Here’s Amazon’s phone: six cameras and a 4.7-inch screen

BY BEN GILBERT

Rumors of an Amazon-made phone are nothing new, but today the rumors enter reality more firmly: what you see above is what BGR claims is the Amazon’s first phone. “Whoa, that’s super ugly!” you might be saying. Cool it, that’s just an enclosure around the device itself preventing prying eyes (like our own) from seeing the actual design. The good news is we can still learn a few things about the device without the enclosure removed: five cameras up front (reportedly a sixth out back) and a trio of buttons along the left side handle power and volume. The screen is reportedly of the 4.7-inch variety — which lines upwith previous rumors – and puts Amazon’s first phone on the same scale as Motorola’s Moto X (among others).

Before we move on, we should probably address that whole six cameras thing, huh? Well, the rear one is a standard phone camera for taking photos, and apparently one of the five on the front is also just a standard camera. The four other face cameras, though, are apparently for something especially unique: the phone’s 3D interface. All those cameras reportedly enable the phone to track the position of your head and where you’re looking, thus enabling glasses-free 3D from any angle. BGR says the four face cams are low-power infrared sensors.

So, what’s powering that effect besides cameras? 2GB of RAM and an unnamed Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, apparently. Rather than going 1080p, the handset is also said to push 720p (also similar to the Moto X).

If that’s not enough, the report also says that a less flashy, more affordable version will arrive this year as well. That’s two Amazon phones potentially leaked without Amazon acknowledging or even teasing either. Don’t expect shock on our faces when an ambiguous event invite shows up in the next few weeks.

full story: http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/15/amazon-phone-pictures/

‘Flappy Bird’ Creator: I Might Bring It Back

by Samantha Murphy Kelly

Flappy-bird-4

For those still mourning the loss of the highly addictive Flappy Bird mobile game that was pulled from app stores just last month, creator Dong Nguyen said he’s “considering” bringing it back.

In an in-depth interview with Rolling Stone, Nguyen said there is a chance he could release it once again: “I’m considering it.”

The publication met with the man who mysteriously removed the app, despite it bringing in a reported $55,000 in ad revenue each day. Although the app launched in May 2013, it became an overnight sensation in February as it climbed to the top of Apple’s App Store and Google Play for Android.

But the stresses of success had gotten to its creator. There were rumors he might be sued by Nintendo. He received death threats, couldn’t eat and even contemplated suicide. This led him to send a series of tweets on Feb. 8 warning that he was going to remove the app in just 22 hours. Fans pleaded with him to keep it available, but by the next day, the app was no longer in either store.

In response to a question about how he felt after removing the app, Nguyen responded: 

 

“Relief. I can’t go back to my life before, but I’m good now.”

Although Nguyen said he isn’t working on a new version of the game and is turning down offers to sell it, he would bring back the original release but with a specific “warning” to “please take a break.”

Fans of Flappy Bird who downloaded the app before it was pulled are still generating tens of thousands of dollars for him, according to the report. He quit his job and is developing new games, such as a flying game called Kitty Jetpack and a “action chess game” called Checkonaut due out this month.

Some believe Flappy Bird was so popular because it is so frustrating to play. The concept of the game is to keep a bird afloat by tapping it through a series of obstacles. It’s designed to be simple but, in practice, the task is extremely difficult.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Full Story: http://mashable.com/2014/03/11/flappy-bird-app-coming-back/

Mozilla reveals an adaptive Android home screen built around Firefox

BY JON FINGAS

Firefox Launcher for Android

We hope you haven’t had your fill of adaptive Android home screens, because Mozilla is throwing its hat into the increasingly crowded ring. The company has just offered a sneak peek at Firefox Launcher for Android, a front end that revolves around its mobile browser. The upcoming software mates Firefox withEverythingMe’s context-sensitive app search, personalizing both your web surfing and your software in one shot. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a while to know exactly how this combination works; Mozilla doesn’t plan to reveal more details about Firefox Launcher until it’s ready to start beta testing at an unspecified point in the future.

SOURCE: Mozilla

full story: http://www.engadget.com/2014/02/06/firefox-launcher-for-android/

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N900) KitKat update rolling out

by 

android-kitkat

The Android 4.4.2 KitKat update is now available for the Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N900). Currently the 4.4.2 update is only live in Russia, but should be rolling out across the globe over the comings days. As usual carrier banded devices will have to wait a little longer, or you could always flash the update yourself when it shows up. The Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005, that’s the Snapdragon 800 CPU version, received the same Android 4.4.2 update last week.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the new KitKat features, but for a quick recap here are some of the more Samsung specific ones:

  • The UI changes will be the most instantly noticeable differences. The update switches out the more traditional Touchwiz multi-colored look for the new clean white KitKat status bar icons. Although the toggles in the notification dropdown preserve the old green-themed style.
  • Samsung has made a few changes to the lock-screen, adding a camera shortcut directly on to the lock-screen for quick access. Album art also now shows up on the lockscreen in full screen when playing music.
  • The built-in Samsung keyboard layout has been improved for use in landscape mode, paying particular attention to improved gesture typing.
  • Performance has also been generally improved with KitKat. There’s is a decent looking increase in overall benchmark scores after the update.

As with all Samsung devices, updates can be downloaded and installed by connecting your Galaxy Note 3 to your computer and using Samsung’s Kies software. Alternatively, to manually check for an update over-the-air head on over to Settings > More > About Device > Software update > Update.

SOURCE: SAMMOBILE

Viddme Brings Anonymous Video Sharing To Web, iPhone & Android

by  (@sarahintampa)

Following the backlash against YouTube’s merging with Google+ for identity, authentication and, most recently,commenting, there’s been a renewed interest in a sort of anonymous video hosting service – something like an “Imgur for video,” for instance. It’s an idea that’s been tried before, but sometimes having good timing helps. That may be the case withViddme, a new video sharing service making the rounds on Reddit, which has seen 140,000 uniques in the one month it’s been live.

The service is one of three projects created by Bit Kitchen, a product lab founded by Alex Benzer, previously founder and CEO at L.A.-based SocialEngine, and Warren Shaeffer, previously COO at SocialEngine, alongside two of SocialEngine’s top engineers.

SocialEngine, a TechStars Boulder 2011 grad that helps businesses build their own social networks, was acquired in December by social media agency Room 214, Benzer tells us. (The acquisition hadn’t been publicly announced until now, as it turns out.) The six-year old, largely bootstrapped company had been profitable for some time, Benzer notes, but they decided to sell because Room 214 had a lot of enterprise customers who could take advantage of the service. Plus, it would allow him and Shaeffer to work on other things. Terms of the deal, mostly cash, are not being disclosed, but the exit gave Benzer and Shaeffer “a nice runway” to work on their new ideas at Bit Kitchen.

At Bit Kitchen, the team has also launched an anonymous group chatting experiment called Masked, and a “digital gratitude journal” called Thankaday, but Viddme is currently their main focus.

viddme-homepage

“We’ve been in building mode for the last month or two, and kind of putting these [three services] out there and seeing what the organic response is, says Benzer. “With Viddme, we’ve been exposing it to Reddit, because I think that it’s really useful for Reddit users, especially as early adopters.” He says that some Reddit users have already messaged him asking if they can help work on Viddme, too.

Viddme, of course, is inspired by Imgur, a service that developed a brand around being a place to anonymously share photos. But Imgur has yet to take the leap into video, despite the demand. “Imgur’s DNA is photos – it’s in their name. They’ve had four years to think about videos, and they haven’t done it,” says Benzer.

With the new service, now available on the web, iOS and Android, you can drag-and-drop videos to upload them, or, on mobile, upload videos from your smartphone or tablet in just a few taps. The idea is to allow you to share your videos quickly, without having to create an account. So far, it’s been used for lightweight sharing of video, like one of a kid taking their first steps, as well as for things where anonymity is the main draw, like the tutorial on how to exploit a server.

viddme-video

After the video is uploaded, you can share it to social networks, post to Reddit, or just grab a link which you can share elsewhere as you choose.

Key to Viddme’s value proposition is that you’ll never be forced to register, though on mobile the company will be able to associate a device with the videos you upload, so you could later quickly pull your videos down, if you chose to do so. They may also later introduce an optional user account feature for those who do want a way to better manage their uploads across devices, but this would not have to be associated with your “real name,” as with Google+/YouTube.

viddme-iphoneCurrently, there aren’t a whole lot of restrictions on video content or length, besides a promise that they’ll “obey the law,” and use their best judgement. (So, yes, there’s going to be some NSFW stuff on there, be warned.)

Like Imgur, Viddme’s potential business model could also one day involve monetization through pro accounts, advertising, or enterprise deals, but for now, the service is free while Bit Kitchen tests the waters.

Benzer says there’s already some investor interest in L.A. for Viddme, and while they have a “significant” runway thanks to SocialEngine’s sale, they’re considering raising in order to speed things up. “We’ve received some offers already, and we’re considering them more so for the network value, and less for the financial value,” he says. “We’re definitely talking about it right now.”

You can try out Viddme yourself, from here.

full story: http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/17/viddme-brings-anonymous-video-sharing-to-web-iphone-android/

LG G2 next to join the gold smartphone craze — report

A product listing on ePrice shows a gold G2 for sale, following similar options from Apple, Samsung, and HTC.

 

 

Picture this in gold.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Yet another company is offering a gold-colored smartphone, according to a sales listing on e-commerce site ePrice.

The online-shopping site on Tuesday published images of a gold-colored LG G2. According to Android Headlines, which was first to discover the listing, ePrice is selling a 16GB model for approximately $500, while the 32GB version goes for about $560.

LG hasn’t announced plans for a gold-colored G2, but that the company has apparently made that move isn’t all that surprising. After Apple showed off its champagne-colored iPhone 5S last year, several other companies joined the fray, including HTC and Samsung.

CNET has contacted LG for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

full story: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57617193-94/lg-g2-next-to-join-the-gold-smartphone-craze-report/

Hands-on: Motorola’s Moto X finally comes to Europe for £380

by KATIE COLLINS

Katie Collins

Motorola first announced the Moto X in August 2013, but at the time it was US-only device. Now the phone is winging its way to Europe to take its rightful place above the £135 Moto G in Motorola’s product range.

Prices start at £380 for the SIM-free model and at £25 per month on contract. The phone won’t hit shop shelves in the UK for a few weeks yet, but Wired.co.uk has been hands-on with the Moto X ahead of its 1 February release.

STORAGE AND PROCESSOR

The 16GB Moto X packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.7GHz dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM. This doesn’t sound particularly impressive when compared to innards of other mid-range to high-end Android phones, but Motorola claims this is because the phone relies on the X8 Mobile Computing System, which works based on a “tightly integrated system of eight processor cores”. We’ll be looking to see in our full review how this measures up against the competition in various benchmark tests.

Katie Collins

We’ll also be checking to see how much extra value for money the £380 Moto X offers over its little brother the Moto G, which offers a quad-core performance for only £135. Like the Moto G, the Moto X also doesn’t have expandable memory, which is always rather disappointing to see on an Android phone. In lieu of this however, the phone does come with 50GB of free storage on Google Drive to supplement the 15GB of free Google Drive storage and the 16GB of built-in memory. Motorola and Google are clearly keen to steer users towards cloud storage, but this means you’ll have to be more careful about managing your storage so as to have local access to key files — music, for example — even when you’re offline.

DESIGN AND DISPLAY

The two Motos certainly look alike, with the main distinguishing feature being the silky, patterned back of the Moto X. It’s far from the most interesting phone you’ll have ever seen, although its rounded back does make it very pleasant and easy to hold. The shiny plastic on the front of the phone, doesn’t exactly scream “premium” in the same way that, say, the metal shell of the HTC One does, so if you want a seriously flashy phone, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Katie Collins

Even at its thickest point, it’s over a millimetre thinner than the Moto G, measuring 10.4mm across. Elsewhere the dimensions of the two are almost identical, but at 130g the Moto X is lighter than the Moto G, which weighs in at 143g. The Moto X weighs exactly the same as the larger Nexus 5 and is noticeably light to hold, while remaining solid and free of flex.

The 4.7-inch AMOLED display is clad in Corning Gorilla Glass and offers a resolution of 720×1,280 pixels, which equates to 316 pixel per inches. While not to be sniffed at, a 720p display is not the most impressive screen real estate you’ll see on the front of more expensive Android phones, many of which boast 1080p displays.

The Nexus 5, for example offers a 5-inch screen at 1,080×1,920 pixels, making it preferable for watching videos and playing games, even though the phone costs around £80 less. The Moto G also packs a 720p display, but with an LCD panel rather than a superior AMOLED one.

FEATURES AND CAMERA

As you’d hope from a company owned by Google, the phone is running the latest version of its Android operating system: 4.4.2 KitKat. Superficially, this will provide a similar experience to the Nexus 5 and the Moto G.

Katie Collins

Motorola has packed a few nifty party tricks up the Moto X’s sleeve though. One feature that worked particularly well in our brief hands-on time was Quick Camera Capture, which allows you to boot up the phone’s camera at high speed by twisting your wrist twice while holding it in your hand (a motion that’s a bit like repetitively turning a door handle).

Motorola has put a lot of effort into perfecting its “Touchless Control”, which is basically voice control to the uninitiated. The Moto X can apparently learn your voice and be taught to respond to you without you touching the phone, allowing you to find directions and set alarms completely hands-free. Voice control is rarely perfect, so we’ll be keen to see how well this performs in our review.

Motorola is also keen to emphasise the Moto X’s “Active Display”. When this is switched on, you don’t have to wake the phone up to see the time and any notifications — much like the display on Nokia’s Lumia phones.

Katie Collins

Where the Moto X really does set itself apart from the Moto G is in the camera department. It offers double the number of megapixels — 10 in total — of its little brother. As we’ve already said, the camera is very quick to start up and shoot, and is equipped with an LED flash, 4x digital zoom and 1080p video recording. We’ll be testing how well it performs in practise — as well as the front-facing 2-megapixel snapper — when we conduct our full review.

Powering the phone is a 2,200mAh battery, which should provide plenty of juice for the screen size, although this again is something we’ll be testing at the first opportunity.

OUTLOOK

The challenge the Moto X will face, no doubt, is whether it will manage to stand out among its rivals in the same way the way the Moto G does. At £380 it’s hardly a snip, and consumers may well see the value in buying a Nexus 5 for £299, or even a Moto G for £135, over this pricier handset As devices at the bottom end of the Android phone market offer increasingly better specs and features, manufacturers are going to have to work harder to justify the prices of their more costly offerings. The Moto X is a decent, solid phone and Motorola seems to have enough confidence in it to bring it to Europe, but how it will take in this overcrowded market remains to be seen.

The Moto X will be available in black from 1st February from Phones 4u, Carphone Warehouse, O2, Amazon and Techdata, and will be available in white exclusively from Phones4u for the first few months. Keep an eye out for our full review over the next few weeks.

full story: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-01/14/motorola-moto-x-hands-on