UK teen launches Thinkspace, seeks to bring software development to high schools around the world

PRThinkspaceNI

Thinkspace, an organization created by sixteen-year-old James Anderson, seeks to “inspire the next generation of app developers” through dedicated coding zones in high schools across the globe. Anderson formally launched Thinkspace this month with campuses in Plymouth and Northern Ireland.

Anderson first came up with the idea for Thinkspace when he became disappointed with the UK educational system’s approach to computer information and related topics. Rather than attempt to change the curriculum, Anderson sought to work around it by creating “Thinkspaces” within schools.

Read more

Amazon considers making its upcoming smartphone free (New statement: it won’t be)

Update Amazon has now said that the phone won’t be launched this year, and it won’t be free. “We have no plans to offer a phone this year, and if we were to launch a phone in the future, it would not be free,” Amazon said in a statement to AllThingsD.

According to Jessica Lessin and Amir Efrati, Amazon is considering making its upcoming, long-rumored smartphone available to consumers free of charge. However, it is unclear what strings are attached to the deal:

There are many unanswered questions about the plan and what strings will be attached for customers. One of them is whether Amazon would require its  smartphone owners to pay for services such as Amazon Prime, the company’s loyalty program. But the people familiar with the matter said that Amazon wants the device to be free whether or not people sign up for a new wireless plan at the same time. (Wireless carriers typically discount the price of devices if customers sign up for a one- or two-year wireless contract.)

A launch date for the device is currently unclear. Like with the Kindle Fire tablets, past reports have suggested that the Amazon phone will run on a forked version of Google’s Android operating system.

Earlier this year, reports emerged with claims that Amazon is working on a bevy of products, including a phone with a 3D display, and various audio/media center devices. Amazon’s hardware development division for these products is (like Apple) situated in Cupertino.

Read more

MyGlass Android companion app now acts as remote control for Google Glass

myglass

MyGlass, the companion app Google created to allow you to screencast your Glass view to anyone with an Android phone, has now been updated to allow it to control Glass, reports Engadget.

The move was in response to feedback from Glass Explorers that “controlling its UI via swipes, nods and voice commands can sometimes be… awkward” …  Read more

FCC approval appears to confirm Nexus 5 is made by LG – with impressive specs

nexus5

The mystery over whether the Nexus 5 is made by LG or Motorola appears to have been solved by FCC approval documents. The documents refer to the handset as the LG ZNFD820, but all the signs point to this being the replacement for the Nexus 4, expected to be launched in the next month or so. Google recently slashed the price of the existing handset, with the 8GB model going out of stock for good.

It appears to match the video grab we caught earlier this week.

Engadget points out that the casing images appear to be an excellent match for the phone which Google apparently inadvertently included in the KitKat promo video that it swiftly withdrew. The specs also look likely for what we expect to be a significant upgrade to the Nexus 4 …  Read more

LG’s new G Pad 8.3 might be the best mid-sized Android tablet yet, we go hands-on

When LG announced its new G Pad 8.3 ahead of the IFA consumer electronics show this week, it didn’t seem to get as much attention as the company was perhaps hoping for by releasing the news before anyone had a chance to get a look in Berlin. The good news is that after playing with the device today, our first impression is that the new G Pad could be serious contender for the best Android tablet on the market. In fact, it might even give Apple a run for its money for those looking for an iPad mini Android alternative that doesn’t compromise on build quality.

The aluminum on the back gives the device an extremely high quality finish that puts it more in the iPad and HTC One build-quality category, and the 1920 x 1200,  273 ppi, Full HD WUXGA display might be the best in the mid sized tablet category. The device packs in 2GB of RAM, a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, and we didn’t have any performance issues in our hands-on with the tablet today. It comes in black and white (as pictured above), and also offers some of LG’s unique software features like QPair for connecting a smartphone to the tablet and receiving calls, messages, and more on both devices.

The real beauty of the design is that the 8.3-inch display doesn’t feel much bigger in your hand than a 7-inch tablet thanks to a nice thin bezel, and it is still easily pocketable wherever your 7-incher can fit. It’s hard to give a recommendation on the Android 4.2.2 tablet since we don’t know pricing yet, but if it’s price competitively with the Nexus 7, LG might have just made the #1 or #2 Android tablet for the year and heading into next. Hopefully we have good news to report when pricing gets announced at launch time in Q4. Read more

Google charged $14.5M for abusing Motorola FRAND patents in Microsoft case

Google-versus-Microsoft01

CNET reports that Microsoft was awarded $14.5 million from Google Motorola for the abuse of the fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) patents by Google.

A federal jury in Seattle ordered the Google-owned handset maker to pay the software giant $14.5 million in damages for breach of contract for failing to license at reasonable terms standard essential patents covering wireless and video technology used in the Xbox game console. However, the award is half the $29 million in damages Microsoft had sought.

If Google didn’t get any value from FRAND patents from Motorola, what did they get? Read more

Hands-on with the new S Pen multitasking features for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 & Note 10.1 2014 Edition (Video)

With last night’s introduction of the new Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition, both devices got spec bumps, better displays, and a new leather-like textured back– but Samsung isn’t introducing any radical design changes. It’s not exactly surprising– it did the same with the Galaxy S4– and the upgraded specs will only help the company continue the success it’s had with the stylus focused devices. However, the real stand out features of the new Notes come in the way of S Pen features accessible through the new “Air Command” function. The feature pops up a radial menu from just about anywhere when hovering the S Pen and clicking its button, and the menu will let you access a few handy (gimmicky?) new features for multitasking and quickly saving content. Samsung is focusing on the new S Pen features in its ads for Note 3 and new Note 10.1, and we decided to go hands on in the video above to get some first impressions. We quite enjoyed using the new S Window feature to open apps in a sizeable window within another, but some shortcomings with the new multitasking features might make them more gimmicky than a faster alternative to other solutions with third-party apps. You can also quickly access Quick Action memos and Screen Write for annotating screenshots, nice additions to the radial menu but nothing that we couldn’t do with the S Pen previously.  Read more

Hands-on with Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch (Video)

If you haven’t heard by now, Samsung just announced its Galaxy Gear smart watch at its Unpacked 2013 event in Berlin and we were able to get a little bit of hands-on time with the device after the show. We were quite impressed with the build quality of the watch, and we’re hoping Samsung is able to work out some minor kinks with certain touch screen gestures not always behaving as expected. For the most part Samsung has done a great job of simplifying the UI of apps its including on the device, but sometimes that simplicity leaves a little to be desired for those of us used to interacting with our smartphones on a daily basis. We weren’t able to try any of the fitness features of the device in our limited time with the Gear, but the majority of apps we did play with were simple and intuitive. S Voice wasn’t playing nice, but, again, we hope Samsung will put a little bit more polish on some of the included software before it gets in the hands of users.

All in all, it beat out most the Bluetooth smart watches we’ve tried simply based on the hardware and excellent implementation of apps with extremely simplified UIs. It does, however, have the same problems a lot of other bluetooth smart watches have: it’s much bigger than your standard, traditional wrist watch, and that’s a big hurdle for people that might not even wear a regular watch day-to-day in the first place. The Galaxy Gear will launch for $299 later this month and we plan on bringing you a full review soon. Full specs and details here.

Live from Samsung’s Galaxy Gear IFA 2013 press conference

We’re in our seats live at Samsung’s Unpacked 2013 press conference taking place in Berlin and things are about to kick off. We already know that the company will be unveiling its new Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but up until now details on the device haven’t been confirmed. Leaked rumors point to varying specs for the prototypes floating around, so we’re excited to see exactly what Samsung has packed into the smartwatch. That, and expect some other new Galaxy announcements. We’ll have the latest in our live blog below and full coverage on 9to5Google: Read more

Live from Sony’s 2013 IFA press conference

SAMSUNG CSC

We’re live at Sony’s 2013 IFA press conference where the company is expected to announced new Xperia devices alongside the much rumored attachable camera lens product for smartphones that just landed on Amazon for $500. We’ll be bringing you the live blow by blow when the event kicks off in the coming minutes.

– Sony execs are talking innovation and its success in the European market with televisions and its digital camera line.

-Sony announced the next generation Cybershot RX1R

– Sony execs just briefly mentioned a new music video recorder and a new action cam- no word on Android yet.

– New 4K handycam coming later this month along with two new models of 4K tvs for the European market– still no Android.

-Sony just officially announced the Xperia Z1 (aka the “Honami” that has leaked out a lot in recent weeks.

– Exmor RS G lens and Bionz for Mobile in Xperia Z1.

– A new ‘Social Live’ feature for Xperia Z1 will let users capture video and stream it to social networks live as they are filming.

– Sony is detailing Timeshift burst, a feature that allows users to snap and save multiple photos at once.

-AR effect lets users capture images with augmented reality effects on the new Xperia. It includes an open SDK for app developers.

– The Xperia Z1 will come in black, white, and blue as pictured above

-Qualcomm snapdragon process (“and all the specs you’d expect”, according to Sony)

-will come with 100 euro worth of content from Music Unlimited and Sony’s movie services.

-Sony says its previously announced SmartWatch 2 will launch later this month.

SAMSUNG CSC

-CyberShot lens officially announced. Two models (QX10 and QX100) will be available for the Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z.

-On top of Xperia devices, Sony says the CyberShot lens will work with “almost any smartphone” with an attachment.

-Xperia Z1 launches later this month.