AT&T Moto X users getting the camera improvement firmware update

Beginning today, AT&T Moto X owners will be able to download the camera improvements that debuted a few weeks ago. According to AnandTech, this update greatly improves the quality of images taken with the Moto X camera.

There are some other improvements in this update from AT&T that focus on Touchless control accuracy, updates to Motorola Migrate and finding lost phones functionality.

  • Camera enhancements:
    • Enhanced camera auto-white balance performance and color accuracy.
    • Improved exposure when taking photos outside or backlit, and improved clarity in low light.
    • Faster touch-to-focus time and reduced unnecessary refocusing in low light or scenes with continuous motion.
  • Faster response and improved accuracy when using Touchless Control and easier set up and training of the “Ok Google Now” trigger.
  • Enhanced transfer of content from old phone to new phone using Motorola Migrate.
  • Fine-tuned feature that allows you to find phone when it is lost that sometimes prevented a lost phone from reporting its location.

More at AT&T. Read more

Samsung predicts record profits as HTC reports first ever loss

samsung

Samsung is predicting a record $9.4B profit for Q3 in its latest earnings guidance, on estimated revenues of $53.9B. While both figures are estimates rather than confirmed results, Samsung’s earnings guidance is usually pretty much spot-on. If confirmed, this will build on the company’s record numbers in Q2.

HTC, in contrast, reported its first ever loss, as it warned back in July. Its revenue of $1.6B was lower than even its lower-end forecast, and it lost $101M – the company’s first ever loss in its 16-year history.

Bloomberg attributes the wildly differing performances to sales of mid-market handsets in growth markets like India and China.

While HTC has focused a revival on its flagship One handset and $12 million marketing deal with actor Robert Downey Jr., Samsung has expanded its range of mid-priced smartphones such as the Galaxy Golden and S4 Mini to capture sales in China and India …  Read more

Facebook adds content from Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr & Instagram to Home lock screen

Facebook-Home-flickr-pinterest

Zuckerberg recently announced that the company had plans to bring content from additional online sources to the lock screen for those using Facebook Home, and today that feature has officially been introduced in the latest Facebook for Android beta release.

At first, Facebook is adding content from Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram to the Facebook Home lock screen allowing users to swipe through photos and posts alongside Facebook content. Here’s how it works:

Read more

Google opens up Glassware Review Process for third-party Glass developers

Following a report late last month claiming that Google was preparing to open up Google Glass to third-party app developers, the company announced today it is opening up a new Glassware Review Process that allows anyone with Glass to submit third-party apps. Apps that are accepted will show up in the MyGlass app and Google is kicking things off with the addition of a handful of apps, including: SportsYapper, Fancy, Mashable, KitchMe and Thuuz.

As of today, you can submit your Glassware for review. Completing the Glassware review process will make your Glassware eligible to show on MyGlass and eligible to receive quota beyond the testing limit.

Google has a “Distributing Glassware” support document and checklist available to walk developers through the process: Read more

Head of Samsung Mobile leaves company, NYT reports

(via Wired.com)

(via Wired.com)

Samsung’s chief product officer for its mobile devision, Kevin Packingham, has parted ways with the company, The New York Times reports.

Packingham, a former Sprint Nextel vendor, was responsible for leading the company’s mobile team during the notably successful launches of the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy S 4 Android phones on all the major US carriers. Packingham cited Samsung’s aggressive advertising campaign for the Galaxy smartphones as a key to making their respective launches successful for both Samsung and the carrier stores.

Samsung Mobile confirmed the departure to NYT:

“Kevin Packingham has departed Samsung Mobile,” said Ashley Wimberly, a Samsung Mobile spokeswoman, in a statement. “We thank Kevin for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Details surrounding Packingham’s departure are vague at this point, and a successor to the two-year Samsung Mobile chief has yet to be announced. Read more

Amazon set-top-box (FireTube?) on for the holidays, will allow gaming and other apps

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 1.58.20 PM

This morning  we reported that Amazon had trademarked FireTube, and the trademark could serve as a name for the company’s long-rumored TV product. Now, the WSJ follows up by claiming said device is on Amazon’s roadmap for the holiday season. Here are some of the details on the device:

  • Will compete with the Roku and Apple TV
  • Will stream Amazon Prime content
  • Will run third-party media apps and gaming content
  • Amazon is working on a dedicated remote for the device, but it could also be controlled via smartphone/tablet apps

Of course, the device could be shelved at the last minute, but given the uptake in reports about an Amazon TV device, today’s trademark discovery, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s want to expand his company’s hardware portfolio, it seems likely that the device truly is in the imminent Amazon product pipeline.

Read more

Philips Healthcare and Accenture create Google Glass surgical proof of concept

Today Philips and Accenture announced the creation of a proof-of-concept that uses a Google Glass head-mounted display for performing surgical procedures. The demonstration connects Google Glass to Philips IntelliVue Solutions and proves the concept of seamless transfer of patient vital signs into Google Glass, potentially providing physicians with hands-free access to critical clinical information. Additional ideas:

  • Accessing a near real-time feed of vital signs in Google Glass;
  • Calling up images and other patient data by clinicians from anywhere in the hospital;
  • Accessing a pre-surgery safety checklist;
  • Giving clinicians the ability to view the patient in the recovery room after surgery;
  • Conducting live, first-person point-of-view videoconferences with other surgeons or medical personnel; and
  • Recording surgeries from a first-person point-of-view for training purposes.

This is interesting but proof of concepts have already been happening like the surgeons we covered in August. Press release follows: Read more

Google Play Music ‘All Access’ for iOS reportedly landing this month following internal beta

Since first announcing its Google Play Music ‘All Access’ streaming service earlier this year on Android, Google has been delaying the release of an official Google Play Music app for iOS for unknown reasons. Android chief Sundar Pichai originally said the app would be out in “the next few weeks” in May, but four months later we’ve yet to get an iOS app or access to the $9.99 month streaming service on iOS. Today, Engadget reports that Google is continuing to test the app internally and will launch it later this month:

Sources aware of Google’s plans have let slip to Engadget that not only is the company currently testing a native Google Music iOS app internally, but that it’ll launch later this month. We’re told that while employees have been invited to test the app, Google still needs to fix a few bugs before it’s ready for release… The company had previously closed the door on iOS users because Flash was needed to enforce DRM restrictions set by music labels. Now, Google appears to have overcome that issue and is nearly ready to launch.

Until the official app from Google launches, popular third-party clients like the gMusic app have been updated to support the “All Access” streaming service. Read more

Google wins FastCo Interactive design award for iPhone Maps app

jpegThis one is a head scratcher: FastCompanyDesign named Google Maps for iOS a design award winner in the Interactive category. “The app’s continued polish is a testament to the power of focused iteration”.

If any of us ever took Google Maps for granted, that impulse ended the moment Apple released its mapping software. Apple’s PR nightmare reminded us all just how hard this whole navigation space can be. But Google Maps for iPhone not only rescued us from bad directions, it did so through a more refined UI than ever before. “I think Maps is iterative…but I don’t think we should penalize for that,” says Doug Bowman, creative director at Twitter. “It’s even harder to get folks’ attention when something has been up for a while…it speaks to what Google, as a large company, can actually focus a team on.”

Someone show them Maps on Android?

WSJ: LG launching 6-inch “G Flex” smartphone with curved screen next month

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 11.13.52 AM

Following a translated report yesterday claiming that LG was planning to introduce its first smartphone with a flexible OLED display, The Wall Street Journal chimes in today with more details on the device. According to the report, LG will launch the “G Flex” smartphone next month featuring a 6-inch curved OLED display:

LG’s new phone, dubbed G Flex, will have a six-inch screen using organic light-emitting-diode technology, a person familiar with the matter said. The handset itself is slightly concave, according to sketches of the prototype viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

For the Flex’s curved display, LG employed what the company refers to as a “plastic OLED” screen, using materials that are more flexible than conventional liquid-crystal-display screens, said the person familiar with the matter.

The WSJ was also able to grab the image above showing a sketch for a prototype of LG’s curved device.  Read more