Live from Sony’s 2013 IFA press conference

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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.

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-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.

Google Play launches ‘A Rock and a Hard Place’ music promotion offering albums as low as $3.99

From 9to5Toys.com:

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The Google Play music store has kicked off ‘A Rock and a Hard Place’ promotion which offers rock and metal albums for as low as $3.99. There are a total of 90 discounted albums from the biggest classic rock and current metal groups: Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Five Finger Death Punch, Black Sabbath, System of a Down, and more. No word from Google on how long the promo will last so if you see an album you like be sure to grab it soon.

Google’s clever workaround for manufacturers & carriers slow to update Android

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One of the reasons we’re keen on Nexus devices is that you’re guaranteed to get Android updates as soon as they are available – unlike many handsets where you’re at the mercy of manufacturers and carriers, who update either slowly or not at all. The effect of slow-acting OEMs and carriers has been a highly-fragmented Android market, with less than half of all devices running Jelly Bean.

Google can’t do anything about this, but arstechnica has a fascinating piece on why that doesn’t matter. First, Google has put most of the really cool stuff into new or updated apps, rather than into the OS itself. Google Hangouts, Google Play Games, Google Play Music, cloud saving of game data and so on. Nothing we didn’t know there. But the clever – or sneaky, depending on how you look at it – part of this is how Google makes this approach work, even with elderly versions of Android …  Read more

Nexus 4 8GB model goes out of stock, underlining expectations of Nexus 5 next month

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Just days after a $100 price-cut, the 8GB version of the Nexus 4 has gone out of stock in the U.S. at the Google Play Store. The 16GB model is still available at the time of writing and 8GB is available in the UK.

The Verge is reporting a Google source as saying that the model will not come back into stock, strongly suggesting that the company is clearing inventory ready for the expected Nexus 5 replacement next month, with some sources suggesting that 31st October is the launch-date. There are conflicting reports about whether the device will be made by LG or Motorola.

Via Droid-life

Acer claims first smartphone to record 4K video – but will sell in Europe before USA

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Smartphone manufacturers are making it hard to keep up to date these days: just as we’d got used to enjoying the ability to record 1080p full HD videos, the first handsets capable of recording 4K video are emerging. Google added 4K video support to Android in the latest 4.3 version.

Acer is claiming that its 6-inch Liquid S2 will be the first, though as the phone is being officially unveiled at the IFA this week, it may have company from Samsung’s new Galaxy Note – also rumored to have 4K recording on board. The Acer also won’t be available in the U.S. at launch, with the handset hitting Europe first …  Read more

Motorola X will drop to $99 on plan and gain at least 4 wood-grained backs in Q4

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According to @evleaks, Motorola’s Moto X phone will drop to $99.99 on a two year plan in Quarter 4 (which starts at the end of September).  In addition, those wood grain backs will make an appearance and cost an extra $50, making the kit still $50 cheaper than buying one now, so you might want to heed our advice and hold off for a little while.

Also, I’m now in love with the wood-grained backs. Mahogany on black please.

Read more

Screenshots of Samsung’s ‘Galaxy Gear’ smartwatch companion app leak ahead of Sept. 4 unveiling

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We’ve been hearing a lot about Samsung’s upcoming smartwatch dubbed “Galaxy Gear” in recent weeks, and just a few days ago Samsung’s Lee Young-hee confirmed that the device would make its first official appearance at the company’s event scheduled for Sept. 4 in Berlin. Today, Evleaks points us to the screenshots above showing what appears to be the device’s companion app that will likely be available for all Android devices, although there is still the possibility it will only support Samsung’s own Android devices.

The screenshots above confirm the device will pair with Bluetooth, and there is also a section within the app to manage “Samsung Apps.” Another feature called “Find my watch” sounds a lot like a feature for locating a missing Galaxy Gear and Samsung also references wireless charging: “turn on NFC in Settings and bring the mobile device and charger together, back to back.

We reported previously of claims that the Galaxy Gear would pack in a 2.5 inch OLED display, dual core processor, an accelerometer, speakers, and built-in NFC, and another that added 1GB of RAM, a “320×320 1.67-inch AMOLED display” and an ARM Mali-400 MP4 GPU. There is still nothing official for specs, but it’s likely we’ll be seeing something similar to the above based on the prototypes and developer units floating around. Read more

Google remains digital ad king, Facebook making gains in mobile, no one else close

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Increased competition in digital advertising doesn’t seem to be hurting Google: the company is on track to increase its market share to almost 33 percent this year, with a commanding 53% in mobile advertising. The projections were made by research company eMarketer based on an analysis of company reports, though both dollar and percentage figures are slightly down on its earlier predictions back in June …  Read more

Sergey Brin splits up with wife with ties to Google

It’s never fun when personal matters become issues for a company but founder Sergey Brin owns a lot of voting stock in Google and a split in his family could send a lot of his $22.8B in wealth and power off to parts unknown. According to AllThingsD, wife Anne Wojcicki had a prenup. so a risk to Brin’s voting share of the company would seem to be minimal. The couple is reportedly still married though living in separate residences.

The report goes on to say Brin is now with someone else he met at Google.

Wojcicki’s sister, Susan, is SVP of advertising and commerce Google (and one of the original Googlers and provided the garage where Brin and Page got their start) so there’s even more stickiness to deal with if things do get sticky.

 

 

 

Microsoft’s latest painful Scroogled ad fails school

Microsoft is still going  with its Scroogled ad campaign (though by the production value, they aren’t investing much).  Dubbed  ‘misleading and intellectually dishonest’  this campaign has tried to paint Google as a company without scruples but in playing sloppy with facts, does the opposite.

This particular ad focuses on schools. Microsoft recently offloaded all of their unsold Surface RTs to the education market for reduced fees. They have a Bing for Schools search engine which doesn’t show ads in the results. Google’s search engine does but its other education products don’t.

As for Google, they say there are no ads for Students,Faculty and Staff in their Free Apps for Education product.

Inbox space for everything, and no ads

Google Apps offers up to 30GB of storage per user, powerful spam filtering and a 99.9% uptime SLA. All hosted by Google – there’s no cost, and no ads for students, faculty or staff.

So, uhh, back to the drawing board?  Read more

Glass’s fashion creds boosted by 12-page spread in Vogue


If Google is to succeed in making Glass a mass-market product, it knows that it has to much more than appeal to geeks. The company also has to make it at least acceptable, and ideally cool, for ordinary consumers to be seen to be wearing the device. And when it comes to doing that, you can’t get much better than Glass being featured in a 12-page spread in the fashion bible Vogue …  Read more