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Imagine your navigation software avoiding areas of poor cellular signal, Apple holds the patent now

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One of Apple’s numerous patent applications has been granted a green light today and unlike most other vague texts, this one is quite interesting, particularly in its implications. The Cupertino tech giant now has the sole legal right to produce a “Navigation system acquisition and use of cellular coverage map data”.

What this entails is a system, which is able to model SatNav routing options, based on cell signal strength. The idea is that you cell phone is pretty aware of the signal strength at any given time and thanks to anonymous data reporting, Apple has that information at hand. This can then be aggregated on a map and used to suggest routes that avoid areas with shady cell strength or even, perhaps, too congested places.

The idea, of course, is that a lot of users are very dependent on data connectivity for the applications they use, be it music streaming or the navigation software itself. We all know how inconvenient it can be to be left, stranded in an unknown area, just because of bad reception and this could very well be the answer.

Now, we should make a few points about the patent. First, it is just one out of a sea of similar documents and the functions it describes are very much centered around in-car user:

A mobile device can transmit that data to a vehicular navigation system responsible for automatically selecting a high-quality route of vehicular travel between a specified source and destination.

Also, the patent was filed pack in 2012, when Apple maps were in its very infancy, so it might have to do with some feature, which seemed feasible at the time, but might still never see the light of day, as is the reality with a lot of patents, especially in the tech world. Another reason, why this needs to be clarified is that there are rumors floating around that Apple is going into the auto business and is developing a smart car and that this patent is somehow related to the presumable vehicle. The timing, however, makes this highly unfeasible, to say the least.

So, at this point the patent is nothing more than a blank slate. It’s up to Apple to decide how, when and if they are going to build upon it. Until then all we can do is wait for some development on the matter. What is your take on the patent and what possible uses and implication do you see stemming from it in the future?

Source | Via

New “Freak” SSL exploit may be a major threat to online security

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The name “Heartbleed” will ring a bell to almost anyone. It was center stage in a quite significant security crisys in 2014. In its essence, it was a fault that plagued the widely-used TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol, used to protect HTTP connections. That problem was quickly dealt away with by an emergency patch to the OpennSSL cryptography library which contained the vulnerability.

News has come today that researchers have found another vulnerability in the same package, which could, once again, expose a lot of critical and personal data to malicious attacks. Just like Heartbleed, the new exploit, dubbed “FREAK attack” targets the SSL/TLS protocol, widely used for securing online connections. This new exploit, however is not solely limited to servers, but could put browsers at risk as well. Read more »

Hackaball – a smart programmable ball that reimagines old-school games and empowers creativity

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Hackaball is the brain child of a group of entrepreneurs who long to revive more traditional social kid games by giving them a new tech twist. What seems like a simple rubber toy has been carefully designed so that it can compete with all the distraction and allure of modern-day tech.

The goal, of course, is to weave the young generation away from the screen and promote more social outdoor activities, but the toy seems to be equally appealing to adults as well.

The Hackaball is packed full of electronics, including – a set of LED’s, a speaker, gyroscope, accelerometer, vibration motor, rechargeable battery and, of course as small processor with a little bit of memory to make it come alive. Read more »

Glympse location sharing app gets more car-friendly with a car mode and MirrorLink integration

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Glymspe has released a new application today, which is meant to simplify the usage of the location sharing service within vehicles. The new application is essentially an add-on to the main app and provides a new simplified dashboard interface as well as MirrorLink compatibility.

If you are unfamiliar with what Glympse does, it is basically a very user-intuitive location sharing service. It is meant to quickly tell your contacts where you are and when you are arriving all in a very simple manner.

To do so, you just fire up the app, select a contact and a period for active location tracking and simply hit send. The recipient will then receive a link where he or she can track you current whereabouts until the period you specified expires. Read more »

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu hands-on

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We stopped by the Ubuntu stand to play with the Meizu MX4 running the novel OS. Meizu had been building up to the MWC by teasing the new edition of the MX4, which happens to be only the second smartphone booting Ubuntu, after the entry-level BQ Aquaris E4.5.

When it comes to hardware, the MX4 is the exact same device we reviewed a few months ago in its Android flavor. It sports a 5.36-inch display of 1152 x 1920 pixel resolution, a Mediatek chipset with an octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It’s a distinctly better equipped device than the BQ Aquaris E4.5, and one that can be a more widely recognizable ambassador to the emerging OS platform. Read more »

EPIC is making the popular Unreal engine 4 open source and free for all

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Tim Sweeney, CEO, technical director and original co-founder on Epic Games announced today that the company is making the latest version of its famous Unreal engine free to download and use. The fourth version of the complete and very impressive creative suite is now open source, which means that developers can not only use the powerful tools, but also freely tweak them and ideally make them better.

There is somewhat of a catch though. The software package is free for use in everything all the way from educational purposes to commercial projects, but Epic still wants to capitalize on its creation. The scheme they have come up with is ingenious. Instead of charging its current $19 monthly subscription fee, the team is making the entire platform free-for-all with the agreement that if your Unreal-based creation starts making more than $3,000 per month, per quarter, they are entitled to 5% of that gross revenue. Read more »

Exclusive: OnePlus to enter a new product category in April – and it’s not a smartwatch or a tablet

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At the Mobile World Congress fair grounds in Barcelona we ran into Carl Pei, Global Director of OnePlus Global, and he shared some interesting information with us. OnePlus is preparing an entrance into a new product category.

Sadly, he didn’t specify which one it is, but he said what it isn’t – a smartwatch or a tablet. Does that mean the rumors of a OnePlus smartwatch are dead. Read more »

Updated Google Play Services 7.0 will bring better performance and experience for both Android users and developers

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Today the new version of the all-important Google Play services framework was announced through the official Android developers blog. This new version is a major update, hence the version number 7.0 and brings about numerous new features, APIs and optimizations to existing features, which will allow both developers and users to make the most of their applications, mobile hardware and the services Google provides.

For anybody not exactly sure what Google play services is or what it does – it is probably best known as the app that helps you seamlessly update your other applications through the Play store. It is actually far more powerful than a simple update delivery system. It is actually a whole framework, or collection of functions or API’s which allow developers to easily access various hardware features on your device, as well as remote Google features, such as maps, authentication and others within their applications. Read more »

Qualcomm celebrating MWC 2015 by giving away HTC One M9, LG G Flex 2, and Xperia Z3

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To celebrate the 2015 Mobile World Congress (MWC) happening this week in the Spanish city of Barcelona, Qualcomm has started a sweepstakes that allows US residents (age 18 older) a chance to win some really cool prizes. Dubbed #InventForBetter, the sweepstakes runs through Friday, March 6.

To enter, just sign into your Twitter account, follow Qualcomm, and then send a tweet answering the question “What’s the mobile invention you can’t live without? Your smartphone? 4G LTE? Apps?,” using the hashtag #InventForBetter. Read more »

Google is hard at work prepping Titan drones for internet delivery

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Most of you surely remember project Loom – Google’s amazing effort to bring internet connectivity to remote locations, through specialized balloons. This is just one of the company’s numerous projects that aim to revolutionize the modern world and it is already making astounding progress. However, as it turns out, the tech giant has yet another ongoing endeavor, which could potentially hold the key to seamless internet access worldwide.

Back in 2014 Google acquired an Albuquerque-based company, called “Titan Aerospace”, which specializes in designing and manufacturing unmanned aircrafts. Allegedly, the deal was sealed to snatch the company away from Facebook, which had set its sights on the business, but since then Google has definitely been making the most of its investment. Read more »

TP-Link announces new powerful Wi-Fi 802.11ac router with a touch screen

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Amidst all the commotion and announcements of mobile tech we often forget to mention some of the other tech innovation that debuts at the MWC. One item in particular grabbed our attention, mostly for its odd and interesting appearance.

TP-Link’s brand new Touch 5 router is the perfect combination of geeky awesomeness and useless over-accessorizing. It is a powerful, high-bandwidth wireless router, complete with its very own, built-in touchscreen. As you might have guessed, this screen is dedicated to settings and accessing various features, which sound convenient enough, but honestly, how often do you need to change your router setting to actually justify a separate screen control. Read more »

Google+ reimagined, Google Photos no longer part of it

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Google is apparently having a change of heart for its Google+ social network. For a long time the struggling platform was a top priority for the tech giant and one major consequence is that a lot of other Google services are still very intertwined with it.

Ever since Google’s decision to bind YouTube comments with Google+ the stage was set for a lot of controversy and polarizing opinion. And the discussion still rages on. The sad fact is that Google+ did not manage to catch on for a multitude of reasons and is mostly deserted compared to Facebook and other niche leaders. It seems the online giant has finally decide to back down on its push of the withering platform as a recent announcement made it clear that Google+ will be splitting into two separate services – Google Photos and “Streams”. Read more »

IKEA plans to bring new Wireless charging furniture to the UK

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With the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge finally official, the tech world is buzzing with comments on the new devices and the new features they have to offer. And while beastly Exynos processors and futuristic build and design are on everybody’s minds the people over at IKEA ate definitely most excited about another new feature of the S flagship – wireless charging.

What started out as a rather clunky, inefficient and even rather dangerous charging method, has really picked up recently, with major standards, such as Qi really pushing the technology along. Everything seems to be pointing toward a cleaner and wire-free future and the Swedish furniture giant is quick to capitalize on the new trend. The retailer has announced a new line of furniture, with built-in wireless charging components. Read more »

AMD shows little interest in the Chromebook market

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Chromebooks have definitely been on the rise lately and frankly we can see their appeal. They are ideal for a pure-online mobile experience on a budget and frankly nowadays you can get most of what you need through the abundance of online Google services, which you are most likely already relying on anyway. The point being that Chromebook definitely have their own place on the market, but currently they offer little hardware variety.

Of course, you can rightfully argue that most users of the budget machines don’t really care what is pushing the numbers inside the case, but the fact is that currently it seems only Intel is supplying processing power for the various portables. This is in no way mere chance and AMD really seems to have little interest or actual benefit from powering Chromebooks. Read more »

Samsung will be freezing salaries in South Korea for the first time in 6 years

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Samsung has definitely been on a row lately, especially in terms of new tech innovations as well as stable supply contracts and improved market positions. In today’s dynamic economy, however, this does not necessarily translate into immediate profit.

A few days ago the Korean giant released its earnings report for Q4 2014 and things were not as bright as Samsung would want. It’s not surprising then that in order to counter the negative tendency and regain former profit margins as soon as possible the tech giant will be freezing wages on its home turf in Korea, a report by Reuters suggests. Read more »