ASUS announces smallest-ever Chromebox, available in March from $179

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ASUS has announced that the new Chromebox it promised last year will go on sale next month, priced from $179. The device – looking rather like Intel’s NUC ultra-compact desktop PC – is both the smallest and most powerful Chromebox to date, with a choice of three processors.

$179 will get you the base model, powered by a Celeron 2955U. Next model up is a Haswell Core i3 model, capable of driving a 4K monitor – and there will be an i7 version sold only outside North America. No pricing has yet been announced for the more powerful models.

“The Asus Chromebox offers the simplicity, security, and speed of Chrome OS in the most compact and powerful Chrome device to date,” said Felix Lin, director of product management at Google. “Perfect for home, the classroom or the office, Chromebox is designed for the way we use computers today” …  Read more

Red Nexus 5 now available on Google Play, shipping in 1-2 business days

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After several weeks of rumors and speculation, a Bright Red variant of the Nexus 5 is now available for purchase on Google Play, as a leak from Sprint last week suggested it would be (via Droid Life). The model has an entirely red back and a black front, with the exception of the front ear speaker, which is also red. As you would expect, the specifications of the red Nexus 5 are identical to the black and white models, which we praised in our review.

Pricing is also the same, coming in at $349 for 16GB and 32GB for $399. The Bright Red Nexus 5 is shipping within 1-2 business days. LG’s PRess release:
LG AND GOOGLE ANNOUNCE FIRST RED NEXUS 5

Popular Nexus 5 Now Available in Three Colors ― Red, White and Black

SEOUL, Feb. 4, 2014 ㅡ The first red Nexus 5 device is now available on Google Play™. Nexus 5 is the first Google phone to be offered in three colors: red, white and black. Launched last October in partnership by LG and Google, Nexus 5 received praise as a stylish, high-performance Google phone. Nexus 5 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800 processor, a stunning 5-inch Full HD IPS display and runs Android 4.4, KitKat, the latest version of the Android OS.

“The Nexus line has always been about doing things differently and consumers who share this philosophy have been our most loyal fans,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “We’re carrying this thinking over to the red Nexus 5, which we think will catch the eye of consumers who want to make an even bolder statement.”

The red Nexus 5 will be available on Google Play™ starting this month in the United States, Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Korea with wider availability across Europe by the end of the month. Customers will also be able to purchase a red Nexus 5 in retail stores in select markets.
I have to say, the device does look pretty slick in a red shade.

What do you think? Will you be picking one up?

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Google and Cisco announce long-term patent deal to avoid future litigation

In an effort to focus on products and not litigation, Google and Cisco will enter a long-term deal to cross-license their patent portfolios with one another, the companies announced today.

“In today’s overly-litigious environment, cross-licensing is an effective way for technology companies to work together and help prevent unnecessary patent lawsuits,” said Dan Lang, Cisco’s Vice President of Intellectual Property. “This agreement is an important step in promoting innovation and assuring freedom of operation.” Read more

Galaxy Note Pro and Tab Pro tablets hitting the US from 13th Feb, but wifi-only for now

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If you liked the look of the four new tablets Samsung announced at CES back in January, you don’t have long to wait until they go on sale – but for now, only the wifi models will be available, and the Tab Pro 12.2 won’t ship until next month, reports re/code.

You can preorder the Wi-Fi-enabled Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, Tab Pro 10.1 or Tab Pro 8.4 now from various retailers, including Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon. But the Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 isn’t expected to ship till March …  Read more

Google ordered to move construction of its San Francisco Bay barge to a permitted location

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We’ve heard quite a bit about Google’s mysterious barge projects over the last few months, but it wasn’t until November that the company confirmed their existence. The SF Examiner now reports that Google is facing some regulatory issues in San Francisco and must move the construction site for its barge from its current island in the middle of the Bay to one of the fully permitted construction facilities in the Bay.

The request was made the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which noticed that neither Treasure Island Development Authority nor the city of San Francisco had the correct permits to allow for Google to be constructing the barge at its current location.

“Obviously the bay is a valuable resource to everybody,” Flanders, program director at San Francisco Baykeeper said. “Requiring people and companies large and small to pass all environmental regulations before using the bay is essential.”

Google says it will use these barges as “an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.” The barges will be able to move around and dock in different cities, as well. Check out a video of the tentative design of the barges after the jump:

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Samsung announces Unpacked 5 event on February 24 at Mobile World Congress

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Samsung has just announced that it will be holding an Unpacked 5 press event on the first day of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The event will take place on Monday, February 24th at 20:00 CET. The event will be live streamed on YouTube, as well, for those who won’t be in Barcelona for MWC. The invite says that this is Unpacked “Episode 1,” suggesting that at least one more event will be held this year.

For those unaware, Samsung has used its “Unpacked” events to release all of its flagship devices over the past couple of years, including the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note III. It’s unclear what Samsung has planned for this specific event, however. It could be that the company will be giving a glimpse at the highly-anticipated Galaxy S5, or it could be something related to the company’s Tizen operating system.

We’ll be bringing you everything you need to know from Mobile World Congress, though, so be sure to stay tuned.

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Long time Adobe veteran & blogger joining Google’s digital photography team

John Nack, longtime Adobe team member, Photoshop evangelist and frequent blogger, announced today he will be leaving the company after 13 years for Google’s digital photography team.

From Smart Objects to Photoshop’s first-ever public beta to countless little tweaks over the years (“I swear because I care!!”), I’m proud of that legacy. Now, though, I’ll get a chance to work on some new projects. It’s about doing something very different from, and I think complementary to, the work I’ve done at Adobe.

Nack has been a vocal member of Adobe over the years using his company blog to detail his experiences with product development and related topics.

Nack tallies the number of posts on his Adobe blog at over 4,200 and says he’ll continue to post through the end of the week before joining Google.  Read more

Google announces Chromecast SDK making support easier for developers

Google announced today a public SDK for Chromecast allowing developers to build support for casting into Android, Chrome, and iOS apps and websites.

If you’re a developer looking to bring your content to the big screen, head on over to the Google Developers Blog for a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of it all. Meanwhile, for everyone else, a current list of apps that work with Chromecast can be found at chromecast.com/apps.

The Chromecast currently supports a number of content streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Pandora, YouTube, and more. Read more

Google rolling out Google Now notifications to Chrome beta for desktop users

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After appearing in a developer build of Chrome last month, Google announced today that this week it will be rolling out Google Now notifications to the desktop through the latest beta version of Chrome. Google Now notifications were previously available to Android and iOS users, but can now be accessed through the Chrome notification center on Mac as well as through Chrome on Windows and Chromebooks. Google notes that Chrome will show a a subset of the cards that appear on iOS and Android including “weather, sports scores, commute traffic, and event reminders cards.” Here’s how to enable it: Read more

HTC’s new flagship M8 handset to launch a month later than expected, in March?

Usually reliable source @evleaks has tweeted that the M8, the internal codename for HTC’s new top-of-the-range handset, will be launched in NYC in March. It had so far been expected that HTC would officially launch the handset at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February …

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AT&T announces new family plan tier with unlimited talk/text, 10GB of data

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 2.08.50 PMAT&T has just announced a new tier for its family plan customers that ups the amount of data offered. The carrier is now offering a family plan that includes unlimited talk and text, as well as 10GB of data. The 10GB of data is available to anyone that is apart of the family plan.

Here’s an example: Today, Verizon charges $260 monthly for a comparable plan that’s now $160 from AT&T. A family with four smartphones with unlimited talk and text, and a shared 10GB bucket of data, could switch to AT&T from Verizon and save $100 a month.  Current AT&T customers can save big with these new plans, too, when they choose a 10GB or larger bucket of data. For example, a family or small business with four smartphones could move to this new plan and save between $40 and $100 per month, depending on their current plan.

This new plan starts at $130 a month for 2 lines and increases in $15 iterations for each additional line.

Back in December, AT&T launched new ‘Mobile Share Value Plans‘ that offered pretty steep discounts to customers to compete with T-Mobile’s Uncarrier offerings. AT&T also began offering $100 credits to new customers, as a preemptive jab at T-Mobile, as well.

Review: LG’s Flex – There is no reason to curve this otherwise OK phablet

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Android phone makers are running out of ways to differentiate their devices from the crowd.  It’s all coming down to a rectangular screen, as little chrome around the edges as possible and a curved round back.  Pretty much every smartphone looks the same at this point with slight varying dimensions.

So that’s why LG’s curved Flex is an interesting newcomer. The LG Flex actually makes a somewhat flexible 6-inch display that defaults to a slight curve.  What are the supposed benefits of that?

  • It contours to your leg, sort of, in your pocket.
  • It reduces glare, sort of, outside
  • The curved phone is supposed to make calling feel more natural
  • Reading is a bit easier, not really
  • It is a cool party trick, good for 20-30 seconds of amusement

I’m a huge fan of the Nexus 5 and G2 and even AT&T’s 4G LTE network of late so I was genuinely looking forward to see what this could do… Read more