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cleetongumbs

BlackBerry says its square phone is already stealing back iOS and Android users

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Is Blackberry Back?

A lot of people who now use iPhones and Android phones once used BlackBerry devices many years ago, and now BlackBerry says that its new square BlackBerry Passport is bringing some of them back into the fold. In a new post highlighting consumer response to its newest smartphone, BlackBerry picks up on several comments left on different websites of people who say that they can’t wait to dump their current smartphones for the BlackBerry Passport.

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Withings Activité is an Activity Tracker Disguised as a Swiss Watch

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Finally wearable tech with style…

The technology of fitness trackers is something we could really do within our lives. The additional wrist luggage, however, not so much. Now someone has combined that technology with the simplicity and size of a watch, it makes so much sense that we can’t believe it hasn’t already been done. Fitted with a classic round face and a traditional analog watch display, the watch looks relatively unassuming. However, the Activité is fitted with two dials. The primary one tells the time, whilst the secondary sub-dial keeps track of your activity targets. It’s available in either black or silver, made out of stainless steel 316L and an “unbreakable” sapphire glass screen which also functions as a touchscreen.

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The fitness tracker is able to monitor your steps, calories burned, distance traveled plus sleep patterns all via internal sensors. It can even wake you up using a vibrating alarm. It transmits the information to iOS devices using Bluetooth, where you can use the Withings Health Mate app to track your progress. The Withings Activité will retail this fall for $390 USD.

This Firefox OS media stick sends video to your TV, much like Chromecast

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Is this a Chrome-cast Killer?

If you like the idea of streaming media to your TV with a Chromecast but aren’t terribly fond of Google’s content or platform restrictions, you’ll soon have an open alternative. GigaOM has managed to get hands-on time with an unannounced Firefox OS-based media stick that lets you “fling” any content to your TV using any software. It has a hack-friendly open bootloader, and it’ll even mimic a Chromecast in a pinch; while support is inconsistent right now, the adapter can already handle video requests from the YouTube app. Mozilla isn’t naming the manufacturer or commenting on its involvement in the project, but hopefully the gadget ships sooner than later. It may be the key to simple casting from Firefox OS, Windows Phone and other platforms that don’t have many (if any) TV sharing options.

Facebook’s Slingshot is a Snapchat competitor that wants you to snap back

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After accidentally releasing it to the world last week, Facebook has now officially unveiled Slingshot, a curious new app to come out of the company’s Creative Labs division. Widely rumored as a Snapchat competitor, Slingshot certainly has an ephemeral element — all of the photos and videos you send using it are easily removed with a simple swipe. But while Snapchat is a messaging service for one-on-one conversations, Slingshot is more about sharing that moment with lots of people at once. In a sense, it’s an impromptu social network that encourages spontaneous communications. But there’s a catch — if you want to see what your friends have shared with you on Slingshot, you’ll have to reciprocate and “sling” something back. It’s perhaps the only social app we’ve heard of that requires 100 percent active participation, and that’s at the core of what makes Slingshot so very unique.

Slingshot was started in one of Facebook’s December Hackathons last year, where employees were encouraged to come up with new Creative Labs apps. Creative Labs, if you don’t already know, is a division within Mark Zuckerberg’s domain that’s encouraged to come up with new and innovative apps that exist outside of the core Facebook ecosystem. It’s a way for the firm to explore new forms of social connections and see what sticks without mucking about with its bread and butter. Creative Labs’ first-ever product meant for such a mission was Paper, a dedicated newsreading app that’s more immersive and visually richer than the company’s primary offering. After testing it over the holidays, Facebook decided that Slingshot would be the second standalone app from the internal startup initiative and a team of 10 people started to work on it full-time in January. Six months later, it’s now ready for release.

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Make phone calls from your Mac right now

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You don’t have to wait for OS X Yosemite to place a call on your Mac, using your iPhone. Here’s what you need to know.

Two weeks ago, Apple announced OS X Yosemite and a healthy list of new features set to make a debut in the upcoming release. But what Apple didn’t say was that a lot of the features are actually available in OS X right now, just not through Apple’s own apps.

That means you’ll need to use a third-party app to gain some of the same functionality.

Case in point, you can already place and receive phone calls on your Mac. And instead of restricting you to only your iPhone, you can also hook up an Android device to place and receive calls through you computer.

The app you’ll need to perform such black magic is called Connect.

After buying Connect, which will set you back $1.99, you will then need to follow the instructions to pair your device to your Mac.

The app will live in your Mac’s menu bar along the top of your screen. When you need to place a call, click on the app icon, and then dial the number, look up your contacts, or direct Siri to place the call for you. The call itself is broadcast through your Mac’s speakers, using the microphone equipped on your Mac.

From what we hear, there’s a little bit of delay, but otherwise the app worked just as advertised.

AT&T Will Be the Exclusive Carrier For the Amazon Smartphone

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Amazon’s much-rumored and eagerly awaited smartphone will be exclusively carried by AT&T when it launches.

According to “people familiar with the plans,” the smartphone—expected to be announced at an event on Wednesday June 18th—will “extend Amazon’s relationship with AT&T, which also provides wireless service to Kindle tablets and e-readers.”

It wouldn’t be the first time AT&T landed exclusive rights to new high-profile phone. Cast your mind back to 2007, and you’ll remember that it held an exclusive arrangement with Apple for the iPhone when it launched, too. That lasted for over three years, and have AT&T a massive lead over Verizon.

The Amazon phone, of course, is heavily rumored and more than a little intriguing with it. Talk is of a smartphone that will distinguish itself with a screen capable of displaying three-dimensional images without glasses, retina-tracking technology and gesture controls.

Source: WSJ

Developer: There’s Code in iOS 8 for Split-Screen Multitasking

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Here goes another feature Android users can no longer use to hold over the heads of Apple users.

An Apple app developer found code in iOS 8’s SpringBoard, that offers the ability to run two apps side-by-side. The code also gives you the ability to split the screen into 1/4- or 3/4-size allowing for all kinds of screen arrangements. We’ve heard several rumors about this feature and it pleasing to know that those rumors were true.

This is Major Gadgent Nation!!!

Virtual reality becomes reality

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Virtual reality is getting real, and not just for gaming. Forget 4G, the buzz is building around 5G. And the 4K TV discussion now focuses on the content.

The Gadgent has the scoop on why there so much buzz about these new promising technologies. Check out Episode 6 of “The Next Big Thing” for a summary of what these technologies have to offer.

If you’re like us, you’ll be anxious to see them in the market after watching.

 

Which of the three are you most excited about?

Apple To Abandon Headphone Jack? Beats Deal Suddenly Makes Sense

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I get it Apple… This is why you purchased Beats!!! It makes perfect sense. Apple is being more Apple than we ever imagined and it could mean saying goodbye to your favorite pair of headphones; and to think, we were just getting accustomed to them.

Sources also say the new headphones could possibly sport the Beats logo.

Get Ready For Lightning Headphones

9to5Mac has learned that Apple submitted a specification to its MFi (Made For) licensing program for headphones which connect using the company’s proprietary Lightning port instead of the standard 3.5mm jack; and all it will take for the Lightning port to start accepting these new headphones is a firmware update.

 

The Upside

The Lightning port will enable Apple to switch from analog to digital audio with an exceedingly high lossless stereo 48 kHz digital output and mono 48 kHz digital input. Headphones with a Lightning connector would be able to do more than lower/increase volume, end calls and skip tracks. There could be specific app control or even the ability to set a specific app to start when they are connected. Since the Lightning jack can also receive power, not just send it, you could still charge a device by connecting it to your headphones while listening to music. 

As for users who want to stick with their headphones, they would need to pay for an adaptor which like the $29 Lightning to 30-pin adaptor would inevitably be expensive and just bulky enough to make you want to buy dedicated Lightning headphones long-term. Beats may primarily have been about securing a streaming music service, but suddenly the ability to earn multi-millions from locked-in Lightning headphones, license fees and sales of adaptors makes for a very juicy side business.

The Roll Plan

Make no mistake Apple is very strategic. It knows the state of the headphone market and it knows the risk of trying to impose too much too quickly. That said there is a very simple and effective roll out trajectory:

1. Announce the technology with Beats and headphone partners
2. Unveil clever third-party app integration
3. Make this integration inaccessible in any other way
4. Make Lightning port to 3.5mm headphone jack adaptors expensive and bulky
5. In a few years remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from Apple devices citing legacy, greater design flexibility and extra space for a bigger battery

The Flip Side

Apple will have an extra hurdle in attracting new customers to switch to their devices. Just as those with Lightning headphones won’t want the expense of paying to go back to 3.5mm headphones, those with 3.5mm headphones (particularly expensive ones) will be reluctant to splash out on an adaptor or a whole new pair.

Altogether, we haven’t seen a move like this since the late Steve Jobs and its reassuring to know that his impact is still resonating throughout the Apple organization.

 

How to Get iOS 8 Right Now

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You could (and probably should) wait for the wide release this fall before downloading iOS 8. But if you absolutely can’t wait, here’s how to get Apple’s brand new iOS 8 beta on your phone right now.

Before you do anything, backup your device. It’s a good idea anyway before updating, and considering how temperamental betas tend to be, it is especially important now. We should note too that we really don’t recommend you do this unless you’re a serious iOS addict. It’s going to take a while for iOS 8 to be anything other than a buggy, volatile mess, and unless you have been scratching your eyes out in anticipation, you’re going to regret it.

That said, if you absolutely can’t wait (you can!), you have a couple of options.

If you’re a developer: You can head straight over to Apple’s Dev Center to lock down your copy. Just look for the model number on the back of your phone or iPad, and click the corresponding link.

If you’re not an Apple dev: Or if you just don’t want to pay the requisite $99 to become one, there are significantly cheaper options. All of them amount to essentially buying slots on already-made developer accounts, which is inherently sketchy and unreliable and you really probably shouldn’t do it, but if you are desperate, there you go.

According to Gotta Be Mobile, IMZDL is one the best known and most reliable, which should have the beta available for download here. Still, it’s kind of a gamble. And again, you almost definitely don’t actually want to do this.

Once you have the beta downloaded:

  • Plug your phone into you computer and connect to iTunes.
  • With the device window open, hold alt/option for Mac and shift for Windows while you click Restore.
  • Select the .ipsw file you just downloaded.
  • Restore from your backup after finishing the installation

Oh, one last note: You really don’t want to do this. Unless you’re a dev. Really. But you are your own unique snowflake, and you have been warned. Happy trails!