Motorola Skip accessory now available for the X Phone, unlocks the device with a single tap

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Update: It has now been officially announced – full blog entry below

Even though the device is not yet availability to the public, Motorola has just put a new X Phone accessory up for sale on its website. The “Motorola Skip” is described as a wearable accessory that you can use to  “unlock [your] phone with a single tap.” Details are still a bit scarce, but it looks as if the device is attached to a clip and simply gives you the ability to tap it to unlock your phone. According to the support document, the device will work via NFC. The Skip starts at $19.99, which seems a tad pricey for something that saves you all of a few seconds.

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Report: Inventer of the ‘netbook’ ASUS to launch its first Chromebook later this year

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The sub-$250 Chromebooks were a huge hit for both Samsung and Acer last year, and according to a new report out of DigiTimes, ASUS is also planning to enter the growing Chrome OS market. The site claims that ASUS is planning to make a foray into the Chromebook market as soon as the fourth quarter of this year. After experiencing low-demand for the back-to-school season, the company is looking to boost its shipment numbers, notably to education customers. ASUS recently reduced its notebook shipment predictions for 2013 from 22-24 million units to 17-19 million units.

With its entry in the Chromebook business, Asustek is hoping to gain orders from the education industry. Although order volumes are likely to be limited, they will still help the company.

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Samsung reportedly set to introduce Galaxy Gear smartwatch at upcoming Unpacked event

Samsung Gear Patent Filing

Samsung Gear Patent Filing

According to a new report from fansite SamMobile, Samsung will introduce its Galaxy Gear smartwatch during the Unpacked Episode 2 event on September 4th. The Galaxy Gear will reportedly carry the SM-V700 model number and act as a companion device for Samsung’s other Galaxy smartphones. Other details are sparse at this point, though several patent filings have given us a hint as to what we may see in terms of design. Samsung is also excepted to announce its Galaxy Note III flagship during the Unpacked event next month.

Samsung’s foray into the smartphone market comes on the heels of the Pebble being available in retail stores across the country. Many people also expect Apple to enter the smartwatch market sometime soon, as well.

No matter what Samsung announces next month, we’ll be sure to bring you all the details.  Read more

Google search now includes flights, reservations, & more from Gmail, Calendar & Google+

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Google announced on its blog today that it is soon rolling out the ability to view information from Gmail, Calendar, and Google+ directly in search results, providing users with a more personalized experience and an easier way to quickly look up important data across services. Some of the features have previously been available to Google Now on Android devices, but starting over the next few days English users in the US will begin seeing results for flights, reservations, and much more in Google search results on the web and mobile devices:

Ever had trouble checking your flight’s status on the go because it meant digging through your email for the flight number? Or wanted to just quickly see whether your package would arrive on time, without having to look up the tracking info first? You’ve told us it would be much easier if you could skip the fuss and just ask Google. Soon you’ll be able to find this info instantly in Google Search if it’s in your Gmail, Google Calendar or Google+. For example, just ask or type, “What’s my flight status?” or “When will my package arrive?”

The new results are triggered by queries such as “Is my flight on time?” or “my reservations” and will also work with Google’s recently introduced voice search features.

Google highlighted a few of the new results that you’ll begin seeing including flights, reservations, purchases, events, and photos from across all three services mentioned above: Read more

New photos show Xperia i1 “Honami” in white ahead of Sony’s Sept. 4 event

A leaked image earlier this month hinted that Sony had plans to introduce its rumored Xperia i1, codenamed “Honami,” at an event scheduled for September 4th during IFA in Berlin. Today, Xperiablog points us to another set of photos posted on Digi-Wo showing what is reportedly the Honami handset in white. You get a sense of its size in some comparison shots next to the iPhone 5. The device is rumored to include a 5-inch 1080p display, 20-megapixel rear camera, and Snapdragon 800 processor as one of Sony’s new flagship devices.

Nothing is official at this point, but we’ll likely be finding out more early next month at Sony’s event. Perhaps we’ll even get a look at the rumored Carl Zeiss lens camera attachmentRead more

Chinese site claims LG, not Motorola, will make G2-based Nexus 5

Photo: phandroid.com

Photo: phandroid.com

Chinese site MyDrivers (comical Google Translate warning) is citing Korean sources suggesting that the Nexus 5, next year’s replacement for the Nexus 4, will be made by LG and based on the G2. An earlier rumor suggested that the handset would be made by Motorola.

It has already been rumored that LG would be making next year’s Nexus 7 …  Read more

Smart finally beats dumb, smartphones hitting 51.8 percent of global sales in Q2

Image: gawkerassets.com

Image: gawkerassets.com

In the circles most of us hang out, it might seem incredible that featurephones – aka dumb phones – were still outselling smartphones until recently, but that was indeed the case right up to the first quarter of this year. The latest Gartner figures show that smartphones finally broke ahead in Q2, achieving 51.8 percent of worldwide phone sales.

Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe exhibited the highest smartphone growth rates of 74.1 percent, 55.7 percent and 31.6 percent respectively, as smartphone sales grew in all regions …

There was good news for both Samsung and Google in the figures …  Read more

Samsung sued for $110M in Brazil after Ministry of Labor finds labor rights violations

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According to a report from ReporterBrasil, an organization and news agency reporting on labor rights issues in Brazil, prosecutors in the country have filed a lawsuit against Samsung related to poor working conditions in one of the company’s factories. According to the report, the lawsuit was filed after the Ministry of Labor (MPT) found labor rights violations in a Samsung plant located in Zona Franca de Manaus that’s used to assemble some of the company’s smartphones supplied to Latin America:

The lawsuit filed by prosecutors is based on the assessment notices by registered auditors of the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MTE) after two inspections made at the factory in Manaus – one in May 2011 and another in May this year. Through technical analysis, they found that the employees of South Korean company come to hold three times more strokes per minute than the limit considered safe for ergonomic studies.

Some of the infractions mentioned in the translated report include workers spending in excess of 10-15 hours a day on foot without a break for up to 27 workdays in a row, and around 2,018 requests by employees to be removed due to health problems. The plant is said to employ around 5,600 employees total: Read more

Google switches all users to Gmail’s redesigned compose window with full-screen mode

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Google announced today that it is starting to roll out the redesigned Gmail compose experience that it first introduced us to back in October of last year. The feature, which makes the compose window a small, chat-like pop up window within the Gmail inbox, allows users to easier multitask while composing messages and compose multiple messages at once. It started off as a preview, and Google eventually made it the default option for everyone back in March.  However, up until now Google allowed users to opt-out and switch back to the old full-screen compose mode. Over the next few days that won’t any longer be an option.

Google made a point of noting that you can make the new compose window “full-screen” and set that as the default if you prefer an experience more like the old compose window: Read more

New Nexus 7 now available in Canada through Google Play

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Google announced today that its recently launched Nexus 7 is now available to purchase in Canada through Google Play. The availability comes as the device launches in Staples, Best Buy, Future Shop and other retailers today in both the US and Canada, while the device has already been available to customers in the US through Google Play.

The refreshed Nexus 7 is available for $229 for the 16GB WiFi model and $269 for the 32GB model with both models listed as shipping in 1-2 business days. An LTE version of the new Nexus 7 is expected in the weeks to come but Google hasn’t provided an official launch date.

Google also started selling a new Nexus 7 sleeve on the Google Play today for $29.99 in both the US and Canada.