Microsoft reportedly talking to Sony about Windows Phone launch in 2014


Microsoft only has a few key Windows Phone partners under its belt, but it may be expanding the ecosystem very shortly — The Information hears from sources that Redmond is once again in talks to launch a Sony-made Windows Phone. While there’s no guarantee of a deal, the partnership could introduce a handset as soon as mid-2014. The device may even carry the VAIO badge, and it could serve as a vehicle for Sony’s Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services. Even if the discussions fall apart, Microsoft may have more hardware manufacturers lined up. Tipsters claim that the company wants to renew ZTE’s interest in Windows Phone, and it could be willing to cut or even waive the OS licensing fees that frequently drive potential allies toward Android. Neither side has confirmed the talks, and Sony will only say that it “continues to assess” Windows when it’s relevant. Still, there’s now a chance that the Xperia X2 will finally get a sequel.

SOURCE: The Information

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Samsung Galaxy S5 concept video borrows iPhone 5s features


A new concept video for the Samsung Galaxy S5 shows what Samsung’s next phone could be like if it takes a couple features from the iPhone 5s and iterates on them.

The major focus of the new concept video is what the video creators Rozetked call Reach ID. The idea of Reach ID is very similar to Apple’s Touch ID on the iPhone 5s, but a bit more useful. Where Touch ID is only accessible from the iPhone’s home button, the concept Reach ID unlocks the phone with a fingerprint from anywhere.

With the Reach ID concept you would simply put your finger anywhere on the home button or homescreen of the Galaxy S5 to unlock the phone. Or, if you can’t reach your phone for some reason, Reach ID can unlock the S5 with just your voice. Presumably such a feature use a specific passphrase or cadence like Touchless Control feature of the Moto X, but because this is a concept video it’s not limited to such restrictions.

Speaking of not limited to reality, this concept video shows some neat voice control features that let you create a workflow for your phone. The voice control features in the concept video can open the music app, play songs from Metallica, then open the most recent photos in the Gallery app with just a few sentences and no taps required. Even more than Reach ID the feature seems like a ways off, and, if it did exist, it probably wouldn’t use the Google Now UI, but it’s always nice to dream.

Of course, the video ends with specs of the concept Samsung Galaxy S5 that make sense with the most recent rumored specs for the phone. They include a 5.2-inch 2K (2560×1440 resolution) display, a 64-bit Exynos 5 Octa processor, Android 4.4 KitKat, and 3GB of RAM.

The Galaxy S5 is one of the most hotly anticipated phones of 2014, with many more concepts to come.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is still a few months away, so expect a few more concept videos like this one and a few more rumors before it actually comes out. We don’t know much about the next Samsung flagship, but if it’s anything like this concept video, it should be a very exciting phone. If Samsung is following in the natural progression of what it had done for the past several major device launches, then it’s likely to have the best in class specifications; many of which have been listed above. Also, if you’re interested in seeing what other creative types have concocted in terms of concepts, then check out the hybrid HTC One / Galaxy device here.

What features would you like to see in the Samsung Galaxy S5? Excited for it? Or holding out for something else? Let us know what’s next on your watch list!

Thanks, Oleg!

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Leak suggests LG’s Lifeband Touch, a Fitbit-style wearable device, is coming soon


LG has admitted it is preparing to release its first wearable device for consumers, and we just got a look at what it might be, a Fitbit-style gadget called the LG Lifeband Touch.

That’s according to regular tipsterEvleaks, who posted a render of the device to Twitter. We understand that the Lifeband Touch will support both iOS and Android, and sync with LG’s existing fitness app, but it’s not clear when it will be officially unveiled — CES seems like a good bet.

The device appears different to the Smart Activity Tracker that LG showed off at CES 2013 — we’ve contacted the company to see if it has any details to share at this point.

We hear also that the gadget will comprise of a touch-based OLED display, accelerometer, altitude meter, and music player that controls tracks from a paired device.

Thumbnail image via Scobleizer / Flickr

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Here Are All The Movies Netflix Is Adding On Jan. 1

New year, new ways to kill time on your couch.

by  BuzzFeed Staff

Last week, Reddit’s r/NetflixBestOf posted a list of the 89 films Netflix is purging from its instant streaming service at the start of the new year. While it’s true that a lot of classics (as well as some awesomely bad films) will be expiring at midnight tonight, all is not lost! Thanks to the same subreddit, here’s a list of the films you’ll be able to stream in less than 24 hours. All told, it’s a pretty solid group of movies…and Good Burger.

American Psycho (2000)
Raging Bull (1980)
Thelma and Louise (1991)
West Side Story (1961)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Bull Durham (1988)
Red Dawn (1984)
Mouse Hunt (1997)
Spaceballs (1987)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
The Chinese Connection (1972)
Amelie (2001)
Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
Children of a Lesser God (1986)
Scrooged (1988)
Days of Thunder (1990)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
Death Race 2000 (1975)
Ghost (1990)
Good Burger (1997)
Play It Again, Sam (1972)

15 of the best iOS apps released in December


December (and 2013) will soon be a distant memory, so we thought we’d take a retrospective look at some of the more notable apps to hit our radar over the past month. So without further ado, here’s a quick snapshot of some of the best iOS apps to launch in recent weeks.


If you want to build an app, you’ll need to learn how to code, right? The Hour of Code app by Codecademy targets total newcomers with the basics of programming.

cad 520x455 15 of the best iOS apps released in December

Its relatively short repertoire covers the absolute basics, such as how programs are written and a few examples of what can be achieved with just a few lines of code.

➤ Codecademy


Fiverr, the marketplace that lets people offer their services for as little as $5,made its mobile app debut this month with the launch of an iOS version.

 15 of the best iOS apps released in December     15 of the best iOS apps released in December

The app allows you to browse the millions of ‘gigs’ listed on Fiverr, from logo design and music composition, to style consultations and voice impersonations for your voicemail greeting. Yup.

➤ Fiverr

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

There was good news for Grand Theft Auto fans in December – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas went mobile, hitting iOS earlier this month.

 15 of the best iOS apps released in December

Originally released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004, the game has now been reworked for touchscreens, with a more forgiving checkpoint system and different control schemes for driving and moving around on foot.

➤ Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Angry Birds Go

Rovio launched its Mario Kart-style Angry Birds racing game in December, hitting Android, Windows Phone, iOS, AND BlackBerry at the same time.

The Angry Birds franchise is growing arms (wings?) and legs now, and based on our dabblings, it has another hit on its hands.

➤ Angry Birds Go


MusicUp pits you against others to discover who can identify the most songs in 90 seconds.

 15 of the best iOS apps released in December     15 of the best iOS apps released in December

You can challenge friends or strangers to listen to clips from a pre-set playlist of songs to see how many track titles can be identified within the time limit.

➤ MusicUp

 15 of the best iOS apps released in DecemberHeyday

Heyday automatically journals your photos and locations so you don’t have to.

While the setup is perhaps a little reminiscent ofRove, Heyday takes things a step further. Once you grant access, the app groups your photos, videos and locations together by day, images are displayed in grid layouts and you can even have the app automatically apply filters.

➤ Heyday

Manga Box

Japanese mobile games giant DeNA moved into manga this month, as it strives to make its mark in another entertainment vertical.

MangaBox 520x293 15 of the best iOS apps released in December

Manga Box is a free mobile app that lets users read manga from Japanese publishers. It includes original manga series, spin-offs of existing popular series and some classics. All titles will be updated weekly, with three to five new episodes added each day.

➤ Manga Box

Slice [US only]

US-based consumers have perhaps encountered Slice before, a service thattracks all your online purchases and pulls the information together into one place. Thus far, Slice has been available for iPhone, Android, and the Web, but from this month, it’s available for iPad too.

Slice iPad home nav 2 730x5481 15 of the best iOS apps released in December

To use Slice, you simply connect your email account and it automatically finds tracking numbers for items you’re awaiting.

➤ Slice


Tydlig is a funky take on what a calculator perhaps should look like on smartphones.

Tydlig 15 of the best iOS apps released in December    Tydligs1 15 of the best iOS apps released in December

Tydlig is a beautifully designed app that brings a rich array of features to the table. It lets you return to, highlight and edit any number in your sequence – when you change that number, the result updates automatically. Also, with a result selected, you can hit any operation – e.g. divide, subtract or add –  and create a linked number beneath it, which lets you kick-off a new sum related to the original one.

➤ Tydlig

Yahoo Weather

Eight months after it rolled out an all-new Weather app for iPhone, Yahoo finally optimized it for iPads this month.

 15 of the best iOS apps released in December

It taps Flickr (owned by Yahoo) to bring beautiful, relevant images to its local weather forecasts. Users can also submit their own weather-related snaps to theProject Weather Group and see their handiwork appear in-app next time it’s raining in their locale.

➤ Yahoo Weather

Journeys of Invention

The London Science Museum launched its first app this month, as it seeks to take its physical exhibits to the technologically-enabled masses.

inventions 15 of the best iOS apps released in December

Journeys of Invention for iPad features 81 objects from the museum’s collection, with 14 themed interactive journeys guiding users through the exhibits. It includes Scott’s Antarctic Medical Chest, an Apple I computer, the Apollo 10 Command Module, a Cray supercomputer, Enigma and a 3D-printed gun.

Unfortunately, only one of the journeys is completely free, though a second one (‘New Science’) can be unlocked if you connect your Facebook account or sign-up by email. The remaining 12 require an in-app purchase of $9.99 (£6.99).

➤ Journeys of Invention

Cut the Rope 2

As expected, ZeptoLab released the follow-up to its uber-popular puzzler Cut the Rope this month.

In Cut the Rope 2, players are still tasked with collecting candy for Om Nom, although this time he’s joined by a cast of supporting characters called Toss, Boo and Blue.

➤ Cut the Rope 2


Notegraphy is an Instagram-style app for creating short notes with beautiful typography.

Typies 520x455 15 of the best iOS apps released in DecemberOptimized for iPhone and iPad, Notegraphy wants everyone to have fun with typography and create vibrant, sophisticated examples that can then be shared with their friends online.

➤ Notegraphy

One Today [US only]

Google launched One Today this month, a mobile app promoting charitable causes, some six months after it arrived for Android. However, it remains US-only for now.

 15 of the best iOS apps released in December     15 of the best iOS apps released in December

The app showcases a different non-profit organization each day, and provides a payment facility for users to donate $1 to the cause. Details of organizations can be shared with friends from inside the app, and there’s an option to match friends’ donations too.

➤ One Today

Flow for Instagram

While Instagram has yet to launch an iPad-optimized app, there continues to be a steady stream of third-party clients waiting to fill this void. The latest one is Flow, and it’s pretty sweet.

FLOW 15 of the best iOS apps released in December

Feature-wise, there’s nothing revolutionary in there, but it’s all about the browsing experience – Flow does exactly what its name suggests and is slick and fast.

The more you use it, the more you notice the little navigational nuances, such as long-pressing an image to bring up details of the user-profile behind the shared-image. And tapping on an image once to start a gallery-style display that lets you swipe through everything in your feed.

➤ Flow for Instagram

Meanwhile, check out our roundup of some of the best iOS apps from the whole of 2013.

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The iPhone has reportedly been fully hacked by the NSA since 2008 (including Camera & Microphone) (Update: Apple denies working with NSA)

by Devindra Hardawar

As 2013 edges to a close, reports of the NSA’s widespread surveillance capabilities have reached new heights of absurdity.

A report from Der Spiegel over the weekend highlighted the NSA’s elite TAO hacking unit, which directly targets corporate networks and can even place spyware on devices while they’re being shipped to recipients. And yesterday, security researcher Jacob Applebaum and Der Spiegel blew the lid off another NSA program, dubbed “DROPOUTJEEP,” which gives the agency fully control of Apple’s iPhone.

Once the NSA’s malware is on an iPhone, the agency can access just about any data on the device, including text messages, contact lists, geolocation history, and voicemail, according to a leaked NSA document (below). It can also remotely enable the iPhone’s camera and microphone.

Applebaum, who coauthored the story in Der Spiegel also detailed how the NSA’s iPhone surveillance works during a talk at this week’s Chaos Communications Congress, an annual hacker get-together. You can view the second part of his talk below, with the iPhone discussion beginning at 44:30.

Given the extent of the NSA’s surveillance machine so far, it’s not surprising that it has its hooks in the iPhone. What is surprising is the agency’s purported 100-percent success rate on installing malware on the iPhone. It’s also worrying that Applebaum is highlighting a leaked NSA document from 2008, only a year after the iPhone was released. At that point, the NSA didn’t have a way to remotely install its malware on iPhones — who knows what the agency’s full capabilities are today.

“Do you think Apple helped them build that?” Appelbaum said during his talk. “I don’t know. I hope Apple will clarify that …”

News of DROPOUTJEEP comes on top of reports that the NSA can easily hack into Android phones and BlackBerry devices and servers. But it sounds like, for whatever reason, the NSA may have even more complete access to the iPhone.

Update: Apple has issued the following response to the report, aiming to dispel the notion that it cooperated with the NSA:

Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers’ privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements. Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.

NSA DROPOUTJEEP iPhone hackVia Forbes

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Google Play Music All Access subscribers invited to purchase Google Glass

By Phil Nickinson

If you’re a Google Play Music All Access subscriber who’s wanted Google Glass but for whatever reason hasn’t been able to score an invite, check your inbox. Emails are going out this morning seeking those with Google’s music subscription service who want the $1,500 wearable.

Writes Google:

Your Chance to Buy Google Glass

With the launch of Google Play Music on Google Glass, we’ve secured VIP invitations for All Access customers to join the Glass Explorer Program. Interested in rocking out while exploring with Glass? Sign up to receive your invitation below!

Indeed, Google Play Music is available on Google Glass. And as we found out in our testing, it sounds half-decent, but it’s a bit rough on battery life.

As always, you’ll need to be a U.S. resident (or, really, have a U.S. shipping address) to actually purchase Glass.

And be sure to swing by our Through Glass series, which explores how we’re living with Google Glass.

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