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Tuesday, September 30

Project Ara head claims modular smartphone parts 'hot swappable'

Google's modular smartphone project will allow users to replace individual modules from the mobile device while it is still running. The majority of Project Ara modules will be hot swappable, with exception to the processor and display, so users will not be required to shut down the device before making any changes to the hardware. ...

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Briefly: Cortana adds musical notifications, Chromecast Hulu Plus

Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, has been updated with two event-related changes. WMPU reports the service will now show notifications for when a user's favorite music acts are performing nearby under "Concert Watch," while WP Central notes users in the US and UK can now benefit from public transport notifications, including delays, outages, and advising of the best time to head to an app...

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Update: iPhone 6, 6 Plus approved in China, debuts October 17 [u]

[Update: Apple official announcement reveals China debut of iPhone 6, 6 Plus on October 17] The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have now finally been cleared by the country's regulatory agency for sale in China, and will formally debut on October 17, Apple says. According to Bloomberg, the holdup was apparently over some privacy concerns brought up by Chinese authorities. The company agreed to make some changes, which may...

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Monday, September 29

Review: ActvContent Sync Smartband

Smartbands of all sorts are hitting the market. Some build on the buzz around fitness trackers, while others offer simpler features for specific needs. Once such band is the ActvContent Sync Smartband, a wrist-worn device that allows tracking through a smartphone or quick access to medical information in the case of an emergency. But does the ActvContent Sync offer enough to warrant a purchase, or would users be bett...

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Moto 360 users discover battery life gains following software update

Owners of the Moto 360 are reportedly seeing longer battery life for the smartwatch than at launch, thanks to an over-the-air update by Motorola late last week. The original suggestion by the company of an "all day" mixed-use battery life has apparently increased considerably, with users on Reddit surprised at the sudden battery gains....

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South Korean smartphone manufacturer Pantech put up for sale

Things have gone from bad to worse for South Korean smartphone manufacturer Pantech. After filing for a debt restructuring in February, it asked was forced to ask for a deadline extension in July to pay off its creditors. It turns out that the interest-free, two-year extension granted in August wasn't long enough, as the company is now searching for buyer after filing for court receivership....

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San Francisco, Los Angeles issue legal threat to ride-sharing services

District attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles drafted a letter to the three large ride-sharing operations, asking them to make changes to the way they do business, or face legal action. The letters state that the companies make misleading statements regarding the background checks into drivers, on top of the shared-ride fees running afoul of California law....

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Streaming version of Adobe Photoshop coming to Chrome OS, browser

Photographers and artists holding off on buying a Chromebook because of the lack of program options may have one more reason to reconsider in the future. A partnership between Adobe and Google was announced today, taking steps towards bringing the subscription-based Creative Cloud suite to Chrome OS. To start out, a streaming version of Photoshop will be brought to the inexpensive notebooks....

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Study finds Google Glass as dangerous as smartphones when driving

In a joint study between the University of Central Florida and Air Force Research Laboratories, researcher Ben Sawyer found that drivers wearing Google Glass are just as distracted as those using smartphones to text. The study attempted to discover the level of driver distraction using Google Glass, a hands-free device that many claimed offers no or a lesser degree of distraction than other in-car devices. ...

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Circle opens up insured Bitcoin banking service globally

Circle, a start-up offering Bitcoin banking facilities, has opened itself up for business after a brief invitation-only period. The service, acting as a simplified Bitcoin wallet, can now be used by anyone in the world rather than an invited few, allowing customers to buy the digital currency and transfer the funds to other online accounts. ...

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CloudFlare rolls out free SSL website encryption to all users

CloudFlare is pushing its users toward security in a good way, as it is adding secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to all of its customer accounts starting today. Where the company says that only around two million sites supported encrypted connections previously, CloudFlare believes it will double that number by the end of the day. The SSL encryption is being adding to all accounts, even free users....

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Samsung prepares curved 27-inch monitor for sale in United States

Samsung has unveiled a monitor with a similar curvature to some of the manufacturer's high-end televisions. The SD590C uses a 27-inch, 1920x1080 LCD panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio, with Samsung claiming the curve provides a wider field of view than similar-sized flat displays, with users able to see items on the edges of the screen without shifting focus, allowing for a "more comfortable viewing experience." ...

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GoPro introduces Hero4 Black, Silver, entry-level Hero cameras

GoPro has launched its first new additions to its action camera line after filing its IPO. The Hero4 range follows on from the Hero3+ collection, with the Black and Silver editions offering functionality better suited towards professional applications, while a new entry-level Hero is a budget-priced version for those wanting a cheap waterproof camera. ...

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Executive confirms Microsoft Store opening soon on Fifth Avenue

Microsoft will be launching its first flagship retail location in Manhattan, a few blocks away from Apple's iconic Fifth Avenue glass cube store. The software giant has confirmed its Microsoft Store will be taking the place of a Fendi shop located at 677 Fifth Avenue, with executives claiming the store has already been five years in the making. ...

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Next version of Windows could be free for Windows 8 owners

The next version of Windows may be a free upgrade for some Windows users, numerous reports claim. The software, potentially called Windows 9 and codenamed "Threshold," may end up being offered to owners of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, though users of earlier operating system iterations are likely to be required to pay for the upgrade....

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SoftBank allegedly offers to acquire DreamWorks Animation

Japanese carrier SoftBank is still on the hunt for acquisitions in the United States, following its earlier failed attempt to merge T-Mobile with Sprint, a report claims. The company is said to be in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation, a studio behind film franchises including Shrek and Kung-Fu Panda, with the deal claimed to be worth somewhere in the region of $3.4 billion. ...

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Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus review Part 2

This is the second part of our two part combined iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus review. In Part 1, we took a look at the design and construction of the new iPhones, along with the new larger and much improved displays as well as the all-new front and rear iSight cameras. In each of these areas, Apple has continued to raise the bar with at least one or more significant improvements over the previous generation. In this se...

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Sunday, September 28

Hands on: Divinity Original Sin (OS X, Win)

In an era when single-player games are getting shorter, role-playing games (RPG) have attempted to stick to their guns to give players deep worlds and meaningful stories. Developers have been allowed to create stories at all tiers, from big name developers like Electronic Arts, down to independent studios looking for funding on Kickstarter. One such developer that took to crowdfunding was Larian Studios, seeking to f...

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Briefly: PlayStation Home ending worldwide, WoW character restore

It appears that Japan and Asia regions won't be the only areas losing PlayStation Home next year. Community managers have posted on the PlayStation Home community boards in the North American and European regions, claiming that the service is shutting down on March 31, 2015. The date is the same that was previously announced for the Asia and Japan regions, though at the time Sony specifically denied that any other re...

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China to begin iPhone 6 sales on October 10, reports say

While it is currently possible to legally buy an iPhone 6 in some parts of the regional "Greater China" area (such as Hong Kong or Taiwan) the country of China itself -- which manufactures and assembles the new iPhones - ironically does not yet offer them for sale, due to a cumbersome regulatory process. This may finally be changing, as various reports out of the region indicated that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 P...

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AT&T doubles data caps on shared data plans until October 31

The never ending race for data cap superiority continues, AT&T has announced a limited-time offer that increases the data for its Mobile Share Value plans. Beginning today, AT&T is doubling the data included in the plans starting at the 15GB level. Where a 30GB plan was previously $225 a month, AT&T is now offering it for $130 until October 31....

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Yahoo trims away more fat, three services shutting down before 2015

In the last two years, Yahoo has made a large number of changes to its core business, acquiring more than 40 companies to bolster various division of the company or open new areas of business. However, the company also ended more than 60 products in order to refine its vision since coming under the leadership of CEO Marissa Mayer. To that effect, Yahoo states three other products are coming to the end of their lives,...

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