Motorola's answer to Apple's iPhone 5c and Google's Nexus 5, the Moto G, is available to order now, starting at $179. Despite coming in at just "one third of the price of current high-end phones", this is an entry-level smartphone that still manages to pack a punch. There's a 4.5-inch display and a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, and Motorola is claiming all-day battery life. It is the GSM version that is available now, and in January it will be possible to buy the CDMA model in the US as well.
It has already been launched in a number of territories including Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Peru and parts of Europe, but now the US is getting some Motorola loving too. Buy direct from Motorola and the handset is free from contract, has no SIM lock, and has an unlockable bootloader -- a tweaker's dream! At 1280 by 720 HD, 329 ppi, the Moto G's screen is above and beyond what you might expect to find on a handset around this price.
A total of six Android devices from Samsung and HTC have been delisted by Futuremark after suspicions were raised about their performance in 3DMark benchmarks. Although no specific details are given about why the handsets were removed, concerns surrounded the performance of particular phones.
It comes after Samsung code appeared to detect the presence of benchmarking software and seemingly increased GPU frequency to achieve higher results. A new version of the Android app implements the delistings.
Using a peripheral to interact with your computer is so passé. Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners have the Kinect to dance in front of, and PlayStation gamers have a camera that can be used in much the same way. PC users can turn to the likes of Leap Motion if they like the idea of eschewing traditional forms of control, and an increasing number of smartphones can recognize eye and hand movements. Now it looks as though Apple is joining the party by buying 3D motion detection specialists PrimeSense.
This may not be a firm that sounds all that familiar, but you're almost certainly aware of the Israeli company's work -- Kinect for the Xbox. Yep, you read that correctly. Apple is buying the firm behind one of the most interesting and innovative features of Microsoft's game console. While no details of the purchase have been revealed, and no mention made of any money that may have swapped hands, PrimeSense has confirmed that the purchase is going ahead.
Sony PlayStation 4 hit the stores and Brian not only took a look at the brand new console, but also cracked open the case and slipped a larger hard drive inside. Brian wasn't alone in his love of the PS4, more than a million people also bought a console on the day of launch. But not everyone was happy as many units were found to suffer from a Blue Light of Death problem that rendered them unusable. Raspberry Pi was also celebrating its sales figures as more than two million were shifted since its launch last year.
In a rare show of unity, Microsoft and Google joined forces to help tackle the problem of online child pornography. At the same time, Microsoft took its Scroogled campaign to a new level by releasing merchandise (although Joe was impressed). Elsewhere online, Twitter introduced Twitter alerts to the UK and Ireland to help provide people with critical information in an emergency.
Take a look at your wallet. How many debit cards, credit cards and loyalty cards do you have? If it's anything like mine it is probably bursting at the seams with an inch or more of plastic cards. Reach the checkout in a store and you may well have ended up red-faced as you rummage for the right payment and loyalty card. With Coin, all of this could come to an end. The idea of a catch-all replacement that combines multiple cards into one is not new, but thus far solutions have taken the form of mobile apps. Coin is different -- this is a real card that acts as many.
Coins have a tendency to weigh down your pockets, but this Coin is a single lightweight unit. The card features an integrated display which you can use to view the last four digits of a stored card along with the expiration data and CVV so you, and the person you hand the card to, knows which of your stored cards you are using. You may well have used a mobile app that replaces loyalty cards, and Coin is taking this idea to the next level.
I'm a Surface Pro user; that I won't deny. I also own an iPad -- it's an old iPad 2, but it still does the job. It may not have the fancy 'more pixels than you can see without the aid of a microscope' display of newer models, but it's perfectly functional. However I'd still pick the Surface over Apple's tablet for just about everything. I'll admit I was tempted by the idea of an iPad Air when it was launched, but after thinking it over a little, I decided to stick with the old model and continue to enjoy my Surface Pro.
But the time will come when I am in the market for a new tablet. Having had my attention flagged by the iPad Air, it would seem that it would be a toss-up between the Surface 2 (Pro or regular) and Apple's offering. However much I think about it, I still find myself falling on the side of the Surface. Why? Several reasons:
Microsoft Research's latest app makes it easier than ever to give a presentation without having to hunch over your laptop. Like the idea of wandering the stage gesticulating wildly as you skip between PowerPoint slides? Fancy being able to scroll through Word and Excel documents without the need to find your mouse? This is what Office Remote has been designed for. This is a simple app for Windows Phone, but one that will be welcomed with open arms by anyone who has to give presentations as part of their job.
The app is described by Microsoft as transforming a cell phone into a "magic wand" and it untethers presenters so they are free to walk the stage and interact with their audience. While the most obvious app to use Office Remote with may be PowerPoint, it can be used with Word and Excel too -- the 2013 and 365 versions of the office suite are supported (although not the RT version of Office).
Yay! The PlayStation 4 is out in the wild! Yippee! Oh…. It's broken. Boo! Sound familiar? Think back to the Xbox 360 and Microsoft was blighted by the infamous RRoD (Red Ring of Death) that signified cooked hardware. It's looking as though the much anticipated launch of the PS4 is suffering a similar fate as more and more users complain about consoles that will not turn on, and exhibit nothing more exciting than a pulsing blue light -- the imaginatively name Blue Light of Death, or BLoD.
Sony may have been rubbing its hands with glee as more than a million consoles flew off the shelves in the first day on sale, but things very quickly took a turn for the worse. Take a look at the PlayStation 4 support forums and you'll find a large number of complaints from disgruntled gamers annoyed at the fact their console is not working. The hashtag #PS4broken has been trending on Twitter on and off as users take to the web to voice their annoyance.
To help fight the problem of child pornography online, Google and Microsoft are joining forces to block access to illegal content in the UK and then globally. Writing in the Daily Mail, Google's Eric Scmidt explains how new search filtering techniques now prevent more than 100,000 search terms relating to child pornography from returning any results. The filtering is starting in English speaking countries, but will soon roll out to more than 150 languages.
He explains that Google and Microsoft have worked with law enforcement agencies for many years and are proactively involved in the removal of illegal images. More than 200 extra employees have been assigned the tasks of developing new technologies over the last three months. This is very much a joint venture between the two companies, and Schmidt recognizes the input of Microsoft, saying that the company "deserves a lot of credit for developing and sharing its picture detection technology".
Fancy getting your hands on a Nexus 7 without having to part with any cash? If you've been on the lookout for a 7-inch Android tablet, Google has a contest that may well be of interest. Providing you live in the US, you can take part in a photo competition to bag yourself either a free Nexus 7 or a $50 Google Play gift card. Sound tempting? All you need to do is take a photo of an arrangement of things that matter to you -- that's all there is to it!
The competition is not actually new as three draws have already taken place -- but there are only a couple of days left to try your luck with the final one. A reminder was issued on Google+ and while the introduction on the main competition page suggests that photos need to include an Android device, read on a little and you will discover that this is not actually a requirement for entry -- but make sure you don’t include a rival product in the shot though, as "non-Nexus or Android devices (phones/tablets) may not be shown in entry".
It would be a strange week if Google didn’t steal a few headlines, and this week saw the introduction of new quick actions to Gmail as well as the launch of a series of online tools to help with the aftermath of the Philippines typhoon. Changes were also made to attachments in Gmail so it is now possible to download files directly to Google Drive. After the launch of the Nexus 5 -- which Brian was not blown away by -- Google also started to roll out Android 4.4 to Nexus tablets -- Mihaita was on hand with a guide to manually upgrading for anyone who did not want to wait for the OTA update to arrive. The news wasn't so good for the Chromebook 11 which was taken off sale after problems with overheating chargers. Google won a court battle after a judge ruled that the scanning of books is not illegal.
This week it was revealed that while BitTorrent still accounts for a large proportion of web traffic, and usage has actually increased in Europe, in the States there has been a drop in traffic. Anyone who seeks entertainment through other channels will be pleased by the fact that Roku streaming boxes can now be used to access Disney and ESPN channels. The Netflix channel was also updated with a new look.
Following the lead of US airlines, the European Commission gives the go-ahead for the use of 3G and 4G services during flights. The Commission is permitting the use of UMTS and LTE data connections on aircraft above altitudes of 3,000 meters in the European Union (EU). Up until now, only 2G (GSM) usage has been allowed and the decision paves the way for passengers to make use of high speed data connections, although the decision about whether to permit this on individual flights lies with airlines.
The Commission's announcement makes it clear that the decision does not translate into an automatic right for passengers to use data connections, at least partly because aircraft need to be adapted.
The head of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, is calling for phone providers to pass rules that will make it easier for handset owners to unlock their devices. In a letter to Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA The Wireless Association, Wheeler says that "enough time has passed, and it is now time for the industry to act voluntarily or for the FCC to regulate". He goes on to call for the unlocking policy to be put in place before the December holiday season.
Wheeler is concerned that despite eight months of collaboration between CTIA and the FCC to make changes to CTIA's Consumer Code, these changes are yet to be made. The FCC is asking for five specific rules to be put in place to make it easier for consumers to unlock their phones.
There's nothing stopping tablet owners from making use of mobile websites, but apps are where it is at. Gmail has a perfectly serviceable website, but the app does make many tasks easier to perform. Today, Google takes the lid off a completely redesigned version of its iPad app which has been designed to make it easier to do more, whether you choose to work in landscape or portrait mode.
Despite the fact that this release is, based on version number at least, a small move forward -- this is version 2.7182 -- there are a lot of changes, some cosmetic, some functional. Landscape mode benefits from the addition of a new navigation bar that can be used to switch between accounts and categories. This is essentially an iPad friendly version of the tabbed inbox that has been introduced online.
There is nothing wrong with Google scanning millions of book and making that text available as snippets in search results. This is the ruling made today by a judge in New York, bringing to an end an eight year legal battle between Google and The Authors Guild in conjunction with several specific authors. Starting back in 2004, Google has scanned more than twenty million books -- and permission was not obtained from the copyright holder in many cases.
A class action lawsuit was launched against Google back in 2005, but in New York, U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin has ruled that there is no copyright infringement and that Google's book scanning qualifies as fair use. Among the named writers were former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton, The Trouble with Thirteen author Betty Miles, and legal author Joseph Goulden.