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Android mobile development mobile news

YotaPhone: The genesis of a dual-screen smartphone

Is the world ready for the Android-and-electronic paper YotaPhone — and do we even need it?

With a full-fledged Android display on one side and power saving e-ink on the other, the dual-mode YotaPhone is emerging from the concept cocoon and spread its wings in the real world.

The YotaPhone goes on sale this week in Russia, starting at 500 euros, before it expands to other European and Middle Eastern markets, and beyond. It’s a fairly hefty price tag for a phone containing last year’s Android specs, unchanged since we first saw the device nearly a year ago at CES 2013.

What do users see when they look at their current smartphone? A black screen. To get access to information, they need to pick up their phone, activate it and even sometimes go to an application. Even within an application, you have to wait until it is opens and finds the information. This is a major distraction and actually serves to impede our interaction and relationships with our friends, family and colleagues. In fact, the average smartphone user picks up their phone 150 times in the course of the day because they fear that they are missing something important hidden behind the black screen. Why is it black? Because the LCD uses tremendous amounts of power.

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mobile development mobile news

Motorola’s Moto G lands on Amazon

Just in time for Black Friday, the low-cost sibling to the Moto X pops up on the e-commerce giant with shipping starting on December 4.

Motorola surprised the smartphone world by launching its new Moto G cell phone on its Web site months early. Now, the device can also be bought on Amazon.

Initially, Motorola said it was planning to launch the Moto G in the US in January. However, the company surprised users by debuting the device in the US this week. In an interview, Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside told CNET that early demand for the phone has been strong overseas and the company was able to ramp up the manufacturing process faster than anticipated.

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mobile news

Best Buy, Sprint offer free wireless plan for students

Students who buy a qualifying phone under Sprint’s My Way plan get 12 months of free unlimited calling and texting and 1GB of data.

Students looking to slash the cost of a mobile phone plan will now find a new option available through Sprint.

Announced on Monday, the My Way Student Promotion provides students with a full year of free calls, text messages, and data from Sprint. To qualify for the offer, buyers must purchase a Sprint phone at the student activated price through Best Buy and activate a new line via Sprint’s Unlimited, My Way plan.

The plan offers unlimited talking and texting and 1GB of data per month for smartphones and unlimited calls and texts for feature phones. The promotion starts Monday and runs through January 4.

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Android mobile news

Google pays those who find Android security glitches

Those who pinpoint vulnerabilities in Google’s mobile operating system can earn cash rewards, similar to those paid out for identifying bugs in Chrome.

Google has expanded its bug-bounty program to cover vulnerabilities uncovered in Android.

The program began with Chrome and expanded to Google Web sites and other open-source software projects. Under the program, people who find security holes get paid bounties. That often equates to a few hundred dollars, but particularly skilled attacks can mean big money — $50,000 last week for one expert who goes by the name Pinkie Pie, for example.

The broader expansion, called the Patch Reward Program, now includes Android, Google security team member Michal Zalewski said in a blog post Monday.

The program also includes three widely used Web server packages: Apache’s http, Nginx, and Lighttpd, Zalewski said.

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Android mobile news

Android dominates 81 percent of world smartphone market

A new IDC study shows Google’s operating system has a stronghold on the smartphone market, but Windows Phone is quickly moving up the ranks.

For the first time ever, Android has hit more than 80 percent market share for smartphone shipments worldwide.
The new Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker was released on Tuesday by IDC, which detailed third-quarter numbers for all smartphone shipments worldwide. A total of 261.1 million smartphones were shipped during this quarter, 81 percent of which run Google’s operating system. A study by Strategy Analytics last month revealed nearly the same numbers, showing that Android gobbled 81.3 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter.
There are several smartphone manufacturers that run Android on their devices. Of these vendors, Samsung gained the most market share. The Galaxy S4-maker ruled 39 percent of all Android smartphone shipments in the third quarter. The majority of the other vendors saw market share within the single digits or less.

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mobile news

Google begins serving up KitKat upgrade to some Nexus tablets

Owners of the Wi-Fi-only Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 slates can expect the next version of Android to begin rolling to their devices Tuesday night.

Some Nexus tablet owners can expect to get their first taste of Android KitKat soon. Google announced on Twitter Tuesday that it would begin rolling out an over-the-air upgrade of Android 4.4 KitKat to Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013) and Nexus 10 tablets immediately. However, not all Nexus owners can expect the upgrade right away; Google said the current rollout is for Wi-Fi-only tablets, meaning that Nexus slates with mobile data will have to wait, as will owners of the Nexus 4. KitKat’s main purpose is to usher in a strategy toward minimizing fragmentation, a problem that has cropped up because of the wide variety of Android devices on the market running different versions of the operating system.

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mobile development mobile news

Huawei to spend $600m on 5G research

Huawei has promised a sizable amount of funding for the next generation of mobile network technology, but just what that involves remains unclear.

With 4G only now starting to become commonplace, Huawei already has its eye on what comes next.

The company announced on Wednesday that it is pouring $600m into 5G research over the next five years, ahead of the expected launch of 5G networks in 2020.

There’s no concrete specification for 5G from the telecom standards bodies yet; the term is generally used as a catchall for what’s expected to succeed today’s 4G LTE networks. For its part, Huawei describes 5G networks as being able to deliver peak data rates of 10Gbps, or around 10 times faster than most 4G connections today.

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mobile development mobile news

Samsung eyes phones with foldable displays in 2015

The company plans to move from curved to bendable displays and eventually to ones that can be folded.

Samsung aims to unveil phones and other devices with foldable displays in another two years, give or take.

At an analysts event Wednesday night local time in Seoul, Korea, Samsung CEO Kwon Oh Hyun presented a slideshow revealing the company’s display technology timeline for the next few years. As shown by blog site Sammy Hub, the slideshow highlights the progression planned by Samsung leading up to foldable phones.

The company has already hit its first milestone of a curved-display phone with the recent introduction of the Galaxy Round. Though some people have questioned the benefits of a phone with a curved display, at least one researcher said he believes the technology is a major innovation.

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mobile news

Google donates 17,000 Nexus 7s to Superstorm Sandy victims

The tablets have a retail value of $2.7 million and have been placed in public areas affected by Sandy.

One year after Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the Eastern Seaboard, Google has donated tablets to the victims. Google donated 17,000 Nexus 7 tablets, valued at over $2.7 million, to New Yorkers who were affected by the storm, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday. The tablets are being placed in libraries, senior centers, business, and community centers, according to the governor’s office.

Google’s donation was made to the not-for-profit New York State Community Action Association.

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Android mobile news

Google/Motorola’s New Moonshot “Spotlight Stories” Is A Mobile Virtual Reality Movie Medium

Google/Motorola’s New Mobile Virtual Reality Movie Medium

Spotlight Stories is a new artistic medium Google and Motorola Mobility launched today that puts users inside an animated featurette if they spin 360-degrees while watching their phones. The first Spotlight Story “Windy Days” by ex-Pixar moviemakers suddenly appeared on Moto X phones today, and depicts a mouse chased by a hat around a forest you can look around.

According to a sprawling look at the new technology by Wired’s Steven Levy, Spotlight Stories was first dreamed up by Motorola Mobility’s Advanced Technology And Products (ATAP) moonshot division before it was acquired by Google. The search giant poured extra funds into building out the new mobile storytelling format.

The project shows that while tech giants can use their power to index information, connect us, transport us around, or make us live longer, they can also use innovation to delight us. Hand-held devices full of powerful chips, bright screens, and sensors to detect our movement may unlock new forms creative expression, not just new utilities.

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mobile development mobile news

LG launches Firefox phone in Brazil

Brazil goes from zero to two Firefox phones, with the previously released Alcatel One Touch Fire and the LG Fireweb.

Two Firefox OS phones went on sale on Tuesday in Brazil, a country on which Mozilla has been pinning many of its Firefox OS hopes. In addition to the Alcatel One Touch Fire, already the de facto flagship device for the nascent operating system since it’s available in most countries that offer Firefox phones, Brazil gets the higher-end LG Fireweb. The strategy has proved successful for Telefonica and Mozilla. In a recent interview with CNET, Telefonica’s director of open Web services and chief Firefox salesman, Yotam Ben-Ami, said Firefox OS accounts for 12 percent of the company’s sales in Venezuela after only three months.

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mobile news

FCC Delays 2014 Mobile Airwave Auction After U.S. Closing

FCC Delays 2014 Mobile Airwave Auction After U.S. Closing

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission rescheduled an auction of airwaves for high-speed mobile data to Jan. 22 from Jan. 14, the agency said. The commission cited the 16-day partial closing of the U.S. government that ended last week in its e-mailed notice today about the sale of airwaves known as the H Block. Sprint Corp. (S) had pressed the agency for an auction in January, and the commission accepted that idea over a proposal to wait so the auction coincides with other sales later in 2014. The auctions can leave winning companies flush with frequencies to feed smartphones and losers barraged with complaints of slow apps and Web pages.

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mobile development mobile news

Tesla taps AT&T to bring cellular connection to its cars

The connected cars will be able to share performance data for remote maintenance, as well as provide Internet access in the vehicle itself.

Tesla will be able to tout one more feature in its advanced electric cars: a cellular connection.

The upstart automaker has partnered with AT&T to bring a 3G or HSPA+ (what AT&T calls 4G) connection to its electric cars. With a modem and SIM card, the cars will be able to share performance data, allowing for better remote diagnostic and maintenance, while passengers have the option to browse the Internet, watch videos, or get real-time traffic info via the connection.

The connection also will allow Tesla engineers to look at driving data from the car and better analyze performance trends, system enhancements, and driver preferences.

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iOS iPhone mobile news

Google Maps tricks out iOS app with more navigation features

The mapping giant updates its app for iPhone and iPad with new traffic and route overviews, tips for new users, and language support for Arabic and Hebrew.

Google Maps updated its iOS app on Tuesday with new route and traffic features. According to Google, the update brings “faster access to navigation,” “tips and tricks” for beginning users, and support for Arabic and Hebrew.

Version 2.3.4’s navigation feature helps users better decide among various traffic and route options. The app now has a smaller map within the route selection screen, which lets people more easily compare directions based on traffic and other conditions. The “tips and tricks” section gives users advice on how to use the app and its various features, like turn-by-turn directions.

This update brings usability to a new market in Southwest Asia.

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Android mobile development mobile news

Quasar IV Encrypted Smartphone Goes Into Production, Despite Indiegogo Failure

Quasar IV Encrypted Ninja Smartphone Goes Into Production, Despite Indiegogo Failure

One of the more ambitious and interesting hardware projects on a crowdfunding platform recently has to be the Quasar IV, a smartphone designed entirely around security, encryption and identity protection. QSAlpha’s Quasar IV uses authentication tech called Quatrix, and a hybrid Android/Linux and Quatrix mobile OS called QuaOS to make sure communications in and out of the phone are protected.

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Android iOS mobile news

BranchOut Launches Talk.co To Expand From Networking

BranchOut Launches Talk.co To Expand From Networking Into A WhatsApp For The Workplace

BranchOut’s professional network cratered when Facebook muted its virality. Today the $49 million-funded startup is hedging its bets with the launch of Talk.co, a mobile-first web, iOS, and Android messaging app for coworkers that looks like Yammer and WhatsApp’s white-collar love child. Talk.co ditches Yammer’s passive news feed for a list of message threads that get your colleagues to respond faster. If Talk.co can convince professionals that it can deliver the ease of consumer messaging with the security and purpose of the enterprise, BranchOut might still be able to eek out a win.

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iOS iPhone mobile development mobile news

Qualcomm Gambit: Apple 64-bit A7 is a ‘gimmick’

A top exec takes a risk by dismissing the new 64-bit A7 too quickly. The chip supplier will likely have a different message if it brings out its own 64-bit design – CNET.

A Qualcomm executive dissed Apple’s new 64-bit chip architecture, putting the San Diego company in a tough spot if it decides at some point to move to a 64-bit Snapdragon design. Here’s what Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Qualcomm, said to the IDG News Service “I know there’s a lot of noise because Apple did [64-bit] on their A7. I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There’s zero benefit a consumer gets from that.” He went on to repeat a well-known fact that a 64-bit architecture is necessary for addressing memory beyond 4GB but that most smartphones, like Apple’s iPhone 5S, only have 1GB or 2GB of memory. ARM, the company behind the chip designs from Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, and Nvidia, believes that there will be a need for 64-bit ARM chips in future smartphones and tablets.

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Android mobile development mobile news

Sprint Aims to Ease Access to Near Field Communication

The carrier’s new Pinsight Touch platform could help developers and mobile users more readily tap into near-field communications.

Sprint is trying to offer its subscribers a smoother way to take advantage of NFC technology for making mobile payments. A new platform called Pinsight Touch promises to securely store and access a user’s credentials on a mobile device. Users with touch-enabled NFC, or near-field communications, smartphones can turn on the technology by answering “yes” to an opt-in question from mobile apps offered by credit card providers and other issuers. The user’s credentials are then securely shared with other trusted apps, Sprint said in a blog posted Thursday. Despite its push from mobile and financial companies, NFC has yet to truly take off. The slow adoption is partly due to the lack of widespread support across the various industries. But consumers have also expressed concerns over security issues involved in using their phones as mobile wallets.

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Android iOS mobile development mobile news

Vonkil’s Batthead Is A Rechargeable, Remote Controlled AA Battery

Batthead Remote Controlled AA Batteries – CNET

Enter the Batthead, the star of a new Kickstarter campaign that wants to make your rechargeable AA batteries much, much smarter. Here’s the concept in a nutshell: they have essentially taken a rechargeable AA battery and crammed a Bluetooth 4.0 radio and an accelerometer into it. You probably see where this is going — thanks to a companion app, users can remotely enable and disable those batteries in a bid to preserve more power for when it’s really needed. Of course, parents can don their troll hats and remotely shut down their kids’ toys from afar using their iOS devices (the Vonkil team says that Android support is in the works too). The accelerometer will add the ability to have devices turn on or off when in a certain position.

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mobile development mobile news

Ericsson Aims to Bring Cell Signal Everywhere, One Dot at a Time

Ericsson Dot System – CNET

Ericsson introduces the Radio Dot System, which is designed to bring cell phone signal to hard-to-reach places, such as the inside of a big building. Called the Radio Dot System, this system consists of multiple disc-shaped radio broadcasters called Dots. Each Dot can “provide high-quality access to mobile broadband and voice services” for the surrounding area, and multiple Dots can be used together to broaden the coverage indoors. To be clear, this system is designed to bring real cellular signal to where it can’t reach before, not use broadband network as a substitute, like AT&T’s MicroCell femtocell. It’s expected that the Ericsson Radio Dot System will be available to customers by the second part of 2014.

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disruptive technology iOS iPad iPhone mobile development

Occipital’s New Structure Sensor Turns Your iPad Into A Mobile 3D Scanner

Occipital’s New Structure Sensor Turns Your iPad Into A Mobile 3D Scanner – TechCrunch

Occipital just launched a Kickstarter campaign for its very first hardware project: the Structure, a portable 3D sensor that straps to the back of your iPad that should ship by next February. Small and clad in colored anodized aluminum, it doesn’t look anything like the clunky 3D sensors you may have already been exposed to. That’s a testament to the sort of fastidious tweaking that went into making the Structure what it is — there’s a full-sized PrimeSense Carmine sensor in there, but it was up to Occipital to cut out the physical cruft so the Structure could fit in a pocket. Power consumption also had to be cut dramatically since it runs off the iPad 4′s battery (though it’ll technically connect to any iDevice in your arsenal that has a Lightning dock connector). This new device is a huge disruption to 3D scanning in that it is so portable that it can be used on any iDevice.

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Android iOS iPad iPhone mobile news

Remind101 Lands $3.5M To Modernize Teacher Communication

Remind101 has developed a mobile platform that allows teachers to quickly send reminders to both students and teachers via text or email.

While many industries in the U.S. have undergone massive changes in the last 10 years, the educational system appears much the same as it did 100 years ago. While timely and effective communication is critical to K-12 education, says co-founder and CEO Brett Kopf, schools still continue to use the same old physical intercoms, phone trees and PA systems to communicate with students they always have. Because text messaging has become the primary mode of communication for most students, Remind101 has developed a mobile platform — with apps for iPhone, iPad and Android — that allows teachers to quickly send reminders to both students and teachers via text or email. Whether these notifications are about deadlines or permission slips, Remind101 acts as the middle man between each group, while ensuring that communications remain secure and private.

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mobile news

Intel’s ‘Quark’ Lineup Targets Wearables

Intel is making the tiniest of chips that can power wearable devices. – CNET

Intel announced a line of tiny chips for new markets, including wearable devices. Called Quark, it is Intel’s bid to stay relevant in the era of wearable computing. It’s approximately one-fifth the size of the company’s already-small Atom chip and draws one-tenth the power. Intel will sample circuit board designs based on the first product in this family during the fourth quarter of this year. Initially, it will be aimed at the industrial, energy, and transportation markets.

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Android mobile development

BITalino Is A Low Cost, Modular Bio-Signal Sensor Kit That Makes It Quicker & Easier To Build Health Tracker Apps

BITalino Low Cost, Modular Bio-Signal Sensor Kit – TechCrunch

BITalino is a simplified system for app developers and researchers who want to quickly start capturing bio-signals. The low cost kit of modular blocks includes a swathe of physiological sensors that can be brought out to use individually or linked together and used in whatever combination you’re after. The approach is plug and play to keep things as simple as possible. This new product has the ability to bring large impacts to mobile health information tracking.

There are several APIs currently available including Android OS, Java, and Python.

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mobile development mobile news

Verizon Wireless Buys Vodafone at $130 Billion – Wired

In what’s being described as one of the biggest deals in corporate history, Verizon agreed to pay $130 billion to British telecom Vodafone in order to buy out the multinational’s stake in Verizon Wireless, the second largest wireless operation in the U.S. This will allow Verizon in the long term to reduce operating costs primarily in Great Britain with the acquisition.

Forget the Microsoft Soap Opera. It’s the Verizon Deal That Matters

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iOS mobile news

Jawbone’s New Mini Jambox – Wired

The Mini Jambox is a slimmer, sharper version of the original. Gone is the rubber that capped the top and bottom; the new device is cool metal all the way around. In terms of first impressions, it might seem slightly less friendly than the first Jambox, but it proves no less touchable. Jawbone has modified the audio to a level of quality unheard of in mobile devices. And, once you get your hands on it, it exudes superior quality–not unlike the difference between the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4 that followed it.

The Mechanical Wizardry Behind the Teeny, Tiny New Jambox