tech

German competition watchdog wants 'big data' hoards considered in merger probes: paper

German competition watchdog wants 'big data' hoards considered in merger probes: paper

The vast troves of consumer data held by big Internet companies should be scrutinized in merger probes because they have a big impact on competition, the president of the German antitrust watchdog told a newspaper. Collections of "big data" - covering billions of internet searches, messages and other online interactions - hand Internet companies huge power they can exercise in marketing and commerce and which potentially makes it difficult for smaller businesses to compete in those areas. Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of Whatsapp in 2014 almost escaped scrutiny from cartel authorities as the messaging service hardly had any revenues at the time, Mundt said, adding that it was apparently still of great strategic importance to Facebook.

Exclusive: Top cybercrime ring disrupted as authorities raid Moscow offices - sources

Exclusive: Top cybercrime ring disrupted as authorities raid Moscow offices - sources

By Joseph Menn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russian authorities in November raided offices associated with a Moscow film distribution and production company as part of a crackdown on one of the world’s most notorious financial hacking operations, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter. Cybersecurity experts said a password-stealing software program known as Dyre — believed to be responsible for at least tens of millions of dollars in losses at financial institutions including Bank of America Corp and JPMorgan Chase & Co — has not been deployed since the time of the raid. Experts familiar with the situation said the case represents Russia’s biggest effort to date to crack down on cyber-crime.

BlackBerry cuts 200 jobs in Ontario and Florida to trim costs

BlackBerry cuts 200 jobs in Ontario and Florida to trim costs

BlackBerry Ltd is cutting 200 jobs at its hometown headquarters in Ontario and in Florida in order to trim costs, it said on Friday, as the smartphone maker moves to turn around its fortunes and put more emphasis on its enterprise software business. "As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce," the company said in an emailed statement. The layoffs will affect 75 manufacturing jobs in Sunrise, Florida, a state government website showed.

U.S., Britain eye letting spy agencies, police seek email, chat data from companies

U.S., Britain eye letting spy agencies, police seek email, chat data from companies

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and UK spy agencies and police may soon be allowed to directly ask media companies in each others' countries for email and online chat data for people being investigated, under a tentative bilateral deal, officials said on Friday. As governments worldwide and online companies struggle to strike a balance between privacy rights and law enforcement imperatives, three U.S. officials confirmed a pact is in the works, although it would require congressional approval. First reported by The Washington Post, the talks were focused on letting UK agencies, such as counter-intelligence unit MI5, serve "production orders" on U.S. firms demanding data for “live intercepts” in inquiries involving UK citizens.

LinkedIn shares dive more than 40 pct, $11 bln wiped out

LinkedIn shares dive more than 40 pct, $11 bln wiped out

LinkedIn Corp's shares plunged as much as 43 percent on Friday, wiping out nearly $11 billion of market value, after the social network for professionals shocked Wall Street with a revenue forecast that fell far short of expectations. The stock sank to a three-year low of $109.50, registering its sharpest decline since the company's high-profile public listing in 2011. At least seven brokerages downgraded the stock from "buy" to "hold" or their equivalents, saying the company's lofty valuation was no longer justified.

iPhone 5se rumored to launch with pink color option, along with Silver and Space Grey

A pair of reliable sources have pegged March 15 as the date when Apple will introduce a trio of new products, including an iPhone 5se, an iPad Air 3, and a subtly enhanced version of the Apple Watch. As the date steadily approaches, more details surrounding the iPhone 5se have continued to roll in. The most recent report, sourced from the Japanese site Mac Otakara,  relays that the iPhone 5se will come in a trio of colors, including Silver, Space Gray, and interestingly enough, some form of pink hue. DON'T MISS:  This must be the sketchiest iPhone 7 rumor we’ve seen yet Specifically, the pink is said to be similar to the pink used on the 6th gen iPod

The future is here, some assembly required

The future is here, some assembly required

Smartphones, which have been around for a decade or more, are so ubiquitous and such an integral part of our daily lives that it’s easy to forget just how advanced they really are. Things like streaming services, social networks, smartphones, tablets, and voice control are all commonplace now, and not even particularly interesting at this point. It’s easy to get bored with smartphones — trust me, as I look at my desk right now, there are half a dozen phones on with with negligible differences between them.

A Fine mess: how not to assert your copyright in the YouTube age

A Fine mess: how not to assert your copyright in the YouTube age

A week ago, one of the more popular YouTube organizations, Fine Bros Entertainment, run by brothers Benny and Rafi Fine, announced a new scheme to license out its React brand and video format on a profit-sharing basis. Having developed a large audience through various series of reaction videos — where people are filmed as they react to watching or experiencing a new thing for the first time — they were now looking to apply the franchise model to their content. It was an offer for others to use the Fine Bros template for creating reaction videos, including series titles like Kids React and Elders React, and to ultimately be distributed and featured in front of the company’s large YouTube audience.

App launched with uniquely African emojis

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — App developers have launched a series of uniquely African emojis of characters dressed in colorful traditional attire using popular local expressions and gestures.

How to be human: how much should I sacrifice to make a relationship work?

How to be human: how much should I sacrifice to make a relationship work?

Leah Reich was one of the first internet advice columnists. Her column "Ask Leah" ran on IGN, where she gave advice to gamers for two and a half years. During the day, Leah is Slack’s user researcher, but her views here do not represent her employer. You can write to her at askleah@theverge.com and read more How to be Human here.

Twitter employee learns about social network's harassment problem firsthand

Twitter employee learns about social network's harassment problem firsthand

It's been an issue for years, and the company started taking steps towards fixing it last year after then-CEO Dick Costolo recognized the epidemic and admitted: "We suck at dealing with abuse." But it seems not every Twitter employee knows about one of the social network's most important issues. Late last night, Brandon Carpenter wrote a number of tweets in response to nasty replies he received demanding that Twitter not make changes to its social network. Carpenter, according to his LinkedIn profile, is a senior software engineer at Twitter — he works on the iOS app.

This invention could completely change the way we drink beer at home

A couple of years back, I wrote about SYNEK , an exciting Kickstarter project that had the potential to change the way we drink beer at home. Now that project has become a reality and it has the promise to bring delicious draft beer to you right in your home. MUST SEE:  Intern caught sleeping on his second day of work gets trolled by the entire Internet SYNEK essentially gives you your own mini-tap that you can store right on your kitchen counter and use to pour yourself fresh beer whenever you like. What makes SYNEK interesting is that it uses boxed wine-style bags that you fill up with your beer of choice and that you then install into your SYNEK

‘Game of Thrones’ creators reveal why their original pilot was an epic disaster

The first episode of HBO's  Game of Thrones was a remarkable piece of television that showed the world that it was actually possible to make a TV show out of George R.R. Martin's sprawling fantasy epic. However, things didn't always look as good as they did in the final product, as the show's creators recently revealed a podcast called Scriptnotes  that's hosted by screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin. MUST SEE:  Man summons his Tesla Model S using only his Apple Watch One of the biggest problems with the original pilot episode is that it didn't make clear that Cersei and Jamie Lannister were actually siblings. This was obviously an issue since the episode's major revelation was that the pair

Video shows how to replace peanut butter in a Reese’s Cup with Oreo filling

As I've mentioned countless times during my career at BGR, the Internet is a miraculous place full of wondrous things. Earlier this week I discovered Frinkiac , the incredible search engine that lets you find the still frames that correspond with any Simpsons quote you want to find. Along with the pyramids, the Sistine Chapel and the moon landing, I consider this one of humanity's finest achievements. While the video I'm about to show you doesn't come close to the miracle of the ultimate Simpsons search engine, it's definitely running a strong second place in the race for the coolest thing I've found on the web this week. FROM EARLIER:  Just when you thought you couldn’t hate ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli any

Twitter's timeline will soon show tweets out of order

Twitter's timeline will soon show tweets out of order

Ever since Twitter first launched, tweets have been organized in reverse chronological order. As early as next week, Twitter is planning to replace the reverse chronological stream with one that's powered algorithmically, surfacing tweets that are most relevant or timely, not just those that are most recent. Late last year, the company tested this non-chronological approach with some users, though the idea didn't seem to sit well with Twitter's most loyal advocates.

Conan plays the new ‘Doom’ on the Super Bowl edition of Clueless Gamer

Clueless Gamer has become one of Conan O'Brien's most popular recurring segments, but we've been seeing them far less frequently in recent months. Thankfully, when Conan does release a new episode, it's clear that a lot of effort goes into it, as is the case on this week's edition of Clueless Gamer, which features two  Super Bowl athletes playing Doom with the host. DON'T MISS:  5 movies you should watch before ‘The Hateful Eight,’ according to Tarantino In case you hadn't heard, Doom is an upcoming reboot of the classic first-person shooter series, set to release on PS4, Xbox One and PC this May. The game has been in development for nearly a decade, but as of Bethesda's E3 press conference last year ,

Unhackable brain scans may some day replace passwords

Security breaches affecting millions of users have come to light in recent years, yet we’re no better at protecting our personal data, or at picking good passwords , than we were before. But some companies are already looking at new ways to secure customer data that go beyond passwords and PINs. Fingerprint sensors are found on more and more smartphones in recent years, and retina scanners are coming too. But in the future, we may have an even more advanced way of logging into online services and protecting our data: Brain scans. UP NEXT:  20 paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free right

Apple files for a mistrial in $625 million iMessage and FaceTime patent suit

Apple files for a mistrial in $625 million iMessage and FaceTime patent suit

Apple has filed for a mistrial in a patent infringement suit just days after being ordered to pay $625.6 million in damages. VirnetX, which is regularly described as a "patent troll," sued Apple claiming it infringed on four patents related to communications protocols patents used in iMessage, FaceTime, and VPN on Demand, as well as the Apple devices using the software. Apple was found guilty on all claims, but the company now says lawyers for VirnetX used "arguments outside the evidence and blatantly misrepresented the testimony of Apple's witnesses" in closing arguments this week, according to legal blog Texas Lawyer.

Rihanna's new album ANTI will top the Billboard charts next week

Rihanna's new album ANTI will top the Billboard charts next week

While the release of Rihanna's new album ANTI was messier than many people expected, the album's leak and Tidal exclusivity haven't had much of a negative impact on the album's sales. Sources close to the situation have confirmed to The Verge that ANTI is going to hit No. 1 on next week's Billboard album charts (dated February 20th), a reflection of the album's popularity during its first full week on sale. ANTI will become Rihanna's second No. 1 album — it's following in the footsteps of its predecessor, 2012's Unapologetic.

internet

German competition watchdog wants 'big data' hoards considered in merger probes: paper

German competition watchdog wants 'big data' hoards considered in merger probes: paper

The vast troves of consumer data held by big Internet companies should be scrutinized in merger probes because they have a big impact on competition, the president of the German antitrust watchdog told a newspaper. Collections of "big data" - covering billions of internet searches, messages and other online interactions - hand Internet companies huge power they can exercise in marketing and commerce and which potentially makes it difficult for smaller businesses to compete in those areas. Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of Whatsapp in 2014 almost escaped scrutiny from cartel authorities as the messaging service hardly had any revenues at the time, Mundt said, adding that it was apparently still of great strategic importance to Facebook.

Sanders supporters banned from Tinder after campaigning on dating app

Sanders supporters banned from Tinder after campaigning on dating app

Stumping for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Tinder is getting some women banned from the online dating app after sending campaign messages to prospective matches. Two women - one from Iowa and the other from New Jersey - confirmed to Reuters on Friday that they received notices from Tinder in the previous 24 hours that their accounts were locked because they had been reported too many times for peppering men on the site with messages promoting Sanders' candidacy. Robyn Gedrich, 23, said she sent messages to 60 people a day for the past two weeks trying to convince them to support the U.S. senator from Vermont in his race for the Democratic nomination against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Twitter suspends over 125,000 accounts for 'promoting terrorist acts'

Twitter suspends over 125,000 accounts for 'promoting terrorist acts'

By Yasmeen Abutaleb WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Twitter Inc has shut down more than 125,000 terrorism-related accounts since the middle of 2015, most of them linked to the Islamic State group, the company said in a blog post on Friday. Twitter has said it only takes down accounts when they are reported by other users, but said that it has increased the size of teams monitoring and responding to reports and has decreased its response time "significantly." (http://bit.ly/1KvrmZ5) Twitter's announcement comes as many tech companies – led by Facebook – have taken stronger steps to police controversial content online in the face of threats from legislators to force the companies to report "terrorist activity" on their sites to law enforcement.

Florida 'Facebook killer' gets life in prison for wife's murder

Florida 'Facebook killer' gets life in prison for wife's murder

A Florida man convicted of second-degree murder after killing his wife and posting a photo of her blood-spattered body on Facebook was sentenced to life in prison on Friday. "You foretold your future," said Florida circuit court Judge Yvonne Colodny before handing down the sentence. A jury late last year rejected his contention that he was acting in self-defense when he killed his wife, 27-year-old Jennifer Alfonso, in the kitchen of their Miami-area residence.

U.S., Britain eye letting spy agencies, police seek email, chat data from companies

U.S., Britain eye letting spy agencies, police seek email, chat data from companies

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and UK spy agencies and police may soon be allowed to directly ask media companies in each others' countries for email and online chat data for people being investigated, under a tentative bilateral deal, officials said on Friday. As governments worldwide and online companies struggle to strike a balance between privacy rights and law enforcement imperatives, three U.S. officials confirmed a pact is in the works, although it would require congressional approval. First reported by The Washington Post, the talks were focused on letting UK agencies, such as counter-intelligence unit MI5, serve "production orders" on U.S. firms demanding data for “live intercepts” in inquiries involving UK citizens.

LinkedIn shares dive more than 40 pct, $11 bln wiped out

LinkedIn shares dive more than 40 pct, $11 bln wiped out

LinkedIn Corp's shares plunged as much as 43 percent on Friday, wiping out nearly $11 billion of market value, after the social network for professionals shocked Wall Street with a revenue forecast that fell far short of expectations. The stock sank to a three-year low of $109.50, registering its sharpest decline since the company's high-profile public listing in 2011. At least seven brokerages downgraded the stock from "buy" to "hold" or their equivalents, saying the company's lofty valuation was no longer justified.

Twitter users cool toward mellow Coldplay ahead of Super Bowl

Twitter users cool toward mellow Coldplay ahead of Super Bowl

By Anjali Athavaley and Amy Tennery NEW YORK (Reuters) - British rock band Coldplay may have won several Grammy awards for its music, but it has yet to convince Twitter users that its mellow ballads are suited for the normally peppy Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday. On Friday, many on the social media platform poked fun at the band, known for brooding songs that are starkly different from the bubbly hits of last year's performer, Katy Perry. The jokes came in response to a push to popularize the hashtag #BetterHalftimeShows by the late-night show "Midnight," which airs on the Comedy Central network.

Showdown in Europe over privacy has U.S. firms ducking for cover

Showdown in Europe over privacy has U.S. firms ducking for cover

By Eric Auchard FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The free flow of data across the Atlantic, the lifeblood of modern business dealings, faces an uncertain future, despite a belated, high-level deal between European and U.S. officials this week. Restive regulators in Europe are gearing up to enforce tough privacy laws and further court challenges await, activists say. The breakdown of the main framework for providing legal cover for cross-border data transfers has companies large and small racing to find workable alternatives.

China calls for crackdown on illegal fundraising platforms

China calls for crackdown on illegal fundraising platforms

Beijing has called on local authorities to crack down on illegal fundraising platforms after China's largest online peer-to-peer (P2P) lender was found to have collected more than 50 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) for fake investment projects. The State Council said on its website late on Thursday that strict precautions must be taken to prevent future illegal fundraising cases, and that the government would work to educate the public better about such financial risks. Detained executives from the parent company of Ezubao, once China's biggest P2P lending platform, have said the firm was a Ponzi scheme that advertised products promising annual returns of up to 14 percent, attracting 50 billion yuan from more than 900,000 investors.

LinkedIn forecasts weak first-quarter profit, shares plunge

LinkedIn forecasts weak first-quarter profit, shares plunge

LinkedIn Corp forecast first-quarter revenue and profit below Wall Street estimates as growth slows in its ads business and its hiring services face pressure outside North America, dragging its shares down 28 percent after the bell. Online ad revenue growth slowed to 20 percent in the fourth quarter from 56 percent a year earlier as automated ads offered by Alphabet Inc's Google make its traditional ad displays less attractive to advertisers. LinkedIn has been spending heavily on expansion by buying companies, hiring sales personnel and growing its presence in China and other markets outside the United States as it tries to strengthen its core recruitment services business.

Si or no? U.S. states debate swapping computer coding for languages

Si or no? U.S. states debate swapping computer coding for languages

Florida high school student Brooke Stewart would gladly swap two required foreign language classes to become fluent in JavaScript or Python, the coding languages she uses to design computer games. A measure championed by a former Yahoo executive, who is now a Florida legislator, would allow students to substitute traditional foreign language studies for immersion in coding, the lingua franca of the technology era. Enthusiasm for teaching coding to American students is widespread, with President Barack Obama in his latest weekly radio address calling for computer science to join the "three R's" - reading, writing and arithmetic.

IRS resumes processing tax returns Thursday after system outage

IRS resumes processing tax returns Thursday after system outage

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said on Thursday it had resumed processing individual and business tax returns at about 5 p.m. EST on Thursday after a system outage. The IRS said on Wednesday it was experiencing computer failure across several systems and temporarily could not accept many taxpayer returns. "IRS teams worked throughout the night and around the clock on this system outage,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said.

Rice aides, Powell got classified info on personal email accounts

Rice aides, Powell got classified info on personal email accounts

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and aides to his successor, Condoleezza Rice, both received classified information a handful of times via personal email accounts, the top Democrat on a congressional oversight panel said on Thursday. The findings come after nearly a year of controversy over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's decision to set up a private email server for her work as secretary of state. Representative Elijah Cummings said the disclosures about Powell's and Rice's aides' emails were made by the State Department's inspector general, who is reviewing the email practices of the last five secretaries of state.

Amazon renews credit card deal with JPMorgan

Amazon renews credit card deal with JPMorgan

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc, the world's No. 1 online retailer, has renewed its long-running credit card relationship with JPMorgan Chase & Co, a spokesman for Amazon said on Thursday. The Amazon Chase credit card, which runs on Visa Inc's payment network service, provides shoppers on Amazon.com with instant savings of 3 percent, amongst other benefits.

Virginia Tech students plotted to kidnap and kill girl: reports

Virginia Tech students plotted to kidnap and kill girl: reports

The details emerged during a bail hearing for one of the students jailed in the death of Nicole Lovell of Blacksburg, Virginia, the town where the university is located. Natalie Keepers, 19, is charged with being an accessory before and after the fact of the murder, as well as with concealing a dead body. David Eisenhauer, 18, a fellow first-year engineering student, is charged with murder and abduction.

Shkreli insults Congress on Twitter after refusing to testify

"Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government," said Shkreli, using his @MartinShkreli Twitter handle. Earlier, Shkreli invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and declined to answer questions from lawmakers about drug price increases he engineered such as hiking the price of 62-year-old Daraprim to $750 a pill from $13.50. During the hearing, Shkreli, whose youth and attitude have prompted some critics to label him "Pharmabro," responded to questions by continuing to laugh, twirling a pencil and yawning.

EU watchdog says needs time to study data deal with United States

EU watchdog says needs time to study data deal with United States

By Philip Blenkinsop BRUSSELS (Reuters) - An EU watchdog said on Wednesday it needed time to study a new EU-U.S. agreement on data transfers to determine whether the United States was committed to limiting intelligence surveillance of Europeans. Negotiators from the European Union and the United States agreed the data pact on Tuesday. It will replace the Safe Harbour framework, which a top EU court ruled illegal last year amid concerns over mass U.S. government snooping.

U.S. House panel subpoenas hacked federal agency for documents

U.S. House panel subpoenas hacked federal agency for documents

The U.S. House of Representatives has subpoenaed the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for documents related to the hacking of the agency’s files that compromised sensitive information of roughly 22 million people, Representative Jason Chaffetz said on Wednesday. Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who heads the House’s oversight panel, said that Office of Personnel Management acting director Beth Cobert was not cooperating with his committee’s investigation by failing to produce unredacted versions of network security guides that were stolen in the data breach. The files, which Chaffetz has requested for several months, were “outdated security documents” seized during the hack, according to June 2015 testimony by Donna Seymour, the agency’s chief information officer.

IRS says experiencing computer failure

IRS says experiencing computer failure

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said on Wednesday it is experiencing computer failure across several systems and temporarily cannot accept many taxpayer returns. "A number of taxpayer and tax practitioner tools are unavailable," it said.

U.S. gun traders rush to set up new sites after Facebook firearms ban

U.S. gun traders are setting up new websites to arrange deals after Facebook Inc barred private gun sales on its platform. With gun rights and safety registering as a hot-button issue on the U.S. presidential campaign trail after several mass shootings last year, Facebook said on Friday it would no longer allow users to arrange private gun sales via the site. Reaction was swift among some Facebook gun trader groups, hundreds of which are based in the United States.

Video of Pomeranian doing Chinese lion dance goes virtual with three million hits

(Reuters) - Optimus, a two-year-old Pomeranian in Thailand, has become an Internet hit after his owner posted a video on Facebook of the tiny dog doing a traditional Chinese lion dance ahead of the  Lunar New Year. Since the dog's owner, Natthakrita Brompunya, dedicated a Facebook page to Optimus and his canine friends the video has been viewed more than 3 million times. The Year of the Monkey begins on Feb. 8. 

San Francisco Fed reins in Twitter use after wayward tweet

San Francisco Fed reins in Twitter use after wayward tweet

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on Wednesday imposed a new policy banning staff from tweeting from its official Twitter account on their personal devices, a day after the bank apologized for an employee's unauthorized tweet dismissing the Iowa caucuses as irrelevant. On Monday night, as results were coming in from the Iowa caucuses, a San Francisco Fed staffer used the bank's confirmed Twitter handle @sffed to send a tweet deriding the first-in-the-nation presidential nominating contest.

Zika virus a trending topic on social media platforms

Zika virus a trending topic on social media platforms

By Anjali Athavaley and Melissa Fares NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Zika virus was a trending topic on several social media platforms on Wednesday, with users expressing concern over travel plans. According to social analytics firm Zoomph, there were 50 tweets per minute on Zika, with top related hashtags that included #salud, the Spanish word for health, and #who, referring to the World Health Organization. The mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to a rise in severe birth defects in Brazil, is rapidly spreading in the Americas, and WHO has declared an international health emergency over Zika.     According to Google, the Texas cities of Garland, Dallas and Grapevine topped the list for Zika searches in the past 48 hours.

PewDiePie, others set to star in YouTube's first original shows

PewDiePie, others set to star in YouTube's first original shows

YouTube's viral video stars, many of whom have a fan following in the millions, are set to appear next week in original movies and a show, as the video site attempts to attract users to its paid service. Other YouTube stars such as comedian Lilly Singh and comedy producer Rooster Teeth and teen network Awesomeness TV will be involved in full-length movies that will premiere on YouTube Red on Feb. 10. The original movies and show are part of Google parent Alphabet Inc's efforts to offer more to customers on YouTube Red, the $10-a-month service that allows viewers to watch videos across YouTube without ad breaks.

Yahoo to explore strategic alternatives alongside spin-off

Yahoo to explore strategic alternatives alongside spin-off

(Reuters) - Yahoo Inc said on Tuesday it was exploring strategic alternatives in addition to the continued pursuit of the reverse spin-off of its Internet business. Yahoo said it would simplify its product portfolio and that it had begun to explore divesting non-strategic assets. The company also said it would cut about 15 percent of its workforce and close offices in five locations as it faces intense competition for ad dollars from Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google.

New European, U.S. data transfer pact agreed

New European, U.S. data transfer pact agreed

By Julia Fioretti and Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European and U.S. negotiators agreed a data pact on Tuesday that should prevent European Union regulators from restricting data transfers by companies such as Google and Amazon across the Atlantic. The European Union and the United States have been racing to replace the Safe Harbour framework that was outlawed by a top EU court last year over concerns about U.S. mass surveillance, leaving thousands of companies in legal limbo. The announcement of the pact, which still requires political approval, coincides with two days of talks in Brussels, where European data protection authorities were poised to restrict data transfers unless a deal was clinched.

Delta software outage delays boarding for two dozen flights

(Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc delayed boarding for about two dozen flights on Tuesday as a result of a brief outage in its software that powers ground operations, a spokesman said. The Atlanta-based airline does not expect further delays due to the issue, and no flights already in the air were affected, the spokesman said. (Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in New York)

A low-key Trump ends social media silence

A low-key Trump ends social media silence

After what seemed like a very long silence by his standards, Donald Trump returned to Twitter on Tuesday morning, striking an uncharacteristically low-key tone. "My experience in Iowa was a great one. "Because I was told I could not do well in Iowa, I spent very little there - a fraction of Cruz & Rubio.

Exclusive: New European, U.S. data transfer pact imminent - sources

Exclusive: New European, U.S. data transfer pact imminent - sources

By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European and U.S. negotiators are on the brink of clinching a new transatlantic data transfer pact which should prevent EU regulators from restricting data transfers by firms, two people familiar with the talks said on Tuesday. The European Union and the United States have been racing to replace the previous data transfer framework called Safe Harbour. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck it down last year over concerns about U.S. mass surveillance, leaving thousands of companies in legal limbo.

EU to step up checks on Bitcoin, prepaid cards to fight terrorism

EU to step up checks on Bitcoin, prepaid cards to fight terrorism

By Francesco Guarascio BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission will propose by the end of June stricter rules on prepaid cards and virtual currencies in a bid to reduce anonymous payments and curb the financing of terrorism, documents released on Tuesday showed. Responding to attacks in Paris last November by Islamic State militants, the Commission is also considering imposing controls on bank transfers within the EU that are currently not monitored through the controversial EU-US Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme (TFTP). "We must cut off terrorists' access to funds and enable authorities to better track financial flows to prevent devastating attacks such as those in Paris," EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said in a statement.

With Cara Delevingne as muse, artist Yeo presents new portraits

With Cara Delevingne as muse, artist Yeo presents new portraits

The self-taught artist will present the portraits, which in age of constant selfies on social media also look at where the genre is headed, as part of a retrospective of his work in an exhibition opening in Denmark next month. "A lot of my work in the past has been about one painting of someone and trying to get everything about them into one image," Yeo told Reuters in an interview. "It had been in the back of my mind that it would be interesting to do the reverse and so rather than do a series of single images of people, to do the same subject over and over again." In one of the paintings seen by Reuters, Delevingne, who has carved out a successful career as the face of some of fashion's biggest names, is holding a mirror to her face.

Bernie Sanders shows strong momentum on social media

Bernie Sanders shows strong momentum on social media

By Amy Tennery and Anjali Athavaley NEW YORK (Reuters) - It may be too close to call between Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses on Monday, but the senator from Vermont was the clear winner on social media. Sanders maintained his strong social media presence during the caucuses, commanding the majority of the Twitter mentions over Clinton. Sanders was mentioned over 77,000 times on Twitter during the caucus, while Clinton was mentioned 52,000 times, according to social media sentiment analytics firm Brandwatch.

Bernie Sanders dominates social media conversation on Iowa: Facebook

Bernie Sanders dominates social media conversation on Iowa: Facebook

By Anjali Athavaley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders dominated overall conversation about the Iowa caucuses on Facebook Inc on Monday, the social network said. From midnight to noon CST (0600-1800 GMT), 42.2 percent of conversations about the caucuses was about the senator from Vermont, compared with 21.7 percent for Republican front runner Donald Trump and 13.1 percent for Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to Facebook. The caucuses held on Monday night are where the first votes are cast for the U.S. presidential nominations and where Clinton is locked in a tight race with Sanders to become the Democratic nominee for the November election.

EU, U.S. fail to strike data transfer pact deal by deadline

EU, U.S. fail to strike data transfer pact deal by deadline

European and U.S. negotiators missed a deadline to agree a key data transfer pact, the European Union's executive said, with talks snagged over a new oversight role and options for European citizens to seek redress over data privacy violations. While talks are continuing and a deal could be clinched in coming days, national data protection regulators from across Europe are poised to begin meetings on Tuesday to start restricting trans-Atlantic flows of personal data. "There have been constructive but difficult talks over the weekend," a spokesman for the European Commission said on Monday.

White House welcomes Facebook move to block private gun sales

White House welcomes Facebook move to block private gun sales

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Monday welcomed Facebook Inc's move last week to prohibit users from using its services to coordinate person-to-person private sales of firearms. "Obviously, we welcome steps from private entities like Facebook," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a press briefing, following Facebook's announcement on Friday. ...

Microsoft's secret weapon for growth in the cloud: email

Microsoft's secret weapon for growth in the cloud: email

By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - In reporting better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings on Thursday, Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella touted his company's success in the cloud. "Businesses everywhere are using the Microsoft Cloud as their digital platform to drive their ambitious transformation agendas," he said. What he did not mention was the role that one of the company's much older products played in the success of this new technology: Microsoft Exchange Server, which many of the world's largest companies rely on for email services.

China's largest online travel agency poised for 30 percent pop: Barron's

(Reuters) - Shares of Chinese online travel agency Ctrip.com International could gain as much as 30 percent this year as tail winds from the country's burgeoning travel industry spur rapid earnings growth, Barron's said. The stock, which trades on Nasdaq, plummeted 20 percent in recent months due to China's economic turbulence and a recent merger with money-losing peer Qunar. "China's online travel market could top America's by the end of the decade," the magazine said.

Factbox: 2016 presidential candidates on social media

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The 2016 contenders for the White House have used social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as campaign tools to an extent not seen previously in U.S. presidential politics. But usage and tactics vary widely across the campaigns of the 11 top Republicans and three top Democrats in the race. (Graphic: http://tmsnrt.rs/1UvTsE2) Following are some key social media usage and engagement statistics on the major candidates' campaigns. ...

Thai junta pressures Facebook, Line to censor online posts

Thai junta pressures Facebook, Line to censor online posts

Thailand's military government will try to persuade media companies Facebook and Line to comply with court orders to remove content it considers harmful to peace and order, a senior official said Sunday. The junta-appointed NRSA advisory council plans to meet executives from the two companies in the next three months, council member Major General Pisit Paoin told Reuters. The government has been granted court orders for the removal of content that damages the country and the monarchy and affects peace and order, which companies have rarely complied with.

Dolce & Gabbana put gay parents on handbags as Italy in heated debate

Dolce & Gabbana put gay parents on handbags as Italy in heated debate

Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have appeared to weigh in to an impassioned debate about gay people's rights in their home country with cozy designs showing same-sex couples with children. Last year, Dolce angered many when he used the common derogatory term "womb rental" for surrogacy, which is banned in Italy. Avid Instagram user Gabbana posted photos of handbags and t-shirts adorned with childlike drawings of family groups of two men or two women with children of various ages.

gadgets

iPhone 5se rumored to launch with pink color option, along with Silver and Space Grey

A pair of reliable sources have pegged March 15 as the date when Apple will introduce a trio of new products, including an iPhone 5se, an iPad Air 3, and a subtly enhanced version of the Apple Watch. As the date steadily approaches, more details surrounding the iPhone 5se have continued to roll in. The most recent report, sourced from the Japanese site Mac Otakara,  relays that the iPhone 5se will come in a trio of colors, including Silver, Space Gray, and interestingly enough, some form of pink hue. DON'T MISS:  This must be the sketchiest iPhone 7 rumor we’ve seen yet Specifically, the pink is said to be similar to the pink used on the 6th gen iPod

Unhackable brain scans may some day replace passwords

Security breaches affecting millions of users have come to light in recent years, yet we’re no better at protecting our personal data, or at picking good passwords , than we were before. But some companies are already looking at new ways to secure customer data that go beyond passwords and PINs. Fingerprint sensors are found on more and more smartphones in recent years, and retina scanners are coming too. But in the future, we may have an even more advanced way of logging into online services and protecting our data: Brain scans. UP NEXT:  20 paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free right

Need some juice? Here’s how to charge your iPhone almost twice as fast

If your iPhone dies and you need to juice up as quickly as possible, there's an incredible and little-known tip that can help you charge up your iPhone faster than ever. While most people know that charging your iPhone in Airplane Mode can help speed things along by ensuring that your device doesn't tax it self by updating apps in the background or perhaps straining for a weak cellular signal, this particular tip can really be a lifesaver when you need a charge in a pinch. The simple solution? Charge your iPhone with your iPad charger. Does Apple recommend this? Is this even allowed? Actually, yes. There's even an Apple support page which explicitly states that

BlackBerry cuts 200 jobs in Ontario and Florida to trim costs

BlackBerry cuts 200 jobs in Ontario and Florida to trim costs

BlackBerry Ltd is cutting 200 jobs at its hometown headquarters in Ontario and in Florida in order to trim costs, it said on Friday, as the smartphone maker moves to turn around its fortunes and put more emphasis on its enterprise software business. "As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce," the company said in an emailed statement. The layoffs will affect 75 manufacturing jobs in Sunrise, Florida, a state government website showed.

Batman v. Superman, Miles Ahead, Get a Job, and 6 other new trailers of the week

It's been a busy week for movie trailers and we're here to recap the biggest ones including Batman v. Superman, Zoolander 2, and the new Ice Age. Without further ado, here are some of the movie trailers you shouldn't miss out on this week. DON’T MISS: Fresh iPad Air 3 leak reveals more details about Apple's most exciting tablet in years Batman v. Superman The latest trailer for Batman v. Superman might have been released for Asian markets, but you shouldn't miss it. The movie premieres March 25th, so we'll soon see these giants clash on the big screen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpGhE7Jeuiw Creative Control Premiering on March 11th, Creative Control will be available on Amazon, telling the sci-fi story of a man trying to manage

Follow these 5 steps to keep yourself safe from hackers

No matter how secure you think your devices are, someone could access your data if they put their mind to it. It's just the reality of the Information Age, but you should still do everything in your power to make yourself less of a target for hackers . DON'T MISS:  20 paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free right now In an extensive piece for The Wall Street Journal this week , Geoffrey A. Fowler laid out a five-step checklist that shouldn't take more than an hour to complete, and might be the difference between having your data stolen or not. Here are just a few of the most important steps you should take: First, update everything. Start with the operating

One of the best accounts of what it was like to work with Steve Jobs

Ever since his death in 2011, we've heard lots of different accounts of what it was really like to work with Steve Jobs . One of the best ones was actually written very shortly after his death but is becoming popular again after being discovered by a Hacker News user. Glenn Reid, who had previously worked at Adobe, NeXT and Apple, wrote a testimonial about working Jobs right after he passed away and it's a really interesting read. UP NEXT:  20 paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free right now Among other things, he discusses Jobs' general approach to designing software: Steve would draw

10 of the best closing shots in movie history

On Wednesday, we shared a video that showed us what it would be like if movies ended as soon as one of the characters said the title . It was genuinely funny, but it got us thinking — what are some of the best endings in movie history? Naturally, that led us straight to another YouTube video, this one from CineFix , focusing on the best closing shots ever filmed. UP NEXT:  20 paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free right now We cover videos like these fairly frequently, but what makes this one stand out is how the choices are

20 paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free right now

This week has been packed full of huge lists of paid  iPhone  and  iPad apps on sale for free, so there's no better way to close it out than by publishing our longest list of al time. We've got 20 new premium iOS apps for you today that are all on sale for free right now, and there are even more apps that are still free in yesterday's post if you want to go back and look through those as well. MUST READ:  Dollars and Sense: How Samsung became Samsung, and why Apple is still Apple 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

Apple Music lets Android users do something you can’t do on your iPhone

It's probably fair to assume that a majority of Apple Music's 15 million+ subscribers own an iPhone or an iPad, but users of the Android app are getting something that iOS users will almost certainly never see: SD card support. DON'T MISS:  Dollars and Sense: How Samsung became Samsung, and why Apple is still Apple This week, Apple updated the Apple Music app on Google Play with a full schedule for Beats 1 shows, new Browse My Music by Composers and Compilations options and, yes, the ability to save and listen to music offline with an SD card. If you're an iPhone or an iPad user, you're likely painfully aware that SD cards aren't compatible

13 paid iPhone apps on sale for free today

Yesterday's list of paid  iPhone  and  iPad apps on sale for free was our biggest of the week, but it was also one of our best thanks to the great apps we found. In fact, a bunch of them are still free downloads, so go and see for yourself . Today's list isn't too shabby either, and it includes 13 premium iOS apps that are on sale for free for a limited time. DON'T MISS:  Dollars and Sense: How Samsung became Samsung, and why Apple is still Apple 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

Wild new theory says Earth may actually be two different planets

A new theory says Earth is made of two planets, rather than just one. Apparently, our planet is the result of a collision that helped map the course of both Earth as we know it and the moon. DON’T MISS: Fresh iPad Air 3 leak reveals more details about Apple's most exciting tablet in years According to new research from the University of California, Earth and a hypothesized early planet called Theia collided, and the two planets fused together 4.5 billion years ago. That impact also formed our moon, Science Alert explains . The initial working theory was that the Earth and Theia only side-swiped each other, sending the moon into orbit and then flying away into

What happens on the Internet in one minute?

The Internet is an amazing place that gets both better and worse every minute. The web is advancing at a rapid rate, with newly created content generating massive amounts of traffic for an audience that’s also steadily increasing. Currently, there are 3.2 billion people online, and companies including Google and Facebook want to connect even more people to the web. One business intelligence startup set out to find out what goes on online and it has released an infographic that shows what happened on the Internet in a minute last year. DON’T MISS: Fresh iPad Air 3 leak reveals more details about Apple's most exciting tablet in years According to Domo, every single minute of the day,

Explained: Why your iPhone 6s keeps dying suddenly, and how to fix it

In the grand scheme of things, Apple's iPhone and iPad device lineup is remarkably stable. No computer is free of all bugs and no computer ever will be completely free of issues, but iOS has become quite stable in recent years — which is much appreciated, since things were a bit rocky for a while there. Of course, iOS 9's overall stability doesn't make it any less annoying when a troublesome bug does rear its ugly head, and such is the case with a new one that's causing iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus handsets to suddenly die without any warning. Thankfully though, it looks like there's a quick fix. MUST WATCH: 

15 paid iPhone apps on sale for free right now

Behold, the biggest list of paid  iPhone  and  iPad apps on sale for free that we'll run this week. Yesterday's post got plenty of traction and several of the apps contained within are still free downloads if you grab them right now . We're keeping the momentum going on Wednesday though, and we've got 15 fresh apps for you in today's post. As always, these sales could be over at any time so be sure to check them out as soon as you can if you're hoping to get them for free. MUST WATCH:  Man captures video after explosion rips a hole in passenger plane mid-flight These are

11 paid iPhone apps on sale for free today

Our regular column on paid  iPhone  and  iPad apps on sale for free continues to be some of the most popular content we publish each day. Why? Because if there's one thing people love more than new iOS apps, it's new premium iOS apps they don't have to pay for. Today's post includes 11 different apps — be sure to check them all out before these sales end. FYI: There are also still a few paid apps on sale for free in yesterday's post . DON’T MISS:  New app wants to make it so you never have to deal with

It looks like Apple’s spring event is taking place on March 15th

While we still don't know for sure when Apple will have its big spring product launch, a report from the reliable Mark Gurman says that the company is looking to have its special press event on March 15th. Gurman cautions that this date could still change, however, because the event is still a month and a half away. FROM EARLIER:  Which carrier has the fastest LTE network in America? Based on earlier reports, we expect Apple to unveil a new 4-inch iPhone model called the iPhone 5se, a third-generation iPad Air and some new Apple Watch models. The iPhone 5se is expected to feature a faster A9 processor and an M9 chip that has support for always-on Siri activation so

BlackBerry exec: ‘The future is really Android’

Yes, it's really time to start digging a grave for BlackBerry 10 . In an interview with India's The Economic Times , BlackBerry exec Damian Tay explained that "the future is really Android" and said that the company may completely ditch its own BlackBerry 10 operating system if it can make Android secure enough to get security certifications from governments that still rely on BlackBerry devices for secure communications. Should that happen, we should expect BlackBerry to become an Android-only smartphone vendor. MUST SEE:  Google is going to give Chrome a big visual makeover – here are the first images "We went for Android essentially for its app ecosystem," explained Tay, who serves as BlackBerry's senior director, APAC product management. "In addition,

The Super Bowl's most memorable trick plays

The Super Bowl's most memorable trick plays

The appetite for gadgets and gimmicks at the Super Bowl is typically low. Surprising the other team with a safety blitz or deep pass, sure, but the risk of true trickery can often seem too steep with a title on the line.

12 paid iPhone apps that are free downloads for a limited time

As far as paid  iPhone  and  iPad apps on sale for free go, today's posts is one of the best ones we've run in quite some time. Not only are there a healthy number of apps on today's list — 12 in total — but they span a wide range of genres so there should definitely be something for everyone. DON’T MISS:  8 reasons I still can’t leave the iPhone and switch to Android 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.

Fresh iPad Air 3 leak reveals more details about Apple’s most exciting tablet in years

Apple's November launch of the iPad Pro didn't really do much to alleviate slumping iPad sales. In fact, Apple's most recent earnings report revealed that year over year iPad sales were down 25% while iPad-based revenue was down 21% year over year. Nonetheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly stated that he remains confident in the iPad's long-term success. That being the case, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Apple will reportedly release an iPad Air 3 sometime in early 2016. In turn, the volume of iPad Air 3 rumors sprouting up has started to increase substantially over the past few weeks. DON'T MISS:  6 ways Android outshines my iPhone 6s Most recently, a new leak of a purported iPad Air

BlackBerry wins approval to expand share buyback program

BlackBerry wins approval to expand share buyback program

BlackBerry Ltd has received approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange to more than double its existing share buyback program and repurchase up to 5.8 percent of its public float, the smartphone maker said on Friday. The approval will allow the Waterloo, Ontario-based company to buy back up to 27 million shares, up from its earlier plan to repurchase 12 million. The total public float as of June 22 was 464,723,304 common shares.

Image of Asia: The disorienting view of virtual reality

Image of Asia: The disorienting view of virtual reality

In this photo by Wally Santana, a video game player experiences a virtual reality headset at the Taipei Game Show in Taiwan, which attracted more than 130 game companies and gaming teams from 24 countries. The companies unveiled their latest games and gadgets, and enthusiasts got a chance to sample the new releases. Many of the players who tried the virtual reality headsets had to adjust their balance and coordination in the initial moments of wearing the headset because the scenes were so lifelike they were disorienting.

Tesla is reportedly planning to unveil two new cars in March

All of a sudden, it looks like Apple's March product launch event won't be the most exciting one in the tech world. Seth Weintraub is reporting that Tesla is planning to announce two new cars at an event this coming March and it sounds like both of them are going to be variations of the highly anticipated Model 3. FROM EARLIER:  Hot iPad Air 3 rumor might make you care about tablets again "One version is a sedan and another is a small crossover built on the same platform," Weintraub reveals. "I can’t verify if the crossover is the Model Y that Elon Musk mentioned in a Tweetstorm last year, but that would make some sense. We’ve heard that this vehicle

Report claims Tesla’s game-changing Model 3 will be unveiled in March

All of a sudden, it looks like Apple's March product launch event won't be the most exciting one in the tech world. Seth Weintraub is reporting that Tesla is planning to announce two new cars at an event this coming March and it sounds like both of them are going to be variations of the highly anticipated Model 3. FROM EARLIER:  Hot iPad Air 3 rumor might make you care about tablets again "One version is a sedan and another is a small crossover built on the same platform," Weintraub reveals. "I can’t verify if the crossover is the Model Y that Elon Musk mentioned in a Tweetstorm last year, but that would make some sense. We’ve heard that this vehicle

Hot iPad Air 3 rumor might make you care about tablets again

When was the last time you really cared about tablets? If you're like me, it was probably around the time that Apple unveiled its third-generation iPad that had a Retina display. That was all the way back in 2012 . Ever since then, despite the release of the iPad mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro models, tablets have gotten less and less interesting. What can Apple do to make us care about the iPad again? One new rumor indicates that its upcoming iPad Air 3 is going to wow us all with a beautiful 4K display. MUST SEE:  8 reasons I still can't leave the iPhone and switch to Android Digitimes' supply chain sources claim  that vendors General Interface Solution and

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

Behold: our biggest list of paid  iPhone  and  iPad apps on sale for free of the week. There were so many solid applications being discounted today that we had trouble narrowing things down, so we included a whopping 15 apps in today's post. If you somehow still need even more choices, you'll find a few additional options in yesterday's post, where several premium apps are still on sale . DON'T MISS:  8 reasons I still can’t leave the iPhone and switch to Android These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no

Samsung Elec warns of difficult 2016 as smartphone troubles spread

Samsung Elec warns of difficult 2016 as smartphone troubles spread

By Se Young Lee SEOUL (Reuters) - Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd warned on Thursday of possible weaker earnings this year due to softer sales of gadgets such as smartphones, a trend that is also hurting rival Apple Inc and major chipmakers. The South Korean firm's warning came a day after Apple shares fell more than 6.5 percent, the biggest percentage drop in two years, as the iPhone maker forecast its first quarterly sales drop in 13 years. Slowing economic growth in China and weaker emerging market currencies are undercutting sales of electronics ranging from televisions to personal computers, spelling trouble not only for Samsung and Apple but also for their suppliers and the broader industry.

Report reveals everything Apple will unveil at its upcoming March event

Apple is going to have a big event in March to roll out some new products, but it looks like those products won't include the next-generation Apple Watch.  9to5Mac's Mark Gurman has written a new report that confirms everything we'll see at Apple's March event, including the next-generation iPad Air and the new four-inch iPhone 5se. FROM EARLIER:  How Apple might fix the biggest complaint about the iPhone’s design When it comes to the iPad Air 3, Gurman writes that Apple has been testing versions of the device that are compatible with its Apple Pencil stylus, although his sources don't know whether there will be

12 paid iPhone apps on sale for free right now

Apple's record holiday-quarter earnings weren't enough to get investors excited , so maybe this batch of paid  iPhone  and  iPad apps on sale for free will do the trick. We've got a hardy helping of 12 apps on today's list and there's no telling when these sales might end, so be sure to hurry up and grab them while they're still free downloads. DON'T MISS:  Apple and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Record-Breaking Quarter 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.

Will Apple finally reveal Apple Watch sales figures today?

Tim Cook, and Apple executives in general, simply love numbers. Curious about how many iPhones Apple sold during a launch weekend? They'll tell you. Wonder how much faster the A9 processor is compared to its predecessor? Not to worry, Phil Schiller has a chart for that. Indeed, Apple's affinity for harping on impressive data points and remarkable sales figures is so deeply embedded within the company's DNA that Steve Jobs once made a pastime out of blasting Amazon for its refusal to release Kindle sales figures. “Usually, if they sell a lot of something, you want to tell everybody," Jobs once said. Apple may not divulge information about hardware specs, but the company sure does enjoy bragging about sales figures.

wireless

BlackBerry cuts 200 jobs in Ontario and Florida to trim costs

BlackBerry cuts 200 jobs in Ontario and Florida to trim costs

BlackBerry Ltd is cutting 200 jobs at its hometown headquarters in Ontario and in Florida in order to trim costs, it said on Friday, as the smartphone maker moves to turn around its fortunes and put more emphasis on its enterprise software business. "As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce," the company said in an emailed statement. The layoffs will affect 75 manufacturing jobs in Sunrise, Florida, a state government website showed.

15 WhatsApp tips, tricks and hacks to help you text like a pro

Earlier this week, Facebook announced that its WhatsApp messenger app now has more than one billion users , an impressive number considering that Facebook Messenger has less than that (over 800 million). WhatsApp works on all the popular platforms out there, including iPhone , Android and the web, and the app has recently become freeware, as Facebook lifted the previous subscription fee . While some users may have intimate knowledge of the way WhatsApp works, others might be new to the chat app. If you're one of them, the following 15 tips and tricks should come in handy. DON’T MISS: Intern caught sleeping on his second day of work gets trolled by the entire

Apple Watch market share blows away every other smartwatch, including Android Wear

Apple Watch market share blows away every other smartwatch, including Android Wear

There are a plethora of smartwatches and other wearables available today, but it appears that one device has far surpassed all the others. Canalys, an independent analyst company, released its smartwatch report for 2015, and let’s just say the Apple Watch kicked some serious butt. According to Canalys, Apple sold over 12 million Apple Watches during 2015. That’s well above the seven million estimate that was reported in November 2015. The firm says that Apple “cashed in on holiday sales” with an additional five million units sold. Related: Smartwatch sales will hit 50 million this year, thanks to Apple The total of 12 million units represents two-thirds of all smartwatch shipments. If that’s not impressive enough, consider the fact that other manufacturers had a four-month head start, since the Apple Watch didn’t debut until April 2015. The Gear S2 performed better than previous Gear smartwatches to help Samsung take second place, followed by Pebble in third, and Huawei in fourth. Huawei is the only one of the four companies with an Android Wear smartwatch, so that doesn’t bode well for Google. Unfortunately Canalys didn’t release actual numbers for each of these companies. This news comes at the heels of a report from Gartner Research, which estimates that 50 million smartwatches will be sold this year. This means that Apple could sell as many as 33 million smartwatches. on the admittedly uncertain assumption that the company continues to represent two-thirds of total sales. Related: Xiaomi Mi Band review Canalys also released numbers for basic bands, which consist primarily of fitness trackers. Sales of these wearables exceeded 37 million units during 2015, and showed Fitbit comfortably in the lead. Xiaomi came in second place after shipping 12 million Mi Bands during 2015. Also watch: Apple to Offer Trade-in Credit on Broken iPhones Please enable Javascript to watch this video

LinkedIn shares fall 40 percent, reducing market cap by $10 billion

LinkedIn shares fall 40 percent, reducing market cap by $10 billion

The new year is not looking good for the business and career social networking site LinkedIn. CNBC reports that the company’s shares plummeted by 40 percent in early market trading on Friday morning, reducing its market capitalization by $10 billion. Going into today’s trading session, LinkedIn shares saw their worst daily performance since the company went public in 2011, even as the firm fights off downgrades. LinkedIn reported fourth quarter earnings that surpassed analysts’ estimates, but that didn’t stop the shares from falling in Thursday’s after-hours trading. The company expects revenues of $820 million and non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) earnings of 55 cents per share, while Wall Street expected nearly $870 million in revenue and earnings of 75 cents per share. In addition, LinkedIn’s guidance for first quarter adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) fell short of Wall Street’s expectations — by nearly $25 million. “Our strategy in 2016 will increasingly focus on a narrower set of high value, high impact initiatives with the goal of strengthening and driving leverage across our entire portfolio of businesses,” LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said. “Our roadmap will be supported by greater emphasis on simplicity, prioritization, and ultimate ROI and investment impact.” Related : LinkedIn launches major mobile app revamp for iOS and Android LinkedIn’s share prices have fallen by nearly 50 percent so far in 2016. In the fourth quarter of 2015, LinkedIn’s revenue was 34 percent higher than it was for the equivalent period the year before. The company reported that it ended the year with 414 million members. Hard times for LinkedIn are compounded by its announcement on Thursday that it will stop selling ads that appear outside its network, according to a report by Ad Age. It’s been just a year since the company began using technology that lets advertisers access user data and target LinkedIn news feeds, similar to what is done on Facebook and Twitter. The company says it could lose $50 million in revenue, even though the upkeep and expansion costs of this type of marketing is very high. “While initial demand was solid, the product required more resources than anticipated to scale,” LinkedIn CFO Steve Sordello said. Also watch: LinkedIn Launches Major Mobile App Revamp Please enable Javascript to watch this video

How to download and install the Android Marshmallow OTA update on Nexus devices

How to download and install the Android Marshmallow OTA update on Nexus devices

Google has unleashed the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus devices, which means it will eventually hit all devices as an over-the-air (OTA) update. Unfortunately, that could take several weeks, which can feel like an eternity. The good news is that you can download the official OTA update straight from Google and manually install it yourself. This might seem like a daunting task, so that’s why we put together this complete guide explaining exactly how it’s done. Just follow the steps outlined below, and you will be enjoying Marshmallow goodness in no time. You can even follow the same steps to install subsequent Android Marshmallow updates when they come out. We will add those update links as they get released, so be sure to bookmark this page for future reference. Updated on 02-05-2016 by Robert Nazarian: Added in OTA links for the January and February 2016 security updates for all Nexus devices. Also added categories for the Pixel C and Nexus 10 (security updates only). There are actually two ways to manually update your Nexus device. The first option is to flash the factory image, which is like installing the complete Android software and firmware from scratch. This isn’t a bad way to go, but it requires a factory reset if your bootloader isn’t unlocked. You can check out our complete instructions for flashing the factory image here. The second method is installing the OTA update, which is what this guide is about. This is the same exact update that Google will automatically send to your device at some point in the future. The only difference is that you will get it right away if you follow the steps below. We like this method, since a factory reset isn’t required. This means that you won’t lose your data, but we cannot stress enough how important it is that you back up all your important data in case something goes wrong. So please make sure everything is backed up before proceeding . Click on a link to jump to a topic: Installing ADB and Fastboot Downloading the over-the-air (OTA) update zip file for your device Enable USB debugging and connecting your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Installing the over-the-air (OTA) update Next Page: Installing ADB and Fastboot Installing ADB and Fastboot In order to send the OTA update to your Nexus device, you must have ADB and Fastboot installed on your desktop computer. ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge and it allows you to send commands to your Android device over USB through a terminal/command-line interface such as Windows Command Prompt. Fastboot allows you to flash images to your Android device. You don’t need Fastboot for these instructions, but we figured it deserved a mention, since it comes packaged together with ADB. There are two methods to getting ADB and Fastboot on your computer. The first is to download and install the Android SDK tools from the Android developer site. This method will work for Windows, Mac, and Linux machines. If you’re a Windows user, you can download and install Minimal ADB and Fastboot instead, which is actually the easiest method. However, we recommend installing the Android SDK tools because it will also give you the Google USB drivers at the same time, which you will need in order for your computer to recognize your Nexus device. If you do decide to install Minimal ADB and Fastboot, you can still download the Google USB drivers separately. We will show you how to do that later. Follow the instructions below for either  installing the Android SDK tools or Minimal ADB and Fastboot. Download and install the Android SDK tools Click here to download and install the Android SDK Tools from Google’s developer site. There are choices for Windows, Mac, and Linux. These instructions are for Windows machines. When asked what directory to install the software to, we recommend that you set it to C:android-sdk.  If you choose a different location, just make sure you remember it. Once the Android SDK Tools are installed, launch it from the Start Menu. The SDK Manager will open. Just uncheck everything except Android SDK Platform-tools and Google USB Driver . Android SDK Platform-tools is at the top and Google USB Driver is toward the bottom. Click on Install 2 packages at the bottom right. Check Accept license and click Install . ADB and Fastboot will now reside in the C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder if you followed step 2 as outlined. If you chose a different directory, than ADB and Fastboot will reside in the platform-tools folder under whatever location you chose to install the Android SDK Tools to in step 2. Download and install Minimal ADB and Fastboot Click here to download minimal_adb_fastboot_v1.3.1_setup.exe from the XDA forums. Note: the version number could be different if a newer version is released after this post has been published. Launch the  minimal_adb_fastboot_v1.3.1_setup.exe file. When asked what directory to install the software to, we recommend that you set it to C:android-sdkplatform-tools  since we will be using that location for the rest of this guide. If you choose a different location, just make sure you remember it. Next Page: Downloading the over-the-air (OTA) update zip file for your device Downloading the over-the-air (OTA) update zip file for your device Now it’s time to download the appropriate OTA zip file for your device and place it in the folder where ADB and Fastboot is. If you followed our instructions in the Installing ADB and Fastboot section , it’s in the C:android-sdkplatform-tools  folder. Important: You want to make sure that your device is currently on the “From” Build Number that’s listed for each device. To see that, just open Settings > About Phone and scroll down to About Phone . Now scroll down to the bottom and look at the Build Number . Make sure it matches the “From” listed below for the device that you’re upgrading. If you didn’t receive a security update that rolled out before the Android version update you want to install, be sure to download and install that first. The zip file will have a rather large name, so feel free to rename it, so you don’t have to type out the entire file name in the CMD Window. Alternatively, you can paste it in the CMD prompt window by pressing ALT and the spacebar , then choose Edit  before selecting  Paste . Download the appropriate OTA zip file from one of the links below for your device, and make sure to place it in the folder where ADB and Fastboot is. Note:  Unfortunately we are not always able to get download links for monthly security updates so please make sure your current version number matches up with the “From” build in both the descriptions below and actual file names. You’ll also notice that there are multiple version build update links for some devices since not everyone receives the security update before receiving version builds. This means you can install a previous monthly security update at the same time as an Android version update. Nexus 5 (hammerhead) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58N (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58N (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29S (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29S (6.0.1) To MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 5X (bullhead) From MDB08L (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MDB08M (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29P (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29P (6.0.1) To MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 6 (shamu) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To LMY48T (5.1.1) October Security Update From LMY48T (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58N (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58K (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MRA58N (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MRA58R (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MRA58X (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29S (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29S (6.0.1) to MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 6 (shamu) Project Fi version From LVY48F (5.1.1) To LVY48H (5.1.1) October Security Update From LVY48H (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) 6.0.1 Link Coming Soon Nexus 6 (shamu) AT&T version From LMY48M (5.1.1) To LMY48W (5.1.1) October Security Update From LMY48Y (5.1.1) To LMY48Z (5.1.1) December Security Update From LMY48W (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) (Link coming soon) 6.0.1 Link Coming Soon Nexus 6 (shamu) T-Mobile version From LYZ28K (5.1.1) To LYZ28M (5.1.1) October Security Update From LYZ28M (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MRA58X (6.01) To MMB29K (6.0.1) Nexus 6P (angler) From MDB08L (6.0) To MMB29M (6.0.1) From MDB08M (6.0) To MMB29M (6.0.1) From MMB29M (6.0.1) To MMB29P (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29N (6.0.1) To MMB29P (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29P (6.0.1) To MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi (razor) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58U (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58U (6.0) To MRA58V (6.0) 2nd November Security Update From MRA58V (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29O (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29O (6.0.1) To MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 7 (2013) LTE (razorg) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58V (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58V (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From LMY48Z (5.1.1) To MMB29O (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29O (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MRA59B (6.0.1) To MMB29O (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29O (6.0.1) To MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 9 Wi-Fi (volantis) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To LMY48T (5.1.1) October Security Update From LMY48T (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58N (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58N (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29S (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29S (6.0.1) To MMB29R (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexis 9 LTE (volantisg) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To LMY48T (5.1.1) October Security Update From LMY48T (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58N (6.0) November Security Update MRA58N (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29S (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29S (6.0.1) To MMB29R (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus Player (fugu) From LMY48N (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58N (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58N (6.0) To MMB29M (6.0.1) From MMB29M (6.0.1) To MMB29T (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29T (6.0.1) To MMB29U (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Pixel C (dragon_ryu) From MXB48J (6.0.1) To MXB48T (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 10 (mantaray)  – security updates only From LMY48Z (5.1.1) To LMY49F (5.1.1) January 2016 Security Update From LMY49F (5.1.1) To LMY49G (5.1.1) February 2016 Security Update **Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (2012), and Nexus 10 devices are not expected to receive the Android Marshmallow update. We will add links for those devices if things change. Next Page: Enable USB debugging and connect your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Enable USB debugging and connect your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Now you need to make sure USB debugging is enabled on your Nexus device. Open Settings on your Nexus device. If  you do not see Developer Options toward the bottom of the Settings screen on your device, follow these steps to activate them. Tap on About Phone and find the Build Number . Tap on the Build Number  seven times and the Developer Options will appear on the main page of the Settings . Tap on the Back key to see the Developer Options . Tap on Developer Options . Check to enable USB Debugging . Before you connect your device to the USB port on your computer, you want to make sure you have the appropriate drivers installed. You should be all set if you opted to install the Android SDK Tools. If you instead chose to install Minimal ADB and Fastboot, you can grab them here. Since you’re working with a Nexus device, you specifically want the Google USB Drivers. The download will be a zip file, so extract the contents where you wish, and remember the location. Now connect your device via a USB cable and you are ready to flash the zip file that you extracted earlier. If you’re connecting your Nexus device to your computer for the first time, you will get a popup box on your Nexus device stating what the computer’s RSA Key is. Just check Always Allow   From This Computer and tap on OK . If your Nexus device doesn’t show the RSA key popup, then open the notification panel and select USB For Charging Only  and change the mode to Transfer Photos ( PTP) . If your Nexus device still doesn’t show the RSA key popup, then follow these instructions: On your Windows desktop, go to your Control Panel then Device Manager . You should see your Nexus device  under Other Devices with a Yellow ! mark on it. Right-click on it and select  update driver . Choose Browse my computer for driver software , and choose the directory where the Google USB Drivers are. If you chose to install the Android SDK tools and followed our instructions, they should be in the  C:android-sdkextrasgoogleusb driver folder. If you chose to manually download the Google USB drivers, just navigate to the folder that you archived the contents of the Zip file in. If your Nexus device still doesn’t show the RSA key approval popup, then open the command prompt on your desktop and navigate to the folder where ADB and Fastboot reside. If you followed our instructions from the Installing ADB and Fastboot section, it will be in the C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder. Just type cdandroid-sdkplatform-tools at the command prompt in Windows. If ADB and Fastboot are somewhere else, just navigate to that location instead. Type “ADB devices” and you should get the following result: The RSA key approval popup should now be visible on your Nexus device. Just check Always Allow From This Computer and tap  OK . Type “ADB devices” again, and you should get the following result with a different device key: You are now ready to install the OTA update. Next Page: Installing the over-the-air (OTA) update Installing the over-the-air (OTA) update Open the Command Prompt in Windows or Terminal on a Mac and navigate to the folder that ADB and Fastboot are installed in. Again, if you followed our instructions from the Installing ADB and Fastboot section , it will be in the  C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder. Just type “cdandroid-sdkplatform-tools”   at the prompt in Windows. If ADB and Fastboot are somewhere else, just navigate to that location instead. To make things easier, so you don’t have to type out long directories, you can also paste it by pressing ALT and the spacebar , then choose Edit before selecting  Paste . If you’re using a Mac, you need to add the platform tools directory to your $PATH. In terminal, type “sudo nano/etc/paths” .  Now enter your password and go to the bottom of the file and enter the full path of the “platform tools” directory. Hit control-x to quit and enter Y to save. The following ADB commands are for Windows machines. If you’re using a Mac, just add “ ./” before each command, for example: “ ./adb reboot bootloader”. Assuming you device is already connected to your computer via USB and USB Debugging is enabled, you need to re-start it in fastboot mode. Follow one of the two methods below. Option A may be preferable because it’s another confirmation that your computer recognizes your Nexus device. A) Type “adb reboot bootloader” B) Turn your device off, then turn it back on while holding down the relevant key combinations for your device. For many devices it’s Volume Up + Volume Down + Power . You can see what your device’s key combinations are here. The   fastboot  menu will appear and you should see Start in the top right. Press Volume Up till it changes to Recovery . Press the Power button to select it. You will see an Android with a red exclamation point icon, press and hold the Power key , then press the Volume up key to show the Recovery Menu. You will get a new menu. Navigate to apply update from adb and select it by pressing the Power button . In the command window — make sure you are in the directory where ADB and Fastboot reside — type: “adb sideload [the full name of the file].zip” without the brackets around the file name. The update will install and reach 100 percent. Reboot and enjoy the latest version of Android Marshmallow. Previous Updates: Updated on 01-08-2016 by Robert Nazarian: Added in OTA 6.0.1 links for all Nexus devices Updated on 12-15-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in links for November security updates as well as 6.0.1 OTA links for most Nexus devices. Updated on 10-16-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added new OTA links for Nexus 6 devices.

BlackBerry confirms more layoffs, but how many is unclear

BlackBerry confirms more layoffs, but how many is unclear

BlackBerry's woes continue. MobileSyrup says that it has heard from multiple sources that the number of people being laid off in Waterloo is closer to 1,000, and that the BlackBerry 10 team and the Devices team were both hit especially hard. BlackBerry's statement seems to belie that report, but nevertheless does confirm more layoffs happened recently.

Tackle Super Bowl 50 with these super apps

Tackle Super Bowl 50 with these super apps

It’s the Super Bowl — by no means does the ritualistic event need any introduction. Before you begin to stuff yourself with nachos and guacamole on Sunday, check out these apps to amplify your Big Game experience. Updated on 02-07-2016 by Julian Chokkattu:   Removed Homegating, Crossy Road, NBC Sports Live Extra, and Big Emoji Keyboard. Added NFL Mobile, Road to 50, Levi’s Stadium, and Gamblino.  Clippit Sporting events are all about the highlights. Those are the moments that people will be talking about and GIFing for months after the fact. Clippit is your tool for taking the most talked about moments and making them shareable. The app captures up to 30 seconds of live footage and turns it into a shareable clip that you send over social media in just a few taps. Available on: iOS  Android NFL Mobile Maybe you’re stuck in a cab or at work, late for a Super Bowl party. If you’re a Verizon customer, don’t fret, as you can always watch the game live through the NFL Mobile app. If you’re not on the Verizon bandwagon, the app still lets you watch highlights, read stories, and up-to-the-minute scoring. You can also track league and team leader statistics from major categories and browse the NFL Shop store, should you want to pick up some memorabilia. Available on: iOS Android Ibotta When you’re doing your shopping before the Super Bowl, picking all the necessities to entertain fans with a hunger for snacks as strong as their one for football, make sure to take this shopping app with you. Not only will you earn rewards and money back when you make your purchases, but you’ll also see some special offers specifically related to the big game. Available on: iOS Android Gamblino Place your bets on a variety of topics in Gamblino, and share them with your friends. A recent update to this gambling app allows users to easily set up sports pools, with more than 75 props to choose from, ranging from the coin flip result to whether there will be a safety. Just choose your prop and send it to your friends for them to join, and voila, you have your own private sports pool. Available on: iOS Android Odds Big game, big bets. There is always money on the line in the Super Bowl, on just about everything from the coin toss to the final score. Even if you don’t have money riding on the game, the insights provided for gamblers can give you an interesting look at the game. Plus you can see win probability, which Packers fans will tell you means nothing—even when it’s at 99 percent with 5 minutes remaining. Available on: iOS Android Thuuz When there are over 100 million people watching the same thing at the same time, you can feel like you’re being left out if you aren’t up on what’s happening. Thuuz is your loophole to catching the good moments without watching the whole game. It’ll alert you to the big plays and you can spend the rest of the game watching the Puppy Bowl. Available on: iOS Android Levi’s Stadium Got tickets to the game? Consider yourself one of the lucky few. This year’s stadium experience comes with an app that helps you find your seat via turn-by-turn navigation, shares your social media photos to the big screen, acts as your ticket, and most importantly lets you order and have food delivered straight to your seat. You can also see the game live through your phone in the stadium, and watch play-by-play video replays. Available on: iOS Android Road to 50 It’s Super Bowl 50 — it seems deserving of its own app, and that’s exactly what Road to 50 is all about. Join locals in the Bay Area for football-related events leading up to the Big Game. You can add these events to your calendar, and also explore a map of the Bay Area and follow events like the 50th Mile. The app also offers location-based alerts for what’s going on in the area, as well as transportation information, photos, and videos related to all things Super Bowl 50. Available on: iOS Android Windows Phone Also watch: Google tackles takedowns, LG watch SNAFU, shoot fireballs! Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Best app deals of the day! 10 paid iPhone apps on sale for a limited time

Best app deals of the day! 10 paid iPhone apps on sale for a limited time

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 occassion VLC Remote Control your VLC Media Player from your smartphone, tablet, or wearable with VLC Remote. It can stream most kinds of media files, so you won’t want to miss out on this one now that it’s gone free. Available on: iOS Red Onion Deep Net enthusiasts, this one’s for you. Go into the dark Web with Red Onion, the browser that’ll let you onto the Internet privately and anonymously. Access the entirety of the Web without restrictions and in complete privacy. Available on: iOS CLZ Games Having trouble keeping track of all your video games? Now you can catalogue your entire collection. Auto-download the cover art, descriptions, publishers, and developers of all your games by just entering their titles or scanning their barcodes. You can also do it with your books. Available on: iOS Arjun Gupte collection The entirety of this creative developer’s collection is currently free on the iTunes store. Choose from any of his educational, kid-friendly games that are as fun as they are informative. Available on: iOS Alphabet Tracer Remember when we did these with actual pen and paper? No longer — the children of today learn to write and trace their letters with this free and dandy iPhone app. Available on: iOS Social Media Management Be your own social media manager with this app that lets you access all your social platforms in one place. Stay up-to-date on all your friends’ activity without any hassle whatsoever. Available on: iOS iPicBox Heralded as “the most beautiful and powerful picture manager…in the world,” iPicBox lets you collect and store all your favorite photos in a secure folder, and share them with the people who matter most. Available on: iOS Make A Call Ah yes, the classic “I have to take this call” excuse — now in app form! Just upload a caller’s photo and a voice, and you’ll be able to make and take fake calls instantly and secretly. Available on: iOS iLovecraft Venture into this strange world and “test your sanity and integrity.” This is a truly immersive experience that will put you directly into the mind of one of the world’s greatest horror writers. Complete with music and sound effects, you’ll practically be in a movie. Available on: iOS Incognito Record videos or take photos with Incognito, a text-controlled app. Type a command into the app and you’ll instantly start recording video and save it directly to your iPhone. Available on: iOS Also watch: Watch the Best Super Bowl Commercials of 2016 Please enable Javascript to watch this video

How to flash the Android Marshmallow factory image on Nexus devices

How to flash the Android Marshmallow factory image on Nexus devices

Android Marshmallow is finally here, which means that Google will be rolling out the update to all Nexus devices. Unfortunately that could take several weeks, and we know that many of you are too impatient to wait. Good news! Google has posted factory images for each Nexus device, so you can go ahead and update your device to Android 6.0 Marshmallow right now instead of waiting. We know this can be a little scary — especially for beginners — so that’s why we put together this comprehensive guide detailing each and every step of the way. You won’t find a more complete tutorial anywhere else. Updated on 02-05-2016 by Robert Nazarian:  Google released the February 2016 security patch in early February. You can still follow this guide to install that update on your Nexus device since the download link page remains the same.  Related: Everything you need to know about Android 6.0 Marshmallow Flashing the factory image differs from installing the over-the-air (OTA) update in that the factory image contains the full system files for your device, whereas the OTA update contains only the upgrade information. In other words, flashing a factory image is more like completely deleting all the software on your device and replacing it. The OTA will only replace what is being changed since your last update. Some people prefer to install the OTA update since you don’t have to do a factory reset, while others like the factory image method because it’s like starting from scratch with a fresh install of the entire system. It’s more of a pain to factory reset your device, but you are less prone to some of those annoying bugs that seem to crop up after an OTA update. If you would rather download and install the OTA update, we have a complete guide for that method as well. *We will provide a link to this guide as soon as the OTA download links become available . If you want to flash the factory image, then you’re already in the right place. Just remember to make sure all your data is backed up, because you will lose all your data on the device when you unlock the bootloader, which is required for flashing. There is no way to unlock a bootloader without a factory reset. However, if you happen to already have an unlocked bootloader, then you can forgo the factory reset if you wish. We will show you how later on, but we still recommend that you back up your data in case something goes wrong. Click on a link to jump to a topic: Installing ADB and Fastboot Download the Android Marshmallow system image Extracting the contents of the system image Enable USB debugging and connecting your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Flashing the Android Marshmallow factory image Next Page: Installing ADB and Fastboot Installing ADB and Fastboot In order to flash the factory image to your Nexus device, you must have ADB and Fastboot installed on your desktop computer. ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge, and it allows you to send commands to your Android device over USB through a terminal/command-line interface such as Windows Command Prompt. Fastboot allows you to unlock the bootloader on your Android device. There are two methods to getting ADB and Fastboot on your computer. The first is to download and install the Android SDK tools from the Android developer site. This method will work on Windows, Mac, and Linux machines. If you’re a Windows user, you can download and install Minimal ADB and Fastboot instead, which is actually the easiest method. However, we recommend installing the Android SDK tools because the download will also give you the Google USB drivers at the same time, which you will need in order for your computer to recognize your Nexus device. If you do decide to install Minimal ADB and Fastboot, you can still download the Google USB drivers separately. We will show you how to do that later. Follow the instructions below for either  installing the Android SDK tools or Minimal ADB and Fastboot. Download and install the Android SDK tools Click here to download and install the Android SDK Tools from Google’s developer site. There are choices for Windows, Mac, and Linux. These instructions are for Windows machines. When asked what directory to install the software to, we recommend that you set it to C:android-sdk.  If you choose a different location, just make sure you remember it. Once the Android SDK Tools are installed, launch the download from the Start Menu. The SDK Manager will open. Just uncheck everything except Android SDK Platform-tools and Google USB Driver . Android SDK Platform-tools is at the top and Google USB Driver is toward the bottom. Click on Install 2 packages at the bottom right. Check Accept license and click Install . ADB and Fastboot will now reside in the C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder if you followed step 2 as outlined. If you chose a different directory, than ADB and Fastboot will reside in the platform-tools folder under whatever location you chose to install the Android SDK Tools to in step 2. Download and install Minimal ADB and Fastboot Click here to download minimal_adb_fastboot_v1.3.1_setup.exe from the XDA forums. Note: the version number could be different if a newer version is released after this post has been published. Launch the  minimal_adb_fastboot_v1.3.1_setup.exe file. When asked which directory to install the software to, we recommend that you set it to C:android-sdkplatform-tools , since we will be using that location for the rest of this guide. If you choose a different location, just make sure you remember it. Next Page: Download the Android Marshmallow system image Download the Android Marshmallow factory image system image Now it’s time to grab the most recent update of the Android Marshmallow factory image, which is available at Google’s Android Developers site. Just make sure to select the version that matches your device. This is very important, because you must flash the Nexus 5 image on a Nexus 5. A Nexus 6 image won’t work on a Nexus 5. You will notice that each device has a bunch of links under it. Google makes it easy to revert back to an older update if you wish. The most recent update is generally at the bottom of the list. As of the time of this post, Android Marshmallow 6.0 is only available for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi, Nexus 7 (2013) LTE, Nexus 9 Wi-Fi, Nexus 9 LTE, and Nexus Player. It remains to be seen if Google will issue the update to the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (2012), or the Nexus 10. Note: Google will post factory images for each and every update moving forward. This means that you can follow this guide again and continue to get the latest version of Android Marshmallow right away without the need to wait until your device receives the OTA update automatically. Next Page: Extracting the contents of the system image Extracting the contents of the system image The downloaded file should have .tgz as its extension, and you need to extract the contents before going further. The best thing to do is download and install 7 Zip. There is an unofficial version for Macs as well. Once 7 Zip is installed on your machine, follow these steps: Open the 7 Zip File Manager and navigate to the folder that you saved the .tgz file in. Double click on the .tgz file. You will now see a file with a .tar extension. Double click on this file to show the contents (this will take about a minute or more). After it has opened, you should have a folder with the codename of your device as part of the title (ex.  hammerhead for Nexus 5), Double click on it. You should now see a collection of files. Select all of them, and click on Extract to extract all the contents. Type in the destination C:program files (x86)androidandroid-sdkplatform-tools (if you installed the full SDK) or whatever directory ADB and Fastboot are installed in. Next Page: Enable USB debugging and connecting your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Enable USB debugging and connecting your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Now you need to make sure USB debugging is enabled on your Nexus device. Open Settings on your Nexus device. If  you do not see Developer Options toward the bottom of the Settings screen on your device, follow these steps to activate them. Tap on About Phone and find the Build Number . Tap on the Build Number  seven times and the Developer Options will appear on the main page of the Settings . Tap on the Back key to see the Developer Options . Tap on Developer Options . Check to enable USB Debugging . Before you connect your device to the USB port on your computer, you want to make sure you have the appropriate drivers installed. You should be all set if you opted to install the Android SDK Tools. If you instead chose to install Minimal ADB and Fastboot, you can grab them here. Since you’re working with a Nexus device, you specifically want the Google USB Drivers. The download will be a zip file, so extract the contents where you wish, and remember the location. Now connect your device via a USB cable, and you are ready to flash the zip file that you extracted earlier. If you’re connecting your Nexus device to your computer for the first time, you will get a popup box on your Nexus device stating what the computer’s RSA Key is. Just check Always Allow   From This Computer and tap on OK . If your Nexus device doesn’t show the RSA key popup, then open the notification panel, select USB For Charging Only , and change the mode to Transfer Photos ( PTP) . If your Nexus device still doesn’t show the RSA key popup, then follow these instructions: On your Windows desktop, go to your Control Panel then Device Manager . You should see your Nexus device  under Other Devices with a Yellow ! mark on it. Right-click on it and select  update driver . Choose Browse my computer for driver software , and choose the directory where the Google USB Drivers are located. If you chose to install the Android SDK tools and followed our instructions, they should be in the  C:android-sdkextrasgoogleusb driver folder. If you chose to manually download the Google USB drivers, just navigate to the folder that you archived the contents of the Zip file in. If your Nexus device still doesn’t show the RSA key approval popup, then open the command prompt on your desktop and navigate to the folder where ADB and Fastboot reside. If you followed our instructions from the Installing ADB and Fastboot section, it will be in the C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder. Just type cdandroid-sdkplatform-tools at the command prompt in Windows. If ADB and Fastboot are somewhere else, just navigate to that location instead. Type “ADB devices” and you should get the following result: The RSA key approval popup should now be visible on your Nexus device. Just check Always Allow From This Computer and tap  OK . Type “ADB devices” again, and you should get the following result with a different device key: You are now ready to flash the factory image. Next Page: Flashing the Android Marshmallow factory image Flashing the Android Marshmallow factory image If you’re device doesn’t have an unlocked bootloader, follow the instructions below.  This process will require a factory reset, so make sure you have your important data backed up . Open the Command Prompt in Windows or Terminal on a Mac and navigate to the folder that ADB and Fastboot are installed in. Again, if you followed our instructions from the Installing ADB and Fastboot section , it will be in the  C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder. Just type “cdandroid-sdkplatform-tools”   at the prompt in Windows. If ADB and Fastboot are somewhere else, just navigate to that location instead. To make things easier, so you don’t have to type out long directories, you can also paste it by pressing ALT and the spacebar , then choose Edit before selecting  Paste . If you’re using a Mac, you need to add the platform tools directory to your $PATH. In terminal, type “sudo nano/etc/paths” .  Now enter your password, go to the bottom of the file, and enter the full path of the “platform tools” directory. Hit control-x to quit and enter Y to save. The following ADB commands are for Windows machines. If you’re using a Mac, just add “ ./” before each command, for example: “ ./adb reboot bootloader”. Assuming you device is already connected to your computer via USB and USB Debugging is enabled, you need to re-start it in fastboot mode. Follow one of the two methods below. Option A may be preferable because it’s another confirmation that your computer recognizes your Nexus device. A) Type “adb reboot bootloader” B) Turn your device off, then turn it back on while holding down the relevant key combinations for your device. For many devices it’s Volume Up + Volume Down + Power . You can see what your device’s key combinations are here. Type fastboot oem unlock to unlock you device. As a final warning , this step will erase everything on your device. Type flash-all to install the bootloader, baseband firmware(s), and operating system. If you get a missing system.img error , then scroll down to bottom of this page for further instructions. This process could take several minutes, so it’s important not to power off or disconnect the device. Once it’s finished, your device will reboot and the latest version of Android Marshmallow will be installed. You can opt to re-lock the bootloader if you wish, but assuming you will do this again with a future update, you might want to leave it unlocked, so you don’t have to perform a factory reset again. If you do want to re-lock, just follow Step 2 above and change Step 3 to fastboot oem lock . That’s it. If your device already has an unlocked bootloader and you don’t want to do a factory reset and lose your data, follow the instructions below. Open the Command Prompt in Windows or Terminal on a Mac and navigate to the folder that ADB and Fastboot are installed in. Again, if you followed our instructions from the Installing ADB and Fastboot section , it will be in the  C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder. Just type “cdandroid-sdkplatform-tools”   at the prompt in Windows. If ADB and Fastboot are somewhere else, just navigate to that location instead. To make things easier, so you don’t have to type out long directories, you can also paste it by pressing ALT and the spacebar , then choose Edit before selecting  Paste . If you’re using a Mac, you need to add the platform tools directory to your $PATH. In terminal, type “sudo nano/etc/paths” .  Now enter your password, go to the bottom of the file, and enter the full path of the “platform tools” directory. Hit control-x to quit and enter Y to save. The following ADB commands are for Windows machines. If you’re using a Mac, just add “ ./” before each command, for example: “ ./adb reboot bootloader”. Assuming you device is already connected to your computer via USB and USB Debugging is enabled, you need to re-start it in fastboot mode. Follow one of the two methods below. Option A may be preferable because it’s another confirmation that your computer recognizes your Nexus device. A) Type “adb reboot bootloader” B) Turn your device off, then turn it back on while holding down the relevant key combinations for your device. For many devices it’s Volume Up + Volume Down + Power . You can see what your device’s key combinations are here. You will need to edit the flash-all.bat file that you extracted from the factory image, which should be in the same directory as ADB and Fastboot. Just open it with any simple text editor such as WordPad. You will see a line that starts with “ fastboot -w update…….. ” Just remove the -w from this line. The -w flag wipes your data, so removing it will obviously stop that from happening. Type flash-all to install the bootloader, baseband firmware(s), and operating system. If you get a missing system.img error , then scroll down to bottom of this page for further instructions. This process could take several minutes, so it’s important not to power off or disconnect the device. Once it’s finished, your device will reboot and the latest version of Android Marshmallow will be installed. If you get a missing system.img error in Step 4 of either method, then follow these instructions Extract all the files from the .zip file, which happens to be one of the files extracted from the original .tgz you downloaded from Google. The Zip file name probably begins with “image.” There should be various .img files within this Zip file. On top of this, you already have bootloader and radio .img files in the same directory. Just make sure all the .img files (from Zip file) and the ones that were already extracted are in the same directory as ADB and fastboot. Now you are going to flash each .img file separately. If you don’t have either one of the bootloader or radio .img files, don’t worry, not all devices need them. It’s also important to follow this exact order. At the CMD prompt and in the C:program files (x86)androidandroid-sdkplatform-tools  directory (if you installed the full SDK) or wherever ADB and fastboot reside. Remember, add ./ before each command if you’re using a Mac. type fastboot flash bootloader [name of your file] .img type fastboot flash radio [name of your file] .img type fastboot reboot-bootloader type fastboot flash recovery recovery.img type fastboot flash boot boot.img type fastboot flash system system.img If your device is a Nexus 9, then also issue this command – fastboot flash vendor vendor.img Lastly, if you want, you can wipe the cache with this command – fastboot flash cache cache.img Now it’s time to enjoy your Android Marshmallow update. You can follow this guide again when Google issues its next Android Marshmallow update, so be sure to bookmark this page for later reference. If we missed anything, or if you have any other tips, please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments. Previous updates: Updated on 01-08-2016 by Robert Nazarian:  Google released the January 2016 security patch in early January. You can still follow this guide to install that update on your Nexus device since the download link page remains the same.  Updated on 12-09-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Google released the 6.0.1 update, but you can still follow this guide to install the newest version on your Nexus device since the download link page is still the same.

U.S. LTE speeds aren't that great — just 55th in the world

U.S. LTE speeds aren't that great — just 55th in the world

Not happy with your LTE speeds? The whole country is with you. As it turns out, American cell phone service really isn’t that hot — in a world ranking from OpenSignal, the U.S. ranks an abysmal 55th when it comes to LTE download speeds. This, sadly, remains in line with similarly unflattering international broadband and Internet coverage comparisons. So when T-Mobile CEO John Legere says that he wants to compete with the world, he (and all his domestic competitors) really has his work cut out for him. With an average download speed of just 10Mbps, the U.S. is considerably behind world leaders and even the global average for LTE download speeds, which stands at 13.5 Mbps. Singapore, which has taken first place in this measure, offers download speeds as fast as 40Mbps. Part of the issue, it seems, is that Americans were some of the earliest adopters of LTE coverage, but now, much of that early technology has become outdated, but has not been replaced. And of course, the size of the country factors into the national average, so the fact that there are over 300 million Americans makes it more difficult for the country to rank well. And by some other metrics, the U.S. is actually doing quite well. Take, for example, LTE coverage — cell phone subscribers get an LTE signal 81 percent of the time, making us the seventh best in the world. Of course, it’s still a ways away from leader South Korea, whose citizens get signal 99 percent of the time. Related : T-Mobile ranks highest in customer satisfaction So at least for now, it feels a bit like a trade-off when it comes to speed versus coverage. As OpenSignal notes in its report, “progress … is proceeding at different rates in different parts of the world.” With the exception of nations like South Korea and Singapore, which “have managed to build networks unrivaled in both technology and reliability,” the rest of us “have mastered only one half of that network calculus.” Maybe this is just the kick in the pants our service providers need to up the ante. Also watch: Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Please enable Javascript to watch this video

The Euro-bred Opel Mokka X is a thinly-veiled preview of the 2017 Buick Encore

The Euro-bred Opel Mokka X is a thinly-veiled preview of the 2017 Buick Encore

General Motors’ Germany-based Opel division has given the pocket-sized Mokka crossover a facelift, a new range-topping engine, and a less cluttered cabin with a state-of-the-art infotainment system. Now called Mokka X, the crossover won’t be sold on our side of the pond with an Opel emblem on the grille but it gives us an accurate preview of what we can expect from the upcoming 2017 Buick Encore. All new, the Mokka X’s front end is characterized by sharper-looking headlights, a bold, shield-shaped grille with a wing-like insert, and a hood with three ripples. Around back, the updates are more minor and largely limited to new-look LED tail lamps and a redesigned bumper. Overall, the X falls in line with Opel’s latest design language while looking markedly more grown up than the rather cutesy four-year-old Mokka it replaces. The upgrades continue in the cabin, where the Mokka X receives a more streamlined dashboard whose design is inspired by the one found in the new Astra hatchback. Opel has thankfully tossed out dozens of buttons on the center console and replaced them with a seven-inch touchscreen that runs a new version of its IntelliLink infotainment system — compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The list of options includes GM’s OnStar service — which is fairly new in Europe — an eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, and a lane-departure warning system. Mechanically, the big news is that Mokka X buyers can select a turbocharged, direct-injected 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Already found under the hood of the Encore Sport Touring, the four-banger ships exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission and adaptive all-wheel drive. A start/stop system promises to keep gas mileage and CO2 emissions in check. Related: Opel’s vastly-improved 2016 Astra promises to be everything its predecessor wasn’t The 2016 Opel Mokka X will be presented to the public next month at the Geneva Auto Show, where it will share the spotlight with Opel’s head-turning GT concept. The hot-selling Buick Encore is expected to receive many of the same interior and exterior updates in time for the 2017 model year. Official information hasn’t been published yet, but Buick has confirmed the 2017 Encore will debut at the New York Auto Show that will open its doors late next month. Updated 2/05/2016 by Ronan Glon: Amended the article to reflect that the New York Show opens in late March.

WhatsApp groups expanding to 256 members

WhatsApp groups expanding to 256 members

Multimedia messaging app WhatsApp is upping the limit on group conversations from 100 to 256 participants, if an Android update is anything to go by. WhatsApp appears to be rolling out the feature across its user base.

Glide's video messaging on Android Wear looks amazing, but it's really hard to get

Glide's video messaging on Android Wear looks amazing, but it's really hard to get

Video chat app Glide is one of the first to make use of a major feature in the latest version of Android Wear. It has added video messaging and dictation to your smartwatch, meaning you can have (albeit one-sided) real-time video conversations from your wrist, without having to bother with your phone. It looks great, but annoyingly, it’s really hard to get right now. Glide is already a well-known messaging app on its own, enabling you to record and send short video messages to friends, instead of tapping out an SMS or making a call. It’s easy to respond with your own video, or by using emoji. There’s never been any typing involved with Glide’s app, and that’s what makes it perfect for smartwatches. Related: Hands-on with the Casio WSD-F10 smartwatch Well, almost perfect. While you can watch received video messages from friends on your watch, you can’t send them back unless you grab your phone, because of course, Android Wear watches don’t have cameras. Instead, it’s an emoji or a voice-only message in response, if you’re intent on only using your smartwatch. It still looks great though, and there’s something very sci-fi cool about seeing video playing on a watch. Unfortunately, there’s another restriction on who will get to use Glide’s new app too. So you can actually hear what’s said in the video, your smartwatch needs to have a built-in speaker, and that’s a bit of a rarity. If the watch on your wrist isn’t the Huawei Watch or the Asus ZenWatch 2, then you’re out of luck. However, this will change in the future as more watches are released with tiny speakers, but if you’ve only just purchased a Moto 360, a Fossil Q Founder, or even a TAG Heuer Carrera Connected, then Glide’s cool video messages will play back like a silent movie. The final hurdle in getting Glide’s video messaging feature is that you also need the latest version of Android Wear on your watch, but at least that’s on its way very soon. Once it’s onboard, fire up the updated Glide app and give the feature a try.

Some iOS Instagram users can now add multiple accounts, maybe you can too

Some iOS Instagram users can now add multiple accounts, maybe you can too

If the idea of being able to easily hop between multiple Instagram accounts induces a warm feeling of contentment deep within your being, then we have some good news for you. A slew of reports this week suggest Instagram is currently testing such functionality with a number of iOS users, allowing them to switch accounts in a couple of taps instead of having to go through the laborious process of logging in and out of each one. The much sought-after feature – among some users, at least – was also tested on Android toward the end of last year, though an APK download was required to make it work. No such extras are needed for the iOS version. Related: 16 Instagram tips and tricks you can’t afford to miss Support for multiple accounts will save time and hassle for anyone with more than one Instagram account – think businesses, celebrities, keen photographers, Instagram addicts. To find out if you’re one of the lucky ones able to test the feature, head to your Instagram profile page and tap the Options gear wheel top right. Then scroll down – if you’re one of the chosen few, you’ll see the “add account” option near the bottom of the page. If not, be patient. Related: Instagram debuts first-ever scripted series, to be broadcast daily in 28 episodes Screenshots from Latergramme suggest that once you add an account, it’ll show up at the top of your profile page, allowing you to effortlessly jump between each one with a single tap. If the tests run smoothly, it shouldn’t be too long before Instagram rolls out the feature to all users. Also watch: Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Solar Jackets, Floating Tree Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Furniture, pets and mirrors could ruin your HTC Vive experience, says leaked manual

Furniture, pets and mirrors could ruin your HTC Vive experience, says leaked manual

HTC has leaked the manual to its forthcoming Vive VR headset, detailing not only how to use the device, but also how new owners will need to set up their VR room. The manual starts off with a simple instruction to, “pull the headset down over your eyes,” but in reality (that’s real reality), before you get to that stage, there’s some redecorating to be done. The Vive knows where you are in a room, letting you move around in the virtual world. To do this, the headset relies on two base stations to track movement in a space. These are included in the Vive pack, and require some effort to set up, beginning with the preparation of the room itself. HTC calls this the “play area,” and recommends it’s a minimum of 5 x 6.5 feet in size, or a meter by two meters. Related: Hands-on with the HTC Vive Pre Obviously, because your vision is going to be obscured, the area needs to be cleared of obstacles or dangers. Moving chairs and other items of furniture is a given, but HTC also says it’s best to “remove or cover mirrors or reflective surfaces.” It doesn’t say this is for safety purposes — in case you go crashing into one — but mentions them at the same time as saying the curtains should be drawn and direct light minimized, suggesting they may mess around with the tracking. Got a cat/dog/rabbit/other-free-roaming-pet? It’s got to go. Tripping over Fido when in the VR realm won’t be much fun. HTC says the computer to which the Vive is linked must be outside the play area, but the cable joining it up doesn’t extend further than five meters. Then it’s time to put those base stations up, and they need to be somewhere high up, on a big tripod, a bookshelf, or attached to the wall or ceiling. The maximum distance between the two is five meters, which could cause logistical problems, depending on the shape and size of the room. Once you’re done, the SteamVR app will finish the setup process. If you’ve still got the energy after all that, you’ll almost be ready to experience the Vive VR. You’ll also envy anyone with the space to permanently map out a Vive play area, without calling the removal men in every time you feel like a quick game. Alternatively, the Vive can be used while seated or standing in one spot, but you will be missing out on part of the Vive’s joy. You can check out the entire manual here. The HTC Vive VR headset will go up for pre-order on February 29, ready for release in April.

4K Ultra HD Buying Guide

4K Ultra HD Buying Guide

Please enable Javascript to watch this video With 4K Ultra HD becoming so popular, there’s a huge array of choices from multiple brands to consider. We’ve provided some tips, definitions and other tidbits and outlined our top recommendations to help steer you in the right direction. Below you will find the absolute best from each brand, along with outstanding value and exceptional picture quality. What Is 4K UHD? On a 1080p TV, you get 1,920 pixels across, and 1,080 pixels top to bottom, which works out to over 2 million pixels on screen. Sure, that’s a lot, but 4K UHD has four times that. 3,840×2,160 Resolution Get Closer For every one pixel on a 1080P HD TV, there are four pixels in the same space on a 4K UHD TV. That means sharper lines, smoother curves and lots more detail, especially on big-screen TVs, which you can also sit closer to without seeing the little pixels. So go big if you want, it’s gonna look great. What To Watch Good news! 4K UHD TVs are entirely backward compatible, so you can use your existing cable box or DVR, DVD or Blu-ray player, or standard HD TV antenna, and your 4K UHD TV will make whatever you’re watching look even better than before. But to get the most out of your new 4K UHD TV, you’ll want to turn to streaming services and new 4K UHD equipment, and the content providers highlighted below. UHD Blu-ray will be coming out soon as well, so keep an eye out for players and software. For more details on available 4K content, check out our complete content guide. Netflix 7 Movies 4 TV Shows M-GO 23 Movies 0 TV Shows UltraFlix 38 Movies 0 TV Shows Amazon Instant Video 33 Movies 5 TV Shows Vudu 0 Movies 0 TV Shows YouTube 10,000+ Streaming Videos DirecTV Videos Xfinity Videos Blu-ray Videos Available 4K UHD Televisions With many brands and screen sizes to choose from, now is a great time to buy a 4K UHD TV. Manufacturers and retailers are embracing the term “4K UHD” championed by the Consumer Technology Association to describe this new generation of television. Some also are participating in CTA’s voluntary logo program that uses the same term. Regardless of what they call them, Ultra HD or 4K, major brands all are now offering a range of 4K UHD TVs at a range of prices. LG EF9500 Series OLED Perfect black levels create incredible contrast HDR-ready HDMI out of the box Outstanding webOS 2.0 operating system Excellent Harman Kardon audio system First flat-screen 4K Ultra HD OLED 55 and 65-inch models available Learn More LG UF9500 Series LED TV IPS panel for wide viewing angle Color Prime panel delivers expanded color Local dimming for uniform picture/contrast Outstanding webOS 2.0 operating system Excellent Harman Kardon audio system 65 and 79-inch models available Learn More Panasonic CX650 Series LED TV 4K Ultra HD resolution at a 1080p price Great for bright rooms and day watching Simple and easy-to-use Firefox OS 120 Hz native panel for smooth fast-moving scenes Very good color reproduction 55-inch models available Learn More Panasonic CX850 Series LED TV Studio master drive delivers excellent blacks and color Wide color range HDR-ready out of the box All three HDMI 2.0 ports support HDCP 2.2 Simple and easy-to-use Firefox OS 55 and 65-inch models available Learn More Samsung JS9500 Series Curved Smart TV Samsung’s finest 4K UHD TV Enhanced color-detail Nano-crystal display Multi-Zone full array backlighting Best local dimming enables deep blacks HDR compatible with excellent peak brightness 65, 78, 88-inch models available Learn More Samsung JS7000 Series Flat LED TV Broader array of colors with Nano-crystal display Full Array back lighting Enhanced black levels with UHD Dimming HDR compatible Intuitive and fast Tizen smart TV OS 50, 55, and 60-inch models available Learn More Sharp UB30‑series LED TV Outstanding value in 4K Ultra HD TV Local dimming for better contrast Fully compliant with latest 4K UHD specs Full suite of Internet apps with cross-platform search Available in 65, 55, 50, and 43-inch models Learn More Sharp LC‑70UH30U LED TV THX-Certified 4K Ultra HD performance Expanded color range Android TV with Google Play 120 Hz-native panel for smoother motion Aquodimming for enhanced contrast 70-inches Learn More Sony X830C Series LED TV Affordable 4K Ultra HD excellence Wide color gamut display for expanded, precise color 4K X1 processing delivers outstanding picture quality Android TV smart TV system Available in 55, 65, and 65-inch models Learn More Sony X930C/X940C LED TV Wide color gamut display for expanded, precise color Full Array Local Dimming and HDR for excellent contrast 4K X1 processing delivers outstanding picture quality Hi-Res audio capable, with stellar sound quality Android TV smart TV system Available in 65 (930C) and 75-inch (940C) models Learn More Vizio M-Series M65 and M80 LED TV Value leading 4K Ultra HD performance 32-zone Full Array Local Dimming 120 Hz-native panel for smoother motion Dual-sided Bluetooth remote with Qwerty Keyboard Vizio Internet Apps Plus 65 and 80-inch models Learn More Vizio Reference Series RS65‑B2 LED TV Vizio’s best TV Full Array Local Dimming with 384 zones Dolby Vision HDR/800 nits brightness Expanded color range Comes with subwoofer and surround speakers 65-inch models available Learn More Ultra HD Premium specifications In January 2016, the UHD alliance (UHDA) issued the specifications for the Ultra HD Premium tier. With this specification, premium 4K Ultra HD TVs are no longer classified simply by offering higher resolution than 1080p TVs, but must now comply with performance metrics for high dynamic range (HDR) peak luminance levels, black levels, and color gamut, among others. In short, an Ultra HD Premium TV will not only offer the best possible viewing experience, but will be prepared for developments in Ultra HD content coming down the road. It’s as future-proofed as a TV can get in this day and age of rapidly evolving tech. Glossary Of Terms 4K ULTRA HD In television, a display resolution that is four times that of 1080p HD. A 4K Ultra HD TV’s pixel resolution is a 3,840 x 2,160 grid in a 16:9 aspect ratio, resulting in nearly 8.3 million pixels. This increase in density adds striking detail and realism to an image and allows larger screens to be viewed from closer distances without individual pixels becoming visible. High Dynamic Range (HDR) High dynamic range is probably most familiar to people through the HDR mode on their digital cameras. It’s designed to deliver a picture that has greater details in the shadows and highlights and a wider range of colors. HDR in televisions pursues the same goal. The color palette is wider, blacks are deeper, and whites are brighter. Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) Refers to an LED TV’s backlighting system. A FALD display contains an array of LEDs spread out in a grid behind an LCD panel, rather than just at the edges of the TV. This LED array is broken up into zones that can be dimmed when necessary to achieve better black levels. Another benefit is more uniform brightness across the screen. Wide Color Gamut (WCG) The expanded color reproduction abilities of a 4K Ultra HD TV — closer than ever to what we see in a digital cinema. By approaching the Digital Cinema Initiative’s P3 color specification, a 4K UHD TV can produce billions more colors than a 1080p HD TV. Quantum Dots A layer of film loaded with tiny nano-crystal semiconductors that is placed in a TV’s display panel to help produce a wider array of colors. Quantum dots work by altering the light coming from a TV’s backlighting system before it is passed through the TV’s color filter. Phosphor-coated LED An alternative to Quantum Dots, phosphor-coated LEDs have a chemical coating to alter the light’s output. When used in a TV, this results in a purer backlight that’s more easily manipulated by a TV’s color filter, resulting in a wide color gamut and increased color accuracy. HDMI 2.0a The latest version of the HDMI spec. Compliance with this standard assures a 4K Ultra HD display or source is capable of providing all the digital information needed for 4K Ultra HD resolution, HDR, and Wide Color Gamut, all at up to 60 frames per second. HDCP 2.2 The latest version of the High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection technology, which provides copy prevention specifically of 4K Ultra HD content. Any source device that requires HDCP 2.2 will require a 4K Ultra HD TV with an HDCP 2.2 compliant HDMI port for a compatible connection. HEVC (H.265) Stands for “High Efficiency Video Coding.” A new compression technology developed to make large 4K UHD video files smaller and, therefore, easier to stream over broadband Internet connections. HEVC is said to double the data compression ratio over H.264, the predominant encoding technology used today for 1080p videos, while retaining the same video quality. A smart TV or streaming set-top box must be able to decode HEVC in order play back 4K Ultra HD video from sites like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. VP9 An alternate to HEVC developed by Google and used predominantly for encoding 4K Ultra HD YouTube videos. In order for a smart TV or streaming set-top box to play back 4K Ultra HD YouTube videos, it must be able to decode VP9 videos.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies & seven-year-old fads

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies & seven-year-old fads

When Seth Grahame-Smith mixed classic literature with fanboy fads in the 2009 novel Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, he inadvertently set off a short-lived publishing mania for monster mash-ups. The formula was simple — start with a public-domain classic like Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice, add pulpy horror and action, turn any tense scene into a blatant brawl. And with the original authors generally supplying the plotting, plus as much as 85 percent of the text for free, mash-up books could be turned around quickly and with minimal effort. The original P&P&Z made national news and the New York Times bestseller list, and Grahame-Smith's publisher, Quirk Books, followed with more: Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters, Android Karenina, a P&P&Z prequel and sequel.

Soon you’ll be able to make Unreal Engine games from the comfort of a VR headset

Soon you’ll be able to make Unreal Engine games from the comfort of a VR headset

Though Unity is the popular candidate for VR game engines, it hasn’t prevented its competitors from trying. Epic Games, for instance, is widely known not only for its beloved franchises like Unreal and Gears of War, but for licensing out the engine that powers those games as well. Unreal Engine has powered everything from BioShock to Batman, and now it’s getting full-on VR support. Epic plans to demonstrate the technology first at the Game Developers Conference in March, where it will show how game designers will be able to create and iterate on their creations with a set of motion controllers in their hands and a headset, whether it be an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, on their face. “As soon as we got our hands on the first Oculus, we were intrigued by the possibilities,” Mike Fricker, a Technical Director at Epic told Ars Technica. “[Co-founder] Mark Rein came to us in 2013 with the first Oculus DK1 and asked about getting an editor in VR.” Presently, the VR rendition of the Unreal Engine editor is all about placing and scaling art assets in a 3D environment. You won’t be able to actually create these assets in-engine, as an Oculus Touch controller or HTC Vive wand is essentially the VR equivalent of a Wii Remote — meaning it would be a god-awful modeling tool. With those controllers, however, developers will have the ability to move around the world they’ve conceived, making minor edits to their objects from above. Related:  VR porn controller hits overwhelming crowdfunding demand, creators press pause Fortunately, the system Epic has in place isn’t just limited to 3D games, as the company promises utilities optimized for 2D games as well. “The ability in VR to move things 1:1 in space just makes you more efficient,” explains Fricker. “Especially when it comes to repeating that action 1,000 times a day to lay out a level. We think this tool will help any developer create content.” There’s even an “iPad-like” system that lets users pull up text menus in a traditional Windows fashion, although based on the YouTube preview Epic has included, it doesn’t look like it would be intuitive to use for more complex tasks. Epic does note, though, that this aspect in particular is still being worked on. It’s not hard to see why. Higher-ups at Epic recognize that one of the most difficult parts of bringing the traditional Unreal Editor to VR is the alteration of its user interface. “The 2D UI adapting to 3D space is probably the most challenging part of this project,” Fricker admits. “We have a start, of presenting editor panels as floating UI iPads. What’s the next thing you want? Maybe to drop the iPad somewhere, resize it, attach it to the wall of your Vive tracking space and configure a static layout like that, so when you navigate a scene, it comes with you.” While it’s an interesting prospect, our main concern, too, is translating the UI. Nonetheless, we’ll see what Epic Games has in store for us when it exhibits Unreal Engine VR for the first time come March 16 at the San Francisco Moscone Convention Center.

List of most popular iOS and Android apps is dominated by Facebook and Google

Whether you're an iPhone user or partial to Android, one thing smartphone users across the board can enjoy equally is an absolutely endless selection of apps. Today, both the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store each house more than 1.5 million applications. Even better, the days of top applications being exclusive to one platform or the other appear to be winding down. That said, if we look at a list of the most popular apps, it quickly becomes apparent that the mobile app experience is still dominated by big time players. DON'T MISS:  Scientists may have just found a ninth planet and it’s massive Comscore this week released data covering the top 15 smartphone apps across both

Now you can make calls, text, and control your Android Wear Watch with gestures

Now you can make calls, text, and control your Android Wear Watch with gestures

Do you own an Android Wear smartwatch and seethe with jealousy when you see your Apple Watch-touting compatriot answer a call from his or her wrist? Fret not. Starting now, Google is rolling out a big update — 1.4 Marshmallow — to Android Wear devices that’ll let you channel your inner Dick Tracy by making and listening to calls on supported smartwatches. But that’s not the only feature in tow. The new firmware adds voice dictation for third-party messaging apps such as WhatsApp, plus wacky new gestures with which to perform the various functions of your watch. Phone call support is the undoubted highlight, and works exactly as you’d expect. If you’re the lucky owner of an Android Wear watch with a built-in speaker — i.e., the Huawei Watch or Asus ZenWatch 2 — you can initiate or receive calls from your wristwatch instead of your phone. The update lets you put that speaker to good use in other ways, too. You can listen to voicemails and audio from apps such as Glide. Related: Watchphones are coming: Google updates Android Wear with cellular connectivity Luckily for the many folks whose Android Wear watch lacks the aforementioned speaker, calling isn’t the only new luxury that the update affords. Third-party messaging services such as Telegram, WhatsApp, and Viber now sport wrist-based dictation via a new contextual command — saying “OK Google, Send a WhatsApp message” will, for example, send a WhatsApp message. And last but not least, new gestures make it easier to expand and scroll through notifications one-handed … in theory. The new gestures require a bit of explanation. To expand an Android Wear card, you hold your arm away from your body and push quickly downward, as if depressing a bicycle pump. Repeating that motion moves through the selected card’s actions (e.g., “Open on phone” or “Block app”). To go back to a previous screen, you hold your arm out and do the reverse: pivot upward. To return to the watch’s face, you shake your wrist in any direction. Finally, to open the settings menu from the watch face, you turn your wrist away from you and then quickly flick it quickly — quickly! — back toward you. Got it? Good. Related: Android Wear 5.1.1 update news: Moto 360 joins the list of watches with the update Convoluted new gestures (to put it mildly) aside, update 1.4 Marshmallow is the latest in a series of significant, recent upgrades to Android Wear. In November, Google introduced cellular support for watches with the requisite radios, and in June, it added emoji drawing and Wi-Fi connectivity. With the successor to the Apple Watch rumored to be unveiled in Fall alongside the iPhone 7, the improvements can’t come soon enough. Waiting frantically for the update? Google says it’ll roll out to all Android Wear watches over the next few weeks.

Creators of the VR porn controller explain why they suspended Indiegogo orders

Creators of the VR porn controller explain why they suspended Indiegogo orders

There is a typical pattern of responses when you tell someone that virtual reality porn is a thing now: uncomfortable giggling, followed by speculation about what sorts of physical peripherals would help make the experience even more immersive, which then in turn lapses into even more giggling. Perhaps inevitably, someone with engineering chops has followed through on this pervy dream, and now you can go to Indiegogo and order your own VirtuaDolls, “an adult game controller where touch and feedback are taken to the next level.” Or you could, until the campaign was frozen. VirtuaDolls has informed Digital Trends that the campaign has been temporarily suspended due to overwhelming demand. Massive interest in the controller apparently outstripped their planned production capacity, and so the designers opted to pause and rejigger the campaign to better suit their newfound demand. When we last checked the campaign, it had raised $7,231 of its $20,000 goal with 35 days to go before concluding. About $200 plus shipping would net you the controller with a plain sleeve and the  Girls of Arcadia game included. Additional sleeves or the vacuum kit could be added on for $50 each. With a functioning prototype already in hand, they had planned on shipping the first units in May. Creator Eos Creative Group’s Bill Spracklin told us that “demand went through the roof,” shortly after the campaign’s launch. Eos’ staff of three was not prepared to meet that demand within the promised time frame, and Spracklin felt that it was “the responsible thing” to pause and reassess now, rather than “figuring it out later.” “We reached an average of eight sold an hour before putting the campaign on hold,” Spracklin told us. “I don’t have the exact numbers on hand, but I believe we received 30 percent of our funding goal in a 24 hour window. Sales numbers were increasing at an alarming rate and we were tracking to sell over 5,000 units, which would have put the campaign at well over $1 million. We had not anticipated that kind of demand and decided to put the campaign on hold before the numbers went insane.” #VirtuaDolls had to be put on hold for a couple weeks. Rest assured we will be back! Just have to take steps to prep for a larger demand! — VirtuaDolls (@VirtuaDolls) February 2, 2016 The second reason for putting the campaign on hold was “that some of the electrical components we use are very new to the market, and are quite expensive.” Unsure of whether they could procure enough for production, they have taken this opportunity to tweak the design, swapping out some of the electronics “as well as improving the overall aesthetic and ergonomics.” A benefit of this is that it will drive the price down by 25 percent to around $150. The VirtuaDoll consists of a silicone sheath into which a man inserts his joystick, similar to a Fleshlight. Interchangeable sheaths with different textures allow for varying sensations. A pressure sensor determines the occupant’s position within the sheath. In concert with a mechanized gripper for “intelligent stroke movement,” this allows for the VirtuaDolls controller to sync up the sensation to the action. An optional vacuum attachment “adds suction capabilities and an easy-clean system.” Sex toy maker Kirroo introduced a comparable system last year with its Onyx “hands-free male masturbator,” which can be synced to both VR porn movies or remotely to an analogous Pearl dildo (pitched as a sexual solution for long-distance relationships). VirtuaDolls goes further with the addition of sensors and control elements, allowing for interactivity instead of just a passive experience. Related:  I tried VR porn in a CES hotel suite, and I’ll never be the same The VirtuaDolls can also sync up with VR porn videos for a passive experience, but has handles with joysticks on either side for pornographic games. The controller will come bundled with a VR porn game of their own design called  Girls of Arcadia . Featured in the pitch video,  Girls of Arcadia  is a sexy fantasy adventure that apparently involves slaying monsters to rescue captive goddesses who are very grateful. It looks like what those browser games with provocative, clickbaity banner ads like  Evony promise to be. At launch, the VirtuaDolls controller will be compatible with the PC Oculus Rift, and the Unreal Engine — a VR headset is ideal, but not actually necessary to use it. Compatibility with OSX, the HTC Vive headset, and the Unity3D engine are planned for after launch. There are stretch goals in place for additional compatibility with Android, iOS, and the Google Cardboard platform, as well. An FAQ also reveals that if this campaign is successful they will develop the inverse, “female version of the product.” Eos plans to relaunch the campaign on Tuesday, February 9.

Twitter is testing a dedicated GIF button on its mobile app

Twitter is testing a dedicated GIF button on its mobile app

A number of Twitter users are tweeting that they’ve spotted a dedicated GIF button on the platform’s mobile app. Many of the tweets regarding the feature appropriately also contain GIFs. Twitter user Phil Pearlman provided a screenshot of the button from the Android version of the app. As you can see in the tweet below, the dedicated GIF feature can be found in the “compose tweet” screen, sitting in between the camera and poll icons. If people aren't seeing it yet twttr is testing way cool gif feature. cc @bluechoochoo pic.twitter.com/LuTsVeUiSs — Phil Pearlman (@ppearlman) February 4, 2016 The New feature resembles the GIF button found on Facebook, meaning it organizes the graphic images into mood-based categories and also allows users to select trending GIFs, reports TechCrunch. A gif button? Congratulations @twitter pic.twitter.com/zQADagAMSV — Lee Carruthers (@Skooshbag) February 4, 2016 According to Pearlman, the GIF button immediately disappeared after he captured a screenshot of it, and other users have also commented on its ephemeral nature. Related: Twitter is reportedly charging brands a million dollars for an official emoji The users who have supposedly uploaded GIFs from the app do not share any common traits (such as a large amount of followers), which indicates that this is a test feature, not an exclusive, that has been doled out to a handful of random people. WAIT WHEN DID THE GIF BUTTON ON HERE BECOME A THING pic.twitter.com/EPbis87b49 — Lex (@Lexiilu22) February 4, 2016 With no official word from Twitter, we can only speculate as to whether this means the feature is imminent. Judging from the popularity of GIFs, it would certainly make sense, especially since Twitter’s rivals already boast the capability. Twitter frequently runs these sorts of tests; most recently users were complaining that tweets on their timelines were appearing in a new out-of-order format. The fact that people who have spotted the GIF button have tweeted positively about it is also a sign that it will be welcomed, and more importantly utilized, by the platform’s wider user base. The move comes just days after it was revealed that Twitter has monetized emojis on its platform, with the company reportedly charging brands up to a million dollars for a custom icon. GIFs could also be viewed as a potential money-spinning feature for the service. Also watch: How to Deactivate Twitter Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Here are all the places that support Apple Pay, including 2 million stores

Here are all the places that support Apple Pay, including 2 million stores

Mobile payments aren’t exactly new. In fact, all previous attempts to kill the wallet have failed miserably. However, now that Apple Pay is available to all iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users, mobile payments are heating up. Banks, stores, and companies are jumping on the bandwagon and eagerly pledging their support for Apple Pay. It seems as if new partners are joining every day, so we’ve put together this handy list of all the major partners, which we’ll update as more are added. Here are all the brands and countries that support Apple Pay. Updated on 02-04-2016 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple Pay now works in 2 million locations and is rolling out at Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A, and Au Bon Pain — among other places. Click on a link to go to a section: List of stores List of countries List of banks Use on Apple Watch List of apps Apple Pay works at 2 million locations Apple Pay has come a long way since it first arrived in September 2014. In early February 2016, the company announced that its mobile payment service now works in more than 2 million locations. Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A, and Au Bon Pain are the most recent additions to the long list of retail partners who support Apple Pay. At the Recode mobile conference in October 2015, Apple VP Jennifer Bailey said Starbucks, KFC, and Chili’s restaurants would all accept Apple Pay in 2016, with the former starting a trail run before the end of this year. Don’t get too excited just yet, there’s no firm action date for any of them. Apple started out with just 220,000 locations back in September 2014, and the number has grown month after month, despite initial resistance from competing mobile payment platforms. Rite Aid, a founding member of the exclusionary, rival CurrentC consortium, has reversed course and announced it’ll support Apple Pay and other contactless transaction methods soon. All of the company’s 4,600 stories will begin accepting contactless payments starting August 15, according to a press release. Rite Aid isn’t the first supporter of the CurrentC platform to change its mind about Apple Pay, which indicates that the tide is turning in NFC’s favor. Several big box retailers support Apple Pay, including Best Buy. Target is also reported to have plans for Apple Pay in the pipeline. Target CEO Brian Cornell told Recode the retailer will add chip and PIN technology to its checkouts before the holiday season of 2015, but Apple Pay will have to wait. Still, the CEO sounded optimistic that Apple Pay will soon be available at Target. On Apple’s website, the company lists its own store, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Duane Reade, McDonald’s, Sephora, Petco, Panera Bread, Staples, Nike, Walgreens, Subway, Whole Foods, Marriott, and more as participating stores. The list continues to grow, with dozens of clothing stores, restaurants, and other retailers signing up. Also, chances are, if you see the NFC mobile payments symbol on a cash register, Apple Pay will work at that store, too. Related:  Apple Watch uses skin contact to secure mobile payments Apple Pay already works in 40,000 Coca Cola vending machines, but tap to pay will roll out to 100,000 Coke machines before 2016 arrives. Also, thanks to an earlier deal with USA Technologies, 200,000 vending machines and self-service terminals will now support Apple Pay. You’ll be able to tap-to-pay at vending machines, laundromats, parking terminals, and other automated check out systems with your iPhone instead of pulling out quarters and crinkled dollar bills. In September, iPhone users will be able to pay admission to national parks with Apple Pay, Tim Cook announced at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. @SingAsana To clarify, Chevron is working alongside Apple to integrate Apple Pay at the pump, but a timeline is not set. — Chevron (@Chevron) December 29, 2014 You can already pay for your gas with Apple Pay at many gas stations, but you have to go inside to do so. Since most customers prefer to pay at the pump, Chevron announced via Twitter that it’s working with Apple to bring Apple Pay to the pump. Although there’s no official timeline set for the debut of tap-to-pay terminals at the pump, Chevron stated earlier that the new service may arrive at select gas stations as early as 2015. Just weeks before the launch, we saw businesses gearing up for the payment system’s big debut. The Panera Bread right below our New York office has new payment terminals that support Apple Pay. Even our local Foodtown grocery store in Queens, NY has signs posted at every register, announcing support for Apple Pay. Apple Pay will also branch out to more large venues and tourist attractions, such as amusement parks and stadiums. The mobile payment service already works in select stadiums’ concession stands around the country. In late December 2014, WDMagic revealed that a few Disney World locations will accept Apple Pay on Christmas Eve, with more locations to follow in 2015. The vast majority of stores, quick service restaurants, bars, and ticket sales booths for rides and other attractions will accept mobile payments from the start. Full-service, sit-down restaurants will receive the technology later on. More and more banks support Apple Pay Apple already has deals inked with the four major credit and debit card providers: Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. Previously, only personal AmEx cards were supported, but in early August, American Express added support for corporate cards.  Apple also has the support of more than 600 banks and credit unions as of October 20, 2015. “Businesses today are going digital, and American Express is at the forefront of digital innovation, helping companies to streamline their payments systems and simplify their processes,” said Greg Keeley, the Executive Vice President of Global Corporate Payments at American Express. “We continue to invest and expand digital offerings for our corporate customers in ways that maximize security and enhance the user experience.” In late April, credit card provider Discover finally signed a deal with Apple that will bring Apple Pay to those with Discover credit cards in the fall of 2015. Now, every major credit card company in the U.S. has Apple Pay support. In addition, many of America’s leading banks, including Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo have signed up. Users can even send money transfers from Apple Pay at Western Union locations. By the start of August 2015, Apple Pay had gained support from more than 400 institutions in the U.S. alone, including many small, regional banks. You can check out Apple’s full list here. In early July, the company added 23 more banks, including major credit unions that serve 450,000 people in Texas. In February at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple Pay will soon support government employees’ credit cards, federal benefit cards for veterans, and social security benefit cards. According to Bloomberg, the government’s deal with Apple Pay includes the Direct Express payment network and government cards from GSA SmartPay. Related:  Tim Cook says money will be forgotten by history, thanks to Apple Pay At the summit, Cook also hinted that Apple Pay will replace every card in your wallet one day — even drivers’ licenses. “We can imagine a day the not-so-distant future when your wallet becomes a remnant of the past,” he said. “Your passport, your driver’s license, and other important documents can be digitally stored in a way that’s safe, secure, and easy to access.” By mid-December, Apple confirmed to the New York Times it supports cards “that represent about 90 percent of the credit card purchase volume in the United States.” The company most recently added SunTrust, Barclaycard, USAA, TD Bank North America, and Commerce Bank to its list of partners. As such, anyone who’s a customer at these banks has the ability to link up their credit or debit cards with Apple Pay and make payments on the go at any store that accepts Apple Pay. Related:  Apple Pay: What is it and how do I use it? We explain PNC, US Bank, and Navy Federal Credit Union also support Apple Pay. Seeing as the system supports the most popular credit and debit card makers, it seems likely that many other small banks are following suit. During its October iPad launch event, Apple announced that 500 more banks agreed to support Apple Pay when it launched in October. By October 20, 2015, Apple had added 100 more banks and credit unions to the list, bringing the total above 600. For a full list of banks that work with Apple Pay, follow the link. Non-traditional banking and payment companies are also pledging support for the system. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Square, told CBC that Square will support Apple Pay and Bitcoin payments on its newest registers. Square’s registers are widely used by artists, small indie shops, and other stores, especially in large cities. Alternative registers from First Data’s Clover and others like Poynt, already support Apple Pay. A French payment company called Ingenico recently signed a deal with a Spanish luxury brand named Loewe to let customers use Apple Pay. Twitter is also reportedly testing a buy button on its site that will support Apple Pay. Apple Pay around the world Initially, Apple Pay only worked in the United States, but Apple is interested in brining the service to users in many countries. Australia, Canada, the U.K., and most recently, China have all joined the list of countries where Apple Pay is rolling out. Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain should also get the service soon. Related:  Apple Pay coming to China in early 2016, company announces The first country to get Apple Pay other than the States was the U.K. You can read our full guide to Apple Pay in the U.K. here. Now, the payment system also works in Canada and Australia, albeit in a limited capacity. Only Canadians and Australians with American Express cards can use the service at present, but AmEx cards that have been co-branded with banks won’t work. The Sydney Morning Herald says there are 6.8 million AmEx cards out of 42 million credit cards in the country, which is pretty decent. It’s also unclear how many stores in Canada and Australia will support Apple Pay, though Tim Hortons, Indigo, McDonald’s, Petro Canada, and Staples were mentioned for Canada. In Australia, the stores include David Jones, Myer, McDonald’s, K-Mart, Telstra, Coles, Woolworths, Target, Starbucks, Officeworks, Hoyts, Zara, Bunnings, and Shell. Other banks and stores will likely join the service soon in both countries. In mid-October, TD Canada Trust accidentally leaked that Apple Pay would arrive as early as November. The bank quickly apologized for the mistake on is website, but this leak could indicate that TD Canada Trust will soon be a partner. Related:  Square now accepts Apple Pay and Android Pay in 100 local businesses and counting Earlier on, sources stated that Apple is in talks with Canada’s six biggest banks, which account for 90 percent of all bank accounts in the country, to bring the mobile payment service to their customers, reports the Wall Street Journal.  The Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and National Bank of Canada, were all mentioned in the report. Apparently, the banks may launch Apple Pay at different times, unnamed sources said, because some have bigger concerns over Apple’s requirements than others. Apparently, Apple may charge Canadian banks more to use Apple Pay than it charges American banks. Another sticking point may be worries over security and fraud. Some banks want to require the use of a PIN number in addition to the Apple Pay process, which is authorized with a fingerprint scan. Naturally, Apple may object to that request, if it’s made, because it will slow down the mobile payment process. In Australia, transaction fees seem to be a sore point, too, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. In the U.S., Apple reportedly gets about 15 cents on every $100 spent. In Australia, most banks charge a smaller transaction fee of just 50 cents per $100 spent, and in the U.S., that number is $1 for every $100 spent. The Herald report states that Apple is demanding the same cut of the transaction fee in Australia that it gets in America, even though the fees are different. Similar objections have been raised by other countries, including China. Australian banks are also concerned that Apple Pay may distract customers away from their new products. However, the biggest reason why Australian banks are leery of the deal seems to be that they have to pay money into a fund called the New Payments Platform, which aims to bring a new payment option to Australian customers and businesses. The banks worry that Apple pay may be included in the new system without having to pay its fair share to join. These issues could be resolved, though. Additionally, Visa Europe stated that it is working with Apple to bring the feature to Europe as soon as possible. On February 24, Visa Europe announced the launch of something called “tokenisation,” a super secure way of conducting mobile payments without exposing card and account details. Beyond that, it’s easily disabled in the event of a phone being stolen. Tokenization was a key driver in Apple Pay’s launch in the U.S., and is in use by Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Its official introduction in Europe indicate’s Visa is making sure it’s prepared for Apple Pay’s eventual launch, which may by hastened by this important step. According to the press release, Visa tokenization will be online in mid-April. Related:  Apple limits NFC on iPhone 6 models to Apple Pay In mid-December, a pair of job postings popped up on Apple’s website for a London-based intern who would “drive the roll-out” of Apple’s new mobile payment system across Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa. The post was spotted by iClarified before Apple removed it. The intern would be responsible for forging partnerships with “payment networks and merchants across Europe,” the job description reads. Based on this report, it seems likely that Apple Pay will arrive in Europe relatively soon. You can use Apple Pay on Apple Watch, too Although we already more or less knew that Apple Pay worked on the Apple Watch, now we’ve seen a demo of it at Apple’s Spring Forward event. Seeing as the Apple Watch has NFC technology built-in, it too can tap to pay. With the Apple Watch, you don’t have to physically tap it against the terminal, you just need to get close enough for it to register. A tap of the side button will bring up your credit card, and then you’re good to go. Applications Online shoppers will also be pleased to note that Apple Pay works with several apps, and more will be added shortly. The Apple Store, Target, AirBnB, Uber, Lyft, Groupon, Instacart, OpenTable, Panera Bread, Sephora, Spring, Starbucks, Tickets.com, and other apps all work with the new system. We’ll continue to update this article as more partners are announced. Next page: A list of article updates Previous updates: Updated on 11-19-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple Pay launched in Australia. Updated on 11-17-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple Pay launched in Canada and is coming to Australia next. Updated on 11-16-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added rumors that Apple Pay may launch in Canada on November 17. Updated on 10-20-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple Pay works with more than 600 banks and credit unions as October 20, 2015. Also added new rumor that Apple Pay will arrive in Canada this November. Jump to the list of countries and list of banks for more. Updated on 10-09-2015 by Andy Boxall:  Added news that Apple Pay will come to Starbucks, KFC, and others in 2016. Updated on 08-18-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple’s plans for an Australian launch have hit a snag. Updated on 08-11-2015 by Kyle Wiggers:  Added news that Rite Aid will begin supporting Apple Pay on August 15.  Updated on 08-11-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that American Express corporate cards will now work with Apple Pay. Updated on 07-07-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that 23 more banks now support Apple Pay, and some U.K. users with the Santander bank have set up their cards on Apple Pay already, even though the official rollout hasn’t happened yet. Updated on 06-02-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that 12 more banks have been adding, brining the total up to more than 300 institutions. Updated on 05-28-2015 by Malarie Gokey:   Added news that may Target add Apple Pay support soon, but chip and PIN technology comes first. Updated on 04-28-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Discover credit cards will soon have Apple Pay support. Updated on 04-17-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple Pay may launch in November in Canada.  Updated on 03-09-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple Pay is now accepted in 700,000 locations, will work with 100,000 coke vending machines before 2016, and can be used on the Apple Watch. Updated on 02-24-2015 by Andy Boxall:  Added news that Visa has introduced new payment technology which could pave the way for Apple Pay’s launch in Europe. Updated on 02-13-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple Pay is headed to national parks and will support government employees’ debit cards, the federal payment cards for veterans, and social security benefit cards. Updated on 01-27-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that 200,000 self-serve kiosks and vending machines will support Apple Pay. Added news that Western Union will support money transfers from Apple Pay. Updated on 12-30-2014 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Chevron may install new payment terminals with support for Apple Pay at gas station pumps. Updated on 12-29-2014 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple Pay may hit the UK in 2015, as Apple enters talks with banks. Updated on 12-22-2014 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple Pay may soon arrive at select Disney World locations. Updated on 12-18-2014 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that Apple Pay may soon arrive in Europe, based on recent job postings. Updated on 12-16-2014 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that 90 percent of credit cards now work with Apple Pay. Updated on 10-16-2014 by Malarie Gokey:  Apple Pay will launch with 500 banks a partners and many more retailers who will accept it when it launches on October 20.

Samsung Galaxy S7 rumors and news leaks

Samsung Galaxy S7 rumors and news leaks

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is almost here, and now we’re into 2016, the rumors are gathering pace considerably. The phone’s sounding like another strong, high-spec device, with plenty to get excited about — so here’s everything we think we know about Samsung’s Project Lucky, also known as the Galaxy S7, so far. Updated on 02-04-2016 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in news that the Galaxy S7 might have been approved by the FCC. Related: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge rumors and news Click on a link to jump to a topic: Release date and price High-quality design Processor and specs Amazing camera A better user experience Screen sizes and pressure sensitive screen Release date and pricing The Galaxy S7’s release date remains a mystery, but there’s a good chance it’ll be sooner rather than later, since it appears that the FCC has approved it. This is an important step, since Samsung wouldn’t be allowed to sell the phone in the U.S. until the FCC gave its blessing. Although the FCC documents don’t specifically refer to the device as the Galaxy S7, there is a strong chance that it is based on the model number of SM-G930, which leaked previously. Unfortunately, an image of the phone wasn’t offered up, but the FCC ID Label and Location page gives us a general idea of its shape. Assuming the SM-G930 is indeed the Galaxy S7, we now know the model numbers of the U.S. carrier versions, thanks to the documents. They are SM-G930A (AT&T), SM-G930P (Sprint), SM-G930T (T-Mobile), SM-G930R4 (U.S. Cellular), and SM-G930V (Verizon). Again, we can’t confirm these models numbers are for the Galaxy S7, but it’s very likely. The Galaxy S7 could get officially unveiled very soon. Samsung will hold a press event on February 21 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where it’ll show off “The next Galaxy,” according to the blurb. While it’s not confirmed, there’s a strong chance the new Galaxy S7 will be revealed. Some reports initially suggested the phone would have an early launch, but this is looking less likely as we draw closer to Mobile World Congress, which has been Samsung’s location-of-choice to launch the last few Galaxy S phones. Related:  Get ready to roll: Samsung patents show flexible, foldable phones and tablets An early release was rumored due to Samsung reportedly moving to a streamlined development process, dubbed “Agile,” that aims to shave months off of its design-to-sale device cycle. The company apparently wanted to finalize the S7 by December, which could have translated into an early 2016 launch. Korea Investment predicted in early December that Samsung would launch the Galaxy S7 at Mobile World Congress in late February 2016, while ET News reported in mid-October that Samsung could announce the Galaxy S7 in January, one to two months earlier than normal. The man who leaked the correct date for the Galaxy S5 Unpacked event, Ivan Luchkov, tweeted that Samsung will host the Galaxy S7 Unpacked event on February 20, 2016. This date coincides with the very beginning of Mobile World Congress fever in Spain. In late January, @evleaks tweeted the Galaxy S7 may be released in the U.S. on March 11, although he didn’t discuss the launch event date. LG will hold an event at MWC on February 21. In late December, a poster on Sina Weibo hinted that Samsung may launch the Galaxy S7 in March 2016. The post showed pictures from a China Mobile presentation, and one of the slides appears to mention the arrival of the Galaxy S7 at the carrier in March. The slide also lists a tentative price of 3,000 yuan for the device. This converts to a very reasonable $456, but is very different to a report from Sam Mobile in early January 2016, which estimated the Galaxy S7 will have the same price as the Galaxy S6, or around $700 without a contract. Prior to this, a report from December 2015 suggested the Galaxy S7 could cost more than the Galaxy S6 because of the rumored iris scanner. Samsung continues to feel the pressure from other lower cost handsets, so there is a chance it will change things up with the Galaxy S7. Chinese analyst Pan Jiutang thinks that Samsung will likely cut the price on the Galaxy S7 in order to boost sales. According to Jiutang, this cut could be as much as 10 percent. This means that if you paid $650 (off contract) for the Galaxy S6, the Galaxy S7 could come in as low as $585. As nice as that would be, it not at all certain that it would be enough. The Nexus 6P is priced at $500 for 32GB, and appears to be a good starting point. Similar design, but even higher quality Until February 2016, the Galaxy S7 stayed well hidden from the camera, when an official-looking press image was leaked on Twitter by @evleaks. Resplendent in a cool black color scheme, if this is evidence of the final design, the Galaxy S7 will disappoint anyone wanting a complete change from the Galaxy S6. Apparently showing the S7 and S7 Edge, the shape remains very similar to the 2015 phones, and does fit with previous leaks. The home button shape differs to the one on a leaked front panel though. However, it’s far from official yet. Prior to this, an image of what could be the front panel leaked in early January 2016, and aside from a familiar Galaxy S6 design, there were a few notable changes. The first is that the home button appears to be longer, which could indicate an upgraded fingerprint sensor. Secondly, the volume rocker has been moved to the right side. Speaking of the right side, you will also notice the proximity and light sensor now reside to the right of the top speaker rather than the left. The placement of the volume rocker and sensors differs from the leaked case renders below. We do have to stress that images such as these are not official and are likely one of several prototypes. It remains to be seen if Samsung will utilize this same design for the final product. Leaked images of the Galaxy S7 shown in a case from December also revealed a similar design to the Galaxy S6. However, the home button is more rectangular and the sensors at the top are much smaller. Galaxy S7 may just be one device in the Galaxy S7 family, if some rumors are correct. Twitter user Evan Blass, popularly known as @evleaks, released an image in December 2015 that shows the names of four different Galaxy s7 devices. These include the Galaxy S7, the S7 Plus, the S7 Edge, and the S7 Edge Plus. It’s certainly going to be a mouthful to say the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Plus, but this leak affirms the other rumors flying around about the Edge and Plus variants. While we can’t verify the claims made by the leak, it’s certainly interesting to see that Samsung may go for a four-variant device launch for the upcoming Galaxy S7. Well isn’t this interesting… pic.twitter.com/imbSzQslcH — Evan Blass (@evleaks) December 11, 2015 Tech website uSwitch and Twitter user Steve Hemmerstoffer, known as @OnLeaks, have collaborated to release high-quality renders of the Galaxy S7 based off blueprints they received. The video shows a similar design to the Galaxy S6, which also supports a report out of Korea in early December indicating that Samsung will reuse the Galaxy S6 design for the Galaxy S7. Related: Google might step in and make TouchWiz faster and less buggy The video shows the “plus” variant of the Galaxy S7, and uSwitch says the blueprints are the same as those supplied to third-party accessory manufacturers ahead of a phone’s launch. We can’t vouch for the credibility of the renders, but with rumors and speculation flying about, it does look like Samsung might opt for an early launch date in January or February. Here comes the latest @OnLeaks x @uSwitchTech Collab! #Samsung‘s #GalaxyS7Plus animated CAD! https://t.co/mXi1Hz7Hqb pic.twitter.com/kYe1n8GWjY — OnLeaks (@OnLeaks) December 10, 2015 The plus variant looks as though it will feature a 6-inch screen, according to renders from uSwitch and @OnLeaks, and it also looks like the S7 will not feature a USB Type-C port, opting for the standard Micro USB slot. That would be unfortunate if true as USB Type-C, like that on the Nexus 5X and 6P, allows for faster data transfers and quicker charging. The images also show the front-facing camera has been moved closer to the edge, compared to that on the Galaxy S6. The physical home button is also more rectangular, slightly wider, and thinner than the S6. uSwitch is reporting that the S7 Plus’s button is 18mm x 5mm, while the S6’s measures 16mm x 6.7mm. The SIM tray has also been moved further down that where it was on the S6. Although the Galaxy S7 might look the same, Samsung might still make improvements to the quality of materials. The S6 featured a frame made of 6013 aluminum with a glass back, making it the best Galaxy S phone in terms of quality. However, the Galaxy S7 might go one step further. A report out of China in mid-October claimed the phone will have a much stronger frame built from magnesium alloy. Samsung is also expected to utilize a similar glass back as well. High-end specs and a return to Qualcomm’s processors As the purported release date of the Galaxy S7 looms closer, leaks and rumors are flying about, with the latest being that the flagship device will be capable of 17 hours of continuous video playback at full brightness. The latest leak comes from the editor-in-chief of Mobile-Review.com, Eldar Murtazin on Twitter. His Twitter-translated tweet says, “Galaxy s7 plays video 17 + hours with maximum illumination. Record for this class of devices.” Galaxy s7 играет видео 17+часов с максимальной подсветкой. Рекорд для этого класса устройств. — Eldar Murtazin (@eldarmurtazin) January 29, 2016 It’s entirely within the realm of possibility if the leaks about the S7 having a bigger battery are true, and especially if TouchWiz is being properly optimized for the device. We can’t verify how exactly Murtazin was able to acquire this information, and it’s still a leak — so treat it as such. Onto the processor, a recent post from AnTuTu’s Weibo page lists the specs for a Galaxy S7 powered by Samsung’s Exynos 8890 processor. The post, which we cannot verify as accurate, lists the Exynos version of the S7 to be equipped with Android 6.0.1, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB storage. It’s unclear if 64GB will be the starting storage option, rather than the traditional 16GB or 32GB. The device, codenamed SM-G930F, is purported to have a 5.1-inch screen with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. The front-facing camera is listed with 5-megapixels, while the rear camera is equipped with 12-megapixels in the post. Related:  A consumer group sues Samsung for not updating Android on 82 percent of its phones The specs are nothing surprising for a flagship, and match the same benchmarks that were listed in the AnTuTu database for the Galaxy S7 Edge earlier this month. Although reports abound that Samsung will return to Qualcomm for its processors, it’s important to remember that it’s also not the first time Samsung has used both sources of power for a Galaxy phone, and in the past, the decision has been necessitated by the accompanying modem, and international connectivity issues. At the beginning of October 2015, a report originating from Korea’s Electronic Times and picked up by Reuters, indeed says that Samsung may return to Qualcomm power for the Galaxy S7, and cites anonymous industry sources. Only those models released in the U.S. and China would carry the Snapdragon 820 processor. The AnTuTu Weibo post says S7 phones sold elsewhere may feature Samsung’s own Exynos chips. Two variants of the Galaxy S7 were spotted in benchmarks in early September. The first such device showed up in the Geekbench database with a model name of Samsung Lucky-LTE. It’s sporting an Exynos 8890 processor, which is believed to have an internal codename of M1 Mongoose. No other specs were revealed at the time other than that the device is running Android 5.1.1. The second device appeared in the AnTuTu database with the model name of Lucky. However, this model sports the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. These benchmarks add credence to the rumor of Samsung using both Qualcomm and its own processors for the S7. A move back to Snapdragon processors wouldn’t be unprecedented. Samsung’s decision to source its own Exynos processor for the Galaxy S6 was reportedly motivated by the Snapdragon 810’s overheating and performance issues. Qualcomm is said to have addressed those problems in the 820. It features four custom-designed, 64-bit Hydra cores built on Samsung’s 14nm process, a powerful new Adreno GPU, and far more efficient heat dissipation than its notoriously throttled predecessor. Related: Hands On: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus This Snapdragon variant reveals a lot more specs too. It’s sporting a 5.7-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440 resolution) display, an Adreno 530 GPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, 16-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and Android 5.1.1. Samsung entered the 4GB RAM territory with the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, so it’s no surprise that both sizes of the Galaxy S7 are rumored to also sport 4GB of RAM. One of the biggest complaints with the Galaxy S6 was the battery. Not only wasn’t it removable, but it was also too small. The Galaxy S7 is unlikely to go back to a removable battery, but according to a tipster on Weibo in early January 2016, Samsung will fit a larger 3,000mAh battery, well above the 2,550mAh battery found on the Galaxy S6. Many Samsung fans are hopeful the MicroSD slot will return with the Galaxy S7, and according to a report from Sam Mobile in early January 2016, their wishes could come true. Sources of the site supposedly confirmed that Samsung will bring back the MicroSD slot to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. A rumor picked up by HDBlog.it also says the MicroSD card slot may finally return on the S7. It has often been rumored that Samsung will include an iris scanner as a means of security on its smartphones. This might finally come true with the Galaxy S7 according to a report from late December 2015. Although Samsung wouldn’t be the first company to offer such a feature, it could be a way for Samsung to one-up Apple. It’s unclear if Samsung will continue to include a fingerprint scanner as well. The Wall Street Journal reported in December that USB Type-C charging port being added, which may provide a full day’s worth of battery charge after just 30 minutes. Samsung may also be experimenting with eye-scanning technology for biometric authentication, presumably in addition to the fingerprint sensor already in place on the Galaxy S6. The Galaxy S series’ sound quality was never anything to brag about, but that might change with the Galaxy S7. A report out of China in mid-October claims that it will feature a high quality audiophile-grade Stereo D/A converter from ESS Technology. This converter (SABRE9018AQ2M) debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2015, and is the world’s most powerful 32-bit converter. It features 129dB dynamic range and -120dB (0.0001 percent) harmonic distortion. Camera may be major selling point Many rumors point to the Galaxy S7 having a strong camera, and now they’re hinting at some cool software to go along with it. In mid-January, reports stated Samsung may include its own version of Apple’s Live Photos, where a GIF-style moving photo is created when taking a still on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Android Geeks claim Samsung’s version will be named Timeless Photo or Vivid Photo; the latter combining the word photo with the concept of a “vivid memory.” Whatever you like, Samsung. Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review Unlike Live Photos, Samsung will automatically remove the audio, and turn it into GIF format. This is good news, as it should make them less of a pain to share on social networks, which don’t natively support non-GIF videos. According to the site’s  internal source, Samsung’s keen to get Vivid Photo onto the Galaxy S7 when the phone is announced, but apparently it’s still in development, and that may lead to delays. If so, the feature may come as a software update after the phone goes on sale. Related:  The best Android apps for almost any occassion Moving on to the hardware, a tipster on Weibo reported in early January 2016 that the Galaxy S7 will sport a 12-megapixel main rear camera, which was also previously rumored. However the tipster included new information regarding the aperture, which could be f/1.7. This is a significant increase over the Galaxy S6, which had an aperture of f/1.9. Couple this with the rumor that the sensor size could be 1/2.0″, and the Galaxy S7 could have one of the best cameras we have seen on a smartphone. Related to this is a Samsung trademark application for “Britecell,” and according to the listing, it’s an image sensor for mobile phones. It also sounds very familiar to Isocell, which is Samsung’s current sensor technology. Isocell forms a physical barrier between neighboring pixels, thus allowing more light to be captured. The name Britecell obviously is a play on the word “bright,” which would suggest that this sensor also deals with collecting more light. A rumor in early November indicated that Samsung might ditch higher pixels in favor of better image quality. While the Galaxy S6 had a 16-megapixel camera onboard, the Galaxy S7’s camera could actually drop to 12 megapixels. It also included early discussion on the sensor, such as an increase in size to 1/2.0” (from 1/2.6″) and dual-PD (dual-photodiode) technology. The increased sensor size would allow more light while the dual-PD technology would offer a more accurate auto focus through phase detection. This could be the so-called Britecell technology. The move to a larger sensor would be similar to what Google did with the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, in that those phones have 1/2.3″ sensors. Ironically, both of those phones are equipped with 12-megapixel (actual is 12.3) lenses too. At present, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P have the largest sensors ever on a smartphone, but the Galaxy S7 would take the crown if this rumor is true. It should be noted that a contrary rumor published on the Chinese social network Weibo at the beginning of November asserted that Samsung is talking to Sony, with the intention of securing the IMX300 camera sensor for use on the Galaxy S7. The IMX300 is apparently the same sensor used in the Sony Xperia Z5, and is rated at 23 megapixels. However, Samsung apparently wants to use both its own Isocell 20-megapixel camera sensor, and Sony’s sensor for the S7, meaning it’ll have to bring them both into line, megapixel-wise, to avoid differences in models. The rumor is unconfirmed, and the source is unknown. Samsung used a mix-and-match strategy for camera components — with Sony — on the Galaxy S6, so the decision to use two different camera sensors in the S7 range wouldn’t come as a surprise. Sony has also acquired Toshiba’s CMOS sensor factory, increasing its ability to produce camera sensors. These two factors indicate that the rumor carries some weight. Before this, Chinese suppliers reported in August that Samsung had begun sourcing components for a dual-camera array. Unlike the primitive twin shooters on the HTC One M8, Samsung’s implementation is said to focus on low-light performance and “accuracy.” One lens will supply color information, and the other will focus on brightness, sources claim. The device will then combine the metadata to produce photos up to “double” the quality of single-camera shots. In a move which may belie Samsung’s intentions, the company’s Exynos 7420 shipped with dual-camera support enabled. Related:  Apple and Samsung will break boundaries with new dual-camera tech for smartphones Some sources inside South Korea are unsure if this tech will be used on the Galaxy S7, however. Samsung may have plans to test the waters with a dual-camera setup on another smartphone shortly after the Galaxy S7 launch. Samsung execs want to see how the market responds to a small batch of dual-camera phones, before implementing the tech inside the flagship smartphone, the sources say. Samsung reportedly has an end-of-year goal for the dual camera, meaning if it does change its mind, it will still have a few months before the Galaxy S7 launch to add the dual cameras to its flagship phone. A better user experience A rumor in mid-December suggests that Samsung wants to improve the experience of TouchWiz, rather than drop it. To Samsung’s credit, TouchWiz has improved a lot, but Samsung might be getting even more serious about improving the user experience. According to a report out of China, Samsung has hired Google engineers to help optimize TouchWiz so that it responds as well as iOS. This isn’t actually a fresh rumor, as reports of such an arrangement surfaced in November. Two display sizes and Force Touch Samsung’s next S phone could come in two sizes like the Galaxy S6, and feature Edge variants as well, plus there are rumors about the technology that’ll sit behind the screen. The I Ice Universe Weibo account hinted in October that Samsung may follow Apple’s lead and add Force Touch to its next flagship phone. The Galaxy S7 will reportedly pack a special tech from Synaptics that’s called ClearForce. Much like 3D Touch on the iPhone 6S and Force Touch on the Apple Watch, ClearForce technology registers a firm press differently than a light tap. On the Galaxy S7, this tech could be used to bring up contextual menus and other cool features, CNet reports. Related: Read all the Galaxy S7 Edge rumors In mid-December, a comprehensive leak published by The Wall Street Journal revealed more about Samsung’s possible plans for the Galaxy S7. Quoting anonymous inside sources, it states the phone will retain the Galaxy S6’s style, but come with a range of updated technical features. Echoing a similar rumor we’ve heard in the past, Samsung may add a pressure sensitive screen to the S7, much like the one Apple uses for the iPhone 6S. If so, it may respond in different ways depending on how the screen is touched. A patent published by the Korean Intellectual Property Office in mid-October reveals that Samsung might bring force touch technology to the Galaxy S7 onscreen keyboard. Samsung’s implementation uses voltage to detect the force of touch, which in turn determines the output. For example, pressing the “a” key lightly would register a lowercase “a,” while a harder press would output an uppercase “A.” The patent further reveals that this technology could also be used in a keyboard accessory such as a flip-style cover with a built-in keyboard. Moving to the size of the Galaxy S7’s screen, a report from Sam Mobile in early January 2016 says the Galaxy S7 will come with a 5.1-inch display, as opposed to 5.2 inches. The same source tells the site that the Galaxy S7 Edge will have a 5.5-inch display. Another report indicated the Galaxy S7 will come in two sizes: 5.2 inches and 5.8 inches. If the Edge variants mimic the two display sizes of the S7, that would bring four new devices at launch for Samsung. Now that Sony debuted the first smartphone with a UHD 4K (3,840 x 2,160 resolution) display, Samsung may consider following suit. A report in early September indicated the Galaxy S7 is likely to sport a 4K display. It’s possible that Samsung will reserve this high end display for the larger model, which would put it at 759 pixels per inch. If Samsung does opt to offer a 4K display on the 5.2-inch model, it would come in at a whopping 847 pixels per inch. That’s all the Galaxy S7 rumors we have for now, but more will surely come, so keep checking back for the latest updates. Previous updates: Updated on 02-01-2016 by Andy Boxall:  Added in a leaked picture allegedly showing the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, plus news of a Samsung press event on February 21, where the phone may be revealed. Updated on 01-29-2016 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added leaked information about the S7 being capable of 17 hours of continuous video playback at full brightness. Updated on 01-25-2016 by Andy Boxall:  Added news the Galaxy S7 may be released in the U.S. on March 11 2016. Updated on 01-20-2016 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added leaked specs from AnTuTu’s Weibo page, showing the Galaxy S7 running on Samsung’s Exynos 8890 processor. Updated on 01-06-2016 by David Curry:  Added in rumor that Live Photos might be coming to Galaxy S7.  Updated on 01-06-2016 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in rumors of the Galaxy S7 getting a larger battery and more information regarding the camera. Updated on 01-05-2016 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in rumors of a 5.1-inch screen size, the return of the MicroSD slot, and pricing. Updated on 01-04-2016 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in leaked images of the Galaxy S7 front panel and case renders. Updated on 12-28-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added rumor of a February 20 Unpacked event date and that the Galaxy S7 could feature an iris scanner. Updated on 12-21-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added rumor of a March launch date from a China Mobile device roadmap presentation leaked on Weibo. Updated on 12-17-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added news that Samsung might have hired Google engineers to optimize TouchWiz. Updated on 12-14-2015 by Andy Boxall:  Added news the Galaxy S7 may have a pressure sensitive touchscreen, eye scanning technology, and similar Galaxy S6 design. Updated on 12-11-2015 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added leaks about four Galaxy S7 variants. Updated on 12-10-2015 by Julian Chokkattu:  Added high-quality render video and leaks from @OnLeaks and uSwitch about the design of the device. Updated on 12-01-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in a rumor that the design of the Galaxy S7 will be just like the Galaxy S6. Updated on 11-23-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added in a rumor that the design of the Galaxy S7 will be just like the Galaxy S6. Updated on 11-23-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added in a rumor that Samsung might bring the MicroSD card back to the Galaxy S7. Updated on 11-09-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in news that Samsung might price the Galaxy S7 for much less than the Galaxy S6. Updated on 11-04-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in news that Samsung trademarked “BRITECELL” and this could be the technology used in the Galaxy S7 camera. Updated on 11-03-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in news Samsung might use a smaller 12-megapixel sensor camera with a larger sensor size in the Galaxy S7. Updated on 11-02-2015 by Andy Boxall:  Added in news Samsung may be talking with Sony to acquire its 23-megapixel camera sensor for use in the Galaxy S7 Updated on 10-20-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in news that Galaxy S7 could feature a magnesium alloy build and a high-end 32-bit Stereo D/A Converter Updated on 10-19-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added news that Samsung received a patent that involves force touch technology, Updated on 10-13-2015 by Malarie Gokey:  Added news that the Galaxy S7 may have Force Touch in its display. Updated on 10-02-2015 by David Curry:  Added new information that Galaxy S7 might not receive the dual-cameras.  Updated on 10-02-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in further rumors Samsung will chose the Snapdragon 820 processor for the Galaxy S7 Updated on 09-11-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in specs from recent benchmarks and news that the Galaxy S7 is codenamed “Project Lucky” Updated on 09-09-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Added in news that the Galaxy S7 could come in two sizes along with rumored specs

Facebook celebrates 12th birthday with Friends Day videos, faces plenty of media snark

Facebook celebrates 12th birthday with Friends Day videos, faces plenty of media snark

It’s February 4th, 2016 so won’t you please join us in wishing Facebook a very happy 12th birthday? As we reported last week, the social network site is doing just fine, thank you very much, and on this day is sharing with its users a little present in the form of so-called “Friends Day” videos. Throughout the day, Facebook will place personalized videos created from your uploaded photos at the top of your news feed in celebration of the friendships that have made a difference in your life, according to CEO Mark Zucherberg. If you don’t like the pics Facebook automatically selects for the video, you can change them out. And whether you share the video with others or just enjoy it to yourself is entirely up to you. As Facebook celebrates its day of birth with friendliness, some media headlines are taking the opportunity to examine Facebook in a, shall we say, less positive light. For instance, CNBC penned a piece examining how Facebook users have squandered some $3.5 Trillion in productivity. Oh Yeah? That’s a lot. We wonder how much productivity got squandered watching garbage TV shows on Hulu? You know what they say about glass houses, right NBC? Apple music subscribers using Android smartphones just got some cool new functionality that Apple isn’t even giving its own iPhone users. As of today, Apple is rolling out an update that will not only allow Android users to download music for offline playback, but, for the first time, Apple is allowing those files to be stored on a Micro-SD card. This move has some tech pundits shaking their heads, as Apple has sort of missed an opportunity to coerce Android users to its own ecosystem by offering them something they can’t get on Apple’s own devices. It’s an interesting play in which Apple is tossing its software and cloud services out in front of its hardware. The question I think lots of people are asking is: How does this benefit Apple, exactly? Are you a Spotify user who’s getting a little tired of your own playlists? Is your music sounding a little … stale? We can relate, sometimes it’s hard to discover new stuff, and even when you can, it takes time you might not have when all you wanna do is check out new music you might actually like. Well, we have good news for you: A new app called “Playlist a Day” does exactly what it sounds like it would do. Each day the app will offer up a playlist of new music taken from what is now a pool of about 175,000 songs. The playlists come from playlists.net, a community based around collecting and sharing Spotify playlists. So, it’s not some bot or algorithm choosing the music you’re listening to with this app, it’s real people with musical tastes — good and bad — putting together music they love. Hey, if nothing else, you’re gonna get exposed to something new … you might just like it. Give it a shot and let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, we want to remind you to keep your smartphone and PC browser pointed at Digital Trends as we head into the Super Bowl weekend. We’ve got all kinds of killer Super Bowl-related stories for you, including a run-down of the best Super Bowl ads from Super Bowls past. You won’t wanna miss it. That’s it for DT Daily today. We’ll see ya again tomorrow!

This Weird LED Lamp Displays 3D Emojis

This Weird LED Lamp Displays 3D Emojis

Today, however, I'm simply wondering, "Why?" Electronics maker Spin-R is launching an Indiegogo campaign for its $200 Tittle Light LED lamp (titillate, get it?). Through a companion app for iOS, Android and on the Web, you can set the Tittle Light cube to display the time a music visualizer (that synchronizes with surrounding music or sounds), 3D animated emojis or your own animations painted in the app. The Tittle Light also performs more traditional functions such as being a regular lamp (you can pick the color and intensity) or mood lighting.

The Unreal Engine now lets you build games inside virtual reality

The Unreal Engine now lets you build games inside virtual reality

Epic's Unreal Engine has supported making virtual reality games for some time. Now, it supports making games in virtual reality too. Today, Epic announced an upcoming VR component to its popular Unreal Editor, letting game developers, animators, and other users create and explore their environments through an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.

The Internet is going to reach a zettabyte, nearly a trillion gigabytes, of data this year

The Internet is going to reach a zettabyte, nearly a trillion gigabytes, of data this year

If you thought the 2GB monthly data cap on your phone was low, well, you’re right. And, in comparison to the world’s overall Internet traffic figures, it appears to be even more microscopic as we’re slated to approach the one zettabyte mark later this year. This news comes from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, a survey predicting Internet traffic trends all the way up to 2019. The survey says that Internet traffic is going to extend past a zettabyte of data usage this year, but even more surprisingly, it’s going to double in the next three years. Related: FCC reports says 16 million Americans are without broadband Internet access altogether To put into perspective just how massive our bandwidth consumption has been recently, a simple unit conversion calculator reveals that a zettabyte equates to 909,494,701.773 terabytes. Yes, we’re expected to reach almost a trillion gigabytes this year, and likely exceed it, largely due to the advent and rampant adoption of smartphones. By the year 2020, Cisco claims that 5.5 billion people, roughly 70 percent of the global population, will be lugging mobile devices around in their pockets. With that in mind, devices like phones, tablets, smartwatches, and the like will be responsible for an eight-fold increase over the next three to four years. Most shocking, however, is Cisco’s assertion that by 2020, more people will have cell phones than will have basic utilities, including running water, electrical service, or a car. On a less surprising note, the Internet is experiencing the most rapid expansion in Africa and the Middle East, with a 44-percent compound annual growth rate. Central and Eastern Europe are advancing at a 330-percent annual rate. Likewise, countries located in the Asia Pacific region, like China, are anticipated to account for the most traffic worldwide at 54 exabytes per month, though they’re only experiencing a 21-percent growth rate each year. North American countries, and primarily the United States, are generating about 50 exabytes of data consumption every month, with an annual growth of 20 percent, making us the second-largest data devourer around.

Android Wear gets voice calling and message dictation in major update

Android Wear gets voice calling and message dictation in major update

Android Wear is getting updated in a big way this month. Google is beginning to roll out an update with some major new features for Android Wear, including the ability to make and listen to calls directly on the watch. You'll need a watch with a speaker to do that, of course, and only two watches currently have one: the Huawei Watch and the 49mm model of the Asus ZenWatch 2.

Mozilla outlines the end of Firefox OS on phones and looks to IoT future

Mozilla outlines the end of Firefox OS on phones and looks to IoT future

Last year, Mozilla quietly announced it was giving up on trying to build a viable smartphone operating system that could compete with Android and iOS. Today, the company has yet again confirmed the move and offered new specifics on when and how it will sunset Firefox OS on phones — and begin focusing on the Internet of Things. Development of Firefox OS will cease completely after version 2.6 is released.

Apple Music lets Android users do something you can’t do on your iPhone

It's probably fair to assume that a majority of Apple Music's 15 million+ subscribers own an iPhone or an iPad, but users of the Android app are getting something that iOS users will almost certainly never see: SD card support. DON'T MISS:  Dollars and Sense: How Samsung became Samsung, and why Apple is still Apple This week, Apple updated the Apple Music app on Google Play with a full schedule for Beats 1 shows, new Browse My Music by Composers and Compilations options and, yes, the ability to save and listen to music offline with an SD card. If you're an iPhone or an iPad user, you're likely painfully aware that SD cards aren't compatible

Dual-lens cameras are coming to smartphones, but not until next year, says Sony

Dual-lens cameras are coming to smartphones, but not until next year, says Sony

Dual-lens cameras could bring smartphones up another notch when it comes to photography, but they might not come as fast we had hoped. This information comes courtesy of Sony’s most recent earnings call for its third quarter. During the call, Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida confirmed that its dual-lens will be featured in devices from “major smartphone players” over the next year. However, because high-end smartphones are slowing down, Yoshida believes the “real start, the takeoff of smartphones with dual-lens cameras will be in the year of 2017.” Related: Apple and Samsung will break boundaries with new dual-camera tech for smartphones Although only a prediction, Sony is one of the leaders when it comes to providing image sensors to smartphone manufacturers, so the company might know what its talking about. However, if you read between the lines, there seems to be an opening for some adoption in 2016. Yoshida cleared used the word “takeoff,” which could mean that he believes that the majority of high-end smartphone manufacturers will adopt dual-lens cameras in 2017, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a few manufacturers jumping on board this year. Dual-lens cameras are nothing new. The most recent rendition was from HTC with the One M8, but that was more of a gimmick than anything else. Future implementations of a dual-lens setup could bring smartphone camera quality closer to a DSLR. By using one lens for color information and the other for brightness, the quality of images could improve dramatically. Apple’s most recent patent shows yet another advantage: the possibility of capturing video with one lens when zoomed out, while the second lens captures photos while zoomed in. We have already heard rumors that Apple could offer a “premium” version of the iPhone 7 Plus later this year, which would sport a dual-lens camera. This speculation has been fueled by the fact that Apple recently bought Linx Computational Imaging, a company that specializes in using multiple sensors for capturing both 2D and 3D images. There are even reports that Apple is already testing dual-lens samples from a variety of manufacturers. Then there is LG, who will launch the G5 later this month. That phone is also rumored to sport two lenses, one for the background and one for the subject. Related: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus rumors and news leaks Samsung has also been the center of many rumors as well, but the Galaxy S7 isn’t likely to sport a dual-lens camera based on leaks up to this point. However, it’s very possibly that Samsung could launch other Galaxy phones with dual-lenses later this year. And of course, we can’t forget about Sony, which is likely to use its own dual-lens sensor for an Xperia flagship at some point. So based on Sony’s prediction, 2017 looks to be a breakout year for the dual-lens camera, but we’re still holding out hope that 2016 will get the party started.

Best app deals of the day! 14 paid iPhone apps on sale for a limited time

Best app deals of the day! 14 paid iPhone apps on sale for a limited time

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 occassion Cavernaut You can never have too many arcade games, and with Cavernaut, you’ll be able to play pilot to your cave-navigating spaceship. Get to the surface while picking up luminum crystals on your way, and be sure to keep an eye on your fuel supply. Available on: iOS Long Multiplication A number of apps from this suite are on sale for free today, and they’re ideal for your child learning math. Long Multiplication is part of a set of idevbooks math apps, and Wired once called it “A Set of Excellent iPhone Math Apps for the Older Child.” Available on: iOS INFOCUS Extreme Bike If you can’t get out into nature and do the real thing, this mountain biking app may be the next best thing. With challenging circuits full of speed inspired by real competitions, you can virtually explore places like Chile, Mexico, and Bolivia with INFOCUS Extreme Bike. Available on: iOS Over This beautiful app lets you do some beautiful things. From designing a greeting card to marketing your real estate or laying out a business card, there’s no end of things you can do as an amateur or professional designer with Over. Available on: iOS Go Karts Ultimate Get your facing on with Go Karts Ultimate. You don’t need a license to satisfy your need for speed here. Available on: iOS NodeBeat Become a composer with NodeBeat, the perfect app no matter what your age or experience level. And if you’re particularly proud of your creation, share it with others or save them for show and tell later. Available on: iOS Sweat Deck Mix up your workout with Sweat Deck, the exercise app that will give you an endless combination of simple yet effective workouts. Available on: iOS Airport Restaurant Guide Frequent flier? You need Airport Restaurant Guide in your life. With a breakdown of all the restaurants available in each terminal of the busiest airports in the United States, you can plan well in advance so that eating isn’t one of the stresses of your trip. Available on: iOS NREMT EMT-B Exam Prep Studying for your EMT exam is easier than ever with this pocket prep app. Study anywhere with your customized practice tests, detailed answer rationales, and result reviews. Available on: iOS Relook Enhance your natural beauty with Relook, the app that gives you the tools used by professional fashion photographers to turn selfies into glamour shots. With the app’s Bright-3 skin layering and multi-phase frequency separation techniques, you’ll always look ready for your close-up. Available on: iOS Buff Knight The number one app in Korea is Buff Knight, the retro RPG runner developed by a one-man studio. The pixel graphic game will keep you entertained for hours as you slay the dragon, save the princess, and become a buff knight. Available on: iOS Voice Keyboard Pro Heralded as the first and only voice-capability keyboard, the Voice Keyboard Pro can speak a stunning 37 high quality voice languages, and will allow you to quickly text and even translate into a whopping 91 languages. So start getting multilingual, and fast. Available on: iOS About Man Utd For all your soccer fans, this app is going to be a hit. With all the Manchester United facts and stats, you’ll be a walking encyclopedia. Available on: iOS Evil Minds For your next NSFW party, play Evil Minds: Dirty Charades , the whole-body word game that is meant to be a whole-body experience. With over 2,000 Evil Words, you’ll be playing for quite some time. Available on: iOS Also watch: Leonardo DiCaprio, Best Actor nominee for The Revenant, as Luke Brower on Growing Pains Please enable Javascript to watch this video

T-Mobile ranks highest in customer satisfaction

T-Mobile ranks highest in customer satisfaction

T-Mobile just found another reason to stroke its already strong ego, this time at the hands of its customers. According to the recently released results of the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Full-Service Performance Study, T-Mobile customers are the most satisfied in the industry. These findings remain consistent with those of the last four awards periods, in three of which T-Mobile came out on top. Attributing its success to the firm’s “team’s focus and determination,” T-Mobile is promising customers even more in return. In a blog post authored by T-Mobile CEO John Legere, the publicity-seeking leader writes, “Honestly, beating AT&T and Verizon when it comes to caring about customers is like the Mets winning at pee-wee ball. Sure, delivering the best care in wireless feels good. But we’ve set our sights higher.” So what does that mean? Apparently, for T-Mobile, it’s being the “very best in the world.” With their goals set on “world-class service,” T-Mobile doesn’t want to just be the best cell phone service provider. It wants to be … the best. “We think customer care should have a different goal: satisfying and often astounding our customers,” Legere says. “Sure, that’s a little more expensive, but it’s more than worth it when you’re building a business for the long run.” Related : Conveniently small, ZTE’s new 4G LTE hotspot is just $80 through T-Mobile Already, T-Mobile has offered a few pretty enticing deals from a business standpoint — there’s the popular (though potentially illegal) Binge-On program, the BOGO half off smartphone deal, and the company’s most recently announced unlimited LTE family plan. But it looks like T-Mobile may be going further still, and not only in terms of phone service, but in customer service as well. “Over the next year, you’re going to see us roll out new capabilities and features that’ll take our customer care to the next level,” promises Legere. “We’re gonna make care more mobile  — tap into the power of that supercomputer our customers carry in their pockets; more personal  — because great customer care is personal customer care, pure and simple; and  more Un-carrier  — doing what we’ve done all along by challenging the status quo and completely changing the game.” Also watch: Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Mozilla to pull staff support for Firefox OS after May

Mozilla to pull staff support for Firefox OS after May

The dying embers of Firefox OS have finally been put out. It doesn’t really come as a surprise, considering Mozilla announced back in December  at “Mozlando” that it was ending development and would stop selling Firefox OS smartphones. But today’s official announcement comes in the form of an email sent out to developers, in which the corporation said it “will end development on Firefox OS for smartphones after the version 2.6 release.” Related:  Mozilla axes Firefox OS for smartphones “The circumstances of multiple established operating systems and app ecosystems meant that we were playing catch-up, and the conditions were not there for Mozilla to win on commercial smartphones,” the company said in the email. Staff involvement in Firefox OS will also end after May. In the email, Mozilla says the company is looking to focus on connected devices in the Internet of Things space, rather than a mobile operating system. Firefox’s Marketplace will not accept submissions for Android, desktop, and tablet apps as of March 29, and the company will remove apps that don’t support Firefox OS. Firefox OS apps will still be “accepted into 2017,” as Mozilla is still finalizing a date. Related:  Push notifications can now come straight to your desktop via Firefox What’s interesting is that Mozilla’s Connected Devices division has been “testing out a new product innovation process,” with three of the products passing through, and many in the pipeline. One such product is the “SmartTV,” which allows users to enjoy Firefox on a larger screen. We won’t know what else Mozilla is talking about until the company opens up the non-staff participation process in the “first half of the year.” The foxfooding program, where Firefox enthusiasts help test out latest builds, will stay alive and will continue to work on “these new product innovations.” Also watch: Hands on with Mozilla’s Firefox OS for phones Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Samsung follows Apple’s lead, updates its Android browser with ad blocking

Samsung follows Apple’s lead, updates its Android browser with ad blocking

Jealous of iPhone users who don’t have to look at ads when browsing the Web? Well envy them no more because Samsung has updated its Android browser app — which has the catchy name “Internet” — giving it the ability to block ads as well. The new feature doesn’t automatically block ads however. Users will need to install an ad blocker app from Google Play. Adblock Fast and Crystal are the first two compatible apps. AdBlock Fast is already available on iOS and desktop versions of Chrome and Opera. It has over 200,000 users and is free to install. Crystal is also available on iOS. Related: The Brave browser says it will ‘fix the Web’ with no ads and no tracking Updated on 02/03/2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Adblock Fast has been taken down from Google Play. Adblock Fast seems to have been forced to hit the brakes. Rocketship, the company behind the app that partnered with Samsung, has confirmed with Digital Trends that Google has removed its app from the Play Store. Adblock Fast’s website has even been updated to say, “Find out when Adblock Fast is back in Google Play!” Rocketship developer Brian Kennish says the company has yet to hear “anything from a human being at Google.” The startup forwarded emails sent by the search giant that essentially said the app violates section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement. Section 4.4 states that developers cannot “engage in any activity with the Store, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses” other third party developers and users. The email did say if the developer believes the rejection is in the wrong, that a representative will get back in touch within two business days. The company received another email that offered the same information on why the app was rejected. We have reached out to Google, and will update when they respond. It seems as though Crystal and Adblock Plus, which just went live, are still available content blockers for Samsung Internet, so it’s unclear why Adblock Fast was singled out in this rejection. Adblock Fast One of the biggest reasons to use ad-blocking software is speed. For example, using the Adblock Fast app along with the Samsung Internet app decreases load times on Android by about 51 percent. The other big advantage is that less data is consumed, which extends those data caps. Unfortunately, ad blocking support is only compatible with Android Marshmallow, which means that only a handful of Samsung users can enjoy it. Samsung does plan on adding it to Lollipop devices in the coming months though. It’s unclear how popular ad blocking is with consumers. Ad blocking apps were ranked highly when Apple first introduced that functionality with iOS, but the ranking for them has since dropped. And mainstream consumers aren’t jumping on board just yet. It’s important to point out that ad blocking is only allowed with the Samsung Internet app, not with Google’s Chrome browser, which also comes pre-installed on Samsung phones. The Chrome browser doesn’t support ad blocking, and it probably won’t for sometime. Ad revenues play a significant role in Google’s profitability, but do not for Samsung and Apple. Related: Study: iOS 9 ad blockers save iPhone users time, data, and money Android users who don’t have a Samsung device will soon have the ability to use the Brave browser, which was created by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. It’s a browser with built-in ad blocking capabilities, but it will support publishers. The app is now in beta testing for both Android and iOS. Also watch: Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Please enable Javascript to watch this video

10 best Nexus 5X cases to guard your Google phone

10 best Nexus 5X cases to guard your Google phone

The temptingly low price tag and impressive set of specs will have plenty of people rushing to buy a new Nexus 5X, but it would be wise to take steps to protect that protruding camera lens and the 5.2-inch screen. You may also decide that the understated, plastic curves could be dressed up to look a little prettier. Either way, you’re going to want to check out the best Nexus 5X cases and covers on the market. These are our top picks so far. Updated on 2-4-2016 by Simon Hill : Added cases by Incipio, Rhino Shield, Cruzerlite, Noreve, and Ballistic. Related : Google Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X hands on Incipio NGP Case ($20) This slim, soft-shell case is a good choice if you don’t like bulky cases. It’s easy to fit, durable, and comfortable to hold. It adds some grip and basic protection from bumps and drops. There are well-defined button covers on the side, and the cut-outs ensure easy access to your controls, as well as the ports on the bottom edge. The camera cutout doesn’t interfere with photos, either. It’s a slightly translucent case that comes in black, blue, pink, or frost. Available at: Amazon Rhino Shield Crash Guard Bumper ($25) Some Nexus 5X cases interfere with access to the fingerprint sensor on the back, but this bumper leaves the front and back entirely exposed. It does still offer really solid drop protection, because the bumper is thick and shock absorbent. It also extends front and back to ensure your phone never comes into contact with the ground. The button covers are easy to find without looking, and the bumper comes in black or white. Available at: Amazon Cruzerlite Bugdroid Circuit Case ($10) If you just want a basic flexible TPU case, then there’s no need to spend more than this. The Cruzerlite Bugdroid Circuit case comes in a wide range of different colors, and every case features the Android mascot with a circuitry design on the back. It’s a slim case that should absorb the impact of small drops and bumps. There’s also a lip to protect the screen, but it’s not a really rugged case. You’ll find accurate openings for the camera, sensors, and ports. The button covers work well, too. Available at: Amazon Noreve Tradition Leather Case ($50) Most of the Nexus 5X cases on the market are pretty cheap, but you can find a touch of French style with this real leather offering from Noreve. This is a vertical flip open case hand-crafted from genuine leather. The exterior is plush and padded with a soft lining inside to keep your phone pristine. Your Nexus 5X is held snug and secure, but there are generous openings for the camera, fingerprint sensor, buttons, and ports. You can get this case in a wide variety of different leather grain finishes and colors if you don’t mind spending a little extra. Available at: Noreve Ballistic Tough Jacket Case ($35) As you may guess from the Tough Jacket name, this case offers really rugged drop protection with heavily reinforced corners to guard against damage from falls. There’s a textured grid pattern on the back and the finish definitely adds grip. You’ll also find pronounced button covers and accurate openings for ports, camera, and sensors. Because it’s a thick case, you might find it a little awkward to use the fingerprint sensor, but it helps if you set up your fingerprint with the case on. If you primarily want drop protection, this multi-layer case will keep your phone safe even if it takes a tumble from 6 feet. Available at: Amazon Next page: 5 more Nexus 5X cases Speck CandyShell Grip Case ($35) If you want a good protective case that will protect your Nexus 5X if you should drop it, then Speck’s CandyShell Grip is a solid option. The ridged pattern looks good, but it also adds some grip. The case meets military drop test standards (810G), thanks to a shock-absorbent rubber core and a tough outer shell. The raised bezel round the front protects the screen, preventing it from touching surfaces. The rubber button covers are well marked and easy to press, and the openings are precisely where they should be for access to ports, the fingerprint sensor, and camera. Available at: Speck Adopted Folio Case ($46) This is an unusual folio case from Adopted that sports a microfiber finish. We’re used to seeing soft microfiber on the inside, but we’ve never seen it on the exterior before. The shell itself is a typical TPU case, and the cover is polyurethane covered with microfiber. There are cut-outs for the camera, flash, and fingerprint sensor on the back. The cover protects the display, but it also automatically puts the screen to sleep when you close it. There’s a geometric pattern of boxes on the front and the official Nexus logo. You can get this one in quartz or carbon, otherwise known as light and dark gray. Available at: Mobile Fun Rearth Ringke Fusion Case ($20) For anyone who likes the look and color of their Nexus 5X, this case is going to be a winner. It’s a completely crystal clear case. It combines a malleable bumper portion with button covers and cut-outs for your ports, with a tough, hard back panel. There’s also a large opening on the back, so as not to interfere with the camera, flash, or fingerprint sensor. You can also get a smoke black version of this slim, transparent case. Available at: Mobile Fun Verus High Pro Shield Case ($17) Here’s a fairly protective case with a different kind of look and design. The flexible TPU shell is always black with a mock brushed metal finish, but the polycarbonate bumper that goes on top comes in a variety of different colors. The button covers are pronounced, there’s a protective lip to safeguard the screen, and there’s a special pattern inside designed to dissipate shock. The cut-outs on the back are tight and minimal, and there are also openings for your ports. Available at: Amazon Spigen Thin Fit Shell Case ($12) Fans of minimalist cases will like this offering from Spigen. It’s a simple polycarbonate shell in black, white, or mint. It snaps onto the Nexus 5X and has cut-outs for the buttons, ports, camera, and fingerprint sensor. It has a soft-touch finish that makes it comfortable to hold and adds some grip. There’s a Spigen logo on the back, but other than that it is completely free of superfluous detail. If you want a light, thin case for basic protection, then it could suit well. It won’t cost you much, either. Available at: Amazon That’s all the Nexus 5X cases we have to recommend for now, but we’ll keeping a close eye on new contenders and adding them to this roundup over the next few weeks. Article originally published 10-3-2015.

apple-macintosh

N. Korea says rocket launch could happen as early as Sunday

N. Korea says rocket launch could happen as early as Sunday

North Korea's widely-condemned launch of a long-range rocket could happen within a matter of hours, after Pyongyang shortened and brought forward the start of the launch window to Sunday morning. An updated notification sent by Pyongyang to UN agencies on Saturday -- a copy of which was released by the South Korean government -- said the launch would now take place between February 7-14. The initial window announced by the North on Tuesday had been February 8-25.

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, 6th man on moon, dies in Florida

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, 6th man on moon, dies in Florida

MIAMI (AP) — Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who became the sixth man on the moon when he and Alan Shepard helped NASA recover from Apollo 13's "successful failure" and later devoted his life to exploring physics, the mind, and unexplained phenomena such as psychics and aliens, has died in Florida. He was 85.

Pope, Russian patriarch to talk about persecution of Christians

Pope, Russian patriarch to talk about persecution of Christians

The patriarch of Russia's Orthodox Church will take part in an historic first meeting with the Roman Catholic pontiff on Feb. 12 because of the need for a joint response to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, the Orthodox Church said. Senior Orthodox cleric Metropolitan Hilarion said that long-standing differences between the two churches remain, most notably a row over the status of the Uniate Church, in Ukraine. "The situation shaping up today in the Middle East, in North and Central Africa, and in some other regions where extremists are carrying out a genuine genocide of the Christian population, demands urgent measures and an even closer cooperation between the Christian churches," Hilarion said.

social-media

Why Twitter is cracking down on terrorist tweets

Terrorist groups may now have a harder time using Twitter as a platform for radical activities. For years, terrorists groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda have used social media sites including Twitter and Facebook, to spread extremist messages, recruit followers, and call on sympathizers in the West to commit acts of violence at home. A study by the Brookings Institution estimated that from September through December 2014, at least 46,000 Twitter accounts were used by ISIS supporters, though not all were active at the same time.

Twitter Responds to Critics, Saying It Has Shut Down Thousands of Islamic State Accounts

Twitter Responds to Critics, Saying It Has Shut Down Thousands of Islamic State Accounts

It’s safe to say we’ve all heard of the Islamic State trying to recruit new members through social media, but the number of Twitter accounts associated with the terrorist group might come as a shock. On Thursday, Twitter announced that it has suspended 125,000 accounts “for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS,” since the middle of 2015. It’s said to be the first time Twitter has released specific numbers on the amount of accounts it’s deleted.

Twitter employee learns about social network's harassment problem firsthand

Twitter employee learns about social network's harassment problem firsthand

It's been an issue for years, and the company started taking steps towards fixing it last year after then-CEO Dick Costolo recognized the epidemic and admitted: "We suck at dealing with abuse." But it seems not every Twitter employee knows about one of the social network's most important issues. Late last night, Brandon Carpenter wrote a number of tweets in response to nasty replies he received demanding that Twitter not make changes to its social network. Carpenter, according to his LinkedIn profile, is a senior software engineer at Twitter — he works on the iOS app.

Twitter moves to actively seek out terrorist supporters

Twitter moves to actively seek out terrorist supporters

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twitter is now using spam-fighting technology to seek out accounts that might be promoting terrorist activity and is examining other accounts related to those flagged for possible removal, the company announced Friday.

'Facebook killer' sentenced to life for wife's US murder

'Facebook killer' sentenced to life for wife's US murder

A Miami court imprisoned for life a US man who killed his wife and then splashed a photo of her bloodied body on Facebook, where he confessed to the fatal shooting. Derek Medina, 33, was found guilty last year of second-degree murder after he fired eight shots at Jennifer Alfonso in August 2013 in their home kitchen. The case attracted widespread attention because Medina photographed his 27-year-old wife's body, posted the picture on Facebook, and admitted on the social network that he had killed before surrendering to police.

Twitter's timeline will soon show tweets out of order

Twitter's timeline will soon show tweets out of order

Ever since Twitter first launched, tweets have been organized in reverse chronological order. As early as next week, Twitter is planning to replace the reverse chronological stream with one that's powered algorithmically, surfacing tweets that are most relevant or timely, not just those that are most recent. Late last year, the company tested this non-chronological approach with some users, though the idea didn't seem to sit well with Twitter's most loyal advocates.

Facebook just banned medical marijuana dispensary pages

Facebook just banned medical marijuana dispensary pages

Looking for medical marijuana? Take your search off Facebook. Or rather, Facebook is taking the search off Facebook. According to local reports in New Jersey, a state that has legalized the sale of cannabis for medical purposes, the social media giant has begun deleting dispensary pages, insisting that these businesses do “not follow the Facebook Community Terms and Standards.” The decision came as a surprise for both patients and the dispensaries, who say that their legal practices are being unfairly discriminated against. Many of these Facebook pages provide patients with up-to-date information and, of course, direct them towards relief for their ailments. But now, it looks like Facebook is butting in. “It seems high-handed to simply shut down important resources for sick patients without even saying why or giving organizations a way to ask for reconsideration,” Peter Rosenfeld, one of the 5,668 registered patients in the New Jersey state program told NJ.com. “What better use of a social media than having sites where parents of sick children can ask questions about medication and treatments?” Clearly, Facebook disagrees. While the social media platform has not responded to questions about their controversial decision to block these pages, they’ve consistently referred questions to a Community Standards page. There are, of course, guidelines against drug sales, but the page says nothing with regard to authorized drug vendors, which these dispensaries are. Related : Facebook update did not intentionally disable Crypter encryption app, company says Calling the ban “a great disservice to our patients who rely on us to keep them updated on what is going on,” Breakwater Wellness and Treatment Center in Cranbury founder Alex Zaleski told local media that both he and other officials associated with New Jersey dispensaries were “looking into the matter and hope to resolve it in the patients’ favor as soon as possible.” This is by no means the first time Facebook has been accused of being far too stringent in applying some of its standards. The platform previously came under fire for its stance on mastectomy tattoos, which were claimed to violate nudity guidelines. Its opinion on that issue, however, was quickly changed, so perhaps the same fate will befall medical marijuana dispensaries. Also watch: Facebook Celebrates 12th birthday with Friends Day Videos Please enable Javascript to watch this video

I'm not done with Twitter yet

I'm not done with Twitter yet

Kvetching over Twitter's fate follows a familiar cycle by now: will it survive? Just now I engaged in a little Story Time Twitter, a new thing that exists that we just sort of made up, together. Story Time Twitter, as David Pierce explains here, is an evolution of the Tweet Storm.

Twitter blocks 125,000 accounts in 'terrorist content' crackdown

Twitter blocks 125,000 accounts in 'terrorist content' crackdown

Twitter said Friday it suspended more than 125,000 accounts, most of them linked to the Islamic State group, as part of increased efforts to eradicate "terrorist content" on the popular messaging platform. The accounts frozen since mid-2015 were targeted "for threatening or promoting terrorist acts," said Twitter, which is under pressure from governments to act but is also keen not to be seen as effectively censoring free speech. "Like most people around the world, we are horrified by the atrocities perpetrated by extremist groups," Twitter said on its policy blog.

Twitter suspends over 125,000 accounts for 'promoting terrorist acts'

Twitter suspends over 125,000 accounts for 'promoting terrorist acts'

By Yasmeen Abutaleb WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Twitter Inc has shut down more than 125,000 terrorism-related accounts since the middle of 2015, most of them linked to the Islamic State group, the company said in a blog post on Friday. Twitter has said it only takes down accounts when they are reported by other users, but said that it has increased the size of teams monitoring and responding to reports and has decreased its response time "significantly." (http://bit.ly/1KvrmZ5) Twitter's announcement comes as many tech companies – led by Facebook – have taken stronger steps to police controversial content online in the face of threats from legislators to force the companies to report "terrorist activity" on their sites to law enforcement.

Florida 'Facebook killer' gets life in prison for wife's murder

Florida 'Facebook killer' gets life in prison for wife's murder

A Florida man convicted of second-degree murder after killing his wife and posting a photo of her blood-spattered body on Facebook was sentenced to life in prison on Friday. "You foretold your future," said Florida circuit court Judge Yvonne Colodny before handing down the sentence. A jury late last year rejected his contention that he was acting in self-defense when he killed his wife, 27-year-old Jennifer Alfonso, in the kitchen of their Miami-area residence.

Twitter has closed 125,000 accounts suspected of promoting terrorism

Twitter has closed 125,000 accounts suspected of promoting terrorism

Terrorist groups have used effectively used social media, particularly Twitter, to disseminate propaganda and recruit sympathizers, among other practices. Twitter and other social networks have been criticized for not doing enough to stop terrorist activities online, but Twitter has just revealed that since 2015, it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts “for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS,” also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, and Daesh. The report, posted on Twitter’s Policy blog, is the first time the social network has provided details of the efforts made in fighting extremism. They include increasing the size of teams that review reports, to reduce response time; looking into accounts similar to those reported; and using spam-fighting tools to look for “potentially violating accounts.” Since mid-2015, we have suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts. Read more here: https://t.co/FQJeOTtPLz — Policy (@policy) February 5, 2016 Related: Widow of American killed in ISIS attack sues Twitter The company says it has cooperated with law enforcement agencies when appropriate, and are partnering with “organizations working to counter extremist content online,” such as People Against Violent Extremism and Institute for Strategic Dialogue. It’s also sending its global public policy team to events and training sessions on countering violent extremism. After the November 13 attacks in Paris, in 2015, Twitter reportedly met with French officials on developing counter-strategy measures to combat terrorism. Twitter campaign in #Saudi leads to closure of 300 #Daesh accounts. #UnitedAgainstDaesh http://t.co/UZZUQIPRNh — مركز صواب (@sawabcenter) October 11, 2015 Twitter says the network is an “open platform for expression” that strikes a “balance between the enforcement of our own Twitter Rules covering prohibited behaviors, the legitimate needs of law enforcement, and the ability of users to share their views freely — including views that some people may disagree with or find offensive.” Related: Report reveals U.S. ISIS supporters prefer Twitter as radicalization tool But as we have seen, for every account that’s shut down, more are created. Twitter acknowledges that, saying there is no “magic algorithm” for identifying terrorist content and “forced to make challenging judgement calls based on very limited information and guidance.” The company says it will continue to enforce those rules and work with authorities and organizations “to find solutions to this critical issue and promote power counter-speed narratives, while other researchers are developing technologies that could help Twitter. Free-speech advocates will no doubt questions if this could lead to censorship, as Twitter and other social networks are faced with the difficult task of providing an open forum. Also watch: How to Deactivate Twitter Please enable Javascript to watch this video

How to play the secret chess game hidden in Facebook Messenger

Hundreds of millions of people spend hours of their lives on Facebook every week, but there are some secrets that only a few of them have discovered. For example, last December, a member of the Chess subreddit community found a secret, playable chess game hidden in Facebook Messenger that anyone can play. READ MORE:  Follow these 5 steps to keep yourself safe from hackers In order to start a game, just open a Messenger conversation with a friend and type "@fbchess play" to begin. A chess board will suddenly appear in the chat box and the player with the white pieces moves first. But despite the fact that a visual representation of the board appears on screen, you'll have to

Twitter has suspended 125,000 ISIS accounts since mid-2015

Twitter has suspended 125,000 ISIS accounts since mid-2015

Twitter is coming clean about its efforts to fight terrorist-aligned accounts. In a new blog post, the company details a push towards fighting accounts aligned with violent extremist groups like ISIS, including increasing the size that manages reports and employing automated spam-fighting tools to locate offending accounts more efficiently. Twitter claims those tactics have resulted in more than 125,000 accounts suspended for threatening or promoting terrors acts since the middle of last year. The move comes as Twitter is facing increasing criticism from some in Washington for the perceived presence of ISIS-friendly Twitter accounts.

Twitter is at cyberwar with ISIS, has shut down 125,000 terrorist accounts

Twitter on Friday offered some interesting new information about its efforts to fight against terrorist organizations such as Islamic State, as the social networking site revealed that it has shut down over 125,000 different accounts related to terrorism since mid-2015. This sort of effort is important because ISIS in particular has proven very adept at using Twitter and other forms of social media to reach prospective recruits.  FROM EARLIER:  Intern caught sleeping on his second day of work gets trolled by the entire Internet Specifically, Twitter says that it has worked to identify thousands of accounts that have either promoted terrorism or threatened to commit terrorism against various targets. "We have increased the size of the teams that

Twitter users cool toward mellow Coldplay ahead of Super Bowl

Twitter users cool toward mellow Coldplay ahead of Super Bowl

By Anjali Athavaley and Amy Tennery NEW YORK (Reuters) - British rock band Coldplay may have won several Grammy awards for its music, but it has yet to convince Twitter users that its mellow ballads are suited for the normally peppy Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday. On Friday, many on the social media platform poked fun at the band, known for brooding songs that are starkly different from the bubbly hits of last year's performer, Katy Perry. The jokes came in response to a push to popularize the hashtag #BetterHalftimeShows by the late-night show "Midnight," which airs on the Comedy Central network.

Uber CEO appears to respond to outraged drivers on Facebook

Uber CEO appears to respond to outraged drivers on Facebook

Travis Kalanick, Uber's pugnacious founder and CEO, took to Facebook a few hours ago to post a link to a five-month-old blog post about the improving quality of life of uberX drivers in New York City. Three hours before, a group called the Uber Drivers Network posted an open letter to Kalanick and his investors on Medium, taking their beef with the company's recent fare cuts directly to the man in charge. The dueling posts are a sign that Uber's driver problem is not quieting down, especially as the court date for a class action lawsuit challenging the way the ride-hail company classifies its drivers grows near.

Facebook update did not intentionally disable Crypter encryption app, company says

Facebook update did not intentionally disable Crypter encryption app, company says

Update on February 5: A Facebook rep on its security team tells us that, to the company’s knowledge, nothing has changed on its end and isn’t sure why the app isn’t working, indicating Facebook did not intentionally block Crypter from the network. The story has been updated accordingly. Crypter, a Chrome and Firefox extension that encrypts Facebook messages and prevents them from being snooped on, was rendered unusable after a Facebook Messenger update. Crypter claims that Facebook “depreciated” the service from working with Facebook Messenger (h/t The Next Web). Facebook, however, tells us that nothing has changed on their end, and says the issue lies with Crypter’s code. “Facebook had no contact with us,” Maximilian Mitchell, Crypter’s creator, told Digital Trends. “It was working perfectly yesterday morning until TechCrunch published an article about us that afternoon. Around a similar time, Facebook updated Messenger, rendering Crypter disabled beyond repair. I spent most of last night looking for workarounds but it looks like, as we feared, Facebook are monitoring each key press before the user has even sent the message.” Related: Apple will continue to encrypt iOS While Facebook says it only learned about the app after TechCrunch’s article was posted, “the code for the Messenger update would have been written so long ago as to not affect any particular app,” a Facebook rep tells us. That means Facebook wasn’t aware of Crypter while it was developing its latest update. Adding that its engineers investigated the possible cause, “if you look at the source code within the app store, it looks significantly different from what’s in their GitHub. The gut reaction is that it’s something to do with their code.” Using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Crypter is a simple concept. It encrypts and decrypts messages locally on the users’ computers, using an agreed-upon password between sender and receiver. As a sender types the message, it’s converted into ciphered text, sent to the receiver via Facebook’s servers, and then decrypted on the receiver’s end. Mitchell, a student at Sussex University, cites Internet privacy – specifically, the “growing concern with laws” that allow private companies and governments to “snoop” on private messages – as a reason behind Crypter. “Because of the issue Crypter solves, it leaves itself open to be useful in a multitude of ways,” Mitchell writes on the Crypter homepage. “In countries where governments can persecute and kill for inciting protest, having a tool like Crypter would be incredibly beneficial for the oppressed. They can now use social media to spread and share ideas. Having something akin to Crypter could have completely rewritten history in respect to events like the Arab Spring.” On the flip side, terrorist groups, such as the social media-savvy Islamic State, could also benefit from such a tool. One of the “benefits” Crypter touts concerns advertising: Because messages are encrypted, Facebook wouldn’t be able to serve targeted ads to users. With advertising driving the social network’s profits, one could speculate that Crypter may have raised red flags, but Facebook tells us this isn’t the case at all. (Facebook, in fact, has a policy of keeping messages private and secured, so an app like Crypter would only be a good thing.) The company hopes Crypter “can find a way to fix it, but it wasn’t anything that was done on our side. We’re not shy about it, if we had done something, we would have told them exactly why.” Although the app no longer functions, it’s still available for download, to anyone who wants to help resurrect the app. “I would love some help with this setback. You can find our GitHub on our website,” Mitchell says.

Not Getting Enough Sleep? You're Probably on Facebook Says New Study

Not Getting Enough Sleep? You're Probably on Facebook Says New Study

In a recent study by the University of California, Irvine, researchers found that a lack of sleep is linked to a higher level of online browsing, including checking social media websites such as Facebook. Wanting to look at how sleep duration could affect internet use, rather than how internet use affects sleep, the team recruited 76 UCI students and monitored them for a one-week period. Participants were also asked to complete a survey every morning reporting on their sleep and to complete an end-of-day survey at night.

Facebook is removing business pages for medical marijuana dispensaries

Facebook is removing business pages for medical marijuana dispensaries

Selling marijuana for medical purposes is legal in 23 states, but Facebook apparently has a less permissive attitude towards the drug. The social network has shut down the business pages of a marijuana dispensaries in a number of states including New Jersey, Maine, and Washington, reports NJ.com, citing its community standards. A spokesperson for Facebook told Engadget: "These pages have been removed for violating our community standards, which outline what is and is not allowed on Facebook.

Here's how to play Facebook Messenger's secret chess game

Here's how to play Facebook Messenger's secret chess game

Want to play chess with your friends on Facebook? Probably not! But if you do, there is a way — a secret chess game built directly into Facebook's chat function and Messenger app. Simply open up a conversation with a friend and type "@fbchess play" to start a game. Then you can just use standard algebraic notation to move your pieces, prefacing every instruction with the command "@fbchess." So, "@fbchess Pe4" would move your pawn (P) to square E4, for example.

List of most popular iOS and Android apps is dominated by Facebook and Google

Whether you're an iPhone user or partial to Android, one thing smartphone users across the board can enjoy equally is an absolutely endless selection of apps. Today, both the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store each house more than 1.5 million applications. Even better, the days of top applications being exclusive to one platform or the other appear to be winding down. That said, if we look at a list of the most popular apps, it quickly becomes apparent that the mobile app experience is still dominated by big time players. DON'T MISS:  Scientists may have just found a ninth planet and it’s massive Comscore this week released data covering the top 15 smartphone apps across both

This infamous Twitter saga will become James Franco’s next film

This infamous Twitter saga will become James Franco’s next film

In a time ruled by social media and countless movie reboots, even tweets are now being adapted into screenplays. Actor and perennial oddball James Franco’s latest project will see him directing a film based on  Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted , a Rolling Stone article by David Kushner which, itself, was based on a round of tweets that went viral, reports THR. The article, published in November, was inspired by a 148-tweet recap by Aziah “Zola” Wells of a crazy weekend trip she had taken with a fellow stripper, Jessica. The two, along with Jessica’s boyfriend, Jarrett, headed to Florida to work at a club, and there, the situation quickly got out of hand — at least according to Zola. Related:  James Franco to remake a 1996 Tori Spelling Lifetime original movie, because why not? She wrote of Jessica’s pimp, “Z,” turning up and putting Jessica to work, much to the dismay of the already-depressed Jarrett. Over the course of the night, the saga continues to get crazier, with Jessica being snatched and beaten by a group of men — one of whom Z is said to end up shooting — and Jarrett jumping off of a balcony. Rolling Stone got in touch with Zola and the story’s major players after it caught fire online. Jessica and Zola’s accounts of the evening differ (Jessica denies turning tricks), and Zola admits that she played up parts of the story based on the reaction of her followers, but nevertheless, people were enthralled by the drama. The tweets even gained the attention of stars like Missy Elliot and Selma director Ava DuVernay; Franco obviously saw the appeal as well. The project seems right up Franco’s alley, following a similarly torrid tale as the recent film Spring Breakers . “It reads like  Spring Breakers meets  Pulp Fiction , as told by Nicki Minaj,” wrote Kushner in his article. In addition to directing, Franco will produce alongside his Rabbit Bandini Productions partner Vince Jolivette. Killer Films’ Christine Vachon and David Hiojosa, and Gia Walsh and Kara Baker of Gigi Films will also produce. The script will be written by Andrew Neel and Mike Roberts, who collaborated with Franco on the upcoming film  Goat .  A release date has not yet been announced. Also watch: E3 2013: inFAMOUS Second Son trailer Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Joe Biden Becomes First VP to Launch Facebook Page

Joe Biden Becomes First VP to Launch Facebook Page

Vice President Joe Biden is launching a new Facebook page today, coinciding with World Cancer Day and the 12th anniversary of Facebook, ABC News has learned. “Welcome to my Facebook page,” Biden announces in a video message set to premiere late Thursday morning. “Platforms like this one have the potential to be incredible forums for constructive debate, and we should use them enthusiastically for that purpose,” Biden says in the video message.

Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to have 5 billion users by 2030

Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to have 5 billion users by 2030

During an event on Monday celebrating Facebook's 12th anniversary, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear he wants 5 billion people using the social network by 2030, according to USA Today. "We want to finish connecting everyone, we’re going to do it in partnership with governments and different companies all over the world," Zuckerberg said. Facebook has been attempting bring the internet — and in turn, Facebook — to underserved areas with its Internet.org initiative.

Facebook users have 3.5 degrees of separation from one another, data shows

Facebook users have 3.5 degrees of separation from one another, data shows

There are nearly 1.6 billion active Facebook users around the world, so what’s the chance of you being connected to any of them? Actually, according to Facebook Research, pretty close: 3.57 degrees close. The data was released in celebration of the so-called Friends Day (made up by Facebook to recognize its birthday) and in honor of its 12th birthday, the social network says “each person in the world [using Facebook] is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people.” The concept is similar to Six Degrees of Separation (or Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, if you prefer), except in the Facebook universe, we are a tighter-knit family. Related: Facebook will have 5 billion users by 2030 predicts Mark Zuckerberg Facebook says the number is shrinking. When its researchers, along with those at Cornell and the University of Milan, studied the data in 2011, the degrees of separation was 3.74. Naturally, as more people sign up, that number gets smaller. (And no, Facebook isn’t dead; according to its recent earnings call, the user base has actually increased, thanks to a shift toward mobile computing.) To find yours, head to this blog post (you’ll need to be logged into Facebook). Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a 3.17 degrees of separation, but COO Sheryl Sandberg is much closer with 2.92. Most people average between 2.9 and 4.2. Facebook says analyzing the data is not easy. “Calculating degrees of separation in a network with hundreds of billions of edges is a monumental task, because the number of people reached grows very quickly with the degree of separation,” the researchers wrote in the blog post, where they detailed how they conducted the process. And, they had to run the computation 1.6 billion times, for every Facebook user. Of course, in the real world, relationships aren’t as close, but on Facebook, you are most likely friends with someone, or a friend of a friend, or a friend of a friend of a friend. Friends Day videos If you looked at your Facebook feed anytime today, you most likely saw a Friends Day video at the top of the page. “These videos stitch together special moments with your friends in a short film that can be edited and shared. #BeforeFacebookI With the social network so intertwined with our lives, it’s easy to forget that there was a time before Facebook. To mark the birthday, Comedy Central’s @midnight show aired a segment that spawned the #BeforeFacebookI hashtag, where people are sharing memories from their pre-Facebook-era days on the namesake social network, as well as on Twitter. Punch in the hashtag in the search bar and read some, or share your own. // It’s hard to believe there was a time before Facebook, but we promise it’s true. Play #BeforeFacebookI with us! Posted by @midnight on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Twitter is testing a dedicated GIF button on its mobile app

Twitter is testing a dedicated GIF button on its mobile app

A number of Twitter users are tweeting that they’ve spotted a dedicated GIF button on the platform’s mobile app. Many of the tweets regarding the feature appropriately also contain GIFs. Twitter user Phil Pearlman provided a screenshot of the button from the Android version of the app. As you can see in the tweet below, the dedicated GIF feature can be found in the “compose tweet” screen, sitting in between the camera and poll icons. If people aren't seeing it yet twttr is testing way cool gif feature. cc @bluechoochoo pic.twitter.com/LuTsVeUiSs — Phil Pearlman (@ppearlman) February 4, 2016 The New feature resembles the GIF button found on Facebook, meaning it organizes the graphic images into mood-based categories and also allows users to select trending GIFs, reports TechCrunch. A gif button? Congratulations @twitter pic.twitter.com/zQADagAMSV — Lee Carruthers (@Skooshbag) February 4, 2016 According to Pearlman, the GIF button immediately disappeared after he captured a screenshot of it, and other users have also commented on its ephemeral nature. Related: Twitter is reportedly charging brands a million dollars for an official emoji The users who have supposedly uploaded GIFs from the app do not share any common traits (such as a large amount of followers), which indicates that this is a test feature, not an exclusive, that has been doled out to a handful of random people. WAIT WHEN DID THE GIF BUTTON ON HERE BECOME A THING pic.twitter.com/EPbis87b49 — Lex (@Lexiilu22) February 4, 2016 With no official word from Twitter, we can only speculate as to whether this means the feature is imminent. Judging from the popularity of GIFs, it would certainly make sense, especially since Twitter’s rivals already boast the capability. Twitter frequently runs these sorts of tests; most recently users were complaining that tweets on their timelines were appearing in a new out-of-order format. The fact that people who have spotted the GIF button have tweeted positively about it is also a sign that it will be welcomed, and more importantly utilized, by the platform’s wider user base. The move comes just days after it was revealed that Twitter has monetized emojis on its platform, with the company reportedly charging brands up to a million dollars for a custom icon. GIFs could also be viewed as a potential money-spinning feature for the service. Also watch: How to Deactivate Twitter Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Facebook celebrates 12th birthday with Friends Day videos, faces plenty of media snark

Facebook celebrates 12th birthday with Friends Day videos, faces plenty of media snark

It’s February 4th, 2016 so won’t you please join us in wishing Facebook a very happy 12th birthday? As we reported last week, the social network site is doing just fine, thank you very much, and on this day is sharing with its users a little present in the form of so-called “Friends Day” videos. Throughout the day, Facebook will place personalized videos created from your uploaded photos at the top of your news feed in celebration of the friendships that have made a difference in your life, according to CEO Mark Zucherberg. If you don’t like the pics Facebook automatically selects for the video, you can change them out. And whether you share the video with others or just enjoy it to yourself is entirely up to you. As Facebook celebrates its day of birth with friendliness, some media headlines are taking the opportunity to examine Facebook in a, shall we say, less positive light. For instance, CNBC penned a piece examining how Facebook users have squandered some $3.5 Trillion in productivity. Oh Yeah? That’s a lot. We wonder how much productivity got squandered watching garbage TV shows on Hulu? You know what they say about glass houses, right NBC? Apple music subscribers using Android smartphones just got some cool new functionality that Apple isn’t even giving its own iPhone users. As of today, Apple is rolling out an update that will not only allow Android users to download music for offline playback, but, for the first time, Apple is allowing those files to be stored on a Micro-SD card. This move has some tech pundits shaking their heads, as Apple has sort of missed an opportunity to coerce Android users to its own ecosystem by offering them something they can’t get on Apple’s own devices. It’s an interesting play in which Apple is tossing its software and cloud services out in front of its hardware. The question I think lots of people are asking is: How does this benefit Apple, exactly? Are you a Spotify user who’s getting a little tired of your own playlists? Is your music sounding a little … stale? We can relate, sometimes it’s hard to discover new stuff, and even when you can, it takes time you might not have when all you wanna do is check out new music you might actually like. Well, we have good news for you: A new app called “Playlist a Day” does exactly what it sounds like it would do. Each day the app will offer up a playlist of new music taken from what is now a pool of about 175,000 songs. The playlists come from playlists.net, a community based around collecting and sharing Spotify playlists. So, it’s not some bot or algorithm choosing the music you’re listening to with this app, it’s real people with musical tastes — good and bad — putting together music they love. Hey, if nothing else, you’re gonna get exposed to something new … you might just like it. Give it a shot and let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, we want to remind you to keep your smartphone and PC browser pointed at Digital Trends as we head into the Super Bowl weekend. We’ve got all kinds of killer Super Bowl-related stories for you, including a run-down of the best Super Bowl ads from Super Bowls past. You won’t wanna miss it. That’s it for DT Daily today. We’ll see ya again tomorrow!

Facebook will have 5 billion users by 2030 predicts Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook will have 5 billion users by 2030 predicts Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook is marking its 12th anniversary today. After a stellar 2015, the company’s ambitions remain as grandiose as ever. On the social network itself, users have been treated to videos celebrating the friendships they’ve formed online. And Mark Zuckerberg is predicting you’ll be making plenty more connections on Facebook in the coming years. According to the Facebook founder and CEO, the platform’s user base will skyrocket to include an additional 3.5 billion people over the next 14 years. By Zuckerberg’s calculations, Facebook will have 5 billion users by 2030. He made the comments earlier this week at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. “We want to finish connecting everyone, we’re going to do it in partnership with governments and different companies all over the world,” Zuckerberg said in his first public appearance since returning from paternity leave following the birth of his daughter, Max. Attendees at Facebook’s Friends Day event to mark its 12th anniversary He was, of course, referring to Free Basics, his company’s free Internet initiative. Not everyone, however, will be pleased by Zuckerberg’s statement. Free Basics is already facing its fair share of obstacles in countries it aims to “connect,” including India (where it is currently blocked) and Egypt. Not to mention the criticism it has received from net neutrality advocates at home and abroad. Nonetheless, Free Basics is currently available in 25 countries across three continents. Zuckerberg also spoke of the Aquila drone Facebook is utilising to achieve its ambitions, stating: “It’s solar-powered, and it’ll just fly around a city and beam down Internet access. It’s, like, pretty crazy, right?” Facebook is acutely measuring its impact on connectivity, reports USA Today. Its latest results reveal that the degrees of separation between each user shrunk from 3.74 in 2011 to 3.57 degrees at present — during the same period its user base doubled and now stands at 1.5 billion. Zuckerberg was reportedly in a reflective mood throughout the proceedings. The 31-year-old billionaire (now the sixth richest person in the world) reacted with surprise at the success of his burgeoning empire. “We thought, OK, one day someone will build this sort of thing for the world, but it’s not going to be us,” he said. “There’s Google and Microsoft, with thousands of engineers who have more experience than us and all these resources, so someone is going to build it. But when I reflect on it, I think we cared more, even if we didn’t realize we cared more. We felt that everyone must realize this was a valuable thing that should get built.” Also watch: Facebook: Pilot test of Reactions Please enable Javascript to watch this video

security

Exclusive: Top cybercrime ring disrupted as authorities raid Moscow offices - sources

Exclusive: Top cybercrime ring disrupted as authorities raid Moscow offices - sources

By Joseph Menn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russian authorities in November raided offices associated with a Moscow film distribution and production company as part of a crackdown on one of the world’s most notorious financial hacking operations, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter. Cybersecurity experts said a password-stealing software program known as Dyre — believed to be responsible for at least tens of millions of dollars in losses at financial institutions including Bank of America Corp and JPMorgan Chase & Co — has not been deployed since the time of the raid. Experts familiar with the situation said the case represents Russia’s biggest effort to date to crack down on cyber-crime.

Unhackable brain scans may some day replace passwords

Security breaches affecting millions of users have come to light in recent years, yet we’re no better at protecting our personal data, or at picking good passwords , than we were before. But some companies are already looking at new ways to secure customer data that go beyond passwords and PINs. Fingerprint sensors are found on more and more smartphones in recent years, and retina scanners are coming too. But in the future, we may have an even more advanced way of logging into online services and protecting our data: Brain scans. UP NEXT:  20 paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free right

Lawyer: New York-born man was mistreated after terror arrest

NEW YORK (AP) — The lawyer for a New York City-born man serving a 15-year prison sentence for supporting al-Qaida urged a judge Friday to find the U.S. government liable for failing to quickly diagnose a medical condition after his 2010 arrest, but a federal prosecutor said he was treated properly.

How to play the secret chess game hidden in Facebook Messenger

Hundreds of millions of people spend hours of their lives on Facebook every week, but there are some secrets that only a few of them have discovered. For example, last December, a member of the Chess subreddit community found a secret, playable chess game hidden in Facebook Messenger that anyone can play. READ MORE:  Follow these 5 steps to keep yourself safe from hackers In order to start a game, just open a Messenger conversation with a friend and type "@fbchess play" to begin. A chess board will suddenly appear in the chat box and the player with the white pieces moves first. But despite the fact that a visual representation of the board appears on screen, you'll have to

Follow these 5 steps to keep yourself safe from hackers

No matter how secure you think your devices are, someone could access your data if they put their mind to it. It's just the reality of the Information Age, but you should still do everything in your power to make yourself less of a target for hackers . DON'T MISS:  20 paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free right now In an extensive piece for The Wall Street Journal this week , Geoffrey A. Fowler laid out a five-step checklist that shouldn't take more than an hour to complete, and might be the difference between having your data stolen or not. Here are just a few of the most important steps you should take: First, update everything. Start with the operating

Rice aides, Powell got classified info on personal email accounts

Rice aides, Powell got classified info on personal email accounts

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and aides to his successor, Condoleezza Rice, both received classified information a handful of times via personal email accounts, the top Democrat on a congressional oversight panel said on Thursday. The findings come after nearly a year of controversy over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's decision to set up a private email server for her work as secretary of state. Representative Elijah Cummings said the disclosures about Powell's and Rice's aides' emails were made by the State Department's inspector general, who is reviewing the email practices of the last five secretaries of state.

Senators grill personnel office nominee over data hack

Senators grill personnel office nominee over data hack

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Office of Personnel Management on Thursday promised to strengthen the agency's cybersecurity and information technology systems after what's believed to be the largest data breach in U.S. history.

Hackers attack 20 million accounts on Alibaba's Taobao shopping site

Hackers attack 20 million accounts on Alibaba's Taobao shopping site

Hackers in China attempted to access over 20 million active accounts on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Taobao e-commerce website using Alibaba's own cloud computing service, according to a state media report posted on the Internet regulator's website. Analysts said the report from The Paper led to the price of Alibaba's U.S.-listed shares falling as much as 3.7 percent in late Wednesday trade.

Unpatched eBay vulnerability leaves shoppers at risk of downloading malware

Be extra careful the next time you visit a suspicious-looking eBay store page. According to Help Net Security , researchers from the Check Point security firm have discovered a vulnerability in the eBay platform that allows criminals to distribute malware by bypassing the site's code validation process and control the code themselves. MUST SEE:  15 paid iPhone apps on sale for free right now Here's how it works: an attacker sets up a store page with listings for products. On the page, a pop-up message will appear telling customers that they can receive a limited-time discount if they download the eBay mobile app. By clicking the

Apple ordered to pay $625 million in patent dispute with VirnetX

Apple ordered to pay $625 million in patent dispute with VirnetX

Apple Inc must pay VirnetX Holding Corp more than $625 million for using the patent licensing company's Internet security technology without permission in its FaceTime and iMessage features, a federal jury in Texas said on Wednesday. The jury said Apple's infringement was willful. Apple was down 45 cents to $95.90 in after-hours trading.

Guilty plea in attempted cyber-attack on US govt. computers

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Nuclear Regulatory Commission scientist pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal computer crime, admitting that he attempted to launch a cyber-attack on government computers by sending employees emails that he thought contained a virus.

BT suffers temporary network problems

BT suffers temporary network problems

Britain's BT Group said large numbers of its customers had lost connection to the Internet on Tuesday, but most were back online in a matter of hours and there were no indications that the failure was due to a malicious attack. "We've been working hard to fix the issue and are glad to report that nearly every customer affected is now reconnected, approximately two hours after the problem started," it said.

OPPO, Vivo snap at Apple's heels in China mobile market

OPPO, Vivo snap at Apple's heels in China mobile market

By Miyoung Kim and Yimou Lee SINGAPORE/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Beyond China few may have heard of OPPO or Vivo, but these local handset vendors are rising up the rankings in the world's largest smartphone market, using local marketing savvy and strong retail networks in lower-tier cities. Industry experts say these cities - there are more than 600 of them and some are bigger than many European capitals - are the next smartphone battlefield as China's major cities are saturated. International brands such as Apple and Samsung Electronics have mostly not yet reached this part of the market - which accounts for more than 56 percent of China's overall consumption, according to Beijing All China Marketing Research.

Google will reportedly exert ‘Apple-like’ control over future Nexus phones

Given how far Microsoft has moved in Apple's direction by designing its own hardware with the Surface Pro and Surface Book , we shouldn't be too surprised to learn that Google is considering similar moves with its Nexus line of smartphones.  The Information is reporting that "Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his lieutenants have signaled to colleagues and outsiders that the company wants to take greater control over its program for making 'Nexus' smartphones" and that "the change would effectively reduce the level of involvement of hardware partners that make the phones with Google, a group which has included Samsung, Motorola, LG and Huawei." MUST READ:  How the Iowa caucus works, as explained with Legos The idea here

The 2,001 things we like most in the world, according to Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social network in the world. With over 1.4 billion users, Facebook has something for everybody and most users come back for more and more multiple times per day. Sure, the company mishandled user privacy in the past, but it’s getting better all the time. And Facebook has plenty of other interesting services under its umbrella, including the Messenger and WhatsApp chat apps, the Instagram photo-based social network, and even the Oculus Rift VR initiative. To pay for all that, Facebook serves ads from third-parties to all of its users, and that’s why it needs to collect plenty of data about users like and dislike. This way, the service can target ads more effectively. So, what do

It takes 2 seconds to give your Android phone a speed boost and improve battery life by 20%

Given how much time smartphone users on the whole spend using Facebook , it's not all that surprising that the app tends to consume its fair share of battery. The problem, however, is that Facebook's mobile apps have a bad tendency of tearing through battery life much quicker than what one might reasonably construe as "fair." DON’T MISS:  This site ranks VPN speeds so you know which service will stream Netflix the fastest Speaking to this point, Reddit user pbrandes_eth last week decided to test the notion that running and even having Facebook installed on an Android device can have an adverse impact on performance. Using his

U.S. to withhold some Clinton emails with top secret information

U.S. to withhold some Clinton emails with top secret information

By Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Allen WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Seven private email chains of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be withheld from the public in their entirety because they contain top secret information, the U.S. State Department said on Friday. The material, amounting to 37 printed pages, contained information U.S. intelligence agencies said was classified as top secret, State Department spokesman John Kirby said. "These documents were not marked classified at the time that they were sent," Kirby said, adding that the department would investigate whether the information in them was classified at the time.

Judge rejects challenge in FBI child porn website probe

U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan in Tacoma, Washington, on Thursday rejected arguments by Jay Michaud, one of 137 people facing U.S. charges in the probe, that a search warrant that enabled the FBI to conduct the sting was unconstitutional. The Federal Bureau of Investigation had in February 2015 seized the server hosting Playpen, a child porn website that operated on the Tor network, which is designed to facilitate anonymous online communication and protect user privacy. In order to identify its 214,898 members, authorities sought a search warrant from a Virginia judge allowing them to deploy a "network investigative technique" that would cause a computer to send them data any time a user logged on while the FBI operated the website for two weeks.

Blackshades malware co-creator gets five years of probation

By Nate Raymond and Brendan Pierson NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Arizona man who co-created software distributed by an organization called Blackshades that was used to hack into a million computers worldwide was sentenced on Friday to five years of probation. Michael Hogue, who online was known by the moniker "xVisceral," was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan after pleading guilty in 2013 to distributing malware and conspiring to commit computer hacking. Hogue, 25, first came to the attention of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2010, when, in an effort to advertise the malware, he contacted an undercover agent running a website established as part of a sting operation targeting the illegal trade in credit card numbers, court papers said.

HSBC says internet banking services down after cyber attack

HSBC says internet banking services down after cyber attack

By Sinead Cruise LONDON (Reuters) - HSBC is working with law enforcement to catch those behind a cyber attack that forced its personal banking websites in the UK to shutdown, its second major service outage this month, the bank said on Friday. Europe's largest lender said it had "successfully defended" its systems against a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack but it was experiencing fresh threats, impeding full restoration of its services. "HSBC's internet and mobile services have partially recovered, and we continue to work to restore a full service," John Hackett, UK Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement.

6 ways Android outshines my iPhone 6s

On Thursday, I published a piece titled 8 reasons I still can’t leave the iPhone and switch to Android , in which I discussed what I believe to be the main benefits Apple's iPhone and iOS platform have over Android. I've been shocked at the feedback I've received since then. The Android vs. iOS argument typically draws all sorts of irrational and illogical "fanboys" out of the woodwork, but the overwhelming majority of emails I received after running that article were well composed and astute. I responded to as many as I could and I ended up having a few worthwhile conversations as a

Chinese military force to take lead on cyber, space defense

Chinese military force to take lead on cyber, space defense

By Megha Rajagopalan BEIJING (Reuters) - A new Chinese military outfit will lead the country's push to enhance its cyber warfare, space security and online espionage capabilities, Chinese military observers and analysts said. Senior People's Liberation Army (PLA) officials and other observers have begun to give details of the country's new Strategic Support Force (SSF), whose establishment was announced at the end of last year as part of a major overhaul of the armed forces. "It's going to make them far more effective," said John Costello, a Washington-based analyst who focuses on China's cyber capabilities.

China charges Canadian with spying, stealing state secrets: Xinhua

China charges Canadian with spying, stealing state secrets: Xinhua

Canada said on Thursday it was monitoring developments closely after China indicted a Canadian citizen detained since 2014 on charges of spying and stealing state secrets. Kevin Garratt was detained in August 2014 near China's sensitive border with North Korea along with his wife, who was also detained for months before being released last year. Xinhua state news agency said Garratt was indicted in Dandong, a city in China's northeast where the Garratts had operated a cafe since 2008.

Congress to probe Juniper 'back door' exposure, possible U.S. involvement

By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. congressional probe into the impact of a hack of Juniper Networks Inc software will examine the possibility that it was initially altered at the behest of the National Security Agency, a lawmaker said in an interview on Thursday. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform this month sent letters asking some two dozen agencies to provide documents showing whether they used Juniper devices running ScreenOS software. Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican who heads the committee's technology subcommittee and formerly worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, said his initial goal in pursuing the probe was to determine whether government agencies, many of which use Juniper gear, had been compromised by the hackers.

U.S. utilities worry about cyber cover after Ukraine grid attack

U.S. utilities worry about cyber cover after Ukraine grid attack

U.S. utilities are looking hard at their cyber vulnerabilities and whether they can get insurance to cover what could be a multi-billion dollar loss after hackers cut electric power to more than 80,000 Ukrainians last month. The Dec. 23 incident in Ukraine was the first cyber attack to cause a power outage, and is one of just a handful of incidents in which computer hacking has caused physical effects on infrastructure rather than the loss or theft of electronic data. A similar attack in the United States could cripple utilities and leave millions of people in the dark, costing the economy more than $200 billion, an insurance study estimated last year.

8 reasons I still can’t leave the iPhone and switch to Android

While Apple's iPhones have been my main handsets since shortly after the first model was introduced in 2007, I used to carry an Android phone with me at all times until recently. Carrying two phones seems odd to most people, but there were so many important Android features that weren't mirrored in iOS for a period of time, and I also enjoyed the variety. Then last year, I ran out of reasons to keep using Android . DON'T MISS:  Apple and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Record-Breaking Quarter Yes, of course there are still plenty of Android features that are nowhere to

Exclusive: Hackers may have wider access to Ukrainian industrial facilities

Exclusive: Hackers may have wider access to Ukrainian industrial facilities

By Pavel Polityuk KIEV (Reuters) - Hackers were able to attack four sections of Ukraine's power grid with malware late last year because of basic security lapses and they could take down other industrial facilities at any time, a consultant to government investigators said. Three power cuts reported in separate areas of western and central Ukraine in late December were the first known electrical outages caused by cyber attacks, causing consternation among businesses and officials around the world. The consultant, Oleh Sych, told Reuters a fourth Ukrainian energy company had been affected by a lesser attack in October, but declined to name it.

China smartphone glory days are over as Apple, Xiaomi face tough times

China smartphone glory days are over as Apple, Xiaomi face tough times

By Yimou Lee and Paul Carsten HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - China's smartphone boom may be over, as even Apple Inc grapples with a slowing economy and investor darling Xiaomi Inc [XTC.UL] struggles to stand out amid intense competition in low-margin handsets. On Tuesday, Apple reported the slowest-ever increase in iPhone shipments as the Chinese market weakened. Xiaomi, China's most valuable start-up with a $45 billion pricetag, is under threat, after it missed targets for $1 billion in Internet service revenue and also handsets sales in 2015.

The quick and easy way to see whether your Netflix account has been hacked

You’re probably sharing your Netflix account with your loved ones, exes, and their best friends' dads. There’s really nothing wrong with that and Netflix doesn’t care. But what Netflix does care about is where its content is seen . That’s why you absolutely must check who’s using your account and where they’re located. You should also remember that Netflix credentials are one of the cheapest commodities on the dark web, with accounts selling for less than $1 a pop. DON’T MISS: Apple Maps might be getting one of the best Google Maps features We have already told you how to fix your account in case you suspect hackers have sold it online and that process remains unchanged. Simply log

China's fickle fake stores cool on Apple: for now

China's fickle fake stores cool on Apple: for now

At 22, Cheung is already a veteran of China's imitation game. A month ago, she was peddling the latest iPhones and accessories in one of several copycat Apple Inc stores along a street of gadget outlets in the southern city of Shenzhen. The number of fake Apple stores along the busy street has dwindled by about a third from more than 30 as recently as September when Reuters reporters last visited the area, (http://reut.rs/1S8zCkP) some replaced by unauthorized stores selling locally-branded phones from Huawei, Xiaomi [XTC.UL], Meizu and Oppo.

Big Pharma's bet on Big Data creates opportunities and risks

Big Pharma's bet on Big Data creates opportunities and risks

By John Miller ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis wants every puff of its emphysema drug Onbrez to go into the cloud. The Swiss drugmaker has teamed up with U.S. technology firm Qualcomm to develop an internet-connected inhaler that can send information about how often it is used to remote computer servers known as the cloud. This kind of new medical technology is designed to allow patients to keep track of their drug usage on their smartphones or tablets and for their doctors to instantly access the data over the web to monitor their condition.

LG Elec quarterly profit jumps on robust sales for TVs, appliances

LG Elec quarterly profit jumps on robust sales for TVs, appliances

By Se Young Lee SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's LG Electronics Inc booked a 27 percent jump in fourth-quarter operating profit, as its high margin TVs and premium washing machines found favour with consumers. Weaker demand for consumer electronics globally has been clouding the outlook for technology firms such as LG, the world's No.2 television maker behind Samsung Electronics Co Ltd . LG said October-December profit was 349 billion won ($290 million), above a Thomson Reuters StarMine SmartEstimate of 340 billion won derived from a survey of 25 analysts.

The NSA has a brilliant stance on encryption

Discussions about the U.S. government’s need for breaking encryption have intensified following the mid-November attacks in Paris. Law enforcement agencies including the FBI and politicians have challenged tech leaders from Silicon Valley to find ways to include backdoors in encrypted products. That way, surveillance operations targeting potential terror suspects might have a better chance of successfully intercepting relevant communication. Tech leaders, meanwhile,  have stood firm against crippling encryption with backdoors, with Apple and Tim Cook at the forefront of this argument. That doesn’t mean tech companies unwilling to help intelligence agencies address terrorist threats – but they’ll just do it differently for the time being . With all that in mind, one can’t help but applaud the  NSA’s brilliant stance on encryption

open-source

Another flaw discovered in a security software product — this time it’s Avast

Another flaw discovered in a security software product — this time it’s Avast

Dangerous flaws have been discovered in the Avast SafeZone browser by antivirus provider Avast, making it the next in a long line of security companies recently that have had vulnerabilities found in their products. Avast SafeZone, also known as Avastium, is based on the open source Chromium browser and comes with Avast’s subscription to its antivirus software. Last December, Google Project Zero security researcher Tavis Ormandy notified the company of flaws he found in the browser that could allow an attacker to access stored passwords and local files. He made his notification public this week. Related: Google’s Project Zero publicly shames Malwarebytes for poor update security According to Ormandy, a user can fall prey to someone accessing their browser if they click on a malicious website set up by the attacker. Ormandy created a proof of concept attack that could exploit someone’s C:/ drive and access files. He also discovered that Avast’s browser had removed a “critical security check” from Chromium that would help in preventing these kinds of attacks. “Putting this all together, if an Avast user using *any* Web browser visits an attacker controlled URL, he can launch Avastium and take complete control of it; reading files, cookies, passwords, everything,” said Ormandy. “He can even take control of authenticated sessions and read email, interact with online banking, etc.” Avast published a patch for the vulnerability this week after Ormandy gave a 90-day period before going public. Ormandy has been busy of late discovering holes and bugs in security software. This week he went public with flaws in Comodo’s browser, which is also based on Chromium while before that he published research into Malwarebytes that showed it was susceptible to man in the middle attacks. Several antivirus and security vendors have come under scrutiny in the last few weeks for flaws in their software. Kaspersky Lab, McAfee, and AVG all had flaws discovered in their software recently. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

How to download and install the Android Marshmallow OTA update on Nexus devices

How to download and install the Android Marshmallow OTA update on Nexus devices

Google has unleashed the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus devices, which means it will eventually hit all devices as an over-the-air (OTA) update. Unfortunately, that could take several weeks, which can feel like an eternity. The good news is that you can download the official OTA update straight from Google and manually install it yourself. This might seem like a daunting task, so that’s why we put together this complete guide explaining exactly how it’s done. Just follow the steps outlined below, and you will be enjoying Marshmallow goodness in no time. You can even follow the same steps to install subsequent Android Marshmallow updates when they come out. We will add those update links as they get released, so be sure to bookmark this page for future reference. Updated on 02-05-2016 by Robert Nazarian: Added in OTA links for the January and February 2016 security updates for all Nexus devices. Also added categories for the Pixel C and Nexus 10 (security updates only). There are actually two ways to manually update your Nexus device. The first option is to flash the factory image, which is like installing the complete Android software and firmware from scratch. This isn’t a bad way to go, but it requires a factory reset if your bootloader isn’t unlocked. You can check out our complete instructions for flashing the factory image here. The second method is installing the OTA update, which is what this guide is about. This is the same exact update that Google will automatically send to your device at some point in the future. The only difference is that you will get it right away if you follow the steps below. We like this method, since a factory reset isn’t required. This means that you won’t lose your data, but we cannot stress enough how important it is that you back up all your important data in case something goes wrong. So please make sure everything is backed up before proceeding . Click on a link to jump to a topic: Installing ADB and Fastboot Downloading the over-the-air (OTA) update zip file for your device Enable USB debugging and connecting your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Installing the over-the-air (OTA) update Next Page: Installing ADB and Fastboot Installing ADB and Fastboot In order to send the OTA update to your Nexus device, you must have ADB and Fastboot installed on your desktop computer. ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge and it allows you to send commands to your Android device over USB through a terminal/command-line interface such as Windows Command Prompt. Fastboot allows you to flash images to your Android device. You don’t need Fastboot for these instructions, but we figured it deserved a mention, since it comes packaged together with ADB. There are two methods to getting ADB and Fastboot on your computer. The first is to download and install the Android SDK tools from the Android developer site. This method will work for Windows, Mac, and Linux machines. If you’re a Windows user, you can download and install Minimal ADB and Fastboot instead, which is actually the easiest method. However, we recommend installing the Android SDK tools because it will also give you the Google USB drivers at the same time, which you will need in order for your computer to recognize your Nexus device. If you do decide to install Minimal ADB and Fastboot, you can still download the Google USB drivers separately. We will show you how to do that later. Follow the instructions below for either  installing the Android SDK tools or Minimal ADB and Fastboot. Download and install the Android SDK tools Click here to download and install the Android SDK Tools from Google’s developer site. There are choices for Windows, Mac, and Linux. These instructions are for Windows machines. When asked what directory to install the software to, we recommend that you set it to C:android-sdk.  If you choose a different location, just make sure you remember it. Once the Android SDK Tools are installed, launch it from the Start Menu. The SDK Manager will open. Just uncheck everything except Android SDK Platform-tools and Google USB Driver . Android SDK Platform-tools is at the top and Google USB Driver is toward the bottom. Click on Install 2 packages at the bottom right. Check Accept license and click Install . ADB and Fastboot will now reside in the C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder if you followed step 2 as outlined. If you chose a different directory, than ADB and Fastboot will reside in the platform-tools folder under whatever location you chose to install the Android SDK Tools to in step 2. Download and install Minimal ADB and Fastboot Click here to download minimal_adb_fastboot_v1.3.1_setup.exe from the XDA forums. Note: the version number could be different if a newer version is released after this post has been published. Launch the  minimal_adb_fastboot_v1.3.1_setup.exe file. When asked what directory to install the software to, we recommend that you set it to C:android-sdkplatform-tools  since we will be using that location for the rest of this guide. If you choose a different location, just make sure you remember it. Next Page: Downloading the over-the-air (OTA) update zip file for your device Downloading the over-the-air (OTA) update zip file for your device Now it’s time to download the appropriate OTA zip file for your device and place it in the folder where ADB and Fastboot is. If you followed our instructions in the Installing ADB and Fastboot section , it’s in the C:android-sdkplatform-tools  folder. Important: You want to make sure that your device is currently on the “From” Build Number that’s listed for each device. To see that, just open Settings > About Phone and scroll down to About Phone . Now scroll down to the bottom and look at the Build Number . Make sure it matches the “From” listed below for the device that you’re upgrading. If you didn’t receive a security update that rolled out before the Android version update you want to install, be sure to download and install that first. The zip file will have a rather large name, so feel free to rename it, so you don’t have to type out the entire file name in the CMD Window. Alternatively, you can paste it in the CMD prompt window by pressing ALT and the spacebar , then choose Edit  before selecting  Paste . Download the appropriate OTA zip file from one of the links below for your device, and make sure to place it in the folder where ADB and Fastboot is. Note:  Unfortunately we are not always able to get download links for monthly security updates so please make sure your current version number matches up with the “From” build in both the descriptions below and actual file names. You’ll also notice that there are multiple version build update links for some devices since not everyone receives the security update before receiving version builds. This means you can install a previous monthly security update at the same time as an Android version update. Nexus 5 (hammerhead) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58N (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58N (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29S (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29S (6.0.1) To MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 5X (bullhead) From MDB08L (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MDB08M (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29P (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29P (6.0.1) To MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 6 (shamu) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To LMY48T (5.1.1) October Security Update From LMY48T (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58N (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58K (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MRA58N (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MRA58R (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MRA58X (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29S (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29S (6.0.1) to MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 6 (shamu) Project Fi version From LVY48F (5.1.1) To LVY48H (5.1.1) October Security Update From LVY48H (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) 6.0.1 Link Coming Soon Nexus 6 (shamu) AT&T version From LMY48M (5.1.1) To LMY48W (5.1.1) October Security Update From LMY48Y (5.1.1) To LMY48Z (5.1.1) December Security Update From LMY48W (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) (Link coming soon) 6.0.1 Link Coming Soon Nexus 6 (shamu) T-Mobile version From LYZ28K (5.1.1) To LYZ28M (5.1.1) October Security Update From LYZ28M (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MRA58X (6.01) To MMB29K (6.0.1) Nexus 6P (angler) From MDB08L (6.0) To MMB29M (6.0.1) From MDB08M (6.0) To MMB29M (6.0.1) From MMB29M (6.0.1) To MMB29P (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29N (6.0.1) To MMB29P (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29P (6.0.1) To MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi (razor) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58U (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58U (6.0) To MRA58V (6.0) 2nd November Security Update From MRA58V (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29O (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29O (6.0.1) To MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 7 (2013) LTE (razorg) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58V (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58V (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From LMY48Z (5.1.1) To MMB29O (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29O (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MRA59B (6.0.1) To MMB29O (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29O (6.0.1) To MMB29Q (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 9 Wi-Fi (volantis) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To LMY48T (5.1.1) October Security Update From LMY48T (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58N (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58N (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29S (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29S (6.0.1) To MMB29R (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexis 9 LTE (volantisg) From LMY48M (5.1.1) To LMY48T (5.1.1) October Security Update From LMY48T (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58N (6.0) November Security Update MRA58N (6.0) To MMB29K (6.0.1) From MMB29K (6.0.1) To MMB29S (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29S (6.0.1) To MMB29R (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus Player (fugu) From LMY48N (5.1.1) To MRA58K (6.0) From MRA58K (6.0) To MRA58N (6.0) November Security Update From MRA58N (6.0) To MMB29M (6.0.1) From MMB29M (6.0.1) To MMB29T (6.0.1) January 2016 Security Update From MMB29T (6.0.1) To MMB29U (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Pixel C (dragon_ryu) From MXB48J (6.0.1) To MXB48T (6.0.1) February 2016 Security Update Nexus 10 (mantaray)  – security updates only From LMY48Z (5.1.1) To LMY49F (5.1.1) January 2016 Security Update From LMY49F (5.1.1) To LMY49G (5.1.1) February 2016 Security Update **Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (2012), and Nexus 10 devices are not expected to receive the Android Marshmallow update. We will add links for those devices if things change. Next Page: Enable USB debugging and connect your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Enable USB debugging and connect your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Now you need to make sure USB debugging is enabled on your Nexus device. Open Settings on your Nexus device. If  you do not see Developer Options toward the bottom of the Settings screen on your device, follow these steps to activate them. Tap on About Phone and find the Build Number . Tap on the Build Number  seven times and the Developer Options will appear on the main page of the Settings . Tap on the Back key to see the Developer Options . Tap on Developer Options . Check to enable USB Debugging . Before you connect your device to the USB port on your computer, you want to make sure you have the appropriate drivers installed. You should be all set if you opted to install the Android SDK Tools. If you instead chose to install Minimal ADB and Fastboot, you can grab them here. Since you’re working with a Nexus device, you specifically want the Google USB Drivers. The download will be a zip file, so extract the contents where you wish, and remember the location. Now connect your device via a USB cable and you are ready to flash the zip file that you extracted earlier. If you’re connecting your Nexus device to your computer for the first time, you will get a popup box on your Nexus device stating what the computer’s RSA Key is. Just check Always Allow   From This Computer and tap on OK . If your Nexus device doesn’t show the RSA key popup, then open the notification panel and select USB For Charging Only  and change the mode to Transfer Photos ( PTP) . If your Nexus device still doesn’t show the RSA key popup, then follow these instructions: On your Windows desktop, go to your Control Panel then Device Manager . You should see your Nexus device  under Other Devices with a Yellow ! mark on it. Right-click on it and select  update driver . Choose Browse my computer for driver software , and choose the directory where the Google USB Drivers are. If you chose to install the Android SDK tools and followed our instructions, they should be in the  C:android-sdkextrasgoogleusb driver folder. If you chose to manually download the Google USB drivers, just navigate to the folder that you archived the contents of the Zip file in. If your Nexus device still doesn’t show the RSA key approval popup, then open the command prompt on your desktop and navigate to the folder where ADB and Fastboot reside. If you followed our instructions from the Installing ADB and Fastboot section, it will be in the C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder. Just type cdandroid-sdkplatform-tools at the command prompt in Windows. If ADB and Fastboot are somewhere else, just navigate to that location instead. Type “ADB devices” and you should get the following result: The RSA key approval popup should now be visible on your Nexus device. Just check Always Allow From This Computer and tap  OK . Type “ADB devices” again, and you should get the following result with a different device key: You are now ready to install the OTA update. Next Page: Installing the over-the-air (OTA) update Installing the over-the-air (OTA) update Open the Command Prompt in Windows or Terminal on a Mac and navigate to the folder that ADB and Fastboot are installed in. Again, if you followed our instructions from the Installing ADB and Fastboot section , it will be in the  C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder. Just type “cdandroid-sdkplatform-tools”   at the prompt in Windows. If ADB and Fastboot are somewhere else, just navigate to that location instead. To make things easier, so you don’t have to type out long directories, you can also paste it by pressing ALT and the spacebar , then choose Edit before selecting  Paste . If you’re using a Mac, you need to add the platform tools directory to your $PATH. In terminal, type “sudo nano/etc/paths” .  Now enter your password and go to the bottom of the file and enter the full path of the “platform tools” directory. Hit control-x to quit and enter Y to save. The following ADB commands are for Windows machines. If you’re using a Mac, just add “ ./” before each command, for example: “ ./adb reboot bootloader”. Assuming you device is already connected to your computer via USB and USB Debugging is enabled, you need to re-start it in fastboot mode. Follow one of the two methods below. Option A may be preferable because it’s another confirmation that your computer recognizes your Nexus device. A) Type “adb reboot bootloader” B) Turn your device off, then turn it back on while holding down the relevant key combinations for your device. For many devices it’s Volume Up + Volume Down + Power . You can see what your device’s key combinations are here. The   fastboot  menu will appear and you should see Start in the top right. Press Volume Up till it changes to Recovery . Press the Power button to select it. You will see an Android with a red exclamation point icon, press and hold the Power key , then press the Volume up key to show the Recovery Menu. You will get a new menu. Navigate to apply update from adb and select it by pressing the Power button . In the command window — make sure you are in the directory where ADB and Fastboot reside — type: “adb sideload [the full name of the file].zip” without the brackets around the file name. The update will install and reach 100 percent. Reboot and enjoy the latest version of Android Marshmallow. Previous Updates: Updated on 01-08-2016 by Robert Nazarian: Added in OTA 6.0.1 links for all Nexus devices Updated on 12-15-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in links for November security updates as well as 6.0.1 OTA links for most Nexus devices. Updated on 10-16-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added new OTA links for Nexus 6 devices.

How to flash the Android Marshmallow factory image on Nexus devices

How to flash the Android Marshmallow factory image on Nexus devices

Android Marshmallow is finally here, which means that Google will be rolling out the update to all Nexus devices. Unfortunately that could take several weeks, and we know that many of you are too impatient to wait. Good news! Google has posted factory images for each Nexus device, so you can go ahead and update your device to Android 6.0 Marshmallow right now instead of waiting. We know this can be a little scary — especially for beginners — so that’s why we put together this comprehensive guide detailing each and every step of the way. You won’t find a more complete tutorial anywhere else. Updated on 02-05-2016 by Robert Nazarian:  Google released the February 2016 security patch in early February. You can still follow this guide to install that update on your Nexus device since the download link page remains the same.  Related: Everything you need to know about Android 6.0 Marshmallow Flashing the factory image differs from installing the over-the-air (OTA) update in that the factory image contains the full system files for your device, whereas the OTA update contains only the upgrade information. In other words, flashing a factory image is more like completely deleting all the software on your device and replacing it. The OTA will only replace what is being changed since your last update. Some people prefer to install the OTA update since you don’t have to do a factory reset, while others like the factory image method because it’s like starting from scratch with a fresh install of the entire system. It’s more of a pain to factory reset your device, but you are less prone to some of those annoying bugs that seem to crop up after an OTA update. If you would rather download and install the OTA update, we have a complete guide for that method as well. *We will provide a link to this guide as soon as the OTA download links become available . If you want to flash the factory image, then you’re already in the right place. Just remember to make sure all your data is backed up, because you will lose all your data on the device when you unlock the bootloader, which is required for flashing. There is no way to unlock a bootloader without a factory reset. However, if you happen to already have an unlocked bootloader, then you can forgo the factory reset if you wish. We will show you how later on, but we still recommend that you back up your data in case something goes wrong. Click on a link to jump to a topic: Installing ADB and Fastboot Download the Android Marshmallow system image Extracting the contents of the system image Enable USB debugging and connecting your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Flashing the Android Marshmallow factory image Next Page: Installing ADB and Fastboot Installing ADB and Fastboot In order to flash the factory image to your Nexus device, you must have ADB and Fastboot installed on your desktop computer. ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge, and it allows you to send commands to your Android device over USB through a terminal/command-line interface such as Windows Command Prompt. Fastboot allows you to unlock the bootloader on your Android device. There are two methods to getting ADB and Fastboot on your computer. The first is to download and install the Android SDK tools from the Android developer site. This method will work on Windows, Mac, and Linux machines. If you’re a Windows user, you can download and install Minimal ADB and Fastboot instead, which is actually the easiest method. However, we recommend installing the Android SDK tools because the download will also give you the Google USB drivers at the same time, which you will need in order for your computer to recognize your Nexus device. If you do decide to install Minimal ADB and Fastboot, you can still download the Google USB drivers separately. We will show you how to do that later. Follow the instructions below for either  installing the Android SDK tools or Minimal ADB and Fastboot. Download and install the Android SDK tools Click here to download and install the Android SDK Tools from Google’s developer site. There are choices for Windows, Mac, and Linux. These instructions are for Windows machines. When asked what directory to install the software to, we recommend that you set it to C:android-sdk.  If you choose a different location, just make sure you remember it. Once the Android SDK Tools are installed, launch the download from the Start Menu. The SDK Manager will open. Just uncheck everything except Android SDK Platform-tools and Google USB Driver . Android SDK Platform-tools is at the top and Google USB Driver is toward the bottom. Click on Install 2 packages at the bottom right. Check Accept license and click Install . ADB and Fastboot will now reside in the C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder if you followed step 2 as outlined. If you chose a different directory, than ADB and Fastboot will reside in the platform-tools folder under whatever location you chose to install the Android SDK Tools to in step 2. Download and install Minimal ADB and Fastboot Click here to download minimal_adb_fastboot_v1.3.1_setup.exe from the XDA forums. Note: the version number could be different if a newer version is released after this post has been published. Launch the  minimal_adb_fastboot_v1.3.1_setup.exe file. When asked which directory to install the software to, we recommend that you set it to C:android-sdkplatform-tools , since we will be using that location for the rest of this guide. If you choose a different location, just make sure you remember it. Next Page: Download the Android Marshmallow system image Download the Android Marshmallow factory image system image Now it’s time to grab the most recent update of the Android Marshmallow factory image, which is available at Google’s Android Developers site. Just make sure to select the version that matches your device. This is very important, because you must flash the Nexus 5 image on a Nexus 5. A Nexus 6 image won’t work on a Nexus 5. You will notice that each device has a bunch of links under it. Google makes it easy to revert back to an older update if you wish. The most recent update is generally at the bottom of the list. As of the time of this post, Android Marshmallow 6.0 is only available for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi, Nexus 7 (2013) LTE, Nexus 9 Wi-Fi, Nexus 9 LTE, and Nexus Player. It remains to be seen if Google will issue the update to the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (2012), or the Nexus 10. Note: Google will post factory images for each and every update moving forward. This means that you can follow this guide again and continue to get the latest version of Android Marshmallow right away without the need to wait until your device receives the OTA update automatically. Next Page: Extracting the contents of the system image Extracting the contents of the system image The downloaded file should have .tgz as its extension, and you need to extract the contents before going further. The best thing to do is download and install 7 Zip. There is an unofficial version for Macs as well. Once 7 Zip is installed on your machine, follow these steps: Open the 7 Zip File Manager and navigate to the folder that you saved the .tgz file in. Double click on the .tgz file. You will now see a file with a .tar extension. Double click on this file to show the contents (this will take about a minute or more). After it has opened, you should have a folder with the codename of your device as part of the title (ex.  hammerhead for Nexus 5), Double click on it. You should now see a collection of files. Select all of them, and click on Extract to extract all the contents. Type in the destination C:program files (x86)androidandroid-sdkplatform-tools (if you installed the full SDK) or whatever directory ADB and Fastboot are installed in. Next Page: Enable USB debugging and connecting your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Enable USB debugging and connecting your Nexus device via USB to your desktop Now you need to make sure USB debugging is enabled on your Nexus device. Open Settings on your Nexus device. If  you do not see Developer Options toward the bottom of the Settings screen on your device, follow these steps to activate them. Tap on About Phone and find the Build Number . Tap on the Build Number  seven times and the Developer Options will appear on the main page of the Settings . Tap on the Back key to see the Developer Options . Tap on Developer Options . Check to enable USB Debugging . Before you connect your device to the USB port on your computer, you want to make sure you have the appropriate drivers installed. You should be all set if you opted to install the Android SDK Tools. If you instead chose to install Minimal ADB and Fastboot, you can grab them here. Since you’re working with a Nexus device, you specifically want the Google USB Drivers. The download will be a zip file, so extract the contents where you wish, and remember the location. Now connect your device via a USB cable, and you are ready to flash the zip file that you extracted earlier. If you’re connecting your Nexus device to your computer for the first time, you will get a popup box on your Nexus device stating what the computer’s RSA Key is. Just check Always Allow   From This Computer and tap on OK . If your Nexus device doesn’t show the RSA key popup, then open the notification panel, select USB For Charging Only , and change the mode to Transfer Photos ( PTP) . If your Nexus device still doesn’t show the RSA key popup, then follow these instructions: On your Windows desktop, go to your Control Panel then Device Manager . You should see your Nexus device  under Other Devices with a Yellow ! mark on it. Right-click on it and select  update driver . Choose Browse my computer for driver software , and choose the directory where the Google USB Drivers are located. If you chose to install the Android SDK tools and followed our instructions, they should be in the  C:android-sdkextrasgoogleusb driver folder. If you chose to manually download the Google USB drivers, just navigate to the folder that you archived the contents of the Zip file in. If your Nexus device still doesn’t show the RSA key approval popup, then open the command prompt on your desktop and navigate to the folder where ADB and Fastboot reside. If you followed our instructions from the Installing ADB and Fastboot section, it will be in the C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder. Just type cdandroid-sdkplatform-tools at the command prompt in Windows. If ADB and Fastboot are somewhere else, just navigate to that location instead. Type “ADB devices” and you should get the following result: The RSA key approval popup should now be visible on your Nexus device. Just check Always Allow From This Computer and tap  OK . Type “ADB devices” again, and you should get the following result with a different device key: You are now ready to flash the factory image. Next Page: Flashing the Android Marshmallow factory image Flashing the Android Marshmallow factory image If you’re device doesn’t have an unlocked bootloader, follow the instructions below.  This process will require a factory reset, so make sure you have your important data backed up . Open the Command Prompt in Windows or Terminal on a Mac and navigate to the folder that ADB and Fastboot are installed in. Again, if you followed our instructions from the Installing ADB and Fastboot section , it will be in the  C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder. Just type “cdandroid-sdkplatform-tools”   at the prompt in Windows. If ADB and Fastboot are somewhere else, just navigate to that location instead. To make things easier, so you don’t have to type out long directories, you can also paste it by pressing ALT and the spacebar , then choose Edit before selecting  Paste . If you’re using a Mac, you need to add the platform tools directory to your $PATH. In terminal, type “sudo nano/etc/paths” .  Now enter your password, go to the bottom of the file, and enter the full path of the “platform tools” directory. Hit control-x to quit and enter Y to save. The following ADB commands are for Windows machines. If you’re using a Mac, just add “ ./” before each command, for example: “ ./adb reboot bootloader”. Assuming you device is already connected to your computer via USB and USB Debugging is enabled, you need to re-start it in fastboot mode. Follow one of the two methods below. Option A may be preferable because it’s another confirmation that your computer recognizes your Nexus device. A) Type “adb reboot bootloader” B) Turn your device off, then turn it back on while holding down the relevant key combinations for your device. For many devices it’s Volume Up + Volume Down + Power . You can see what your device’s key combinations are here. Type fastboot oem unlock to unlock you device. As a final warning , this step will erase everything on your device. Type flash-all to install the bootloader, baseband firmware(s), and operating system. If you get a missing system.img error , then scroll down to bottom of this page for further instructions. This process could take several minutes, so it’s important not to power off or disconnect the device. Once it’s finished, your device will reboot and the latest version of Android Marshmallow will be installed. You can opt to re-lock the bootloader if you wish, but assuming you will do this again with a future update, you might want to leave it unlocked, so you don’t have to perform a factory reset again. If you do want to re-lock, just follow Step 2 above and change Step 3 to fastboot oem lock . That’s it. If your device already has an unlocked bootloader and you don’t want to do a factory reset and lose your data, follow the instructions below. Open the Command Prompt in Windows or Terminal on a Mac and navigate to the folder that ADB and Fastboot are installed in. Again, if you followed our instructions from the Installing ADB and Fastboot section , it will be in the  C:android-sdkplatform-tools folder. Just type “cdandroid-sdkplatform-tools”   at the prompt in Windows. If ADB and Fastboot are somewhere else, just navigate to that location instead. To make things easier, so you don’t have to type out long directories, you can also paste it by pressing ALT and the spacebar , then choose Edit before selecting  Paste . If you’re using a Mac, you need to add the platform tools directory to your $PATH. In terminal, type “sudo nano/etc/paths” .  Now enter your password, go to the bottom of the file, and enter the full path of the “platform tools” directory. Hit control-x to quit and enter Y to save. The following ADB commands are for Windows machines. If you’re using a Mac, just add “ ./” before each command, for example: “ ./adb reboot bootloader”. Assuming you device is already connected to your computer via USB and USB Debugging is enabled, you need to re-start it in fastboot mode. Follow one of the two methods below. Option A may be preferable because it’s another confirmation that your computer recognizes your Nexus device. A) Type “adb reboot bootloader” B) Turn your device off, then turn it back on while holding down the relevant key combinations for your device. For many devices it’s Volume Up + Volume Down + Power . You can see what your device’s key combinations are here. You will need to edit the flash-all.bat file that you extracted from the factory image, which should be in the same directory as ADB and Fastboot. Just open it with any simple text editor such as WordPad. You will see a line that starts with “ fastboot -w update…….. ” Just remove the -w from this line. The -w flag wipes your data, so removing it will obviously stop that from happening. Type flash-all to install the bootloader, baseband firmware(s), and operating system. If you get a missing system.img error , then scroll down to bottom of this page for further instructions. This process could take several minutes, so it’s important not to power off or disconnect the device. Once it’s finished, your device will reboot and the latest version of Android Marshmallow will be installed. If you get a missing system.img error in Step 4 of either method, then follow these instructions Extract all the files from the .zip file, which happens to be one of the files extracted from the original .tgz you downloaded from Google. The Zip file name probably begins with “image.” There should be various .img files within this Zip file. On top of this, you already have bootloader and radio .img files in the same directory. Just make sure all the .img files (from Zip file) and the ones that were already extracted are in the same directory as ADB and fastboot. Now you are going to flash each .img file separately. If you don’t have either one of the bootloader or radio .img files, don’t worry, not all devices need them. It’s also important to follow this exact order. At the CMD prompt and in the C:program files (x86)androidandroid-sdkplatform-tools  directory (if you installed the full SDK) or wherever ADB and fastboot reside. Remember, add ./ before each command if you’re using a Mac. type fastboot flash bootloader [name of your file] .img type fastboot flash radio [name of your file] .img type fastboot reboot-bootloader type fastboot flash recovery recovery.img type fastboot flash boot boot.img type fastboot flash system system.img If your device is a Nexus 9, then also issue this command – fastboot flash vendor vendor.img Lastly, if you want, you can wipe the cache with this command – fastboot flash cache cache.img Now it’s time to enjoy your Android Marshmallow update. You can follow this guide again when Google issues its next Android Marshmallow update, so be sure to bookmark this page for later reference. If we missed anything, or if you have any other tips, please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments. Previous updates: Updated on 01-08-2016 by Robert Nazarian:  Google released the January 2016 security patch in early January. You can still follow this guide to install that update on your Nexus device since the download link page remains the same.  Updated on 12-09-2015 by Robert Nazarian:  Google released the 6.0.1 update, but you can still follow this guide to install the newest version on your Nexus device since the download link page is still the same.

My 5 Favorite Maps: Stamen Design's Eric Rodenbeck

My 5 Favorite Maps: Stamen Design's Eric Rodenbeck

Stamen Design, the San Francisco-based digital studio, is not strictly in the business of making maps. But in their efforts to make visual sense of data and information, they make some of the most engaging, incisive, and beautiful maps around. The studio’s commitment to empowering and connecting budding map-makers and civic-hackers has earned them a prominent place in the world of cartography.

InsideCoach smart soccer ball aims to keep kids active

InsideCoach smart soccer ball aims to keep kids active

If you’re a right-footed soccer player with two left feet, don’t give up just yet. A new sensor-laden ball is about to bounce onto the scene that could be your best chance to improve your skills, making you the quick-footed, sharp-shooting, perfect-passing player you always wanted to be. The InsideCoach smart ball is exactly what it says on the tin – a coach inside a soccer ball. Besides offering real-time coaching cues, its myriad of talents include the ability to detect the ball’s spin and position, the power of a shot or pass, and the trajectory of the ball as it flies through the air, sending all the data via Wi-Fi to the accompanying cross-platform mobile app. Besides all the stats, the app also offers soccer challenges according to skill levels, step-by-step training videos, and social features that let you compete with friends or other users around the world. The platform is open source, too, so the startup behind the smart ball is hoping other developers will jump on board over time to create their own apps for InsideCoach. In addition, as the community of users grows, InsideCoach’s machine-learning system will learn new playing patterns, enabling it to improve the in-app coaching routines that’ll soon have your game looking less messy and more Messi. Hopefully. Despite the encased technology, the weight and movement of the ball is the same as a regular soccer ball. The battery gives you four hours of playing time, with a convenient wireless charging plate offering an easy way to power it up again. Two versions of the ball are offered – a regulation size 5 for adults, and a smaller size 4 ideal for kids between 8 and 12. Indeed, the ball’s creators are particularly keen for younger players to enjoy InsideCoach. “Our main desire is to encourage kids to stay active,” the Utah-based startup says on its website, adding that the main reason “70 percent of kids stop playing sports by age 13” is because it stops being fun. “We want to change that….Kids love video games as an alternative to playing sports because they’re fun and challenging, so we want to provide that experience with InsideCoach’s smart soccer ball.” Related: Wilson’s new smart basketball never met Tom Hanks, but it turns jumpshot training into a game InsideCoach is currently a Kickstarter project, but with more than $16,000 of funding already pledged and another seven weeks to go, the smart ball looks all set to hit its $25,000 target. A $99 pledge will score you one InsideCoach soccer ball, a decent saving on its expected $185 retail price, and significantly lower than what Adidas is charging for its own smart ball effort. Assuming the project proceeds to plan, you could be taking tips from your InsideCoach smart ball as early as this fall.

Popcorn Time lets you pirate from a browser window, and its creators want it legal

Popcorn Time lets you pirate from a browser window, and its creators want it legal

Popcorn Time is risen again, only this time it’s coming to a web browser near you. If you’re not familiar, Popcorn Time was a streaming entertainment platform that looked a lot like Netflix to the end-user, but in reality was a sort of front for a torrent system. In other words, Popcorn Time made what many consider an illegal activity — downloading copy-protected content — look as legit as streaming Netflix. Popcorn Time had its fair shares of ups and downs, ultimately splitting into various “forks” as one site or platform after another was shut down. Still, through its various branches, Popcorn Time enjoyed a fairly long run until, just a few months ago, its most popular offshoot, IO (popcorntime.io), went dark amid internal confusion over whether it was going legit or not. At the time, the platform looked to be all but dead. But now Popcorn Time is back, this time eschewing dedicated apps for the relative comfort of web browsers. This version of the service uses a browser plugin called Torrents Time to allow users to stream movies and TV shows by interacting with a remarkably simple browse-and-click interface. As of now, the platform is compatible with Windows PCs and Macs, and is open source, clearing a path for anyone to step in and create their own versions. The new version doesn’t appear to work with Firefox on a Mac, and Safari won’t get support until sometime in March, according to an initial statement that went out to members of the press. And, at least for now, there are no plans for a mobile app version. It’s not clear who is running the show for this reincarnation, considering that previous developers were reportedly working on a legal version of the service called Butter Project, which has been radio silent since October. But this being an open source, entirely browser-based project, it’s a reasonable assumption it is supported by a a fluid group located in multiple geographies. To learn more, Digital Trends corresponded with a spokesperson over email, who answered questions on condition of anonymity. A mouthpiece for the defiant Our source says that Torrent Time is a “powerful technology” and that it simplifies streaming almost every video format “smoothly and with stunning quality that has never been seen before.” Streaming on Popcorn Time before proved to be risky; some users were issued notices to pay a fine for streaming a movie or show illegally, and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed suit in Canada and New Zealand to shut the service down. To avoid entanglements, Previous Popcorn Time forks advised users to employ VPNs (virtual private networks) to mask their IP addresses and evade any civil action. Some VPN services specifically refuse to function with any active torrent traffic, whereas others operate with no such restrictions. The most widely suggested option was Anonymous VPN, which our source told us is still a good idea. “Unfortunately, we need to recommend users to use a VPN. Our experience with VPNs dictates recommending Anonymous VPN. It’s safe, smooth, and fairly priced. We recommend it until others build quality products and we invite and encourage every VPN provider to offer their product, and will test them too.” How gray is this area, really? Popcorn Time developers in the past have struck a defiant tone, justifying the affront to the studios and rights-holders on principle of a broken system, and as a fairer way to distribute content in cultural terms, even though they have no legal claim to do so under the law. “We believe that other than literature and poetry copyrights, any industrial work should be given a much more limited protection. The film and TV producers should be allowed a ‘novelty monopoly’ that allows them to recover their investment and make a profit, as high as they can,” he told Digital Trends via email. “But as soon as they are off the big screen, they must allow free access to the works. An alternative could be a small ‘token’ payment per view. They are an industry and their big profits are made in the first months of screening. The public makes them wealthy and their works loved and admired. Without the public’s affection, they are nothing. So, after the early movers bought tickets, the works should be released for free.” This echoes prior sentiments, criticizing the industry as being greedy and citing geo-restricted content as an example of how out of touch it is with what consumers demand. The latter point isn’t altogether different from what Netflix has publicly stated, particularly as it has now rolled out to 130 more countries, with varying catalogs between them. A notion of reasonable greed Suggesting that “Netflix is being blackmailed by the Hollywood content monopolies,”he explains that a tenet behind the platform’s existence is that access to culture should be free after the content creators have had an initial period to make a profit, and without geographical barriers. “Their greed should be tailored to reasonable greed. We believe that Netflix must fight to implement their business model equally to all people that have a desire for culture,” he adds. Currently, films that have recently arrived on Blu-ray disc, digital download, or at legal streaming sites are readily available on the new Popcorn Time site, including such hits as  Straight Outta Compton and Spectre . Even Netflix original series, like Narcos and Daredevil , are there to be streamed right now. With such an open library, it’s unclear when such a grace period might end, if at all, though they note they aren’t threatening to shut down anyone’s post-box office activities. Their contention is that studios and rights holders derived revenue from Netflix, rentals and Blu-ray sales, in spite of pirated content and Popcorn Time. No particular examples were provided. “If the industry is capable of merchandizing their product post-box office, why do they want to shut us down? Why impose limitations on Netflix?” he writes. Still, there is an acknowledgement that this iteration of the underground streaming service could face Hollywood’s wrath, even though Popcorn Time developers feel there is no justification in doing so because they aren’t infringing on any rights. Technically  it’s ok, right? “People share little bits of content files with each other, and we believe that what they do is classified under the fair use doctrine. We are the librarian that introduces the users to each other, and each gives the other a very small part of the whole work,” they say. “The content owner may wish to turn the web off, but we think it’s too late for that. We do nothing more than ISPs (Internet Service Providers), Google, Bing, Yahoo, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge, Firefox who facilitate the locating of works and their downloading or streaming. If they are not concerned with being shut down, why should we?” That might come off as a false equivalency because web browsers and search engines aren’t specific to one content genre, like Popcorn Time is. Either way, this group appears committed to keeping the site running, and with the open source code behind it, various browser-based forks of the site may appear soon.

UNICEF Is Investing $9 Million In Open Source Tech Solutions For Children

UNICEF wants to support innovative programs in a way that goes beyond large grants to nonprofits. This week, it launched an Innovation Fund that will invest -- venture-capital style -- in a number of startups serving children in developing countries.The agency will put $9 million toward early-stage startups that focus on empowering young...

Here comes the first Ubuntu Linux tablet

Here comes the first Ubuntu Linux tablet

At the same time, Canonical is finally delivering on its promise to deliver one codebase for all devices. The upshot is you'll be able to use the first Ubuntu tablet, the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet, as a PC as well as a tablet.

Mozilla to kill Firefox smartphone operating system

Mozilla to kill Firefox smartphone operating system

The Firefox smartphone operating system is being shut down, three years after a launch aimed at challenging the dominant platforms powered by Apple and Google, developers said Thursday. The operating system created by the Mozilla developer community as an open-source system failed to gain traction in mobile devices, according to a statement from Mozilla developer George Roter. "Through the work of hundreds of contributors we made an awesome push and created an impressive platform in Firefox OS," he said in a blog post.

Canonical's new Ubuntu tablet can also be your PC

Canonical's new Ubuntu tablet can also be your PC

Canonical still believes in convergence. The company that makes the open-source OS Ubuntu and tried to raise $32 million for a smartphone that can power a PC has announced its first ever tablet, promising that the device is just a keyboard and mouse away from a full desktop experience. Add a monitor, and you’ve got an Ubuntu PC.

Batman: Arkham Knight won't be coming to SteamOS, Mac and Linux ports cancelled

Batman: Arkham Knight won't be coming to SteamOS, Mac and Linux ports cancelled

Batman: Arkham Knight launched relatively problem-free on consoles, but the same can’t be said for any other versions of the game. First the PC port of the game was plagued with countless issues, and now it’s bad news for those who were planning to play the game on other operating systems. In a short post on steam yesterday, a Warner Bros. representative wrote a blunt message in the game’s Steam forums indicating that users who were hoping to play Arkham Knight on SteamOS were out of luck. Related:  Batman: Arkham Knight is finally ready for PC “We are very sorry to confirm that Batman: Arkham Knight will no longer be coming to Mac and Linux,” the forum post reads. “If you have pre-ordered Batman: Arkham Knight for Mac or Linux, please apply for a refund via Steam.” This is obviously a disappointment, but it’s a move that was fairly easy to see coming. Last year the Mac and Linux ports of Arkham Knight, developed by Feral Interactive, were delayed to spring 2016. Feral said at the time that this was to give the game “extra development time needed to ensure good performance and wide-ranging support for OS X, Linux and SteamOS.” In a fitting move, this came on the same day that the PC port of the game, pulled months prior, returned to Steam. When it originally launched, the game was buggy to the point of being unplayable for many users. Even after the game returned, bugs still lingered. Related:  Batman: Arkham Knight launches DLC season finale this week In December, the final piece of downloadable content for Arkham Knight was released. With the content for the game effectively finished, it could be that Warner Bros. made the decision that devoting more resources to the game wouldn’t be worth the extra revenue it would generate from being available on more platforms. Feral was responsible for Mac ports of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, so the company was certainly used to this type of work. Of course, given the state of Arkham Knight on the PC, porting work could have been far more difficult. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Does IT matter once more? Is IT strategic?

Does IT matter once more? Is IT strategic?

Geoffrey Moore created a tech marketing sensation with his book "Crossing the Chasm" in 1991 — he has a new book "Zone to Win — Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption."

Open Source Agriculture

Open Source Agriculture

Open Source, normally referred to within the domain of computer software, also pertains to the availability of the inner workings of physical operations and technology in the modes of hardware and sociological being with my focus here in view of agricultural life and design. There is a wide variety of literature available online providing...

Dell’s Ubuntu-Flavored Skylake XPS 13 expected to ship soon

Dell’s Ubuntu-Flavored Skylake XPS 13 expected to ship soon

2015 was a wonderful year for computers, especially for Dell, whose XPS 13 laptop we recognized as the best of the year. And fortunately, the company is back for seconds with the “Project Sputnik” Developer Edition of the beloved notebook lineup — this time featuring the cult favorite Ubuntu Linux-based operating system. Since their introduction in 2012, Dell’s Project Sputnik laptops have delivered a unique Linux experience in the form of well known, otherwise Windows PCs. The XPS 13 Developer Edition will be no exception. In fact, it will be the only compact Linux laptop using a Skylake chip from the top five PC makers. Related:  Dell channels Mr T and colors its new XPS 13 gold And, since this year’s rendition of the XPS 13 Developer Edition is well on its way, or “closer to shipping” as Dell’s senior technologist, George Barton, wrote in a related Google+ post, the older Broadwell-based models are being discounted to reflect the market changes. Though Dell has neglected so far to reveal a release date and pricing information for the new dev-branded XPS 13, if the Windows 10 version is anything to go by, we can expect models to start at around $800. The current XPS 13 Developer Edition, however, starts at $1,050 as it ships with an i5 processor rather than an i3. Dell first started experimenting with Project Sputnik back in 2012, when it decided that convertible notebooks would serve as a fitting home for the open-source operating system. It is worth noting that if you have a Windows version of the Skylake-powered XPS 13 in your hands right now, you could easily install Ubuntu yourself, effectively creating your own Developer Edition. As PC World reports, an Intel representative stated in the past that any Skylake chip running Windows is also capable of running Linux. Intel doesn’t optimize its chips for any particular operating system, so unless for some reason you need Ubuntu pre-installed, you would be just as well off buying the Windows edition now and installing it yourself. Unfortunately, we don’t know yet just how Intel RealSense features such as facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, and other biometric login procedures are going to make the transition to Linux. It will be up to the ardent open-source community to give the XPS 13 Developer Edition a unique edge over its Windows counterpart. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

gaming

Nintendo officially gives up on non-wearable ‘Quality of Life’ sleep tracker

Nintendo officially gives up on non-wearable ‘Quality of Life’ sleep tracker

After more than a year, Nintendo revealed it will not continue development of its fitness-minded sleep monitoring device. Announced by former company president Satoru Iwata in October, 2014, the wireless sleep sensor was part of a proposed “quality of life” initiative at Nintendo, intended to build on the success of the Wii Fit  and Wii U Fit balance boards. Earlier this week, Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima told investors the company no longer considered the sensor a viable product in a meeting following the company’s recent quarterly earnings report. “In regards to the Quality of Life [device], which was not mentioned in any of today’s questions, we do not have the conviction that the sleep-and-fatigue-themed [device] can enter the phase of actually becoming a product,” Kimishima said, according to a translation from Wired. On the other hand, we still believe there are things we can do in the general category of Quality of Life, and we will continue to study the possibility of expanding into this field.” Based on an early diagram, users would have placed the sensor on a nightstand or nearby table, allowing it to monitor and analyze users’ breathing, heartbeat, body movement during sleep using “non-contact sensor measurement technology and sleep condition estimation technology.” The device would also provide feedback aimed at improving the user’s lifestyle. Though the device was not connected to any console, Iwata did suggest Nintendo would incorporate its understanding of game design to make the experience of using a fitness tracker into “something fun.” Related: Nintendo’s first mobile app will debut in March, alongside a new user account system “Fatigue and sleep are themes that are rather hard to visualize in more objective ways,” Iwata told investors during an October, 2014, presentation. “At Nintendo, we believe that if we could visualize them, there would be great potential for many people regardless of age, gender, language or culture.” Also watch: Nintendo eShop Updates with a Double-Dose of Final Fantasy Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Nintendo's sleep-tracking device may never wake up

Nintendo's sleep-tracking device may never wake up

Nintendo's mysterious "Quality of Life" initiative was meant to have launched by the end of this March, but the first product in the program isn't going to make that date — if it ever comes out at all. CEO and president Tatsumi Kimishima made a point of bringing up QOL himself during an investor Q&A session following the company's earnings release this week, saying that Nintendo doesn't have enough confidence that the sleep-tracking device announced in 2014 could become a viable consumer product. Kimishima says he still thinks Nintendo has something to offer in the space, so will consider expanding the company's operations in that direction.

Nintendo details Zelda: Twilight Princess HD gameplay improvements

Nintendo details Zelda: Twilight Princess HD gameplay improvements

Nintendo has a number of major changes in store for its upcoming HD revamp of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess , resulting in a streamlined experience that eliminates many of the flaws present in the game’s original 2006 release. Among other tweaks, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U makes in-game transformations less time-consuming, and reduces the number of quest items in specific cases in order to improve the overall pacing of gameplay. Related:  Rumor: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD will have a new dungeon unlocked by matching amiibo Nintendo outlined its many planned improvements for Twilight Princess HD today, including the addition of an all-new “Ghost Lantern” item that makes the original game’s infamous Poe soul-retrieving quest less tedious. When equipped, the Ghost Lantern will glow when any Poes are nearby, reducing the amount of exploration and guesswork that the quest normally entails. Many moments in Twilight Princess require protagonist Link to transform into his wolf form – a process that previously involved talking to partner character Midna and navigating through a dialogue sequence before every transformation. In Twilight Princess HD , players can instead tap an icon on the Wii U’s GamePad to instantly transform with no delay. The Wii U GamePad also aids in equipping items, as players can now assign inventory slots and navigate maps using a touch-driven interface. In addition, Twilight Princess HD offers off-TV play that displays all in-game action on the GamePad itself. Twilight Princess HD additionally increases the limit on the amount of currency that players can hold at any given time, addressing a common complaint with the original game. Rupees earned from treasure chests can now be collected regardless of whether players have reached the maximum amount of on-hand currency, eliminating the need to maintain a mental checklist of treasure chests that were abandoned throughout the quest. Other planned additions for Twilight Princess HD include a Hero Mode that doubles the damage players take from enemies and eliminates health drops, making for a more difficult quest. Players can create an even more difficult experience for themselves by scanning a Ganondorf amiibo figurine during gameplay, further increasing the damage they absorb during gameplay. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD launches exclusively for the Wii U on March 4th. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Nintendo launches first app

Nintendo launches first app

Nintendo is launching "Miitomo", its first app made exclusively for smart devices. Users will be able to pre-register for Miitomo from February 17 by signing up for the new Nintendo Account service using their existing email, social media accounts or current Nintendo Network IDs, with a special bonus offered to anyone who signs up before the app is released.

Sega's 7th Dragon III Code: VFD announced for U.S. release on Nintendo 3DS

Sega's 7th Dragon III Code: VFD announced for U.S. release on Nintendo 3DS

Publisher Sega announced that its Nintendo 3DS RPG 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is due for a North American launch later this year. The upcoming release marks 7th Dragon’s first-ever appearance stateside, following up on multiple series entries released exclusively in Japan over the past decade. Related:  3DS retrogaming compilation Sega 3D Classics Collection coming to North America 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is a console-styled RPG with an emphasis on character building and customization. The game offers eight playable classes, each boasting their own unique abilities, buffs, and magic attacks in battle. Players are also given extensive control over their characters’ appearance and voiced dialogue. Combat in the 7th Dragon games is turn-based, and shares many similarities with Atlus’ Etrian Odyssey series. Players must carefully weigh their options before committing to a plan of attack, as specific character builds can deal elemental damage that targets enemy weaknesses. 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is the fourth game in Sega’s 7th Dragon series, which originally kicked off on the Nintendo DS in Japan in 2009. The original 7th Dragon featured 2D graphics and gameplay that recalled the style of 16-bit console RPGs, and introduced a series-spanning storyline in which Earth is under siege by an army of invading dragons. The series shifted to a 3D presentation with 2011’s 7th Dragon 2020 for the PlayStation Portable. A direct sequel, 7th Dragon 2020-II , later hit the PSP in 2013. Though the series earned a dedicated worldwide fanbase, English-language versions of the first three 7th Dragon games never surfaced stateside. 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is the latest in a string of recent localization announcements from Sega. The publisher recently revealed that its 3DS retro compilation Sega 3D Classics Collection will hit store shelves and the 3DS eShop in North America this spring, and a localization of its revamped strategy-RPG Valkyria Chronicles Remastered will be available for the PlayStation 4 in May. 7th Dragon III Code: VFD will premiere for the Nintendo 3DS in North America this summer. A release date is not yet known.

Nintendo’s first mobile app will debut in March, alongside a new user account system

Nintendo’s first mobile app will debut in March, alongside a new user account system

Nintendo has revealed plans to launch a unified user account system across all of its gaming platforms, putting it on equal footing with Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Network services. The “My Nintendo” program gives users access to exclusive perks and digital bonuses for downloading and playing Nintendo-published games, including the company’s debut mobile app Miitomo , which launches worldwide in March. Related:  Nintendo’s first smartphone game, Miitomo, prods you into talking to people Players enrolled in the My Nintendo program will accrue Platinum points for browsing Nintendo storefronts and launching the publisher’s free games and apps. Collected Platinum points can later be redeemed for free digital bonuses like system themes and in-game downloadable content. My Nintendo members can additionally earn Gold points by purchasing games, apps, and digital content from the Nintendo eShop. These points can then be cashed in for discounts on future purchases. Nintendo notes that Gold and Platinum points are awarded separately and only under specific terms, and one currency cannot be exchanged for another. The first Nintendo-published title to use the My Nintendo service is Miitomo , the company’s debut mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Incorporating elements from the off-kilter Nintendo 3DS life sim Tomodachi Life , Miitomo acts as a mobile social network geared toward Nintendo fans. Miitomo will support eight languages when it launches across 16 regions in March, including the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and select parts of Europe. The My Nintendo and Nintendo Account services will also roll out in March, covering North and South America, along with markets in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Players in Japan will be able to pre-register for Miitomo ‘s launch starting on February 17th. Miitomo is the first of four mobile apps Nintendo plans to release before the end of March in 2017. Details regarding the company’s future apps are not yet known, and the company has not disclosed how the My Nintendo and Nintendo Account services will interface with its upcoming Nintendo NX console.

Nintendo’s second smartphone game will star a ‘very familiar’ character

When Nintendo unveiled its first smartphone app last year, gamers were disappointed, to say the least. Rather than port a 2D Mario game to iOS and Android or build a brand new experience around one of its famous characters, Nintendo opted to create a social messaging application called Miitomo . It wasn't what fans were expecting, but a new report hints that the next app will be more in line with what the Nintendo faithful would want from the company. READ MORE:  New ‘Batman v Superman’ trailer highlights the superhero showdown of the year According to The Wall Street Journal , Nintendo promised that its next app would feature a character that every Nintendo fan should be familiar with. The company didn't specify

Nintendo details new rewards program and first smartphone game

Nintendo details new rewards program and first smartphone game

In a call for investors following the release of some less than stellar third-quarter earnings, Nintendo president and CEO Tatsumi Kimishima has provided details on a couple of important new initiatives for the company. First up is My Nintendo, a new general online service that replaces the old Club Nintendo rewards program while offering some extra features. Once registered with a Nintendo Account, the company's new catch-all ID for its consoles and services across other devices, you can log in for personalized information and discounts, and you're also finally able to buy games online and have them automatically download to your console.

Nintendo will seek success in mobile games, new hardware and maybe even VR in 2016

Nintendo will seek success in mobile games, new hardware and maybe even VR in 2016

Nintendo released its quarterly earnings statement from the final months of 2015 on Tuesday, revealing that its profits were down 36 percent, year-over-year. According to the company’s most recent financial report, the massive success of Amiibo figures and successful games, such as  Splatoon and Super Mario Maker , could not offset falling Wii U and 3DS hardware sales. In attempting to explain to investors how it would rebound and maintain it’s current earnings projection for 2016, Nintendo teased upcoming projects and new areas of corporate “interest,” including mobile gaming, virtual reality and, of course, the mysterious NX console. First and foremost, Nintendo’s first foray into mobile software development, the Miiverse-style networking app  Miitomo , will launch in March. The launch will come come a year after Nintendo revealed its plan to develop apps for mobile platforms, promising to release release five apps by March, 2017. President Tatsumi Kimishima said Tuesday Nintendo is already looking past Miitomo to its second app, which will “not be a communications device” and will feature “some intellectual property that is very well known to everyone,” according to Bloomberg. Kimishima also hoped to reassure investors with a brief reminder that development on the Nintendo NX remains “on schedule.” Reports last fall suggested Nintendo aims to launch its new console by the end of 2016. The company said it plans to deliver more concrete information later this year. Finally, in the context of discussing new hardware, Kimishima mentioned that Nintendo has been “exploring possibilities” in joining the coming virtual reality race. Just the suggestion that Nintendo would consider developing virtual reality games marks a dramatic philosophical shift. At E3 2015, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime told Polygon he wasn’t interested in the upcoming crop of virtual reality devices. “I haven’t walked the floor, so I can’t say in terms of what’s on the floor today,” Fils-Aime said, “but at least based on what I’ve seen to date, it’s not fun, and it’s not social. It’s just tech.” If Nintendo seems more cautious than other companies investing in VR, it’s because the company has been burned before: The Virtual Boy, one of the first consumers grade virtual reality products released back in 1995, was a decisive failure. (It also really hurt your eyes after a while.) Similarly, while the 3DS did find an audience, the augmented reality games Nintendo showed off at launch did not resonate with players or developers. Since Fils-Aime’s comment, headset-makers Oculus and HTC have realized more information about upcoming hardware and software, including games such as The Climb and Rock Band VR , which could helped change Nintendo’s stance. Also watch: Nintendo eShop Updates with a Double-Dose of Final Fantasy Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is turning into a Lego video game

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is turning into a Lego video game

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally turning into a video game — and it's going to be made out of Lego. Warner Bros. Interactive announced Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens this morning, the latest in the long-running series of Lego games, after existence of the title leaked out through a product page on the Xbox store last night. The game is being developed by TT Games, the studio behind the family-friendly Lego series, which got its start with a blocky rendition of A New Hope in 2005 and later expanded to cover some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

Nintendo is exploring VR again, 20 years after the Virtual Boy flop

Nintendo is exploring VR again, 20 years after the Virtual Boy flop

Nintendo is reportedly exploring a return to virtual reality, with the company's president Tatsumi Kimishima describing VR as "interesting technology" in a recent earnings calls. According to a report from The Financial Times, the Japanese firm says it's researching virtual reality but has no specific plans to launch any products any time soon. Nintendo famously released one of the first ever commercial VR devices in 1995, but the Virtual Boy (above) was a significant failure, with consumers turned off by the console's high price, monochrome display, and its tendency to cause headaches and nausea.

Nintendo says strong demand for Wii U games, but holiday sales disappoint

Nintendo says strong demand for Wii U games, but holiday sales disappoint

Nintendo said Tuesday its operating profit soared, as it pointed to strong demand for Wii U console games including shoot-em-up hit "Splatoon", but holiday sales fell and the positive impact of a weak yen hit its bottom line. Nintendo is gearing up for the March release of its first foray into smartphone gaming, after years of refusing to stray from a consoles-only policy. The move is seen as critical to Nintendo's future amid tough competition from console-maker rivals Sony and Microsoft, and the popularity of online gaming.

Nintendo says strong demand for Wii U games

Nintendo says strong demand for Wii U games

Nintendo said Tuesday its operating profit soared, as it pointed to strong demand for Wii U console games including shoot-em-up hit "Splatoon", but holiday sales fell and the positive impact of a weak yen hit its bottom line. Nintendo is gearing up for the March release of its first foray into smartphone gaming, after years of refusing to stray from a consoles-only policy. The move is seen as critical to Nintendo's future amid tough competition from console-maker rivals Sony and Microsoft, and the popularity of online gaming.

Nintendo sales decline after sparse Wii U holiday lineup

Nintendo sales decline after sparse Wii U holiday lineup

Nintendo's sales are down on a year ago after a quarter which saw the Japanese games company make an operating profit of ¥33.5 billion ($278 million) off ¥224.5 billion ($1.86 billion) in revenue — respectively a 7 percent increase and 17 percent decrease year on year. Nintendo has made ¥42.4 billion in the nine months so far. Nintendo singles out Yoshi's Woolly World as a "steady" new performer, though it hasn't made the list of the ten best-selling Wii U titles.

Video game featuring LeBron James, Kobe Bryant tattoos sparks lawsuit

Video game featuring LeBron James, Kobe Bryant tattoos sparks lawsuit

By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - Take-Two Interactive Software Inc has been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit over its depiction of tattoos belonging to National Basketball Association stars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in a popular video game. In a complaint filed on Monday in Manhattan federal court, Solid Oak Sketches LLC said Take-Two should pay damages for incorporating eight tattoo designs, which the plaintiff had licensed from various artists, into its NBA 2K16 game.

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 puts March’s PlayStation Plus freebie up for vote

Sony puts March’s PlayStation Plus freebie up for vote

Sony is relaunching its PlayStation Plus-exclusive “Vote to Play” campaign, giving service subscribers the chance to vote for which game will be given away for free next month. March’s candidates include the PlayStation 4 versions of Action Henk!, Assault Android Cactus , and Broforce . Related:  Twisted Metal, Grow Home free in September for PlayStation Plus members Starting on February 9th, PlayStation Network members with an active PlayStation Plus subscription can vote for their preferred freebie. The game with the most votes by the end of the month will be given away for free to service subscribers throughout March. Among the candidates is Broforce , a side-scrolling run-and-gun shooter from Devolver Digital and developer Free Lives. Originally released via Steam’s Early Access program, Broforce has seen significant expansion in the months following its launch, and now includes dozens of playable characters inspired by ’80s action movies. The PlayStation 4 version of Broforce features a co-op campaign for up to four players either locally or online via the PlayStation Network, along with an “Explosion Run” time attack mode for veteran players. Also up for vote is Assault Android Cactus , a twin-stick shooter with a unique draining battery feature in place of the genre’s standard respawn mechanics. Players compete for score across 25 arenas filled with deadly enemies either alone or with friends in a four-player local co-op mode. March’s final candidate is Action Henk! , which its creators describe as “a lightning fast platform-racing game set in a beautifully crafted 3D toy box world.” Action Henk! tests player reflexes throughout more than 70 included levels. “The thread that brings these three games together: fun titles that can connect the Plus community to play together with friends,” Sony notes. “We hope that you’ll enjoy learning about each game and the developers behind them before casting your vote.” PlayStation Plus members can vote for next month’s featured game by accessing the “Vote to Play” option on the PlayStation Store on February 9th. The winning game will be available for download on March 1st. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

PlayStation Network goes down for some users

PlayStation Network goes down for some users

After going out for several hours early last month, Sony's PlayStation Network is down again, at least for some players. Earlier today, PlayStation 4 and Vita users started reporting being unable to access network services, which locked them out of online gaming, user profiles, and apps or games that require an internet connection to use. On the other hand, it's not a universal outage: Polygon was unable to sign in on a PlayStation 4 or access the PlayStation Store in a web browser, for example, while we were able to do both.

Upcoming PlayStation 4 Games

Upcoming PlayStation 4 Games

New year, new video games. If you thought 2015 delivered the goods, then we’ve got some good news for you: 2016 is shaping up to be just as impressive. For all you Sony enthusiasts and PlayStation 4 gamers out there, we’ve compiled a robust list of 50 games we think you should be keeping tabs on in the months and year ahead. Related:  The 20 best PlayStation 4 games you can buy right now Before we get on to the list, a couple quick asides. First, while 50 games might sound like a lot of titles, this list doesn’t even begin to cover what’s on the horizon. If you’re wondering where your favorite indie title is — or the next installment of your favorite franchise — keep in mind that we focused on more unique offerings. Furthermore, we want to stress that the following release dates are not set in stone. We can reasonably expect some of these titles to launch on time, sure, but all games are subject to the occasional delay (or three). Just take  Mighty No. 9 , for example. Firewatch Please enable Javascript to watch this video Set in the wilderness of Wyoming, this first-person adventure takes players back to 1989. It’s developed by Campo Santo, a studio created by ex-Telltale Games designers and writers, so you can expect a game that’s heavy on story and hinges on the impact of moral choices. Release date: February 9, 2016 Unravel Please enable Javascript to watch this video Unravel  is a heartwarming platformer that stars Yarney, a small character made of yarn. As the player moves Yarney through each level, his yarn body begins to unravel, leaving behind a trail of unspooled string. This is used as a gameplay mechanic for solving puzzles and overcoming obstacles throughout the game’s levels. Release date: February 9, 2016 Gravity Rush Remastered Please enable Javascript to watch this video Another Sony exclusive getting the remaster treatment is  Gravity Rush , a   gravity-bending action game for the PlayStation Vita. Players take control of Kat, whose special powers allow her to manipulate gravity and alter the orientation of the world, thereby creating new pathways throughout the game’s large environment. Release date: February 9, 2016 Street Fighter V Please enable Javascript to watch this video After numerous iterations and updates to  Street Fighter IV  over the past eight years,  Street Fighter V  is the next major sequel in the series and the first installment on the PS4. While Street Fighter fans can expect the same character roster and deep combo system that has defined the series up until this point,  Street Fighter V  will also boast a dedicated story mode, which is a first for the series. Release date: Febraury 16, 2016 Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 Please enable Javascript to watch this video EA branches out its Plants vs. Zombies franchise even further with the released of Garden Warfare 2 , once again pitting the titular Plants against Zombies in third-person competitive combat. Release date: February 23, 2016 Far Cry Primal Please enable Javascript to watch this video Ubisoft’s open-world FPS goes prehistoric with Primal . Instead of causing chaos via explosive weaponry and vehicular mayhem, the game   gives you an arsenal of animal companions to command, including mammoths, wolves, and saber tooth tigers. As main character Takkar, players will be given the tools to craft their own weapons and defenses as they track and hunt prehistoric megafauna. Release date: February 23, 2016 Heavy Rain Please enable Javascript to watch this video This remastered version of Quanitc Dream’s critically lauded PS3 title,  Heavy Rain,  re-opens the mysterious and deadly Origami Killer case.  Heavy Rain  continues to receive   accolades for its experimental gameplay and mature, branching narrative. Release date: March 1, 2016 The Division Please enable Javascript to watch this video Looking for your next co-op title to binge? The Division is a hybrid that’s somewhere between an MMO and a shooter, one set in a dystopian future on the East Coast. Players can team up to execute missions, develop their characters, and further explore expansive areas. Release date: March 8, 2016 Hitman Please enable Javascript to watch this video This reboot of IO Interactive’s stealth assassination series will be an episodic game, with new content coming in the form of new missions and gameplay locations that will be available for download following the game’s initial release. Hitman  will once again throw you in the role of the mysterious Agent 47 as he attempts to complete his contracts while keeping a low profile. Release date: March 11, 2016 Adr1ft Please enable Javascript to watch this video Commander Alex Oshima finds herself stranded in space, floating through the wreckage of a space station with no memory of the incident that resulted in the station’s destruction. The gameplay involves traversing the remains of a space station in zero gravity while carefully managing your oxygen supply and piecing together what went wrong (and how to fix it). Release date: March 28, 2016 Hyper Light Drifter Please enable Javascript to watch this video Hyper Light Drifter is an action-adventure game that combines the best parts of  The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past  with the loot-driven progression of  Diablo. The crisp-yet-retro look also looks to be as impressive as it is nostalgic. Release date: Winter 2016 Ratchet and Clank Please enable Javascript to watch this video Insomniac Games’ iconic duo are back for another adventure, this time to coincide with their big-screen debut.  Ratchet and Clank  is a re-imagining of the original game, but with numerous gameplay elements pulled from the series’ 14 previous installments. Release date: April 12, 2016 Dark Souls III Please enable Javascript to watch this video From Software’s Dark Souls series   has become well-known for its challenging gameplay, not to mention its rewarding combat and action-RPG elements.  Dark Souls III , what could be the final game in the series, looks to be no different. Players will find themselves once again traversing an unforgiving medieval fantasy, combating grotesque monsters and bestial bosses along the way. Release date: April 12, 2016 Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Please enable Javascript to watch this video This seemingly final chapter in Sony’s iconic third-person action series delves deeper into protagonist Nathan Drake’s family life, introducing players to Drake’s brother, Sam Drake (voiced by Troy Baker). Expect an adventure of cinematic scope and feel. Release date: April 26, 2016 Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Please enable Javascript to watch this video Mirror’s Edge   Catalyst serves as a prequel to the original, filling in Faith’s back story as a courier-turned-revolutionary. This fast-paced game lacks heavy combat but makes up for it with fluid movements and fast-paced dynamics that few other games have ever attempted. Release date: May 24, 2016 Battleborn Please enable Javascript to watch this video Battleborn  is the next game from Gearbox, the studio behind the Borderlands series. While  Battleborn  features many aspects reminiscent of Borderlands — such as multiple characters, a colorful art style, and FPS gameplay — it takes heavy inspiration from MOBA games such as  Dota 2 and  League of Legends , pitting players against one another in objective-based arena battles. Release date: May 3, 2016 Homefront: The Revolution Please enable Javascript to watch this video Homefront: The Revolution  puts players in the role of a resistance fighter named Ethan, who quickly takes up arms against a military occupation in the United States. Players will explore an open-world recreation of Philadelphia, working with other rebel forces to free America. Release Date: May 17, 2016 Overwatch Please enable Javascript to watch this video Overwatch  is Blizzard’s newest franchise, and the company’s first in years. Furthermore, instead of returning to the well for gameplay inspiration,  Overwatch  will be the developer’s first FPS. The fast-paced title will also incorporate aspects of other popular competitive games, such as  Team Fortress 2 . Release date: June 21, 2016 No Man’s Sky Please enable Javascript to watch this video It’s hard to describe what No Man’s Sky is, or what we can reasonably guess it is at least. Hello Game’s galaxy-spanning exploration title was made using a series of equations designed to procedurally generate an entire galaxy, and all the stars, planets, and lifeforms therein. Each planet is unique, and waiting to be discovered. How exactly you’ll play the game remains vague, but we know you’ll be able to craft and travel between planets as you make your way toward the center of the galaxy. There are also rumors of a mysterious threat lurking among the stars. Release date: June 2016 Darkest Dungeon Please enable Javascript to watch this video Darkest Dungeon  is a fantasy RPG inspired by the difficult role playing games of yesteryear, along with the bleak writings of H.P. Lovecraft. Players must manage their party’s fears and mental states in order to prevent madness from tearing apart their adventurers while simultaneously they work to explore the titular dungeon and dire environments. Release date: Spring 2016 Mighty No. 9 Please enable Javascript to watch this video The release of Mighty No. 9,  the Kickstarter project from Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune, has been a long time in the making. However, when it does come out, you can expect a challenging platformer that’s outfitted with plenty of style. After all, it’s plugged as a spiritual successor to Mega Man. Release date: Spring 2016 Doom Please enable Javascript to watch this video Doom  is a series that needs no introduction. Developer id Software’s fast-paced, gore-soaked shooter is making a triumphant return this spring and is doing so without compromising on its old-school roots. Doom is sure to please not only fans of the original series, but also those looking for something faster and more over-the-top than the most modern shooters offer. Release date: Spring 2016 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Please enable Javascript to watch this video Cybernetically-augmented agent Adam Jensen returns two years after the events of  Deus Ex: Human Revolution  in  Mankind Divided.  He finds himself in the middle of a conflict between humans and augmented individuals, contending with various terrorist groups and shadowy organizations. Players are given the freedom to favor either stealth or combat, and must make narrative-shaping decisions that change the outcome of the game’s story. Release date: August 23, 2016 Yooka-Laylee Please enable Javascript to watch this video Playtonic, a new studio made up of ex-Rare employees, is looking to capitalize on the resounding success of games like  Banjo and Kazooie   with  Yooka-Laylee.  That being the case, the forthcoming title is a bright and colorful platformer, one that features music from composers Grant Kirkhope and David Wise. Release date: October 2016 Mass Effect Andromeda Please enable Javascript to watch this video Not much is known about the next entry in BioWare’s beloved science-fiction series, but one detail is easily gleaned from its title:  Mass Effect Andromeda  will take place in an entirely new galaxy. That means that the RPG will likely feature new planets, technology, alien life, and a cast of all-new characters. Release date: Fall 2016 Rise of the Tomb Raider Please enable Javascript to watch this video Rise of the Tomb Raider,  Lara Croft’s second journey in the rebooted Tomb Raider franchise,   made its debut on the Xbox One last fall. This year, the title is finally coming to the PS4. The Xbox One and PC versions of the game have received rave reviews praising the game’s puzzle mechanics and graphics, which will likely be just as remarkable on the PS4. Release date: Fall 2016 Outlast II Please enable Javascript to watch this video The original  Outlast  made headlines back in 2014 as one of the PS4’s scariest titles. Outlast II , while set in the same universe as the previous game, will feature a new location, characters, and storyline. The teaser trailer — the only glimpse of the game we’ve seen so far — hints at dark, religious themes as a major plot point for the second installment. Release date: Fall 2016 Persona 5 Please enable Javascript to watch this video Persona has slowly grown from a niche series to a full-blown pillar of the Japanese RPG genre.  Persona 5  stars an unnamed hero who leads a double life in Tokyo, one that sees him going to high school during the day and summoning demons at night. The gameplay is split between socializing and dungeon crawling, with both modes directly affecting your party’s power and combat abilities. Release date: TBA 2016 Horizon Zero Dawn Please enable Javascript to watch this video Zero Dawn ‘s unique setting and gameplay   made big impressions at E3 2015. It’s set in the far future, thousands of years after an apocalyptic event has wiped out human culture and the entire world has reverted back to a pre-historic tundra. It also follows the story of Aloy, a young huntress who tracks the bio-mechanical beasts that rule the new world. Release date: TBA 2016 Final Fantasy XV Please enable Javascript to watch this video After more than a decade of waiting, the seminal JRPG series is back for the fifteenth time. This time around, players take the role of Noctis, a prince whose father’s kingdom has been invaded by the evil empire of Niflheim. Noctis is joined by a group of his closest friends and advisers as he attempts to claim a magical crystal and defeat the forces of Niflheim.  Final Fantasy XV  changes the formula from past games in the series, though, dropping the random encounters and turn-based combat for action-oriented gameplay and open-world exploration. Release date: TBA 2016 The Last Guardian After a tumultuous nine-year development period rife with cancellation rumors, Team Ico will finally follow up  Ico  and the beloved  Shadow of the Colossus with  The Last Guardian.  Concrete details about the gameplay and plot are still unclear at this point, but we do know that players will play as a young boy who must control his cat-lion-eagle creature in order to solve puzzles and traverse the environment. Release date: TBA 2016 South Park: The Fractured But Whole Matt Stone and Tey Parker’s animated comedy institution became the setting for one of 2013’s best, and most surprising, RPGs.   Its sequel,  The Fractured But Whole,  trades in the fantasy dressings for a superhero aesthetic. Release date: TBA 2016 Dishonored 2 Dishonored 2  takes place some time after the events of the original game. Unknown forces have seized the throne from Empress Emily Kaldwin and sent the Empire into chaos. Players can take on the role of either the exiled Emily Kaldwin or  Dishonored  protagonist Corvo Attano. Each character will feature their own set of abilities and gameplay style, and the story perspective will change based on which character you’re playing as. Release date: TBA 2016 Invisible Inc. Invisible Inc . is a cyberpunk strategy game with heavy rogue-like elements. It also comes from Klei — the indie studio responsible for  Mark of the Ninja,  Don’t Starve,  and  Shank —  and features the studio’s iconic animations and art direction. Release date: TBA 2016 Ni-Oh Ni-Oh  is an upcoming action game from Team Ninja, one loosely based on an unfinished script about the life of historical figure William Adams. Unlike the studio’s popular Ninja Gaiden   series, however, Ni-Oh ‘s   gameplay   emphasizes slow, methodical combat and a gritty art style. Release date: TBA 2016 Nier Automata The original  Nier  cultivated a passionate cult following, despite polarizing critical response. Square Enix has handed off development duties for the sequel to Platinum Games, who has made a name for itself thanks to the success of games like  Bayonetta  and  Metal Gear Rising: Revengence.  With   Nier Automata,  Square and Platinum are attempting to please fans of  Nier ‘s   unique world and story, while also improving its action-focused gameplay. Release date: TBA 2016 Paragon Paragon comes from Epic Games, creators of Gears of War and Unreal Tournament, and will be the studio’s own take on MOBAs. The forthcoming game will switch the perspective from the over-head strategy of Dota 2, to the first-person shooting the studio is known for. The game is being developed on Epic’s powerful Unreal Engine 4. Release date: TBA 2016 Gravity Rush 2 Gravity Rush fans are in for a treat this year. Not only is the original Vita game getting ported to PS4 earlier in the year, the sequel,  Gravity Rush 2,  is set to hit exclusively on the PS4 sometime later this year. Trailers show the return of protagonist Kat, along with a new playable character and a cadre of familiar, gravity-based abilities. Release date: TBA 2016 Drawn to Death This competitive multiplayer shooter comes from the mind of David Jaffe, the creator of iconic series such as God of War   and Twisted Metal . According to Jaffe,   the comic book-esque style is reminiscent of the sort of sketches boys would draw on the backs of their notebooks in school. Release date: TBA 2016 Hellblade Hellblade  is an ambitious title from development studio Ninja Theory. The game stars Sesuna, a warrior who is tormented by psychotic visions and creates a demonic underworld in which she must survive. She utilizes her brutal skills in hand-to-hand combat and swordplay as she does, fleshing out personal and emotional themes that draw upon Celtic myth along the way. Release date: TBA 2016 République République  is a stealth game wherein players control surveillance cameras and hack into electronics in order to help Hope, the game’s main character, escape. Players communicate with Hope along the way, helping her through tense situations. The game essentially plays out like a puzzle game, where distracting guards and finding escape routes serve as the solutions to each level. Release date: TBA 2016 Dead Island 2 California has been overrun by zombie hordes, and the military has quarantined the entire state. The only problem is, the citizens of the Golden State are now trapped within its borders — including you.  Dead Island 2  will let players loose in open-world versions of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and, at least, one other yet-to-be-announced location, where they will craft weapons and scrounge for resources in order to survive the zombie apocalypse. Release date: TBA 2016 Attack on Titan This game closely follows the events of the popular anime series about humanity’s fight against oppressive and terrifying giants, recreating many of the iconic battles and daring missions undertaken throughout the show’s story. Visually, the game recreates the style of the anime, while the gameplay focuses on the grappling hook acrobatics that defined  Attack on Titan’s  action sequences. Release date: TBA 2016 Wattam Wattam is a strange, idiosyncratic game from the minds of Keita Takahashi, creator of Katamari Damaci , and Robin Hunicke, previously of the studio behind Journey . Wattam is a game where you… do stuff. However, based on what’s been shown of the game, we’re not exactly sure what that stuff entails. Still, we’re eager to find out given the pedigree of the design team. Release date: TBA 2016 Mafia III If you’ve got a hankering for something a little more criminal, then 2K Games’   open-world thriller, Mafia III,  will likely cure your hunger pains. Set in New Orleans in the late ’60s, the game follows Vietnam vet Lincoln Clay and his quest for vengeance against the local mafia. Release date: TBA 2016 Shaq-Fu: a Legend Reborn You read that right; the oft-maligned 2D brawler game known as  Shaq Fu  is being resurrected thanks to a very successful crowdfunding campaign. Development Studio Big Deez Productions is working with Shaq himself to create something befitting of the NBA Star’s storied career. While the game shares the same name and stars the same character, the developers promise the game will live up to modern standards and not the poor quality of the ’94 original. Release date: TBA 2016 Abzû Abzû is a sub-aquatic adventure in a stylized, oceanic world. The wildlife you encounter in the game will act like it would naturally in the real world, giving it a simulated authenticity. Gameplay will primarily focus on peaceful interactions between humans and wildlife, but various role-playing elements — such as equipment upgrades — will offer a greater sense of progression. Release date: TBA 2016 Dragon Quest Builders The Dragon Quest series is taking a few pointers from an unlikely source, aka  Minecraft.  Dragon Quest Builders  features the same gather-and-craft gameplay, voxel-based graphical style, and minor survival elements that  Minecraft  is known for, but gives players more direction and concrete objectives. The player is tasked with rebuilding the world of Alefgard following its destruction at the hands of the evil Dragon Lord. Release date: TBA 2016 What Remains of Edith Finch What Remains of Edith Finch  is the long-awaited next project from indie studio Giant Sparrow, who previously made the Sony-exclusive puzzle game,  Unfinished Swan.  The game plays out as a collection of short stories, with each level telling a different tale from the point of view of members of the Finch family. Release date: TBA 2016 Where the Water Tastes Like Wine Where the Water Tates Like Wine  is a game about travel and sharing stories. While little has been seen of the game, it has been reported the game will feature an open world set in fantasized version of the American West, one in which players will interact with others and explore various landmarks. Release date: TBA 2016

Oops! Electronic Arts basically revealed how many Xbox Ones are out there

Oops! Electronic Arts basically revealed how many Xbox Ones are out there

Microsoft stopped reporting monthly updates on Xbox One hardware sales last October, a move widely taken as a sign that the tech titan had given up on competing with the PlayStation 4 to become the generation’s “dominant” console. Thanks to publisher Electronic Arts, we now know why. In a recent financial call, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen disclosed some information about the modern console install base, revealing the combined number of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles sold worldwide. Related:  Microsoft’s latest earnings release spotlights the cloud “Our estimate is 55 million units out there which has exceeded virtually everyone’s forecast for the year and now almost 50 per cent higher than previous console cycle so, all of that is very-very positive,” said Jorgenson. “All the gameplay we’re seeing and the engagement and things like Ultimate Team we’re seeing is positive.” As Eurogamer pointed out, Sony most recently reported that 35.9 million PlayStation 4 consoles have been sold as of January, 2016. With those two numbers, we can infer that Microsoft has sold just over 19 million Xbox Ones since launch. Related: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both had successful holiday seasons While that sales number does look small compared to PlayStation 4, Microsoft would ask you to keep in mind that the number greatly exceeds the number of Xbox 360 consoles at the same point its life cycle. Still, the difference between the two would certainly explain why Microsoft has started distributing statistics related to user engagement, rather than hardware sales. Meanwhile, Microsoft reported its quarterly earnings for the final months of 2015; while revenue from video games increased by five percent, hardware revenue fell nine percent. Microsoft attributed the decline to a steep drop in Xbox 360 sales, though Xbox One revenue also decreased. Microsoft said that holiday bundles and December price drop were responsible for the Xbox One’s “slight” revenue shortfall. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Microsoft has sold 19 million Xbox Ones, according to EA

Microsoft has sold 19 million Xbox Ones, according to EA

As of late Microsoft hasn't been sharing specific sales figures for the Xbox One, but we now have an idea of how many units the console has sold — though the news doesn't come from Microsoft itself. During Electronic Arts' most recent financial call, the game publisher revealed what it estimated to be the combined sales of both the Xbox One and PS4. The sizable difference is likely the reason we haven't heard sales figures directly from Microsoft in quite some time.

Sony swings to $1.95 bn net profit as PlayStation sales soar

Sony swings to $1.95 bn net profit as PlayStation sales soar

Sony on Friday posted a nine-month net profit of almost $2.0 billion, as strong sales of its PlayStation video games console and image sensors found in mobile gadgets help it move past years of losses. The company, 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. In a sign things are on the upswing, Sony said Friday its net profit came in at 236.1 billion yen ($1.95 billion) for the April-December period, reversing a 19.2 billion yen loss a year earlier.

Strong PlayStation sales boost Sony despite dip in image sensors

Strong PlayStation sales boost Sony despite dip in image sensors

Sony posted third-quarter earnings up on those from a year ago, making ¥202.1 billion ($1.69 billion) in operating profit off ¥2.58 trillion ($21.5 billion) in revenue. Led by the PlayStation 4, the gaming division was the real star here, with a 10.5 percent year-on-year increase revenue brought on by strong PlayStation hardware and software sales totalling ¥587.1 billion ($4.89 billion). Sony recently announced that it's sold over 35 million PlayStation 4 consoles.

The leading men of video games would be just as gross as any other bro on Tinder

The leading men of video games would be just as gross as any other bro on Tinder

Video game characters, by and large, have been created to make war, not love. It should not surprise you to find that when they do decide to take some time out to look for love, they don’t employ the most nuanced approaches to seduction and romance. Highlighting this point is YouTube gaming humor channel The Warp Zone, whose latest entry in their “if video games had” series envisioned the terrifying world of inter-game Tinder dating. In the video, Nintendo it-couple Mario and Princess Peach have broken up for whatever reason, and Peach has decided that she’s going to get back on the open market. She peruses a veritable who’s-who of gaming characters and, profile-by-profile, discovers that, even in video-game-land, most Tinder bros aren’t even worth talking to. Normally paragons of virtuous living —well, most of them— most of the guys’ introduce themselves with AO-rated pick-up lines. Related: Pikachu finds love, dead bodies in this trailer for Great Detective Pikachu “I suck in a good way,” said Castlevania: Symphony of the Night hero Alucard, “Swiping left would be a mis-stake.” (That’s one of the tame ones, by the way.) At least some of them, like Final Fantasy X hero Tidus, use some preferred keep things civil with a thinly veiled “cutscenes and chill?” Even when her suitors make don’t make her immediately groan in disgust, it doesn’t take much digging for Peach to find something… Let’s say “unbecoming,” about them. While we’re on the topic, we should probably talk about Peach’s taste in men, here. Her two “favorite” guys were Solid Snake, who she was totally into until she saw his “old Snake” look from Metal Gear Solid 4 , and Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V . To be fair, though, compared to Master Chief he’s positively chivalrous. (At least in this video.) Despite all the “things I learned from video games” memes, it’s pretty clear these characters still have some growing up to do before they’re ready to become proper role-models, at least in the realm of online dating.