Google acquires digital device maker Nest for $3.2 billion

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Google has officially acquired Nest, a home-automation company most famous for their automated thermostats. Interestingly enough, Nest was founded by ex-members of the original iPod team, and their products are even sold at Apple Stores around the country. Google says that Nest will run fairly independently of Google, just like Motorola – which means that both iOS and Android users will continue to access their thermostats from their mobile devices.

From Larry Page, CEO of Google:  “Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family. They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now–thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!”

Source: Google Investor Relations

Benchmark scores prove dominance of upcoming NVIDIA Tegra K1 chip

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NVIDIA’s upcoming Tegra K1 stole the show last week at CES in Last Vegas, and we’re now finally getting to see some benchmark numbers for the chip. Despite the processor being in its early stages, the results are looking up.

MyDrivers.com (above) benchmarked the chip using GFXBench 2.7— here are the results:

-60 fps (beating both new iPads by more than 1/2 their scores)
-Beat the Galaxy Note 3 (Snapdragon 800) and Toshiba eXcite Pro (Tegra 4)
-Beat full-sized laptops running on Intel’s Haswell processors (with Intel HD 4400 and 4200 GPU)

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Xiaomi rumored to be working on a $50 smartphone

Xiaomi

While Samsung continues to push forward the high-end smartphone market with the Note 3 and Motorola begins revolutionizing the low-end smartphone market with the Moto G, other companies have plans to join on in the fun as well.

Namely, this includes Xiaomi.

Rumors suggest that the Chinese company is planning to bring extremely affordable smartphones to Japan and maybe even other markets as well. While this most likely doesn’t include western markets, the company is looking to slap a $50 price-tag on these devices.

It’s all pretty unbelievable, but this is still in the rumor stage, so take it with a grain of salt. What are your thoughts on a $50 dollar smartphone?

Source: Android Authority

Support for Ubuntu Touch ending on Galaxy Nexus, 2012 Nexus 7, Nexus 10— Nexus 5 support will not come

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Ubuntu Touch, the popular operating system’s mobile version, will be stopping support on several high-end Nexus devices— the 2012 Nexus 7, the Nexus 10, and the Galaxy Nexus. Canonical, the commercial entity behind Ubuntu, hopes to scale down focus in order to improve Ubuntu’s current version, 14.04. Making one operating system work seamlessly on multiple devices is a lot of work, and for a project so early in its life, this may be a good idea.

Plans for support on the Nexus 5 have also not been announced, so don’t expect that to come any time soon either.

Although support is being dropped in the short term, this marks an effort by Canonical to continue pushing for the long-term growth of Ubuntu Touch. The more solid and stable the product, the better.

Source: LaunchPad

Sprint’s One Up program is already being killed off in favor of the Framily Plan

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Sprint’s One Up program went live in September. After less than four months of being active, it is already being killed off. To take its place is the new Framily Plan that the carrier announced last week. One Up was Sprint’s answer to the Verizon Edge, AT&T Next, and T-Mobile Jump programs. It simply wasn’t working out for them.

The Framily Plan aims to do something completely different. It allows family and friends to earn an incentive for being on the same plan. The more people that are placed on your Framily Plan, the more money saved. Why did Sprint create the Framily Plan? Well, it could be a response to T-Mobile’s Uncarrier 4.0 aim at swaying customers over to their network. Read more

OnePlus One eyeing mid-2014 release, design may rival Apple’s iPhone

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After learning that OnePlus was working on their first smartphone, there was not much information beyond that. But now the CEO has shed some light on the device. Likely named the OnePlus One, the device may feature build quality that rivals Apple’s smartphone. He says that “Appearance wise, we’re confident our phone is more attractive than just about any phone on the market, with the exception of maybe the iPhone.” That is an impressive statement as only HTC has really come close to Apple’s build quality. Read more

Sony Xperia Z1S now available from T-Mobile, $22 per month with $0 down

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Just as Sony said, the Xperia Z1S smartphone is available online starting today. For $0, customers can pick one up and pay $22 per month for two years. If buying outright, the full retail price of the Xperia Z1S is $528. Users get a 5-inch, Full HD display and a 20.7MP camera. Under the hood is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz with 2GB of RAM. Also, the handset is water and dust resistant. The Xperia Z1S will make its way to T-Mobile stores on January 22; therefore, heading to the carrier’s site is the only way to get one for now. Hit the source link to do so.

Source: T-Mobile

Insider claims to confirm several Samsung Galaxy S5 specs

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A Samsung insider claims to have all the details about several specs for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. First up, the idea of the device being available in both metal and plastic versions seems to have been confirmed. This would follow in the footsteps to some degree of Apple and the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s devices, although it remains to be seen whether that will be a winning strategy for Apple. According to this same source, the metal version of the Galaxy S5 will come with a metallic back plate with metal on the sides and front. It is unknown whether the metal version will get a different name. Read more

AT&T Chooses Samsung Smartphones to Test Out VoLTE Ahead of Rollout

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AT&T has chosen Samsung devices to test its voice over long-term evolution (VoLTE) service that is scheduled to arrive sometime this year. The Korean Company’s Galaxy line will be apart of the group of devices that are being tested for VoLTE. The service will allow for voice calling that enables clearer quality and faster connections over that of the exist 3G networks. Currently, LTE networks have only been able to support data transmission.

This would be a great move for Samsung as it would secure even more of a foothold in US markets. The company already released a VoLTE device in local markets run by SK Telecom Co. and LG Uplus Corp. This move should certainly help Samsung get a competitive edge over its competition.

source: The Korea Herald

HTC One X and One X+ won’t get any more Android updates

HTC One X

Owners of the HTC One X and One X+ will be disappointed to hear that they won’t be getting any Android updates beyond Android 4.2.2, @LlabTooFer just confirmed it via Twitter.

Many users of the two phones were hoping to be upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat, and will now have to rely on custom ROMs created by independent developers to get the latest software. HTC still might release minor updates, but those will be mostly dedicated to bug fixes rather than software upgrades.

Source: @LlabTooFeR