Snapchat update brings camera switch feature, a new battery filter, and SMS authentication

Snapchat-logo-e1406582518655Ready for some new features to spice up your Snapchat selfies this week? The app’s been updated with a few new tricks and a very useful new authentication method.

The biggest change is the ability to switch between cameras while you’re shooting a video; double tapping the screen will alternate between your front and rear cameras, making it much easier to record something and still somehow work your face into the video. It’s really what we all needed. Read more

Dropcam successor from Nest inbound according to FCC documents

DropcamNest is holding a press conference on June 17th, and it’s looking increasingly likely that they’ll announce their first new Dropcam model since being acquired by Google early last year. An FCC filing for a new wireless camera from Nest Labs Inc. hints at some of the hardware that’ll be in the device.

The filing details support for Bluetooth 4.0, plus the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless standard that Nest offers in their Dropcam Pro model. Aside from that, the listing does also seem to indicate that the camera will have a circular, flat base, which is typical for Dropcam as it’s capable of being mounted to a wall. Read more

T-Mobile turning on mobile hotspot features for all of its customers on June 12th

T-Mobile_Logo_02_TAWe knew T-Mobile was planning on unleashing some new promotions to kick off the summer, but it’s looking like some of those promos will actually be better than we originally thought. That’s a pretty rare thing in this industry, but hey, more stuff is always good, right?

It was leaked that T-Mobile was planning on upping the data limits of mobile hotspot usage for customers who paid for it, and that they were planning on doing away with data caps in favor of data throttling. Those things are still true, but it gets even better. Read more

Google enforcing app design for Android Auto apps to minimize safety concerns

Android_Auto_License_Plate_Google_IO_01_TAGoogle has typically taken a very lax stance on Android apps, as we’ve all seen in the Play Store. It’s a very different approach than what you’ll find in other app ecosystems, but for the most part, it’s worked pretty well for Google. Regardless of your stance on the issue, it’s been very clear that Google is taking Android Auto and Android TV apps a little more seriously and putting efficient design at the forefront without allowing the app stores to get flooded with stuff from any app developer.

With the first wave of Android Auto vehicles rolling out, there are about 35 apps available for the platform. Compared to the millions and millions on the Play Store, that’s an extremely small number. Google has a good reason behind that, though, since addictive apps that work on your car’s dashboard are, well, dangerous. Read more

Smartphone sales up 19% in first quarter of 2015 thanks to emerging markets

smartphonesSmartphone sales saw a sizable growth during the first quarter of 2015, which Gartner says is due to an increase of smartphone sales in emerging markets. This makes sense, since smartphone sales have somewhat slowed down in the bigger markets, so many companies are attacking the smaller areas where not everyone has a smartphone already.

Emerging markets saw a roughly 40% increase during Q1, helping smartphones reach sales of 336 million units. Key regions included Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Asian/Pacific market. Read more

T-Mobile preparing multiple promotions for customers this week

T-Mobile_Logo_01_TAT-Mobile is prepping a few new promotions for Uncarrier customers this week that include extra data allowance for hotspots and some free trials to the carrier’s music streaming service, among other things.

The earliest promo to be announced will relate to the carrier’s Rhapsody UnRadio streaming service. A select amount of customers will be given a free 30-day trial of the service, after which they’ll be charged $4 per month for access, as usual. There’s no clear directive on what makes customers eligible, but if you’re on T-Mobile, keep an eye out for a text with the invite. Read more

Sling TV has already gained 250,000 subscribers since launch earlier this year

sling_tv_logoSling TV is Dish Network’s attempt at snagging customers that don’t want to deal with monthly cable bills and subscriptions, and since it launched earlier this year, it’s done fairly well. Since release, it’s bolstered its channel offerings by including the likes of HBO and AMC, plus it gives non-cable subscribers a way to watch some sports without going through a company like Comcast or DirecTV.

The latest subscriber numbers for Sling TV indicate that roughly a quarter of a million people are currently signed up for the service, up from 100,000 earlier this year in March. 250k subscribers definitely isn’t in the same ballpark as Netflix’s 41 million, but for a service that’s less than six months old, it’s not bad at all. Read more

Galaxy S5 Neo will user a newer Exynos CPU and an upgraded front-facing camera

Samsung_Galaxy_S_5_Back_Bottom_Galaxy_S_5_Logo_TA_02More details have come to light about Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S5 Neo. Samsung’s Neo devices typically offer a similar package to an older flagship device, albeit with slightly downgraded internals and a budget-friendly price tag. The GS5 Neo will be no exception, although it does look like it’s going to be shipping with a brand new Exynos processor.

The Exynos 7580 CPU is a 64-bit processor with 8 cores, clocked at 1.6 GHz. It’s slower than the beefy Snapdragon 801 (or Exynos 5422, depending on your region) that was found in the regular Galaxy S 5, but it should still offer pretty decent performance, especially for the price. Read more

HTC announces yet another 2015 flagship, the One ME

HTC One MEHTC almost seems like it’s satirizing itself at this point. The company has announced another variant of the HTC One that’s slated for China later this year, adding to the flooded flagship market that the company is trying to tackle this year.

Originally we got the One M9, which was a little boring, but stuck to HTC’s simple, yet sophisticated standards. Then, the One M9+ was announced. It featured an actual upgrade to last year’s M8, with a higher resolution screen, fingerprint scanner, etc. It probably wasn’t great that HTC announced it right on the heels of the regular M9, and it definitely didn’t help that the M9+ isn’t available globally. Read more