BLOCKS aiming to launch modular smartwatch by 2015

Blocks modular smartwatch

A new company called BLOCKS is looking to jump into the increasingly competitive smartwatch market to compete with offerings from Sony, Samsung, and eventually Google and Apple. Taking a cue from Google’s own Project Ara, BLOCKS wants to differentiate their smartwatch by making it completely modular and customizable.

The smartwatch is still in the prototype phase, but if everything goes well you’ll be able to change nearly everything about the device, from screen size to color to what apps come preinstalled. There’s also a plan for third parties to design modules specific to whatever needs they may have, which sounds like a fantastic selling point.

Unfortunately, we won’t see the BLOCKS smartwatch anytime soon, as the earliest they plan to have it released is mid-2015. Modular mobile devices are still pretty new, so there’s a ton of R&D that still needs to go into it, but we’re excited to see where this goes either way.

source: Techno Buffalo

New patent application suggests Samsung might be working on a new device unlocking feature

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According to a new recent patent application with USPTO, Samsung might be working on a new feature related to device unlocking. The patent application suggests that the company is working on a feature, similar to LG’s Knock Code, that will allow users to unlock their device just by touching on the display and dragging around to draw a figure with at least one intersection.

The description says that this feature will work even when your device’s display is off which means that users will no longer need to push the power key in order to turn on the display to use the feature. The shape, size or position of the drawing is not important given that there is at least one intersection point. In addition, users can assign a function two two, three or more intersection points. For example, you can assign WhatsApp to two intersection points so that when you draw a figure and there’s two intersection points, the application will be launched.

Source: USPTO
Via: PhoneArena

Free, no-ad Milk Music service released for select U.S. Samsung devices

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Samsung announced today the release of a new “radio” service for their devices. Powered by Slacker, the new Milk Music service offers free and ad-free radio service for consumers spanning 200 “stations.” Gregory Lee, president and CEO of Samsung Telecommunications America and Samsung Electronics North America Headquarters says the new service “introduces a fresh approach to music” and is part of a “focus on creating best-in-class consumer experiences.” The Milk Music app is available in Google Play for owners of the Galaxy S 4, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note II. When the Samsung Galaxy S 5 is released in April, the Milk Music app will be available on that device as well.

Plenty of accessories for The All New HTC One has leaked online

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You can now purchase a plethora of accessories for The All New HTC One before the device is even announced. Alibaba is offering cases and other items for HTC’s upcoming flagship on its site and, as expected, the pricing is very good. The reason being customers have to buy in bulk. For example, a flip leather case is available for $0.75, but the required minimum quantity ordered is one hundred units. Not too bad considering selling the extras yourself will actually net a profit. And as expected, the cases feature the dual camera setup on the back of the device.

Hit the source link to check out the long list of accessories.

Source: Alibaba
Via: HTC Source

Motorola to offer college logos and colors for Moto X in Moto Maker

College Collection

Moto Maker has added some pretty sweet options since its unveiling last summer, including bamboo backings for devices.

Today, Motorola announced that in the spirit of March Madness, the company would be adding nine new back colors and three new accents after studying the colors that many colleges use in their logos. Starting today, you’ll be able to fully customize your device with up to 40 college names and logos— Motorola will add more as time goes on.

Here’s the info on pricing from Motorola:

A custom Moto X from the College Collection is now available starting at the everyday price of $399 off-contract or $49 with a new two year contract. Currently in college? We’d like to sweeten the deal with a student discount. Register at motorola.com/college with a valid .edu address and you can get an off-contract Moto X for the discounted price of $339.

Seems like a pretty good deal to me— jump in if you’re feeling some school pride.

Source: Motorola

Images from Samsung’s new “Kids Store” apps store now available

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Before the Galaxy S 5 was announced, we let you guys know about the “Kids Mode” that would be featured on the device.

The owner of the device will create a PIN to control Kids Mode, and from there, settings can be customized— some of these settings include which apps your child can use and who your child can contact. A timer can also be set to limit how much time your child is playing with your device.

We also had some information regarding a Kids Store which will feature applications in different categories which can be downloaded, including both paid and free apps. (PINs have to be entered before buying an app.)

Now, we have some screenshots of the Kids Store for you to check out. Hit the break below for more pictures.

Nexus 5 has low-core functionality for “always-on listening” voice recognition

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If you didn’t know already, the Nexus 5 actually has a low-power audio processor for “always-on” listening (OK, Google) functionality. However, due to the limited functionality of the feature and its closed-source nature, it only works on the home screen and not when the device is asleep.

However, developer Guillaume Lesniak from the OmniROM team has managed to access the dedicated low-power audio core on the Snapdragon 800 chip to make use of this feature. The functionality is only a proof of concept for now, and although we could see it in later ROMs, it is unlikely because of Qualcomm’s re-distribution licensing issues. Hit the break for a video of the feature.

Biker that helped Peter Chou make his MWC appointment will be at HTC’s All New One unveiling

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HTC’s very own Peter Chou was apparently running late to Mobile World Congress because of a major traffic jam, but thanks to a friendly biker on the road, he managed to avoid a bulk of the traffic and get there right on time. Apparently the biker, Obdulio Herrera, willingly helped Chou out of the traffic jam and got him to the doors of his MWC appointment in barely 10 minutes. Pretty friendly, right?

After getting in touch with Obdulio to verify some of the information, including finding out that he had just dropped his daughter off at school, what color his motorcycle was, and that he didn’t have to speed to get to MWC on time, HTC is looking to repay the favor to Mr. Herrera by inviting him to London when HTC will unveil their All New One for 2014. Talk about returning a favor.

Leaked info from Indian import site may reveal upcoming Galaxy S 5 mini

Galaxy s 5 mini

Zauba, an Indian import site, receives data on all devices being shipped in and out of the country. In many cases, the data that the site releases reveals an upcoming device which had entered the country for testing purposes.

Today, a Samsung phone with the model number SM-G87oa was outed— a device which many believe is the Galaxy S 5 mini.

LG’s new G Flex commercial is award winning

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We have seen our fair share of commercials, both good and bad. Then there are some that belong in a completely different category. The ones that make zero sense and are just ridiculously stupid. We are only in the 3rd month of the year, but it might be safe to go ahead and give LG the award for the worst commercial of 2014. I won’t say anymore about it. Just hit the break, watch it, and wonder why you wasted 2 minutes of your life on it.

Xperia Z2 up for pre-order with extras included at Phones 4u

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If you’re in the UK and the Xperia Z2 is your next phone of choice, than you might want to get your pre-order in at Phones 4u. It will be available from free at £47 per month on contract. All pre-orders will also get the Sony SRS-BTX300 wireless speaker (valued at £119), and get 50% of the new Sony Smartband as well as a free Active Pack. Last but not least, if you pre-order the phone on a 4G tariff, they will throw in a £50 Google Play voucher.

So if the Xperia Z2 is in your future, you might as well pre-order to get these extra special deals. We have a the Phones 4u hands on video and press release after the break.

Apples take a loss in Samsung trial, but the future looks bright for the Cupertino giant

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It’s time for another episode of the Samsung vs Apple war. If you remember, back in December, Apple asked Judge Lucy Koh for a permanent injunction againt Samsung that would ban the sale of over 20 phones and tablets in the U.S. This was after Apple was finally awarded a total of $930 million in damages from the original landmark verdict back in August 2012. Judge Koh denied the injunction, but the future doesn’t look all that bad for Apple.

The two giants will face each other in court again later this month, but it’s on a different set of patents that involve newer devices such as the Galaxy S III. Many industry experts think more damages will be awarded to Apple since these newer products were bigger sellers. Apple and Samsung did try to settle things with a mediator, but unsurprisingly, that didn’t go so well.

Will this war ever end?

source: WSJ

HTC Desire 310 gets a launch date, will compete with the Moto G

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Remember when the Desire 310 was accidently unveiled? Well it’s officially official now and coming April 10 in Germany, Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland. Pricing is €160 ($220) in Germany, €170 ($233) in the Netherlands, and CHF 180 ($206) in Switzerland.

As you can see, it’s close to the same price as the Moto G, but in many ways is not as good. The Moto G has a better display (1280 x 720 vs 854 x 480) and a dual-SIM option. However, the Desire 310 does offer 1080p video recording and a microSD slot. HTC is betting on buyers wanting the expandable storage. Will it work?

source: GSMArena