Microsoft at MWC: Announcing the Lumia 640, 640 XL and New Universal Smartphone Keyboard

Tweeta About an hour ago in Barcelona Stephen Elop took the stage once again in Barcelona, just as in the Nokia days to announce a couple of new Lumia devices. The new Lumia 640 and the 640 XL, an attempt by Nokia to streamline the naming scheme and make it a bit more comprehensible to understand where each device falls on the spectrum. The Lumia 640 (above) is a 5″ device with a 720p screen, a 1.2Ghz quadcore Snapdragon 400 processor and an 8 MP main camera and a 1 MP front facing camera bundled with 8 GBs onboard storage plus SD card expansion, as well as Glance screen support. The Lumia 640 is set to be priced at EUR 139 (3G) or EUR 159 (LTE). Also announced was the Lumia 640 XL, a followup to the Lumia 1320 phablet device, but with a slightly smaller screen. The Lumia 640 XL comes with a 5.7″ 720p display (also supports Glance screen), along with the same  1.2Ghz quadcore Snapdragon 400 processor. However the Lumia 640 XL comes with a 13 MP main camera and a 5 MP FFC, as well as a 3000 mAh battery. Microsoft also announced a new smartphone keyboard compatible with Android, iOS and Windows 10, meaning that Windows 10 for mobile will finally have support for external input devices.  The new keyboard is aimed at portability with the ability to fold it in half to help move it around with you. Via: GeekOnGadgets

Sony to ditch WALKMAN branded app – replaces it with “Music”

Tweeta It looks like Sony Mobile is set to lose the WALKMAN branding on its music application in the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop firmware. All of Sony’s press materials today for the Xperia M4 Aqua and Xperia Z4 tablet show a generic “Music” application in place of where we would see the WALKMAN app. We’re not sure why Sony would ditch the branded app – could it be to simplify what the app does to new users? Could it be to tie into the rebranding to “PlayStation Music”, which will replace Music Unlimited at the end of this month? Could it be to disassociate some of Sony’s assets in a looming break-up of the Sony Mobile business? There’s plenty of theories, but not firm answer. We will certainly miss it.

Xperia Z4 Tablet arrives with 10.1-inch 2K display, Snapdragon 810 and 6.1mm thickness

Tweeta Sony Mobile has announced the Xperia Z4 Tablet (SGP771) that features a 10.1-inch (2560 x 1600 pixel) IPS display and is the company’s lightest (389g) and slimmest (6.1mm) 10-inch tablet yet. The tablet features a 6000mAh battery that Sony says is good for an astonishing 17 hours of video playback. It will launch globally from June 2015 in black and white colours. Sony says that the display is the world’s brightest (it was compared against the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, Apple iPad Air 2, Microsoft Surface Pro 3, Samsung Galaxy Tab S and Samsung Galaxy Tab S). The Xperia Z4 Tablet is 40% brighter than the Xperia Z2 Tablet. You will notice just by looking at the pictures that Sony has really trimmed down the bezels on the Xperia Z4 Tablet. It is a marked improvement over the Xperia Z2 Tablet, which is apparent when comparing the screen-to-tablet size ratio of the Z4 Tablet (69.73%) against the Z2 Tablet (64.65%). The high display resolution gives the Xperia Z4 Tablet a pixel density of 299 PPI. The Xperia Z4 Tablet is armed with the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset with Octa-core processor (2.0 GHz quad-core Cortex-A57 and 1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53) and Adreno 430 graphics. It also has 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage and a microSD memory card slot. We’re delighted to see that Sony has scrapped the 16GB tablet models entirely, let’s hope we see something similar for the Xperia Z4 later in the year. Like the Xperia Z2 Tablet, the Z4 Tablet features stereo front-facing speakers. High-Res Audio is also included with DSEE HXTM processing and Sony’s new LDAC codec that transmits data three times more efficiently than Bluetooth. The Xperia Z4 Tablet has IP65/IP68 (Ingress Protection) certification for dust and water resistance. Like the Xperia M4 Aqua, the Xperia Z4 Tablet benefits from cap-less microUSB charging. The microUSB port is exposed, which means no worrying about port flaps. Other features include a 8.1MP Exmor RS rear camera, a 5.1MP wide-angle (25mm) front-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and PS4 Remote Play support. The Xperia Z4 Tablet has dimensions of 167 x 254 x 6.1 mm and weighs 389 grams for the Wi-Fi model (the LTE model weighs 393 grams). It will launch with Android 5.0 Lollipop from the outset and will be part of the Xperia Lounge Gold programme. Via Sony Mobile Blog and Sony Developer World.

Sony BKB50 Bluetooth Keyboard turns the Xperia Z4 Tablet into a laptop

Tweeta Sony has announced the Bluetooth Keyboard BKB50 for the Xperia Z4 Tablet. The keyboard has a special hinge that allows the tablet to easily dock with the tablet. The docking station allows the tablet to be ‘closed’ shut just like a real laptop. It also has a 0-130 degree tilt to find that comfortable viewing angle. When it is docked, Sony has introduced a special quick application launcher on the tablet (similar to the Windows Start menu) so that you can check your recent apps. The keyboard has an integrated touchpad, NFC for pairing and switches for the power button and Bluetooth. The keyboard has a 430 mAh battery, good for a one-month battery according to Sony (typing 2 hours/day) and can be recharged using a micro USB port. A battery indicator light is also included to let you know if you’re about to run out of power. The BKB50 Bluetooth Keyboard is relatively lightweight at 383 grams and seems like a great solution for the power users out there.

Sony releases Xperia Theme Creator tool

Tweeta Sony Mobile has launched a beta version of the “Theme Creator”, which allows developers to design their own Xperia Theme for Sony devices. The Theme Creator allows users to customise over 300 graphical assets like icons, buttons and home screen wallpaper. Once you’re happy with your design, one click is all that is needed to create the APK file to install onto your Sony Xperia device. If you think your theme is a work of art, you can contact Sony who may promote it to all Sony Xperia devices through the default theme picker. The free java application is available to download from today at the source link below. It works together with Adobe Photoshop CS6, allowing you to create and export graphics to be fine tuned in the Theme Creator BETA. Check out the video below, which gives you a quick tour of the application. Via Sony Developer World.

Today’s Links March 2, 2015

Tweeta HTC Announces The Grip, A $199 GPS Fitness Tracker In Partnership With Under Armour Tweeta Remember when HTC announced a partnership with Under Armour for an Android application and future products? Well, this marriage has carried its first fruit, the HTC Grip. Or maybe it’s called the HTC re grip. I don’t know, because HTC’s branding for this accessory is all over the place. The Grip / re grip, which is a fitness tracker band, a la Nike Fuelband, Fitbit Charge, et al. differentiates itself by carrying a built-in GPS. While it isn’t the first band to do so (the Microsoft Band already has GPS), it will use it to communicate directly with the Under Armour Record application to track your outdoor activities. The most interesting feature of the Grip / re grip is its multi-sport setup. Thanks to the included gyroscope and accelerometer, the Grip / re grip can track several activities, from running and walking to sit-ups, rope jumping, treadmill running, and more. The included PMOLED display will also mirror your phone’s notifications like texts, emails, calls, calendar events, and music. You can control the latter from the band. The Grip / re grip doesn’t have a heart rate sensor, but it is IP57 water and dust resistant. Its battery life ranges from 5hrs with the GPS enabled to 2-3 days if it’s disabled. It will launch later this year in the US and will retail for $199. Stardock Releases Start 10 Beta for Windows 10 Tweeta After coming to the rescue of millions of beleaguered Windows 8 users with highly-recommended utilities like Start 8, ModernMix and ShadowFX, Stardock is jumping on the Windows 10 bandwagon earlier. The firm today announced a beta version of an upcoming tool called Start 10, which will provide a Windows 7-like Start menu for Windows 10. As you must know, Windows 10 is going to ship with a Start menu that combines elements from the Windows 8 Start screen with the Windows 7 Start menu. So you may be wondering what the point is. “I’ve yet to meet a power user who is happy with the current implementation of the Start menu on Windows 10,” Stardock CEO Brad Wardell says. “A desktop OS is not about launching apps. I can do that on a tablet or an iPad. A desktop OS is about managing your ‘stuff’ — your data. We really need Microsoft to understand this distinction. What Start10 is designed to solve is the issue of ensuring that it is always easy and convenient to get to your stuff.” I see what he’s saying. If you look at the Start menu on my desktop PC, what you see is a bunch of app launching tiles. And I never use any of them. The Start menu provided by Start 10 appears to look much like the one in Windows 7 and dispenses with the space-hogging tiles. So I’m intrigued. To get Start 10 today, you need to subscribe to Startdock Object Desktop, which I do not. But as an eager buyer of many of their utilities—I strongly recommend Start 8, ModernMix and ShadowFX to Windows 8.1 users—I’m sure I’ll give Start 10 a shot as soon as I can. You can learn more on the Start 10 web site. Acer Announces First Windows Phone 8.1 Handset Tweeta Acer used to sell a gorgeous Windows Mobile handset outside the United States, but this week the firm announced its first-ever Windows Phone 8.1 handset. Unfortunately, in keeping with Windows Phone’s market trends, the Acer Liquid M220 is very much a low-end device. Windows Phone fans, this is not the flagship you’re looking for. “With the launch of the Liquid M220, it’s great to see Acer expanding its portfolio of Windows devices to include smartphones,” Microsoft VP Peter Han is credited with in a prepared statement. “Together we are providing an integrated, cross-device Windows experience to our joint customers.” The specs are disappointing to say the least: the Liquid M220 features a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 200 processor, 512 MB of RAM, just 4 GB of internal storage, a 4-inch WVGA (800 × 480) screen and 5MP (rear) and 2MP (front) cameras. It does have dual-SIM capabilities and will come in two color choices, Mystic Black and Pure White. It will cost ~$88 when it ships in April in the EMEA. Acer says the Liquid M220 will launch with Windows Phone 8.1.1 but will be upgradeable to Windows 10 when that OS ships later in 2015. Nothing to see here, though I’d love to see a higher-end Acer phone. They have good hardware designs, generally, and that Windows Mobile phone was pretty sweet. Here are a few images of the device from Acer. Tagged A The Order 1886 for PlayStation 4 Review Tweeta This big winters PlayStation 4 game caused a firestorm between gamers – how short is really the Order: 1886? Micael Samuelsson gives the answer: too far. There is a difference between time and time. In the past week, the internet exploded. The reason? The Order: 1886 is reported to be just over five hours short. Curtain. Turkey in advance. Sentenced to death before trial. In the midst of the burning anger miss though many something important. Instead of staring blind us to the hours, minutes and seconds, we should ask ourselves what value for money really is. What makes the game creators really by the time we expected to spend in their worlds? Is it worth the effort?     Five hours is amazing in my book always worth a thousand fold more than fifty mediocre. It is the values I assume after almost exactly eight hours with The Order. And I ask myself the question: was it worth it? The answer is no. It’s not about the amount of time, but that Ready at Dawn did not know what to make of it. They are trying to tell us something, but alternative London 1886 vintage is often a silly concoction of knights of the Round Table, werewolves, goblins else, immortality and the Holy Grail. They try to make a game, but cover the fighting is an embarrassment generic and stacked without reflection. They have been done better many times in the far older games. And what I call deathrooms , small areas filled with dozens of enemies thrown out just because. They are deadly boring.   Ready at Dawn is also trying to shake life in tempo, but it feels like a long night’s journey into day. At times, nothing happens and I have to amble – because sometimes you can not run – across the dead spaces. Not even what should be shocking turning points makes an impression when they go to see for miles. When our dry ball to the hero, Sir Galahad, giving up an abyss howl of grief I sit and try to figure out how many hours should reasonably be left. I feel nothing at the time, except boredom. An under-rated. No, Ready at the Dawn lacks intuition, which is bizarre considering it Daxter and the God of Wars studio have on the CV. PSP titles were keyed innovative, but very good. The Order is neither. But it would be a crash landing is exaggerated, because even here the internet has missed the mark. The fame of its QTE-death were exaggerated.   The beginning of the dungeon in Westminster is certainly deeply immersed in quick time-bites but then they kept on decent level. And unlike many other things, they usually have a point. When Galahad will escape from prison gets me and him one. I know the power of his kind, the pounding of his wounds. You can use this lambasted the mechanics of ingenious ways. Telltale makes it almost constantly, Yu Suzuki did it back in Shenmue. That much as told through cutscenes and simple button press does not need to be a yoke to bear, for we have come to a time in gaming history where interactive narrative is no longer synonymous with piles.. However the artisans finally looses grip. Last boss and be counted, which should be bombastisk, is more or less a carbon copy of a new QTE-numnah few hours earlier. When it should be a nerve wracking it is instead a different kind of ordeal. Such decisions are incomprehensible – or maybe just a sign of the pressure of time? – But also speaking for the entire game. For despite the small quantity is not sufficient quality to lift the Order of mediocrity swamp. Bitwise succeed narrators cashing in on the rich history of the world. Walking around in the Nikola Tesla laboratory with all the ingenious weapon is breathtaking. Like to infiltrate a retro futuristic airships or wander around in a hospital that reeks of death. The merger of the elegant Victorian style with elements that should not be there are often skilled and trustworthy. But it is a step too far in the narration and go from fascinating to absurd. After Grail and werewolves, it is not far from that I begin to suspect gnomes and trolls in the periphery. But in terms of the visual, developers have succeeded. The Order is beautiful, I would be lying if I said otherwise. And in a time when big guns wholesale and retail burdened by technical shortcomings, it feels like a privilege to say, I did not encounter a single bug. It is not chopped, sizzled not and experience held steady promised 30 frames per second, which is good enough for this type of gameplay.   After all, The Order is a brave game. It dares to be different on the aesthetic plane, but are too often lost in the game mechanical. Behind the swan is an ugly duckling. Several times I end up in unimaginably tough games. At one point I by sluggish stealth to sneak around in a garden and kill one, two and twenty guards in a similar manner. The slightest misstep for me mercilessly thrown back to square one. The usual generic fighting is a chapter in itself. But one thing we need to give the team: they vary between healthy their bad ideas and sometimes glimpses the fact to the joy of playing. The arsenal has a few elements that shines beside the conventional all guns. One of the flashpoints are uploaded and shoots lightning – an effect of Tesla, so to speak – straight through werewolves, man and beast. But my favorite is undoubtedly the cannon that shoots gas clouds with R2 and then, with R1, follow up with a spark. To spew flammable gas over a small gaggle of soldiers and follow up with a spark is hard to beat.   But otherwise it is missing the spark. In a well-timed elements go seven doubtful. Ready at Dawn was not ready for a big (!) AAA game that would carry an important part of early spring PlayStation 4-expectations. Ultimately, this is a nifty technology demo with a few good ideas, some bad and a whole armada of those we have seen in ten years. When really begins next generation? Lumias and co sways IKEA to choose Qi Wireless Charging standard for their furniture Tweeta For those folks that have Qi Wireless Charging on their Lumias, IKEA (the largest manufacturer of furniture) is going to have built in wireless charging. Set your phone on your coffee table or night stand, boom, charging. Possibly desks and other types of furniture too. Why Qi? The volume of smartphones in the market, which includes select Lumia, LG and Samsung handsets, swayed the furniture giant More and more mobile manufacturers are picking up the Qi standard. Hopefully when Apple gets in the game, it might choose that too rather than their own proprietary iCharge or whatever. Source: CNET New simpler naming for lumia? Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL accidentally announced Tweeta In what appears to be an interesting change from being called 1330 (phablet successor to 1320) there may instead be a 640XL. Reflecting perhaps the 640 specs but in a larger frame. Could this help out with the confusing numbering between generations? Tom Warren has previously tweeted expecting both the 640 and a 1330 (640 XL?).  Specs are pretty standard for the 640 – a 5″ device. How much bigger should a XL version be? Source: TheVerge Today’s Links March 1, 2015 Tweeta Acer XG270HU Monitor with AMD Freesync™ Delivers Smoother Gaming Experience Tweeta Acer has released a new 27-inch display wiht a fast 144 Hz refresh rate which I think looks really good.  I have asked them about a review sample so that I can see how well it works for me.   AMD FreeSync™ technology and support for AMD Radeon™ R-Series GPU eliminate tear and stutter for an ultra-smooth gaming experience Quick 1ms response time and edge-to-edge frameless display provides seamless viewing 27-inch display with WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution and fast 144Hz refresh rate   Bioggio, Switzerland (February 18, 2015) – The Acer XG270HU gaming monitor with AMD FreeSync™ technology1 and effectively eliminates screen tearing and stuttering. This 27-inch display also comes with WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution, fast 144Hz refresh rate, and an edge-to-edge frameless design for enhanced in-gaming performance and seamless viewing, to provide a very smooth gaming experience. With FreeSync™ technology, each frame displayed on the XG270HU monitor is synced with the frames rendered by the graphics card to eliminate screen tearing and stuttering. This technology minimizes lag and latency for ultra-smooth action sequences that is required in today’s gaming  market. Brilliance without boarders The XG270HU’s edge-to-edge frameless display maximizes viewing area and affords a seamless viewing experience for multi-monitor setups. A quick 1ms response time assures that actions or dramatic transitions will be rendered smoothly without smearing or ghosting effects. For easy connectivity, the monitor includes HDMI 2.0, dual-link DVI (Dual Link), DisplayPort 1.2, and 2 x 2W speakers. Great eye protection To reduce eye strain and potential long-term damage to eye health by heavy usage, the XG270HU is built with Acer EyeProtect technologies. This includes flicker-less technology that eliminates screen flicker through an optimized backlight operation; ComfyView which reduces reflection from light sources on the non-glare panel, low-dimming technology that adjusts screen brightness when working in non-optimal lighting conditions, and a blue light filter to reduce blue light exposure. Availability The Acer XG270HU monitor will be available in March 2015 with a starting price of €499.–.   Acer has the most comprehensive lineup of gaming monitors on the market with 24-, 27- and 28-inch sizes and across FHD, WQHD and 4K2K UHD resolution displays, and more to come.   1For AMD® FreeSync system requirements: http://www.amd.com/en-us/innovations/software-technologies/technologies-gaming/freesync About Acer Established in 1976, Acer is a hardware + software + services company dedicated to the research, design, marketing, sale and support of innovative products that enhance people’s lives. Acer’s product offering includes PCs, displays, projectors, servers, tablets and smartphones — tools our customers need to explore beyond limits and experience more. Acer employs 7,400 people and ranks No. 4 for total PCs globally (IDC 2013). Revenues for 2013 reached US$12.02 billion. Please visit www.acer.com for more information. Motorola video shows why you should choose to start with the new affordable Moto E Tweeta Motorola has released a new video to highlight the launch of its second generation Moto E. The affordable, yet powerful Android smartphone is priced for those who are simply seeking a rock solid, yet affordable experience or are new to the platform altogether. The 2015 model ensures the Moto E keeps up with the times. The new edition of the Moto E packs a larger 4.5-inch qHD display (960×540), and when you opt for the LTE version, a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor (the non-LTE version has a quad-core Snapdragon 200 chip inside). In addition, the Moto E will now be able to shoot selfies with its new front-facing camera, something that was missing from the first version of the phone. There’s even Android 5.0 Lollipop along for the ride. The price is the best part. All of the above for just $149.99. Indian readers would be interested in knowing that the video offers up details of the 2015 Moto E’s pricing in India. The device will be available for Rs. 6,999 ($113) in the country for the 3G-only version, with Flipkart the exclusive retailer of choice in India. A launch date wasn’t mentioned, but we’ll be on the lookout to let you know when Motorola’s latest budget handset will make its debut in the country. More leaked photos of the Xperia M4 Aqua emerge Tweeta Yesterday, we caught a first look of the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua in red. Now a few more leaked photos of the same handset have emerged, but this time we can see what the Xperia M4 Aqua looks like in white. It also looks like this particular model will have silver sides and white nylon corners. The new pictures highlight where the small notification light sits as well as a full look at the right side of the phone, where the SIM port flap is located along with signature power button, volume rocker and dedicated camera button. So which colour takes your fancy so far? White Xperia M4 Aqua Red Xperia M4 Aqua Via Digi-wo. Review: Coloud The Bang Portable Speaker Tweeta While I recieved my Nokia/Microsoft Lumia a 930 a couple of days ago, I also got something else which I found to be equally awesome, the coloud bang portable speakers. This is something that I have been looking forward to since the Lumia 930 comes with MixRadio I also wanted to have the best portable speaker solution at the office.  One thing I noticed after getting it was that if you get two you can setup a multi speaker system , tough I do fidn that just one speaker is also a good solution since it provides really good sound. It offers eight hours of battery life which would allow you to use MixRadio for a whole day when you are at the office or on the go.  On the back side of the speaker there is micro USB port which would allow you to charge it.   It does not come with a charger but since the price of speaker is only 229 SEK I do not find it necessary since you can use the charger that came with your Lumia instead (the only thing I am missing is a green charger since it would match both my bang and my Lumia 930).   First test for me was to see how well does it react hwen I start playing music? It has been a geat experience, when listening to the different tracks in MixRadio. Since my office does not allow me to listening to music on my desktop, I have found this to be a great solution for me. One test for me has been to see how well the battery life is? Does it last the full eight hours that it promises? For me that has been a full yes and some days it has feelt that it lasts even more then eight hours per day for me. I have really enjoyed using it and the quality of the music is great either when listening to Eminem or Shakira. One thing that I have realised when using this speakers is that it has really great sound, some has even complimented both for using MixRadio and using the Coloud Banf Portable Spekaers. It is a solution that I really recommend. Check it out on their website.   Today’s Links February 28, 2015 Tweeta New WindowsPhone coming from Japan based Freetel Tweeta Some welcome news to the Windows ecosystem.  Japan based Freetel will be bringing out  a phone with  Windows. Seems to be a strong mid range,  64 bit Snapdragon 410 on a 1080p, 5″ display. Let’s hope 1080p will be the new standard for Lumia mid range too. Source Check Out Google’s Proposal For Its Awesome New Mountain View Headquarters Tweeta For Android fans, Google’s corporate head quarters in Mountain View has taken on the mythical status of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. But for all the cool stuff that comes out of it, the Googleplex is essentially just a collection of big office buildings, no more or less interesting than any of the wide office parks in that part of California. Google is preparing to build a new campus, and its current proposal to the city council shows off a series of buildings that aren’t quite like anything else in the world. The most striking part of the proposal is the huge translucent covering that wraps around the Google spaces, creating an effect somewhere between an enormous circus tent and greenhouse. Architects Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick explain the striking coverings are intended to reduce the noise from nearby highways and create a space that blends an office building, an urban landscape with shops, restaurants, and bike paths, and natural spaces with plenty of plant life. Pedestrians (even those who don’t work for Google) will be welcome to stroll in and out of the enormous structures. Naturally, the proposal includes measures to be environmentally conscious. The primary goal is to make a series of buildings that can be easily reconfigured to suit Google’s staggering array of projects (like driverless cars or Internet service balloons) without having to demolish and rebuild. Check out the ten-minute video below that digs deeper into the motivation of the designers. It’s going to be interesting to see if Google can swing such an unconventional design with government officials (especially considering how they want to open retail space for small businesses), and Google hasn’t addressed some of the more practical aspects of the design, like materials or climate control. (There’s a reason they call it the ”greenhouse effect.”) Getting approval for the new construction will probably be an even bigger hurdle than designing it in the first place. SOURCE GOOGLE BLOG Lumia Denim Update now available for the AT&T Lumia 1520!!! Tweeta The long awaited Lumia Denim update has finally arrived for the AT&T Lumia 1520! Daniel Rubino of Windows Central writes: Although app and OS updates are great, what is even better is when companies post the entire changelog of what exactly is new. Luckily for us, AT&T agrees with this idea. Daniel goes on to say: The biggest features of today’s update (especially if you were already on build 14219 from the Preview for Developers release) is Lumia Camera 5.0 and ‘ Hey, Cortana‘, which lets you wake up Cortana just by using your voice. For the rest of Daniel’s great write-up, including a hands on video, head over to the article on Windows Central. What is your favorite part of the Lumia Denim update? As a reminder, anyone that did not use the Preview For Developers program, this is a HUGE update for them so some people are extremely excited as the wait for things such as Live Folders has been a long wait. What do you think of 4K video recording and Rich Capture? I freed up about 14GB on my SD card just so I can test out some 4K goodness. Have a great day everyone! Demitrius Harris Source: Windows Central Microsoft Releases an Android Tablet Keyboard for Hardcore Excel Users Tweeta Microsoft have just released a new software keyboard for Android tablets, aimed directly at Excel users. The new keyboard differentiates by having a constant 10-digit num pad on the right, as well as a permanently visible Tab key to help users navigate between Excel cells. You can install the new keyboard on your Android tablet from the link below: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.keyboardforexcel&referrer=utm_source%3D42matters.com%26utm_medium%3DWidgetWeb Via: AndroidPolice Thanks for the tip Alvester Sony Mobile picks up four iF Design Awards 2015: Includes Gold award for Xperia Z2 Tablet Tweeta Sony Mobile has continued its long heritage of designing some of the most desirable technology around by picking up four iF Design Awards 2015. The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet was the big winner, being awarded a Gold award, with the jury calling it an “honest, outstanding device”. Other Sony Mobile products to also win include the Xperia Z3, SmartBand/SmartWatch and the Lifelog application. This builds on the success from the 2014 iF Design awards, where Sony was recognised for its efforts on the Xperia Z Ultra, the Xperia Z1 Compact and the Xperia. Here’s hoping to more success over the coming year. iF Design Awards 2015: Sony Mobile Xperia Z2 Tablet – Recognized with the IF DESIGN AWARD 2015, Discipline Product – GOLD Jury-Statement: “It is particularly difficult to stand out with a product like a tablet – but exactly this was achieved with the extremely flat Xperia Z2. The rounded edges and the ultra-light weight (only 439 grams) make the Z2 particularly easy to handle. The amount of components has been reduced to a minimum; details such as the connection of frame and back are excellently executed – furthermore, the Z2 is water and dust proof. The result is an honest, outstanding device.” Xperia Z3 – Recognized with the IF DESIGN AWARD 2015, Discipline Product SmartBand, SmartWatch – Recognized with the IF DESIGN AWARD 2015, Discipline Product Lifelog application – Recognized with the IF DESIGN AWARD 2015, Discipline Communication Via Sony Mobile Blog. “Soft Purple” Style Cover Window theme released Tweeta Sony recently released a Purple Xperia Z3 and now to go along with that we imagine it will shortly launch a Purple SCR24 Style Cover Window case. The evidence of this is that Sony has released a Soft Purple Xperia wallpaper theme in the Google Play Store to accompany the case. We cannot see a Purple SCR24 listed so far, but it must be round the corner. Thanks Gennady! Today’s Links February 27, 2015 Tweeta Sony teases the Xperia Z4 Tablet; confirms MWC reveal Sony has effectively confirmed the existence of the Xperia Z4 Tablet on its social media channels with the caption: “Slimmer. Lighter. Brighter. All will be revealed on 02.03.15.” The date and hashtag of #SonyMWC effectively confirms the new tablet will be formally unveiled in just a few days at MWC 2015. Judging by the picture, it looks like an incredibly slim tablet and matches the previous picture we saw earlier in the week. We’ll bring you the official spec rundown on the tablet on Monday.   Dean tweets that they’re in preparation for MWC15. Let’s hope this once Nokia born project goes from strength to strength as an independent entity outside Microsoft,  with great cross platform experiences over more countries (E. G hey Philippines). Source: Twitter.   Today’s Links February 26, 2015 Video: Sailfish OS Yliaavanlampi on Jolla Phone Here’s a quick demo of Sailfish OS “Yliaavanlampi” as demoed on Jolla phone. As well as some new features, there are a ton of bug fixes. New weather application with events feed integration available through store Browser with new interface Colours in ambiences can be adjusted Email authentication capabilities can be autodetected Improved low memory handling, now swap is properly taken into account Google Boosts Play Music Storage Limit From 20,000 To 50,000 Songs Google launched Play Music back in 2011 with the option for users to upload their entire music collection for easy streaming. Play Music started with a limit of 20,000 songs, and it’s stayed there ever since. Google has just announced a change, though. Play Music now allows up to 50,000 songs. You should see a notice about the cap increase the next time you log into Play Music on the web. So, it seems to be active for everyone immediately. It doesn’t look like there are any other changes to the Play Music usage limits—still only 10 devices and tracks can only be downloaded directly twice (unlimited through the music manager program). As always, everything you upload to Google is available for streaming and offline caching in the Play Music app. SOURCE ANDROID BLOG     SoftCard Payments for Windows Phone to be Terminated Soon     With Google’s purchase of SoftCard wallet, they’ve announced that all apps for SoftCard (previously named ISIS) including the Windows Phone app will be terminated soon. This means that users will no longer be able to pay for their purchases using SoftCard. What about Softcard for Windows? The Softcard for Windows Phone app will also be terminated. A specific termination date will be provided soon. https://www.gosoftcard.com/faq.html Of course Microsoft already have their own Wallet app that users can use to pay via NFC at select locations, hopefully the cancellation of SoftCard can help boost Microsoft’s Wallet offerings. How to authorize your computer in iTunes Ever want to access your iTunes content on multiple devices so you can download and update your iOS device?  Or perhaps you simply want to stream your iTunes content via AirPlay to your Apple TV?  Before there was Family Sharing, our family would use this feature to share purchases from one iTunes account using different computers. In case you weren’t aware of how to do this, her is s simple tutorial to get you set up  in just a couple minutes. Launch iTunes to authorize a new computer Launch iTunes Select Store–>authorize this computer from the drop-down menu To authorize your computer, you will now have to enter your Apple ID and password. At this point you will see a message letting you know if you were successful, and how many computers you now have authorized.  Apple has set a limit of (5) different devices that can be authorized at a time.  Computers can be added to and taken away from this list by selecting “de-authorize this computer” in the second step above.   The (5) things you should do after buying an iPhone 6 So, you are the lucky owner of a shiny new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus–now what?  For the veteran iPhone owner, the process of setting up an iPhone hasn’t changed much over the years.  However, if this is your first iPhone, perhaps you are a little intimidated.  If that’s the case–here are the (5) things you need to do to get you off and running and enjoying your new iPhone in no time. 1.>  Download the latest version of iTunes to your computer.  If you have never downloaded iTunes before, you can download both the Mac & Windows versions from Apple here.  If you do have iTunes, launch the app and check to make sure you have the latest version by selecting the iTunes tab–>check for updates.   2.>  Power on your device and follow the set-up process. At this point all you are doing is selecting your language preference, your geographical information, choosing a wi-fi network, and deciding whether or not to turn on location services (all of which can be altered in the settings at a later date if you choose). 3.>  Decide whether you want to set-up your iPhone as NEW or restore from a saved back-up. If you still have your previous iPhone, make sure to back it up–either to iTunes or iCloud. This way, the most recent version of your phone and the most recent changes that you have made to that iPhone will be available to you if you choose the restore option. 4.>  Set-up your passcode, enable and set-up Touch-ID, and turn on automatic iCloud back-ups. These are very important steps that every iPhone user should take the time to set-up.  A passcode can be a simple 4-digit number or a longer password with letters and numbers. The latter of the two is more secure–but a simple passcode is still much better than no passcode at all.  Touch-ID is fantastic.  Once you set-up several of your fingerprints (the decision on which fingers to use is totally up to the user) you will wonder how you ever got along without this feature.  I simply can’t say enough good things about Touch-ID. Make sure to also turn on automatic iCloud back-ups.  You can still choose to back-up your device to iTunes as well.  However, I have encountered many individuals who haven’t done either, and having iCloud back-up your contacts and other personal information automatically every night while you are connected to wi-fi is a very valuable feature that has saved me many times, and is well worth it. 5.>  Set-up Apple Pay on your iPhone. Apple Pay is an extremely easy way to pay for your commodities using a familiar, yet underutilized payment method–NFC technology.  Apple’s ambitious plan to revolutionize the mobile payment system via Apple Pay is evident with their traditional “ease of use” philosophy.  It’s exciting to see Apple Pay in so many stores already, and those numbers will continue to grow as more and more people become familiar with the process. For help on setting up Apple Pay on your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, check out our tutorial. Unboxing: Nokia Lumia 930 Unboxing of the Nokia Lumia 930 that my friends at MixRadio sent me. Google Chat and Facebook Chat are no longer available in Outlook.com Microsoft sent out this email: Dear Outlook.com Customer, Within the next couple of weeks, we will be discontinuing support for Facebook Chat in Outlook.com. And due to Google’s decision to discontinue the chat protocol used by the Google Talk platform, we can no longer provide Google Chat in Outlook.com. We understand that this may disappoint some of our customers, but we hope that you’ll try Skype for Outlook.com chat, and voice and video calling, so you can take advantage of the more robust ways to keep in touch with friends and family. This update will not impact the connection to your Facebook and/or Google accounts, which means your People page will stay updated with the latest contact information from the services you’ve connected. We’re confident that Skype for Outlook.com provides the best experience for chatting and making voice or video calls, right from your inbox, when the conversation warrants richer communication than an email exchange. Here are the steps to get started: 1. Activate Skype for Outlook.com by clicking on the Messaging icon in your inbox header. 2. Click on the Skype icon to join or sign in. Link your Outlook.com email with a Skype ID if you already have one, or use your Outlook.com address to create a new one. 3. Navigate to the People page, and add existing contacts as Skype contacts, or add new contacts. You’re ready to start chatting. 4. To make free Skype to Skype video and voice calls right from your inbox, simplydownload the plugin. We remain focused on making Outlook.com the best email service available. Thanks for your understanding and continued use. Sincerely, The Outlook.com TeamI   Today’s Links February 25, 2015 Xperia E4g announced: Think of it as an Xperia E4 with 4G LTE Sony has announced a variant of the Xperia E4 called the Xperia E4g, which will include 4G LTE support. The Xperia E4g has a smaller 4.7-inch qHD display, versus the 5-inch qHD display on the Xperia E4. The Xperia E4g is therefore a smaller handset, but marginally thicker at 10.8mm (Xperia E4: 10.5mm). Other small changes include the addition of NFC and a higher processor clock speed of 1.5GHz quad-core (versus 1.3GHz on the original). The new handset will be available in both single SIM and dual SIM (Xperia E4g Dual) variants. It is due to launch in April 2015 for €129 and will be available in black and white colours. Via Sony Mobile Blog. Today’s Links February 24, 2015 4K Rich Recording Drum Solo capture (Denim on 930 with Lumia Camera) You may or may not have a 4K screen to appreciate the extra pixels, but you’re probably more likely to have some good enough headphones to realise how superior Nokia’s history of audio recording has been, climaxing with the 930 and 1520. Having something as simple as stereo recording changes the whole environment of the listening experience for me. It’s kinda sad when I hear my Note 4 play recorded videos only through one side because. The likes of the 930 and 1520 not only record in stereo but in surround sound, not to mention it has rich capture so you have the richest sound playback possible on a phone. Here is Rolf playing some improvised jamming along with an excerpt from a well known Stratovarius song. Video is shot with three Lumia 930 devices in 4K resolution using new Lumia Camera app enabled in Lumia Denim update. Audio is raw from the “front” device.   Antti Kangasaho Sony flogs memory card with “Premium Sound” for $155 Sony certainly has balls. It is attempting to sell a new breed of microSD memory card that has been designed to offer better sound quality. Considering that conceived wisdom suggests that the transfer of digital signals is just a stream of ones and zeros, it’s hard to fathom how this memory card would make a difference. According to Sony, the SR-64HXA 64GB micro SD card produces less electrical noise when reading data. Sony itself recognises there probably won’t be a great demand for such a card, especially given the price point of 18,500 yen (£101, €136, $155) excluding tax. The card is due to launch in Japan on 5 March 2015. Via Sony Japan and ASCII.jp (via The Verge). Supposed Xperia Z4 Dual screenshots leak; gives a glimpse of Lollipop We have previously speculated that the Sony Xperia Z4 (codename Ivy) is likely to land in a dual SIM variant – after all Sony released the Xperia Z3 Dual in select markets. A few leaked screenshots have emerged which are believed to come from the Sony Xperia Z4 Dual. The model number is masked in the “About phone” settings, but it highlights that the Xperia Z4 will run the Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 chipset and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. The screenshot also suggests that Sony will use a kernel version beginning with “3.10”, whilst the software build number will start with “28”. The settings menu shows that this is the Dual SIM model, with the screenshots giving a brief glimpse as to what Lollipop may looking like in the upcoming update for older handsets. Via Digi-wo. Today’s Links February 23, 2015 Live on YouTube app adds support for more Xperia devices; brings Full HD broadcasting Sony’s “Live on YouTube – by Xperia” application has added support for ten Xperia devices in the latest update to build number 01.00.39. The app now officially supports the Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, Z2, Z2 Tablet, Z1, Z1 Compact, Z, Tablet Z, Z Ultra, ZL, ZL2, ZQ and ZR. Other changes include the ability to broadcast in HD and Full HD resolutions (minimum upload speed: HD 1.5Mbps/Full HD 3Mbps). The broadcast duration has also increased to 30 minutes and a new Switch Account option allows you to choose which YouTube channel to broadcast from. Android 5.0 Lollipop for Xperia Z3 certified by Wi-Fi Alliance In what may be a hint that Android 5.0 Lollipop will shortly roll out, the Wi-Fi Alliance has certified the software for the Sony Xperia Z3. The certification took place on 16 February 2015, which could signal that Sony is on track to release the Lollipop update this month. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear more. Via Juggly.cn. SmartWatch 3 receiving Android 5.0.2 update (LWX49K) Google has pushed the button on the Android 5.0.2 firmware update for Android Wear devices. Sony SmartWatch 3 owners are reporting that they are also receiving the update in the form of build number LWX49K. The update is believed to be just a bug-fix update, with no major noticeable changes. A notification should appear on your watch prompting you to update to this latest version. Popular Xposed Module GravityBox Has Been Released For Android 5.0 Lollipop Just about a week after the public release of the Xposed Framework for Lollipop devices, we are now privy to one of the best and most popular modules, GravityBox. And, like the framework, the developer of GravityBox is calling this version an alpha release. Still, those of you with Nexus devices are going to be very excited about this one. For the unfamiliar, GravityBox is an Xposed module that offers a wide variety of tweaks for AOSP-ish ROMs. The idea is to make custom ROMs, like CyanogenMod, unnecessary. Even better, the user can have more control over the modifications. You might like one feature of OmniRom but not another. With GravityBox, you have more granular control of the experience. Here’s a feature list, courtesy of the developer: CyanogenMod Pie controls Expanded Desktop Statusbar QuickSettings tile management with additional tiles and reordering /* work in progress */ Statusbar icon coloring Statusbar Brightness Control Center clock in statusbar Battery indicator style Navigation bar tweaks including cursor control keys Low battery warning policy Disable LED flashing when battery low Disable LED while charging Advanced power-off menu (reboot, recovery) Volume key cursor control Skip tracks by volume key long-press while screen off (thanks to rovo89) More volume levels for music stream Option to control safe headset media volume Button for clearing all recent tasks at once Minimal brightness setting Autobrihtness levels adjustment Lockscreen tweaks Hardware/navigation key actions Notification drawer style (background color, image for portait/landscape, transparency) Button backlight modes (default, disabled, always on while screen is on) Dialer (Phone) tweaks Google Launcher tweaks Screen recording GravityBox Actions – interface for 3rd party apps Smart Radio Notification control (per-app notification LED/sounds/vibrations) Ascending ring tone There is also a large list of features in the works. You can find download information over at XDA. SOURCE XDA DEVELOPERS     Report: Apple to release iOS public betas Apple plans to begin releasing new versions of iOS as public betas, according to a new report by9to5Mac. Intended to help eliminate bugs from upcoming iOS versions before general release, the model will follow the one used by Apple for OS X Yosemite last summer — a public beta cycle that will begin following the early developer betas, running in tandem with the developer program up until general availability of the new operating system. The report notes that Apple intends to begin the new program with the release of the upcoming iOS 8.3 update as a public beta in March, aligned with the third developer beta release of that version; iOS 9 will also allegedly follow a similar schedule to last year’s OS X Yosemite releases, with an announcement at WWDC and the beginning of the developer beta program, followed by a public beta in mid-summer, and the normal final release in the fall. The iOS public beta program is expected to be limited to 100,000 users “in order to maintain a higher level of exclusivity.” Japan Display vying to be Apple’s primary display supplier Japan Display is in talks with Apple about the possibility of manufacturing smartphone screens, Reutersreports. Citing a “person familiar with the situation,” the report reveals that Japan Display and Apple are presently negotiating, with Japan Display looking for Apple to carry the majority of the 200 billion yen ($1.7 billion) investment in building a new display manufacturing plant. The discussions are confidential, but a successful deal between the two companies would attempt to have the new plant in operation next year, and would make Japan Display the primary supplier of displays for next-generation iPhones. The report notes the new plant would be expected to have a larger capacity than Japan Display’s existing facilities in Mobara — a plant that is running close to its capacity, according to Japan Display CEO Shuichi Otsuka. Japan Display currently produces approximately 50,000 meter sheets of LCD screen per month, with some of the sheets being used for the iPhone 6. Weekend Watch: W10 keyboard on phones Mark demoes the new keyboard in Windows 10. It looks mostly familiar but there is a new dot cursor and mic button. I’ve found cursor keys quite useful to have (SwiftKey has a row of this) but this seems like potentially a better layout. The only thing that concerns me are current bugginess. Mark shows the cursor being moved to a different location but then the delete button removed a letter from the original position. Very odd oversight. Another is that the placement of the dot is inconsistent. Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it’s not. Good thing this is just a preview. Long press of the number button brings up emoticons. It might not necessarily be better than the old long press for quick numbers. Finally, the mic button – for a more system wide talk to text. It looks to work really well. Today’s Links February 22, 2015 How to verify your iPhone email settings from your Mac Ever want or need to verify your email setting on your iPhone in order to troubleshoot mail setup issues?  Apple has created an convenient and easy tool that accomplishes just that.  Here’s how it works. Open your browser and navigate to the Mail Settings Lookup page.  Here you can enter any one of your email addresses that you have set-up in your iPhone Mail app to verify its settings. Once entered, you will be able to view/verify your the following Incoming Mail Server Account Type: Username: Server hostname: Server port: Authentication: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): Outgoing Mail Server Username: Server hostname: Server port: Authentication: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): One word of caution: Apple may collect and use your domain address in the interest of improving products and services. However, they caution that your full email address will not be stored and will not be used by Apple or shared with any other entities.   Dual SIM Lumia 640 with digital TV heading to Brazil? Some info on a possible Lumia 640 has cropped up.  Other than dual sim,  this mid range or even entry level piece also comes with Digital TV.   Source QuizUp Coming to Windows Phone & Windows   The ultra popular quiz trivia app “QuizUp” is finally coming to Windows Phone and Windows as a universal app. The official site for QuizUp was updated to reflect that the Windows version of the app would be coming soon, after months of teasing and promising. QuizUp’s popularity is mainly due to the plethora of categories you can quiz yourself in, ranging from Game of Thrones to Medical sciences and engineering. So there’s something for everyone. Although no exact date has been announced yet, the app is said to be available in “the coming weeks” so hopefully not far away. Via: WindowsCentral [Deal Alert] Catching Fire, The Second Book Of The Hunger Games Trilogy, Is Free On Google Play You can get a very popular book for a really, really low price on Google Play today. And by low price, I mean it’s totally free. The book, which inspired the movie, is number two of the three-part series by Suzanne Collins that follows Katniss Everdeen’s adventure in the dystopic future. Normally, the book is $12.99. The first and third books are also marked down to $8.57 and $6.50, respectively. Giving away the second book is kind of clever, since it is not all that useful without also getting the first book. And, if you get the first and the second, you’re not just going to ignore the third book. There’s no indication of how long this deal will last, so you’ll want to grab it while you can. SOURCE CATCHING FIRE ON GOOGLE PLAY     Building my own HTPC Now installing Windows 8.1 on my HTPC . Always bee a Windows guy so wanted it on my mediacenter also. Loving it so far. Posted via my Motorola X 2nd gen Get 100 GB of Space for OneDrive with DropBox The cool thing is that OneDrive is now offering users a 100 GB extra space which is valid until 2017 for users.  Previously it would only work for users in the US but I tried and since I live in Swedne I would say that this is somethign that you can get also. Follow the link below to claim your extra 100 GB of space.   Visit this link- Get free 100GB storage on OneDrive Movie Review: 22 Jump Street Perhaps the most admirable thing about “22 Jump Street” is that, despite having a big-name cast, a big budget and big standards to live up to, it never takes itself too seriously. The film recognizes exactly what it is: a sequel to a reboot of the 1980 crime drama television series “21 Jump Street.” The 2012 summer comedy of the same name, a buddy cop film that follows the exploits of two acquaintances-turned-partners in their mid-20s who are sent back to high school to bust a drug distribution ring, was a surprise box office hit. There were a couple of things running against the film from the start. Generally, reboots do not perform as well as their source material; in the film industry, the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” often rings true. Many also had concerns that leads Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum would lack the chemistry to make the laughs flow freely. But 2012’s “Jump Street” did something different. Apart from modernizing the original source material, which had fallen almost entirely into obscurity for millennials, it changed genres, giving movie-goers a comedy instead of a drama, complete with an outrageous premise and lewd, laugh-out-loud humor from Hill and Tatum. And not only did the film work, but it proved doubters’ worries unfounded, surpassing both audience and critic expectations alike. Cue sequel. Enter “22 Jump Street,” directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who bring back the dynamic duo Hill and Tatum. Hill and Tatum portray the driven, sensitive, insecure Schmidt and the apathetic, bullheaded jock Jenko respectively. The film’s premise is essentially identical to its predecessor, and this fact is conveyed to the audience in a humorous nudge-nudge-wink-wink moment between Schmidt, Jenko and Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) in which the deputy tells the pair to “do the same thing as last time. Everyone’s happy.” And yes, as if it really matters, “22” follows the same exact format as the last film. But this time around, the boys go to college where they must track down the distributor of a new drug called WHYPHY (pronounced Wi-Fi). Thankfully, Hill and Tatum’s chemistry doesn’t change, either. Throughout their operation, the two must overcome obstacles in their friendship before they can come out the other side as brothers united in purpose. These tensions are infused with a dash of humor and become one of the film’s running jokes, which draws a comparison between Schmidt and Jenko’s relationship with that of a gay couple’s. One scene in particular has the two engage in a couple counseling session to help put some spark back into their dying friendship. Ultimately, “22 Jump Street” succeeds where other comedy sequels have failed. It features bigger laughs, bigger hearts and bigger calamities. The duo of Hill and Tatum carry the sequel, which rivals, if not surpasses, its predecessor, a notably difficult feat in Hollywood. “22” is fond of reminding audiences of the first installment’s surprising success. Offerman’s character ramps up the meta by informing the two cops, in a scene which is subtle enough to sail over the heads of those who skipped “21,” while still eliciting chuckles from returning fans, that nobody cared about the Jump Street reboot and that by all expectations it should have failed. The deputy goes on to say that the department doubled Jump Street’s budget “as if spending twice the money guaranteed twice the profit.” Spending twice the money seems to have been a wise investment, because “22 Jump Street” certainly pays off! Today’s Links February 21, 2015 Nokia CEO: Nokia design NOT sold to Microsoft, Back to consumer products maintaining Nokia FEEL in ALL products Rajiv Suri speaks to Times India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/Nokia-CEO-Rajiv-Suri-We-will-maintain-the-Nokia-feel-in-all-our-products/articleshow/46231813.cms The story returns to the Chennai factory, which is still frozen and unable to be sold. He says however that they’re close to selling it. 2M electronic equipment was made there last year, 50% exported. Perhaps the meeting with Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, may soon help with the un-freezing process? Suri is proud that Nokia seems healthy again, with a 27% increase in dividends compared to last year. 2014 ended with $5 billion in cash AFTER returning $1.8B back to shareholders. He does however state that there is always debt even if there’s cash, but this puts Nokia in a better position credit rating wise, thus making their debt cheaper. With regards to returning to the consumer world, the tablet was the first sign to test the waters and what long term opportunities arise. Nokia is particularly loved in India, China, and Russia so may concentrate efforts there first, starting with China one step at a time. Nokia will also be looking for opportunities to license their brand. They do the design which they did NOT sell to Microsoft…thus NOKIA can maintain the Nokia feel in their products. Art of Map Making from HERE : Converting data to information HERE has shown how they collect data. But what do they do with it afterwards? JDI reveals round low-power wearable display – could we see this in the SmartWatch 4? Sony Mobile may change with tradition and adopt a circular display for the next iteration of its SmartWatch according to our sources. It may very well end up using this new 1.34-inch diameter (320 x 300 pixel resolution) display from JDI – in particular, it is touting the ultra-low power consumption of the memory-in-pixel (MIP) reflective-type colour LCD module. Battery life is critical when it comes to wearable devices. Sony has recognised in the past using a transflective display in the SmartWatch 3 to give the Android Wear smartwatch decent battery life. The new reflective-type module display has power consumption less than 0.5% of transparent-type LCD modules. The display has an optimised optical design which JDI says gives it bright reflective-type images, even under bright sunlight conditions. Samples of the display will be available next month with sales expected to start in July 2015. Via JDI. Sony Stainless Steel SmartWatch 3 now rolling; “holder” kit landing in a few weeks to use any wrist strap Sony has started to roll the Stainless Steel SmartWatch 3 globally. It is currently available across the Sony Mobile Store in Europe for £229.99/€279.90 versus the silicone versions for £189.99/€229.90. We imagine some owners are waiting for Sony to sell the Stainless Steel wrist brand separately, well the good news is that Sony has confirmed it will be selling them from early spring. Sony also recently confirmed that it will see the modular SmartWatch 3 “holder” kit in the coming weeks. This will allow you to use the SmartWatch 3 with any 24mm watch strap. This will also come with brown or black leather strap options. Sony Stainless Steel SmartWatch 3 released Sony SmartWatch 3 with “Holder” and Brown Leather strap Sony SmartWatch 3: All wrist straps Via Sony Mobile Blog. Check Out Microsoft’s New Ad For Windows Microsoft today posted a new ad for Windows on their YouTube channel. This ad titled “Do Great Things” shows how Windows powers computers on desks over the world to running subway systems. Windows has been a part of daily life and it empowers people everywhere to turn ideas into actions. This ad starts by showing the evolution of Windows and how Microsoft democratized the technology (jibe at the Apple?) by respecting everyone’s privacy (jibe at the Google). Microsoft is now building a deeply personal and empowering experience that is enabled by technologies like Cortana, Kinect, HoloLens and more. It ends by saying that Windows will always be there for people who do and because the people who do are the ones who move the world forward. What do you think of this new ad? Google Helpouts to shut down April 20th Google is saying goodbye to their Helpouts service on April 20th, 2015. For those who use the service, you’ll be able to download your Helpouts history by using Google Takeout, a data backup service that will be available until November 1st, 2015. Advertisement Helpouts was a service that launched back in 2013 that aimed to get people the help they needed through qualified experts. People that have sufficient knowledge on a certain topic would record tutorial videos, available for the whole world to see. If you wanted to learn about a specific topic, you could pay the person giving the tutorial at a set price for a certain amount of time. So, why is it shutting down? Google sent out an email to Helpouts users explaining that not enough people were using the service. Here’s the full email explaining their reasoning: Until April 20th, you can still use Helpouts. Until then, Google isn’t encouraging any new listings, and the company won’t accept any new help contributors. Though this is a unique idea, it’s not really a surprise that Google is shutting down the service. After running into monetization problems and neglecting to add almost any new features or fixes to the service, I think we could all see the demise of Helpouts coming a mile away. Are you a Helpouts user? Does this affect you at all? Let us know what you think in the comments. High fives and fist bumps, here’s Google’s latest Android commercial Android has been the focus of Google‘s latest string of TV commercials. Starting with Androidify characters on a bus back at the announcement of Android 5.0 Lollipop through to a more recent spot filled with a handful of cute animals, big and small, in unlikely friendships. The latest Android commercial hit just recently. Foregoing the cartoons and animals, Google shows off a collection of impressive, and sometimes dorky, human interactions, all centered around the high five. In the one minute spot, handshakes and fist bumps are performed with skill, careful planning, a lack of careful planning and even a total lack of skill. All in all, the message remains the same, “Be together. Not the same.” No products in sight, no insights into the future, just good old fashioned fun. If the video did not load above, head on over to Google’s YouTube channel for Android to see them all in action. Which Android commercial is your favorite so far? Movie Review: Playing it Cool

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