Twitter acquires ‘Cover’, makers of context aware lock screen for Android

Cover, makers of a popular context aware lock screen app for Android, today announced that it is joining Twitter. The team didn’t disclose any financial details related to the deal, but said that it would be joining the Twitter team and continuing to offer its lock screen app on Google Play.

“Twitter, like Cover, believes in the incredible potential of Android. They share our vision that smartphones can be a lot smarter — more useful and more contextual — and together we’re going to make that happen,” the founders of Cover said when makig the announcement in a blog post today. They also added that Cover will be creating “something even better at Twitter” and would provide an update if things change regarding availability of the Cover app for Android.  Read more

Video compares Galaxy S5’s heart rate sensor to Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s heart rate monitor apps

Samsung took a big step into the health and fitness market with its Galaxy S5. One of the device’s main selling points is its built-in heart rate sensor. This new feature allows users to check their heart rate using the preinstalled S Health app, but the truth is, nothing special is happening here. According to Samsung’s official Galaxy S5 page, it’s the first smartphone with a built-in heart rate sensor, but technically almost any device with a camera and flash is capable of providing this functionality. The same sensor is found on Samsung’s new Gear smart watch lineup and certainly makes more sense ona wearable device, but unfortunately it’s nothing more than a gimmick on the Galaxy S5.

The heart rate sensor found on the back is no different than what many third party apps have offered for quite some time. Runtastic’s Heart Rate Monitor app is a perfect example. This app uses the LED flash and camera on almost any smartphone to read your heart rate, and it works surprisingly well.

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Samsung has reportedly lost five high-ranking executives in the past two months

Photo: ibtimes.com

Photo: ibtimes.com

CNET reports that over the past two months, “at least” five high-ranking executives have departed from Samsung’s US mobile business, also known as Samsung Telecommunications America, or STA. The report, citing “people familiar with the departures”, claims that the departures have included the head of national sales, the mobile devices product chief, and a key strategist for the company’s Galaxy tablets and Gear smartwatches.

Notably, these departures all come less than a year after Gregory Lee took the reigns as president and CEO of Samsung’s US mobile and electronics business. The departures also come in the midst of the company batting Apple in yet another patent infringement case.

“As our US business continues to diversify and expand, we will continue to build an industry leading organization with people who will contribute to even greater success for Samsung,” Samsung said in a statement. “Some have left voluntarily to pursue other opportunities, and we thank them for their service.”

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Samsung announces new wireless charging covers for Galaxy S5

Even though the Galaxy S5 is only just now going up for sale through select third-party retailers, Samsung is already busy announcing a variety of accessories for the phone. As Android Central notes, the company has just announced wireless charging covers for the device.

There will be four different models of wireless charging case to choose from this time around. First is the the standard replacement backplate with a Qi charging module in it. This case will run just $30 and be available in black or white. Next up is an S-View flip cover, again in either black or white, that adds wireless charging capabilities to the device. Samsung hasn’t announced a price for this accessory yet.

All four of these cases will incorporate the gasket that makes the Galaxy S5 water-resistant. The design of the backs are also identical to the dotted-look of the actual backing. As you’d expect, the cases should be compatible with any Qi-based chargers.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 pricing & availability confirmed as Verizon opens pre-orders

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Verizon has started accepting pre-orders for the Galaxy S5, confirming pricing at $199.99 on a two-year contract (after $50 mail-in rebate), or $599.99 full retail without contract, with shipping from 11th April. These are similar deals to those already announced by AT&TT-Mobile and Sprint.

Verizon has also extended its HTC One and Samsung ATIV buy-one, get-one-free deal to the S5 – though only if you sign a two-year contract for each …  Read more

Google plans significant overhaul of many of its native and web apps in ‘Google 2.0’/wearable push

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Yesterday we got a look at a beta version of the upcoming Gmail app for Android which includes new Travel, Purchases, and Finance categories in addition to the Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums categories currently available. Also present is a pinning feature for making emails of your choosing remain at the top of your inbox as well as a “snoozing” feature that allows you to delay an email for a set amount of time much like hitting snooze on your alarm clock. Within a slightly tweaked UI you’ll also notice a new toggle at the top of your inbox that allows you to switch between showing pinned emails and having them return to chronological order.

Our sources had previously told us about this update but without confirmation. We sat on the story. Now that we have some confirmation that this is coming, we can discuss the whole of what we’ve heard. Read more

Samsung Galaxy S5 Zoom (K Zoom?) camera phone makes an appearance in leaked photo

Galaxy-S5-Zoom-K-ZoomEarlier this month some specs that looked a lot like a next-generation Galaxy Zoom camera phone device— a followup to last year’s Galaxy S4 Zoom— appeared in benchmark results. Today we get what might be our first look at the device with a new leaked image that popped up today on a sketchy looking blog that was discovered by PhoneArena.

While it does appear to be a next-generation Galaxy Zoom, the blog that leaked the image is referring to it as the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. Perhaps Samsung has plans to change up branding this time around or we could still be looking at a codename of sorts.

The leaker also confirms the previously leaked specs, which include a much thinner and lighter design, a 20MP shooter, 10x zoom, NFC, Android 4.4.2, a 1280×720 4.8-inch display, 2GB of RAM and a Samsung Exynos 5 Hexa CPU. The image also shows what looks a lot like the faux-leather material that Samsung has used on a lot of its recent Galaxy devices like the Note 3 Read more

Google testing new Gmail for Android app that lets you pin and snooze emails

Google might be preparing to release a new Gmail app for at least Android devices that will introduce a few new notable features.

Geek.com got its hands on the screenshots above that is apparently a version of Gmail for Android that Google is currently testing. It includes new Travel, Purchases, and Finance categories in addition to the Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums categories currently available. Also present is a pinning feature for making emails of your choosing remain at the top of your inbox as well as a “snoozing” feature that allows you to delay an email for a set amount of time much like hitting snooze on your alarm clock. Within a slightly tweaked UI you’ll also notice a new toggle at the top of your inbox that allows you to switch between showing pinned emails and haven them return to chronological order.

There’s always a chance the features above will never make it out of testing, but there’s also a possibility Google could be planning to roll them out to users in a future update. As always, we’ll keep you updated as we learn more.  Read more

Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop Android app arrives in beta

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Google has long had its cross-platform Chrome Remote Desktop extension that allows users to remotely access desktops on the network through the Chrome browser. We also already knew that it’s been working on solutions to bring the feature to Android and even iOS devices, but today we get what appears to be our first look Chrome Remote Desktop running on an Android device.

Droid-Life posted the screenshots below showing that it says is an invite only beta of the app that was released in the last few days. The app is apparently being developed for both smartphones and tablets, allowing users to remotely access desktop computers with the Chrome Remote Desktop client installed from the Chrome web store.  Read more

Render gives first look at next-gen reversible USB Type-C cable coming in July

Back in December, the the USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced that a next-generation of USB connectors was under development. The new standard, dubbed “USB Type-C,” introduces a new design, a smaller overall footprint, and usability enhancements such as a symmetrical, reversible connector that doesn’t require users to worry about orientation when plugging in (much like with Apple’s Lightning connector.) It will also allow manufacturers to create thinner and sleeker product designs and scale for future USB performance standards with a transfer speed up to 10Gbps. Today we get our first look at what the cable and connectors will actually look like with a rendering courtesy of Foxconn (via TheVerge). Read more

Samsung Galaxy S5 teardown highlights 16MP camera sensor, biosensor and fingerprint scanner

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Chipworks managed to get its hands on a Galaxy S5 ahead of Samsung’s new flagship handset officially going on sale on 11th April, and has been taking a look inside. The model it obtained was a Korean one, thanks to several carriers releasing it early. We’ve also noted third-party suppliers on Amazon advertising it as available in 1-2 days.

While Chipworks has only just begun its analysis, it does provide a sneak peek of the innards, together with a steer on three of the elements it plans to examine in detail: the fingerprint sensor, heart-rate chip and camera sensor.

The company says that the fingerprint sensor is split into two parts, a touch sensor embedded in the home button, and a second part connected to the touchscreen. It isn’t yet clear whether the screen simply detects a touch and switches on the sensor, or whether data from the touchscreen forms part of the identification process.

fingerprint  Read more