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printed October 25, 2014
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iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

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Twitter Touts Digits for Mobile App Login

Thursday, 7:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter recently unveiled Digits, a new way for smartphone users to log in to mobile apps. Rather than use an email address and password or social networking credentials to create app logins, Digits allows people to use their phone number. After entering their number, users will receive an SMS code and can use that to create an account and log in to the app for the first time. After that, they won't need to log in again. Digits is not associated with Twitter's main product, but it is part of the new Fabric SDK Twitter is releasing to mobile developers. Twitter believes Digits is a more user-friendly way for smartphone users to sign into apps. Digits is available on the web, as well as for Android and iOS devices.


Yahoo Brings Travel Alerts to Android and iOS Mail App

Wednesday, 2:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Yahoo today rolled out an update to its email application for both Android and iOS devices that adds support for travel and event notifications. According to Yahoo, the Today section of the email app will now show flight status and directions to the airport, as well as local points-of-interest recommendations once you've reached your destination. The Mail app is also able to skim details from Ticketmaster or EventBrite emails, and will provide event details, such as start time, and directions to the venue. The new Mail app for Android and iOS is free to download from the Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.


Microsoft Opens the Garage Door, Releases Android Apps

Wednesday, 8:38 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today revealed Garage, a collective of Microsoft employees that is encouraged to tinker with apps and services for a wide range of platforms and products. Microsoft describes the Garage as "a community of interns, employees, and teams from everywhere in the company who come together to turn our wild ideas into real projects." Along with its public unveiling, Microsoft announced several Android apps created within the Garage that are available from the Play Store today. For example, Torque is an app for Android Wear that lets owners of such devices twist their arm to launch Bing (not Google) Voice Search. Another, Next Lock Screen, lets Android device owners see their missed calls, messages, and calendar appointments without unlocking their device. The apps are free to download starting today. Microsoft indicated more apps and products may emerge from the Garage, not just for Android, but for iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows, too.


Congress Warns FBI to Leave Peoples' Cell Phones Alone

Wednesday, 7:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Members of Congress have responded to comments made by FBI Director James Comey regarding security measurers Apple and Google have added to their respective mobile operating systems. Both iOS 8 and Android 5.0 use encryption by default to protect user data from spying. The FBI doesn't like this. Comey last week asked Congress to pass legislation that would force smartphone makers to provide a back door into smartphones for law enforcement purposes. Congress has spoken up. "I think the public would not support it, certainly industry would not support it, civil liberties groups would not support it," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren in a statement provided to The Hill. "I think [Comey is] a sincere guy, but there's just no way this is going to happen." Senator Ron Wyden offered similar thoughts. "I'd be surprised if more than a handful of members would support the idea of backdooring Americans' personal property." Representative Darrell Issa added, "To FBI Director Comey and the [administration] on criticisms of legitimate businesses using encryption: you reap what you sow." Congress believes the American public is inherently distrustful of law enforcement's data collection techniques after the revelations made by Edward Snowden. FBI Director Comey wants Congress to update 1994 legislation called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which required phone companies to make it easy for law enforcement to tap calls. The Electronic Frontier Foundation points out, however, that CALEA already protects encryption measures put into place by companies. The law states companies "shall not be responsible for decrypting, or ensuring the government's ability to decrypt, any communication encrypted by a subscriber or customer." The Hill suggests the FBI isn't going to simply drop the matter and will continue its push for broader access to smartphones.


Vine Tackles iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, iOS 8 Extensions

Tuesday, 11:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter today pushed out an update to its Vine application for iOS devices. The app has been optimized for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screens, and adds support for extensions in iOS 8. The new share extension makes it simpler to share Vines with other people and /or social networks from within the app itself, or within other apps. The app also added a button for quicker channel following. Vine for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Vine is a video-based social network that lets people record and post short clips.


Google Updates Play Music with Songza Features

Tuesday, 11:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today pushed out an update to its Play Music service that adds new, curated play lists. The refreshed service gains its tools from Songza, which Google purchased over the summer. Play Music now offers a playlist- and song-recommendation engine that uses variables such as the time of day and location to cultivate selections. Google says users of the app will be prompted to play music for a time of day, mood, or activity. Each station has been created by real people to make sure they truly match the mood or activity at hand. Users can download stations for offline playback, see upcoming song selections, and add, remove, or reorder tracks on a whim. Google also updated its Listen Now web site to make it easier to discover and listen to new music. Last, Google Play Music now wears the Material Design look that Google is putting on most of its apps. The new Google Play Music app is available to Android and iOS devices, as well as on the web.


Apple Releases iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay

Monday, 12:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS version 8.1. The system update, for iPhones and iPads, activates Apple Pay and fixes a number of bugs. Apply Pay is Apple's mobile payment system. It makes use of the NFC radio and Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to enable tap-and-go payments at participating retailers. iPads can use Apple Pay to make in-app purchases. iOS 8.1 also provides access to iCloud Photo Library beta, and adds support for SMS messaging on the iPad and Mac computers. iOS 8.1 is free to download over the air.


RadioShack Expands Fix-It-Here Program

Oct 20, 2014, 10:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 20, 2014, 11:31 AM

RadioShack today said its has increased the footprint of its Fix It Here service to 26 stores in and around Chicago. Consumers with broken or damaged smartphones and tablets can take their device to RadioShack, where select problems can be repaired. RadioShack's on-site technicians are trained to repair cracked screens, water damage, broken charging ports, broken buttons, camera issues, audio issues, and batteries. According to RadioShack, repairs start at $40 and most take under two hours to complete. RadioShack said if phones cannot be repaired, it will suggest alternatives from its line of hardware. Fix It Here is available at 500 RadioShack locations, and the company is on target to reach 750 locations by the end of the year. RadioShack recently scored a huge influx of capital to prevent the company from going under.


FBI Wants Congress to Force Phone Makers to Add Back Door

Oct 17, 2014, 7:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

FBI Director James Comey has again voiced his displeasure with the new encryption tools added to Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8. Both Google and Apple added the default encryption to their mobile operating systems in order to protect user data. Comey says this is an impediment to law enforcement, making it more difficult -- if not impossible -- to intercept real-time communication, such as phone calls and text messages. Comey said more and more criminals are turning to technology to hide or enable their unlawful activities. He beseeched Congress to create legislation that will require tech companies to provide back-door access to encrypted communications between suspected criminals. The American Civil Liberties Union disagrees. "Any effort by the FBI to weaken encryption leaves our highly personal information and our business information vulnerable to hacking by foreign governments and criminals," said ACLU director Laura Murphy. Congress has not responded publicly to Comey's comments.


Twitter Integrates SoundCloud for In-App Audio

Oct 16, 2014, 4:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter today announced a new feature that will allow users of its Android and iOS apps to listen to music/sound clips directly from their timeline. According to Twitter, the new Twitter Audio Card can be docked and allow users to listen to the songs or clips even as they continue to browse through their timeline. SoundCloud is the first third-party company to add support for the Audio Card, but Twitter said it expects to add more services over time. Twitter hopes more parters, artists, and creators will adopt the feature for sharing purposes. The feature is free to use within the Android and iOS versions of Twitter. Twitter didn't say if or when the feature might reach other platforms, such as Windows Phone.


Apple Says iOS 8.1 Is About Stomping Out Bugs

Oct 16, 2014, 12:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 16, 2014, 12:37 PM

Apple today revealed details about iOS 8.1, an update to its smartphone and tablet platform. iOS 8.1 targets numerous bugs that have caused issues for iPhone and iPad owners since its debut, such as connectivity and crashing. As far as new features, iOS 8.1 adds support for Apple Pay and includes the public beta of iCloud Photo Library for sharing photos. The update also brings back the camera roll within the photo application. Apple said iOS 8.1 will be available for download beginning Monday, October 20.


Apple Pay to Launch October 20

Oct 16, 2014, 12:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today announced that Apple Pay will go live Monday, October 20. Apple Pay is Apple's NFC-based mobile payment service. The service hooks into iPhone owners' iTunes accounts and the associated credit cards. Apple Pay will also (eventually) work with cards issued by more than 500 banks across 220,000 locations operated by dozens of retailers. Apple Pay is limited to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus due to their embedded NFC radios. Apple Pay also works on the web, and can be used to make purchases from select online services.


Facebook, Twitter Get iOS Updates

Oct 15, 2014, 3:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook and Twitter today both pushed out updates to their iOS applications. The Facebook app has been updated with support for the screens of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Twitter has been updated with several bug fixes and other improvements. Both apps are free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Skype Updated for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Screens

Oct 15, 2014, 8:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today made Skype 5.6 available for the iPhone. The updated app now supports the screen size and resolution of all iPhone models, including the newer iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Skype says the app displays more of your recent chats and shows more messages in conversation view on the larger iPhones. Skype 5.6 for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Skype Debuts Qik Video Messaging App

Oct 14, 2014, 8:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 14, 2014, 8:42 AM

Skype today announced a new video messaging app called Qik. The service, explains Skype, is to give smartphone users a fun way to interact with others and maintain conversations that have more personality than standard text messages or video calls. Qik users can record and send up to 42 seconds of video to recipients who can then respond with video messages of their own. Skype says videos remain live for just two weeks, and can be erased by the creator at any time. Qik also lets users prerecord five-second Qik Fliks, which Qik describes as canned video responses to use when there's no time to record a new video. Qik used to exist as a stand-alone messaging service, but was purchased by Skype in 2011 and later shuttered entirely. Skype Qik is available to Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. The app is free to download from each platform's respective app store.


HTC RE is an Action Cam for Everyone

Oct 8, 2014, 3:36 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 8, 2014, 3:45 PM

HTC today announce the RE Camera, a small standalone camera device that connects to any Android or iOS device. Roughly the size and shape of an inhaler, the waterproof body sports an ultra-simple interface with a capture button you press to snap a still, and hold down to record video. It turns on automatically when you touch the body. The 16-megapixel Sony Exmor sensor is paired with an ultra-wide 146-degree lens that captures practically everything in front of it. It also records 1080p HD video, optionally in slow motion via a small second button. It charges via micro-USB and supports USB mass storage for easy file transfer. It also has a microSD slot and comes with an 8 GB memory card. It mounts to any standard camera tripod. It pairs with the smartphone app via Wi-Fi Direct. The app can browse and/or download photos and videos. It's also used to configure various settings, can be used as a remote live viewfinder, and controls a highly configurable time-lapse mode. It also includes one-touch correction for the "fisheye effect" from the wide-angle lens. Available accessories include a bike mount, lanyard, and deep underwater case. A future update will enable live broadcasting via YouTube. Available colors include white, teal, navy, and coral. It will go on sale at Best Buy by the end of October for $199.

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HTC Relaunches Zoe as Social Network

Oct 8, 2014, 3:25 PM   by Rich Brome

HTC today announced that its new Zoe app and service has exited beta and is being launched as a revamped, cross-platform social network. The new Zoe app will be available for both Android and iOS, and combines the Zoe Highlight Video functionality with a social network much like Instagram or Vine. It also lets users remix and add to friends' content. In beta, the app required at least 8 media items (photo or video) in order to make a 30-second auto-edited video clip. The new version 1.0 can make videos as short as seven seconds using as few media as you like, even just one photo. (It still supports using up to 16 media, and outputting videos up to 30 seconds.) It also includes a revamped tool to find Facebook friends who are using Zoe, and can post Zoes to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Like Instagram, Vine, and Twitter, it lets you follow friends and be followed, and the app centers on a scrolling feed of content posted by people you follow. The app automatically mixes content into a creative video montage, with various options to customize music and timing. It's available for Android 4.3 and higher starting today, and iOS 7 and higher starting later this fall.

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Microsoft Debuts Xim, a Cross-Platform Photo-Sharing App

Oct 8, 2014, 9:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced Xim, an app and service that allows people to share photos with select groups of people. Xim was created by Microsoft Research's FUSE labs and is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Users can select up to 50 photos to share and create a Xim. Users can pluck photos from their camera roll, Facebook, Instagram, Google Drive, or OneDrive. The Xim can then be viewed by whoever the user invites, including those who don't have the app (viewed via the browser). The app includes a group chat feature that allows everyone invited to a Xim to chat with each other. Xims are impermanent, sort of like Snapchat, and expire after a short period of time. The Xim app should be available in the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Phone Store today.


Swiftkey for iOS Gains Critical Bug Fixes

Oct 8, 2014, 7:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Swiftkey updated its keyboard app for iOS devices today. Most importantly, Swiftkey fixed lag in the app and improved the time it takes to load the keyboard. The update tackles a number of bugs, such as disappearing letters and crashes. The app also gains stability improvements. Swiftkey Keyboard is compatible with the iPhone and iPad and is free to download from the iTunes App Store. The newest version of the app works best with iOS 8.0.2, but will still function with iOS 8.0.


Google Updates Chrome and YouTube for iOS

Oct 7, 2014, 3:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today pushed out minor updates to two of its iOS apps. First, it improved Chrome for iOS with better support for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screens. The app also now allows users to download files from the browser directly to Google Drive. YouTube gained only bug fixes. Both apps are free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Gmail for iOS Updated with Support for iPhone 6 / 6 Plus

Oct 6, 2014, 12:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today updated its Gmail application for Apple's iOS devices. The new version supports the screen sizes and resolutions of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Gmail is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


LG Tribute Lands on Virgin Mobile

Oct 6, 2014, 9:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 6, 2014, 9:56 AM

Virgin Mobile USA recently made the LG Tribute available on its web site. The Tribute is a low-cost Android smartphone that features a 4.5-inch screen, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 5-megapixel camera, LTE and LG's Knock Code. The device runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Virgin is selling the Tribute for $80 without a contract. The device is also being sold at Best Buy, RadioShack, and from Amazon.com, QVC.com, HSN.com.


NFC Forum Hopes Developer Program Will Kickstart Apps

Oct 2, 2014, 7:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The NFC Forum today launched the NFC Developer Program, a series of resources aimed to help developers create NFC-enabled apps. The NFC Developer Program will include events, as well as web-based tools, such as SDKs, tech specs, news, and product highlights. The NFC Forum believes this program will help catalyze developer interest in NFC and bringing it to their applications. The NFC Forum is hosting a product showcase to help spur interest in the program. Developers can find the pertinent details on the new Tap Into NFC web site. Most mid-range and high-end smartphones include NFC radios. To-date, NFC is generally used for pairing devices, though efforts such as Softcard and Apple Pay rely in NFC for mobile payments.


Vine for Android Updated with Camera Roll Support

Sep 26, 2014, 3:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Vine today updated its Android application and brought it closer to parity with the iOS version thereof. The chief new feature in Vine for Android is support for the camera roll, which allows Vine users to import video they've already shot (rather than record live). Vine users are free to piece together multiple segments from their phone to create 6-second masterpieces. Vine for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store.


Apple Releases iOS 8.0.2 to Resolve iPhone Issues

Sep 25, 2014, 7:38 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made available iOS 8.0.2, an update that Apple says fixes an issue in iOS 8.0.1 that impacted cellular network connectivity and Touch ID on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In addition to resolving the cellular connectivity issue, the update also repairs a number of other issues. For example, it fixes a bug so HealthKit apps can now be made available in the App Store. It also: addresses an issue where third party keyboards could become deselected when a user enters their passcode; fixes an issue that prevented some apps from accessing photos from the Photo Library; improves the reliability of the Reachability feature on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus; fixes an issue that could cause unexpected cellular data usage when receiving SMS/MMS messages; fixes an issue where ringtones were sometimes not restored from iCloud backups; and fixes a bug that prevented uploading photos and videos from Safari. iOS 8.0.2 is free to download and install over the air, or via iTunes.


Apple Explains How to Revert to iOS 8.0

Sep 25, 2014, 6:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 25, 2014, 7:04 AM

Apple published directions on its support web site that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners can use to revert their devices to iOS 8 from iOS 8.0.1. The work-around restores cellular connectivity, which had been broken by the yanked iOS 8.0.1 update. It involves downloading the .ipsw file from Apple and using it in conjunction with iTunes on a computer to install a clean version of iOS 8. Apple also noted that it is preparing iOS 8.0.2, which will also resolve the cellular issue as well as resolve the bugs iOS 8.0.1 was meant to fix.


Apple Publishes, Then Pulls, iOS 8.0.1 Update

Sep 24, 2014, 12:15 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 24, 2014, 3:02 PM

Apple released a new version of iOS 8 this afternoon only to yank it shortly thereafter. The purpose of iOS 8.0.1 was to resolve a wide range of bugs impacting iOS devices, such as the inability to download HealthKit apps from the App Store. Instead, the update caused even more grief as it disabled cellular service on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus across multiple carriers. The update also broke Touch ID functionality. Once users reported losing cellular service on their devices, Apple removed the update from its servers. "We have received reports of an issue with the iOS 8.0.1 update," said Apple in a statement. "We are actively investigating these reports and will provide information as quickly as we can. In the meantime we have pulled back the iOS 8.0.1 update." iPhone owners who've lost cellular service due to the update should be able to regain access to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon by restoring their iPhone to iOS 8.


Google Bags 'Google Currents' for iOS, Intros 'Play Newsstand'

Sep 23, 2014, 12:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today rebranded and relaunched its Google Currents app for iPhones and iPads. The new name of the magazine and news service is called Google Play Newsstand - a named markedly similar to Apple's own Newsstand app. Along with the new name, Google redesigned the app. It features new navigation tools to help users find articles more quickly; a 'read now' tool for jumping to fresh articles amongst the user's subscriptions; and an expanded library that stores all the user's articles in one spot. Google Play Newsstand is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Google Boosts Chrome for Mobile Apps with Notifications

Sep 23, 2014, 7:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google recently updated the tools available to Chrome App for Mobile developers, who can now add more native-app functionality to their web apps. Chrome App for Mobile, which was launched earlier this year, gives developers a way to package up web apps and make them available in the Play Store or App Store. According to Google, it has added Chrome APIs for managing identity, Google Cloud Messaging, and rich notifications. This means developers will be able to take advantage of these new capabilities and build them into their Chrome-based web apps for Android and iOS devices. Google said it also improved developer workflow and extended the modern WebView capabilities to versions of Android back to Ice Cream Sandwich. Developers are free to access the new tools through Google's Chromium developer portal.


Chrome for iOS8 Adds Support for Extensions

Sep 23, 2014, 7:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google has updated its Chrome browser for iOS devices. The latest version of Chrome adds support for iOS8, and with it support for extensions. App extensions will allow web sites and developers to enable more ways to post and share content between Chrome and third-party apps. The update also makes stability improvements and fixes bugs. Chrome for iOS is free to download from the App Store.


Skype 5.5 for iOS8 Adds Support for Extensions

Sep 22, 2014, 8:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today updated its iPhone application to version 5.5. The latest rendition of Skype takes advantage of extensions, which are a new feature of iOS8. The update lets Skype users answer voice and video calls from either the lock screen or the notification center, thanks to new UI tools. The same also applies to Skype messaging conversations. Skype is free to download from the iTunes App Store, though some calling features cost money to use.


Microsoft Offering 30GB of OneDrive Storage for Free

Sep 20, 2014, 9:56 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has launched a limited promotion that will double OneDrive users' free storage to 30GB. Microsoft already offers 15GB of online storage for free. Those who sign into their OneDrive accounts between now and the end of September will see their free storage jump to 30GB. The offer is good for all users of OneDrive, including people using Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Windows Phone devices. Microsoft also offers incremental amounts of additional storage (usually 3GB) when smartphone/tablet owners choose to backup their camera roll to OneDrive. Users who already have more than 30GB of free OneDrive storage will receive the additional 15GB of storage, too.


Android L to Have Encryption Turned On By Default

Sep 18, 2014, 6:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said that encryption will be turned on automatically in the next release of Android, which is expected to arrive next month. Encryption will make it harder for law enforcement to access user data on such devices. "For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement," said company spokeswoman Niki Christoff to the Washington Post. "As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won't even have to think about turning it on." With encryption turned on, only those who enter the correct password will be able to gain access the device and the information stored on it, such as photos and videos. New devices that ship with Android L will benefit from this immediately. In the mean time, Android device owners can turn on encryption manually in the settings menu. Earlier this week, Apple said it took similar steps with the latest release of its mobile operating system, iOS8, which is also encrypted.


Facebook Tweaks Messenger for iOS8

Sep 18, 2014, 3:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook updated its Messenger application for iOS devices. Facebook didn't call out any new features other than to say it is compatible with iOS8.


Twitter for iOS8 Refreshes Profiles and Notifications

Sep 18, 2014, 3:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter today updated its application for iOS devices. The new version of Twitter makes two major changes. First, it places a greater emphasis on user profiles, which are easier to see. Twitter explains that bios are visible as soon as you get to the profile page for any given user, it no longer requires a swipe to access. The improved profiles are visible to all devices running iOS7 and up. Second, Twitter for iOS8 takes advantage of some of the new features in the operating system from Apple. iPhone owners running iOS8 will be able to interact directly with push notifications from Twitter, meaning they can Retweet, favorite, and follow directly from the notifications as they appear on the screen. Twitter is free to download from the App Store.


Samsung Note 4 Available Oct. 17, Preorders Start Sept. 19

Sep 18, 2014, 8:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 18, 2014, 9:05 AM

Samsung today said it will begin accepting preorders for the Galaxy Note 4 on September 19. The device won't ship, however, until October 17. Samsung said the Note 4 will be available in black and white, and it will be carried by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular. Samsung said the phone will also be available at Samsung Experience Shops in Best Buy stores, as well as from Amazon, Costco, RadioShack, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart. Individual carriers and retailers will provide their own pricing and availability details in the near future. AT&T was first to announce those details. AT&T said the Note 4 will cost $34.42 per month with AT&T Next 18; $41.30 per month with AT&T Next 12; $299.99 with a two-year agreement; or $826 at full retail. AT&T is offering a $100 bill credit to new/existing customers who activate a new line of service with the Note 4. Verizon is offering the Note 4 for $299 with a new contract and said Verizon Edge installment pricing will also be available. T-Mobile isn't accepting preorders until September 24, and it is asking for $0 down followed by $31.24 a month for 24 months.


Amazon Says FireOS 4 'Sangria' to Reach Fire Phone Next Year

Sep 18, 2014, 7:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon today announced a new version of its FireOS platform. FireOS 4 Sangria further integrates Amazon's devices with its cloud-based content offerings. The revised operating system has a redesigned user interface and adds individual Profiles, which allows family members to have their own email and social media accounts, as well as settings such as display brightness, bookmarks, and game levels. Fire OS includes ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction), which Amazon says can predict the movies or TV shows the owner may want to watch and streams them instantly. Another feature called Smart Suspend will use individual user profiles to determine when the device is most often dormant and can then proactively take steps to conserve battery life, such as turning off the wireless radios. FireOS 4 adds a function called Family Library, which makes it easier for families to share apps, games, books, and other Amazon content. Last, FireOS 4 brings Firefly to Amazon's tablets. FireOS 4 ships on Amazon's newest fourth-generation Kindle Fire tablets and will be available for Amazon's third-generation tablets through an over-the-air system update. Amazon said Fire OS 4 will be available on Fire Phone early next year. FireOS 4 Sangria is based on Android 4.4 KitKat.


Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to Have Kill Switch

Sep 17, 2014, 6:27 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple's new iPhones will include a kill switch that owners can use to remotely lock or wipe them, reports Reuters. The feature has been part of iOS for several years, but the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will have the feature turned on by default. The feature can be installed on older iPhone models, as well. The news comes from the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, rather than Apple itself. Earlier this year, Apple, Google, and Microsoft all agreed to add kill switches to their devices by July 2015. Most major wireless network operators in the U.S. have agreed to a similar framework. Lawmakers believe the presence of the kill switch will eventually deter street crime and reduce the thefts of smartphones. The logic behind the effort is to reduce the demand for stolen goods by allowing owners to render them useless and valueless to thieves.


HealthKit Sickened By Bug, Apple Delays Release

Sep 17, 2014, 6:15 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has delayed the release of HealthKit, which is part of iOS8, thanks to a bug. "We discovered a bug that prevents us from making HealthKit apps available on iOS 8 today. We're working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month," said Apple. Users who install iOS8 will notice the Apple Health app has been added to their iPhone, but without associated apps it isn't of much use. HealthKit serves as the link between health/fitness apps and Apple Health on the iPhone. According to Reuters, apps developed by MyFitnessPal and WebMD were yanked from the App Store at the last moment today thanks to the bug.


Swype, SwiftKey, Others Available to iOS for First Time

Sep 17, 2014, 2:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 17, 2014, 2:48 PM

Apple released iOS8 today and with the updated operating system comes a new feature many will surely relish: support for third-party keyboards. Though Apple took care to revise its own keyboard application, iOS devices can now install and use keyboard apps made by other companies. Some of the first to leave the gate are Swype and SwiftKey, two keyboards that are well known to Android device owners. Swype is available for $0.99 and the SwiftKey Keyboard is available for free. Swype includes several themes, supports a handful of languages, and supports personal dictionaries. iPhone owners can easily switch between the stock keyboard and Swype for easier typing. Swype works on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. SwiftKey offers a similar feature set, including word predictions, enhanced autocorrect, and cloud-based learning for a more personal experience across devices. SwiftKey's one limitation is that the Flow (tracing) keyboard only works with the iPhone and iPod, but not the iPad. Flesky and Minuum are two other such apps.


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