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Wednesday, July 30

Review: Adesso Xtream S3B Bluetooth speaker

Finding a speaker purpose-built for a specific need is challenging. Even when a Bluetooth speaker can be paired with a mobile device, it doesn't mean that it's the right speaker for the job. When it comes to tablets, a speaker that can be kept to the side may not be the best purchase for something that's meant to be as portable as possible. So why not look for a device that can attach to an iPad or Android tablet, li...

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Tuesday, July 29

IDC: Chinese smartphone makers inching up in shipments

On the release of its first set of statistics following last month's report of a two percent drop in Mac sales (that turned out to be a 16 percent gain), IDC has made the term "shipments" more prominent in its latest report on smartphone share worldwide. Although its reports have always been based on shipment data rather than on sales to end-users, the company emphasized the term in its latest set of numbers, and not...

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Twitter beats expected second quarter revenue with $312 million

Twitter released its quarterly results today, showing a strong surge in business during the second quarter of its 2014 fiscal year. The company posted revenues of $312 million, compared to only $139 million during the year-ago quarter. The increase represents a 129 percent increase year-over-year. The social media company also saw an increase in users compared to the results from the previous year....

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Amazon reveals motives in Hatchette war: forcing lower e-book prices

Painting itself in an altruistic, pro-consumer light, Amazon in a post posing as an "update" on the Hatchette standoff -- that has prevented customers from buying print or e-book editions from the publisher because Amazon refuses to fill orders -- explains that it is putting pressure on Hatchette (and other publishers soon to follow) to lower the wholesale price of e-books to where Amazon can make a profit on them s...

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Netflix to give customers better speeds through AT&T peering deal

In the quest to give its users a better streaming experience, Netflix has reached an agreement with AT&T to gain a direct network connection. The two companies revealed that they entered into a peering deal after news broke from anonymous sources that the movie service reached another streaming arrangement. Previously, Netflix had worked out similar deals with Verizon and Comcast....

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FCC opens comments on request to preempt state laws for broadband

After receiving petitions from the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga, Tennessee and the City of Wilson in North Carolina, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is opening comments on the subject of preempting state laws. Based on Chairman Tom Wheeler's previous comments on municipal broadband, the FCC would get involved in the battle if it meant better serving consumers....

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Ford Motors to replace BlackBerry with iPhones for over 9,300 workers

Automaker Ford has announced that it will transition at least 9,300 corporate employees from BlackBerry models and flip phones to iPhones over the next two years. The change, which will cost the company nothing above the normal cost of a replacement cycle, is a blow to BlackBerry, but the Canadian smartphone maker can take solace in the fact that Ford chose BlackBerry's QNX for its next-generation Sync infotainment s...

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Instagram launches Bolt messaging app in limited release

Instagram has done a soft launch of its own ephemeral messaging service application, Bolt. Download links for the Android-only app are active for users in Singapore, South America, and New Zealand for users to start using the app, designed to send one-to-one video and photos between users as temporarily as possible, given the nature of the Internet. ...

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Apple confirms buyout of radio/podcast app Swell

As rumored yesterday, Apple has indeed bought Swell, a spokesperson tells the Wall Street Journal's Daisuke Wakabayashi. The company has refused to provide any other information, issuing a standard statement that "we buy smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Monday's claims put the value of the takeover at $30 million....

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Nvidia creates high-resolution screen using two low-resolution panels

High-resolution, low-cost displays for virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift could become a reality sooner than first thought, if recently-revealed research from Nvidia is adopted. Researchers working for the graphics chip producer realized that stacking two lower-resolution panels on top of each other could effectively provide a similar experience to the user as looking at a higher-quality display. ...

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London police replacing advertisements on illegal download sites

The City of London Police is taking a new approach when it comes to curbing piracy. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) recently started replacing advertising banners on websites involved with copyright infringement, warning users that the site is known to authorities. The move is aimed at cutting off revenue streams on sites promoting intellectual property (IP) theft, even when the ads are legitimate...

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2014 Mac mini appears on Apple support page

A "mid 2014" Mac mini is now listed on an Apple support document for Boot Camp. The page makes no mention of other details about the computer, other than it only supporting 64-bit Windows 7 and 8 versions of the Boot Camp utility, which allows Macs to run Windows on a separate partition. The Mac mini has been one of Apple's most neglected products, having last been updated in late 2012. Even the Mac Pro was refres...

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Rhapsody International reaches 2M premum service subscribers

Rhapsody International announced today that it hit a significant milestone for its business. The company revealed that it reached two million subscribers for its premium services, including Rhapsody, Napster and the joint venture with T-Mobile called unRadio. On the success of unRadio, the company announced plans to extend the service to other parts of the world....

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Microsoft reportedly plans two more imminent Lumia launches

Two more smartphones may launch from Microsoft's phone division in the near future, according to a report. Two Windows Phone devices were allegedly revealed during an internal meeting chaired by Microsoft devices head Stephen Elop, with one smartphone described as a "selfie" device with a five-megapixel front-facing camera sensor above a 4.7-inch display....

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Sapphire production insufficient for iPhone 6 displays, analysts say

Supply chain orders so far don't support the idea of the iPhone 6 using sapphire for its display, except perhaps in limited numbers, according to analysts with Trendforce. "Analysis of the iPhone 6 supply chain indicates related component suppliers need to ship products to OEMs for assembly in June 2014 to meet the September launch date. Yet, the research institute did not discover demands for smartphone cover glass...

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Electronic Arts deploying EA Access Xbox One game subscription program

Electronic Arts has rolled out a new subscription service for some of its games for Xbox One owners. For either a $5 monthly or $30 annual fee, gamers on Microsoft's new console will soon be able to sign up for EA Access, allowing them to play FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2, and Battlefield 4, in addition to saving 10 percent on purchases of all EA digital content through the Xbox Games Store....

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BlackBerry acquires German security firm Secusmart

At its annual BlackBerry summit, the beleagured smartphone manufacturer has announced a deal that will see it acquire Germany's Secusmart to enhance its own security offerings. BlackBerry CEO John Chen said of the deal that it "creates that much more distance between [BlackBerry] and competitors" in the battle for corporate and governmental business share. ...

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Trouble at TPK may hint at iWatch production issues

Changes in profit forecasts at TPK may signal delays in iWatch production, reports suggest. Taiwanese publication UDN notes that TPK -- thought to be making touch modules for the iWatch -- has pushed back a predicted third-quarter profit surge into the next quarter. Since suppliers often experience such surges in association with Apple orders, it could mean that iWatch production has suffered setbacks. TPK also pr...

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MOTU ships trio of Thunderbolt audio interfaces, AVB Ethernet switch

Audio device manufacturer MOTU has announced three new Thunderbolt audio interfaces with 48-channel mixing, DSP effects and AVB Ethernet audio networking for system expansion. Based on a new shared technology platform, the 1248, 8M and 16a use ESS Sabre32 Ultra converters, and provide low analog latency, with round-trip performance of only 32 samples (0.66 ms) at 48 kHz....

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LG commences pre-orders for 105-inch curved Ultra HD television

LG has opened pre-orders for the 105-inch curved Ultra HD television it demonstrated at CES, one week after Samsung did the same for its own large-screened television. The 105UC9 LG display has a relatively similar specifications list to the Samsung screen, with an almost identical price tag as well, though LG is opting to initially offer it just within South Korea, before attempting to put it on sale elsewhere. ...

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UK police at all traffic accidents seizing cellphones, seeking fault

UK police have launched a new initiative that will authorize police responding to a car accident to seize drivers' mobile phones, even in the case of a minor incident. The program is said to help police assess if any of the individuals involved in the accident were texting or calling while driving, and if the activity resulted in the accident....

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Microsoft opens pre-orders for Sharks Cove Windows development board

Microsoft has worked with Intel and CircuitCo to create a Windows development board in a similar vein to the Raspberry Pi. Available to pre-order, the Sharks Cove is a System-on-Chip "Windows compatible hardware development board" meant to help developers work on software and drivers for smartphones, tablets, and other devices with a similar architecture. ...

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China regulators launch antitrust investigation against Microsoft

Following yesterday's raid on Microsoft offices in China, China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) has officially launched an anti-monopoly investigation into the company's ubiquitous Windows operating system. SAIC claims to have data backing up its investigation from the raids, but says that it cannot complete the investigation until some Microsoft executives come to China....

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Long-standing Android 'Fake ID' bug gives malware root access

Mobile device researchers Bluebox Security have discovered a serious flaw in Google's Android operating system that dates back to version 2.1, and is still present (albeit weakened) in the new 5.0 preview. The "Fake ID" security flaw allows a fake app to include an invalid security certificate, claiming that it is an app with sandbox-breaking privileges, in essence, giving the malicious app root access to the phone a...

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Drobo Mini ships with included SSD storage for portable storage

Connected Data, creators of the Drobo range of storage appliances, has launched a version of its most portable device with built-in storage. The Drobo Mini, first revealed two years ago, will include four SSD drives pre-installed into its four 2.5-inch drive bays, giving users such as photographers and film makers a fast storage option without needing to buy drives separately....

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Apple updates MacBook Pro line with faster processors, more RAM

As predicted, Apple has updated its MacBook Pro with Retina display product line. Both sizes of the model have an unchanged external design, but now boast faster processors, with some models seeing a doubling of RAM as standard. Surviving the upgrade is the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which also remains unchanged apart from a price cut....

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LG shows Tab Book hybrid notebook running Android instead of Windows

LG has revealed a version of its Tab Book, a combined tablet and notebook, running on Android instead of Windows 8.1. The new Tab Book 11TA740 uses an 11.6-inch Full HD IPS display which can slide up and uncover a physical keyboard, with the Android device weighing 1.05 kilos (2.3 pounds) and measuring just 16.7 millimeters (0.65) thick when used as a tablet. ...

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Canon unveils PowerShot SX520 HS, SX400 IS bridge cameras

Canon has increased its range of versatile PowerShot digital cameras with two new additions. The new PowerShot SX520 HS and the PowerShot SX400 IS are both bridge cameras with DSLR physical styling, with the two touting extended-range zoom lenses capable of providing wide focal ranges, and though they have similar image processors and sensors, they do offer different photographic experiences. ...

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Apple Stores gearing up to allow early-upgrade carrier program buying?

Traditionally, iPhones bought from Apple Stores come in two varieties: locked to an individual carrier with a two-year contract, or completely unlocked but at full retail price. Last month, the company began allowing sales of iPhones on pre-paid plans, and now appears to be poised to allow Apple Store sales of iPhones to existing (and eligible) AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, T-Mobile Jump, and possibly Sprint EasyPay cust...

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