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Review: D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug

07/23, 1:00am

Plug gives control, data on power consumption, but application needs work

Home automation fans have been getting their fair share of gadgets and accessories in the last few years. Starting with light bulbs, and ramping up to larger machines like refrigerators and washing machines, the home automation market appears to be growing every day. Smaller devices are still paving the way for consumers to jump into "smart home" products, giving companies like D-Link a chance to test the waters with new offerings. One such product, the Wi-Fi Smart Plug (DSP-W215) gives consumers a small taste of remote home control and monitoring. But is it the correct entry item for users to try? Find out in our review.

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Briefly: Airframe+ phone car mount, Yantouch Diamond + speaker

07/22, 9:03pm

Kenu's Airframe+ phone car mount now available

Kenu has released a new extended size of its Airframe phone car mount, the Airframe+. The Airframe+ allows drivers to have their smartphone at eye level in the vehicle, ready for accessing GPS directions, streaming music, and engaging in hands-free calls. Its expandable, spring-loaded jaw supports a full range of smartphones and "phablets", the mount is capable of accommodating devices that include the iPhone 5 and 5s, with a 4-inch screen, to the Lumia 1520, with a 6-inch screen. Oversized cases, such as the Otterbox Defender and Mophie battery cases can also fit inside the mount.

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Samsung opens pre-orders for $120,000 105-inch curved 4K television

07/22, 4:41pm

Curved 4K television includes installation by Samsung engineers

Samsung has put the 105-inch Ultra HD television it demonstrated at CES this year up for pre-order in the United States. The UN105S9, a super-sized curved television capable of displaying a 4K-resolution image, is being priced by the electronics giant at $120,000, far higher than any other television in the company's entire S9 television range, including last year's $40,000 set.

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Kobe Bryant confirms meeting with Apple designer Jonathan Ive

07/22, 12:12pm

Says meeting involved company's product creation process

In a new TV interview, LA Lakers player Kobe Bryant confirms that he did recently meet with Apple design head Jonathan Ive. Talking with Bloomberg, though, Bryant makes no mention of the iWatch or other future Apple products. Instead he says that he has been talking to leaders across industries to learn more about the product creation process, since he is moving into business as he comes to the end of his basketball career.

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Apple patents smartwatch concept with gesture, proximity features

07/22, 10:05am

Suggests basic and rejected iWatch capabilities

The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a comprehensive patent titled Wrist-worn electronic device and methods therefor, which describes a number of the ideas the company has since integrated into its upcoming iWatch. The concept watch -- in diagrams referred to as the "iTime" -- would, for instance, be able to connect to devices like iPhones, iPads, and desktops. An unusual suggestion though is that it might be dependent on a special wristband, equipped with technologies such as accelerometers, GPS, haptic feedback, biometric sensors, and/or wireless receivers.

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Xiaomi launches Mi 4 smartphone, low-cost Mi Band fitness tracker

07/22, 6:06am

Xiaomi Mi 4 has 5-inch 1080p display, claimed quick-charging battery

Chinese mobile device manufacturer Xiaomi has unveiled two new items for the Chinese market. The Xizomi Mi 4 continues the Mi device line with a 5-inch display and a hint of iPhone styling, while the Mi Band is a low-cost fitness band which can be used as a proximity security system for the smartphone, allowing the Mi 4 to automatically unlock when it is held in the same hand that is also wearing the band.

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Review: Patriot Fuel+ 6,000 and 9,000 mAh mobile backup batteries

07/19, 10:03am

Does Patriot have the right formula for high quality backup batteries

Mobile device batteries are better than they used to be, but there's always a scenario where users could use more juice. Upgrade manufacturer Patriot has a solution -- it has a line of portable batteries intended for charging devices on-the-go, called the Fuel+. In theory, a booster battery is easy -- implement a battery, some ports, and a way to charge the battery, and done. In actuality, proper execution of an external battery is a bit more complex. Does Patriot have the balance right? Check our review to find out.

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Google CEO upset by Samsung investing in Tizen instead of Android Wear

07/18, 7:34am

Meeting between executives concerned Android Wear, Tizen use in smartwatches

Google is unhappy by Samsung's choice to use Tizen for its main smartwatch platform instead of Android Wear, according to a report. CEO Larry Page is said to have spent time earlier this month with Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee in a "tense private meeting" over the smartwatch software issue, with Samsung allegedly spending more on devices running Tizen than Google's new Android offshoot.

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Nvidia Shield Tablet appears in media render with Tegra Note styling

07/18, 6:30am

Rumored Shield Tablet has similar appearance to predecessor, metallic speaker grilles

An image of what is believed to be Nvidia's next attempt at a gaming tablet has leaked. Thought to be called the Shield Tablet, tying into an earlier certification leak, the device appears to have a similar appearance to the company's previous Tegra Note 7 tablet, though apparently it will have a slightly different placement of front-facing camera and metallic sections covering the speaker grilles.

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Google offers appointments for Glass demonstrations

07/17, 5:53am

In-store testing of Google Glass provided to potential users

Google is stepping up its Glass promotional efforts, by offering free demonstrations of the wearable device. The search company is sending e-mails to potential users interested in the headwear, inviting them to to try it out, supervised by a Google employee, at one of the Glass service centers in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

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Briefly: Wooden iPhone amplifier, SmartScore NoteReader app

07/16, 10:55pm

Natural acoustic iPhone dock Eight now available

A new acoustic amplifier has been released for iPhone, composed of a natural wood construction. The Eight is hand sanded and hand oiled, making the wood structure the center of the design. Made of walnut and Birdseye maple, the iPhone dock features a built-in microphone, and its speakers are inspired by the shape of an ear, with conically-shaped chambers that produce aesthetically pleasing sound. The iPhone is accessible for use while in the dock, and its built-in slot includes a Lightning cable that can charge an iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Priced at $300, the Eight wooden dock is available internationally.

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Hackers gain access to Nest, develop tool to stop data reporting

07/16, 9:38pm

Nest is essentially jailbroken, uses a custom tool to end reporting back to company

A group of researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) discovered a way to root the Nest thermostat in the process of finding a way to hack the device to steal data and install malware. Led by engineering professor Yier Jin, the team used physical access to accomplish the hack even though it is built with security in mind. During the hacking discovery, the team came up with a way to stop the device from reporting data back to Google (or Nest).

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Sling updates Slingbox range with Slingbox M1, SlingTV

07/16, 5:54am

SlingTV reuses Slingbox 500 hardware, adds software update

Sling Media has launched two new models of its Slingbox media streamer, including one spotted at the FCC one month ago. Upgrades to the Slingbox 350 and 500 launched in 2012, the Sling M1 is an entry-level streaming device providing simple remote access to home TV channels, while the SlingTV adds a software update to existing Slingbox 500 hardware to provide smart TV features and to act as an alternative to a set-top box from a cable provider.

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Briefly: Chrome app adds Chromecast, Skye 30-pin audio dock shipping

07/15, 7:11pm

Google's Chrome browser app for iOS adds Chromecast support

Google has updated its Chrome browser app for iOS today, adding Chromecast support. Chrome for iOS syncs tabs and bookmarks across devices, can translate webpages in any language, and allows users to open as many tabs as is desired. Chrome v36.0.19 allows mobile sites that have added Cast support to work one's Cast-enabled device. Additionally included in the update are stability-focused improvements and bug fixes. Chrome for iOS is free to download and requires iOS 6.0 or later.

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Apple's iWatch coming in two sizes, three models, rumor claims

07/15, 12:09pm

Says sapphire will be reserved for most expensive model

There are three different versions of the iWatch planned for launch this fall, claims Taiwanese publication the Economic Daily News. The main distinction is said to be between models with 1.6- and 1.8-inch displays. The latter, though, is expected to come in two forms, one with sapphire coating and the other without.

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Synology launches four-bay DS214play home media streaming NAS

07/15, 11:27am

New NAS can push 30FPS 1080p video to five devices simultaneously

Synology America has unveiled the DS415play, the four-bay follow-up to 2014's popular two-bay DS214play. As the second Synology NAS to support hardware video transcoding, the DS415play delivers full 1080p HD video to nearly any media-streaming device, with multiple streamers able to connect simultaneously.

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Documents filed with the FCC reveal Apple-made iBeacon hardware

07/14, 6:30pm

Third-party companies previously made iBeacon devices, intent of device is unknown

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released documents on July 4 outlining a new device from Apple which point to a company-made iBeacon. The device was first spotted by router maker Securifi, which lists the new device seeking approval wireless certification from the FCC for the "Apple iBeacon." Previously, iBeacon hardware was only made by third-party manufacturers.

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Home Depot starts stocking MakerBot Replicator 3D printer range

07/14, 3:03pm

Pilot scheme makes 3D printers available in 12 Home Depot stores

Home Depot is expanding its products range to include 3D printers in some of its retail outlets. A total of 12 stores located in California, Illinois, and New York will start stocking MakerBot devices from today as a pilot program, with the products available including not only MakerBot's Replicator line, but also the Digitizer 3D scanner, accessories, and plastic filament for use with the devices.

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Raspberry Pi Model B+ upgrade unveiled, on sale today

07/14, 5:59am

Upgraded Raspberry Pi adds more USB ports, microSD slot

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched an upgraded version of its popular Raspberry Pi micro computer. The Raspberry Pi Model B+ is similar to the original credit card-sized PC in many respects, but with quite a few updates to modernize and improve the device, as well as making it even more useful for various electronics-based projects and in education.

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Briefly: Harmony Ultimate's Nest compatibility, QNAP's TS-x51 NAS

07/13, 4:10pm

Logitech announces Harmony Ultimate now working with Nest Learning Thermostat

Logitech has announced that its smart remote control, the Harmony Ultimate, is now compatible with the Nest Learning Thermostat. The Harmony Ultimate allows users to control home theatre devices behind closed cabinets and walls, as well as access IR devices as well as Bluetooth game consoles. Its new Nest compatibility means that when the remote is paired with the thermostat, the Harmony Ultimate can facilitate setting temperatures. Additionally, the remote sensor can detect the user's nearby presence, and so can switch off nest's Auto-Away mode. The Harmony Ultimate is priced at $350.

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Eyes-on: Google Cardboard virtual reality experience

07/13, 5:18am

Google Cardboard offers an incredibly good VR experience

One of the highlights of the Google I/O developer event for 2014 was the debut of the experimental Google Cardboard project. With the dawn of mass market virtual reality finally upon us thanks to the arrival of the Oculus Rift (at least in early beta hardware form), Google Cardboard seems decidedly low-tech by comparison. Seemingly a little odd at first, the Cardboard premise is a simple one: bring a virtual reality experience to an even wide audience, on the cheap, to anyone who owns a relatively recent Android smartphone. Made from its namesake cardboard, could it possibly be any good?

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Friday Deals: PlayStation 4 bundle, mSATA SSD, iPad Mini Nuud

07/11, 2:26pm

Electronista and MacNN staff deal picks for July 11, 2014

Another week, another episode of "Friday Deals!" Every Friday, we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy!

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Hands-on: LG G Watch and Google Android Wear

07/11, 4:53am

LG G Watch and Android Wear don't deliver a revolutionary wearable experience

There is a term in product development called "Minimum Viable Product," used to refer to products that are designed only to be sufficient for getting feedback or market testing a concept. Enter the LG G Watch. It is like a blank canvas that represents the minimum requirements to showcase Google's nascent Android Wear mobile platform. However, at $199, it represents a relatively affordable entry point into the world of wearable devices for early adopters who want to see whether Android Wear could be the next big thing.

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Briefly: IK Multimedia's iRig MIDI 2, Google AdWords Express for iOS

07/10, 5:39pm

IK Multimedia launches portable Lightning/USB iRig MIDI 2

IK Multimedia has announced that it is now shipping the iRig MIDI 2, a portable MIDI interface with Lightning and USB connectivity for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Mac and PC. The device is equipped with three standard-sized female MIDI DIN sockets -- IN, OUT and THRU -- which allow for full MIDI functionality and connectivity with any MIDI-enabled device, such as a keyboard, hardware synthesizer and more. Its two blue LED lights provide monitoring of the MIDI data passing through the In and Out sockets.

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Adidas focuses on training with official unveiling of Fit Smart band

07/09, 3:34pm

Wearable wants to help users establish a routine rather than count steps

Adidas keyed the public in on the official release of the Fit Smart wearable today during the Wearable Technologies Conference 2014 in San Francisco. The band was initially reported on in June, after FCC and retailer listings revealed that the athletics company planned to release an entry into the growing wearable market.

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Sprint LivePro combines pocket-sized projector, hotspot, extra battery

07/09, 2:02pm

LivePro projector can act as LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for eight devices

Sprint is launching a new device on its network later this week that combines three items in one. The ZTE-produced Sprint LivePro is a miniature portable projector, which aside from being able to project an image between 10 inches and 10 feet in size, also functions as an LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and is capable of charging up a smartphone or tablet using its 5,000mAh battery.

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Report: 60 million Bluetooth beacons in US by 2019

07/08, 11:40pm

Hospital management, smart homes, retail, enterprise use all expected to grow

A new report from ABI Research claims that the technology behind Apple's iBeacons is set to expand on a massive scale over the next five years, thanks to new applications that will make use of the "indoor GPS" abilities and personal notification services of Bluetooth LE-powered beacons. While Apple is the best-known "brand" of Bluetooth-enabled sensors with its iBeacon hardware and technology catching on, the study says Apple is unlikely to get into making the actual hardware that will generate $500 million a year by 2019.

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Apple hires two engineers from former Nike Fuelband team

07/08, 9:15pm

Nike's exit from wearables market turns into gain for 'iWatch' project

Two former Nike Fuelband engineers have jumped ship to join Apple, presumably to lend further support to the company's expected "iWatch" health and fitness device, according to discoveries made on the pair's LinkedIn profiles. Both hardware engineer Ryan Bailey and sensor software expert Jon Gale started with Apple last month, just two months after Nike gutted its own Fuelband team and essentially exited the wearables market.

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Rumor: Samsung VR headset design and name leaked, IFA 2014 unveiling

07/08, 8:20pm

Samsung's foray into virtual reality named 'Gear VR,' to be announced with Note 4

New information on Samsung's virtual reality (VR) headset was leaked today, according to Sammobile. The company claims that a new photo of the device was found, indicating that it's closer to the Google cardboard VR accessory rather than a full headset like the Oculus Rift. The publication says that the Gear VR should be announced during Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) 2014 in September.

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Briefly: Panasonic's Toughpad FZ-G1 upgrade, LG's KizOn wristband

07/08, 8:05pm

Panasonic updates Toughpad FZ-G1 10-inch rugged Windows tablet

Panasonic has announced the release of an upgrade to its Toughpad FZ-G1, a rugged 10-inch tablet. Featuring a faster fourth-generation Intel Core i5 vPro processor, an advanced Windows 8.1 Pro update, and a new battery life of up to 10 hours, the Toughpad FZ-G1 is intended for mobile professionals such as military personnel and first responders.

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DealNN: MBPs, monitors and more

07/08, 2:30pm

MBPs, monitors and more

This week, Adorama has the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro for the reduced price of $2,550. That's $150 off the list price of $2,700, and the lowest price we've seen on this model by nearly $100. This MacBook Pro features a 2.8GHz processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of flash storage. It is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.

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Appirio consultancy farms Fitbit-gleaned data to lower insurance costs

07/08, 12:49pm

Company saves $280,000 annually on premiums with Fitbit employee data

Companies are increasingly turning to fitness wearables like the Fitbit to help reduce costs. Cloud services firm Appirio launched a wellness program it calls CloudFit, and provided the Fitbit device to 400 of its employees. As a reward for employee health data tracking, the company re-negotiated its employee health coverage rates, and saved $280,000 annually, over five percent of its annual bill.

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Oculus VR halts Chinese Oculus Rift sales over orders from scalpers

07/04, 2:31pm

Oculus Rift intended for developers, not for resale at a profit

The Oculus Rift has managed to achieve over 100,000 developer kit sales, but not without some issues. The Facebook-owned company, Oculus VR, has been forced to suspend sales of the virtual reality headset to Chinese customers, with many orders to the country canceled under the suspicion that Oculus Rift headsets are being resold at a profit, instead of being used by developers as the company intended.

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Asus deciding on smartwatch design trade-offs, claims chairman

07/04, 6:51am

Asus smartwatch to help with 'real-time problem solving'

Hardware producer Asus will be attempting to make its smartwatch a 'hero product,' claims the company chairman. Speaking at the Taiwan Economic Summit in Taipei, Jonney Shih effectively confirmed the company is still working on a wearable device, and that Asus is still deliberating over 'trade-offs' between a good watch design and the technical requirements of including various features to the device.

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Microsoft smartwatch rumored to take after Samsung Gear Fit

07/03, 6:57am

Fitness tracker with small screen could be on the way from Microsoft

The rumored smartwatch from Microsoft could in fact be a fitness tracker, according to a report. A recent rumor stating the smartwatch will be more like Samsung's Gear Fit rather than something from Android Wear or the the Gear 2 has been given more credence, with the claim that the device will have the appearance of a wristband with a small screen for the time and notifications.

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Oculus Rift DK2 pre-orders to start shipping from July 14

07/02, 5:43am

Second developer kit for Oculus Rift on the way to developers

Developers who pre-ordered the second version of the Oculus Rift developer kit will soon start to receive their orders. The Facebook-owned company is advising that it will be shipping approximately 10,000 units of Developer Kit 2 (DK2) from the factory, with the first batches expected to start reaching developers from July 14th onwards.

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Briefly: UK cinema bans Google Glass, LG G3 pre-orders on T-Mobile

06/30, 11:26am

Vue cinemas bans Google Glass from UK movie screenings

Google Glass has been banned from cinemas in the United Kingdom, one week after the head-mounted device went on sale in the country. Following the lead of the Alamo Drafthouse, Vue cinemas has taken a stand against Glass, reports The Independent, while Cinema Exhibitors' Association chief executive Phil Clapp warns that customers will be requested not to wear Glass into cinema auditoriums, "whether the film is playing or not."

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Briefly: New charging storage cart, Sighthound version 2.2

06/29, 11:07pm

LocknCharge announces Carrier 30 Cart, stores and charges up to 30 mobile devices

Mobile device management company LocknCharge has announced a new and more compact Carrier 30 Cart -- a product that can store, charge and protect mobile devices in a school setting. The cart is capable of charging up to 30 devices, features up to six baskets of five devices each, and is designed to enable several people to access it simultaneously. Its new center-channel system holds all the device cables in place, and offers improved setup. Its soft-closing, sliding lid closes quietly, and can secure up to 30 Chromebook, tablet or iPad devices and the baskets stored inside. Priced at $1,800, volume discounts on purchasing the Carrier 30 cart are available.

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Briefly: Philips' efficient displays, Dulux's paint visualizer app

06/28, 2:22am

Philips' two new PowerSensor displays reduce energy consumption up to 80 precent

Philips has announced two new PowerSensor displays that detect user presence so as to conserve energy consumption. By automatically reducing monitor brightness when users step away from the display, the PowerSensor displays reduce energy usage by up to 80 percent. Available in 24- and 27-inch screen sizes, the displays utilize LCD backlighting for dimming control. The 24-inch display is priced at $250, and the 27-inch at $350.

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Asus reportedly preparing Android Wear smartwatch launch for September

06/27, 1:44pm

Budget Android Wear device from Asus could cost as little as $99

Asus will launch its smartwatch at a far lower price than other Android Wear devices, according to a report. The Taiwanese computer producer is said to be looking to charge at most $149 for its wearable device, and potentially as low as $99, heavily undercutting both the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch, and is likely to be far below the Moto 360 when it ships.

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Pioneer Home Electronics being sold to Onkyo, private investment firm

06/27, 8:20am

More then half of Pioneer division being offloaded to Baring Private Equity

Electronics manufacturer Pioneer has agreed in principle to a deal that will see most of its struggling audiovisual hardware business sold to rival Onkyo and an investment firm. Pioneer will sell a 51 percent stake in Pioneer Home Electronics to Baring Private Equity Asia. The remaining 49 percent will be split between Onkyo and the Pioneer parent company -- Onkyo and Pioneer will continue to sell products under separate banners.

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Google Chromecast uses ultrasonic pulses for nearby device pairing

06/27, 7:10am

Engineer explains Google Chromecast pairing using unhearable sounds

The Google Chromecast apparently uses ultrasonic sounds to communicate with mobile devices that are not located on the local network. Revealed during a presentation by Chromecast Engineering Manager John Affaki at Google I/O yesterday, the streaming HDMI dongle will apparently play a unique ultrasonic sound via the television's speakers in order to identify itself to an unknown device.

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Briefly: Podcasts app for iOS issues, Apple hires wearables expert

06/26, 7:39pm

Some users report iOS Podcasts app no longer working under 7.1.1

Some users are reporting problems launching the latest version of the Podcasts app for iOS devices, saying it will crash a few seconds after launch under iOS version 7.1.1, the most recent update. The newest version of Podcasts was v2.1.2, released on May 29. It's not yet clear if the problem might be rectified by users powering down the iOS device completely and restarting it -- a solution that cures nearly every misbehaving app problem.

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LG will work with Google to produce Project Tango device by 2015

06/26, 2:03pm

Mobile device from LG will include 3D-sensing technology from Google ATAP

Project Tango, Google's 3D-sensing technology from Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) skunkworks, could be in consumer's hands by next year. LG will be partnering with Google on a commercial device for release in 2015, according to an announcement made at a Google I/O presentation, though it is unclear what form the mobile device will take.

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Apple developing first-party HomeKit hardware, report says

06/26, 12:54pm

Products 'beyond the exploratory phase'

Apple is planning to go beyond supporting third parties and offer its own HomeKit hardware, sources note. The people remark that the company has formed a team to work on the products, which it wants to heavily integrate with existing Apple devices. While development could halt at any time, Apple is said to be "beyond the exploratory phase."

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Adidas Fit Smart leaks with LED dot display, heart rate monitor

06/26, 12:06pm

FCC, retailer listings suggest imminent launch of new Adidas fitness tracker

Adidas is close to launching another fitness tracker, according to a variety of sources. Trademarks, FCC filings, and listings with retailer Keller Sports for the miCoach Fit Smart appears to show Adidas combining its existing miCoach Smart Run smartwatch with similar functionality to competitor Nike's FuelBand SE device, with the device also appearing to provide heart rate monitoring as well.

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Lenovo patent reveals wearable with sound recording capabilities

06/25, 6:30pm

Application outlines features of the device, doesn't dip into components used

In a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, information on a head-mounted wearable display similar to Google Glass has been discovered from Lenovo. The application filing, which dates back to last December, covers "an electronic device and a sound-capturing method." It just happens that the device looks like a pair of glasses with embedded electronics.

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Android Wear demoed, first devices using new UI available for order

06/25, 1:15pm

New Android branch specifically for wearables sped up, made more flexible

At Google's 2014 I/O conference, the company has given more details on the its previously-announced Android Wear platform. Amongst other improvements, the operating system for wearables supports both rectangular and circular screens natively, in a large array of sizes. Some of the abilities of the platform, such as instant data sync across devices were demonstrated. Additionally, sending data to a linked phone was displayed by swiping the note over to the device.

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Samsung's Android Wear smartwatch could be called Gear Live

06/25, 6:53am

Rumored Android Wear device from Samsung has similar specifications to Gear 2 Neo

Samsung's rumored Android Wear smartwatch, expected to be unveiled at Google I/O today, is reportedly called the Samsung Gear Live. The same report also claims the device will have a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display and a resolution of 320x320, along with a list of specifications relatively similar to that of Samsung's existing smartwatches, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo.

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Google upgrades Glass hardware, releases more Glasswear apps

06/25, 5:26am

Memory boost for Google Glass helps shorten app loading times

Google has upgraded the hardware of Google Glass, just after putting the head-mounted device on sale outside of the United States for the first time. Ahead of today's Google I/O developer conference, the company has revealed the headset has received a boost to its RAM, from 1GB to 2GB, as well as a number of other changes to its onboard software.

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