Monday, February 24, 2014

Samsung Officially Announces Galaxy S5

Samsung just announced their flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone during its press conference today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The new Samsung Galaxy S5 features a built in heart rate sensor that enables new features in the S Health 3.0 app as well as a finger print scanner similar to Apple’s TouchID feature on the iPhone 5S. Samsung confirmed that it will be offering mobile payments with the fingerprint scanner and using it as a security feature to make content in certain apps only accessible when activated by the user’s fingerprint.

Samsung has released some feature details on the new Samsung Galaxy S5 listed below:

  • 5.1 inch 1920 x 1080 FHD Super AMOLED display
  • 2.5GHz Quad core processor
  • Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat)
  • heart rate sensor
  • 16 megapixel camera, 2.1 megapixel
  • fifth generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac and 2X2 MIMO
  • Download Booster WiFi-LTE bonding
  • Finger Scanner
  • IP67 dust and water resistant
  • 2800mAh battery
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16/32GB memory (up to 64GB w/ microSD)
  • dimensions: 142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm, 145g
  • charcoal Black, shimmery White, electric Blue, and copper Gold

Samsung Unveils Gear Fit

Image: BI

Samsung is off an running when it comes to health and fitness, with the new Gear Fit fitness watch. Features a 1.8 inch AMOLED curved display, a water-resistant design, and three to four days of battery life on a single charge. The fitness oriented device has fitness coaching, can count your steps, and measure your heart rate. 

The device has sleep-tracking functionality and rudimentary features such as viewing notifications and calls from a connected smartphone. The operating system is proprietary to the device not Android or Tizen. No pricing details are available Samsung has given an April release.

Verizon Moto X Owners Now Receiving Android 4.4.2 Soak Test Update

Those who are using a Moto X on Verizon and participating in the soak test, software updates went out today (I've just received mine, see the screen shot below). This would be the first update since the jump to Android 4.4.
Motorola has been pretty good about quickly releasing the soak test and official updates, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular users recently received there soak test invites quickly followed by an official Android 4.4.2 update. If you aren't part of the Motorola Feedback Network to get in on the soak tests, don't worry, your update should be heading out soon provided the soak test goes according to plan.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Samsung Unveils Tizen Powered Gear 2 And Gear 2 Neo Smartwatch

Group_Gear 2
Samsung announce its latest Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are not Android powered, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are powered by Samsung’s own operating system Tizen.
The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are Samsung’s latest addition to their smartwatch lineup. The watches include practically the same specs, a 1.63 inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 320×320, 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage, 300mAh battery that’s rated for 2-3 days of usage and different sensors, heart rate monitor, pedometer and Bluetooth 4.0 support. 
Both watches run on Tizen and include music players as well as built-in IR blasters to control your TV through the watch. The only real difference in hardware is the Gear 2 Neo doesn’t feature a 2-megapixel camera while the Gear 2 does.
The other difference comes in color choices. The Gear 2 is available in Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange and the Gear 2 Neo is available in Charcoal Black, Mocha Grey and Wild Orange. Both watches are IP57 certified for dust and water resistance.
Both smartwatches are able to act independently of phones and the Tizen software does have customization features. However, many Galaxy branded smartphones will work with these smartwatches and will add additional features such as being able to accept calls, text messages and other notifications straight from your watch. Pricing details were not available but both smartwatches will be going on sale internationally in April. If you’re interested in pictures and the official press release of the devices, check out the source below. 
A heads-up, the devices look similar, but the Gear 2 has a black bar above the screen while the Gear 2 Neo simply has a small circle.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Google Reportedly Announcing Android 4.5 And Nexus 8 In July

An unnamed Google Dublin employee has reportedly leaked that Android 4.5 won’t be unveiled until July, alongside the new Nexus 8 tablet. Google I/O 2014 will instead focus on services Google is planning to bring to the market. The source also stated the 7 inch Asus made Google Nexus tablets will be discontinued to make room for a 8 inch model.

Although the employee did not say which devices would include Android 4.5, the fact that the Nexus 8 tablet will apparently be a part of the announcement could signal that the tablet will ship with the new software as it has Google has in the past.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Facebook Purchases WhatsApp For $19B

Facebook is purchasing messaging giant WhatsApp for $16 billion in cash and stock, according to a regulatory filing. The deal is being cut for $12 billion in Facebook shares, $4 billion in cash and an additional $3 billion in RSUs for employee retention.
A termination fee is attached to the deal that would cost Facebook $1 billion in cash and $1 billion in shares if the deal fails to pass regulatory muster.
Facebook has posted on its blog, detailing the reasoning behind the acquisition, as well. The post notes that WhatsApp will continue to operate independently and retain its brand. In addition, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum will join Facebook’s board.
Facebook notes that WhatsApp has over 450 million MAUs, with 70 percent of those active each day. In a staggering comparison, Facebook also notes that the messaging volume of WhatsApp approaches the SMS volume of the entire global telecom industry and that it’s adding 1 million users a day.

Verizon Moto X Owners Receiving Soak Test Invitations

Those who are using a Moto X on Verizon soak test software update invites went out today (I received mine just a few days ago, however no software push as of now). This would be the first update since the jump to Android 4.4.
Motorola has been pretty good about quickly releasing the soak test, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellukar users recently received there soak test invites quickly followed by an official Android 4.4.2 update. If you aren't part of the Motorola Feedback Network to get in on the soak tests, don't worry, your update should be heading out soon provided the soak test goes according to plan.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

SlickLogin Team Is Joining Google

SlickLogin announced today on its official website that it has been acquired by Google for an undisclosed amount. The three person SlickLogin team teases that Google is “working on some great ideas that will make the internet safer for everyone” and that it “couldn't be more excited” to join up with the Mountain View firm.
SlickLogin aimed to replace the traditional password with a new type of login process that used sounds to verify a user’s identity. In order to log in to a site or service, a user’s computer would play a near-silent sound that could be picked up using a special smartphone app that stored the user’s credentials. The phone would then send a signal back to the computer to verify the user’s identity and complete the login process.
Source: SlickLogin

Saturday, February 15, 2014

HTC Sheds Light On Plans For One Max, One Mini, And EVO 4G LTE Updates

HTC says Android 4.4 updates for the One max and One mini are currently being built and tested internally within HTC. The One Max’s update is expected to hit first, with an estimated arrival in March, while the One Mini’s KitKat update can be expected sometime in April.

HTC also revealed its plans for the EVO 4G LTE on Sprint. Owners of the HTC EVO 4G LTE will be happy to hear HTC is prepping an Android 4.3 update for the device, however due to memory partition size limit, the software won’t be made available over the air. Instead, HTC is creating a manual update process for “technical users” that want 4.3 on their devices. HTC is currently testing this update process and is looking for EVO 4G LTE owners to help out. You can get in touch with HTC by shooting an email to

HTC has caught some hell in the past for some of its actions regarding Android updates, such as the decision to stop providing major updates to the One S less than a year and a half after its launch. The Taiwanese firm seems to be placing more of a focus on providing updates for its flagship hardware lately, though sharing information about the rollout of updates and pushing them out in a timely manner. That’s a smart move from a company that had a pretty bumpy 2013 as it will help restore consumer confidence in HTC and perhaps push it have a better 2014.

Source: Reddit

Friday, February 14, 2014

Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside Joins Dropbox As COO

Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside has confirmed less than two years after taking over the position from Sanjay Jha before the Google acquisition, he will be leaving Motorola Mobility to take a position with Dropbox as COO. The move comes just weeks after the announcement that Lenovo would be taking over Motorola from internet giant Google. 

Jonathan Rosenberg who has been Senior Vice President of Product will be stepping in as COO of Motorola to work with the rest of the leadership team.

Source: Motorola

HTC Will Bring All "Major Android Updates" To New Flagship Devices For Two Years

Members of HTC's US product team have just started taking questions from Android fans over on Reddit, they're already dropping some goodies. After conceding that the company's track record with updates isn't spotless, they confirmed that HTC plans to bring "all major Android updates" to its forthcoming North American flagship devices for a full two years after they've been released.
HTC caught flack for refusing to update the One X past Android 4.2, a decision it made to maintain a level of software parity between the Tegra and Snapdragon variants floating around out there.
Originally the AMA post said HTC would "support all new flagship devices going forward with all major Android updates", but the company has clarified that it meant North American flagships specifically.

Source: Reddit

Comcast Agrees To Buy Time Warner Cable For $45 Billion

Analysts say the consolidation could help Comcast to compete with satellite providers like DirecTV, wireless phone companies like AT&T and new streaming services like Netflix.
"This isn't about TV anymore it's about controlling a fatter, more intelligent pipe for multiple services that emanate from it", including broadband Internet, phone and home security monitoring, said Tim Hanlon, the founder of the Vertere Group, an investment advisory firm that focuses on media and technology.
Time Warner Cable owners will be offered 2.875 Comcast shares for each share they own, valuing Time Warner Cable at about $158.82 per share. The two companies expect the merger to take effect by the end of the year, but regulators are likely to take a close look at the potential impact on consumers.
To address those concerns, Comcast said it was prepared to divest about 3 million subscribers. But it would still have about 30 million subscribers. The proposed deal ends months of jockeying for control of Time Warner Cable, the second biggest U.S. supplier of cable television with about 11 million subscribers.
Smaller rival Charter wanted to buy Time Warner Cable, indicating last month it was ready to pay about $130 per share. Time Warner Cable called that price "grossly inadequate" and countered with a suggestion of $160 per share, very close to Comcast's offer.
But Comcast had cast a shadow over the negotiations, and had reportedly held talks with Charter about how to split up Time Warner Cable's territories. Now, Comcast will gain even more leverage over the country's marketplace for television, broadband Internet and phone services. Comcast has about 23 million television subscribers.

Verizon LG G Pad 8.3 Images Leaked

Verizon G Pad 8.3
According to the latest tweet from @evleaks, it’s definitely coming soon. In the tweet, Evan posted up a press render of the G Pad 8.3, complete with two Verizon logos and 4G LTE logo on its backside (see below picture). Leaked last month, the tablet stopped by the FCC with Verizon radios in tow.
Verizon G Pad 8.3 2

Source: @evleaks

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Google's Nexus 7 (2013) LTE Receives Update To Enable Verizon 4G LTE

n7 lte update verizon

The Nexus 7 (2013) with LTE has received a 37MB update this afternoon that “enables full compatibility with Verizon’s 4G LTE network”. The screenshot also mention Android 4.4.2 is also in tow, as we recall Android 4.4.2 was released long ago for Google’s slate tablet. This brings the new build number to KVT49L.

Sprint Galaxy S4 KitKat Source Code Released

Samsung has released the source code for the Sprint Galaxy S4′s KitKat update. An update’s source code usually isn’t released until after the update has begun rolling out, but Samsung decided to release the source code first. This means that the final build cant be far behind.
The update should start going out at any time, but until it does we're sure developers will do their magic. When the update does begin pushing, as of now Sprint will be the first in the United States. There is no official word so far from Samsung or Sprint on the matter.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sprint Moto X Owners Receiving Soak Test Invitations

Those who are using a Moto X on Sprint soak test software update invites went out today (I received mine, even though I now have a Moto X on Verizon now). This would be the first update since the jump to Android 4.4.
Motorola has been pretty good about quickly releasing the soak test, T-Mobile users recently received there soak test invites quickly followed by an official Android 4.4.2 update. If you aren't part of the Motorola Feedback Network to get in on the soak tests, don't worry, your update should be heading out soon provided the soak test goes according to plan.

Nokia’s Normandy Android Phone Rumored For This Month

Nokia could finally show off those Android-based “Normandy” smartphones we’ve been seeing surface lately. The company will debut its rumored fork of Android later this month at Mobile World Congress, according to The Wall Street Journal. The event kicks off in two weeks in Barcelona, Spain, and runs through February 27th.

Nokia, whose devices and services division was acquired by Microsoft, Nokia had been working on Android phones ahead of the acquisition, WSJ says. Nokia has been the primary handset maker for Windows Phone OS-based smartphones since dropping its own Symbian OS years ago. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Judge Orders Aio Wireless To Choose A Different Color

T-Mobile announced that it has chalked up a win over Aio Wireless regarding a trademark infringement lawsuit. T-Mobile believes Aio Wireless use of their "plum" color in its logo was too close to T-Mobile's own magenta color and branding. 

T-Mobile sued Aio Wireless stating the company switch colors to avoid consumer confusion. A federal court agreed with T-Mobile's position. Aio has been told to cease using the color in its marketing, advertising, stores, web sites, and social media. 

Aio Wireless is owned and operated by AT&T.

Source: T-Mobile

Moto G Coming To Aio Wireless On February 14th

AIO wireless customers beginning February 14 the Moto G will be available at a discounted $150 on Aio Wireless. In addition to the Moto G.
Aio is also offering customers the opportunity to pick up lower rates on service plans. Customers who sign up for auto-pay will receive a $5 discount on their monthly bills. The rates are as followed:

  • Basic Plan: $35 (after auto pay credit) - unlimited voice/text and 500MB of data
  • Smart Plan: $45 (after auto pay credit) - unlimited voice/text and 2.5 GB of data
  • Pro Plan: $55 (after auto pay credit) - unlimited voice/text and 5 GB of data

Source: AIO Wireless

Install Google Now Launcher On Any Android Device

You can download and install the Google Now launcher on your non Nexus 5 handset, download the latest updated version of GoogleSearch APK (link below). Once done, download the Nexus 5′s GoogleHome APK (link below). The only settings change you will need to make is the one that allows you to install non Google Play apps on your phone (menu, settings, security, and check the box in front of "Unknown Sources").

With the GoogleSearch APK and the GoogleHome APK running on your phone, you can select the Google Now launcher by pressing your phone's home button. This launcher has been designed for the Nexus 5 only, those who have tested it out say that it runs smoothly on other Android devices flawlessly. If you have the Google Now launcher running smoothly on your Android device, let us know by passing along the information in the comment box.

Source: GoogleSearch APK, GoogleHome APK

Thursday, February 6, 2014

HP Announces New Chromebox: Chrome Simplicity, Tiny Desktop

HP unveil today in Smoke Silver, Ocean Turquoise, Snow White and Twinkle Black, the HP Chromebox is powered by a Haswell processor. The HP Chromebox has HDMI, DisplayPort, Bluetooth and 4 USB 3.0 ports.
The HP Chromebox will be priced at $179. HP says that it will be offering an Intel Core i7 model and it will presumably be offered in a Chromebox for Meetings package in the near future. Expect this Chromebox to arrive in the United States this spring.
Source: HP

Motorola Is Hosting Event At MWC February 25, Invites Go out

Motorola MWC

Invitations went out to select press from Motorola, an event has been scheduled for February 25 in Barcelona, during the week of Mobile World Congress (MWC). 

Be sure to stay tuned to "The Phone Ninja" for more details as they become available. 

Verizon Releases Android 4.4 KitKat Update For HTC One

HTC executive Mohammed Versi has confirmed on Twitter that the Android 4.4 KitKat and Sense 5.5 update has received technical approval from Verizon.
Surprisingly, Verizon isn't the first carrier to certify KitKat firmware on its variant of the HTC One. Sprint owners began downloading KitKat last weekend. 

HTC Rumored To Produce High End Nexus Tablet Later This Year

The report suggests that HTC is the company that has “won orders for a high end model of the Google Nexus tablet that will begin shipping in the third quarter of 2014.” This is not the first rumor going around regarding the maker of the next Nexus tablet. Samsung, Asus and other companies have all been names that have been floating around for the last few months now, but nothing is set in stone at this point.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Microsoft Names Satya Nadella As New CEO


Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Satya Nadella as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors effective immediately. Nadella previously held the position of Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. 

Source: Microsoft

Nexus 5 In Red Available On Google Play

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 1.45.52 PM

The Nexus 5 is now available for purchase on Google Play. The model has an entirely red back and a black front, with the exception of the front ear speaker, which is also red. As you would expect, the specifications of the red Nexus 5 are identical to the black and white models.

Pricing is also the same, coming in at $349 for 16GB and 32GB for $399. The Red Nexus 5 is expected to ship within 1-2 business days.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sprint Direct Connect Now App Supports More Devices

Sprint announced that its Direct Connect Now application, which provides push-to-talk capabilities, is compatible with more Android smartphones starting today. 

The handsets that can gain access to Sprint’s push-to-talk service as of now are: Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Kyocera Hydro Edge, LG Optimus F3, LG G2, and the newly-launched LG G Flex. According to Sprint, other three smartphones will also be compatible with Direct Connect in the near future: Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Samsung Galaxy Mega, and Samsung Galaxy S4 with Sprint Spark. 

The Direct Connect Now application can be downloaded for free via Google Play. Sprint’s Sprint Direct Connect service is available at no charge to customers using select plans, but it can cost and additional $5 per month on some plans. At the moment, Direct Connect supports push-to-talk on Sprint’s LTE network, and has “triple the square miles of coverage" compared to the phased out Nextel National Network.

Google Play download link

Source: Sprint

Google Now Available For Desktop Chrome Beta

Google’s Chrome team today announced the availability of Google Now for Chrome Beta users for desktops. Google Now is a helpful app that brings important information you care about right to your attention without you having to ask for it. 
To take full advantage of Google Now simply make sure you are using the Chrome Beta app for Windows, Mac, or Chromebook. This feature is now auto enabled, just click on the bell icon on your desktop or numbered box on a Chromebook there you will see all of your Google Now cards.
You can download the Chrome Beta app for desktops here.

Chromecast SDK Released, Open To Developers

Google has released their long awaited +Chromecast SDK to developers, giving developers the power to build a cast ability into their apps. Until now, select partners have been able to build in Chromecast support, but this now means almost any app Android, iOS, and web could enable a cast button and bring casting abilities from phone/tablet/computer to your big screen. 

Developer, head over to the Google Developers Blog for details on how to build Chromecast support into your apps.

Samsung Announces February 24 For “Galaxy S5" Unpacked 5 Event

Samsung Unpacked 5

+Samsung sent us an invitation to their next big event, titled “Unpacked 5”. This event is set to takes place on February 24 in Barcelona, Spain, the same week of Mobile World Congress. While nothing is confirmed, however speculation is around the unveiling of the Galaxy S5. Hints the “5" next to “Unpacked”.
Samsung has also said a live stream of the event will be on Samsung’s +YouTube channel. Let the Unpacking begin February 24 at 2PM Eastern, 11AM Pacific. 

Sprint Chairman Said To Meet With FCC Chief, Possible T-Mobile Deal

SoftBank CEO and Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son is meeting with the head of the Federal Communications Commission today in an attempt to convince the regulatory body that combining Sprint and T-Mobile would be good for the wireless industry. Last week, officials at the U.S. Department of Justice indicated to Son and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse that the agency would not look favorably on such a merger and it would face heavy scrutiny. Son is already holding high-level talks with Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company. The companies have not publicly announced plans to merge and are still hashing out details, such as a potential break-up fee, which management team would lead moving forward, and which brand would be preserved. Son intends to argue to the FCC that a combined T-Mobile/Sprint would be a stronger competitor to market leaders AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse will also attend the meeting.

Source: WSJ

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Microsoft Courting Google's Sundar Pichai As Next CEO

+Sundar Pichai is Google’s senior vice president of +Chrome , Apps, and Android. When it comes to desktop and mobile software Pichai ha really shown what he can do. Sundar also played a role in the development of +Google Drive, +Gmail, and +Google Maps.

In the past few years, Sundar has done some really amazing things for Google, not to mention Android. We’d be very surprising if Sundar  decided to part ways with Google, however this isn’t the first time we’ve head rumors of Sundar calling it quits at Google. When Pichai was offered an exec position at +Twitter, rumor is Google paid him $50 million to stick around.

Stay posted for more information as details surface. Drop us your comments below, what is your take on a possible Sundar departure from Google?

Lenovo Announces Two New Chromebooks

+Lenovo has announced two new laptops to join the ThinkPad brand that run on Google's Chrome OS. The official series is known as 11e and is breaken down into four laptops, two of which are Chromebooks and two of which are +Windows laptops.
Being that schools are the target, Lenovo has fortified them with “rubber bumpers, reinforced ports, and stronger hinges are included to protect the system from the hustle and bustle of the classroom.”The ThinkPad 11e Chromebook is just your average Chromebook. The ThinkPad Yoga 11e Chromebook has four modes to position it in laptop, tablet, tent, and stand depending on what you are doing adjusting is easy with the different modes. The non-Yoga model will have an 11.6-inch HD LED display while its flexible partner will feature a touchscreen for wider viewing angles.

Pebble Appstore To Debut Monday February 3rd


+Pebble  will launch its appstore on Monday February 3rd, the smartwatch company has announced. The download store, will go live at 10AM PT and give Pebble's growing developer community a centralized place to offer their apps and their custom watchfaces.

Third party software for Pebble has taken off since the +Kickstarter success released its SDK last year, until now distribution has been less organized. Developers have offered direct downloads but there has been a specific way to browse and install apps from Pebble itself.

The Pebble appstore will be available for both Pebble Steel and original Pebble owners, though the company will be launching the iOS version first. The Android version will come "very, very soon" Pebble spokesperson Myriam Joire has said and developers will have an APK available on Monday so that they can get up to speed.