Samsung reportedly buys Boxee for $30 million (Update: Confirmed)

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Update: The acquisition has now been confirmed by Samsung. In a statement to the New York Times, the company had the following to say:

“Samsung has acquired key talent and assets from Boxee. This will help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices.”

According to a new report from Israeli business site The Marker (via The Jewish Press), Samsung has purchased Boxee, the company behind the home theater PC software and set-top box that lets users stream content on their TV and computer. The report claims that Samsung paid around $30 million for the company and will continue to employ Boxee’s 40 workers.

Boxee has been looking for a buyer or more funding for the past few months. It was reported last month that the company had found a buyer, but this is the first specific information we have heard about a possible acquisition.

Samsung is an interesting buyer for sure. More than likely, the company would use the team’s talent to improve its Smart TV software, but it’s also possible that the two companies could work on some sort of video streaming service, as well, possibly based off of Google TV.  Read more

Samsung S4 shipments reportedly pass 20M in less than 3 months, company eyes 100M

Graphic: theverge.com

Graphic: theverge.com

Several Korean news sites are reporting that the Samsung S4 has now passed 20 million shipments. Samsung’s flagship handset, launched in April, hit 10m shipments by the end of May and it appears that the pace has scarcely slowed since – almost matching that of the iPhone 5.

As ever, we have to caution that Samsung cites shipments rather than sales, meaning that unsold handsets stored in warehouses get counted, but in general carriers and retailers don’t like to sit on large inventories, so sales shouldn’t lag shipments by too big a gap …  Read more

Motorola shows off first ad for Moto X Phone, teases a phone “designed by you”

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Click to view the full ad

Motorola’s latest flagship device, the Moto X Phone, is set to be released sometime this fall, but despite not having released any images of it, the company is getting ready to run its first ad for the phone. The ad, as shown by Ad Age, shows some definite Google influence, as well as the logo we reported on last month.

The ad is centered around the Fourth of July festivities and focuses on the fact that it is made in the United States.

“What we are doing which is very different is assembling [Moto X smartphones] here in the U.S. in our assembly plant in Ft. Worth, Texas,” Motorola’s VP-global brand and product marketing Brian Wallace said in an interview. “What better time than July 4th to come with a message like that?”

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HTC confirms the One S will not be updated to Android 4.2.2, further damages its reputation

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HTC has announced some very bad new for both both its customers and its reputation. The One S will not see an update to Android 4.2.2. Even though the device was a flagship just a year ago, it will remain on Android 4.1 and Sense 4. In a statement, HTC had the following to say (via: The Unwired)

“We can confirm that the HTC One S will not receive further Android OS updates and will remain on the current version of Android and HTC Sense. We realize this news will be met with disappointment by some, but our customers should feel confident that we have designed the HTC One S to be optimized with our amazing camera and audio experiences.”

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Pebble smart watch announces Best Buy as exclusive retail launch partner, available online today & in stores July 7

Yesterday we noted that Best Buy retail sources indicated the popular ‘Pebble’ Bluetooth smart watch would be landing on at least some of the retailer’s store shelves this weekend. Today Pebble and Best Buy have finally made things official by announcing the partnership that will bring the most successful Kickstarter-backed device of all time to both Best Buy online and across all its U.S. brick and mortar locations.

It’s definitely big news for the company ahead of Apple’s rumored smart watch, as well as Sony and others getting deeper into the space. The exclusive retail partnership with Best Buy also marks Pebble’s first retail launch of the device after raising over $10.2 million from around 68,000 backers on Kickstarter. Read more

Google accused of “coercive sales tactics” over Google TV – unnamed manufacturer

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Google has been accused of using “coercive sales tactics” in an attempt to pressure Smart TV manufacturers to adopt its own Google TV platform for YouTube rather than HTML5 based approaches, reports Korean news site ETNews.

Smart TV operators who opted for open-source HTML5 in order to avoid dependance on Google, have bumped into an obstacle – YouTube [...] According to industry insiders, Google has demanded HTML5-based Smart TV operators should place the YouTube app on the main homepage and pass browser conformity tests [which] take up to several months.

An industry insider said “Telling us where the YouTube app should be placed is an act of coercive sales tactics.”
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Droid Ultra device teased by Motorola, invites us to ‘think thin’

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We already know that Motorola is planning for the X Phone to be its flagship device for later this year, but it looks like the company has at least one other device or variant planned. Motorola has created a page on its website dedicated to the Droid Ultra, an unreleased device. Motorola teases that it is thin, but tough as steel, yet no offers no other information.

Droid Ultra
Think thin
Available in a bunch of glossy colors, this high-grade DuPont Kevlar body proves you can be even thinner and still be tough as steel.

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Chromium-based Opera browser officially released

stash

Back in May, Opera released a ‘sneak peak’ of its latest browser, Opera 15. The big selling point behind it was the engine under the hood. For the first time ever, the browser was powered by Chromium rather than Opera’s classic Presto engine. Today, the company has officially released the browser for both Mac and Windows in its final state to the public.

The new Opera for Windows and Mac runs on a Chromium engine, so you can access all your websites in a blink of an eye and have a smoother experience when you get there, thanks to improved site compatibility.

The latest version of  Opera includes a host of new features in addition to the new Chromium engine. For one, the Speed Dial homepage has been refreshed with the ability to create folders and more. A new ‘Stash’ feature lets you collect snapshots of saved webpages in one place and go back and reference them if needed. The new Discover feature automatically shows you the top articles from locations and categories you choose. Finally, Opera says that the browser should perform better on slow connections thanks to the new ‘Off-road’ mode. Read more

New GLASSTESLA app lets you control your Tesla with Google Glass

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For those of you out there that have both a Tesla and a pair of Google Glass, here’s an exciting app. A developer has released an app dubbed GLASSTESLA that lets you control your Tesla via Google Glass. The app allows you to do things like manage the charging process, lock and unlock the car, honk the horn, flash the lights, and much more.

If you’ve parked your Tesla Model S somewhere and can’t find it, GLASSTESLA allows you to locate it on a map, but if that doesn’t help you can honk the horn and flash lights from the app, as well. You can also see what doors are open, as well as both the interior and exterior temperatures of the car. The biggest features, I think, surround the charging process… Read more

Asus rep reads exact same specs (except late July release) for next Nexus 7 as previous KGI report…coincidence?

A successor to the Nexus 7 was a no-show at Google I/O this year, but that doesn’t mean a V2.0 of the tablet isn’t coming soon. Back in May, we reported that according to a KGI analyst, Google was planning on announcing the Nexus 7 2 at I/O with a full 1900×1200 HD display, a lighter and thinner body, with a Snapdragon 600 processor, 4Ah battery and both front and rear (5MP) facing cameras. The second version of the Asus tablet was also slated to be the first device with Android 4.3 on it.

Although this is all a rumor, a curious buyer decided to ask an Asus live chat representative if they had any idea what the specs were. Despite the fact that chat representatives don’t normally have access to upcoming products, one offered up the exact same specs as above:

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Interestingly enough, the spec sheet they repeated matches the same exact spec sheet that KGI reported on in May. The chat rep. also said that we should expect to see version 2 of the tablet sometime in Q2 of the year, specifically late July.

Chat representatives don’t typically know future product roadmaps, especially specs, so it’s more than possible that this chat rep. simply Googled KGI’s report and reported it back to the person they were chatting with. On the other hand, they could both line up because they are both right. We’ve contacted Asus and we’ll be sure to report back any news.

Update rolling out to Google Glass with more voice commands, web browsing

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Via the official Project Glass page on Google+, Google has announced a major software update coming soon to Glass. The update includes things such as more voice commands, improved web browsing, new ways to connect with family and friends, and more.

First off, a host of new voice commands will be available with this update. If you get a text, you can now ask Glass to read it to you by saying  “ok glass, read aloud” or if someone calls you, simply say “ok glass, answer call.” Finally, you can now share pictures right away by saying “ok glass, share with [name].” Read more