One year later and finally some progress on legally unlocking cell phones

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About this time last year, an small uproar was sweeping over the Internet thanks to action taken by the Library of Congress to make unlocking cell phones illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Library of Congress ruling took effect on January 26, 2013 and any cell phone purchased after that date cannot be unlocked, at least not legally. In response, an online petition was created on the White House web site and in a matter of days surpassed the 100,000 signature threshold triggering a response. President Obama responded as hoped, agreeing with the petition that consumers should have the freedom to unlock their devices. Read more

Sony SmartBand now available for pre-order for European markets

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After announcing the Sony SmartBand at MWC 2014 this week, Sony has wasted no time in starting the retail blitz to get the devices into the hands of buyers. On the Sony Mobile Store, the device has already shown up for pre-order for £79.99 ($134 USD) in the U.K. and €99 ($136 USD) for other European markets. Although, Sony indicated the devices would be available in a variety of colors, thus far black appears to be the only choice available for early adopters that want to be the first to get the devices onto their wrists.

The first units of the Sony SmartBand destined for European markets and the U.K. are expected to be delivered in early April. That will give buyers an opportunity to spend some time with the Lifelog application prior to having the device in hand as Sony says the app should be available in Google Play sometime in March.

source: Xperia Blog

Samsung to update original model Galaxy Gear to Tizen OS

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When Samsung announced the new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, one of the biggest changes from their predecessor was the change to the Tizen operating system. Similar to Nokia’s move to a forked version of Android for their new smartphones, the switch to Tizen means app developers will need to produce yet another version of their app if they want them to run on the devices. Samsung has indicated that CNN, The Weather Channel, and Garmin have all jumped on board already.

Users who bought the original Galaxy Gear may be worried new apps will no longer be produced for their devices. Samsung says that they will update the original Galaxy Gear with the Tizen OS as well. New apps won’t be able to take advantage of hardware found on the newer models, but at least both generations of Samsung’s smartwatches will be running on a common operating system. Samsung has not indicated how the update will be deployed or when users may expect to see Tizen rolling out to their watches.

source: TechRadar

Plex comes with Chromecast enhancements in new update

Plex logoA new update for Plex should have users pretty excited this morning. The update brings a host of bug fixes, speed improvements, as well as the addition of scheduled tasks, partial scanning, support for more platforms. Additionally, shared sync is finally here. Media servers are required to have a Plex Pass but users who tie into your server aren’t required to. What this means is that while family and friends may have different accounts, they’ll be able to sync with you. Plex is also getting more Chromecast features.

Users will now be able to cast music and photos to Chromecast. Items in your library can be cast in the usual way. Audio transcoding is available for formats that aren’t natively supported as well. Plex has also added content mirroring to the app meaning that as you look at information on your devices, it’s also displayed on your tv through your Chromecast. On top of that, tweaks and enhancements have been made for a more reliable and efficient way to stream content with higher bit rates.

If you haven’t given Plex a try, you can download it here. Current users should see the update live in the Play Store.

source: Plex

Can HTC make a difference in 2014?

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HTC continues to get praise from the media, but it never translates into growth. They were just awarded the best phone of the year by the GSMA, which has to be bittersweet while watching Samsung sell over 200 million Galaxy S phones right in front of their eyes. I declared the HTC One the best phone on the planet, but I asked the question, “Is it good enough?” in my review last year. Some of you laughed at me, but it’s clear that being the best doesn’t always translate into success.

CNet had a chance to sit down with Jack Yang, the new HTC boss of the South Asia Market, to find out what the thinking is for 2014. Ironically, Mr. Yang is the former head of Apple’s iPhone business in Southeast Asia, so this has to be a dramatic change for him. He is not only in charge of Southeast Asia for HTC, but also India and Australia.

Read more

Samsung unveils new Exynos processors

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Even though news seems to be centered around the new Galaxy S 5, that’s not the only news that’s coming out of Samsung’s camp. To “meet the ever-increasing needs needs of high-resolution displays and complicated computation without sacrificing battery life,” the company has announced a newer, more efficient Exynos processor. The new 5422 processor features eight cores ( four ARM® Cortex®- A15™ up to 2.1 GHz for the heavy lifting and four ARM® Cortex®- A7™ up to 1.5 GHz for lighter lifting.) Samsung says that the new octa-core processor is 34 percent more efficient than previous generations.

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Another report indicates Samsung will cut the price of the Galaxy S 5

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Last week Bloomberg reported that Samsung is going to offer the Galaxy S 5 at a lower price as compared to not only the competition, but also the launch prices of previous Galaxy S phones. Samsung didn’t offer any pricing at the Unpacked event, but another report out of ZDNet Korea seems to confirm Bloomberg’s report.

Since the Galaxy S 5 really doesn’t offer anything significant in terms of hardware over the Galaxy S 4, this makes a lot of sense. Samsung could not only lower the off contract pricing, but they are likely to do it for contract pricing as well.

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OnePlus One has reached the ‘Feature Freeze’ phase of development

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Last month, CyanogenMod announced it partnered with OnePlus to release a CyanogenMod powered smartphone to the market this year. OnePlus has now announced that the upcoming device, the OnePlus One, has reached the ‘feature freeze’ phase of development.

The company already started testing its first prototype, A0001, which arrived to their office on Monday. There’s no detail about the smartphone’s specifications but the company promised that the device would come with the best specifications. The company says that the device still needs a lot of improvements before releasing the final product to the market but they are “still loving it!” Read more

MLB.com At Bat app updated, includes two new features

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With nearly a month left to MLB’s Opening Day, the most popular MLB.com At Bat app has been updated to version 3.0 for the 2014 baseball season with some new new features.

The two new features that have been added include the ability to choose more than one favorite team and the other one is push notifications for every run-scoring play of whichever team you choose.  MLB.com promises to add more features to its app before Opening Day. Read more

TalkAndroid Daily Dose for February 25, 2014

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With hectic schedules, it can be hard to keep track of everything in your news feed. That’s why we created the TalkAndroid Daily Dose. This is where we recap the day’s hottest stories so you can get yourself up to speed in quick fashion. Happy reading!!

Apps

WinZip launches ZipShare, a way to zip and manage your cloud-based files

Quixey expands Functional Search to provide info from within apps

Carriers

AT&T makes international calling and texting more affordable

Android 4.4 KitKat on AT&T Galaxy S4 to begin rolling out tomorrow

T-Mobile moving the chains, adds 4.4 million customers in 2013

Read more