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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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Timberman is the latest game you'll hate yourself for playing

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 02:56 PM PDT

It's no Flappy Bird ... or is it?

Here it comes, kids. Timberman. Downloaded at least a half-million times. (But no more than 1 million.) That will change soon enough, no doubt, as it's being heralded as the next Flappy Bird. It's mindless. It's easy to play. It's got 8-bit-style graphics and sound. And you're already starting to see it written about in that vicious circle of navel-gazing, feed-buzzing, clickbaiting cliche that we thought we narrowly escaped when that damned bird stopped trying to get through those damned pipes.

Get ready for the story of Timberman. How it went from a slow start to an overnight sensation, capturing the hearts and minds of the world and advancing mankind toward some sort of greater somethingorother. Mission to Mars? Save the whales? Nah. Let's play Timberman.

So say hello to Timberman. As the name implies, he chops down trees. He eats his lunch. He goes to the lavatory. (Wait. That's something else.) The idea is that he's chopping on one side of the tree. Or he's chopping on the other. Tap either side of the screen to move him over and avoid the branches that threaten to end your game. The faster you chop, the higher the level you'll reach. But you have to pay attention to those damned branches on that damned tree.

Timberman is free. It has a lot of ads. You can pay to remove the ads. You can play against your friends.

And maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to forget about that damned bird. For a few more weeks.

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Expansys has classic Google Play edition devices on the cheap

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 02:39 PM PDT

While Google may have discontinued some of the original Google Play edition devices, that doesn't mean they just vanished, or went in a hole along with some Atari cartridges. Case in point — Expansys seems to have acquired enough of them to offer this great little sale to the public.

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Google+ finally abandons display name restrictions, lets users choose whichever name they like

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 02:37 PM PDT


We're not sure if it has anything to do with the departure of Google+ lead Vic Gundotra, but the social network is making a change to their terms of service that they've long held onto. Starting today, Google+ users can finally change their display name to whatever they like. We know, groundbreaking. Here's what Google+ had to say via, where else, but their Google+ profile:

"We know you've been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is."

I guess the next question is whether or not this will help bring new users into the fold. We're not entirely sure why you wanted to use a different name than the one on your birth certificate, but have at it.

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Sprint HTC One M8 receives WiFi calling in new software update rolling out now

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 02:22 PM PDT

HTC One M8 Check for Update

Those with the teflon coated HTC One M8 on Sprint (seriously, the phone is super slippery) are being greeted with another OTA from The Now Network. Among bug fixes and general stability improvements, the update brings WiFi calling to the One M8, something that should come in handy when network coverage is lacking indoors.

Sprint metions the over-the-air update will be rolling out in stages over the next few days, so don't freak out if you haven't received it yet. Aside from waiting to be prompted that the update is ready for your device, you can always manually check by opening your Settings app and selecting: System updates > HTC software update > Check now.

It was back in February Sprint first announced the new WiFi Calling feature coming soon to devices on their network. We're sure more updates will continue rolling out for additional devices in the coming months.

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Google and Udacity team up to offer free Android development course

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 02:18 PM PDT

Earlier this year, the University of Maryland hosted a free online course for Android programming. If you didn't take advantage of this opportunity but are interested in possibly learning more about Android development, you'll be happy to know that Google has now teamed up with Udacity to bring you a free course called "Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals".

The free course comes complete with videos, quizzes, course materials and a forum for discussing the class. The course is presented by Google Developer Advocates Reto Meier, Dan Galpin and Katherine Kuan and is designed to take you through how to make an Android app, step by step, while also providing the history of Android and its creation. For those already enrolled in Udacity's paid subscription program, you'll have the added bonus of receiving personalized feedback and guidance for the course.

So what do you need to do to get started? You'll need to head over to Udacity and click "Start free trial" to access the full course for free. Keep in mind that in order to be successful in the course, you'll already need a background in basic programming. Google also points out that in addition to the new free course, would-be Android developers should also check out Google's existing Android developer documentation, samples and videos.

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Google+ now lets you use any name you want

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 02:10 PM PDT

A big, welcome, long-awaited, about-time change for Google+. You can now use whatever name you want.

We know you've been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.

Source: Google+ (if, indeed, that is its real name)

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Can the Moto 360 save us from crappy smartwatch chargers?

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 02:03 PM PDT

Proprietary charging docks suck — but Motorola's much-anticipated Android watch could make things better

The smartwatch market is still in the very early stages of development, and the three main platforms out there right now — Pebble, Samsung Gear and Android Wear — all have their own unique quirks. But if there's one area of the smartwatch experience that's pretty much universally terrible, it's charging them.

Low-quality proprietary chargers and the relatively short battery life of current smartwatches make for a frustrating situation when it comes time to charge your wearable. Fortunately, though, there are signs of hope ahead, and it starts with Motorola's Moto 360 and the Qi wireless charging standard.

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Android 4.4.4 Release 2 for Nexus 5 published for Australia, New Zealand, and India

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 02:02 PM PDT

Google has posted the factory images for Android 4.4.4 Release 2 — but only for a few specific carriers in a few select countries. And only for the Nexus 5. The release, which carries a build number of KTU84Q, is available for download from Google's Android factory images page, is only good for the Nexus 5 on Telstra in Australia, 2Degrees in New Zealand, and unlocked in India.

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Android 4.4.4 Release 2 rolls out to the Nexus 5 in select regions

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 01:51 PM PDT

Nexus 5 back 1

Out of the blue, Google has posted the official factory image for Android 4.4.4 Release 2 on the Nexus 5 on their site. The update is currently rolling out right now in New Zealand, Australia, and India — but that's as far as it's going.

Android 4.4.4 Release 2

This is essentially the same update we received everywhere else last month, only with specific radio updates tailored to the networks in these regions. In fact, the factory image even lists off a specific carrier in New Zealand (2degrees Mobile). For those with knowledge in these things, the downloads are linked below.

Android 4.4.4 Release 2: Factory image | Binaries

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[Deal] Expansys offering close-out deals on Google Play Edition devices

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 01:50 PM PDT


Expansys has fired up a promotion on Google Play Edition devices as part of an apparent effort to clear out some stock. If you don't mind a device that may be a generation behind the current flagships and have been looking for the experience of a GPE device, this is something you will certainly want to check out.

Expansys is offering three smartphones as part of the sale, including the Samsung Galaxy S 4, the HTC One (M7), and the Sony Z Ultra. Each of these devices is normally $649.99. Expansys is selling them for $399.99 for the Galaxy S 4 and HTC One (M7) while the Sony Z Ultra goes for only $349.99.

If you are interested in a tablet instead of a smartphone, the LG G Pad 8.3 WiFi version is on sale for $224.99 versus the normal $329.99 price tag.

To take advantage of this special pricing, just hit the source link to start your order.

source: Expansys

Come comment on this article: [Deal] Expansys offering close-out deals on Google Play Edition devices

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Unified Remote Updated To v3.0 With A Huge UI Revamp, Widget Editor, And More

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 01:36 PM PDT

r Human society didn't really enter the modern era until we invented the remote control, because let's face it, no one wants to get up. The freedom to loaf around is an important part of life, and Universal Remote brings that to your PC. With today's update, it's much more attractive and useful. Unlike you... because of all that loafing around.

The v3.0 update was in beta testing prior to today's full rollout, so don't be confused if you've seen it around.

Unified Remote Updated To v3.0 With A Huge UI Revamp, Widget Editor, And More was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Alan Mulally, former Ford Motor Company CEO, joining Google’s Board of Directors

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 01:34 PM PDT


After being in the running for Microsoft's vacant chief executive officer position and losing out to Satya Nadella, Alan Mulally will be joining Google as a member of its Board of Directors.

Mulally spent the past eight years as the chief executive officer and president for Ford Motor Company. Just a few weeks ago on July 1, he retired from Ford and now at least part of his future is clear. Prior to that, he held the CEO position for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

We will update this post as more information becomes available.

Come comment on this article: Alan Mulally, former Ford Motor Company CEO, joining Google's Board of Directors

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Best alarm clock apps for Android

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 01:32 PM PDT

alarm clock

These days people expect more out of their alarm clocks than just going off at the appointed time. Even OEMs have managed not to mess up the alarm clock apps that they have packaged with their devices. For most people they are totally acceptable. For this list, we not only show you our picks for the best alarm clocks for Android but we made sure each app on the list did something other than just let you set a time and wake you up. We hope you enjoy it!

alarm clock by doubletwistAlarm Clock by doubleTwist

[Price: $1.99]

Music is what feelings sound like.


  • Lets you set playlists or songs to wake up to using the doubleTwist Music Player.

  • Alarm set for local sunrise was pretty cool.

  • Analog or digital flip clock style clocks you can use as a desk clock.

  • Extra stuff like fade in alarms and even a live wallpaper.


  • Some users experience bugs like the app ignoring ringtone settings occasionally.

  • Requires two apps to take advantage of all features.

  • KitKat users may need to find another alarm until the devs can fix the KitKat specific problems


Alarm Clock by doubleTwist is a fun little alarm with some basic features like setting multiple alarms, setting a nap timer, and even has an option to set the alarm in accordance with the local sunrise. What makes it special is the integration with the doubleTwist Music Player app that lets you wake up to your favorite playlists or songs every morning which is a nice touch for music fans. You can try the app free but the full version is $1.99

alarm clock doubletwist

alarm clock extremeAlarm Clock Xtreme

[Price: Free / $1.99]

To the extreme!


  • Loads of configuration options including fade in settings, setting up math problems to turn off alarms, and setting songs as ringtones.

  • Free version is full featured. That's always a plus.

  • Other custom features include auto-dismiss alarms, auto-snooze alarms, and shake-to-snooze. That just gives you an idea of the kind of configuration options you have.

  • One of the most popular and trusted alarm apps with over 10 million downloads.


  • The latest string of updates broke some stuff and the developers are trying to fix them.

  • The design is very simplistic. It's not bad but some people may not like the dark colors and gradients.


Alarm Clock Xtreme is an alarm clock that focuses on the little things. There are a myriad of customizations for alarms including configurable snooze options. You can even use this alarm to set a favorite song as your alarm. What sets this apart from the rest is the configuration options. You can even have it ask you things like math problems before it turns off the alarm to make sure you're fully awake. The free version is full featured but ad supported and the paid version removes ads.

alarm clock xtreme

alarmy sleep if you canAlarmy (Sleep If U Can)

[Price: Free / $1.71]

You're going to hate how awesome this alarm works.


  • Forces you to get out of bed and take a picture of a specific object before the alarm turns off. Brilliant.

  • Good luck getting back to sleep after traipsing through your home to get to the appointed spot to take the picture.


  • A few people have had the app not register the picture they took and the alarm never turned off. Understandably frustrating.


This alarm app is just mean spirited but amazing for those who have trouble waking up in the morning. Here's how it works. You take a picture of something in your house like your kitchen sink or your TV in the living room. Once you do that, every morning you have to wake up and go take a picture of that same object in order to turn off the alarm. Good luck hitting the snooze button when you're standing in your kitchen. The free version is ad supported and the full version is ad free both provide full functionality.

i can't wake upI Can't Wake Up! Alarm Clock

[Price: Free / $2.99]

It's going to keep trying so you might as well wake up.


  • Sports over half a dozen trials that you can choose to get you out of bed in the morning.

  • There is a second line of testing if the first line doesn't work.

  • Has other features like letting you select music and auto-dismiss during phone calls.

  • We really liked the feature where it will turn on an application after you dismiss the alarm. Great for opening the morning news app.


  • Like all alarms, some people simply can't get theirs to go off on time.

  • If your adept at performing menial tasks in a state of near-unconsciousness then this may not get you up in the morning.

  • It's been a long time since it was updated by developers.


The I Can't Wake Up app is another app that works to help you get out of bed in the morning. Unlike Alarmy which literally yanks you out of bed, I Can't Wake Up has a host of tools that help coax you into being awake. You can do things like solve math problems, repeat a pattern, scan a barcode that you place somewhere else (like your bathroom, kitchen, living room, etc), or even play memory games. The free version and the paid version are identical except for advertisements so it's a good one to try out.

life time alarm clockLife Time Alarm Clock

[Price: Free]

It works as well as it looks.


  • Outstanding design makes this fun and enjoyable to use.

  • Smart Snooze helps you get out of bed by configuring the snooze to be more annoying.

  • Curated music for wake up alarm tones helps wake you up in a good mood.

  • Pre-alarms allow for gentle wake ups and the app has a built in flashlight if you need it in the dark.


  • Usual 'alarm won't go off' bugs for a few people.

  • It's new so it can be rough around the edges for some people.


Life Time Alarm Clock is the first member of this list where the most unique feature is the design. This is a very bright and friendly alarm clock app that is easy to use and looks really nice. It does have other features like setting puzzles to wake up to, multiple alarm support, a curated music collection to use as alarm tones, and a Smart Snooze feature that helps you get out of bed. It's totally free to use.

life time alarm clock

sleep as android Sleep As Android

[Price: Free with in app purchases / $4.49]

It watches you sleep but not in a creepy, 'Twlight' sort of way.


  • Monitors your sleep movements and analyzes patterns to wake you up when it makes sense.

  • A host of features like NFC tag, barcode, counting sheep, math, and puzzles help you wake up and stay up.

  • Detects snoring and records sleep talking because why not?

  • Pebble Smartwatch and HUE smartlight integration.


  • A little more expensive than other alarm apps.

  • Some people may have trouble getting the app to analyze their sleep patterns if they sleep a certain way so your mileage may vary.


A lot of people swear by Sleep as Android. Instead of taking the classic approach and just running off alarms when you want them, this app monitors your sleep patterns and wakes you up when it makes sense. Of course, there is still an alarm for when you actually need to be up. I've had a lot of people tell me this has improved their sleep greatly because the app will notice when you start to wake up and gently wake you up from there. There is a free trial that is full featured so you can try out all of the features but the full app is $4.49.


[Price: Free]

A basic package with a better design.


  • Contains all of the most basic alarm features along with a timer.

  • The design is way above average and the app theme is customizable.

  • It does have some advanced settings like setting math problems to make sure you're awake.

  • Syncs across devices so you can have the same alarms on every device.


  • While the design is very good, there aren't many features that set it apart from regular alarm clocks.

  • Hasn't been updated in about half a year.


Timely is the second app on this list that's pretty much here because it looks really good. The design is to the Google design standard and it's very colorful (and customizable) so you can make it look how you want. In terms of functionality, it's pretty basic and this is definitely for those who don't need much more than a pretty replacement for their OEM alarm apps. It's totally free which is nice and it's owned by Google.


[Price: $2.99]

Wake up, come on, come on, wake up.


  • This app talks to you in the morning. Awesome.

  • You can tell it to snooze or stop with your voice.

  • It'll start the radio for you so you can wake up to music or the morning news.

  • You can customize what you want to hear and in what order you want to hear it.


  • As with all talking apps, voice activation can be fuzzy for some people.

  • There are some bugs that need fixed and the developers have been inactive for a while.


WakeVoice is unique in that it integrates a lot of voice control into the application. You can tell the alarm to stop or snooze with your voice. The app will also bid you good morning, tell you the temperature, and urge you to get out of bed using a synthesized voice. It's something different that you can try for free and the full app is $2.99.

Wave AlarmWave Alarm

[Price: Free with in app purchases]

Now you can wave goodbye to sleep.


  • Motion detection lets you use your hands to wave alarms away.

  • Main interface has up to date weather and brightness controls.

  • App includes 10 soothing alarm tones for softer wake ups or you can assign music from your library.

  • Gentle alarms let you create pre-alarms that wake you up more gently.


  • Thanks to the motion control, sometimes your ceiling fan may dismiss your alarm. Not kidding.

  • Some people have had trouble with motion detection along with other small bugs.

  • If you don't have a front facing camera, you can't use this app.


Last up is Wave Alarm. This app utilizes your front facing camera and lets you wave at your phone to snooze or turn off the application. The main interface has a nice, large clock along with up-to-date weather. It also has some advanced features like adjusting screen brightness in the app. The core app is free but some of the more advanced features require in app purchases.

Wrap up

As always, if we managed to miss a great alarm clock application then please let us know in the comments.

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Verizon adds 4G LTE to prepaid ALLSET PLANS

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 01:20 PM PDT


Verizon has announced that beginning on July 17th, customers will have a new option for getting a smartphone with 4G LTE service. Verizon is going to make their 4G network available through their prepaid ALLSET PLANS. These no contract plans come with unlimited talk and text. Customers can get a plan with a 500 MB data allowance for $45 per month or bump it up to 1 GB for $50 per month. As a special offer for a limited time, customers can double the initial 500 MB allowance by agreeing to autopay.

In addition to the normal data allowance, Verizon is offering BRIDGE DATA options that will let users carryover unused allowances for up to 90 days. Two flavors of BRIDGE DATA will be available, a 1 GB option for $10 or a 3 GB option for $20.

Verizon will let customers who already have 4G LTE smartphones "bring their own device" over to an ALLSET plan. If they are XLTE Ready devices, customers will be able to tap in to those higher speeds as well. To help entice potential customers, Verizon will be offering the LG Lucid 3 and LG G2 for $149.99 and $299.99 respectively for a limited time.

source: Verizon

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Google's Project Zero aims to make the internet a safer place

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 08:12 AM PDT

Google has announced a new security initiative called Project Zero, with the broad mandate of making the internet a more secure space. Full-time researchers will identify threats through the most widely-used applications, submit bug reports directly to the developers, and announce the changes publicly once the vulnerability has been patched.

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Google adds mobile web page compatibility notices to search results

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 07:56 AM PDT

Google has announced it is adding a new feature to its search results that will indicate if a web page will have issued being viewed on certain mobile devices such as an Android smartphone.

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Weird Al gets 'Tacky' in latest video, new album now available in Google Play

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 07:56 AM PDT

To celebrate the launch of his new album, Mandatory Fun, Weird Al Yankovic is kicking off his #8videos8days project with this, the video for new song, "Tacky." A parody of the insanely popular Pharrell Williams track, "Happy," the video features a number of cameo appearances from a number of people, including Jack Black. And better still if you're a fan, the album is available right now in the Google Play Store.

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Softbank’s Son getting ready for long merger battle

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 07:50 AM PDT


As Sprint edges closer to a merger deal with T-Mobile, sources say the parties involved are bracing for a longer than expected approval process. This has triggered lenders to seek higher fees as part of the financing deals. Both Softbank, Sprint's controlling shareholder, and T-Mobile shareholder Deutsche Telekom AG expect the regulatory approval process to take at least 12 months. Building in some cushion to the schedule, it is expected a drop-dead date will be set for around 18 months after an official announcement is made.

Besides the long regulatory process, Softbank and Deutsche Telekom also appear to be seriously considering being prepared for a legal challenge if the government rejects the deal. In 2011 when AT&T's move to acquire T-Mobile was turned down, the company initially announced it would fight it in court, but eventually backed off citing the high costs of litigation.

Softbank's Masayoshi Son revealed a little bit of the strategy the company may use to get around the U.S. government's position that four players are needed in the wireless market. It appears the argument will be made that wireless carriers are more about providing Internet services, a market in which AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast are the major players. A merger of Sprint and T-Mobile would create a fourth alternative that could compete with those companies in offering high-speed wireless Internet services to consumers.

Sources indicate the primary companies involved in the merger talks are close to a deal with only details, notably fees for lenders, to be ironed out. An announcement could come as soon as August.

source: Bloomberg

via: TmoNews

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Google and Novartis ink deal for licensing smart contacts

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 07:33 AM PDT

Google and Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical and health company, have signed a deal for Novartis to license Google's smart contacts when they come to market. We first caught wind of the Google[x] project last year, when Google revealed that it was working to develop smart contacts that could track glucose levels and relay the findings to a smartphone. The technology in smart contact lenses has potential to be game changing, but won't go anywhere if Google doesn't have partners.

By combining Alcon's leadership in eye care and expertise in contact lenses and intraocular lenses with Google's innovative 'smart lens' technology and groundbreaking speed in research, we aim to unlock a new frontier to jointly address the unmet medical needs of millions of eye care patients around the world.Jeff GeorgeAlcon

Novartis is an established brand with a great record in the world of ocular devices. Partnerships with companies like Novartis will allow Google's smart contacts to make it to market and also have some medical clout behind them to help get them into the eyes of consumers. Novartis also has bigger plans for the device than simply helping diabetics. A primary focus will be working to use the contacts to restore the natural autofocus of the eye, allowing the contacts to help diabetics and those with eye problems.

Smart contacts still have a long way to go before they make it to market, but this partnership is a step in the right direction. With Google and other companies working hard on new technologies to simplify life, the future could be quite bright.

Show Press Release
Basel, Switzerland, July 15, 2014 – Novartis announced that its eye care division Alcon has entered into an agreement with a division of Google Inc. to in-license its "smart lens" technology for all ocular medical uses. The agreement with Google[x], a team within Google that is devoted to finding new solutions to big global problems, provides Alcon with the opportunity to develop and commercialize Google's "smart lens" technology with the potential to transform eye care and further enhance Alcon's pipeline and global leadership in contact lenses and intraocular lenses. The transaction remains subject to anti-trust approvals.

The agreement between Google and Alcon represents an important step for Novartis, across all of its divisions, to leverage technology to manage human diseases and conditions. Google's key advances in the miniaturization of electronics complement Novartis's deep pharmaceuticals and medical device expertise. Novartis aims to enhance the ways in which diseases are mapped within the body and ultimately prevented.

"We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs," said Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez. "This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye."

"Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people," said Sergey Brin, Co-Founder, Google. "We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true."

Under the agreement, Google[x] and Alcon will collaborate to develop a "smart lens" that has the potential to address ocular conditions. The smart lens technology involves non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturized electronics which are embedded within contact lenses. Novartis' interest in this technology is currently focused in two areas:

Helping diabetic patients manage their disease by providing a continuous, minimally invasive measurement of the body's glucose levels via a "smart contact lens" which is designed to measure tear fluid in the eye and connects wirelessly with a mobile device;

For people living with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses, the "smart lens" has the potential to provide accommodative vision correction to help restore the eye's natural autofocus on near objects in the form of an accommodative contact lens or intraocular lens as part of the refractive cataract treatment.

The agreement marries Google's expertise in miniaturized electronics, low power chip design and microfabrication with Alcon's expertise in physiology and visual performance of the eye, clinical development and evaluation, as well as commercialization of contact and intraocular lenses. Through the collaboration, Alcon seeks to accelerate product innovation based on Google's "smart lens" technology.

"Alcon and Google have a deep and common passion for innovation," said Jeff George, Division Head of Alcon. "By combining Alcon's leadership in eye care and expertise in contact lenses and intraocular lenses with Google's innovative "smart lens" technology and groundbreaking speed in research, we aim to unlock a new frontier to jointly address the unmet medical needs of millions of eye care patients around the world."

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Sprint HTC One M8 updated with Android 4.4.3 and Wi-Fi calling

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 07:25 AM PDT

The HTC One M8 on Sprint is now receiving an update to Android 4.4.3 KitKat. While Android 4.4.3 brings some under-the-hood changes, nothing much visually changes on the One M8. What is new, however, is the addition of Wi-Fi calling on the Sprint M8.

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HTC losing more executives

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 07:20 AM PDT


Despite the recent announcement of a strong second quarter for HTC riding on the success of the HTC One (M8), it appears all is not well with upper level employees at the company. According to a report out today, Chief Marketing Officer Ben Ho has tendered his resignation only a year and half after taking over the role. Some sources are suggesting Ho may have been catching heat for HTC's Robert Downey, Jr. marketing campaign. According to the report, Ho will remain with HTC through the end of the year even though Chairwoman Cher Wang has taken over the CMO duties.

At the same time, President of Engineering and Operations Fred Liu is retiring from the company after 16 years. The company is also losing Paul Golden, a former Samsung executive, who had been brought on as a marketing consultant pursuant to a short-term contract. It appears HTC may have wanted Golden to stay on longer, but he declined the opportunity.

HTC has not issued any official statements concerning these reported departures.

source: Bloomberg

via: Android Central

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Incipio announces series of cases for LG G3 for all types of situations

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 06:54 AM PDT

Accessory company Incipio has announced a series of cases for the newly released LG G3 smartphone, ranging from lightweight designs to models designed to take a lot of use and abuse.

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New Thread wireless standard in the works for home automation

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 06:49 AM PDT


Nest, ARM, Samsung and some other companies have joined forces to try to create a new wireless standard dubbed Thread that is aimed at smart home devices. According to the newly formed group, existing wireless technologies like Wi-Fi are too "power hungry" and are aimed at moving large amounts of data. Smart home devices typically demand much less power and data. The new Thread standard will also be built using mesh network technologies to handle the growing number of devices that may be deployed in a typical home in the future.

Rather than start completely from scratch, the Thread group plans to base the new standard on ZigBee devices (802.15.4). Already some devices on the market have ZigBee radios built in, like some Comcast set-top boxes. Until manufacturers start adding ZigBee radios to their devices, it is likely some kind of gateway or hub will be needed, especially for consumers' smartphones or tablets to connect and control devices since mobile devices usually don't have a ZigBee radio built in. That could change though as several manufacturers are considering the addition of ZigBee radios, including Samsung which is part of the new Thread Group.

In addition to the hardware, the Thread Group will also have to create the standard and convince manufacturers to comply with it. They plan to follow a path similar to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi certifying groups in providing testing and certification services. The group will be fighting some negative momentum as even ZigBee allowed its own standard to become fragmented, so there might be some suspicion about interoperability and whether Thread is a true standard.

Currently Nest is already running a version of Thread. The new group hopes that their new standard will be ready later this year for manufacturers to start incorporating it into their designs, with the first devices hitting the market in 2015.

Do you think the Thread Group will succeed in getting the industry to adopt a new standard for for smart home devices or will it face too much manufacturer resistance and consumer confusion to succeed?


source: Gigaom

Come comment on this article: New Thread wireless standard in the works for home automation

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Android Wear app count surpasses Glassware within a month

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 06:48 AM PDT

There are now more Android Wear apps than there are apps for Google Glass, commonly called Glassware. Within the first three weeks of its launch, Android Wear already has more supported apps than Google Glass has received in over a year of existence. The significance of this can't be understated, as we've seen time and time again that a platform simply can't thrive without good app support (Windows Phone, anyone?).

There could be numerous reasons that explain why this has happened, including better public reception of Android Wear. Larger than that, though, Android Wear is much easier to develop for. Devs can easily add Android Wear support for their apps or design an entirely new app for Android Wear. Rolling an app out on Android Wear is vastly simplified from Glassware, as an Android Wear app rolls out in the same way as an Android app. Glassware requires careful consideration by Google and is often sent back to the developer for revisions, thus filtering the curated Glassware that's available.

While a growing app scene is no guarantee that Android Wear will succeed, it gives it a much better chance at doing so. Without that app support, Android Wear would have very little going for it.

Have you purchased an Android Wear smartwatch?

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Find My Phone (Android Wear) – Indie app of the day

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 06:48 AM PDT

find my phone review

What is Find My Phone?

Find My Phone is an application designed for Android Wear. As the name implies, this is an application that will help you find your phone. Since your phone and your watch are connected and always in sync, this app takes advantage of that connection to ring your phone when you've lost it.

The interface is incredibly simple because really all this app does is ring your phone. On your phone or tablet you have a menu that lets you configure what kind of notifications you can set and how the phone responds when the app goes to find your phone. You can set notifications, ringtones, and even have your flashlight turn on if you prefer to help you find it in dark places. It's worth noting that some features like custom ringtones and the flashlight feature are only available in the pro version which will run you $0.99USD as an in app purchase.

Since I don't yet have an Android Wear device, I made our own Josh Vergara check it out and he can confirm that it does, in fact work. It's very colorful and perhaps too much so for some people but the design is solid and everything appears to work as you would expect it to work. Thanks to the deep Google Now integration on Android Wear, you can also use voice commands to start the application on your phone. Simply say, "Okay Google, start Find My Phone." The app will take care of the rest.

Find My Phone screenshot

Easy as can be, useful as can be.


  • Takes advantage of your Android phone and Android Wear device connection to help find your phone.

  • Google Now voice command to open the app works.

  • Various options for ringtones and you can even turn on your flashlight.

  • You can stop the alarm from your watch or your phone.


  • We're sure there will be bugs for some people.

  • It's very, very colorful which may annoy some people.


We are now just seeing Android Wear start to come out and that means this is one of the few apps available right now that can do this. For the time being, this is a must have app for any Android Wear owner because it allows you to find your phone using the connected device on your wrist instead of the old way which was using a web browser. Whether or not it's worth the $0.99USD for the pro version is entirely at the mercy of your personal tastes but we can't see a reason not to recommend that too. If you have Android Wear, you should have at least the free version of this too. At least until something better comes along.

Check out the last indie app of the day: Now Browser

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