Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Apple is going to replace Touchscreens with Voice control

No one knew a decade before what apple is and what it’s going to bring forth for us. Ten years later Apple changed the way of telephonic conversation, they brought new and innovative ideas which other companies failed to meet and Apple became king company of Smartphone’s. The mobile phones and tablets from apple were much lighter, thinner and more powerful than any other company produced. Their products are more user friendly and easy to handle. Now the question is, are they looking for a horizon beyond touchscreen as well. Because a few days before one rumor suggests that Apple could spearhead that future early next year, in the form of the iWatch.

A Chinese blog claimed that Apple is trying to produce a new and innovative smart watch in collaboration with Intel. The features of iWatch include a 1.5-inch OLED screen and the device would be connected to an iPhone through a low powered Bluetooth 4.0. Using the Siri it will enable you to answer calls and operate other functions of the iPhone.

Whether this rumor is true or not but Siri is going to replace touch screens with voice in our mobile devices for Apple company. Apple thrives on making tech products behave less like tech products, and more like natural human tools. When taken to its extreme, this could result in a device with a conversation-based interface.

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Always be sure where your baggage is!

Los Angeles – January 7, 2013 – According to the SITA, nearly 26 million bags go missing each year from airports around the world. Air travelers concerned about their valuables now have a simple, affordable luggage tracking solution from Trakdot™.  The Trakdot Luggage™ tracker fits into a checked bag and reports city location in real time to any mobile, Apple, Android, or SMS capable devices.  For the first time, Trakdot Luggage gives airline passengers unprecedented control at a wallet-friendly price, allowing them to keep track of checked-in luggage anywhere mobile phones work.

Trakdot Luggage is built for travel convenience, with a palm-sized tracker that is ultra-light and fits easily into any size bag.  The luggage locator system delivers city-specific information on the whereabouts of checked baggage in real time.  Even if the Trakdot protected bag does not reach the desired destination, passengers will still have the reassurance of knowing which city their luggage is in.

Once the device is registered on the Trakdot website and placed inside a checked bag, it will deliver location information directly to the user’s mobile phone or SMS device via text or email.  Alternatively, travelers can track their luggage on Trakdot.com or use the free Trakdot Luggage app.  An additional app alerts passengers as their baggage approaches on the carousel, making it easier than ever for them to find their bag.

“A recent passenger survey from the International Air Transport Association showed that 81% of travelers are interested in tracking their bags in real time,” explains CEO Harry Steck.  “Trakdot Luggage empowers travelers to do just that, with a revolutionary product that is inexpensive as well as simple and convenient to use.”

The retail package includes the Trakdot Luggage device, luggage tag, and batteries.  It works globally with any cell phone or SMS enabled device for a low annual price.  Each device can be linked to multiple phones, and each phone can track multiple devices (as with family applications). For added convenience, Trakdot Luggage owners can track or locate bags on the web at www.Trakdot.com using a secure log-in.

The product will be available March 2013 for $49.95 MSRP with an activation fee of $8.99 and an annual service fee of $12.99.  Media, sales, and distribution inquiries can be made by appointment during CES at LVH Meeting Room MP25639.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S IV Early Rumor Roundup: 8-Core Exynos 5 Chip, 5″ 440ppi Display, Wireless Charging

Here we are again, in the midst of Galaxy S IV rumor season, and this year’s brought about a bountiful harvest. The latest rumor in the bunch is that Samsung’s next flagship will feature a hardcore Exynos 5 Octa processor clocked at 1.8GHz, according to SamMobile.

For what it’s worth, that’s eight cores.

However, don’t get too instantly excited, considering that the Exynos chip in the Galaxy S III was swapped for a Snapdragon processor here in the states. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 2 kept its Exynos processor, so anything could happen.

In either case, the Galaxy S IV is sure to delight and surprise.

For one, AnandTech spotted a Galaxy brand roadmap at CES that promised a 5-inch 440ppi display on a device set to launch in the first quarter of 2013.

You know what else is set to launch in Q1 2013? According to an anonymous Samsung official, the Galaxy S IV is going to debut at MWC in February and see a global launch in March.

Rumors and leaks have also suggested that the phone will pack 2GB of RAM under the hood, and sport a 13-megapixel (1080p video capture) rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel front camera capable of 720p video capture for video chat. And just yesterday, DDaily reported that the Galaxy S IV would support Qi wireless charging.

But hopefully you’re not too attached to the home button. One allegedly leaked press shot of the Galaxy S IV doesn’t seem to have any physical home button on the device. Interesting (scratches chin).

Past that, we also expect to see Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box.

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Nokia Releases 3D Print Files For Lumia 820 Smartphone. Got A 3D Printer? Custom Print Your Own Removable Shell

Now this is cool: mobile maker Nokia has released 3D print files for one of its smartphones so owners of 3D printers can custom print their own removable shell. Nokia already sells different colour shells for the handset in question, the Lumia 820 — which has a removable backplate — along with shells that add wireless charging to the device or offer a bit more protection to standard plastic shells. But the company has decided to spice things up further by releasing a 3D template so people can print their own custom designs.

It’s calling this a 3DK for short — see what they did there? Writing in a blog post on Nokia Conversations, Nokia says: “We are going to release 3D templates, case specs, recommended materials and best practices — everything someone versed in 3D printing needs to print their own custom Lumia 820 case. We refer to these files and documents collectively as a 3D-printing Development Kit, or 3DK for short.”

The mechanical drawings for the shell are available for download here, here and here. Nokia claims it’s the first “major phone company” to release 3D templates for hardware. It’s certainly a bold move for a big corporate company to allow users to remix its design without any checks and balances on what they produce. But it’s also a savvy one — which recognises that building a community of engaged users necessitates giving up some control by giving people opportunities to get more involved in the creation process.

R&D is already something that, increasingly, does not just take place behind the closed, locked doors of corporate research labs. Witness the success of the online crowdfunding model — via sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo — where many projects take soundings from backers and incorporating their views into the final product.

Nokia’s mechanical drawings add to a growing pool of 3D templates up for grabs — from sites like 3D printer maker MakerBot‘s Thingiverse — where custom designs for all sorts of smartphone cases and docks can be found, often licensed for use under Creative Commons.

Nokia says it uses 3D printers internally for rapid prototyping of devices but envisages 3D printing having a much larger role to play in smartphone design in future. “In the future, I envision wildly more modular and customizable phones,” writes John Kneeland, a Nokia Community & Developer Marketing Manager, on the blog.

Kneeland speculates that Nokia could sell a printable phone template in future — allowing entrepreneurs to “build a local business on building phones precisely tailored to the needs of his or her local community”. ”You want a waterproof, glow-in-the-dark phone with a bottle-opener and a solar charger? Someone can build it for you — or you can print it yourself!”

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

10 iPad Apps for Teaching Kids About Science

Compared with mastering multiplication tables, struggling with Shakespeare or memorizing a slew of dates, science class has always been pretty lively. After all, where else could you play with volatile chemicals, fire, magnets and even the occasional dead frog (OK, so maybe that part wasn't "play" for everyone).

Now, thanks to some very smart people who paid attention during science class (and a few other periods), we have another way to study science: the iPad. In just a few short years, this ubiquitous tablet has proved its versatility and usefulness in all sorts of ways. Perhaps most valuable among these is education. Science apps written for the iPad let us explore space, look inside the human body, test out theories and yes, even dissect a frog (although with much less mess). Science itself has made educating people about it more fun and interactive than ever.

Here we present 10 iPad science apps that are so engaging and entertaining that kids won't even mind that they're learning while using them.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Apple Locks App Screenshots To Ward Off Scammers

Apple has announced that app screenshots will be locked in iTunes Connect once an app is approved. New screenshots can only be added when developers submit a binary for an updated to an existing or new app.

This move will help combat a common scam tactic that tricks people into buying fake apps with screenshots stolen from more popular or non-iOS games. Past examples include fake descriptions for  various apps titled Halo 4 that were actually just a chess or racing game and a non-functional “Pokemon Yellow” app. Many scam developers managed to get past App Store monitors by using different screenshots when they first submitted their apps for approval and then later changing the store description.

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Amazon’s “AutoRip” Service Goes Live, Giving Customers Free MP3s For CDs Purchased On Amazon As Far Back As 1998 (Hands-On)

Amazon is today introducing a new service called Amazon AutoRip, which automatically gives customers free MP3 versions of any CDs they’ve purchased from Amazon since the launch of its Music Store back in 1998. Customers will also have access to a growing number of new releases. The digital music is being placed in users’ Amazon Cloud Player accounts, the company’s answer to Google Music, iTunes Match, Rdio, and other services that store users’ own music collections in the cloud.

News of the service’s debut was leaked last night by CNET, which said it would be arriving “soon.”

At launch, the AutoRip service is offered for over 50,000 albums on Amazon.com, with more on the way, including both back catalog and most new releases. The option has been made possible by deals made with record labels and music publishers, Amazon says. According to Steve Boom, Amazon’s VP of Worldwide Digital Music, the company now has deals in place with the three major labels (EMI, now a part of Universal; Sony; and Warner) as well as hundreds of independent labels. On the publisher side, Amazon has participation from all the major music publishers and “hundreds, if not thousands,” of smaller publishers, says Boom.

Amazon’s customers won’t have to take any action to switch on AutoRip. In fact, even if users have never signed up or downloaded the Cloud Player software, the option will be enabled if they’ve ever purchased a CD on Amazon. In that case, those customers will receive an email shortly after the service’s launch today informing them that a digital copy of that purchase (or purchases) is now available in the cloud for free.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Ubuntu smartphone (which no one will use) is a glimpse of the future

Ubuntu's new mobile software will let users run their PC from their phone.
Ubuntu has long been a favorite Linux desktop operating system for open-source fanatics and those who like to tinker with their technology. Now it's stepping out into a new frontier: mobile.

Ubuntu developer Canonical unveiled a new interface on Monday reimagined for touch devices, with a design that borrows cues from Android and Windows 8. The hard sell here isn't simply that Ubuntu now works on mobile devices. Canonical hopes that future devices (read: arriving sometime in 2014) will not only run the new mobile OS, but will also boot the desktop variant of Ubuntu when docked to a keyboard, mouse and monitor.

That would let you literally use your phone to power your PC.

This concept isn't entirely new, as Canonical revealed similar plans last year to attach its desktop software to devices running Android. Before that, Motorola tried to turn Android phones into laptops with its Atrix line of phones and docks. And let's not forget the hybrid operating system experiment that is Windows 8.

But no one -- not even Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) -- has attempted to serve up its own phone OS and desktop OS in a single package. Despite its desktop-like features, Android considers itself a phone and tablet system, while Microsoft still has Windows Phone 8 operating autonomously from the tablet and desktop-centric Windows 8.

Is Ubuntu's new creation good enough to make even the tiniest inroads against the likes of Android, Apple's iOS and Windows Phone?

Video footage previewing the new software shows off an attractive user interface and some clever ideas for navigation, but there's no indication that the wheel has been reinvented.

You'll be able to swipe from the edges of the phone to switch apps and access menus. You can log in to your favorite online services, and Ubuntu will assimilate that data into its own framework. In general, the emphasis seems to be on getting you the info you need in a quick and easy-to-digest way. From the looks of things, the desktop build will have its own interface tailored to mouse and keyboard, but Canonical envisions a single installer app having both desktop and mobile builds.

This would all be great if the only challenge for a mobile operating system was offering up a solid product. It's not. Carving out a niche in the seemingly unshakable mobile space -- ruled by the Android-and-Apple duopoly -- still requires a critical mass of users and a lively ecosystem of app developers.

Realistically speaking, the chances of this even upstaging Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10 are slim. At best, Ubuntu seems like a sandbox for the most enthusiastic early adopters and a cheap enterprise solution for companies on a tight budget.

Still, pushing aside the concerns about market viability, this could be a very real glimpse of how we compute in the future. The central brain for all our computing needs might eventually live in our smartphones, and we'd simply attach them to whatever form factor the situation calls for.

That differs from some current experiments, like Microsoft's vision for the Surface tablet: a single piece of hardware that can be used in multiple ways. It seems just as valid a solution, though, for the inevitable convergence of mobile and desktop computers. To top of page

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The 20 Best iOS And Android Apps Of 2012

Editor’s note: Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of mobile app discovery services Appolicious. Follow him on Twitter @spirrison.

Nearly six years after the debut of the iPhone, mobile applications are beginning to mature. The best mobile apps of 2012 – with a few notable exceptions – are more about refined practicality rather than anything revolutionary.

So while this year’s list lacks medium-defining breakthroughs like Instagram and Shazam, it showcases new and meaningfully updated apps that simply work better than their competitors. In this age of algorithmic aggregation, we also salute titles that have a decidedly human touch.

Of course, any attempt to rank the “best” apps within any period of time will be questioned and debated. Ask 100 different people to rank their favorites, and you’ll likely get 100 different variations.

The apps we selected were either released or significantly updated between January 1 and December 21 of this year. Titles that debuted on iOS or Android in 2012 that were previously available on another platform are eligible for inclusion. All of our selections were sourced, ranked and finalized by Appolicious advisors and members of our community. In all, about a dozen members of the Appolicious editorial team offered their favorites. We also surveyed the most active and influential users of Appolicious sites and applications. We did not account for the number of app downloads or overall popularity. Our qualitative assessment is based primarily on the production value, utility and creativity baked into each cited application.

Here goes.

google-maps-iconGoogle Maps (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android free)
While Tim Cook was a runner-up to President Obama for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2012, the app of the year comes from Apple’s primary nemesis. Google Maps was far from broken when Apple, for business reasons, elected to go with its own Map app for iOS 6. When the iPhone 5 came out, users tapping into the iOS 6 Maps app couldn’t see the Statue of Liberty. This was just one of countless Apple Maps fails. Of course, it’s easy to lambaste Apple for laying an egg here. Yet the larger point is that we take for granted the reliability, clarity, and ease of use of Google Maps. This stuff is hard. That is why we are thankful that Apple earlier this month approved a brand-new version of Google Maps for iOS 6 devices. New competition from Apple, which will inevitably improve its mapping capabilities, pushed Google to develop the best map app yet for any device.

Camera AwesomeCamera Awesome (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad free)
During our mid-year check-in, we had Camera Awesome as the best new app to come out during the first half of 2012. Developer SmugMug is not resting on any laurels. Since that time, Camera Awesome became universally available on all iOS devices and is inspiring many of us to snap pics with our iPads. Camera Awesome – which is superior to the pre-installed iPhone camera and all other third-party photography apps – also integrated with Tumblr. The app’s “1-Tap Share” feature is now accessible with all major social networks.

Slices for TwitterSlices for Twitter (iPhone, iPod touch $4.99 Android free)
From reading commentary during live news and sporting events, to sharing information about public transportation during Hurricane Sandy, to finding out what your friends are up to this weekend, Twitter in 2012 emerged as a (if not the) primary resource for real-time news and information for mainstream users. With millions of feeds to follow, however, it’s challenging for five-year veterans and newbies alike to keep this vast flow of information organized. While there are many third-party apps that help users categorize who and what they follow on Twitter, Slices is the best one for smartphones right now.

flipboardFlipboard (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android free)
The worldwide leader in socially curated news had a busy year after being named our favorite app of 2011. Highlights from 2012 include Flipboard’s arrival on Android devices, YouTube, and Google+ integration, as well as a picture-perfect partnership with the New York Times. I’d argue that it’s better to read all the news that’s fit to print via Flipboard than anywhere else.

Khan AcademyKhan Academy (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad free)
Touchscreen devices will revolutionize education in the months and years ahead. In early 2012, Salman Khan took his library of more than 3,500 lesson-specific educational videos to iDevices. The Khan Academy app enables users to easily navigate their way through comprehensive and engaging tutorials on subjects that range from raising venture capital to the Baroque period in art history. Khan Academy also lets users view the transcripts from each lesson, and easily find and drill down on passages that are most insightful.

songzaSongza (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android free)
Audio streaming services like Pandora, Slacker and Spotify are changing the ways in which we consume music. Rather than listening to albums or pre-programmed playlists, we now have access to entire “stations” on our computers and mobile devices built around our favorite artists and songs. This year, the Songza app added a human element to this kind of algorithmic-driven music curation with a major update that showcases playlists created for particular moods or times of day. Best of all, even after hundreds of hours of happy listening, I still haven’t heard an ad on the free service.

viggle-logoViggle (iPhone, iPod touch, Android free)
You no longer need to feel guilty about wasting the day away curled up on the couch watching television. With the Viggle iPhone app, you can get compensated from the likes of Amazon.com, Starbucks and the Gap merely for watching and checking in to many of your favorite programs. Viggle uses audio recognition technology similar to what is found in apps like IntoNow and Shazam to do much of the work for you. Just sit back and appreciate that you are getting rewarded for doing absolutely nothing.

Brewster Address BookBrewster Address Book (iPhone, iPod touch free)
Keeping track of all your contacts across email, telephone numbers and social networks is challenging. Brewster is an uber contact-management tool that syncs to your iPhone’s contact list, but also Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail and Foursquare. The app has a simple and visually striking interface that showcases the images and names of your contacts as you scroll across the screen. Brewster will automatically determine your “Favorites” based on activity, and lets you easily search for contacts or create your own distinct lists.

NextDraftNext Draft – The Day’s Most Fascinating News (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad free)
While there is nothing technologically groundbreaking about this app, which publishes daily email newsletter content from satirist and current events junkie Dave Pell, you will feel smarter and happier after you download it. There are hundreds of apps that let you filter and curate news around your particular interests, but there is only one that compiles 10 of the “Day’s Most Fascinating News” stories with Pell’s unique wit and insight.

Action Movie FXAction Movie FX (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad free)
From the production company of producer J.J. Abrams (Lost, Super 8, and the latest iteration of Star Trek) comes this entertaining app, which lets users superimpose special effects into video clips they record with their iDevices. While Action Movie FX suffered from early stability issues and is not really an app you’ll need to use every day, its playful production values and Skywalker-inspired sound effects make it worthy of top billing.

AtlasAtlas by Collins (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad $6.99)
The world is at your fingertips with Atlas by Collins. This robust app features satellite mapping images, physical maps, political maps with states and territories marked out, environmental maps, population statistics and even mobile technology and Internet usage maps. Atlas By Collins also features street-level viewing for any location on the map, in-depth country profiles, and 200,000 data points for cities, towns and major natural landmarks.

CrackleCrackle – Movies & TV (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android free)
While there were no technological breakthroughs from this Sony-developed video-streaming service in 2012, we salute Crackle for its exclusive programming. In August, Jerry Seinfeld returned to the small screen with his “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” online series that was shown exclusively on Crackle. Netflix and Hulu may be splashier, but neither could show Seinfeld riffing with Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner while eating Chicken in the Pot soup and watching Jeopardy.

vyclone logoVyclone (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad free)
Vyclone may be the next big video-editing app thanks to its social take on video recording. When users take a video with Vyclone, the app looks for others who are shooting video nearby and then edits the video clips together so the same footage can be seen from multiple angles. Ideal for large events like sports games, events and concerts, Vyclone could create a new socially focused, video-editing standard.

StitcherStitcher Radio (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android free)
Although podcasts don’t have the same pop-culture cachet as apps, the digital audio files are a godsend to talk-radio junkies and anyone who appreciates the spoken word. From past episodes of This American Life and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! to comedy programs like The Nerdist and WTF with Marc Maron, to long-form interviews from your favorite sports commentators, there are podcasts that appeal to virtually every interest. Regrettably, the Podcasts app that Apple debuted earlier this year is buggy and – if not monitored correctly – can eat up a lot of storage. The best bet for podcast discovery on iOS and Android devices comes from the fifth-generation edition of Stitcher Radio, which rolled out earlier this year.

highlightlogosucksHighlight (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android free)
Highlight, which alerts you when a Facebook friend or individual with similar interests is in your vicinity, was the most successful app of its kind to emerge from South By Southwest in March. Since that time, Highlight has significantly improved with new features that let users send group messages to those nearby and comment on their friends’ profiles. The app’s notification system is also vastly improved.

ClearClear (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad $0.99)
What separates Clear from hundreds of other task-management apps are its ease of use and beautiful design. A recent update enables the app to work alongside iCloud, so you can share task lists between your MacBook and iPhone seamlessly. Other newer features include the ability to switch lists quickly, and paste text into Clear and have it auto-format into a list.

PocketPocket (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android free)
While many were predicting the demise of Pocket with the arrival of iOS 6 and the ability to read articles offline in Safari, the app remains the best “Read it Later” alternative for all iOS and Android devices. Accessing content through the app is a pleasure. Its other features – such as changing text size, sharing through myriad services, and archiving finished content – are simple and intuitive.

ShowyouShowyou (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad free)
A fully operational Apple TV is at least six months away — likely longer. In the meantime, there are a handful of great video-discovery apps that can be viewed on the big screen thanks to Apple TV and AirPlay Mirroring. Showyou is the best. This year, Showyou completely revamped its iPhone application, making it easy to locate videos shared by Facebook and Twitter contacts, as well as via search and a curated directory. What separates Showyou from its competitors are clever in-app messaging features and a vibrant community.

Paper FiftyThreePaper by FiftyThree (iPad free)
Doodlers and more serious artists alike can embrace this beautifully designed iPad application, also named by Apple as one of the best of 2012. Created by the Microsoft team that brought us Courier, Paper cleverly labels drawing tools by utility (“sketch”) rather than their actual name (“pencil”). There is a lot here that can be enjoyed for free, with extra tools on sale within the app.

ZinioZinio (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android free)
Although Zinio first appeared on iOS devices in 2009, the digital magazine application is more recently pioneering how consumers purchase advertised and editorially curated products on touchscreen devices. A partnership with ShopAdvisor lets readers purchase and learn more about products they are interested in without leaving the page they are reading. Zinio has a roster of more than 5,500 publications that can be read seamlessly across any mobile and desktop device worth owning.

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References To iPhone 6, iOS 7 Reportedly Seen in Developer Log

The iPhone 5 just finished its global rollout, but it looks like leaks about the iPhone 6 are already starting to surface. An iOS developer saw a device named “iPhone 6.1″ running iOS 7 making requests from an IP address within Apple’s Cupertino campus, according to TNW. The iPhone 6 is expected to be released by the middle of next year. TNW says that “although OS and device data can be faked, the unique IP footprint leading back to Apple’s Cupertino campus leads us to believe that this is not one of those attempts.”

So does this show anything significant, aside from the fact that Apple will continue to regularly push out new iPhone models and iOS versions? Probably not. Over the last two years, since police raided Gizmodo editor Jason Chen‘s home after he obtained an iPhone prototype, Apple’s attitude toward secrecy has become increasingly lax despite Tim Cook’s insistence otherwise. And, as TNW notes, references to the new iOS 6 software were seen in May a month before its official launch, giving this latest round of leaks a precedent.
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