Samsung Galaxy S5 ad confirms waterproof feature

It’s been said in recent weeks that Samsung might make the Galaxy S5 waterproof. Samsung has made versions of the Galaxy S waterproof, but only on the Active line, not the primary S smartphone. A new trailer for the upcoming Samsung Unpacked event appears to confirm those suspicions that the Galaxy S5 will be able to withstand water.

When you look at the 36-second teaser, Samsung shows people living active lifestyles while taking selfies, driving, and partying, and taking a few moments to relax. You’ll also see that in the early stages of the video, things slow down as a child slides across a Slip ‘N Slide with the word “Wet” on it. This is no accident. The message of the trailer tells you all of the things that the “Next Galaxy” can handle, so telling us that the phone is capable of withstanding water shows clear intentions.

Take a look at the video below and see what other activities Samsung plans to make Galaxy friendly. We’ll be on site for the next Galaxy’s debut on Monday, so stay tuned for more information.




BBM now works with Android 2.3 Gingerbread

BlackBerry has made good on its promise to bring its messaging service to older model Android devices. BBM originally worked only on Android 4.x devices, but it has since been updated to work on the millions of phones still running the outdated Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

Adding support to older devices offers BBM access to significantly more people because Gingerbread accounts for 1 in 5 active Android devices. Gingerbread is especially active in many of the emerging markets that BlackBerry is still a strong player, so getting more people under its service umbrella should be a positive for the company.

Download BBM for Android

The new Samsung Galaxy Gear will run Tizen OS, not Android

It might seem strange that Samsung would choose to release a Galaxy Gear follow-up only five months after the original first went on sale, but the next smartwatch will be different from the first thanks to a new operating system. USA Today reports that it has spoken with three different sources who say that Samsung will debut a new Galaxy Gear running Tizen OS at Mobile World Congress.

The second iteration of the Galaxy Gear will reportedly debut next week. It will run Tizen, the Meego inspired operating system developed in partnership with Intel, though the software on the watch will be “an HTML5 version of Tizen,” according to USA Today’s sources. The hope is that more web developers will be attracted to the platform. The Android-based Galaxy Gear supports several apps, but are mostly designed by Samsung and lack the widespread developer support needed to build robust connectivity options. Considering Tizen has such a small hope of competing with Android and iOS, developer support will be even smaller, so allowing HTML5 developers to code in their preferred method rather than requiring native Tizen apps is a compromise.

Why use Tizen at all? According to USA Today, Samsung fears Google might choose to dominate the wearable market in a way that shuts out companies other than Google. Samsung wants to be able to make money off software and services rather than a one-time transaction when someone purchases a device. It will be difficult to do that if Google exerts heavy control over Android guidelines and access to its popular apps, so Samsung is trying to hedge its bets with Tizen. It’s a big gamble, but Samsung reportedly believes that course of action has a bigger long-term payoff.

source: USA Today

HTC will take your questions now: Reddit AMA scheduled today at 1:30 PM PST

If you have ever wanted to ask a question of the people who make HTC smartphones, today’s your chance. HTC is hosting a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session at, allowing inquisitive users to find out more about the company. However, they probably won’t answer the questions that matter most to you.

AMA is sometimes a misnomer when it comes to companies because they cannot answer the questions people really want to know. When is the new HTC One coming out? What kind of specs will it have? Why can’t the Roadrunner and the Coyote be friends? Companies can’t talk about unannounced products and they won’t confirm or deny any specifics as a result. You can also expect a lot of PR-sanctioned answers about things like updates or problems you have with a device. It’s ask me anything, not answer anything.

Still, you might learn something interesting about back stories of some phones, or perhaps an upcoming feature. The session will start at 1:30pm PST, which is 4:30pm ET / 9:30pm GMT. Visit The Android subreddit at that time to see the link.


Google voice commands now knows who to call when saying “Call my wife”

When I tell Google Now to “Call Dad,” my Android phone is able to route the call only because my father is programmed into my phone as Dad. Now, you’ll be able to tell Google to call your dad, mom, wife, or husband and the app will be able to do that even if that person’s name is stored as Jim or Jennifer.

An update to Google makes it possible to assign titles to contacts. If someone says “Call my wife,” Google will then ask to apply that title to an existing contact for future reference. So subsequent requests of “Call My Wife” will automatically be recognized as the person marked Maria or Honey. You can also set the system up for other titles. When I told Google to text my brother, it asked me “Who is your brother?” and then let me select his name from my contacts. It also worked for “Boss.”

There’s no need to push another update through Google Play because to access this feature because it is done through the web and the Search update released last week. The iOS version of Google does not yet recognize relationships, but you could always use Siri for that purpose.


Team USA in Sochi: High-Tech Gear Spurs High Hopes

While it takes years of training, determination and really good genes even to get a chance to compete in the Olympic Games, the difference between making the podium or not can come down to milliseconds in some events. At this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, new advances in fabrics, materials and designs are giving the athletes an edge as they go for the gold.

It isn’t just sporting goods manufacturers that are now developing the technology being used by the competitors. Auto makers such as BMW and aerospace pioneers including Lockheed Martin have helped design equipment that is lighter, faster and more streamlined.

High-Tech Fabrics

Speed skaters for years have relied on skintight uniforms to reduce drag. For the 2014 games, Team USA partnered with apparel maker Under Armour and Lockheed Martin to create a skinsuit that could help skaters get to the finish line just a little faster.

The Mach 39 was developed by Under Armour with the aid of high-speed cameras that captured skaters’ movements and positions. The development team then turned to Lockheed Martin engineers to analyze the air flow.

Under Armour Mach 39

Under Armour Mach 39

It was found that a single type of fabric didn’t work all that well when it came to air flow, so the developers opted to use different materials for different parts of the body. The new suits also utilize “flow molding.” Though it seems counterintuitive, aerodynamic shapes and bumps attached to just the right spots to disrupt the air flow can enable faster speeds.



“The technology and resources that Under Armour put into this suit are unprecedented and can be felt from the very first moment you put on the suit,” Patrick Meek, an American Long Track speed skater who is competing in Sochi, told TechNewsWorld.

“It sounds weird, but you just feel fast. I expect this suit to be a game changer,” he said.

“What is revolutionary is that we were able to devote so many resources into one suit,” Meek added. “There have been no technology breakthroughs that came about because of this suit. The wheel was not reinvented. But what UA was able to do was combine the latest technology in aerodynamics, compression, fluid dynamics, human physiology and biomechanics all in one suit.”

In addition to clothing that will help reduce drag, athletes are using compression apparel on the slopes. For the 2014 Olympics, many competitors will don the latest in 2XU’s compression tights and socks.

The clothing’s usefulness isn’t limited to competition, however. Some athletes took advantage of it prior to their arrival in Sochi, as it has been shown that compression can improve circulation during long travel times.

“Athletes at this level of competition understand the importance of utilizing compression in their training, recovery and injury rehabilitation,” Fred Hernandez, 2XU director of marketing, told TechNewsWorld.

Super Sleds

While the American bobsled and skeleton competitors will be donning Under Armour skinsuits, they’ll also have the advantage of advanced sleds developed with help from several corporate giants.

The United States hasn’t won a gold medal in bobsled racing since 1936. For the 2014 games, the team turned to BMW, which helped design a new bobsled that is made of carbon fiber. Developed for its electric cars, this advanced composite polymer has been proven to be far stronger and much lighter than the fiberglass shells used just four years ago.

Team USA Bobsled

Team USA Bobsled

BMW’s engineers provided adjustments to the sled’s aerodynamics and weight distribution through included computer-aided modeling, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), full-size wind tunnel testing, on-track testing, and even athlete scanning.

“We were truly excited by the opportunity to work with the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and saw it as a natural fit to transfer our approach, technology, and design resources to the development of the two-man bobsled,” Michael Scully, creative director of global design for BMW Group DesignworksUSA, told TechNewsWorld.

“The two-year development process in collaboration with Team USA has been an intense, exciting and rewarding one, and we’re all looking forward to Sochi,” he said.

The same level of commitment went into the development of the luge. Dow Chemical re-engineered the single-person sled bodies and incorporated lighter materials and design features that improved performance, while Saint Gobain worked with U.S. Steel to completely redesign the sled’s runners.

Team USA Luge

Team USA Luge

“Previously, Team USA bought the runners from an Austrian firm,” said Brad Johnson, vice president at Saint Gobain.

“The team never felt they were getting the most consistent steel, so we worked them to develop a recipe that U.S. Steel than produced,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Saint Gobain also provides some of the most advanced coated abrasives to polish the runners, but this isn’t the typical sandpaper you’d find in a hardware store,” added Johnson.

“This is actually used in the production of automobile and aerospace technologies, and this can be used to polish and shape even hard steel,” he explained.

This is important, because just as athletes are drug-tested after they compete, the luge sled is tested for consistency.

“The temperature has to be within a range, or the effort was all for nothing,” Johnson noted.

Head Above the Rest


Giro's Combyn Helmet

Giro’s Combyn Helmet

For snowboarders, it isn’t just speed that matters. A new snowboarding helmet developed by Giro could help prevent concussions and other head injuries.

“The Combyn is designed and built to better manage low-energy impacts, while still able to manage high-speed impacts like traditional EPS (expanded polystyrene),” Giro spokesperson Benny Cruickshank told TechNewsWorld.

“This is achieved with Giro’s patent-pending liner made with dual-density Vinyl Nitrile and the flexible outer-shell material. VN differs from EPS in that it is able rebound after an impact,” he pointed out.

“For the rider, the VN liner provides a more durable helmet that can better manage those low- and high-energy impacts, while the flexible outer shell allows the helmet to be more comfortable by flexing to fit your head,” Cruickshank added.

Skiing Without Snow

Russia’s goal in bringing the games to Sochi was in part to transform what was typically viewed as a summer resort town into a winter destination. That presented challenges, because many of the slopes are completely new and thus unproven.

Skiers must train year round, even when there isn’t snow. SkyTechSport’s virtual training technology addresses both issues. The company, which has created snow sports simulators for a number of teams, allows athletes to experience being on the slopes even during the off-season months.

SkyTechSport Trainer

SkyTechSport Trainer

“Skiers and snowboarders mostly run and do other exercises in the off-season,” Alex Golunov, project manager at SkyTechSport, told TechNewsWorld. “Our machines replicate the experience on the slopes. We draw on the physics they would experience and recreate the exact terrain.”

For the 2014 games, SkyTechSport completely recreated the courses even as the runs were built and then provided them to the teams, allowing them to get a feel for Sochi before ever arriving there.

“There are three parts to this: the machine that simulates being on the slopes; the virtual reality system where the scanning technology recreates the terrain; and the physics,” said Golunov. “This allows the user to get the feel of heading down the mountain in Sochi.”

Sony closing Reader Store, migrating users to Kobo

Sony has one more piece of important programming news to go along with the announcement that it is selling its PC division and spinning off the TV unit to focus on mobile devices. The Sony Reader store that supported ereaders, tablets, and smartphones will soon be shutdown in the US and Canada. Americans and Canadians will no longer be able to download content from the Reader Store after March 20, 2014 at 6 pm ET.

In an effort to not completely leave customers in a lurch, Sony will work to transition customers to the Kobo Store. Customers will have a chance to download their existing titles from the Reader Store until March, and those who decide to use Kobo will be able to transfer their purchase history to the new store. Existing credits will also be transferable. Customers can continue to purchase and read eBooks from now until late March. Instructions will then point out how to move forward.

Unfortunately, only books will transfer. Highlights, bookmarks, annotations, wish lists, and periodical subscriptions will be lost when the switch happens. Sony plans to leave its Android and iOS apps operational post shutdown.

source: Sony