Headlines

3 years ago

White House reportedly testing Android phones, could threaten BlackBerry

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Smartphones from LG and Samsung in testing for internal use

White House staff using Android phones? If a new report by the Wall Street Journal is to be believed, that could be on the cards. Sources have indicated to them that smartphones from Samsung and LG are currently in testing, which could ultimately lead to the currently used BlackBerrys being replaced or reduced in numbers.

The reported tests are still in the early stages, so neither President Obama or anyone else inside The White House will be ditching their BlackBerry any time in the immediate future. But a Defense Department spokesperson did give a pretty vague statement hinting that the information could be true:

"We can confirm that the White House Communications Agency, consistent with the rest of the Department of Defense, is piloting and using a variety of mobile devices," a Defense Department spokesman said.

The same sources also went on to add that the iPhone isn't part of the testing and neither Samsung or LG would comment on the story. BlackBerry has been the choice of the security conscious for many a year, but slowly we're starting to see other platforms gain traction. If it does turn out to be true, then it could become a high profile casualty for BlackBerry.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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3 years ago

All Gmail will now use HTTPS, messages will be encrypted when moving inside Google

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Gmail

Initiatives were 'made a top priority after last summer's revelations'

Google has steadily improved the overall security of several of its apps and services, and the latest move is moving to HTTPS and encryption across all of Gmail. Starting today, every single time you send or check your Gmail, the transfer will be made over a secure HTTPS connection. That means that the communication between the device you're using and Google's servers is secure, and nobody will be listening in along the way. Google made this option the default back in 2010, but now there will be no option to browse insecurely when it comes to Gmail.

Further, Google will now encrypt any and all Gmail messages when they're moving between Google servers. That means when you send or receive email with another person using Gmail, your communication will also be completely encrypted. This is something Google says it "made a top priority after last summer’s revelations."

Of course Google can't do a whole lot about email that is sent to email addresses with services other than Google (that's up to you to handle), but it's great to see it doing everything it can for what it can control.

Source: Official Google Blog

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3 years ago

GDC 2014: Mushroom 11 promises unique fungus-based platforming gameplay

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Mushroom 11 is one of the more interesting games we've seen at the Game Developer Conference this year. The core of the game involves guiding a large fungal mass across treacherous stages by destroying parts of the fungus with touch, and allowing it to grow in the opposite direction. It's a truly unique mode of locomotion, and gets particularly interesting when you have to leave bits of fungus behind in one location so it can grow later as you destroy the rest of it.

As you can see, the gameplay mechanic is very polished, and the bulk of the work ahead for the game is simply a matter of building out levels and puzzles. That should take 6 - 9 months, and the developer, Untame, said that they're aiming for this to be a standard premium pricing structure without in-app purchases, though hadn't settled on a final price point just yet.

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3 years ago

Pebble has sold over 400,000 watches in a year, and it isn't slowing down now

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Company is focused on creating a better product, not playing catch-up with Google

Pebble has really set the scene as the leading smartwatch offering throughout 2013, and now sales numbers help reaffirm that. Since January 2013, Pebble has sold over 400,000 devices, and that barely takes into account the availability of the higher-end Pebble Steel. Based on some rough math that means Pebble has pulled in around $60 million in revenues for the year, and that's nothing to sneeze at for a company that got its big chance with a Kickstarter campaign.

The company employs 70 people now, and it's clear that Pebble isn't slowing down. With the launch of the latest Pebble 2.0 app and the Appstore, along with the Pebble Steel from back in January, there's a lot of growth ahead of this smartwatch company. CEO Eric Migicovsky is focused on making Pebble a better product with new software, hardware and initiatives.

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3 years ago

GDC 2014: Take control of your raids in city-builder Mark of the Dragon

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One of the annoying things about the current breed of Clash of Clans-style city builders, it's that you have little say in how raids and attacks unfold beyond deploying your units. That's getting addressed in Gamevil's upcoming Mark of the Dragon, which we played around with at GDC 2014. The usual freemium tropes are present, like gathering resources from your village, upgrading structures, researching, and training troops.

When taking the battle to the enemy, you can deploy troops as usual, except this time you get a dragon that you can manually control to destroy certain defenses when the typically dumb AI would have just gnawed on some superficial building and get taken down by well-placed turrets. This mechanic alone is enough to to up-end any traditional strategies you might have developed for these kinds of titles.

Besides that, you've got solid 3D graphics in a genre that leans primarily on 2D. The terrain style of your village changes depending on the kind of dragon you're working with, which adds some much-needed variety to your raiding locations. Casual gamers will be able to pick up Mark of the Dragon on Android and iOS this summer.

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3 years ago

Link Bubble makes opening links in apps much less painful

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If you're tired of opening links from inside one app — say, Twitter of Facebook, to name two of the biggest offenders — and having to wait for it to actually open in its proper app, you need to give Link Bubble a shot. It handles the heavy lifting in the background while you keep on keeping on in the foreground. So instead of tapping a linking and praying it makes the leap from Twitter to Chrome to Instagram (or YouTube, or Google Play, or whatever), it just loads in Link Bubble and lets you know when it's ready.

It's devilishly clever, and well worth a look.

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3 years ago

HTC posts countdown to March 25, will live stream event

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HTC Countdown

'The Best is About to Get Better' in just under 5 days from now

HTC has pretty consistently kept the hype machine rolling for the announcement of the latest in its HTC One lineup, and now we know precisely when and where we'll be able to watch the event go down live. A new page simply titled "The Best is About to Get Better" with a to-the-second countdown timer has appeared on HTC's website, indicating that a live stream will kick off when the clock hits zero — that's March 25th at 8am PT / 11am ET by our math.

To help build the hype even more, it has also embedded a Twitter stream showing all of the chatter with @HTC mentioned. March 25th is less than a week away, folks, and the excitement is building. Feel free to hit the source link and see every second slip by until we know what HTC will be launching, or get caught up with the latest rumors in our all-encompassing post below.

More: The new HTC One, what we're expecting

Source: HTC

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3 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy S5 price: $0 down and $27.50 per month

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Samsung Galaxy S5

Pre-orders begin March 24 both in-store and online

Carriers are starting to spill the beans on the pricing of the Samsung Galaxy S5, and T-Mobile has just released its own pricing information. The Galaxy S5 will run $0 down and $27.50 per month when paired with one of its Simple Choice plans, or if you want to buy outright you'll be spending a full $660. Pre-orders will go live on March 24th (that's this coming Monday) both in stores and online at www.t-mobile.com/nextbigthing, and T-Mobile states that anyone who pre-orders before March 31st will receive this "special introductory price."

Now it isn't exactly clear whether the full $660 is the "special" price, or just the fact that it's $0 down, or what the full price after March 31st will be. The information we have now shows just that one price, which at $660 in total seems like the "normal" price to us. But T-Mobile has done weirder things with phone pricing, so we'll have to just wait till Monday to see.

Source: T-Mobile

See also:

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3 years ago

The future looks bright for the BBC and Chromecast

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Audio only streams and support for BBC Sport app on the cards

The UK finally has Chromecast, and with it came BBC iPlayer as a launch partner. Alongside this, the BBC's Chris Yanda, has been explaining why Chromecast support came about and what lies ahead. And it's all good news.

One of the reasons we decided to support Chromecast was that Apple TV currently works only with Apple devices. Chromecast has SDKs available for a number of different platforms including iOS, Android, and the Chrome browser for laptop and desktop computers.

Score one for Chromecast, then. In terms of what lies ahead, the BBC is planning to add Chromecast support to the next version of the iPlayer web client so it can be used in conjunction with Chrome. The good news doesn't end there, either. There's much more to come.

I've already mentioned that the BBC will be enabling Chromecast support for the Chrome web browser on Mac, Windows, Linux, and ChromeOS desktop and laptop computers for the new web version of BBC iPlayer, and that we will be looking at adding support for audio-only streams. Aside from this and making tweaks and improvements to the existing BBC iPlayer application, we will also be working with other development teams in the BBC to add Chromecast support to other apps like the BBC Sport app.

Brits had to wait a while to get hold of Chromecast, but with big time support promised from a major media outlet like the BBC we're excited to see how it takes off.

Source: BBC

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3 years ago

Beautiful Widgets 5.6 now available with two new and simple clock widget styles

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Two customizable widgets to fit any homescreen look you're going for

Beautiful Widgets is always improving its app with new user-facing features and back-end fixes, and in its latest release, version 5.6, it's bringing two new widget designs. The widgets are flat, simple and customizable, with two different sizes — 4x2 and 4x1 — that give you variety to match the rest of your phone just right. Each one offers a simple display of the time, date and weather information, and you can customize them by adjusting both the transparency and the color palette.

The latest version of Beautiful Widgets is available now in the Play Store from the link at the top of this post. You can try out the free, ad-supported version with the options of in-app purchases, or go straight to the paid version for just $2.69.

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3 years ago

Motorola Camera update lets you snap a picture with the volume button

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Not a perfect replacement for a stand-alone camera key, but it could help with the occasional selfie

Motorola has updated several of its apps in the Play Store this week, and the latest to grab a new version number is the Motorola Camera app. The changelog is nice and simple — you can now take pictures on your Motorola phone by hitting the volume key on your phone or attached headset. This is a feature that other phones have had for a good long while, and it isn't a perfect stand-in for a dedicated camera button, but it can't hurt to have another way to snap a picture for the times that call for it.

As always, there are some "bug fixes" included in the latest update as well. The Motorola Camera app is compatible with Moto's latest lineup of phones, including the Moto X, Moto G and Droids on Verizon. You can snag the latest version of the app from the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

US Cellular gets two colors of the Galaxy S5, throws in $50 for Google Play

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Samsung Galaxy S5 will run $199 on contract for US Cellular; wearables come in at $299 and $199

US Cellular today announced it'll carry two colors of the Samsung Galaxy S5, with both of them available for $199 on contract and after an instant rebate. In addition, USCC's throwing in a code good for $50 worth of stuff on Google Play. The phones will be available online and in stores on April 11, preorders start March 21. Same goes for the new Samsung Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit — the Gear 2 will come in at $299, while the Neo and Fit will command just $199.

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3 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S5 price — $199 on contract, $649 outright

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Galaxy S5

The price for AT&T's Galaxy S5 hits the sweet spot

AT&T has announced price for its Samsung Galaxy S5 and Gear 2 line. The Galaxy S5 will be $199 on a two-year contract, $25 per month with AT&T Next 18 or $32.50 on AT&T Next 12. If you're looking to buy without a new contract, AT&T's full retail price is $649. Pre-orders for the Galaxy S5 will begin tomorrow, Friday March 21.

AT&T will also be selling Samsung's new Tizen-powered Gear smartwatches. The Gear 2 will sell for $299, while the smaller, camera-less Gear 2 Neo is $199. Samsung's exercise-focused wristband, the Gear Fit, will go for $199. To sweeten the deal, the carrier's also offering $50 off a Gear 2 or Gear 2 Neo when purchased with a Galaxy S5 between March 21 and June 5, while supplies last.

AT&T says the Galaxy S5 and Samsung's new smartwatches are due to ship from early April.

Source: AT&T

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3 years ago

Samsung Chromebook 2 priced and dated for the UK

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Faux leather Chromebook hitting British shores on May Day

Samsung has announced that the faux leather covered Chromebook 2 will be headed to the UK and will be available from May 1. The black 11.6-inch model will be available from that date, but the white model and the larger 13.3-inch version will be available from May 12.

Pricing in UK money for the two will be £249 for the 11.6-incher and £329 for the 13.3-inch. It'll no doubts be available from a variety of sources so we'll keep our eyes peeled for any confirmed suppliers.

via TNW

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3 years ago

Pebble Steel gets a price cut if you don't want the metal band

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Down to $229 in black and stainless options with leather strap only

A quick heads up for potential Pebble Steel buyers that it has received a bit of a price cut. Or at least it has if you can live without the metal band. With just the leather band in the box you can now grab a Pebble Steel in black or stainless for $229. It's only $20 less, but a saving is a saving.

It's on back-order at the moment, so you'll have to wait a few weeks. But if you're interested, head on over to Pebble at the link below and snap one up.

Source: Pebble via Smartwatch Fans

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