BlackBerry KeyOne brings back the physical keyboard

The enterprise-friendly smartphone has a physical QWERTY keyboard and dumps BlackBerry’s DTEK software on top of Android 7.1 Nougat.

TCL, the new manufacturer of BlackBerry’s hardware, has launched the KEYone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The enterprise-friendly smartphone has a physical QWERTY keyboard and dumps BlackBerry’s DTEK software on top of Android 7.1 Nougat. This adds access to features like BlackBerry Hub, BBM, and other apps aimed at the enterprise.

The keyboard serves as a touch-sensitive control pad for adjusting the cursor in long emails and text documents. All 52 letter keys can also be programmed to launch specific apps when you tap or long-press them (F for Facebook, U for Uber, I for Instagram, etc.). Above those keys is a 4.5-inch 1080p display powered by a 3505mAh battery and a Snapdragon 625 processor, which can be topped up with the “Boost” fast charging feature.

The KEYone will launch in April for $549 (£499/€599) through various retailers worldwide and carriers in a business-friendly black.

Here’s some other specs:

  • 8MP front camera
  • 12MP auto-focus “large pixel” rear camera

Source: BlackBerry

Chen: No BlackBerry 10 phones this year

According to BlackBerry CEO John Chen, his company will only release Android smartphones this year.

The Priv, the company’s first Android smartphone, is also expanding beyond AT&T to Verizon, T-Mobile, sprint, and Vodafone UK.

Source: TechnoBuffalo

TechSummit Rewind #048

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Oculus delays Touch motion controllers until second half of year

Oculus Touch

Oculus’ Touch motion controllers have been delayed until the second half of the year, according to the company.

“On the path to perfecting Touch, we’ve decided that we need more time before release.”

-Oculus, in a statement

The statement also noted that preorders would begin “a few months” before launch.

The Rift virtual reality headset is still on track to ship in the first quarter of the year.

“We’ve made significant advances in ergonomics, and we’re implementing many changes that make Touch even more comfortable, reliable, and natural. We’re also implementing changes that improve hand pose recognition. We’re also outputting larger numbers of pre-production runs, which means we can get a lot more Touch hardware in the hands of developers who need it.”

-Oculus

U.S.: Country’s Internet speeds triple in 3.5 years

U.S. Internet speeds have tripled over 3.5 years to keep up with consumers’ demands to stream video and download content. However, the United States still lags behind other countries.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, average connection speeds increased to nearly 31 megabits per second in September 2014 from about 10 Mbps in March 2011.

The United States still ranks 25th out of 39 nations in 2013, according to the FCC. That places the U.S. behind countries like France, Canada, Germany, and Japan but ahead of countries like Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Israel. Luxembourg topped the list with average download speeds of 47.32 Mbps.

“Advances in network technology are yielding significant improvements in broadband speeds and quality. Faster, better broadband will unleash new innovations and new services to improve the lives of the American people.”

-Tom Wheeler, FCC chairman

Among U.S. states, New Jersey had the fastest average Internet download speeds at 57 Mbps, while Idaho had the lowest at about 14 Mbps, just above Ohio and Arkansas.

Microsoft makes iPhone selfie app

Microsoft Selfie

Microsoft Selfie is the company’s newest iOS app, designed to improve photo qualities like skin tone, color balance, and lighting for the best possible shot.

According to the app’s description, it takes “age, gender, skin tone, lighting, and many other variables into account” to help alter selfies with “Intelligent enhancements.”

Each of the 13 filters cleans up noise and makes other general improvements, along with adding a distinct flavor to photos. You can also press and hold on the “compare” button to see the original photo.

Yandex worker stole search engine source code, tried selling for $28K

Yandex

Yandex employee Dmitry Korobov stole the Russian search engine’s source code and tried selling it on the black market to fund his own startup, according to Russian newspaper Kommersant. Korobov has been found guilty by a Russian court and handed down a suspended sentence of two years in jail.

According to Kommersant’s investigation, Korobov downloaded a piece of software codenamed Arcadia from Yandex’s servers, which contained the source code and algorithms of the company’s search engine. Later on, he tried selling it to electronics retailer NIX, where a friend of his allegedly worked. Korobov also trawled the darknet searching for potential buyers.

Korobov asked for $25,000 and 250,000 Russian rubles.

“The market is small, and it would’ve been easy to single out the thief.”

  • Aleksey Lukatskiy, Cisco Internet security analyst

“[The software] is a key part of our company; it was related directly to Yandex’s search engine, which is the main source of the company’s income. Our management took this incident very seriously.”

-A Yandex representative

Facebook must face shareholder class actions over IPO

Facebook_Logo

Manhattan, NY-based U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet has certified two shareholder class actions accusing Facebook of hiding concerns about its growth forecasts prior to the Menlo Park, CA-based social media company’s May 2012 IPO.

According to Sweet, retail and institutional investors that claimed to lose money from buying Facebook shares at inflated prices in connection with the $16 billion IPO may pursue their claims as groups.

The decision is dated Dec. 11 but was kept under seal until Tuesday.

Facebook’s defendants include CEO Mark Zuckerburg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.

The company is appealing the class certifications, which they’re saying are “without merit” and connflcit with “well-settled” precedent.

The shareholders accused Facebook of concealing internal projections before its IPO of how mobile growth might hurt its prospectors, even as they warned underwriters to cut their forecasts.

According to Sweet’s decision, the company “marshaled an impressive amount of evidence” to suggest that shareholders knew how mobile usage would affect revenue.

“Given the extraordinary size of this case, [allowing two subclasses] in fact adds more weight to the predominance of common questions and answers, practically negating the individualized questions raised.”

-Robert Sweet, U.S. district court judge

“The suggestion that class members’ knowledge might be inferred on a class-wide basis flouts due process, [making Sweet’s decision] all the more arbitrary.”

-Facebook

Blackberry continuing Pakistan operations

The company logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo

After solving its issue concerning BBM messages, BlackBerry will continue operating in Pakistan.

Pakistani authorities have dropped their demand for the messages to help fight terrorism and crime.

Jolla leaves some Tablet backers without tablets

Jolla

Jolla will not be giving all of its Indiegogo backers its tablets when a small batch goes out to some this month, according to company representative Juhani Lassila.

“The bad news here is that we are not able to complete the production to fulfill all contributions. In other words, all of our backers will not get a Jolla Tablet. However, you can be sure you will not end up empty handed.”

-Juhani Lassila, Jolla representative

Paw Print Rewind #030

Editor’s Note: This is the Paw Print Rewind, a daily recap of the top news headlines.

Boeing profit up as plane deliveries surge

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits on the tarmac at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington after its maiden flight

Boeing has doubled its quarterly cash flow, partly offsetting a big charge for its aerial tanker program.

The Chicago-based plane maker reported $2.6 billion in free cash flow in the second quarter, reversing an outflow in the first quarter, freeing up cash for Boeing to spend $2 billion buying back its own shares.

Net profit fell 33 percent to $1.11 billion ($1.59/share) largely due to the tanker charge.

“This certainly gives you confident that they’re going to get [to its full-year operating cash flow target].”

-Ken Herbert, Canaccord Genuity analyst

Revenue rose 11% to $24.54 billion, reflecting an 18% gain in the company’s commercial aircraft business, as it delivered a record 197 planes. Defense revenue fell three percent.

Deferred costs on Boeing’s 787 program rose by another $790 million to $27.7 billion.

Core earnings, which exclude pension and other costs, fell to $1.62/share from $2.42.

Coke reports higher revenues, sales

8.-coca-cola

Coca-Cola has reported higher quarterly earnings and revenue as it raised prices and boosted North American sales volumes.

The Atlanta-based company has called 2015 a transition year as it tries to cut costs and boost sales of its mainstay sodas.

Global sales volumes of its sodas rose one percent in the second quarter, helped by growing demand for Coke Zero, Sprite, and Fanta.

Sales volumes of still beverages were up five percent, with increases in ready-to-drink tea and packaged water offsetting declines in juices.

For the second straight quarter, sales rose in North America, which accounts for nearly half of the total. Prices increased four percent in the quarter, while volume was up two percent.

Coke raised prices by switching to smaller packaging, and boosted ad spending for its brands.

Expanded distribution of Monster Beverage’s energy drinks in North America contributed to the increase.

Coca-Cola’s net revenue fell three percent to $12.16 billion, but it would have increased four percent without the impact of the strong dollar, acquisitions, and divestitures.

Net income attributable to shareholders rose nearly 20% to $3.11 billion ($0.71/share).

The company will buy back shares worth up to two billion to $2.5 billion this year.

“We looked at where we were from the first half of the year, and we looked at cash, particularly because of the currency getting worse in the back half and just tightened the range.”

-Kathy Walker, Coca-Cola CFO

“[The tighter range seemed] consistent with the share repurchase revision that we saw last October, where the company narrowed their outlook for buybacks.”

-Vivien Azer, Cowen and Co analyst

BlackBerry buying messaging alerts firm AtHoc to expand software base

The company logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo

BlackBerry is buying privately-held AtHoc, a provider of secure, networked crisis communications, as the Waterloo, Ontario-based company broadens its software offerings and generates revenue from its BBM messaging service.

AtHoc’s services are used by a number of clients like the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide software that allows them to reach staff through their smartphones, or from digital displays, radios, and sirens, in times of crisis. The San Mateo, CA-based company helps organizations and people share information during business continuity and rescue efforts.

“AtHoc is an alerts system, but it also needs richer content and that can be provided by BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which offers not just text, but voice, picture and video sharing, so we can provide a much richer experience to their clients.

“AtHoc, with its messaging alerts, is the next piece in the puzzle.”

-John Chen, BlackBerry CEO

“Becoming part of BlackBerry will give us the ability to scale more quickly to expand our global reach and introduce new applications for the AtHoc platform.”

-Guy Miasnik, AtHoc CEO

Macy’s expanding same-day delivery to new US markets

Macys

Macy’s is expanding same-day delivery to several new U.S. markets this summer, according to a company official.

The Cincinnati-based company already offers same-day delivery services in eight markets. By partnering with Deliv, a startup that uses a fleet of contract drivers to pick up online orders from stores and malls.

The initial plan is to offer the service in several more markets, according to a Macy’s official. Currently, Macy’s offers the service in Houston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Jersey.

New International Space Station crew arrives after two-month delay

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three new crew members for the International Space Station arrived at the orbital outpost after a two-month launch delay, according to NASA.

Veteran Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and rookie astronauts Kjell Lindgren with NASA and Japan’s Kimiya Yui blasted off aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

They’ve began a five-month mission aboard the station, a $100 billion laboratory that files about 250 miles above Earth.

The arrival of Lindgren, Kononenko, and Yui returns the space station to a full six-member crew for the first time in six weeks.

“We look forward to seeing them.”

-Scott Kelly, U.S. station flight engineer

Kelly and Russia’s Mikhail Kornienko are participating in the station’s first year-long mission, along with current station commander Gennady Padalka.

GM earnings more than double on U.S. truck demand

The entrance of the General Motors of Canada head office is shown in Oshawa

General Motors reported adjusted net income more than doubled in the second quarter, driven by North American truck sales and continued China strength.

Stripping out one-time charges, the Detroit-based company earned $1.29/share in the latest quarter, up from $0.58/share a year ago. Profits rose despite declining global vehicle deliveries and a 3.5% decline in worldwide revenue.

Net income rose to $1.1 billion ($0.67/share) from $200 million ($0.11/share) a year ago, when it was hurt by a big charge relating to recall costs.

In the past 12 months, GM’s return on investment capital was 23.4%, ahead of the 20% goal agreed to with the investor group. GM has also repurchased $2.1 billion of its shares for the year through July 21st.

GM’s North American operations’ profit doubled to $2.8 billion and profit margins of 10.5%, nearly double what it was a year ago.

Dow Chemical warns of soft China demand

dow-chemicaljpgjpeg-53a000eaa69ce392

Dow Chemical has warned of soft Chinese demand.

“China remains a mixed bag. A very solid Q2 for us is not necessarily a harbinger of Q3.”

-Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical CEO

Demand from the automobiles, construction, water, and food safety industries would continue to drive Chinese demand, according to Liveris.

“Dow had a 14 percent growth rate in China, the CEO probably was implying that the company won’t be able to sustain that.”

-John Roberts, UBS analyst

The Midland, MI-based chemical maker’s sales fell 13.5% to $12.91 billion in the second quarter that ended on June 30, hurt by a strong dollar and weak oil prices.

Dow’s margins rose to 19% in the quarter from 15% a year earlier.

Excluding a $375 million pre-tax charge related mainly to a three percent workforce cut, the company earned $0.91/share in the quarter.

Syngenta spars with Monsanto over takeover

syngenta-1024x687

Syngenta and U.S. suitor Monsanto squabbled over an earnings report from the Basel, Switzerland-based company, with both sides claiming that they strengthened their case in a $45 million takeover battle.

Monsanto wants to combine its seeds business with Syngenta’s own seeds and pesticides. Syngenta has rejected the proposal and refused to open its books, despite Monsanto offering a $2 billion cash payment if the transaction fails to win regulatory approval.

“We said no in 2011, we said no in 2012, we said no in 2015. What part of no don’t they understand.”

-Michael Mack, Syngenta CEO

“Syngenta’s earnings announcement confirms it still does not have a long-term vision or plan that would create the same value at Monsanto’s very attractive 449 Swiss franc [per share] ($463.25) proposal.

“Monstanto remains ready to discuss with Syngenta a combination that would provide highly attractive returns to shareholders. The ball remains in their court.”

-Hugh Grant, Monsanto chairman

Bristol-Myers raises profit view

bristol-myers-squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb reported better quarterly results thanks to delayed reimbursement for two French Hepatitis C treatments and demand for other leading company medicines.

The New York-based drugmaker lost $130 million ($0.08/share) in the period, which compares to a $333 million profit ($0.22/share) a year earlier.

Excluding special items, including an $800 million research charge related to the company’s purchase of Flexus Biosciences, Bristol-Myers earned $0.53/share.

Sales of the company’s Yervoy drug for melanoma slipped eight percent to $296 million in the quarter, hurt by sales of newer melanoma treatments that also work by harnessing the immue system.

Company revenue rose seven percent to $4.16 billion.

New hepatitis C treatments Daklinza and Sunvepra had combined sales of $479 million in the quarter.

Results were also helped by demand for Opdivo, a treatment for melanoma and lung cancer that works by removing a mechanism cancer cell’s use to evade detection by the immune system. It had sales of $122 million in the quarter.

TechSummit Rewind #035

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet launching in US this month for $1,600

Dell’s Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet is the latest of the Round Rock, TX-based company’s line of Rugged computers. The Latitude 12 is designed to be used from emergency workers to “adventurers” and industrial workers. The device can survive “water spills, sand and dust, drops from over four feet, and extreme temperatures,” according to Dell, while a 12-hour long battery life and options for mobile broadband and a dedicated GPS mean that users don’t have to be near a power outlet to get work done.

The tablet comes with an 11.5-inch touchscreen that works with gloves and comes with the company’s Direct View technology for improved outdoor readability. There’s also a fifth generation Intel Core M processor, up to a 512GB SSD, and up to 8GB of RAM. The Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet runs Windows 8.1 at launch, and offers an optional full-size keyboard cover (with dust and water resistance), as well as desk and car dock accessories.

The tablet will be available by the “end of July” for a pricetag between $1,600 and $2,000.

Twitter deleting stolen jokes because of copyright

Twitter HQ

Twitter is now using its legal prowess to crack down on those that copy tweets from other people and act like they came up with the 140-character creation on their own. A number of tweets have been deleted from the social network for copying this joke.

“saw someone spill their high end juice cleanse all over the sidewalk and now I know god is on my side”

-@runolgarun, on Twitter

Olga Lexell, who is an LA-based freelance writer (according to her Twitter profile), filed a request to have the tweets removed, according to this tweet.

Most of the accounts that reused her tweets without accreditation were “spam accounts that repost tons of other people’s jokes every day,” according to Lexell. She has also filed similar requests for other jokes, according to Lexell, with Twitter typically removing the offending tweets “within a few days” without asking Lexell any other questions.

China ends ban on video game consoles

China will lift its ban on making and selling videogame consoles in the world’s most populous country.

New rules will apply to all console makers, enabling them to manufacture and sell them anywhere in the country, according to the country’s Ministry of Culture.

Users hate full-page app ads: Google data

Google full page app ad

The full-screen “interstitial” ads that pop up when a mobile site is loaded, suggesting you to install the app instead actually makes users leave the site and go somewhere else, according to Google. The Mountain View, CA-based company took a look at its Google+ social network, and found that 69% of visitors abandoned the page entirely.

After removing the interstitials, Google found that active users increased by 17%, causing the full-screen ads and banners (for later versions of iOS) has been killed.

Delicious team releases Dmail to make self-destructing Gmail messages

Dmail

If you’ve regretted sending an email or wanted to send it back, Dmail might be for you. The service allows you to revoke access to emails at any time, and stop recipients from forwarding your message to others.

The product works through a Google Chrome extension that you install as the email sender.

Once installed, you’ll be able to turn Dmail on and off using a toggle switch. When on, you can specify ahead of sending an email if you want it to be destroyed in an hour, a day, a week, or “never.” Even if you choose “never,” you can later click a “Revoke Email” button in the sent message to remove access to that email from all recipients.

If your recipient doesn’t have Dmail installed, they’ll receive this email:

“This secure message was sent using Dmail. To view this message, simply click the button below.”

Clicking that button will then redirect you to a web view where they can read your email.

If the extension is installed, they can read your message directly from Gmail.

Dmails are encrypted using a standard 256-bit encryption algorithm, according to the company. When a Dmail is sent, the body of the email is encrypted locally on the user’s machine, according to Dmail product leader Eric Kuhn.

“An encrypted copy of that email is sent to a datastore controlled by Dmail. The recipient of the email is sent both the location of that datastore, as well as a key to view the decrypted message.

“Neither Gmail nor Dmail servers ever receive both the decryption key and encrypted message. Only the recipient and sender can read the email legibly.”

-Eric Kuhn, Dmail product leader

While it only works with Gmail for now, the company aims to expand to other platforms like Google Apps. In addition, a Dmail iOS app is launching in August, and will be followed by a similar Android app to allow users to compose and read Dmails from their smartphone.

Dmail is planned to be a freemium service, where some aspects will remain free while power users and businesses can pay for other features.

Chrome 44 for iOS works natively with Beacons, adds new gestures

Google-Chrome-40-Gets-Material-Design-Handoff-Support-on-iOS-470640-2

Google is now implementing its Physical Web open source web specification that launched last year with the aim to make interacting with smart devices in the real world as easy as clicking a link intro Chrome for iOS.

Version 44 of the app, which is available now in the App Store, brings Physical Web content to the Today view within the iOS Notification Center.

This gives Physical Web better visibility and increased adoption potential.

The update also brings new swipe gestures to improve navigation within the app.

Technicolor buying Cisco’s set-top box unit for $600M

A Cisco Systems sign is shown at Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009. Cisco Systems releases quarterly earnings after the market close Wednesday, Feb. 4. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
A Cisco Systems sign is shown at Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009. Cisco Systems releases quarterly earnings after the market close Wednesday, Feb. 4. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Technicolor has agreed to buy Cisco’s TV set-top business for $600 million.

Cisco plans to continue selling products to carriers, and collaborate with Technicolor to develop video and broadband technologies.

“We will continue to make decisions to prioritize our portfolio and our investments to accelerate our business.”

-Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO

Technicolor will pay Cisco about $450 million in cash and $150 million in newly issued Technicolor shares.

Cisco senior vice president and chief strategy officer Hilton Romanski is also expected to join Technicolor’s board of directors after the transaction closes.

AT&T-DirecTV merger OKed by FCC

DirecTV logo

AT&T and DirecTV’s merger has been OKed by the Federal Communications Commission.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recommended the merger’s approval with conditions like the provisions to prevent the company from discriminating against online video services like Netflix and Hulu.

The Department of Justice will not challenge the deal.

“The combination of AT&T’s land-based internet and video business with DirecTV’s satellite-based video business does not pose a significant risk to competition.”

-The Department of Justice

Pakistan shutting down BlackBerry’s secure messaging services for “security reasons”

The company logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo

The Pakistani government plans to shut down BlackBerry’s secure messaging services by December 1st for “security reasons,” according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

Nintendo Wii U TVii service shutting down in August

Nintendo TVii

Nintendo TVii, the Wii U service that lets users find, watch, and interact with television content through the console’s GamePad controller, is shutting down on August 11th, according to Nintendo.

“After almost three years of finding, watching, and engaging with Nintendo TVii, we will be ending the service on August 11, 2015 at 3:00PM PT. At the same time, we will be closing the Nintendo TVii Miiverse community.

“We sincerely thank you for all of your engagement within the community and the Nintendo TVii service. We look forward to your contributions within our many other Miiverse communities.”

-Nintendo, in a Miiverse post

A Wii U system update will roll out next month to remove TVii from the GamePad.

Other Wii U video applications like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, and Crunchyroll, will not be affected.

Nike, Apple agree to $2.4M settlement in fake FuelBand suit claim

nike-launches-nike-fuelband-se-silver-edition-0

Consumers who purchased a Nike+ FuelBand between January 19th, 2012 and June 17th, 2015 might be eligible for a small payment from Nike after the athletics giant, alongside co-defendant Apple, agreed to settle a class action suit alleging the companies falsely advertised the device’s health tracking capabilities.

Under agreed upon terms reached in June, Nike will dish out up to $2.4M to customers who purchased a FuelBand between the aforementioned dates to settle a class action suit first brought between the two companies in 2013. Apple bears no responsibility or liability for attorney’s fees or costs.

Plaintiffs, led by class representative Carolyn Levin, allege Nike’s FuelBand is unable to live up to advertisements touting the ability to accurately track calorie burn, steps, and overall activity represented a “NikeFuel” reading. The suit claims that both companies knew of these deficiencies and continued to sell the device.

Since FuelBand was never able to perform advertised tracking functions, Nike is also in breach of warranty, according to the suit.

Notices were sent out to potential class members on Friday through email, providing instructions on how to file settlement claims for either a $15 payment for $25 gift card redeemable through Nike’s retail and online stores. Those notified can also object or exclude themselves from the settlement.

A fairness hearing is scheduled for November 4th to discuss settlement terms, attorneys’ fees and expenses, and an award for the class representative.

TechSummit Rewind #003: January 3rd, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, which can be read here every Saturday starting on january 3.

Tobii, SteelSeries team up to bring world’s first mass-market eye-tracking peripheral

Tobii-EyeX1

 

Tobii Technology and Steelseries announced a partnership to launch the world’s first mass-market consumer eye-tracking device for gamers.

Bruce Hawver, Steelseries CEO:

“We’re proud to announce this new partnership at CES. As the leader in eye-tracking technology, Tobii is positioned not only to impact but also to change the way that gamers experience and play games. Eye tracking is something entirely different and exciting for this consumer market, and we are thrilled to be working alongside Tobii and the developer community to deliver an entirely new technology to this industry.”

The Tobii EyeX Controller, which was showcased at CES, will be an example of how eye-tracking peripherals can look and function.

Henrik Eskilsson, Tobii Technology CEO:

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Steelseries to bring a truly revolutionizing gaming product to market that will be a key milestone for expanding eye tracking into new, exciting, mass consumer markets. SteelSeries is recognized for premium products and a deep commitment to gaming and game development. Our organizations complement each other in a way that creates optimal conditions for eye tracking to provide amazing new experiences for gamers and to bring about a major evolution in human computing.”

The eyes are used to signal intent and interest, guide your actions, aim, express emotions and more. This extremely powerful dimension of interaction enabled by eye tracking opens up richer and more immersive gaming scenarios with games that respond to the player in ways that until now have not be possible.

Tobii eye tracking increases the bandwidth between the gamer and the game, allowing gamers to do more at the same time, which also creates a “richer” gaming experience. Add an extra aiming mechanism, remove the interruption of the game play by creating easier access to menus and commands, or make games with complex controls easier to learn.

Hawver:

“The integration of eye tracking into the game experience is literally a game changer — not only for the gamers themselves but also for developers. Eye tracking capabilities offer game developers a new, creative approach to game development. It becomes a truly immersive experience for players.”

The Tobii EyeX dev kit makes implementation of Tobii eye tracking in games and other software easy. It includes Tobii’s “industry-leading” eye-tracking hardware, unique middleware and development framework, and inspiration from out-of-the-box functionality in a wealth of applications and games.

Eskilsson:

“Tech enthusiasts and gamers around the world are waiting for eye tracking to happen in consumer devices, and the expectations are extremely high. For those who want to be part of the next big thing in gaming and computer interaction, don’t wait. With the SteelSeries device on the way, the time is now if you want to be among the first to bring eye tracking into games and apps. With Tobii EyeX, you get the tools to innovation and unleash your full creativity in developing the ultimate experience in gaming.”

DreamWorks announces launch of Android ‘DreamTab’ with original content

dreamtab_04

 

DreamWorks certainly knows what kids want to watch, with its swath of highly-successful children’s programming, and Android tablet maker Fuhu knows a thing of two about children’s tablets — having produced the insanely-successful Nabi 2 line, for instance. The two have put their youth savvy together to create a new slate called the DreamTab that comes with its own stylus and an array of kids’ apps. The studio told the New York Times in January that it’ll launch an eight-inch model this spring for under $300 with content that can interact with other DreamWorks toys or show kids how to draw, for example. It’ll also include other educational apps to further entice parents and could even have animated characters like Shrek tell kids when it’s time to shut it down. A 12-inch model will arrive later, and though there’s no word on specs at this time, DreamWorks said the new models will provide around the same power as an iPad.

Netflix adds director’s commentary option to House of Cards season one

House of Cards

 

Fans can now revisit season one of popular Netflix exclusive series House of Cards with director’s commentary tracks from all six of the show’s directors: David Fincher, James Foley, Joel Schumacher, Charles McDougall, Carl Franklin and Allen Coulter. Viewers can access the additional commentary option under the alternate audio/subtitles menu on all devices. Usually these kinds of extras are tied to physical media, but Netflix announced recently it would give them a test run starting with its original content like this show and Orange is the New Black. If you appreciate the extra insight, give them a listen. We know the streaming company makes many of its decisions based on analytics so vote with your play button.

Pandora launches Alarm Clock feature in Android app

pandora-android-alarm-clock

 

Last month, Pandora updated its iOS app with a top-requested new product feature from the service’s listeners. The response from listeners using that new feature has “been overwhelmingly positive” and version 5.1 of Pandora’s Android app allows listeners on Android devices to wake up to their favorite Pandora music as well.

Just like the one we built for iOS, the Alarm Clock for Android includes key features like the ability to easily snooze. When the alarm goes off, you music will begin to play with album art scrolling in the background. At this point, you can choose to keep listening to your music by tapping the song title or artist name on your phone screen, snooze or turn off the alarm. There are also a few notable features that are unique to the Android Alarm Clock, including the ability to customize how often your alarm repeats throughout the week. Since you don’t have to keep the Pandora app running in the foreground in order for the alarm to play music when it fires, the Alarm Clock for Android is “easier than ever” to use.

For those of you that are a slave to your snooze button, you can set the snooze option for five, 10, 15 or 20 minute increments. When this option is activated, your music will pause and the amount of time remaining will be displayed along with a progress bar counting down how many minutes you have left before the alarm will go off again. If you enjoy falling asleep to the sounds of your favorite Pandora tunes, the Alarm Clock for Android was built to also work in conjunction with the Sleep Timer.

Wii Fit U availability announced, still won’t work unless you use it

Wii Fit U

 

Nintendo’s tardy Wii Fit U has hit store shelves at a handful of price points and configurations as of January 10th, 2014 — all with the intent of making both you and your wallet lighter. If you missed out on last generation\’s fitness-game craze, a bundle with the game itself, a Wii Balance Board and Fit Meter fitness tracker will cost you $90. Just need the new game and a Fit Meter? That’ll set you back $50, while individual Fit Meters go for $20 each.

LG announces wearables, TVs, smartphones, appliances at CES 2014

LG-Logo1

 

LG kicked off Press Day at the Consumer Electronics Show and announced a boatload of products. In case you missed the 45-minute presentation, here’s a recap of what you missed.

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The LG Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones mark LG’s first foray into fitness technology.

The Lifeband Touch is a smart activity tracker that is compatible with heart rate monitors as well as smartphones. Meanwhile, the Heart Rate Earphones’ dual-function design offers a convenient way for users to measure their heart rate while exercising. Both devices are designed to help users take greater control over their health. Lifeband Touch and Health Rate Earphones can wirelessly link up to each other, creating a seamless wireless ecosystem. Connected to Android and iOS smartphones, the devices can transmit data to the LG Fitness app, or to a number of other third party apps such as MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper or MapMyFitness.

Lifeband Touch was designed to be “asymmetric and flexible.” Featuring a touch OLED panel to display time, biometrics, incoming calls and music controls, the built-in three-axis accelerometer and altimeter allows the device to accurately measure key performance indicators such as distance, speed, number of steps, calories consumed and projected pace. Lifeband Touch also offers wireless connectivity via Bluetooth to transmit data to a smartphone or receive data from third party devices such as the Heart Rate Earphones.

LG’s Heart Rate Earphones feature PerformTek sensor technology which measures blood flow signals from the auricle, the external part of the ear to capture accurate biometric data such as heart rate and maximum oxygen consumption. A clip-on medallion connected to the earphones provides Bluetooth connectivity, enabling the unit to send data to a smartphone or the Lifeband Touch for a truly seamless experience.

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LG Studio includes a full line of modern kitchen necessities, including ranges, wall ovens, cooktops, microwave ovens and dishwashers.

Spearheading the premium line of appliances is the 42-inch side-by-side refrigerator, which boasts a 26.5 cubic foot capacity. LG will also be showcasing its 25 cubic foot three-door refrigerator with Door-in-Door which can be opened with the simple push of a button.

The new LG Studio built-in refrigerator features LG’s SpacePlus icemaker, which frees up top-shelf space by moving the ice maker into the refrigerator door. LG’s built-in refrigerator also comes with an extra-tall ice and water dispenser which accommodates a wider range of containers, with an extended height of 9.2 inches. LG’s built-in refrigerator also comes with adjustable shelving and sliding door baskets, while multiple pull-out drawers allows for customized organization.

LG’s Smart Cooling Plus technology with Dual Evaporators react quickly to humidity and temperature changes to help keep food fresh. Digital sensors include the fresh food section also closely monitor temperature and humidity levels.

This new LG Studio refrigerator also features the company’s proprietary Smart Diagnosis. It helps customer service representatives quickly and efficiently troubleshoot mechanical issues over the phone.

All Studio refrigerators are Energy Star qualified in recognition of their energy efficiency. The refrigerators are built around LG’s Inverter Linear Compressor, one of the company’s four Core Technologies. With fewer moving parts and greater efficiency, the motor is backed by a 10-year manufacturer’s limited warranty.

LG’s TrueSteam technology ends the need to prewash dishes by discharging powerful, high-temperature steam particles from carefully aimed pressure nozzles. Food particles are dispersed, and dishes are left sparkling clean. Steam temperature and pressure are managed by the built-in steam generator, which ensures that the steam is strong enough to dissolve tough food residues but gentle enough to protect delicate items from damage.

The intelligent design of SmartRack allows the interior of the dishwasher to be more flexible and offers greater convenience to customers. While most dishwashers feature only two tiers, LG’s TrueSteam dishwashers comes with a height-adjustable third tier, ideal for oversized utensils such as spatulas, whisks or salad tongs.

LG Studio offers a complete range of cooking essentials, including gas and electric cooktops, single and double wall ovens, slide-in and freestanding ranges and microwave ovens. Appliances such as the wall ovens feature a Gourmet Recipe Bank housing 100 recipes — 42 of which are pre-programmed into the oven.

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After acquiring WebOS last year from HP, we’re finally seeing the first fruits of LG’s labor. WebOS, which will be implemented in more than 70 percent of LG’s Smart TVs in 2014 makes content searching and viewing, connecting with other devices, and even the initial setup process incredibly smooth. The first time the user turns on the webOS-enabled LG Smart TV, an animated character reminiscent of Microsoft’s Clippy, BeanBird appears onscreen to help get connected and walk the user through the setup process. All the viewer had to go is shake the Magic Remote or press the OK button to receive further advice from the winged virtual facilitator. webOS can instantly recognize when and what kind of external device has been plugged into the TV and brings up a pop-up menu listing all relevant options for the user to choose from.

The new Launcher, a left-to-right scrollable menu that runs along the lower portion of the screen is one of the most distinctive features of webOS. The Launcher makes it possible to switch between broadcast TV, smart TV content and media stored on external devices without having to return to the Home screen. It allows the viewer to simultaneously watch a show, play a game or browse the Internet while searching or downloading other content. What’s more, Live Menu, which can be opened while viewing the TV, keeps the search, recommendation and channel options within easy reach.

The ‘Today’ menu is a one-stop content recommendation service, suggesting popular TV shows, programs that have been missed as well as full-length movies. Running horizontally along the center of the screen, the Today bar can also be scrolled up or down via the Magic Remote wheel to reveal more viewing options.

LG’s webOS also offers access to the LG Store’s collection and apps. The LG Store lets users browse the most-viewed and most-downloaded items available from across the Smart TV platform, including broadband TV programs and the latest games. The categories include 3D content, games and movies.

The addition of webOS to LG’s Smart TVs will support Ultra HD 4K from Netflix. All 12 of LG’s 2014 Ultra HD TVs support 4K Netflix streaming.

LG’s 2014 Ultra HD Tvs are designed to include the latest standards for connectivity, content protection and program encoding, meaning they’re equipped to handle 4K streaming. The capability can be TV ensured by the built-in 4K HEVC 60p decoder. LG’s 2014 Ultra HD TVs decode broadcast signals in both H.264 and HEVC H.265 formats, in either 30p or 60p.

LG also took the cover off the world’s first flexible OLED TV today at CES. With this 77-inch unit, viewers can control the angle of the TV’s curve for an optional viewing experience using the TV remote.

lg_g_flex

AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint will be offering the LG G Flex, seen above. T-Mobile and Sprint didn’t announce details on pricing or availability, but AT&T announced that it’ll be available in the first quarter of the year.

In case you need a spec refresher, full specs are available below:

    • 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor
    • 6-inch 1280×720 P-OLED display
    • 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage
    • 13MP rear-facing camera, 2.1MP front-facing camera
    • 3,500mAH battery
    • Operating System: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean (at launch)
    • Dimensions: 160.5×81.6×7.9-8.7mm, 177g

 

Yahoo Sports iOS app lets users turn highlights into animated GIFs

The Yahoo logo is shown at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale

 

Yahoo Sports’ iOS app has been redesigned for iOS 7, adding some nice flair that closely resembles the minimal flatness of Apple’s mobile OS, but that’s not even the most newsworthy part of the update. Help users harness their inner meme by introducing a GIF creator inside the app itself, called Loops. This allows users to take short game highlight clips and quickly meme-ify them with overlaid text. The GIFs can then be shared with friends, or posted to a feed on a main game results page.

Users can create Loops for professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey, with college football and baseball also supported. This is made possible thanks to the Sunnyvale, CA-based company’s acquisition of IntoNow, which allows Yahoo to record highlights of televised sports.

Gorilla Glass

Corning has adopted the manufacturing readiness of a novel 3D glass-forming technology to shape the company’s Gorilla Glass. Corning is targeting commercialization of finished 3D-shaped Gorilla Glass parts in 2014 and is working with G-Tech Optoelectronics Corp. (GTOC) to establish a vertically integrated operation in Taiwan.

Product design continues to drive the consumer electronics industry. More than half of the top 10 smartphone manufacturers already market devices that incorporate cover glass with subtle curves, and the demand for even more-dramatic form factors is increasing. Corning’s 3D-forming technology meets this demand and expands the design possibilities for industrial designers.

The relationship with GTOC allows Corning to provide a “one-roof” solution.

James Steinter, Corning Specialty Materials senior vice president and general manager:

“We can now take Gorilla Glass all the way from flat sheet to a finished 3D-shaped product in Asia, expediting turnaround times and minimizing logistical complexity. That’s a win for Corning and our customers.”

Corning’s 3D-forming technology can achieve precise tolerances and high throughput on a platform that is more economical than alternative two-mold forming methods. This technology uses Gorilla Glass of uniform thickness, assisting designers to introduce thinner and lighter devices and leverage the emergence of conformable displays for mobile and wearable applications.

BBM beta for Android gains Channels, voice chat

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Android users who’ve enjoyed their first taste of BBM got some new features today. BlackBerry released a private beta of the messaging client that introduces promised Channels and Voice support, giving Android users the same social feeds and free WiFi calling as their BB10 brethren. There’s no mention of when the feature will reach either the public BBM build or its iOS equivalent, but it’s clear that wider availability is close at hand.

AT&T tries to lure T-Mobile customers away with up to $450 per line

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AT&T is offering T-Mobile customers the opportunity to “upgrade their mobile lifestyle” with up to $450 per line when they switch to AT&T and trade in an eligible smartphone.

In addition to a “larger and more reliable 4G LTE network,” T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T will benefit from a “superior smartphone lineup and award-winning customer service.” With AT&T, customers can take advantage of AT&T’s Mobile Share Value plans, which offer data and unlimited talk and text starting as low as $45 per month with no annual contract. AT&T Next offers customers the chance to upgrade to a new smartphone every year for $0 down.

Under the limited-time offer, T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T can trade in their current smartphone for a promotion card of up to $250, which can be used toward AT&T products and services. Trade-in values will vary based on the manufacturer, model and age of the smartphone, but many of the “latest and most popular smartphones” will quality for a value of $250. T-Mobile customers can receive an additional $200 credit per line when they transfer their wireless service to AT&T and choose an AT&T Next plan, buy a device at full retail price or activate a device they currently own.

BlackBerry sues Typo Products over iPhone keyboard case

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BlackBerry filed a lawsuit against Typo Products.

Typo, founded by entrepreneur Laurence Hallier and media personality Ryan Seacrest, announced that the Typo Keyboard would be available for pre-order this month. BlackBerry’s lawsuit against Typo Products alleges patent infringement and that Typo has “blatantly copied” the keyboard found on BlackBerry’s Q10 smartphone with its iPhone keyboard case.

Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer:

“This is a blatant infringement against BlackBerry’s iconic keyboard, and we will vigorously protect our intellectual property against any company that attempts to copy our unique design. From the beginning, BlackBerry has always focused on offering an exceptional typing experience that combines a great ergonomic excellence. We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations.”

Typo also released their own statement:

“We are aware of the lawsuit that BlackBerry filed today against Typo Products. Although we respect BlackBerry and its intellectual property, we believe that BlackBerry’s claims against Typo lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously. We are excited about our innovative keyboard design, which is the culmination of years of development and research. The Typo keyboard has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from the public. We are also looking forward to our product launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week and remain on track to begin shipping pre-orders at the end of January.”

Acer announces new seven, 7.9-inch Iconia tablets for $130 and up

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Acer is known to refresh its Android tablet lineup at CES, and they didn’t disappoint this year. Ahead of the CES madness, the company has announced new 7.9-inch and seven-inch models: the Iconia A1-830 and the Iconia B1-720.

The 7.9-inch A1 is the most premium of the two, with an aluminum backing and an IPS display for wide viewing angles (albeit with a 1024×768 resolution). It runs Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean (at launch) with an Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM under the hood. There’s 16GB of on-board memory that’s expandable to 32GB with a microSD card, and the rear-facing camera lets you shoot at a resolution of 2560 x 1930. Of course, at $149, it’s still on the cheap side, but it looks to be a good low-end option, with up to seven hours of battery life to boot. The A1-830 is available now, and Acer will sell an optional keyboard and cover as well.

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Now in the ultra-affordable category: the Iconia B1-720 costs $130, and your money buys you a basic slate that’s faster than last year’s version. You get a 1.3GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM, and the device is rated for up to five hours of battery life. The patterned finish is a touch classier than the previous B1’s glossy backing, too. The 7-incher is available now in North America, alongside an optional protective case.

 

BlackBerry announces Passport for mobile professionals

Continuing its strategy to arm mobile professionals with tools that make them more productive, BlackBerry has launched the Passport.

Featuring a 4.5″ 1440×1400 (453ppi) HD square display and a new QWERTY touch-enabled keyboard, the BlackBerry Passport is a device purpose-built for “productivity-driven business professionals who want a smartphone that empowers them with the mobile tools they need to get things done, without sacrificing style or portability.

The aforementioned keyboard brings “innovation to input with a responsive touch surface like a trackpad” that lets you perform many touch functions directly on the keyboard. You can scroll web pages, flick to type or slide along the keys to move the cursor, leaving the full screen available for viewing content.

John Chen, BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO:

“As we set out to design BlackBerry Passport, we were guided by a simple yet challenging idea — to set aside the limitations of traditional design and to instead simply build a device that fundamentally changes the way business professionals get work done on their smartphone. The BlackBerry Passport was created to drive productivity and to break through the sea of rectangular-screen, all-touch devices.”

Inspired by the passports required for international travel, the BlackBerry Passport is portable enough to “easily tuck into pockets and use wherever you go. Utilizing premium materials like Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 for the display and forged stainless steel for added strength, BlackBerry Passport will “provide the durability business professionals require in a smartphone.”

The large square screen is optimized for viewing and creating content, and will make everyday tasks like reading and writing emails, reviewing and editing documents, web browsing and map navigation “more comfortable and effortless.” The BlackBerry Passport includes the “industry’s first touch-enabled keyboard with gestures that make typing, editing and navigating more efficient and accurate.” BlackBerry’s physical QWERTY keyboards have “always made it easier for users to create polished, professional communications with exceptional accuracy.” BlackBerry Passport’s new QWERTY keyboard is “almost four times more accurate than BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboards — the error rate is on average 74% lower.”

The device is built for the “most demanding user” using “durable materials mixed with top-of-the-line technology,” including a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 3GB RAM, 13MP OIS rear camera and 32GB of internal storage. The Passport’s 3450mAh battery is rated for up to 30 hours of “mixed use.”

BlackBerry Passport comes with “powerful” speakers and a quad microphone system that “delivers a high-quality listening experience. The company’s Natural Sound Technology is built in to adapt WiFi and cellular cell sound depending upon phone position and background noise, automatically adjusting volume “so you don’t have to.”

The Passport along with the Porsche Design P9983 smartphones, are the first devices to launch on BlackBerry 10.3, the latest version of the company’s operating system. They come with “productivity-enhancing features” like BlackBerry Blend and BlackBerry Assistant preinstalled, as well as the BlackBerry World storefront and Amazon Appstore for apps. It also has a fresh look that incorporates updated icons and an instant action bar so that each user’s most commonly accessed functions are in the center of their screen.

BlackBerry Blend

BlackBerry Blend brings messaging and content that is on your BlackBerry smartphone to your computer and tablet. Get instant message notifications, read and respond to your work and personal emails, BBM or text messages, and access your documents, calendar, contacts and media in real time on whatever device you are on, powered by your BlackBerry. BlackBerry Blend is being introduced on the Passport and will work across the following operating systems:

  • Mac OS 10.7 or later
  • Windows 7 or later
  • Android tablets running version 4.4 KitKat or later via cellular, USB or WiFi connections

Blend is available now here for Macs and PCs, on the Apple App Store for iPad, or via the Google Play Store.

BlackBerry Assistant

The BlackBerry Assistant is the company’s first digital assistant and can be used with voice and text commands to help users manage work and personal email, contacts, calendar and other native BlackBerry 10 applications. Assistant “intelligently determines how to respond to you based on how you interact with it” — if you type, it responds silently, if you speak, it speaks back and if you activate over Bluetooth, it speaks back to you with additional context because it assumes you might not have access to the screen.

The BlackBerry Passport is now available through local carriers around the world and online through Shop BlackBerry and Amazon.

Source: BlackBerry

 

PSA: BlackBerry Music, Video stores closing today

Earlier this month, we informed you that the Amazon Appstore is coming to BlackBerry users in BlackBerry 10.3.

As part of the announcement, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company announced that the music and video sections of BlackBerry World would be closing today, July 21st. Previously downloaded content will continue to be available after today through MyWorld.

More Coverage: Paw Print

Amazon Appstore coming to BlackBerry users this fall

BlackBerry has entered into a licensing agreement with Amazon to bring the over 200,000 Android apps available via its Appstore platform to BlackBerry 10.3 users.

Apps such as Groupon, Netflix, Pinterest, Candy Crush Saga and Minecraft — would all be available for direct download.

But fear not BlackBerry purists, BlackBerry World will continue to be available, where you can access applications that are built for BlackBerry 10.

In addition to the greater app selection, you will be able to access video and music services through a number of popular third party services available through the Amazon Appstore and BlackBerry World. While BlackBerry World will continue to offer music and video services via third party applications, the music and video sections of BlackBerry World will be closing on July 21st. Previously downloaded content will be available after that date through MyWorld.

Source: Inside BlackBerry Blog

BlackBerry announces BlackBerry Experience event dates

WATERLOO, Ontario — BlackBerry has announced ‘BlackBerry Experience,’ a series of Enterprise customer events designed for those who are responsible for defining and implementing the mobile strategy of their organizations.

The half-day event kicks off with BlackBerry sharing their vision and product strategy, followed by insights from industry analysts about trends that are shaping the mobile world before taking a closer look at the solutions that help you drive greater productivity and efficiency in your organization. Following the presentations, there will be a networking session.

Events will be held in the following cities:

Source: Inside BlackBerry