the specs and capabilities of the upcoming Nintendo hardware. Reportedly commissioned by British analysis firm GfK, the slide said the console will support “gameplay graphics at 900p/60fps.” If true, this would amount a visual step down from the Wii U, which supports games with 1080p graphics. The specification seems especially odd given that the slide also boasts that the NX will support “4k/60fps video streaming.” The slide also substantiated the rumor that NX will be a combine a base home console and a handheld portable device, referring to “gameplay [that] flows between the Nintendo NX console and Nintendo NX handheld device.” Lastly, the slide said the NX would allow users to surf the web and make video calls. According to Eurogamer, the survey asks users to estimate how much they would pay for a device based on these and other qualifications, such as “exclusive game franchises such as Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and more.” The survey also reportedly asked customers whether or not they would like the console to include a disc drive. While the report confirmed that some users had received and filled out the survey, neither Nintendo nor GfK have verified that the survey was officially commissioned. Scroll wheel shoulder buttons Another interesting patent to emerge, shared on NeoGAF, describes replacing the GamePad’s shoulder buttons with clickable scroll wheels, like on a mouse. That sounds like a great way to maintain the functionality of a current design feature while also adding another dimension of utility. Particularly for games that use a lot of menus, scroll wheels could be a real boon. Thinking more outside the box, two scroll wheels isn’t something we can recall ever seeing before on a gaming platform, which opens up all sorts of new possibilities for unorthodox control schemes. The GamePad is already begging for designers to come up with innovative was to interact with their games, so adding more interesting control functionality to it at no loss seems like a no-brainer. Achievements and sharing unlocked Nintendo has been the odd man out among its peers for not yet including a metagame of achievements or trophies to commemorate gameplay milestones. That may finally change for the NX, as Nintendo has filed a patent (spotted by Nintendo Enthusiast) for achievements and a system for sharing the gameplay that led to them. That would mean, for instance, that if you unlock an achievement after a particularly epic boss fight, you will be able to immediately share it with friends on Miiverse (or whatever social system replaces it). The company’s highly-publicized partnership with mobile developer DeNA implied that we should expect more social and connected features just like this. Return of cartridges A patent filed in February 2015 suggests that Nintendo might be dropping optical drives and returning to cartridges like its consoles used in the 80s and 90s (and its 3DS handhelds still does). Flash storage steadily grows cheaper and more capacious, while disc-based media retain harder limits to how much data they can hold without increasing surface area, making a return to cartridges one logical solution to ballooning game file sizes. Cartridges also have the advantage of being more resilient to scratching. Another, more contentious way to interpret the filing, however, is that Nintendo is dropping physical media entirely and instead shifting to digital downloads. While this makes a certain amount of sense for many people, it risks alienating gamers without consistent access to a strong internet connection. Handheld/Console hybrid Many have speculated that the NX will be a hybrid between a portable, handheld gaming device and a TV-bound console — like a Wii U GamePad that you could take anywhere, or a 3DS with a dock to hook it up to your TV. This rumor goes back to a January 2014 post on Nintendo News (a generally reputable site), which shared an anonymous tip with specifications for the “Nintendo Fusion.” The specs detail two components: the Fusion DS and the Fusion Terminal. While the DS is a fully-functional gaming device, the Terminal also has its own processing power, implying that docking to the TV increases the system’s technical capabilities. Android More recently, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported a rumor that the NX would come “loaded with Android.” The reason would be that third party developers, who are hesitant to create games for the Wii U, would be more inclined to make games based on an already-familiar operating system. While it’s unlikely that Nintendo would produce a console that strictly runs the Google-loaded regular version of Android, it could build a console on an Android-derived OS, like the Ouya console, or support Android apps and games through virtualization. However, following the Android rumor, a Nintendo representative told the Wall Street Journal that there is “no truth to the report” that Nintendo is adopting Android for the NX. Dragon Quest As for particular games, the only official word from developers so far is that Square Enix is looking at the NX as a platform for the upcoming Dragon Quest XI and a port of  Dragon Quest X , which has still never been released outside of Japan.  XI is also currently under development for PlayStation 4 and 3DS, aiming for a release on the series’ 30th anniversary, which would place it around spring 2016. Zelda NX The delay of the upcoming Legend of Zelda game for Wii U has also prompted speculation that, at least in part, the delay is in order to simultaneously release the game for Wii U and as an NX launch title. The theory was corroborated even further when Zelda was conspicuously absent from a list of games scheduled for 2016, implying an even further delay. Nintendo did the same thing with  The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess , which was delayed from its planned 2005 release to launch alongside the original Wii in 2006. Why we’re excited It’s easy to draw parallels between the GameCube and the Wii U. Both consoles followed immensely successful, gameplay-innovating predecessors (the Nintendo 64 and Wii, respectively), but had a difficult time competing against their more popular peers from Sony and Microsoft. Historically, Nintendo struggles when it tries to compete in the technological arms race with Sony and Microsoft. GameCube didn’t have a major differentiator from Xbox and PS2 aside from a new controller button layout, and Wii U has struggled to identify its target audience since launch. Nintendo’s greatest successes have come from it striking off on its own to create innovative hardware that encourages new types of play. Related:  Artist-rendered Smart Boy device predicts Nintendo’s mobile future We hope that the NX is a merger between handhelds and consoles. Handhelds have always been a strong suit for Nintendo. The original Game Boy more or less defined the category, and the DS sits narrowly behind the PlayStation 2 as the most successful video game console of all time. Its successor, the 3DS has also sold remarkably well, particularly in light of smartphone’s rise as a gaming platform. In  The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses , game designer Jesse Schell contends that focusing on the particular platforms on which we play games might be less instructive than considering the venues in which we play them. Bridging the gap between a portable handheld and a stationary console with games that exist fluidly in both is an interesting and untapped idea that Nintendo could explore. That’s all we can say for now, but bookmark this post. We’ll update it whenever we hear more about Nintendo’s upcoming console/platform. Updated on 4-27-2016 by Will Fulton:  Added launch window Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Nintendo NX Launching March 2017, New Mobile Games On Way

Nintendo's new console is less than a year away. The Japanese games giant announced that its highly-anticipated NX console will launch globally in March 2017, with the latest Legend of Zelda game slated to arrive for both the NX and Wii U. While we finally have an official release window, we still don't know much else about Nintendo's mysterious gaming machine.

Nintendo announces new iPhone and Android games, NX console launches in March

Nintendo's Wii U console has been nothing short of an absolute disaster. The company was revitalized by the original Wii, which completely revolutionized console gaming and extended its reach beyond "gamers" by offering an experience that appealed to a much wider range of users. Unfortunately, lightning didn't strike twice and Nintendo's followup with the Wii U has been a total mess. Quality games have been few and far between, and the Wii U did nothing to enhance the user experience. So now, Nintendo is trying to look ahead. Following yet another bleak earnings report on Wednesday morning, the company made two key announcements — one concerning its next-generation home video game console currently known as " NX ," and a second regarding upcoming new iPhone  and Android games. MUST SEE:  These are the apps hardcore iPhone fans can’t live without First things first: the new Nintendo NX console will be released sometime in March next year, barring any delays. "For our dedicated video game platform business, Nintendo is currently developing a gaming platform codenamed ‘NX’ with a brand-new concept," Nintendo said in its earnings release . "NX will be launched in March 2017 globally." A "brand-new concept" could mean just about anything, but Nintendo is clearly looking to offer some differentiation for its next-gen console. Hopefully it finds something a bit more impressive than an oversized controller with an annoying touchscreen crammed in. Of note, Nintendo confirmed that the new NX console will not be shown off at E3 this year despite the fact that its launch is less than a year away. https://twitter.com/mochi_wsj/status/725221190176907265 Ahead of the NX's release, Nintendo plans to look elsewhere for a boost to its struggling business. No, there's still no Super Mario game slated for release on Apple's iPhone, but Nintendo did confirm that multiple new games are coming soon to iOS and Android devices. Details are scarce for the time being, but the company specifically named  Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing in a tweet announcing the news. https://twitter.com/NintendoAmerica/status/725224236340629504 No specific release dates have been confirmed.

Nintendo announces new console for 2017 as profits dive

Nintendo announces new console for 2017 as profits dive

Japanese videogame giant Nintendo on Wednesday said it would release its new games console next year, after the success of its foray into smartphone gaming, but added sales had slipped and a resurgent yen hammered profits. "Our first smart device app, Miitomo, was released globally in March and it started off well," Nintendo said. Japanese exporters such as Nintendo have seen their profits, which are calculated in yen, soar in recent years as the unit weakened sharply against the US dollar and other currencies.

Nintendo NX console gets launch date, 'Zelda' delayed

Nintendo NX console gets launch date, 'Zelda' delayed

On Wednesday, April 27, Nintendo published the company's annual fiscal earnings, in which the upcoming NX console was given a release date of March 2017 and "Zelda" was pushed back again. The company insists that the mysterious system will not be appearing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (commonly known as E3) in June, but instead that the new "Legend of Zelda" will be the focus.

Nintendo sees smartphone games, new console pushing up FY profit

Nintendo sees smartphone games, new console pushing up FY profit

TOKYO/OSAKA (Reuters) - Japan's Nintendo Co Ltd said on Wednesday it expects operating profit to rise 36.9 percent in the year through March 2017, as the videogame maker plans to release more smartphone games as well as its next-generation game console. Nintendo estimates operating profit to grow to 45 billion yen ($404.9 million) from 32.9 billion yen a year prior, when earnings were roughly in line with a forecast announced in February. Nintendo last year said it would enter the rapidly growing mobile gaming segment after years of resisting investor calls for the move, with consumers starting to shift from dedicated consoles to simple and often free-to-download smartphone games.

Peggle, Costume Quest 2 free with Xbox Live Gold in May

Peggle, Costume Quest 2 free with Xbox Live Gold in May

Xbox Live Gold subscribers will see a new batch of free Xbox One and Xbox 360 games in May, including Double Fine’s RPG sequel Costume Quest 2 and PopCap’s peg-busting puzzler Peggle . Next month’s featured Games with Gold lineup will be available for download starting on May 1, with additional freebies arriving on May 16. Related:  Xbox may be heading toward PC-style upgrades Xbox One owners with an active Xbox Live Gold subscription can download developer Hidden Path Entertainment’s hit tower defense title Defense Grid 2 free of charge between May 1 and the end of the month. Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, Defense Grid 2 follows up on its Xbox 360 predecessor with new enemy types and upgradable towers. Costume Quest 2 is next in line for the Games with Gold treatment, and will be free to download for service subscribers between May 16 and June 15. Costume Quest 2 continues the imagination-fueled adventures of a pair of superpowered twins who journey to save Halloween from an evil dentist. Over on the Xbox 360, Codemasters’ sim-styled racer Grid 2 will be freely downloadable between May 1 and May 15. Xbox One owners can also pick up a playable copy of Grid 2 via the platform’s backward compatibility features. This month’s Grid 2 giveaway appears to be part of a continuing partnership between Microsoft and publisher Codemasters. Microsoft previously gave away copies of Codemasters’ Dirt Showdown via Games with Gold in January, and series predecessor Dirt 3 was a featured freebie in November of 2015. It’s likely that additional Codemasters titles will be released for free in the coming months. The Xbox Live Arcade version of PopCap’s classic puzzler Peggle is May’s final Games with Gold title. Boasting dozens of levels that players can demolish using an arsenal of destructive power-ups, Peggle will be free to download via Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles between May 16 through the 31st.

10 paid iPhone apps on sale for free for a limited time

If you think high-quality paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free are easy to come by, think again. Hundreds of iOS apps go on sale each day and it takes a whole lot of time to dig through them and come out with the best apps of the bunch each day. But we fight through the pain for you, our readers, because we know how much you love them. Today's list includes 10 paid iOS apps on sale for free, and you'll find another handful that are still free downloads in yesterday's post as well. DON’T MISS:  20 apps that hardcore iPhone fans can't live without These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. If you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. The sale has ended. If you download the app, you will be charged. Secret Calculator Plus Normally $0.99. A normal calculator until you type in your secret password. It then turns into a private storage place where you can hide all your secret photos, videos, notes, files, and bookmarks. You can also use a private internet browser! Features: Calculator • Fully functional calculator • Discrete app icon Photos & Videos • Create private albums • Save your secret photos and videos • Take private photos/videos from within the app! Private Browser • Browse the internet without leaving any traces • Secret Bookmark manager support. Secret Notes • Write and store secret notes Files Viewer • Wi-Fi transfer syncing files without USB • and view top-secret files (.doc,.ppt,pdf,mp3,mp4,gif,png,jpg,html,.xls,etc.) from your computer Photo Viewer • Zoom in and zoom out • Support thumbnail view • Full iOS9, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Support! • And much more! Download Secret Calculator Plus Splashtop 2 Normally $2.99. "Both a breakthrough and a bargain." – NY Times "Splashtop -- Meet the most popular app on iTunes." – USA Today “Apple’s Top 25 best-selling iPad app of All-Time” -- iTunes #1 iPhone business app in 62 countries Over 20 Million Users -- #1 Remote Desktop App for iPhone & iPod! Splashtop is the easiest and fastest way to access your Mac or Windows PC from your iPhone & iPod! Use Splashtop to access your computer on the local network with best-in-class video streaming performance. View and edit Microsoft Office and PDF files. Browse the web using IE, Chrome, and Firefox with full Flash and Java support. Play 3D PC and Mac games. Access your entire media library and documents. Put your PC or Mac in your pocket! To access your computer from across the Internet, subscribe to Anywhere Access Pack via In-App Purchase. * Use your iPhone or iPod to access all of the programs and files on your computer with 100% compatibility, including PowerPoint, Keynote, Word, Excel, Outlook, Quicken, IE, Chrome, Safari, and all other PC/Mac applications * Use your full desktop browser (IE, Chrome, Firefox) with Flash and Java support, with all of your bookmarks and your favorite plug-ins * Enjoy the full video and music libraries that are playable only on your computer, whatever formats they’re in * Play all the 3D games (World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Skyrim, Diablo III, etc.) and all the Flash games (FarmVille, CityVille, etc.) * Enjoy the most vibrant experience with Apple Retina display support (when using native resolution) Download Splashtop 2 Ray Detect Normally $2.99. Discover and surprise! “Ray Detect” is the fast and easy way to detect radiation. So, whether you fly and get your luggage X-rayed, own glazed pottery and other radioactive objects, or fear nuclear mishaps and terrorism, you can now test for unexpected radiation. “Ray Detect” has been professionally tested under strict scientific laboratory conditions. The app does not require any calibration and even works offline. There is no account setup and it does not require any external device. • Reliable, accurate testing in a matter of seconds. Just cover the phone’s camera to reduce light interference and you are ready for testing! • Easy-to-browse calendar and map views for all your measurement records, without limit. • Outstanding representations of your current and past monitoring results for your friends and family to see and become aware without causing them to panic. “Ray Detect” uses the camera sensor to measure the exposure to gamma radiation and X-rays in the context of its effects on human health. It is meant to provide preliminary data and an early warning when dedicated detection devices are out of reach, but it is no substitute for them. “Ray Detect” is designed for relatively low radiation levels, up to 20 µSv / hr or 2,500 CPM. Download Ray Detect Ark Journal Normally $2.99. Ark is an elegant and simple personal journal. The app is designed as a clean and light-weight way to keep track of your thoughts and experiences. All your content is synced across your devices in real-time, and is available offline for continuous use. Download Ark Journal PhotoWidget and Viewer Normally $0.99. Photo widget for iOS 8 and later. Let's put your favorite photo into the widget . The Animated GIF supported :) *If the GIF is not animation in preview, it is not a animated GIF. Please check how to save the image into photos. Save the animated GIF that is displayed in Safari with long-tap. Download PhotoWidget and Viewer Browser and File Manager for Documents Normally $4.99. Download and browse files on your iPhone, iPod or iPad like on your computer. No limits on storage or downloads! √ Full-featured Download Manager Auto-correct file name, fast speed, safe pause and resume downloads. Background mode support. √ Web-browser like Safari with bookmarks Tap and hold to start download, or simply click the link. Private browsing by default. √ File Manager Edit files, organize in folders. Extract zip and rar archives. Work with doc xls pdf ppt txt html rtf and 100+ formats. √ iTunes file sharing support √ Open In files in other apps! ** WARNING: This app does not include any audio or video download feature or any related functionality. The downloadable content must be NON-audiovisual which includes pdfs, docs, xlsxs etc. Download Browser and File Manager for Documents Rabbit Normally $0.99. PageSpeed analyzes and mobile optimization of all URL you want to Rabbit. It is essential to know the value of a web tool PageSpeed. Rabbit get a list with analyzing all relevant parameters in loading a web. Also in that list, we can access a resource link where we advise how to improve the section penalizes the web. You can also analyze the PageSpeed of the websites that you browse through Safari, with the extension of the application for the browser, without having to copy and paste the URL. User Interface: - Adapted to iOS 9 and optimized for all iPhone design. - Easy and intuitive to use. - Refined typography. Future versions: - History URLs - Graphic with URL's evolution - More languages and more surprises ... Download Rabbit Super Calendar Normally $4.99. iOS Premium Calendar Most versatile calendar app and widget in the app store! - day view, list or time view for day events - customize list view for day events - turn on/off month view in the widget - choose from one of 10 styles for month view in the widget - more customization options Also the most customizable calendar app in the app store! - 6 different views easily accessible through swipe. - Light, dark, color or picture theme! - Search your events. - Customize day, week, month, agenda views with templates/styles. - Table style or list for day view - 11 different styles for week view - 11 different styles for month view, 11 different styles for its agenda view - 13 different styles for agenda view including a countdown mode - 3 useful year view styles allowing easy navigation to any day, week or month - 11 different styles for agenda view including a countdown mode - 8 different styles for Reminders - Adjust font size for events, choose font - Choose from 100+ different colors for individual calendars - Easy settings - Option to choose default view - And so much more - Optimized for iPhone 5S, 6, and 6 Plus - This has not been tested with iPhone 5 and below, so it may not work with these older iPhones. Download Super Calendar Monster Stunts Normally $1.99. ***** Support Challenge Mode! Challenge with the best player all over the world! ***** Monster Stunts – A stunt monster truck racing game. Drive the monster truck through the tracks as fast as you can to get rewards. Rotate 360 degrees to get more coins. Please be careful, don’t hit the ground, then would crash the monster trucks. Get more rewards to earn more coins. Unlock more monster trucks in shop. How to play: * Drive by pressing on the right or left side of the screen. * Tilt the device to control the monster trucks. Features: * Extremely fast and addictive gameplay * 70 levels with more to come * 10 monster trucks with more to come * Game Center support * Rotate 360 degrees to get more coins * Universal (support all iOS devices) Download Monster Stunts Mods for minecraft Normally $0.99. Well now you can! We have over 215 mods!! With this app you learn exactly how to mod the game. Also you get to choose which Mods you would like to install and learn about them In great detail, so you can put them in your game!* What are you waiting for? Download this app today & learn how to mod the game Pocket Mine! Download Mods for minecraft

Nintendo's new controller patent takes Wii "U" very literally

Nintendo's new controller patent takes Wii

Damn Nintendo! Back at it again with the weird peripherals. In October 2014, the company filed a patent application with the super sexy title “Training Implement, Training System, and Input Device,” (already abbreviated as TITS, because the Internet is so classy). The patent was published April 22, 2016 through the World Intellectual Property Organization, where incredibly thorough NeoGaf forum user Rösti found it. A little too curved to be a boomerang, the new controller, pictured below from the patent filing, it looks more like a cartoon magnet, a horseshoe, or a big “U” in keeping with the Nintendo theme. Related : 22-year-old designer explains how he leaked a fake Nintendo NX controller Besides the expected accelerometer and gyroscope, it has load sensors built into the bridge between the two upright sections of the “U,” implying the controller could be squeezed like a grip strengthener: “Body is joined to each of the immovable two grip portion and the two gripping portion opposed at a distance, having a connecting portion for connecting the two gripper. Load sensor is provided inside the main body, for detecting a load applied to the body.” (Here’s the original in case you can comment a more accurate translation:  本体は、間隔を隔てて対向する2つの把持部および当該2つの把持部のそれぞれと非可動に接合され、当該2つの把持部を連結する連結部を有する)。 Gamers are having a hard time imagining what games are a perfect fit for this particular peripheral. It’s visually similar to the Xbox 360 “Steering wheel”, but is clearly intended for fitness games. Descriptive diagrams show a person squatting, the patent includes temperature sensors as part of the device as well, and specifically describes using this new controller design in conjunction with a balance ball. It’s unclear if the “U” controller is intended for the Wii U or the upcoming NX console. There’s always the chance this is tied in to Nintendo’s Quality of Life doughnut sleep-tracker, but since that was pushed back there’s no way to tell. In any case, gamers are already voicing doubts about whether it will ever see the light of a GameStop, but at least Nintendo keeps gamers on their toes–sometimes literally.

Notable Video Game Releases: New and Upcoming

Notable Video Game Releases: New and Upcoming

Find release dates, trailers, and scores for major upcoming and recent videogame releases for all platforms, updated weekly. Read and Post Comments | Get the full article at Metacritic

Sony executive hints that there might never be a PlayStation 5

We're only a few years into the latest generation of gaming consoles, but that hasn't stopped gamers from speculating about future hardware. Even as the PS4 and Xbox One continue to fly off store shelves, analysts and consumers alike have begun to assume that these could be the last standalone home consoles. Adding fuel to the fire, one Sony executive seemed to imply to a developer not only that the PlayStation 5 wasn't in production, but that there might not be a PS5 at all. DON'T MISS:  Star Fox Zero review: Nintendo’s golden age returns to the Wii U In a recent episode of The Game Informer Show, the writers from Game Informer sat down with game designer Lorne Lanning to discuss the upcoming remake of the classic  Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus , along with several other topics. Lanning's a fascinating guy, so the whole interview is worth a listen, but one moment in particular stands out. Near the end of the conversation, Lanning says that he believes VR headset makers are going to begin pumping out new hardware every six months as opposed to the 5-7 year cycle between video game consoles. He then said that he talked to Shuhei Yoshida, President of Worldwide Studios at Sony Interactive Entertainment, at the DICE event last year, and had the following exchange: "I said, 'Well, what does the PlayStation 5 look like?' And he said, 'You mean if ...' And I was like, 'Whoa. Are you willing to say that on stage?' And he said, 'Yeah, it’s an if .'" This conversation took place during a private dinner before the two were going to go on stage for a live interview. Unfortunately, Lanning didn't have the chance to ask the question on stage, but he completely understood why Yoshida would be hesitant to talk about the PlayStation 5 as if it were a sure thing. You can listen to the part about the PS5 at around the 45:00 mark below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcqKAKpuyjw

Nintendo releases high-grade 'Star Fox' anime

Nintendo releases high-grade 'Star Fox' anime

Produced in conjunction with two professional anime studios, Nintendo's "Star Fox Zero - The Battle Begins" arrives in support of not one but two new entries to the 23-years-young video game franchise. At just under 15 minutes long, "Star Fox Zero - The Battle Begins" serves as both an introduction to and a fan-pleasing homage of the series as a whole, with space fighter pilot Fox McCloud leading a cohort of characters against galactic villain Andross.

Two-factor authentication is finally coming to PlayStation Network

Two-factor authentication is finally coming to PlayStation Network

Update 4/21:  A Sony representative confirmed that two-factor authentication is indeed coming to PlayStation network. Just last week I wrote about the tough time I was having with my PlayStation account. To make a long story short, someone added a PS Vita to my account, and proceeded to use my PayPal account to buy games. What happened after that was a bit of a mess, but the important takeaway from the experience was that there’s an easy way to secure accounts in 2016. It’s called two-factor authentication, and it’s finally coming to PlayStation. If you’ve never used two-factor authentication before, it works just like it sounds. When you log into an account, you provide a username and password, and then use another device, usually a smartphone, to generate a code that’s shared between the second factor and the server. The code is like a second password that is created when needed, and usually expires within a minute or two. In order to access your account, an intruder needs both something you know, and   something you have. The feature’s impending deployment was noticed when PS3 users entered their password incorrectly after the latest update. There’s now a note on the error dialogue that mentions what Sony is calling two-step verification. It also mentions a device setup password, and it invites users to check their mobile phones for a text message. PlayStation already has iOS and Android apps, but text messages are much easier for the user. It also means if someone else tries to use your account, a text message will alert you. More proof about #PSN 2-step verification. This is from PS3 after today's v4.80 update. pic.twitter.com/Kt4WbyGk6G — Tuomas Tonteri (@tontsa) April 20, 2016 PlayStation Network joins most of the other major gaming networks, including Steam, Xbox Live, and Origin, in enabling some form of two-factor authentication. Probably well timed, too, considering the network has suffered a number of major disruptions and security breaches in the last few years. Related:  After hackers ran up a bill on my PlayStation account, Sony held it ransom Our contact at PlayStation confirmed the feature was in-bound, saying “In order to further safeguard our users and their accounts, we are preparing to offer a 2-step verification feature. More details will be shared at a later date.” In the meantime, the best way to protect your precious gaming accounts is to frequently change passwords and use whatever security features are available to you. You could lose a lot more than your progress in  Stardew Valley.  Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

HBO Now comes to Xbox One with just days to spare before Game of Thrones premiere

HBO Now comes to Xbox One with just days to spare before Game of Thrones premiere

The sixth season premiere of Game of Thrones is only days away, and while there are more ways than ever to watch without a cable subscription, there is still a reason that it’s the most pirated show on television: HBO’s standalone streaming app, HBO Now, is still only available on a handful of platforms. If you’re an Xbox One or Xbox 360 owner who has been fretting over the premiere, worry no longer, as today HBO Now finally became available on the consoles. Unlike HBO Go, which has been available on the Xbox One since 2014, HBO Now doesn’t require a cable subscription. Related:  HBO to give Game of Thrones fans theories and recaps on After the Thrones As with the app on other platforms, HBO Now will cost you $15 per month. That said, if you’re trying to download the app right now, it might seem a bit pricier. Some users are seeing a price of $400 that persists even through checkout, as Gamespot reports. This is likely just an early placeholder price and other users have been able to download the app just fine, so if you encounter the problem, simply waiting and trying again should resolve it. This makes the Xbox One the first current-generation game console to receive HBO Now. The PlayStation 4 offers the HBO Go app, but not HBO Now. So far, there is no word on when — or if — the app will arrive on the PS4, but it seems likely that it will make its way there eventually. HBO Now launched on the Apple TV and iOS devices in March of last year. Since then, it has expanded to Android and Amazon Kindle, as well as Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV devices. Related:  Future Game of Thrones seasons could be seven episodes or less Game of Thrones season six begins this Sunday, April 24, and it’s not alone. HBO’s Silicon Valley season three and Veep season five kick off on the same day.

Microsoft ends Xbox 360 console production after 10 years

Microsoft ends Xbox 360 console production after 10 years

Microsoft is ending production of new Xbox 360 consoles due to “the realities of manufacturing a product over a decade old,” Xbox division head Phil Spencer announced today. Originally released in 2005, the Xbox 360 celebrated its tenth birthday in November of last year. The platform sold 84 million units worldwide as of 2014. “Xbox 360 means a lot to everyone in Microsoft,” Spencer said. “And while we’ve had an amazing run, the realities of manufacturing a product over a decade old are starting to creep up on us. Which is why we have made the decision to stop manufacturing new Xbox 360 consoles. We will continue to sell existing inventory of Xbox 360 consoles, with availability varying by country.” Related:  The best Xbox One compatible Xbox 360 games Multiple Xbox 360 hardware revisions premiered in the wake of the console’s 2005 launch, including a “slim” variant that has since become the standard model available at retail. The earliest Xbox 360 units lacked hard drives, HDMI output, and Wi-Fi functionality — features that quickly became requirements over the course of the previous console generation. In addition to hosting hundreds of disc-based games, the Xbox 360 is widely credited with popularizing the distribution of digital content via consoles. The platform’s Xbox Live Arcade storefront became a haven for independent developers, and many high-profile games released over the past decade remain exclusive to Microsoft’s previous-generation console. Microsoft rolled out the Xbox 360’s successor console, the Xbox One, in 2013. Many popular Xbox 360 games are playable on the Xbox One via the platform’s recently introduced backward compatibility feature, and the list of supported titles from the previous console generation continues to grow on a monthly basis. Though Xbox 360 hardware production has ended, Microsoft notes that players will still be able to play Xbox 360 games online via Xbox Live in the foreseeable future. Xbox Live Gold subscribers will continue to receive free Xbox 360 games monthly, and customer support will continue via Microsoft’s website. “I want to personally thank the Xbox community,” Spencer stated. “That includes the vast and diverse audience of gamers, developers, and publishers who brought so much passion and creativity to the Xbox 360. You are the heart of what we do at TEAM XBOX, and you have been critical to the success of Xbox 360.” Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video