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Razer iPhone game controller leaked online

iPhone users apparently will have yet another game controller to add to their arsenal.

Seen in a series of photos tweeted by Evleaks, the Razer Kazuyo will offer a wraparound case that turns your iPhone into a lean, mean gaming machine. The photos reveal a design similar to iPhone game controllers offered by Logitech and Moga.

The controller sports four action buttons on the right and an arrow button on the left. The iPhone can also be tilted to give you a better view of the action.

Razer is known for its gaming tablets, laptops, mice, keyboards, and accessories. The company already offers a lineup of game controllers for the Xbox 360 and other systems, so an iPhone controller seems like a good fit.

Evleaks didn’t reveal any pricing or other details. But the new controller will have to compete with Logitech’s PowerShell Controller and the Moga Ace Power, both of which sell for $100.

CNET contacted Razer for comment and will update the story with any further information.

CNET: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57614766-94/razer-iphone-game-controller-leaked-online/

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Barcelona Will Be a Big Test For HotSpot 2.0 Wi-Fi Connections

“There are currently several million smartphones certified to run on a ‘HotSpot 2.0’ Wi-Fi network, which promises automatic Wi-Fi authentication and connection, and seamless roaming between different Wi-Fi hotspot brands, and eventually between Wi-Fi and cellular connections. In November, about 400 smartphone users finally got a chance to do so — in Beijing, China. The next big public demonstration of what’s confusingly referred to as both Hotspot 2.0 and Next Generation Hotspot will be in February: an estimated 75,000 attendees at the next Mobile World Congress in Barcelona will be able to take part.”

Slashdot: http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/13/12/05/202255/barcelona-will-be-a-big-test-for-hotspot-20-wi-fi-connections

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PowerUp 3.0 Is A Bluetooth Module That Turns A Paper Plane Into A Lean, Mean App-Controlled Flying Machine

There’s something intrinsically appealing about a choreographed blend of low and high tech. To wit, meet PowerUp 3.0: a Bluetooth 4.0 device that turns a bog-standard paper airplane into, well, a smartphone-controlled lean, mean flying machine. Or so its makers claim. And if those claims stack up pranking your teachers is about to get a whole lot more sophisticated.

What exactly is Power Up 3.0? It’s a Bluetooth module that connects to a paper plane to act as both frame, propulsion/steering device, and Bluetooth communications hub – meaning the user can control the plane via their smartphone. The Micro-USB charged module is apparently good for 10 minutes of flying per charge, and has an 180 feet/55 metre comms range (i.e. between it and you, piloting it via Bluetooth link to your smartphone). Max speed is 10mph.

So far PowerUp 3.0′s aviation enthusiast makers have a working prototype and an iOS app but they’ve taken to Kickstarter to get the project off the ground (ho-ho). The campaign launched on Saturday and blasted past its $50,000 target in just eight hours, according to inventor Shai Goitein, so there’s clearly considerable appetite for disruptions to paper-plane throwing mechanisms.

Or for a lower cost way of bagging yourself a remote-controlled airplane, which is basically what this is – albeit, not an ‘all weathers’ aircraft. Soggy paper planes aren’t going to go anywhere, app or no app.

At the time of writing PowerUp’s Kickstarter funding total is soaring north of $135,000 (and climbing steadily) – if they reach $150,000 an Android app will also be baked.

The basic PowerUp 3.0 package costs $30 but all those pledge levels have been bagged by early backers, so the kit now costs from $40 – or more if you want extras like rechargeable power packs.

The current iOS app, which has been in the works for more than a year, includes a throttle lever for ascending/descending, and a tilt to steer function – which manipulates a small fin on the rear of the module to shift the plane’s in-air trajectory. There can’t be a paper-plane folding kid in the world that hasn’t wished for such trajectory bending magic.

The module’s frame is made of carbon fibre, so it can survive the inevitable crash landings – as well as be light enough for flight.

Backers of the PowerUp 3.0 can expect to be disrupting their lessons come May next year, when the kit is due to ship. After the Kickstarter campaign, Goitein says the plan is to sell the module via retail outlets from June next year, with an RRP of $50.

 

TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/28/paper-plane-3-0/

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Bond, The App For Giving Gifts, Lands On The Web

Just in time for Black Friday,Bond is bringing its gifting platform to the web after spending a couple of months as a native mobile app.

Bond, created by Sonny Caberwal, takes all the heavy lifting out of gift giving, with a large focus on the enterprise and professional gifts.

So let’s say you just finished up a big interview at your dream job, or you just left the office of a brand new client after making a huge sale. That’s the perfect moment to open up Bond and choose a gift in a certain price bracket, easily obtain the recipient’s address, and even formulate a hand-written note.

Oh, did I mention? Bond has a robot that writes hand-written notes. And according to Caberwal, the Robot is being refined to learn new versions of handwriting, so that one could eventually send a hand-written note to a friend or colleague in their own handwriting.

But why?

Well, after a few months on the market, Bond has realized that big corporate clients are going to be the future for Bond.

Caberwal eventually sees Bond becoming a platform that large corporations can customize to their own gifting needs. As a first step, the team is bringing Bond to the web.

 

Tech Crunch:http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/29/bond-the-app-for-giving-gifts-lands-on-the-web/

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Swipe Launches To Save You From Death By PowerPoint

Swipe — not to be confused with software keyboard maker Swype — launches out of private Beta today with a cloud-based tool for creating and consuming slide deck-style presentations. So far, so Prezi, you might say. Or LinkedIn-owned SlideShare, and a number of other competitors.

But where the London startup claims to best existing offerings is not only with its device agnostic approach, the web app uses responsive design to make creation and consumption work across any modern browser, but with the ability to sync the playback of presentations in realtime to enable greater audience participation. The assumption being that, since audience members are too often glued to their laptops, tablets and smartphones anyway, it makes sense to provide an interactive second-screen experience.

And if the audience can be persuaded to follow along on their own devices it opens up the opportunity for Swipe to provide the presenter with audience participation analytics, including click-through rates on any call-to-action, such as a live poll or sign-up form, or when audience members stop following along entirely. From this data, the presenter could hone their presentation skills and slide deck to make it more engaging. In other words, Swipe could help to save us all from death by PowerPoint.

“Since we use a browser and every person has a unique connection, we can track engagement live, understand which part of a presentation is performing well and when the audience gets bored, goes to surf Facebook, or more,” says the company.

“There’s no tool out there to gauge the performance of a live presentation, since it’s all happening on a static projector. We’re working on the live analytics that help show engagement and help presenters become better at presenting.”

At launch, Swipe supports a range of file-types for creating your slide deck, including JPEG/PNG/RAW images, PDFs, Apple’s Keynote, and “Markdown”, the simple HTML alternative used by the likes of Squarespace, Ghost, GitHub, and Stack Overflow. In addition, online video from Vimeo and YouTube is supported. You can also connect Swipe to Dropbox for easy file synchronisation.

Notably, however, support for PowerPoint itself is currently missing in action, though I’m told this is being addressed.

Once you’ve assembled your presentation, you’re provided with a unique URL to share the resulting content, which can be kept private or made public for wider distribution. However, the fun really starts when delivering your presentation.

You can present and control your slides live from any compatible device with a network connection, and as you “swipe” through your slides, everyone else who is viewing the same URL on their own device are able to see and interact with the deck in realtime. Well, as long as the conference or meeting WiFi isn’t flakey. But that’s a whole different story.

Swipe is backed by London VC Passion Capital. It’s not the only startup working on a second-screen offering for live presentations. The yet-to-launch Slide.li is a potential competitor, and Presentain and Liveprezo are others.

 

TechCrunch:http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/21/death-by-swipe/

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With Tinder 3.0, Tinder Enters The Friend Zone

Tinder, an app that allows you to swipe right on profile images in order to meet potential friends or dating prospects, has just launched its 3.0 version on Android and iOS. For those of you who want even more in common with the random people you meet through your mobile device, the new Tinder update will have a major revamp of its relevancy algorithm and add some key new features.

Wanting Tinder to be perceived as more than a dating app, cofounder Sean Rad has made the first product iteration towards a “for all” use case, adding a Tinder “lists” feature to its latest update. As you could probably glean from its name, the “lists” feature allows popular users to sort their scads of matches into lists, like “New York friends,” “LA friends,””Friends who like the color blue,” etc. Emphasis on friends here.

  • You can add a user to lists by swiping right on people you’ve been matched with in the Tinder message center, and clicking the “Add to list” button, instead of “Block.” Or you could click on the native iOS button in the top-right corner of the message center, to go directly to lists.

In addition to Tinder lists and a “pumped up” redesigned swipe animation, the new Tinder app will allow for six optimized-for-hotness profile pictures, all visible at the same time.

Rad hopes Tinder lists will help you make sense of your matches and increase user engagement beyond people who want to date (and even marry) through the app, no pun intended.

 

TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/21/tinder-wants-to-be-with-you-even-when-you-are-taken/

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Google Music Arrives On iOS, Includes A Free Month Of “All Access” Radio

Google Play Music arrived on iOS today, following reports from earlier this week statingthat a launch was “imminent.” The app, which will compete with Apple’s iTunes Radio and other streaming music options like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio, offers a standard service and All Access option, both of which allow you to store your music collection in the cloud, and stream songs to your device, without having to first save them locally. All Access adds a radio option, too.

Users of the standard service can add up to 20,000 of their own songs to their cloud storage, but All Access users are able to listen to unlimited songs, the company says. In addition to the mobile app, desktop users can also stream their songs from the web interface at play.google.com/music. An Android application was previously available.

Those who also choose to upgrade to the $9.99/month All Access service are able to stream songs through a radio option, as well as tracks from their own collection. Unlike some competitors’ services, All Access lets you skip as many songs as you like during radio play, while you also help to improve your personal recommendations by tapping a thumbs up/thumbs down icon.

All Access users can also explore various curated sections, including New Releases, Staff Picks and other playlists from music experts and tastemakers.

Other features, like building playlists and saving files for offline playback, are supported, too. And All Access automatically builds playlists of songs you’ve given a “thumbs up” rating, plus music you’ve added to your library recently, as well as free and purchased songs you’ve downloaded to your account.

Users can also manage their queue while listening to music, which won’t interrupt the stream. The new app allows for streaming over Bluetooth, AirPlay and Chromecast at launch, and the company is now working to bring the experience to the iPad.

The app itself has a simplified interface, where you can browse through navigational option on the side for accessing “My Library,” “Playlists,” and for All Access users, “Radio” and the “Explore” sections are available as well. Radio works as you’d expect – you can built a station based on track, artis or genre. Explore is where you’ll find the featured playlists and recommendations. There’s also search box at the top, and an arrow button to tap when you want to save a file for offline playback.

On iOS, Google Music’s paid tier will have to compete with iTunes Radio, a free option which shipped with the new iOS operating system. However, iTunes Radio runs ads, while Google Music’s All Access tier does not. That’s a distinction that matters to some users, who will want the premium experience.

To kick off the launch on iOS, Google has made the All Access service free for the first month, through a trial option for new users. If you want to pay for the full service, you’ll need to do so from the web or an Android device.

The app is live now in the iTunes App Store here.

 

TechCrunch:http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/15/google-music-arrives-on-ios-includes-a-free-month-of-all-access-radio/

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Ding Dong Is A Fun App Which Lets You Share Your Location And Mood With Close Friends

Social mobile location apps were all the rage a couple of years ago but few seemed to take off, unless of course like Grindr and Tinder they scratched that hookup itch. A more general, friendly ‘SoLoMo’ has been wanting, other than perhaps Foursquare. Step in Ding Dong, a new app which makes the whole process of sharing your location more fun and, crucially, more private. Today the new redesigned Ding Dong hits the App Store. And it’s addictive.

Ding Dong is hilariously easy to use. You open the app, take a picture and select up to five people to send it to. It then puts you and that picture on a map. When your friends respond either with an emoticon around your photo or a Ding Dong photo of their own, it draws a think line between the two of you. It thus makes sharing your location more intimate. If you want to take the conversation into a chat you can open up the messaging feature.

According to Onno Faber, co-founder and CEO, “nowadays you can share just about everything with thousands of people. But, in the end you just care about a few. Keeping in touch is not just about sharing something; the important thing is the connection that is made when a friend receives and responds to a message.”

The new version allows Ding Dongs to be sent to friends who are not on Ding Dong via SMS, Facebook-message or email. It’s the same as sending a regular Ding Dong and your friend can open it in a web browser.

Beta testing results show that users especially enjoy the new zoom feature. With this feature, taking a photo in Ding Dong is likened to peering through a spyglass. You can take a picture of something that expresses where you are and what you’re doing.

It’s a fun way to share, let someone know that you are on your way over, send a digital ‘postcard’ when traveling or iInvite friends out for a spontaneous drink, etc.

Ding Dong is founded by Onno Faber, Leonard van Driel, and Jorn van Dijk. Formerly from Rotterdam (The Netherlands), the team is now based in Berlin.

Ding Dong is currently in private beta for Android. A request to join the beta

 

 

TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/14/ding-dong-is-a-fun-app-which-lets-you-share-your-location-and-mood-with-close-friends/

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Nike+ Move M7-ready app available to be put through the paces

Apple’s M7 coprocessor, which is designed with fitness apps in mind, is now available.

Dubbed Nike+ Move, the application is the first to take advantage of the M7 chip in Apple’siPhone 5S. The application uses the coprocessor to analyze and convert movement for analysis within the program. In order to gauge movement, Nike is using a NikeFuel gauge. That gauge will analyze movement throughout the day, see how close folks are to reaching their goal, and see when they’re most active.

Nike showed off the application in September at Apple’s special iPhone event. Apple indicated at that time that the application would be one of the first to take advantage of its M7 coprocessor, but promised that other fitness-related apps would be coming to the App Store.

 

CNET:http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57610883-94/nike-move-m7-ready-app-available-to-be-put-through-the-paces/

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Apple patents location-based technology to control devices remotely

Imagine a technology that, based simply on your location, will open a garage door or turn on the lights at home. That’s exactly what Apple has in mind in a freshly awarded patent.

Issued on Tuesday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, “System and method of determining location of wireless communication devices/persons for controlling/adjusting operation of devices based on the location” envisions a system that would not require your manual input to control remote devices, as most of today’s home automation systems do.

Instead, you’d customize the system to perform certain tasks automatically based on your whereabouts. Your location would be tracked via your iPhone or other mobile device. The home automation system then would respond accordingly.

As one example, the heating or air conditioning in your house could be turned on as you make your way home from work. As another example, your house lights or garage door could be activated as you turn onto your street.

Once you are home, the technology could turn lights on and off as you enter or exit a room. As the patent describes it:

One or more relay servers can access first data received from one or more first devices (e.g., a phone, tablet computer, vehicle tracking device, or badge reader). The one or more relay servers can aggregate the data and infer a location of a person. The one or more relay servers can transmit second signals, including second data to one or more second devices (e.g., lighting systems, security systems, garage door openers, music controllers, climate controllers, or kitchen appliances), the second data being based at least in part on the estimated location.

As always, an awarded patent doesn’t mean we’ll see the technology pop up anytime soon. In this case, your home would have to be outfitted with the necessary equipment for all of this to work. But it does conjure up a possible next step in the world of home automation.

cnet: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57610849-94/apple-patents-location-based-technology-to-control-devices-remotely/

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App that turns food porn into discounts

The arrival of camera phones signaled that we should start taking pictures of everything, and that they all deserved to be shared. Case in point: food porn. We love taking countless pictures of our meals, and we love ‘liking’ them on our feeds. What if there’s something we can do to turn food photography into a profitable endeavor? Enter Photopon, a new iOS app that aims to turn your food snapshots into location-based coupons.

Turning social activities into currency is no longer considered a brand-new concept – the number of services that aim to monetize your social content are certainly on the rise. Still, Photopon is on-target by pinpointing this very shareable niche, one that often comes with a price tag we’d like to get rid of. That sushi dinner was gorgeous, but it was also expensive. What if, for your Instagram of it, that price was cut?

Brad McEvilly – Co-Founder, CEO, and sole developer of the coupon app – says Photopon is actually a more developed version of a business idea he had two years ago. Originally meant to be a service that allowed businesses to set up photo templates for customers to filter their pictures with – instead of posing with an M&M mascot on a visit to the M&M building in Manhattan, you can simplify the process by selecting a pre-made photo overlay that has the mascot already in it – the updated version of Photopon is a lot more practical, honing in on something more people are spending money on and photographing every day.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/photopon-hands-on/#ixzz2jPuD5BkB

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Wearing Google glass while driving can get you a ticket

The ongoing legal ramifications of using Google Glass have taken a turn this week, after a Glass wearing driver was stopped in California, and given a ticket partially based on the fact she was wearing Glass at the time. Glass Explorer Cecelia Abadie posted about the unexpected fine on her Google+ page, saying, “A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!”

She posted a picture of the ticket, which gives one of the reasons as, “Driving with monitor visible to driver,” and clarification the monitor was Google Glass. Abadie asked on Google+ if Glass was illegal to use while driving, and called for anyone else who had received a ticket like it to let her know.

It appears it’s the first of its type, and according to the ticket, the section of the law Abadie broke is 27602. By visiting the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, you can see the rule is you can’t drive a car if you can see a monitor, screen or display, particularly if it’s showing TV. GPS systems and in-car displays are exempt, but overall it could be interpreted to cover heads-up displays which aren’t standard equipment, like Google Glass.

Naturally, Abadie’s fellow Glass Explorers are up in arms over the ticket, claiming as Glass doesn’t show TV broadcasts it’s not covered, and that strictly, it should fall under the same classification as a Bluetooth headset, seeing as it doesn’t do much if it’s not tethered to a smartphone.

All the noise does obscure one key fact about this story, that it doesn’t look like Abadie was actually stopped for wearing Google Glass, but more because she was traveling 10 or 15mph over the speed limit. Had she not, all this probably wouldn’t have happened. However, if Abadie decides to fight the second violation in court, it could force some clarification on using Google Glass while driving. In the UK, it’s expected Glass will be put in the same category as mobile phones, meaning it’ll be illegal to drive while wearing them.

It’ll be interesting to see if this situation prompts any action to clarify the use of Glass by drivers, either positively or negatively, in America.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/google-glass-driving-ticket-california/#ixzz2jPtPTts5

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Why have normal smartphone notifications when you can use the smell of bacon?

Scentee wants to expand your smartphone horizons and add smell to the senses your phone already stimulates. The plug-in accessory attaches to headphone socket on both iPhones and Android smartphones and, when told to by the companion app, releases a burst of fragrance, paired with a customizable LED light. It’s ridiculous, but that’s very much part of the Japan-made accessory’s charm. The most important factor here is arguably the range of scents available, and Scentee hasn’t held back. In no particular order, aromas include rose, mint, cinnamon roll, bacon, coffee, curry, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lavender, apple, coconut, strawberry and er, corn soup. They’re joined by a special limited edition Korean BBQ collection that’ll be available on November 15 and includes three extra ‘flavors’: two different type of meat and, well, baked potato. This bundle’s particularly skewed towards Japanese customers, although we’re already infatuated with the idea of on-demand bacon smells. We’ve sniffed our way through several options during our time with the accessory — the video (and more details) are right after the break.

read more from Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/25/scentee-accessory-smell-android-ios/?ncid=rss_truncated

 

 

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Hiku scanner makes it easier to remember the grocery list

Hiku grocery scanner makes remembering to buy the milk an $80 convienienceEverything you need to do, you can pretty much handle with the smartphone in your pocket — it’s a multi-purpose tool, after all. (Some even call it a Life Companion.) But, if you’re just itching to overcomplicate your life with digital convenience and single-purpose gadgets, then direct your dollars to Hiku. The $80 device packs WiFi, a mic and scanner into a round, silicone and aluminum package to let you scan the barcodes of household and food products with a one-button push to build grocery lists. It does this in conjunction with a companion mobile app and as you might expect, it’s iOS-only for now (an Android version is coming later). Oh, and it’s got a magnetic back and a battery rated for up to two months, so you can keep it stuck to the fridge for quick access. There’s not much more to it than all that, but the company does plan to issue frequent updates and eventually expand the functionality to let Hiku users scan and actually buy products. If you ask us though, it just seems like one more unnecessary gadget to lose. And besides, wouldn’t you rather have all the info beamed straight to you shopping cart? Yes, there’s a country for that.Everything you need to do, you can pretty much handle with the smartphone in your pocket — it’s a multi-purpose tool, after all. (Some even call it a Life Companion.) But, if you’re just itching to overcomplicate your life with digital convenience and single-purpose gadgets, then direct your dollars to Hiku. The $80 device packs WiFi, a mic and scanner into a round, silicone and aluminum package to let you scan the barcodes of household and food products with a one-button push to build grocery lists. It does this in conjunction with a companion mobile app and as you might expect, it’s iOS-only for now (an Android version is coming later). Oh, and it’s got a magnetic back and a battery rated for up to two months, so you can keep it stuck to the fridge for quick access. There’s not much more to it than all that, but the company does plan to issue frequent updates and eventually expand the functionality to let Hiku users scan and actually buy products. If you ask us though, it just seems like one more unnecessary gadget to lose. And besides, wouldn’t you rather have all the info beamed straight to you shopping cart? Yes, there’s a country for that.

Engadget:  http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/24/hiku-handheld-barcode-scanner-for-groceries/

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This app will help you find open parking spots

In the city, getting somewhere is only half the battle — and sometimes much less than that. Finding a parking spot can be an even bigger time-waster.

Not any more, if Israel-based Anagog has its way.

Israel, of course, is one story. The company has about 100,000 users there, in a country of about eight million people. Getting good enough data for San Francisco, New York, London, or other global cities is an entirely other matter, with 400,000 Anagog users spread over the rest of the world.

Still, partnership like that with EasyPark will help — Parx currently works in 130 cities. But more partners will be needed.

“Anagog’s technology is a ready-made, global solution for navigation systems, cellular operators, map providers, car manufacturers, and municipalities, who are constantly working to provide tailored, real- time information to their audience,” says Yaron Aizenbud, Co- CEO of Anagog.

Anagog is currently raising a funding round.
VentureBeat:  http://venturebeat.com/2013/10/07/this-companys-new-tech-finds-you-open-parking-spots-in-real-time/#yuKhRJB2axphJROU.99

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Easy Checkout with MyCheck

We’ve all been trapped at a busy restaurant, desperately trying to flag down a waiter, pay, and escape. MyCheck thinks there’s an easier way.

MyCheck has raised $6.1 million from investors to enable waiter-less checkout at more than 3,000 venues worldwide, the company will announce Tuesday. (VentureBeat received permission to run the story early.)

“The value proposition to merchants is clear: it’s faster, there’s less chargeback, and you can sell more, because the server can concentrate on you and not the check,” said MyCheck co-founder Tal Zvi Nathanel, who heads up U.S. operations for the company.

But there’s plenty of benefit on the user side, too. Beyond speeding up the checkout process, the MyCheck apps for iOS and Android also support check-splitting, which could alleviate the social awkwardness of end-of-meal payments. If you only order a diet soda, you won’t feel obligated to pay for half of your friend’s bourbon when you can directly select items from your smartphone (in theory, at least).

Since MyCheck’s inception in March 2011, it has convinced roughly half of all restaurants in Israel to jump on board. It also has some traction in London and New York City, where patience is often less common than smartphone adoption. MyCheck recently opened offices in both of those cities to expand beyond its Israeli roots.

MyCheck is growing quickly, according to Nathanel, with an average monthly transactional growth rate of 40 percent. It’s integrated into 15 point of sale systems worldwide, which equates to easier implementation for most venues. And it boasts a merchant of record status and PCI compliance, so users can feel secure about using their credit credit through the app.

MyCheck competes with apps like TabbedOut and Cover, which offer similar payment and check-splitting functionality. NYC-based Cover raised a $1.5 million seed round this May and launched in New York earlier this month.

Square is another prominent MyCheck competitor, but perhaps less of a direct threat, because businesses using Square need to provide their own point of sale system.

But naturally MyCheck thinks it has the superior offering.

“There are a lot of companies out there doing mobile payments,” Nathanel told VentureBeat. “But we don’t look at ourselves as a mobile payments company. For us, it’s all about the experience. … The experience we provide to the merchant and to the user sets us apart.”

MyCheck has 20 employees in Israel, nine in Manhattan, and five in London. It recently closed a $4.2 million funding round from mostly private investors, with participation from Colmobil vice chairman Yoav Harlap, the Saban family, the Wertheimer family, and Eli Elroy, among others. It previously raised a $1.7 million seed round.
Venture Beat:  http://venturebeat.com/2013/10/14/mychecks-investor-tab-6-1m-for-waiter-less-checkout/#Pqy8Sek6c78zGQc7.99

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Level Helps You Mind Your Money With Apps, Nabs $5M Series A To Make It Happen

There’s no doubt about it: managing your personal finances is boring. Even though handwritten budgets and meticulously crafted spreadsheets are being joined by services like Mint and Simple that let more you easily dig into your spending, some folks just can’t be bothered to spend their free time mulling over that stuff.

And that’s where a startup called Level comes in. The nine-person San Francisco team has built an iOS app that it hopes will get a generation of young people thinking more about their financial fortitude, and it’s closed a $5 million Series A led by KPCB to help push that vision forward.

“For the vast majority of this group, personal finance is looking at an ATM receipt before throwing it away” CEO Jake Fuentes told me over the phone.

But let’s rewind for a moment first — how does the app actually work? Level’s onboarding process is mildly reminiscent of Mint’s in that it prompts users to connect their bank and credit card accounts (which isn’t much of a surprise since Level has inked a partnership with Mint owner Intuit). From there, it chews on all of that account data and figures in your recurring bill payments and savings deposits so it can spit out a few easily-digestible numbers.

At a glance you’ll be able to see how much money you can get away with spending during the rest of the day, the week, and the month, and new transactions are added to the mix in real time so you’ll always know where that limit lies.

The key to Level’s approach is simplicity. To better capture the attention of a generation of app-weary Millenials, Level designed the app to be as unobtrusive as possible without skimping on the functionality. If this all sounds a little quantified self-y, well, that was sort of the point. Every time you fire up the app you’re treated to that same view of those same three numbers, but peering beneath the surface reveals a transaction tracker and more granular controls for defining your savings goals. Even if you miss all those extra bits or go over your limit, Level still thinks you’re better off than before. It’s like wearing a Fitbit — you may not always hit your daily walking goal, but at least you have an understanding of what you were able to do in a day. A little information can go a long way.

To hear Fuentes tell it though, the Level Money app is only the tip of the iceberg. The app and the sort of in-the-moment financial thinking it’s supposed to inspire are meant to act as a foundation that can eventually be extended to build tools to help take on more pressing financial issues. Eventually the team hopes to help users tackle paying off student loans and buying cars, though at this point it’s still unclear if they’re going to roll out separate services for those use cases or just bake them all into that single app.

But for a startup with a goal to shine a light on its users’ finances, it’s still awfully cagey about the subject of how it’s going to make money for itself. Fuentes says Level is going “do what’s best” for that younger generation of consumer since they’re underserved by banks and other financial organizations, and that its monetization plans will have to reflect that creed.

 

techCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/10/level-helps-you-mind-your-money-with-apps-nabs-5m-series-a-to-make-it-happen/

Categories
mobile news

Aereo TV-over-Internet service arrives on Android

Aereo, a service that delivers broadcast television stations over the Internet, will come to Android devices on Oct. 22.

The service started on iPhones and other Apple devices along with the Roku streaming box before expanding to personal computers. The company says that the Android offering took longer because of the many versions of Android available. Device makers are able to customize the version made by Google.

Aereo says its Android app will run on phones and tablets with Android 4.2 or higher. It will be in a beta test mode at first.

On iPhones and iPads, Aereo is accessible through the device’s Web browser. Aereo opted to develop a stand-alone app for Android to give subscribers a consistent experience on a wide range of devices.

Aereo converts television signals into computer data and sends them over the Internet to subscribers’ computers and mobile devices. Subscribers can watch channels live or record them with an Internet-based digital video recorder. In addition to over-the-air channels in the subscriber’s market, Aereo offers the financial cable channel Bloomberg TV.

Aereo is currently available in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Houston and Dallas. It has plans to expand to at least 26 additional markets by next year. Service starts at $8 a month.

Aereo has won key court rulings against broadcasters that claim its service infringes copyrights. The victories include a ruling in Boston on Tuesday denying ABC station WCVB’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop Aereo’s service. However, the judge in Boston also denied Aereo’s request to move the case to New York, where Aereo has prevailed at the appellate level in two similar lawsuits

 

 

Newsday: http://www.newsday.com/business/technology/aereo-tv-over-internet-service-arrives-on-android-1.6238406

Categories
mobile news

US Instagram users will soon see ads in their feeds

Instagram is gearing up to monetize all of your colorful border-enhanced photos, and you may not like what that means for your feed. Beginning “in the next couple months,” Instagram users in the United States will see “an occasional ad” sandwiched between their friends’ photos and videos. The company is insisting that the advertisements will flow with regular content — and if you don’t like a particular ad, you can hide it from view and let the team know what you didn’t like. As a final note, the firm clarified that the introduction of ads won’t affect ownership rights of the pics and vids you upload — so if a family member pops up in a sponsored post with a Coke in hand, you’ll probably want to send some feedback.

 

ENGADGET: http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/03/instagram-ads/

Categories
mobile news

Microsoft’s Surface 2 takes off with 11,000 Delta pilots

Delta Air Lines has decided to jump on Microsoft’s Surface bandwagon.

Delta will deploy the Surface 2 to 11,000 pilots by the end of 2014, the airline and Microsoftannounced Monday. The airline will equip Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 pilots with the Surface 2 later this year, and will roll it out to all other cockpits by the end of 2014.

Rather than opt for the Surface 2 Pro, Delta has decided to invest in the Windows RT-based Surface 2. The slates will run on Windows RT 8.1 and come with apps the pilots need to complete their jobs, including carts, reference documents, and checklists, Microsoft said. Delta expects to save $13 million per year in fuel and other costs by using the Surface 2.

For Microsoft, the adoption of the Surface 2, in large numbers, for use by pilots is surely a significant customer win. For Delta, the move is a chance to applaud some expected cost savings — the airline says use of the tablets will allow it to cut 7.5 million sheets of paper per year and reduce fuel consumption by 1.2 million gallons annually.

Before Delta can use the Surface 2 for all phases of the flight process, the company needs to get Federal Aviation Administration approval. According to Microsoft, Delta expects to receive full approval from the FAA to use the Surface 2 on all devices and flight phases sometime next year.

CNET: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57605296-94/microsofts-surface-2-takes-off-with-11000-delta-pilots/

Categories
mobile news

Lost your Android? Google lets you lock it from afar

Google will now permit you to remotely lock your Android, lest that cabbie whose vehicle you left your phone in sees all those duckface pictures you took last night.

But this sort of move from Google could start to spell trouble for a number of mobile security apps, such as Lookout Mobile, aimed at helping you manage your phone data and deal with “loss” situations.

“We’ve long expected that Google would add ‘Lock’ and ‘Find my Phone’ functionality, and we’re surprised it didn’t come sooner!” said a Lookout Mobile spokesperson in an email to VentureBeat.

Google’s new feature is a very useful one for those who don’t have a lock on their phone and want to make sure their data is safe. It can be found in your Android Device Manager, according to Android Police, which will remotely tell your phone to go into lock mode when triggered. If you already have a password, it will ask you to create a new one and will instantly update your phone.

It will also turn your screen off and lock the phone if it’s currently in use. Should you be in airplane mode, the phone will execute these commands once connected to a signal.

If Google continues to release these “baked in” security features for Android, it could leave these apps obsolete as third-party protectors. You can also wipe the phone and make it ring from the Android Device Manager. But companies like Lookout Mobile often offer much more than just GPS capabilities and remote lock. Lookout, for example, scans apps for sketchy activity and can warn you about malicious links.

“Solving the missing device problem has been a core piece of the Lookout mission since 2009, and we’ve lead the pack for more than five years, but we haven’t stopped there,” the spokesperson said. “Device loss is a difficult problem to solve, and not every phone lock or missing device situation is the same, so we have consistently developed new functionality to help people have the best possible chance of protecting and recovering a lost or stolen device.”
Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/09/24/google-android-lock/#DpqlFKKq3027MQCZ.99

Categories
mobile news

Ford Buys Livio for Smartphone-to-Car Communications

In an effort to boost its in-car tech, Ford today acquired Michigan-based Livio.

“Ford is acquiring Livio to advance connectivity for our customers and to lead the way in in-vehicle connectivity for the entire automotive industry,” Bill Coughlin, president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies, said in a statement.

Ultimately, the two companies want to develop “an industry standard for smartphone-to-vehicle communications,” Ford said.

Once the deal closes, Livio will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Global Technologies, which manages intellectual property for Ford. Livio will be a separate department within the Ford Electrical/Electronic Systems Engineering. That way, Ford has access to Livio staffers and engineering talent while allowing it to remain independent.

Livio offered Livio Radio, which let users hook their iPhones into a car stereo in vehicles without an Aux input. That eventually morphed into Livio Connect, which Livio describes as “a liaison between your customers’ various apps and hardware devices.”

“At Livio, our philosophy is centered on bringing customers more connectivity with less hassle,” Livio CEO Jake Sigal said in a statement. “We believe this partnership is an excellent match, as it will give us the ability to work with Ford to provide customers even more access to new technologies in the vehicle infotainment space.”

At the IFA trade show in Berlin, Ford chief Alan Mulally showed off a smart concept carthat might eventually be capable of automatic parking – parallel and vertical – and backing out (below), as well as using Wi-Fi to communicate with other cars on the road about potential problems ahead.

Most of Ford’s connectivity efforts, however, have been focused on its Sync infotainment network. For more, check out Ford Sync: What You Need to Know.

 

PC Mag: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2424908,00.asp

Categories
mobile news

Wearable phones built into shoes, handbags, and gloves

Being seen with the latest mobile phone has become as important to fashionistas as the latest designer labels.

Now designer Sean Miles has found a way to bring the two together.

For his Christmas collection, the 42-year-old ‘upcycled’ old handsets and incorporated them into Christian Louboutin heels, Miu Miu gloves and an Alexander McQueen clutch bag.

The gloves, worth £1,000, have a microphone built into the little finger and an earpiece in the thumb and his £2,500 ‘Walkie Talkie’ shoes have a phone in the sole.

Operator O2, which estimates there are 70million unused mobile handsets nationwide, provided the phones for the collection.

‘Fashion and technology can go hand in hand and I hope my creations for this innovative project will get people to notice what can be done with old phones,’ Mr Miles, from Windsor, Berkshire said.

‘If we can combine the best of fashion while also recycling gadgets we can be trendsetters in more than one way.’

 

Metro: http://metro.co.uk/2013/09/19/let-your-fingers-do-the-talking-wearable-mobile-phones-built-into-shoes-bags-and-gloves-4056143/

Categories
iOS iPhone mobile news

ClamCase Unveils First iOS 7 Bluetooth Game Controller

 

The launch of Apple iOS 7 revealed that the new API in the mobile platform will support Bluetooth game controllers. Following the announcement, several rumors circulated about the new consoles in works but there was no official news. But the wait is finally over, as ClamCase, well known for its line of iPad keyboards, announced its own iOS 7 game controller, the GameCase.

Logitech and MOGA previously revealed that game controllers for iPhone are in the works and will officially make an announcement soon, CNET reports. In June, leaked images of a prototype for game controllers from Logitech made the headlines and the hardware maker confirmed that it was still in the works. The leaked images showed that the iPhone would sit inside the controller, turning the device into something like a PlayStation Vita.

Despite such reports, ClamCase was the first to show off  its iOS7 game controller device on its website. The Bluetooth device depicts the future of iOS gaming. GameCase sports its own battery and supports all Bluetooth-enabled iOS devices. The device offers a firm grip on the controller for best gaming experience, dual analog sticks, a full size console layout, and 3D-motion enhanced gaming, according to a demonstration video shown on the official GameCase website.

The device maker has not revealed any specifics about the launch date or the price of the game controller but if you are interested in the device and want to be notified first of any update, then you can submit your contact information and ClamCase will send notification emails.

 

HNGN: http://www.hngn.com/articles/12867/20130920/clamcase-unveils-first-ios-7-bluetooth-game-controller.htm

Categories
mobile news

Drync: app lets you discover, scan and order wine

Drync app for iOS devices lets you discover, scan and order wine – directly from your phone or tablet.
There are a few ways to browse the vast – er, 1.7 million – wines in the database. With the above mentioned example, simply snap a photo of the wine label in front of you (or in a magazine ad) and once recognized, you can see info about the wine (year, country, kind of wine), a user rating for the wine (such as 3.5 hearts out of 5), price (based on your state) and also make notes if you like (such as “try to order the 2006 vintage”). As long as you take a clear and close-up view of the label, the app should recognize every bottle in your collection; the app recognized all 20-odd bottles in our household, without fail.

Going further, anytime you open the app you can view your wines by Wishlist, Rated and Purchased; all your info is backed-up and synchronized to the cloud, allowing you to manage your wines on drync.com.

Prices seem comparable to retail prices, more or less. A bottle of Miguel Torres S.A. Gran Coronos Reserva (2009) was $20.72 for the Cabernet Sauvignon, which is less than $21.00 at retail. Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend California (2011) sold through Drync costs $13.95 a bottle, but $13.13 at retail. There’s free shipping for six bottles or more or a flat $9.99 for less than six bottles. Wine is delivered between 7 to 10 days, or in some cases, sooner.

There are a few things the Drync app should add to future updates, however: professional reviews would be nice, along with pairing suggestions (e.g. red meat or fish) and how to serve it (chilled, room temperature, etc.). The app could also benefit from a wine glossary/dictionary and there should be an easy way to add an alternate address to gift the wine somewhere (currently, you need to change the main address each time).

The biggest beef, however, is you must buy a minimum of two bottles of any wine you choose; therefore you can’t buy, say, six different bottles to get the free shipping – instead you’ll only get three different kinds if you want six bottles. What if you don’t like a bottle of wine you wanted to try, but were forced to buy two bottles of it? This should be fixed.

Overall, though, Drync is an incredibly convenient app for wine lovers. Sure, there are other apps that can also scan and give you information, but between its accurate image recognition, massive database and the ability to buy directly from the app, Drync gets it mostly right. Be aware you must be at least 17 years old to download it from the App Store.

 

From USAToday.com: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/09/12/drync-wine-app/2805379/

Categories
mobile development

Build Raspberry Pi web apps in your browser with Google Coder

The versatile (and inexpensive) Raspberry Pi serves as an excellent platform to build all sorts of neat gadgets. There are resources available on the web to steer you in the right direction if you aren’t the greatest coder in the world but even still, it’s entirely plausible that you’ll eventually run out of ideas.

That’s where Google’s Creative Lab comes in. Working with a small team in New York, Google employees Jason Striegel and Jeff Baxter have been working on a new project called Coder. It allows users to turn the tiny machine into a simple web server complete with a web-based development environment.

It takes less than 10 minutes to install Coder. After downloading the installer, simply load it onto an SD card, plug it into the machine and point your browser to coder.local. You’ll have everything you need at your disposal to build CSS, HTML and JavaScript-based apps.

It was designed to give educators and parents a private environment in which to build and test web programs. Even if you already know how to write code, it could serve as a solid sandbox for which to debug projects or experiment with fresh ideas.

The original plan was to polish Coder to make it a more complete offering but the idea of getting the open source platform in the hands of developers ASAP was a more attractive proposition. This will give the team valuable feedback on how individuals might use it.

From TechSpot.com : http://www.techspot.com/news/54003-build-raspberry-pi-web-apps-in-your-browser-with-google-coder.html

Categories
mobile news

NFL Mobile App Updated With Access For Canadians, Live Audio For Non-Verizon Users, And Google+

It’s football time in America, and you know what that means: a mad rush to get all the infrastructure updated in time for opening day. The official NFL Mobile app is getting its first major update since the publisher was switched back in August. A nice list of new features is included, most notably the addition of our neighbors to the north in Canada. Everyone in Canada should be able to access the app with its scores and news, but only Bell Mobile TV subscribers will be able to watch live games.

http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/09/05/nfl-mobile-app-updated-with-access-for-canadians-live-audio-for-non-verizon-users-and-google-sharing/

Categories
mobile news

Google Debuts Chrome Web Apps

Five years into the development of Google Chrome, Chrome Web Apps have broken free of the browser and landed on the desktop.

Chrome users visiting the Chrome Web Store can now install Chrome Web Apps that behave as if they were traditional, locally installed applications. These apps, written using Web technologies like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS, command their own windows, outside of Chrome. They have the ability to function offline, to work with connected devices and to update themselves automatically.

http://www.informationweek.com/software/enterprise-applications/google-debuts-chrome-web-apps/240160885