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Sep 18, 2013 - 2:47 PM - by dgstorm
At the beginning of this year we shared that it became illegal to unlock cellphones for the purposes of taking them to a different carrier. Obviously this is a contentious issue, and most folks were outraged, (or at least mildly annoyed). It was one of the hottest discussion topics of the early part of 2013. In fact, it even ended up the subject of a massive petition which made its way to the White House. As it turns out, the Obama Administration was in agreement with most of the general public that cell phone carriers in the U.S. need to start unlocking cell phones for customers. Several actions were taken, including a push from the White House to get new regulations passed at the FCC. Also, a couple of bills were introduced in Congress on the subject in a rare bi-partisan approach, but nothing actually got accomplished.
It seems that the White House is done waiting for Congress to get anything passed, and are finally following up on the subject to keep the ball rolling. This time the Obama Administration filed its own petition with the Federal Communications Commission pressuring them to require Carriers to allow customers to unlock their phones if they choose to do so. Here's a quote with a few more details,
It's at least encouraging to see that something is being done, even if the process is glacially slow...
In March, the Obama administration said that consumers should be allowed to own “unlocked” phones, which spurred new bill proposals and committee discussions about the issue. The FCC also said it supported cellphone unlocking.
But, while there have been small steps toward making cellphone unlocking standard, the idea had lost some momentum, and the administration appears to be trying to bring it back into the legislative arena.
Some argue that making it legal to unlock cellphones could make it too easy for consumers to take copyrighted software between carriers. But in Tuesday’s petition to the FCC, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said that allowing unlocked devices would increase competition and consumer choice, while also putting the burden of changing networks on companies rather than consumers.
“Americans should be able to use their mobile devices on whatever networks they choose and have their devices unlocked without hassle,” said Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary of the NTIA.
Source: Washington Post
Sep 18, 2013 - 11:44 AM - by dgstorm
The Chromecast is getting a new update to build 13300. It is described primarily as a "maintenance update" and doesn't really add any new features. Here's a quote with the details,
Source: Google Chrome Releases Blog via GoogleTVForum.org
The Chromecast device has been updated to build 13300. This update will be rolled out over the next week, and you should receive the update automatically. The update is largely a maintenance release, and contains the following changes:
- Kernel update
- Security fixes
- Robustness improvements
- Security enhancements
More information about the Chromecast device is available on the Chromecast site.
Sep 18, 2013 - 11:18 AM - by dgstorm
Despite the very limited usefulness currently for the technology, the big surprise from Apple during their iPhone 5S announcement was the inclusion of 64-bit technology in their newest A7 chip for the phone. This basically amounts to no more than bragging rights at the moment, since there is almost nothing which can take advantage of this tech. Still, it makes Android fans wonder when they will get a taste of the newly improved "future-useful" tech. A new report suggests it may be coming sooner than we thought.
According to a tiny bit of sound deductive reasoning, mixed with a healthy dose of "jumping to conclusions," several folks in the industry are speculating that 64-bit processing will soon be coming in Android, and may in fact show up in Android 4.4 KitKat. The pic you see above was snapped at an Intel Developer's conference in which Chipzilla was discussing their new Bay Trail mobile processor. As you can see, the Intel Bay Trail chip shown in the pic is certified as a "64-Bit" platform. Of course, Intel could simply have been pointing out that their chipset technology will already be 64-bit when it finally makes it to Android, but it is also possible that they know something we don't. Why would they specifically call out the 64-bit tech if it weren't even being worked on at Google for the Android platform?
It's tough not to jump to the conclusion that Google is working toward making Android 64-bit. It is after-all, the next logical evolution of Android, and the Linux OS, which is the core of Android, has already been 64-bit compatible since 2004. Maybe it won't be ready as early as Android 4.4 KitKat, but you can bet good money that some version of Android will include the 64-bit capabilities sometime in the near future.
Sep 18, 2013 - 10:40 AM - by dgstorm
Here's a curious photo. Above we have the HTC One Max pictured sitting next to a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 2. That's not all we have. The pics also include some additional intel on the device. According to the latest rumor-mill, the device is expected to be officially revealed sometime in October. Additionally, the previous rumors that the device will have a Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core instead of the newer and more powerful Snapdragon 800 are likely to prove true.
What do you guys think? Does this affect your perspective on this device?
Sep 18, 2013 - 10:26 AM - by dgstorm
For several weeks we have seen a plethora of leaks and intel regarding the upcoming NVIDIA Tegra Note. This is NVIDIA's Tegra 4 based reference design tablet which is designed to offer OEMs the total turn-key package for building a powerful, yet inexpensive Android tablet. In fact, the entire Tegra Note platform is designed to facilitate the manufacture of competitive tablets at the low-end price of just $200 USD.
With this product, NVIDIA aims to jump back in the Android mobile market in a big way and garner some much needed attention for their Tegra 4 chipset. This concept could very well do exactly that. OEMs no longer have to spend extra resources and money designing their own fully fleshed out Android tablet platform. With the Tegra Note platform, the entire core and skeleton of the product is already compiled. The OEM just needs to build it, slap a case with their logo on it, and start selling it in retail.
NVIDIA has been working hard to get this brilliant concept into the hands of OEMs around the world. Here's a quote with the details,
Here's a breakdown of specs and features from the Tegra Note platform:
In the next few months, our partners will be bringing Tegra Note to market worldwide with features that speak to local consumers, among them are EVGA and PNY Technologies in North America; EVGA, Oysters and ZOTAC in Europe; Colorful, GIGABYTE, Shenzhen Homecare Technology and ZOTAC in Asia-Pacific; and XOLO in India. They join other partners, including HP, ASUS, Toshiba, Kobo and Xiaomi, that have already announced Tegra 4-based products.
- Tegra 4 Cortex-A15 with 72-core GeForce GPU with a fifth battery-saver core - NVIDIA claims this makes the Tegra Note the world's fastest 7-inch tablet
- 7-inch 1280 x 800 display
- 5 megapixel rear camera w/ VGA front camera
- 16GB of storage with a microSD card slot
- Front-facing “HD audio” stereo speakers
- A Stylus with tips for chiseling and brushing
- Full stock Android (latest version)
- Over-the-air software updates from NVIDIA
- 10 hours of battery
- "Groundbreaking camera – The camera uses Tegra 4’s processing power and Chimera computational photography architecture to deliver stunning new features. Tegra Note also brings SmugMug’s Camera Awesome app – one of the top camera apps on iOS – to Android. Camera Awesome delivers exclusive Tegra 4 features like tap-to-track and 100 fps video with slow-motion playback."
- "TegraZone gaming – Delivering unmatched gaming, NVIDIA TegraZone provides easy access to Tegra-optimized games with visual effects that aren’t available on other tablets. Tegra Note also supports a variety of game controllers for console-class gaming."
What do you guys think? Qualcomm has been stealing all the thunder from NVIDIA over the past year and a half. Could NVIDIA be poised for a big comeback in the Android tablet world?
Sep 17, 2013 - 4:47 PM - by dgstorm
Last month we reported that Jean-Baptiste Quéru was leaving Android's AOSP project over frustration with having to deal with patent licensing issues with Qualcomm. Quéru was discouraged by his inability to do his job properly because of these issues and ultimately decided to leave Google. It turns out that Yahoo decided to snap him up.
This move makes sense for both parties. Yahoo has been on a hiring spree lately trying to increase and improve their internal talent pool. Mr. Quéru shared in a later Tweet that he will be "working in engineering on the suite of Yahoo! mobile apps." Of course, we are all sad to hear Mr. Quéru left Google, but we wish him well in his new endeavors at Yahoo. We can't help but think Google's loss is a big gain for Yahoo.
It just goes to show that silly patent issues can impact the technology sector even out of the courtroom.
Source: Twitter - Jean-Baptiste Quéru
Sep 17, 2013 - 4:33 PM - by dgstorm
The newest 2013 generation of the Google Nexus 7 LTE version just went on sale in 10 countries in the Google Play Store. In the United States, folks who are on AT&T or T-Mobile will be the only ones who can utilize this device fully, as only these carriers have SIM cards for the LTE version of the device. Here's a list of the countries where you can order this device from the Play Store:
- South Korea
- United States
We still have no word on a Verizon or Sprint version of this device, and we aren't too sure if there ever will be one. If this changes we will update you guys.
Source: Google Play Store
Sep 17, 2013 - 11:05 AM - by dgstorm
Sep 17, 2013 - 10:46 AM - by dgstorm
Here's a quick double-tap of Nexus 5 intel. This second story has three pieces of the puzzle pointing toward a looming Nexus 5 launch. First, the WiFi Certification for two unannounced devices, LG-D820_S and LG-D820_C, just showed up. These are likely different radio versions of the Nexus 5.
Second, some benchmarks popped up for a device called the LG Hammerhead appeared on the GFXBench site. The specs and OS of the device lineup with the supposed Nexus 5 specs. One odd thing thing of note was that the benchmark showed the OS as KeyLimePie instead of KitKat, but this was probably just an oversight for the benchmarking site's database and not a mistake in the device. The specs from this benchmark confirm a Snapdragon 800 processor as well. One other interesting thing of note was the odd resolution of the display at 1794 x 1080. This actually makes perfect sense because this resolution would account for the on-screen buttons on a 1920 x 1080 resolution display.
The final piece of evidence that an LG Nexus 5 is about to drop is that the 16GB version of the Nexus 4 is now out of stock in the Google Play Store as of the last couple of days. The 8GB went out of stock a few weeks ago. We don't expect either version to come back in stock, as the Nexus 5 will likely fill that spot.
If the Nexus 5 has LTE radios for the U.S., how many of you guys will consider grabbing this device?
Sep 17, 2013 - 10:22 AM - by dgstorm
Here's the first part of a quick two part combo story for the new Nexus 5. First off, we have a couple of new leaked pics and a very brief video of the LG made Nexus 5. The pics (shown above) don't really showcase anything different than previous leaks, but are still worth a quick glance. The video below is just a brief snippet of the lock screen on the Nexus 5.
Incidentally, rumors persist suggesting an October 14th reveal and an October 31st retail launch for the next generation Nexus phone. We will keep you informed as we learn more.
Sep 17, 2013 - 9:55 AM - by dgstorm
Asus just launched their newest version of the PadFone Infinity. The new tablet docking smartphone device introduces some design tweaks as well as several hardware improvements. First up, the new phone has a slew of new upgrades (and strangely one downgrade):
- Display = 5-inch - 1,920 x 1,080 Super IPS
- Battery = 2,400mAh Battery
- Internal storage = 16GB / 32GB (previous generation was 32GB / 64GB)
- External storage = MicroSD
- Rear camera = 13MP f/2.0 (with enhanced software features - PixelMaster, "turbo mode" burst of up to 35fps, )
- Front-facing cam = 2MP f/2.0
- Video capture = 1080p
- Radios = WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100/LTE 800/1800/2600, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
- CPU = Snapdragon 800 2.2GHz (previously was Snapdragon 600 1.7GHz)
- RAM = 2GB LPDDR3 (previously was 2GB LPDDR2)
- Operating system = Android 4.2.2 versus Android 4.1.2
- Colors = Titanium Black / Platinum White (previously was Titanium Gray / Hot Pink / Champagne Gold)
- SonicMaster audio technology
We aren't sure why the storage capacity was downgraded, but it was probably a cost cutting measure. At least the device now has a microSD slot to make up for it.
Initially, the PadFone Infinity will sell for the equivalent of $640 off-contract in Taiwan. The new tablet dock will run for $240 with converted price. Interestingly, the new PadFone will supposedly work just fine with the tablet dock of the previous generation, so if you already have one of those, you only need purchase the new phone. So far, Asus has not revealed any info regarding the availability of the device, either in Taiwan or in the rest of the world. Of course, we will update you with that info just as soon as it hits.
Thanks to our tipsters for sending this in!
Sep 17, 2013 - 9:35 AM - by dgstorm
According to the latest rumors, an unlocked version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 may soon become a reality. According to the leaked inventory pics you can see above and below, Best Buy will supposedly carry an unlocked version of the phablet starting on September 19th. There are a couple of intriguing details in these pics to take note of.
First, the model number which is shown in the Best Buy database is the N9000. This is actually the Exynos 5 version of the device. This isn't entirely good news, because it has been reported that this version of the GNote3 does not support 4K Video and/or LTE. The second odd thing is that the device price listing shows $999.99. You shouldn't let sticker shock settle in, because this is likely just a placeholder price for now, as there is no reason the device would retail for that much more than the $700 price of the regular version.
There's no real way for us to confirm this intel, but we won't have to wait long to find out for sure.
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