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Review: Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS

07/24, 1:55pm

Does the matchbook-sized digital to analog converter perform?

Every computer with a microphone or headphone port has one -- a digital to analog converter (DAC). There are nearly as many chipsets and DAC models as there are models of laptop, and as many opinions on the efficacy of various implementations. of Cambridge Audio has a USB one to supplement its line -- the DacMagic XS. Does the little device do as it promises and actually boost the listening quality of digitally encoded music? Read our review and see.

Google Play Music All Access pass offered to US Chromecast owners

07/24, 1:02pm

One-year anniversary of Chromecast celebrated with extended music trial

Google is providing owners of the Chromecast streaming dongle in the United States free access to Google Play Music All Access for 90 days. An extension of an offer which has already been made available in other Chromecast countries for some time, it is being made available to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Chromecast's launch.

OS X Yosemite public beta now available

07/24, 1:01pm

Accessible only to Beta Program participants

As promised earlier this week, Apple has begun seeding the first public beta of OS X Yosemite. Access is limited to the first million people entered into the OS X Beta Program. That requires having both an Apple ID and a Mac running OS X Mavericks.

Briefly: Oyster for web, mobile web browsers, IFTTT's Square channel

07/24, 12:41pm

E-book subscription service Oyster launches web and mobile web reader

Oyster, an e-book subscription service, has announced its launch of new web and mobile web readers. The expansion marks its second new platform in the past month (with the first launch specifically for Android users in June). Pages in the web reader will scroll smoothly from top to bottom, with five reader themes to select from. Oyster is partnered with over 1600 publishers, and offers access to a diverse library for $10 per month.

iPad maintains global tablet dominance, but loses further ground

07/24, 11:55am

Apple, Samsung give up share to Lenovo, ASUS, others

Although Apple's iPad is still the leading tablet globally, the company is continuing to lose marketshare, according to new IDC data. Year-over-year, Apple's June-quarter tablet share fell from 33 to 26.9 percent, based on shipments of 13.3 million iPads this quarter versus 14.6 million in Q2 2013. The company's next closest competitor, Samsung, saw its share slip from 18.8 percent to 17.2.

Steam Controller image leak suggests another iteration coming soon

07/24, 11:54am

Image shows thumbstick on Steam Controller replacing button group

Valve Software may have made another change to its Steam Controller, the gaming peripheral designed for use with Steam Machine game consoles. An image appearing in files associated with the beta version of the PC Steam client shows a modified version of the last controller design, with four face buttons instead replaced by a thumbstick.

Wuxi, China Apple Store to open on August 2nd

07/24, 10:26am

Announcement follows quickly after Chongqing

Apple will open its next Chinese store in the city of Wuxi on August 2nd, at 10AM, according to an official listing. The outlet will be based at the Wuxi Hang Lung Plaza, and operate from 10AM to 10PM every day. Wuxi is on the east coast in the cluster of cities near Shanghai, which already has several Apple Stores.

Google adds Explore location discovery to Google Maps mobile apps

07/24, 10:15am

Google Maps Explore offers nearby activities based on distance, time of day

Google is adding a new option to the Google Maps app for Android and iOS, providing suggestions for nearby locations to visit when traveling. The new "Explore" button, appearing on the apps this week, will offer up a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the immediate and surrounding area, as well as other potential activities for the user to try out.

Swatch denies any involvement with Apple on iWatch tech

07/24, 9:53am

Says it only supplies some components to mobile phone makers

Swatch has quickly denied a report that it's working with Apple on iWatch-related projects, according to Reuters. A spokeswoman for the company claims that the report is unfounded, and that the only involvement Swatch has with phone makers is supplying various components, such as integrated circuits. Apple's iWatch is expected to ship in the fall.

Apple seeds new betas of Safari 7.1 and 6.2 to developers

07/24, 9:01am

AutoFill, compatibility main areas of testing focus

Apple is distributing new developer betas of Safari 7.1 for OS X Mavericks and Safari 6.2 for OS X Mountain Lion. In release notes for both, the company is asking developers to test AutoFill, extension compatibility, and "general website compatibility." The updates' main feature though will be WebGL, making it possible to run 3D content without third-party plugins.

Sony agrees to $15M settlement over 2011 PlayStation Network hack

07/24, 7:49am

Free games, subscriptions offered as compensation for PSN intrusion

Sony has agreed to a preliminary settlement worth $15 million in a hacking class-action lawsuit in the United States. The agreement, which still requires approval from a judge, will see Sony handing out free games to console owners affected by the April 2011 PlayStation Network hack, which saw the shutdown of the service and Qriocity for several weeks, as well as compromising personal data and credit card information from over 77 million users.

Researchers tout 1TB RRAM storage for future mobile devices

07/24, 6:43am

Rice University close to licensing deal with memory manufacturer over RRAM production method

Future smartphones could ship with storage measured in terabytes, according to researchers at Rice University. The team has spent five years working on a method to produce resistive RAM (RRAM) at room temperature and with a low voltage, rather than at the high temperatures or voltages it typically requires, with the technique likely to help current RRAM manufacturing efforts, allowing it to be included in devices in the future.

Razer works with WeChat for messenger integration on $100 Nabu

07/24, 5:49am

Razer Nabu slated for launch in US in next two months

Game peripherals manufacturer Razer is adding support for WeChat to its Nabu smartband, while also confirming the device is shipping soon. The two companies are apparently working together on ways to use the Nabu, including exchanging contacts by shaking hands and comparing fitness statistics with friends using WeChat, as well as allowing the wearable device to display notifications from the messaging service.

Briefly: Booq's Cobra pack, NatureArt 6.0 released

07/24, 1:38am

Full-featured laptop backpack by Booq fits 17-inch PC, MacBook Pro

Booq has announced the release of its newest laptop backpack offering this week: the Cobra pack. Comprised of a 1680 denier ballistic nylon exterior with a water-repellent coating, items within the pack are protected from weather conditions, and its quilted inner lining prevents damage during transport. The bag's main compartment features two open pockets and a slip pocket that offers easy access to something like a magazine or book while travelling. Its zippered mesh window pocket keeps passports, tickets and important items accessible, and its separate zippered padded laptop compartment can accommodate a 15- to 17-inch laptop. A second zippered back pocket can hold a tablet.

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