Microsoft launches three new Android apps


Journeys and Notes
Journeys and Notes
It is well documented that Microsoft makes a lot of money from Android, arguably more than it does from its own Windows Phone platform. The company achieves that mostly through patent licensing (around $1 billion per year), but Redmond is also looking to make its presence felt on the rival platform with its services.

Microsoft has previously released such services as Bing and Office, but it is now branching into more dedicated apps such as the Universal Mobile Keyboard launched recently. The company is now rolling out three more applications on the Android platform, Next Lock Screen, Journeys and Notes, while Torque is a new app that will land on Google’s smartwatch platform Android Wear. What a difference a few years and dwindling influence in a market makes as Microsoft would never have contemplated this kind of cross platform service in the past. That said, the company made its name and legacy by making Windows available to anyone, so in many ways it is in Microsoft’s DNA to share services to get revenue.

These apps and others like them are made by Microsoft’s Garage division, giving developers the chance to build for other platforms, creating services not necessarily intended for Microsoft powered products. Next Lock Screen is joining a list of thousands of Android lock screen alternatives and is focused on calendar notifications and management. It also comes with an ability to quickly launch apps from within the lock screen interface. Next Lock Screen displays a feed of their calendar events, allowing users to slide to call a number attached to a specific event.
The other smartphone/tablet oriented app from Microsoft is Journeys and Notes, which the company mystically describes as “the space between an origin and a destination.” That sounds like a pretty trippy and awesome thing, but do not get too excited because this is just a travel app. A good one though it seems, so if you are catching a cross country train from New York to Los Angeles, you can input the journey and the app will give you reviews and comments from people who took that trip via the same method.
The final new app is one that is dedicated for the Android Wear smartwatch platform, Torque. This application offers a quick way to access apps and services on the smartwatch. You may be thinking that using Google Now and saying “OK Google” does the job already, but Microsoft thinks even talking it too much, so with Torque you can flick your wrist to open up Bing and then voice search from there. Make no mistake, this is Microsoft looking for an inexpensive and novel way to get Bing worked into Android Wear, because Redmond’s search will default over Google if you use Torque.
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Apple slashes prices of iPad Mini 1 and 2 and the iPad Air


iPad Mini 2
iPad Mini 2

Not that the iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2 are out in the open some of you may be thinking, “I can now get an older model for a more affordable price” and you would be right. At its launch event in Cupertino today, Apple detailed a slew of price cuts for its remaining iPad range giving the company its first ever coverage over multiple price points.

The iPad Mini range especially has been padded out extensively with Apple taking the unexpected step of keeping the original iPad Mini. That’s the one you may remember that came with no 64-bit processer and no Retina Display, but it is still a very competent slate and now looks very attractive at $249. I should confess that I still think this is the best of the iPad Mini range. The new iPad Mini 3 is almost identical to the iPad Mini 2 save for the inclusion of the Touch ID scanner. However, if you do not want that fingerprint sensor, you can now pick up the 64-bit A7 processer, Retina packing iPad Mini 2 for $299. The iPad Air was seen as a big step forward in the range last year and it has now been reduced to $399, with the new Air 2 costing $499. As always the case with all of these iPads, the 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions all cost $100 more through each version, and then a further $100 for each LTE variant.

Xiaomi says Jony Ive should test its device amid accusations of copying


iPad?
iPad?
Apple has unsurprisingly taken a hard stance against companies who copy their devices and Cupertino’s chief designer Jony Ive has been particularly vocal on the matter. When we think of knock off devices we think of cheap Chinese offerings from nondescript brands; sure, Apple has accused Samsung of copying, but we do not associate this kind of thing with a major tech brand.

I suppose it depends how you see this one, but take a look at the image above and you will see some tablets that look an awful lot like the iPad. Those devices are made by Chinese company Xiaomi, which is like it or not now a major mobile brand. You may not see it like that, but the company is the third biggest selling smartphone manufacturer this year (behind Samsung and Apple). The company has built its success by offering well-made devices that are affordable, although they do happen to look like other products on the market. If you take a look at the Mi 3 smartphone, it is a mix of several others (Sony and Nokia maybe), while the Redmi Note looks like an iPhone and the Mi Pad (above) looks very much like an iPad. Ive, speaking to Vanity Fair said, “I think it’s really straightforward: it really is theft, and it’s lazy and I don’t think it’s OK at all.” Xiaomi CEO Lim Bin spoke to a Chinese news outlet and challenged Ive to use one of his company’s devices before here makes a true judgement.

Xiaomi is a very open company, which would never force anyone to use its products. However, one can only judge Xiaomi’s gadgets after he or she has used them,” Lin said. “I’m very willing to give a Xiaomi cell phone to him as a present, and I look forward to hearing his remarks after he uses it.

Considering Ive never specifically mentioned Xiaomi, we could probably take this is a subtle confession from the company that it does copy Apple and other companies. There is probably no doubt that the Chinese brand makes a solid piece of hardware, but I doubt Jony Ive toting one around for a few weeks would suddenly make him see the light.
Read more at http://www.mobileburn.com/23621/news/xiaomi-says-jony-ive-should-test-its-device-amid-accusations-of-copying#1Jj1JSY534sbcPM7.99

Galaxy Note 4 lands on Amazon in the US, unlocked and without warranty


Galaxy Note 4
Galaxy Note 4
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has arrived in the US and is now available to purchase through Amazon, which is selling the unlocked international variant of the phablet flagship. That means the device is available before the official roll out of the US version of the handset on carriers later in October. Of course, to grab the GN4 off Amazon you will have to cough up the full unlocked price, with the white version ($868.99) and black version ($854.88). There is also the same unlocked version available in gold ($904.48).

Amazon says the device will ship in 6 to 10 days, but while you may think this is a good chance to get the Galaxy Note 4, you’d be wrong. In fact you?d be mad, because while the Note 4 is available through Amazon, it is the international version that is not US carrier specific, and that dear readers means that this handset comes without a warranty or 4G LTE connectivity. Samsung’s latest large screen onslaught is currently in the pre-order stage with the big four US carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile). Each carrier is offering different ways to buy the device on their various plans, but on a standard two year service commitment all are offering the Galaxy Note 4 for $299. The Galaxy Note 4 is arguably the best smartphone at the moment, it has a 5.7-inch Quad HD screen, a Snapdragon 805 processor clocked at 2.7GHz, an Adreno 420 GPU, 3GB RAM, and of course the S Pen stylus. It is also more affordable than previous Galaxy Note models according to Samsung, although on a basic money down deal in the US it still tallies to the same price as other Note?s, so the company is obviously talking about unlocked. However, the cost of this unlocked variant on Amazon is not what I would call affordable… and need I stress, comes without a warranty.

HTC teases One M8 EYE variant


One M8 EYE Teaser
One M8 EYE Teaser
HTC has two EYEs on the smartphone world at the moment, a Desire EYE and a One M8 EYE. Both of these handsets are tipped to be launched tomorrow, but it is more likely the M8 EYE will land first and the Desire EYE will launch later in the month. HTC has today teased the One M8 EYE with the above shot that reminds us of the launch date.

The shot shows the new HTC One M8 EYE with the larger 13 megapixel rear dual camera set up that will replace the current 4MP UltraPixel lens. I have spoken about these two new HTC EYE devices extensively over the weekend, so rather than go through all that again, you can check out all the details below in this greatest hits of EYE rumors:

One M8 EYE In fact, there is no two ways about it, this is identical to the One M8 proper, which is not shocking at all considering the EYE is just a variant of that device. So, nothing to see that’s new, but what about that camera? Well, the Taiwanese company is getting all marketing by naming this device the “EYE” and suggesting it is a camera oriented smartphone. However, this snapper is already available on high end HTC devices that are not the One M8 (the Butterfly 2), unless the company springs a surprise at launch. The EYE gets a 13 megapixel dual lens instead of the opinion dividing 4MP UltraPixel lens on the original M8 flagship. And that’s it, no other changes are expected. So, have you been waiting all this time to get the One M8, holding off because of the camera? I doubt many have, and the truth is most people who want this handset have already bought it before it was the EYE and just rocked the 4MP lens. HTC should be doing more to differentiate this variant, perhaps adding a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 with 3GB of RAM as opposed to the 801 with 2GB of RAM found in the first One M8. Of course, while this looks to be the same camera from the Butterfly 2 for example, perhaps HTC has something up its sleeve. We will find out when the EYE is launched on October 7th. Desire EYE You may remember that the first device discussed was the HTC One M8 EYE, a handset that was based entirely of the company’s flagship, save for a 13 megapixel dual lens replacing the 4 megapixel UltraPixel in the original. However, at the end of last week a new mid-range EYE handset emerged in the shapely form of the Desire EYE. So, are there two EYE smartphones or was the Desire EYE the One M8 EYE? Confusing, but it does seem as though HTC has two device in the pipeline. Specs for the Desire EYE include 2GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch 720p screen, a solid if unspectacular 13 megapixel camera on the rear, an 8 megapixel lens on the front, 16GB of on-board storage, and microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC support up to 128GB.

Read more at http://www.mobileburn.com/23583/news/htc-teases-one-m8-eye-variant#KkDEuysFIi53m9kw.99

HTC has a Desire EYE in the works, here it is


Desire EYE
Desire EYE
This article is based on rumor and contains speculation.I doubted, the tech media community doubted, hell perhaps everyone doubted, but HTC has done the right thing with its upcoming handset. You may remember the One M8 EYE that will be launching next week, a device that was reported to be a variant of the company’s flagship device. As it turns out the EYE is actually an entirely new smartphone that will be a part of its Desire range.

When it was the One M8 EYE, the smartphone felt just a little bit like a rip off because it maintained the look and specs of the flagship, but merely traded the 4MP UltraPixel dual lens for a 13 megapixel dual lens snapper. I argued that this device would be utterly pointless unless HTC delivered something of differentiator or managed to pull a surprise. It turns out the Taiwanese company has done the former. However, there is one more twist in the tale… is this there only one EYE device or will HTC also show off the One M8 EYE too at its press event in New York on October 8th.

The upcoming Desire EYE has leaked courtesy of new leaking scamp @Upleaks and this is an entirely new device in terms of looks. Yes, HTC’s distinct design language is present, but this is an individual look and once again HTC seems to have delivered an aesthetic winner. This will also be one highly spec’d Desire device, a line of handsets that HTC uses for lower end smartphones too. The Desire EYE is rumoured to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.3GHz with 2GB of RAM, a 5.2-inch HD display, 32GB of storage, and a removable 2,400mAh battery. Considering the Desire series rarely passes mid-range, I would be surprised if these blazing specs hold true, but I will be waiting to see if HTC delivers the Desire EYE next week.

Eric Schmidt still uses Blackberry


What Blackberry is Schmidt rocking?
What Blackberry is Schmidt rocking?
The Blackberry revival is in full swing in case you did not know. The Passport is bringing the company some much needed heat and is selling well to boot. Google CEO Eric Schmidt still uses his Blackberry he confessed, while he also briefly explained why the company got into trouble and seemed to commend Blackberry CEO John Chen for the way he is trying to right the ship.

Speaking to Montreal Gazette in Canada where the Google CEO is promoting his book, he said the following:

CP: What?s your current smartphone? Schmidt: Motorola Razr X. As you know, Motorola is in the process of being sold to Lenovo but this is in fact the phone that I use. CP: You were a noted BlackBerry user, what made you switch? Schmidt: Well, I need to carry this. I still like BlackBerry’s but I’m afraid they missed a set of transitions that were very important and the new CEO is trying very hard to recover. But the fact of the matter is that Android and iPhone are driving the market now.

Later, at a talking event with the Empire Club of Canada, Schmidt confessed he still does carry a BlackBerry in addition to his Motorola phone. Firstly, saying “hey, Eric Schmidt has one” is hardly a ringing endorsement for buying a Blackberry, but it goes to show that for business minded people the company is still relevant. As for the Motorola Razor X, I have no idea what he means but talking Schmidt really does come to mind. He has been spotted numerous times with a Moto X, so he must mean that. source: Montreal Gazette